Governors are sent by Him to punish the evildoers and praise the virtuous (1 Peter 2:14).

     

House Outpacing Senate

Pray for Congress
January 15, 2007

Arise, cry aloud in the night At the beginning of the night watches;
Pour out your heart like water Before the presence of the Lord;
Lift up your hands to Him For the life of your little ones

(Lamentations 2:19).


The House is a little more than half way through its first 100 hours program.
The Senate is off to a slower, less hyperactive start.
Congress is off today in celebration of Martin Luther King Day.

Our top priority for prayer this week is the Bennett Amendment to S. 1 (See the first item in the Senate section below).

Update Summary:

  • House of Representatives
    • The First (Partial) Week
    • The First Full Week - Four Bills Passed
    • Next Week
    • Legislation Introduced
  • Senate
    • The First 10 Bills
    • Calendar
    • Legislation Introduced
    • Judicial Nominations
  • On a Lighter Note
  • 2007 Calendar

House of Representatives

The First (Partial) Week


    The House elected its first ever woman Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, passed its rules package.

    "A New York Times analysis notes that Democrats face a choice and appear to be choosing the latter: "They can spend their energy trying to reverse what they see as the flaws of the Bush administration and a dozen years in which conservative philosophy dominated Congress. Or they can accept the rightward tilt of that period and grudgingly concede that big tax cuts, deregulation, restrictions on abortion and other Republican-inspired changes are now a permanent part of the legislative framework" (via First Read).

    • Praise the Lord for fiscal restraint!
    • Pray that advances to protect life continue to stand.

    No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you (Joshua 1:5).

The First Full Week - Four Bills Passed


    Following their Legislative Program for their first full week, the Democrats brought up and the House passed the first four bills in their First 100 Hours program. The Democrats have drawn a distinction between their promise of bipartisanship, and their campaign promise to pass key pieces of legislation in the first 100 hours. The latter requires a temporary suspension of the former.

    Even while the House is locked down to ram these bills through, there is one tool at the minority's disposal: the motion to recommit. As C-SPAN explains, a "motion to recommit with instructions" is "a last opportunity to amend the bill." This is used and necessary when the majority has brought a bill to the floor under a rule that does not allow amendments.

    The minority has and intends to use this lone tool at their disposal to give specific instructions on a key problem with the bill. Therefore, we note both the vote on the bill, and the vote on the motion.

  • Tuesday, January 9, 2007
    H.Res. 35 - Rep. David Obey [D-WI] - To enhance intelligence oversight authority
    To established a Select Intelligence Oversight Panel of the Committee on Appropriations.

    • Debate: Transcript

    • Vote: On Motion to Recommit:
      Failed 195-232, 8 not voting

    • Vote: On Agreeing to the Resolution:
      Passed 239-188, 8 not voting


    H.R. 1 - Rep. Bennie Thompson [D-MS] - Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007
    To provide for the implementation of the recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

    • Debate: Transcript - Sections 25, 26, 27

        Quote of the Day:
        "Madam Speaker, I have some sympathy with those on the Democrat side of the aisle tonight because you made a promise. You said you were going to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations, and now you have to at least appear to make good on that promise even if it doesn't make any sense."
        --Rep. Heather Wilson [R-NM]

        New Congressmen Denied Classified Information Before Voting

    • Vote: On Motion to Recommit with Instructions - Refusing to cede authority over the United States to international organizations (PDF of Motion on Pages H219, H220 of the Record)
      Failed 198-230, 7 not voting

    • Vote: On Final Passage
      Passed 299-128, 8 not voting (100% of Democrats supporting, 66% of Republicans opposing)

      FRC: In an alarming provision of H.R. 1, a bill that claims to make the country "safer" since 9/11, liberals have rushed language to the House floor that would surrender a key aspect of our homeland security to the United Nations. more...

    He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security (Deuteronomy 12:10).


  • Wednesday, January 10, 2007
    H.R. 2 - Rep. George Miller [D-CA] - Fair Minimum wage Act of 2007
    To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage.

    The laborer is worthy of his wages (Luke 10:7, 1 Timothy 5:18).


