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Posts Tagged congress
From The Washington Post:
There are questions, however, about Congress’s authority to pass the bill, which seems to stretch the limits of the commerce power and of the 14th Amendment’s enforcement power, as discussed in posts by Josh Blackman and Joseph Blocher, among others. But there may be another way.
In a letter sent today, Stephen Sachs, Randy Barnett and I argue that Congress should not rely on the commerce power but should instead rely on the Full Faith and Credit Clause.
From Rep. Sensenbrenner:
Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner reintroduced the ATF Elimination Act, legislation that would dissolve the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and merge its exclusive duties into existing federal agencies.
Additionally, the Act calls for an immediate hiring freeze at the agency and requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) to eliminate and reduce duplicative functions and waste, as well as report to Congress with a detailed plan on how the transition will take place. Further, it would transfer enforcement of firearms, explosives and arson laws to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products would be transferred to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Under this bill, the DEA and FBI would be required to submit to Congress a plan for winding down the affairs of the ATF after no more than 180 days, and field offices, along with other buildings and assets of the ATF, would be transferred to the FBI. It would have one year to report excess property to the General Services Administration (GSA).
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Despite our country being trillions of dollars in debt, government spending continues to rise. Common sense budgeting solutions are necessary, and the ATF Elimination Act is one measure we can take to reduce spending, redundancy, and practice responsible governance. The ATF is a scandal-ridden, largely duplicative agency that has been branded by failure and lacks a clear mission. It is plagued by backlogs, funding gaps, hiring challenges, and a lack of leadership. These facts make it a logical place to begin draining the swamp and acting in the best interest of the American taxpayer.”
During an appearance on the March 21, 2014 episode of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, Ellison explained his position on firearms. During a discussion on the efficacy of gun control, Maher challenged Ellison on the Second Amendment, which resulted in the following exchange:
Maher: Then why doesn’t your party come out against the Second Amendment? It’s the problem.
Ellison: I sure wish they would. I sure wish we would.
Maher: Really? Because I never hear anybody in the Democratic party say that. But they say, ‘I am also a strong supporter.’
Ellison: You’ve got to check out the progressive caucus. We have come out very strong for common-sense gun safety rules.
The lawmaker went on to further characterize the type of gun control he supports by telling Maher, “what it means is that if you want to have grandpa’s shotgun, have it, but get rid of the crazy military-style assault weapons.”
In July, we reported on an ill-advised attempt by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls of DOS (DDTC) to “clarify” who is a regulated firearms “manufacturer” for purposes of the Arms Export Control Act and its implementing rules, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
As we noted in that report, DDTC’s “guidance” document creates far more confusion than clarity and threatens to chill lawful behavior and put small commercial gunsmiths who cannot afford ITAR’s heavy compliance costs out of business.
Exorbitant taxes on guns affect the poor disproportionately and are an attack on the civil rights of all Americans.
From the NRA:
H.R. 3830, otherwise known as the “Reducing Gun Violence in our Neighborhoods Act of 2015,” would impose a stiff $100 tax on every firearm sold. The resulting revenues would go to the Department of Justice to be disbursed in various initiatives meant to support mental health care, as well as “anti-violence programs”—and you’re on the same wavelength as us if you read that last bit as “anti-gun propaganda.” Not only would you get ripped off, your gun purchase would support the cause of chipping away at the Second Amendment.
Velázquez is quoted as saying, “If making guns more expensive means fewer end up in commerce, I’m happy with that result.” Her implication that hurting firearm sales is somehow accidental—simply collateral damage—is profoundly disingenuous. Indeed, ensuring that “fewer end up in commerce” appears to be the entire point behind this legislation.
From the EFF:
Tell Congress: Stop S. 1357. No reauthorization of Section 215 of the Patriot Act—no matter how short.
Congress has a chance to vote no on the NSA’s mass phone record surveillance under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. But NSA apologists are trying to broker a deal to extend Section 215 for another two months. That’s two more months of the NSA sweeping up millions of people’s phone records unconstitutionally. With your help, we can stop Congress from simply rubber-stamping this reauthorization. Tell Congress: no reauthorization of Section 215, no matter how short.
