national legislation

A Quick Peek at the House Funding Bill

The House of Representatives has weighed in on its 2,000-plus page version of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, H.R. 2029 – which is an amendment to the Senate's amendment of the House's original version, if you follow that.

From an immigration perspective, it's a cornucopia of disappointment. If establishment politicians are wondering why the presidential campaigns in both parties have tilted toward non-establishment outliers as represented, left and right, by Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump or Ben Carson, then they need only look at their own handiwork to find the answer.

The American electorate is not so completely filled with ingénues or naifs that we don't recognize Congress's institutional incapacity to take on hard issues in any meaningful way, leaving the vacuum to be filled with various and sundry executive pronouncements from the Obama administration in every avenue of public life.

It is in no small measure this fecklessness and failure of will on the part of our legislative branch that has led even establishment conservative stalwarts such as George Will to bemoan the rise of a huge and constitutionally-unmentioned fourth branch of government – the bureaucracy, which he describes as "the administrative state".

I have neither the patience nor desire to devote to an analysis of the entire omnibus bill represented by H.R. 2029, but here are a few highlights:

  • Transfers $4 million from the Immigration Examinations Fee Account of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in the Department of Justice (DOJ). That account is where fees collected from aliens for the filing of various applications are deposited, so as to ensure that adjudication of their applications is self-funding. EOIR is the name of the DOJ agency which handles immigration court removal hearings. USCIS is quite flush with cash these days, because for years it has been skimming money off these immigration fees to build a “reserve fund” that it had hoped to use to administer the president’s plan to issue work permits to millions of illegal aliens, which was blocked by a federal court.
  • Appropriates $476 million in Byrne state and local law enforcement grant funds but does not in any way require that those state or local agencies comply with immigration detainers or not enact "sanctuary" policies of the type that have resulted in so many murders by illegal aliens in the recent past. (See here and here.)
  • Appropriates $210 million for State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) funds – again, with no caveats that to receive the money, state and local governments must honor detainers and take no steps to impede immigration law enforcement.
  • Appropriates an additional $187 million in COPS grants to state and local law enforcement agencies for hiring and retention of officers. Once again, no caveats on the funding to require cooperation with federal immigration agents in enforcing the laws against alien criminals.
  • Provides $9.2 million to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which recently exceeded its statutory mandate and did a one-sided hatchet job on the federal immigration detention system.
  • Provides $385 million to the Legal Services Corporation without specifying that such funds may not be used in support of aliens in removal proceedings, contrary to Section 292 of the Immigration and Nationality Act – although the appropriation language very specifically outlines other areas in which the money may not be used contrary to statute.
  • Appropriates the DHS Office of the Secretary almost $137.5 million for operations and executive management provided that Congress receives within 30 days of enactment two reports – one on the biometric entry-exit system, and one on visa overstays. (Note that both of these reports are already statutorily required, and so demanding that the law requiring the overdue reports to be complied with seems in many ways an exercise in both redundancy and futility.)
  • Appropriates more than $447 million for border fencing, infrastructure, and technology.
  • Also provides more than $802 million to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for a variety of purposes including salaries and benefits – but also for unmanned aerial systems (drones), even though the DHS Inspector General has repeatedly panned the program as ineffective, with weak internal controls and repeated cost overruns without evidence of value. (See here and here.)
  • Appropriates more than $5.79 billion to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for operations, equipment, and salaries, subject to several provisos. One of them is that $5 million will be withheld until the ICE director briefs Congress on the agency's efforts to increase the number of state and local law enforcement agencies participating in the "Priority Enforcement Program" (PEP).

    The problem with this proviso is that by mere mention of PEP, Congress legitimizes it even though it was created as a part of the administration's constitutionally dubious "executive action" memos. At the same time, merely demanding a "report" in return for release of the money provides the spinmeisters at DHS and ICE a prime opportunity to put together a pseudo-document purporting to show the wonders of the program notwithstanding its obvious shortcomings and the fact that many sheriffs and police chiefs dislike it intensely, or have rejected it out of hand.

  • Provides U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the immigration benefits-granting agency, nearly $119.7 million, most for administration of the E-Verify system. (As noted above, most of USCIS is funded out of its fee account.)

These are just a few of the immigration provisions contained in the omnibus bill that give me pause (or outright heartburn).

If you look for anything in this measure that defunds, or even pushes the pause button on, the refugee or asylum programs, which are exceedingly vulnerable to fraud and misuse, including potentially by terrorists, you will look in vain. You won't even find anything directing DHS or its subordinate agencies to tighten up vetting procedures in the wake of the San Bernardino attack.

It would be easy to try to forgive or overlook many of the shortcomings of the bill, immigration-related or otherwise, by pointing to its inordinate size and breadth, and saying that one can't micro-manage everything in an omnibus government spending bill. But the fact is that, when they want, congressional legislators are quite happy to micro-manage. Take a look, for instance, at this gem hidden on page 215 of the bill:

Sec. 529. To the extent practicable, funds made available in this Act should be used to purchase light bulbs that are "Energy Star" qualified or have the "Federal Energy Management Program" designation.

No, the reality appears to be something entirely different than simple information overload. It seems to me that we have a Republican majority in both chambers of Congress with few principles in which they believe strongly enough that they are willing to call out the White House and take a stand, particularly if those principles carry with them any degree of controversy – which the subject of immigration inevitably does.