  • Thursday, January 11, 2007
    H.R. 3 - Rep. Diana DeGette [D-CO] - Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007
    To amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for human embryonic stem cell research.

    [Hezekiah] removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah (2 Kings 18:4).

    For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)


  • Friday, January 12, 2007
    H.R. 4 - Rep. John Dingell [D-MI] - Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007
    To amend part D of title XVIII of the Social Security Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower covered part D drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.

    And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede; Then His own arm brought salvation to Him; And His righteousness upheld Him (Isaiah 59:16).


    There was a Republican discussion recapping the first full week of The Democratic Agenda.

Next Week


    The record of the Legislative Program for next week includes an interesting discussion of how the majority followed its reinstated PAYGO rules with those first four bills. Next week:

  • Wednesday, January 17, 2007
    H.R. 5 - Rep. George Miller [D-CA] - To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to reduce interest rates for student borrowers.

    Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8).


  • Thursday, January 18, 2007
    H.R. 6 - Rep. Nick Rahall [D-WV] - To reduce our Nation's dependency on foreign oil by investing in clean, renewable, and alternative energy resources, promoting new emerging energy technologies, developing greater efficiency, and creating a Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewables Reserve to invest in alternative energy, and for other purposes.

      Democrats Hope to Take From Oil, Give To Green Energy
      House Democrats are crafting an energy package that would roll back billions of dollars worth of oil drilling incentives, raise billions more by boosting federal royalties paid by oil and gas companies for offshore production, and plow the money into new tax breaks for renewable energy sources.

    The energetic prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (James 5:16).

    Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21).


    The 110th Congress
    "The countdown on House Democrats' agenda for the first 100 legislative hours will start on Thursday afternoon with ethics reform and should wrap up, by their estimation, shortly before Bush's State of the Union address" on January 23.

    Activists on the Left Applying Pressure to Democratic Leaders
    Democratic leaders "are facing mounting pressure from liberal activists to chart a more confrontational course on Iraq and the issues of human rights and civil liberties, with some even calling for the impeachment of President Bush."

    • Pray Congress would pursue justice and righteousness.

    And I will make justice the measuring line, And righteousness the level; Then hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, And the waters shall overflow the secret place (Isaiah 28:17).

Legislation Introduced


    Iraq, Foreign Policy

      Democrats Revise Agenda To Deal With War in Iraq
      Democratic leaders who had hoped to emphasize their domestic agenda in the opening weeks of Congress have concluded that Iraq will share top billing, and they plan on aggressively confronting administration officials this week in a series of hearings.

    • Iraq - funding, authorization, mourning restrictions
    • The Draft - reauthorize, repeal
    • Foreign Policy, Trade, Military - Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Israel, Ireland, United Nations

      Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you. "May peace be within your walls, And prosperity within your palaces." For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, "May peace be within you." For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good (Psalm 122:6-9).

    Other

Senate

The First 10 Bills


    Majority Leader Harry Reid [D-NV] explained each of these 10 bills in a floor speech, "A New Congress." Minority Leader Mitch McConnell [R-KY] followed up announcing that the next 10 bills will be their first 10 to be designated "in the next few weeks." (Highlights from ABC News)

    Sen. Reid laid out the Legislative Program for last week, and the Senate proceeded to spend the week on S. 1:

  • S. 1 - Sen. Harry Reid [D-NV] - Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007
    A bill to provide greater transparency in the legislative process

    • Debate: Transcripts, DeMint Amendment Incident

      FRC reports: Section 220 "seeks to establish, for the first time, federal regulation of grassroots activity that is intended to encourage members of the public to communicate with Members of Congress about pending legislative matters--so-called 'grassroots lobbying.' This is a move to stop us from informing you about the issues you find important."

      "Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT) has introduced an amendment to S. 1 that would strip this abusive language from the bill."

      • Pray the Bennett Amendment passes.

      Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were complete: Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak; And let the earth hear the words of my mouth (Deuteronomy 31:30-32:1). ...

  • S. 2 - Sen. Harry Reid [D-NV] - Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007
    A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage.

