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This Week in Washington - Sovereignty Under Attack in Senate


The Senate is out of session this week and the House is in for three days of votes. Late last week, the Senate started the ratification process for the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). This treaty will strip America of sovereignty and allow the United Nations to tax U.S. citizens through corporations.

The House is in for a short week, yet they have packed the schedule with important legislation. No votes until Wednesday when the House takes up twelve suspension bills. Included in the suspension bills are an FDA “Reform” bill (H.R. 5651), a prenatal nondiscrimination act (H.R. 3541), and a temporary extension of government run flood insurance (H.R. 5740). On Thursday and Friday, the House is scheduled to take up the Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 5743), the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations measure (H.R. 5854), and the Energy and Water Development appropriations measure (H.R. 5325).  A transportation funding bill (H.R. 4348) is in a House and Senate conference right now and there may be House votes in relation to that measure.

There is an impasse on two pending pieces of legislation. The student loan interest rate bill and competing versions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  The Senate has put forth versions of both bills that violate the Origination Clause (Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution), because the Senate originated bills on these issues raise revenue. It is expected that both of these bills will be passed in some form in the next weeks, even though many consider the VAWA to be unconstitutional.

According to Politico the controversy over the student loan measures center on the offset for the estimated $6 billion in cost next year by keeping the student loan rates at 3.4%, “Republicans want to divert money from a prevention fund created under the new health care law, while Democrats insist on eliminating a tax loophole for Subchapter S Corporations.”  The Democrat bill contains yet another proposed tax increase.

The Defense Authorization bill is proving to be a battle between the House and Senate approaches to defense spending and policy. According to The Hill, controversial provisions added to the Senate version in the Senate Armed Services Committee are “same-sex marriage, abortion and a new East Coast missile defense site.”

The Hill reports that “the House bill banned same-sex marriage ceremonies on military bases and included conscious provisions for military chaplains, while the Senate bill allows the Pentagon to fund abortions in the case of rape or incest.”  There is also a dispute on the size of the budget, because the House version has come in $4 billion over the President’s defense gutting request and the Senate Armed Services committee passed version.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee had a hearing last week on the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST).  During the hearing Senators Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) asked tough questions of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey. Conservatives seem unconvinced by the testimony submitted by the Obama Administration.

This Treaty would empower a United Nation’s sanctioned organization to attack American sovereignty and will allow the International Seabed Authority to tax American citizens. This treaty took fire from conservatives in the Senate and no action is expected on the Senate floor until after the elections in Lame Duck session.

A short, but issue packed week is expected in the House of Representatives. Very important issues are being debated, so conservative need to be vigilant in watching Washington politicians to make sure they are operating with the consent of the governed. This week will set the table for the remaining issues to be debated and resolved in the month of June.

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