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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, July 25, 2014

House Move On Numerous Bills ! McConnell Blasts Dems For Their Assaults On The First Amendment

Today in Washington, D.C. - July 25, 2014
The House reconvened at 10 AM. As of this article the House has taken up and passed:
H.R. 4935 (237-173)— "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make improvements to the child tax credit."
H. Con. Res. 105 (370-40)— "Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove United States Armed Forces, other than Armed Forces required to protect United States diplomatic facilities and personnel, from Iraq."

Other issues / bills being considered today:
H.R. 5081 — "To amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to enable State child protective services systems to improve the identification and assessment of child victims of sex trafficking, and for other purposes."
S. 517 — "To promote consumer choice and wireless competition by permitting consumers to unlock mobile wireless devices, and for other purposes."
H. Res. 562 — "Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to enhanced relations with the Republic of Moldova and support for Moldova's territorial integrity."
S. 653 — "To provide for the establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia."
S. 1104 — "To measure the progress of recovery and development efforts in Haiti following the earthquake of January 12, 2010, and for other purposes."

Yesterday, the House passed the following bills:
H.R. 3393 (227-187) — "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to consolidate certain tax benefits for educational expenses, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4984 (405-11 )— "To amend the loan counseling requirements under the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5111 (409 0) — "To improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking."

The Senate is not in session today and will reconvene on Monday at 2 PM and will resume consideration of the nomination of Pamela Harris to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit. At 5:30 on Monday, the Senate will vote on confirmation of the Harris nomination, three nominees to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and on a nominee for Deputy Under Secretary of Defense.

Yesterday, Democrats again used the democrat established nuclear option to break Senate rules and allow cloture votes on nominees to succeed with fewer than 60 votes. This time, it was used to invoke cloture on the Harris nomination by a vote of 54-41.

On Wednesday, NPR wrote, “Senate Democrats have rolled out this year's model of the DISCLOSE Act. . . . It's the third version of DISCLOSE since 2010. Broadly speaking, it would force donor disclosure on the big-money, 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations that are flourishing in post-Citizens United politics. . . . A Senate rules committee hearing on DISCLOSE on Wednesday made one thing clear: Republicans despise the bill. Previous versions of DISCLOSE all failed due to united opposition by GOP lawmakers. . . . Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell isn't a member of the rules committee, but ... he said. ‘This proposal is little more than a crude intimidation tactic masquerading as good government.’”

At the hearing, Leader McConnell explained his dogged opposition to the Democrats’ partisan bill: “This proposal is not new. This is the third time we’ve seen it. But it is precisely because of the doggedness of the proponents of this bill that I have come here before you today. For more than two centuries, we’ve had a regularly scheduled election in this country. . . . And yet every two years now, with near metronomic regularity, our friends on the other side can now be expected to propose some new attempt to silence their critics. Or, in the case of the DISCLOSE Act, an old one. Sadly, it has now come to the point where you can set your clock to the Democrats’ attempts to stifle the free speech rights of the American people. . . . Collectively and individually, these continual efforts to weaken voter participation in our elections poses a real threat to the right of free speech in this country, something which is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights and which has ensured the integrity of the political process in this country for more than two centuries.”

Leader McConnell admonished majority Democrats that “no one should be tampering with” the First Amendment. He pointed out, “Yet again and again, in recent years, that’s just what we’ve seen. We saw it on shameful display at the IRS, as detailed in the IG report on the agency’s activities leading up to the 2012 election — and in the administration’s subsequent efforts to codify through regulation the kind of targeting that took place there. We saw it in the recent efforts by Democrats to empower Congress through constitutional amendment to limit the free speech rights of individuals and groups — a truly radical proposal that should end all arguments about what little regard . . .  the other side have for the rights of free citizens to set the direction of our country. And we’ve seen it, three times now, in the biennial revival of the DISCLOSE Act.”

He continued, making the case against the bill, “... we need to be ready to respond in kind. And in this case, the first part of that response should be to point out the obvious: at a time when millions of Americans are struggling to find work, small businesses are sputtering under the weight of an increasingly brazen regulatory state, our VA system is failing our veterans, and tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have been flowing across the border without any clear policy solution from either the White House or Democrat Leaders in Congress, Democrat leaders should not be focused on a bill the primary purpose of which is to silence their critics. Their persistence at this particular moment is eloquent testimony of where their priorities lie.

“The second thing I would say about this proposal is that the entire premise for it is baseless. The supposed justification of this bill is the need to, quote, ‘do something’ about certain people and voluntary associations participating in the political process. But this gets it exactly backwards. We shouldn’t be trying to think of ways to keep people from participating in the political process. We should be encouraging more of it. . . . If the supporters of this proposal can’t suppress individuals or groups, the thinking on the Left goes, then they should just go after the funding that amplifies the message. And they’ll do it the old fashioned way: through donor harassment and intimidation. . . . So we’ve seen what the loudest proponents of disclosure have intended in the past, and it’s not good government. . . . The sad fact is, this kind of government-led intimidation is part of a much broader effort that’s been underway within the Obama administration for years. We’ve seen parallel efforts at suppressing speech at the FCC, the SEC, the IRS, DOJ, and at HHS. And the tactics we saw during the 2012 campaign speak for themselves — from the enemies list of conservative donors on the Obama campaign’s Web site, to the strategic name-dropping of conservative targets by the President’s political advisors. And that’s what this proposal is about. It’s about harvesting the names of donors in the hopes of driving them off the playing field. We’ve seen it before. We’re seeing it now.”

In an op-ed for the Washington Examiner yesterday, McConnell added, “In recent weeks, congressional Democrats have also sought to empower Congress through a constitutional amendment to limit the free speech rights of individuals and groups. And all Americans have gotten an education over the past two years in the ways government can be used to suppress free speech, as details of the IRS scandal have continued to unfold. When it comes to disclosure, President Obama likes to say that the only people who oppose it are people who have something to hide. Yet history tells us otherwise. Back in the 1950s, the state of Alabama tried to get its hands on the donor list of the NAACP. The Supreme Court correctly ruled against forced disclosure then because it knew that if people had reason to fear that their names and reputations would be attacked because of the causes they support, then they would be far less likely to support them. They knew disclosure would have a chilling effect on free association and free speech.”

He concluded, “The First Amendment has been a consuming passion of mine for years. I have fought hard to defend it on the Senate floor and in the highest court of the land. It has pitted me at times against members of my own party, including a Republican president. It's also led to some unlikely alliances, as I've repeatedly stood with both the American Civil Liberties Union and the liberal First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams for help in this fight. That’s just as it should be. Some causes should transcend party politics. The right to speak freely and without fear of harassment or intimidation from one’s government is one of them. It would be nice to think that both major political parties in this country still believed that. Tragically, the evidence increasingly says otherwise. So the fight for free speech continues. I, for one, don’t intend to let up on it.”

Tags: House bills, Sen Mitch McConnell, defending, free speech,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 12:57 PM - Post Link


Anonymous James Hennessey said...

Hitler Wants To Take Over. Silence The People Is One Of The Steps.

Anonymous Monica Steele said...

About time McConnell speaks up!

Blogger Bill Smith said...

Monica, While I can understand the frustration, the truth is that Sen. McConnell is considered the warrior for Free Speech. He has gone before the Supreme Court and submitted briefs on several cases supporting the 1st Amendment.


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