Tea Party Patriots Action Weekly Report from Washington for 6/10/19
The House and Senate will both return Monday and stay in session through Thursday.
LAST WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
The House came back to work on Monday evening and passed two bills under Suspension of the Rules.
On Tuesday, the House passed the Rule for consideration of H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, then passed a bill under Suspension, and then took up and passed H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act. The vote to pass was 237-187, with no Democrats in opposition and seven Republicans crossing party lines to vote with the majority.
On Wednesday, the House passed a bill under Suspension, and then they were done.
THIS WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
The House will return on Monday, with the first votes set for 6:30 PM. At that time, the House is scheduled to consider 11 bills under Suspension of the Rules.
On Tuesday, the House was scheduled to consider H.Res. 430, authorizing the Judiciary Committee to initiate or intervene in judicial proceedings to enforce certain subpoenas and for other purposes. That’s the way the text of the resolution reads. What that does NOT say is that this is the resolution that would have put the House on record voting to allow the House to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn in civil contempt of Congress for failing to respond to the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoenas for documents, including the full, unredacted Mueller report. Note – this would NOT have been the vote to actually hold Barr and McGahn in civil contempt. That would have come later. This is a vote that would have ALLOWED the House to hold both of them in civil contempt.
But as of just a few minutes ago, according to breaking news, the House Judiciary Committee has come to an agreement with the Department of Justice on some of the underlying evidence behind the Mueller report, and, consequently, the contempt proceedings against the Attorney General have been canceled.
On Wednesday, the House will begin consideration of this year’s appropriations bills. They’ll vote on H.R. 2740, a minibus appropriations bill that combines the appropriations bills for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education; Legislative Branch; Defense; State, and Foreign Operations; and Energy and Water Development.
LAST WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:
The Senate returned on Monday and took up a motion to invoke cloture on the Motion To Proceed to consideration of S. 1332, Sen. Rand Paul’s budget resolution. The measure failed, by a vote of 22-69, and, once again, the majority of Senate Republicans put themselves on record in opposition to a budget based on the Penny Plan – though this year, Sen. Paul recognized that spending had gotten so far out of control that we would need to cut TWO pennies on the dollar for every dollar spent in order to balance the budget in five years, so he’s now calling it “the Pennies Plan.”
The rest of the week was spent processing nominations. Over the course of the week, the Senate confirmed:
- Andrew M. Saul, to be Commissioner of Social Security
- David Schenker, to be Assistant Secretary of State
- Heath P. Tarbert, to be Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
- Heath P. Tarbert, to be a Member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
- Susan Combs, to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior
In addition, the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the following nominations:
- Ryan T. Holte, to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
- Rossie Alston, Jr., to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia
- Richard A. Hertling, to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
THIS WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:
The Senate will come back into session Monday afternoon, with the first votes set for 5:30 PM. At that time, the Senate will proceed to four roll call votes on the following:
- Confirmation of the nomination of Ryan T. Holte to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
- Confirmation of the nomination of Rossie David Alston, Jr., to be a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia
- Confirmation of the nomination of Richard A. Hertling, to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
- Motion to invoke cloture on the nomination of Sarah Daggett Morrison, to be a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio
Then, based on Majority Leader McConnell’s cloture filings, I’d say the schedule for the rest of the week is more confirmations, in this order:
- Sarah Daggett Morrison, to be a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio
- Pamela A. Barker, to be a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Ohio
- Corey Landon Maze, to be a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama
- Rodney Smith, to be a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida
- Thomas P. Barber, to be a U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Florida
- Jean-Paul Boulee, to be a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia
- David Stilwell, to be Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
- Edward F. Crawford, to be Ambassador of the United States to Ireland
Well, obviously, the big news of the week on the immigration/border security front is the announcement Friday evening by President Trump that Mexico had agreed to take significant steps to shut down illegal immigration across our southern border, and that, as a consequence, the tariffs he had threatened to impose beginning on Monday will, for now, be suspended.
This is a big deal, and the left’s heads are collectively exploding.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tried to dismiss it with sarcasm, tweeting, “This is an historic night!” and then adding, “Now that the problem is solved, I’m sure we won’t be hearing any more about it in the future.”
