This Week in Washington: Diagnosis of ObamaCare’s Mandate and an Explosion of Food Stamps

It is expected to be very busy in the House and Senate this week. All eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court with anticipation of a decision on the fate of ObamaCare. If the Court strikes down part or all of ObamaCare, all eyes will shift to Congress to see if they snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

If the Court, as expected, strikes down part of the law, then the Senate will have an opportunity to fully repeal the remaining provisions. The House passed H.R. 2, Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, on January 19, 2011 on a 245 to 189 vote. Three Democrats joined 242 Republicans to support full repeal. This bill sits in the Senate awaiting action.

Today, the Senate will resume consideration of S. 3240, the Farm bill. As Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) notes “the 2008 Farm Bill was estimated to spend $604.1 billion over 10 years, as calculated by the Congressional Budget Office. The 2012 Farm Bill is estimated to spend $969.2 billion over the next 10 years. That’s a whopping 60 percent increase!”  The reason for the massive increase is the dramatic increase in spending on Food Stamps. This program has doubled in size under President Obama. Liberals have married the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps) to farming price support subsidies in the Farm Bill to create an axis of farm lobbyists and rent seeking supporters of big entitlement programs to push passage of the bill.

The Senate will also vote on the nomination of Mary G. Lewis to be a federal judge for South Carolina today. A bill dealing with flood insurance and possible consideration of a resolution of disapproval of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation relating to coal is possible this week.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider the controversial nomination of Brett H. McGurk to be ambassador to Iraq.  According to Reuters, Six Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have written President Obama to request a new nominee because of allegations that McGurk lack’s experience and engaged in an extra-marital affair with a reporter while he was with the National Security Council in Iraq that may have resulted in the disclosure of sensitive national security information.

The House will take up nine suspension bills this evening with five of the bills dealing with land issues. One interesting suspension measure is H.Res. 683, a resolution expressing regret of the House of Representatives for the passage of laws that adversely affected the Chinese in the U.S.  The bill references legislation passed in 1882 and a law passed in 1902 that “indefinitely extended all laws regulating and restricting Chinese immigration and residence.”  The resolution has a provision that it can’t be used to “authorize any claim against the United States,” yet there seems no other reason for the Congress to pass yet another official apology bill. Passage may set the table for reparations from you, the taxpayer, to pay for something than happened over 100 years ago.

On Tuesday, The House will take up the “Conservation and Economic Growth Act, H.R. 2578.  This bill contains a very controversial land grant to Sealaska Corporation.  S.E. Robinson writes for The Blaze that this may be a multi-billion earmark for a company that aided Senator Lisa Murkowski in her efforts to retain the Alaska Senate seat. Robinson writes “Sealaska led the charge behind Alaskans Standing Together, the super PAC that propelled Murkowski from GOP-primary-loser to write-in-winner and Republican Senator in 38 days by spending $1.7 million on a pro-Murkowski ad campaign.”  This legislation supported by Murkowski would aid “Sealaska is one of 12 regional corporations Congress created through the Alaskan Native Land Claims Settlement Act of 1971 oversee the distribution to the native population of roughly $1 billion in federal funds and 44 million acres of land.”

On Wednesday the House will take up a motion to instruct conferees on H.R. 4348, the Highway bill and begin consideration of H.R. 4480, the Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012.  The House Oversight and Government Relations Committee has a hearing scheduled to vote on a contempt resolution against Attorney General Eric Holder dealing with withheld government documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious. It is expected that Holder and Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) will cut a deal to avoid this vote, but stay tuned.

The issues of ObamaCare, Food Stamps and contempt of Congress are all on the agenda this week in Washington. Constitutional conservatives need to be vigilant to make sure that both parties respect the explicit words of the Constitution and the intent of our Founding Fathers when dealing with these important issues.

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