  • S. 3 - Sen. Harry Reid [D-NV] - Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007
    A bill to amend part D of title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for fair prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries.

    • Debate: Transcripts

      And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede; Then His own arm brought salvation to Him; And His righteousness upheld Him (Isaiah 59:16).

  • S. 4 - Sen. Harry Reid [D-NV] - Improving America's Security by Implementing Unfinished Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007
    A bill to make the United States more secure by implementing unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 Commission to fight the war on terror more effectively, to improve homeland security, and for other purposes.

  • S. 5 - Sen. Harry Reid [D-NV] - Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007
    A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for human embryonic stem cell research.

    • Debate: Transcripts

      Senator Bob Casey to Vote Against Overturning Bush Policy
      According to this story, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) will vote against the bill to overturn President Bush's policy that restricts federal funding of ESCR to cell lines created before 8/9/01. (Typically, the story gets it wrong by claiming that the bill would "pave the way for federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research," strongly implying that there currently is none. But as readers of Secondhand Smoke know, in 2005, the NIH gave researchers $50 million for human ESCR.) If Casey sticks to his guns--and you know that the pressure will be intense to break this campaign promise--the Senate will probably not be able to override President Bush's expected veto. Bottom line: It looks like the status quo will hold--for now.

      Specter's Ridiculous "Amen Moment."
      Now Senator Arlen Specter has managed to top Edwards in sheer hyperbole and advocacy spin. At a press conference today, he said: "It is scandalous that eight years have passed since we have known about stem cell research and the potential to conquer all known maladies, and federal funds have not been available for the research." All known maladies? Every single one? The common cold? Herpes? Tooth decay? And as for "no federal funds" being available to fund ESCR: In 2005 the Feds put out about $50 million for human ESCR, using the Bush approved lines. But I guess to a senator, that is the same as no money at all.

        Extension of Remarks:
      • Questionable Political Tactics
      • Press Clues in to Adult Stem Cells
      • A Cause for Trembling

      • Pray that Congress would vigorously fund fruitful adult stem cell research.
      • Pray that Congress would not fund life-taking embryonic stem cell research.
      • Pray that if Congress funds embryonic stem cell research that President Bush would veto it.
      • Pray that if President Bush vetoes funding for embryonic stem cell research, that there would not be enough votes in the House, nor in the Senate to override his veto.

      [Hezekiah] removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah (2 Kings 18:4).

      For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)

  • S. 6 - Sen. Harry Reid [D-NV] - National Energy and Environmental Security Act of 2007
    A bill to enhance the security of the United States by reducing the dependence of the United States on foreign and unsustainable energy sources and the risks of global warming, and for other purposes.

    • Debate: Transcripts

      The energetic prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (James 5:16).

      Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21).

  • S. 7 - Sen. Harry Reid [D-NV] - College Opportunity Act of 2007
    A bill to amend title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and other laws and provisions and urge Congress to make college more affordable through increased Federal Pell Grants and providing more favorable student loans and other benefits, and for other purposes.

    • Debate: Transcripts

      Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8).

  • S. 8 - Sen. Harry Reid [D-NV] - Rebuilding America's Military Act of 2007
    A bill to restore and enhance the capabilities of the Armed Forces, to enhance the readiness of the Armed Forces, to support the men and women of the Armed Forces, and for other purposes.

  • S. 9 - Sen. Harry Reid [D-NV] - Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007
    A bill to recognize the heritage of the United States as a nation of immigrants and to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for more effective border and employment enforcement, to prevent illegal immigration, and to reform and rationalize avenues for legal immigration, and for other purposes.

    • Debate: Transcripts

      Related Bill: AgJobs

      The Impact of Immigrant Innovators
      Supporters of an immigration bill are likely to use the study to argue the importance of foreign-born workers to the U.S. economy. An immigration bill passed by the last Congress and heavily lobbied by business groups would have greatly increased the number of green cards available to skilled workers. Business has long argued that the U.S. schools aren't turning out enough scientists, mathematicians and engineers, and that the economy will lose its competitive edge without more skilled foreign workers.