Speaker Pelosi, apparently unable or unwilling to address the substance of the agreement, focused her criticism on President Trump’s style of negotiating: Said Pelosi in a statement on Saturday, “Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy.”
Except, of course, when they are, which seems to be what happened here.
From the moment President Trump tweeted his threat a week ago Thursday, the Mexican government took seriously the possibility that he would impose his new tariffs on Mexican goods being imported to the U.S., and that government acted. Within hours of the May 30 tweet, they were in touch with the White House, promising to send a high-level delegation to Washington immediately.
Now, this is important, because the left is already trying to dismiss what deal as being “nothing new,” as being simply a regurgitation of things the Mexican government had already agreed to do previously. For instance, The New York Times had a big story on Saturday entitled, “Mexico Agreed to Take Border Actions Months Before Trump Announced Tariff Deal,” which leads with, “The deal to avert tariffs that President Trump announced with great fanfare on Friday night consists largely of actions that Mexico had already promised to take in prior discussions with the United States over the past several months, according to officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations. Friday’s joint declaration says Mexico agreed to the ‘deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.’ But the Mexican government had already pledged to do that in March during secret talks in Miami between Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of homeland security, and Olga Sanchez, the Mexican secretary of the interior, the officials said.”
Except that the agreement worked out between Nielsen and Sanchez said that Mexico would send 1,000 members of its National Guard to its southern border with Guatemala, while the agreement announced Friday includes a promise by Mexico to send 6,000 National Guard members to the Guatemalan border. Six thousand men is six times one thousand men. So Mexico agreed on Friday to send six times as many men as they had agreed to send earlier … yet The New York Times says that’s the same agreement. That’s like saying a guy who agrees in January to pay $10,000 for a new car, but then comes back in June and agrees to pay $60,000 for a new car, is making the same deal, because the deal is, he’s agreeing to buy a new car. To which the only correct response is, “Harrumph. Fake news.”
Additionally, the Mexican government agreed to increase the number of asylum-seekers it will hold in Mexico while cases are being adjudicated in the U.S. Again, the framework of the agreement may have been worked out some months ago, but getting Mexico to agree to increase the number of asylum-seekers they’ll hold is a big deal.
Of course, the proof will be in the pudding. It’s one thing to promise under pressure, it’s another thing to follow through. But the President has made clear he’s willing to try new tools in his determination to stop the flow of illegal immigration. Stay tuned.
This year’s spending battles will begin this week, when the House takes up H.R. 2740, a minibus spending bill that combines five of the 12 annual appropriations bills. The bill appropriates a total of $1.295 trillion, which represents an increase of about $50 billion over the last major funding agreement. The majority of the additional spending – about two-thirds of it, in fact – would go toward domestic spending programs like health and education, while the Pentagon would get a $17 billion increase.
In addition to being a budget-buster, this bill contains a pay raise for Members of Congress. They haven’t had a pay raise since January 2009, when their pay was set at $174,000 per year. So this year, leaders of both parties in the House have agreed to include a 2.6 percent pay raise, worth $4,500 per year.
Multiple freshman Democrats in vulnerable seats have introduced amendments to maintain the pay freeze, including Reps. Ben McAdams of Utah, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Angie Craig of Minnesota, Susie Lee of Nevada, and Jared Golden of Maine. And two more swing-district freshman Democrats – Cindy Axne of Iowa and Dean Phillips of Minnesota – have announced they would refuse to accept the pay raise if it goes into effect.
The House Rules Committee will meet Monday and Tuesday to decide which amendments to the spending bill will be allowed to be considered on the House floor.
On the staffing front, former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli – who has been running the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group with which we work closely – has been named Acting Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS, according to breaking news from MSNBC within the last hour. Senate Republicans – including, most importantly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – don’t like Cuccinelli and the Senate Conservatives Fund, and would have been likely to defeat his nomination if the President had actually nominated him to serve in the post permanently. So, instead, the President has simply made Cuccinelli the Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which will require no Senate confirmation.
JENNY BETH MARTIN/TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: