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Who is Really in Charge?
[The U.S. Senate]

August 1, 2016

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently boasted that the U.S. Senate was back at work noting that it has passed 73 bills that have become law compared to the Democratic-controlled 2014 Congress.   However, simply citing the number of bills that become law is an inadequate way to assess the current Congress.  It’s like rating a quarterback solely on the basis of passes thrown, rather than his completions, passing yardage and touchdowns. One needs to also consider the content of legislation in making a valid appraisal.   Content matters a lot more than quantity. 

For example, in the first six months of 2016 the Senate has advanced a significant number of liberal agendas while failing to stand up for conservative principles. Meanwhile fully a third of its actions address relatively minor issues such as naming eighteen post offices and federal buildings.  Another designated the bison as the national mammal!  By most measures, this is not what we elected our Republican members of Congress to do!

Republicans have had a majority of the Senate seats for almost two years now but if you have been watching closely you may be asking who is really in charge. 

Appropriation bills that one would think are written by Republicans come to the floor but lack GOP stated priorities while conservative efforts to amend them are set up to fail.  Take, for example, the Energy and Water bill which funds the Army Corps of Engineers.  This offered an opportunity for Congress to defund the Corps’ funding to enforce the EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule.  

[BACKGROUND FOR OUR READERS: The Congress failed to define “Waters of the United States” when it passed the Clean Water Act back in the 1970s.  Consequently agencies have taken it upon themselves to create their own definition!  The Administration’s definition could make small ponds, and even low lying areas of your lawn, wetlands thereby making homeowners subject to fines and jail time for re-landscaping their yards].

The Senate Republican Leadership allowed a vote on an amendment to defund the “rule”  but deemed the amendment to be “non-germane,” thereby (under “cloture-rules”) requiring sixty votes for adoption.  The amendment, which most believe was germane, got 56 votes in favor yet failed to pass.  If the Republican Leadership had ruled the amendment germane it would have passed, bringing relief to many Americans across the country.

Then the GOP-led Senate Appropriations Committee supported an amendment to provide $500 million to the United Nations-sponsored Green Climate Fund which is the principle funding mechanism for Obama’s climate change treaty.  This is the same treaty that the Administration imposed upon taxpayers without getting the advice and consent of the Senate and that Republicans promised to oppose!

But it gets worse. The Republican-controlled Appropriations committee adopted an amendment giving $37.5 million to the United Nations Population Fund which will spend the money for abortions performed overseas.  

Republicans may be in charge of the Senate; and  Democrats in the minority, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference!

Bill, Mark, and John



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