Thursday, April 28, 2016

Republicans Have Tough Day on House Floor

Trey Gowdy
House Republicans suffered a string of defeats on the House floor this morning, owing to several illnesses and a few key defections.

The House narrowly defeated a bill that would have banned the transfer of terror suspects from the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to domestic federal prisons. Despite Majority Leader Trey Gowdy's (R-SC) warnings that transferring prisoners to American prisons would make those areas more subject to attack, and Rep. Kevin Yoder's (R-KS) claims that the American people supported the bill, several members defected from the Republican position. The bill failed 14-16.

Two Republicans also abstained on a bill that would have empowered local law enforcement to police and deport undocumented immigrants. Those abstentions ended up dooming the bill, which failed on a 12-12-2 vote.

The only controversial piece of legislation to pass was H.R. 34, which will create a public financing system for congressional elections. Seven Republicans joined all 12 Democrats in supporting the bill. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation shortly.

In his afternoon radio broadcast, conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh expressed concern about Republican absences from the House floor and offered to send vitamin supplements to the next Republican caucus meeting.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Congress Abolishes Penny in First Floor Session

Elijah Cummings
The U.S. House of Representatives today voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill to abolish the one-cent penny from American currency. The bill, authored by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), will start phasing out the penny in the next ninety days.

Floor debate over the bill was contentious and divided the majority Republican Party for much of the session. A provision in the bill to replace Thomas Jefferson's image on the five-cent nickel with President Ronald Reagan's proved controversial. Some members supported memorializing the 40th president, while a bipartisan group opposed it in the name of fiscal austerity. An amendment by Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) removed the Reagan provision from the bill.

President Obama quickly signed the bill upon receiving it from the House, saying it was a long overdue update to the currency system.