      Immigrant Processors Fall Behind
      As the White House and Congress prepare to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, U.S. officials have concluded that they lack the technology and resources to handle the millions of applications for legal residency that could result from the changes and that several efforts to modernize computers...

      "A coalition of Christian conservative groups is urging President Bush and Congress to strike a compromise on immigration. The group -- Families First on Immigration -- is sending a letter to Bush today outlining its proposal, which would allow "amnesty" for all illegal immigrants in the country but would end birthright citizenship, reports the Washington Times. "Religious liberals have long been outspoken advocates of amnesty and more immigration, but Christian conservatives have been torn between biblical admonitions to both the rule of law and charity toward strangers." (First Read, 1/8/2007)

      You shall have one statute, both for the alien and for the native of the land (Numbers 9:14).

  • S. 10 - Sen. Harry Reid [D-NV] - Restoring Fiscal Discipline Act of 2007
    A bill to reinstate the pay-as-you-go requirement and reduce budget deficits by strengthening budget enforcement and fiscal responsibility.

Calendar

    "While acknowledging Pelosi's commitment to complete legislation on many of these items in the first 100 hours, Reid says it will take longer given Senate rules (and his razor-thin majority)" (First Read).

    In the House, a bill can be pushed through in a day.
    In the Senate, one bill can take a week or more.

    First work session (before the President's Day recess)

    • S. 1 - ethics and lobbying reform
    • S. 2 - increasing the minimum wage
    • S. 3 - reforming the Medicare prescription-drug program
    • S. 4 - acting on the September 11 commission recommendations

    Second work period (after the President's Day recess)

    • S. 5 - stem cells
    • S. 6 - global warming, energy independence
    • S. 7 - college tuition loans
    • S. 8 - rebuilding the military
    • S. 9 - immigration reform

    The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

Legislation Introduced


Judicial Nominations


    4 Nominees To Appeals Courts Are Dropped
    The Bush administration officially withdrew four of its most controversial nominations to the federal appellate bench yesterday, bowing to the political reality of a Senate Judiciary Committee under the control of Democrats who show no inclination to confirm them.

    It's an Honor Just to be Nominated?
    After years of political wrangling with both parties for support on his nominees, President Bush withdrew the names of four highly-qualified judges today, signaling a defeat--not only for the federal bench but for the constitutional process at large.

    Sen. Kyl: "Mr. President, I rise today to express my regret that nominations to the U.S. Courts of Appeals will not be resubmitted for William G. Myers, Judge Terrence Boyle, William J. Haynes, and Michael B. Wallace. All four of these nominees were eminently qualified to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals..." (more)

    Sen. Specter: "Madam President, I seek recognition today, to discuss one of this body's most important responsibilities; namely, our responsibility to provide advice and consent on the President's judicial nominations. At the outset, I would like to take a few moments to remind my colleagues of the Judiciary Committee's success during the last Congress..." (more)

    • Pray for confirmation of the President's judicial nominees.

    And I will make justice the measuring line, And righteousness the level; Then hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, And the waters shall overflow the secret place (Isaiah 28:17).


On a Lighter Note

    Madame grandmother
    While we all focus on the 110th Congress and the new Speaker of the House, there was one perfect moment in the House chamber that would escape anyone but a parent.

    Getting "plutoed" wins word of the year
    Being plutoed means being demoted or devalued like the former planet did last year, when it was demoted by the International Astronomical Union. While the distant world isn't getting the respect it once did, plutoed was named word of the...

    The Candidate Who's Always On
    John Edwards is ridiculing his political consultants.

    SMS Intercession
    "I just sent out a prayer request via text message to a bunch of people whose numbers were stored in my phone. Its so cool to be in community with people in such a way that I can just ask them to pray for a need and know that they will.

    "The most fun part I discovered about mass SMS prayer requests is the little stream of replys that is coming to my phone. Folks just popping off notes that say "I'll be praying..." Every time my phone says in my own cheesy recorded voice, "You've got mail," I know another word of prayer has been offered up to God on our behalf...awesome!"


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