Carson would be the first Muslim to serve on the committee and was the second Muslim to be elected to Congress. He already serves on the Armed Services Committee and worked for the Department of Homeland Security’s Fusion Center — the clearinghouse established by the federal government to streamline data sharing between the CIA, FBI, Department of Justice and the military.
War should occur only when America is attacked, when it is threatened or when American interests are attacked or threatened. I don’t think the situation in Syria passes that test. Even the State Department argues that “there’s no military solution here that’s good for the Syrian people, and that the best path forward is a political solution.”
From LA’s NBC affiliate:
The mass shooting that left five people dead in Santa Monica is the reason a California congressman wants to make it illegal for people to buy parts on the Internet to build their own weapons.
The fears presented in the previous post on the dangers of amendments to HR 822 are not unfounded, they are based on precedent, and the fact that the NRA seems to have ignored addressing this issue is troubling. The net result in 1986 was that the “Firearm Owners Protection Act” created a de-facto ban on the ownership of “machine guns” from that day forward.
This was not the original intent of that legislation and yet that is the legislation that was passed into law.
I’m not a legal expert and I would love to have the NRA experts explain to us how another Firearm Owners Protection Act debacle can be avoided.
Machine Gun Ban: The Hughes Amendment
As debate for FOPA was in its final stages in the House before moving on to the Senate, Rep. William J. Hughes (D-N.J.) proposed several amendments including House Amendment 777 to H.R. 4332 that would ban a civilian from ownership or transfer rights of any fully automatic weapon which was not registered as of May 19, 1986. The amendment also held that any such weapon manufactured and registered before the May 19 cutoff date could still be legally owned and transferred by civilians.
In the morning hours of April 10, 1986, the House held recorded votes on three amendments to FOPA in Record Vote No’s 72, 73, and 74.
Recorded Vote 72 was on H.AMDT. 776, an amendment to H.AMDT 770 involving the interstate sale of handguns; while Recorded Vote 74 was on H.AMDT 770, involving primarily the easing of interstate sales and the safe passage provision.
Recorded Vote 74 was the controversial Hughes Amendment that called for the banning of machine guns. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), at the time presiding as Chairman over the proceedings, claimed that the “amendment in the nature of a substitute, as amended, was agreed to.” However, after the voice vote on the Hughes Amendment, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) ignored a plea to take a recorded vote and moved on to Recorded Vote 74 where the Hughes Amendment failed.
The bill, H.R. 4332, as a whole passed in Record Vote No: 75 on a motion to recommit. Despite the controversial amendment, the Senate, in S.B. 49, adopted H.R. 4332 as an amendment to the final bill. The bill was subsequently passed and signed on May 19, 1986 by President Ronald Reagan to become Public Law 99-308, the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act.
What Happened to the American Declaration of War? is republished with permission of STRATFOR.
By George Friedman
In my book “The Next Decade,” I spend a good deal of time considering the relation of the American Empire to the American Republic and the threat the empire poses to the republic. If there is a single point where these matters converge, it is in the constitutional requirement that Congress approve wars through a declaration of war and in the abandonment of this requirement since World War II. This is the point where the burdens and interests of the United States as a global empire collide with the principles and rights of the United States as a republic.
World War II was the last war the United States fought with a formal declaration of war. The wars fought since have had congressional approval, both in the sense that resolutions were passed and that Congress appropriated funds, but the Constitution is explicit in requiring a formal declaration. It does so for two reasons, I think. The first is to prevent the president from taking the country to war without the consent of the governed, as represented by Congress. Second, by providing for a specific path to war, it provides the president power and legitimacy he would not have without that declaration; it both restrains the president and empowers him. Not only does it make his position as commander in chief unassailable by authorizing military action, it creates shared responsibility for war. A declaration of war informs the public of the burdens they will have to bear by leaving no doubt that Congress has decided on a new order — war — with how each member of Congress voted made known to the public. Read the rest of this entry »