Reflecting on what the bill does – and, importantly, what it doesn't even attempt to do – I'm led to conclude that when House Republicans elected Paul Ryan as Speaker, they got exactly what they wanted, and what they expected: a John Boehner Mini-Me. What, then, was the point in unseating Boehner in the first place?

 

Stop Obama's dangerous refugee resettlement program

Alert date: 
November 18, 2015
Alert body: 
from Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)
 
 
[Please read this alert on Fair's Immigration Blog to access links not shown below.]
 
After last Friday’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama said he will continue his plan to resettle thousands of Syrian refugees in American communities. The President’s decision ignores warnings from our own intelligence services that there are significant vulnerabilities in the refugee vetting process.
 
The events in Paris prove it is nearly impossible to adequately vet all Syrian refugees for terrorist ties. We know at least one of the Paris terrorists possessed a Syrian passport that was registered as having passed through Europe last month. Alarmingly, Serbian police just detained an individual attempting to use the identical passport of the one found on the Paris terrorist! There is no telling how many forged documents are out there. With ISIS having used the migration crisis to infiltrate and harm our European allies, it would be reckless for the Obama administration to continue resettling Syrian refugees.
 
Fortunately, Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) is upholding his duty to defend the American people against all enemies foreign and domestic by driving the effort in Congress to block President Obama’s Syrian refugee resettlement program.
 
Rep. Babin is leading a letter to House leadership and Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) asking that Congress include specific reforms, security measures, and oversight requirements for the refugee resettlement program in the year-end Omnibus spending bill. The letter includes the tenets of his H.R. 3314, the Refugee Resettlement Accountability National Security Act -which FAIR supports-by calling for this program to be suspended in its current form until these reforms are implemented and Congress agrees to resume the program by joint resolution.
 
Call Your Representative NOW!
Urge them to sign the Babin letter
 
Even though the Babin approach is the only way to ensure that our refugee program will not be exploited, House GOP leadership appears to be taking a different approach. Instead, they have scheduled a vote TOMORROW on a flawed bill that will do absolutely nothing to stop or defund refugee resettlement. Authored by Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), the bill merely calls for the administration to certify that any refugees brought here from Iraq and Syria are not terrorists.
 
This is insufficient! As long as Obama says they are not terrorists he can bring in as many as he wants. The bill maintains the false assumption that it is possible to properly vet refugees from the Middle East, provided new processes are put in place. This ignores the realities of the situation on the ground as well as susceptibility to radicalization once they arrive.
 
Call Your Representative NOW!
 
Tell him or her:
 
• You DEMAND that Congress act to stop the resettlement of Syrian refugees;
• You SUPPORT the Babin approach and EXPECT your Representative to sign onto the letter;
• It is impossible to properly vet Syrian refugees for terrorist ties;
• You OPPOSE efforts by GOP Leadership to pass the Hudson bill because it fails to address the underlying problem.
 
There is no time to waste! Congressman Babin has a Friday, November 20th deadline for signatures. It is essential that a lot of Representatives sign on so show GOP leadership that this approach has broad support.
 
We at FAIR stand with Rep. Babin and believe it is time for Congress to utilize its power of the purse to stop the Obama administration’s dangerous Syrian refugee program. Therefore we are urging all of our members, activists, and supporters to immediately call their Representatives and demand that they sign Rep. Babin’s letter.
 
Make your voice heard! To find your Representative, click here.
Sincerely,
-FAIR
 

OFIR President returns from Washington DC conference

OFIR President Cynthia Kendoll has just returned from the Writer's Workshop conference held in Arlington, VA. 

A plethora of experts laid out sound, compelling arguments about why and how we need to regain control of our borders, ramp up interior enforcement and actually enforce our immigration laws.  Topics included:

Job competition and falling wages

The human cost of illegal alien crime

The disregard for the rule of law and our own government is the worst offender

Importing refugees, the impending threat to National security and who is paying for it all

The environmental strain with an increasing population

What borders?  Are we enforcing our own laws?

The status of lawsuits regarding immigration and Executive Amnesty etc.

And, much, much more...

All of the speakers were very interesting, knowledgeable and passionate about their topic, but most compelling of all were the gut wrenching stories of two men - one lost a son, the other lost his brother.  Both were ruthlessly murdered by illegal aliens. 

Maria Espinoza, who leads the charge of The Remembrance Project organized a press conference at the National Press Club as she geared up for the National Remembrance Day, which was Nov. 1.

At the conference, Cynthia was one of several leaders invited to host a round-table discussion.  The two initiatives OFIR is working to advance in Oregon were the topic of discussion.  Both initiatives, making English the Official language in the State of Oregon and requiring employers with 5 or more employees to use E-Verify are currently working their way through the legal challenge process. 

When it becomes available, OFIR will post a link to the streaming video of all of the presentations.  To view past Writer's Workshop video's click here.  Last year (2014), Cynthia addressed the conference and told about the Measure 88 campaign.

Thousands of Alien Felons Are Being Released from Prison

WASHINGTON, DC - The Center for Immigration Studies examines sentencing reform legislation now before Congress and finds provisions of concern that could lead to the release of dangerous criminal alien offenders.
 
The Obama administration has announced the pending release of 6,000 felons from federal prisons, of whom an estimated 2,000 are non-citizens. This is the first wave of releases; the total number of serious alien drug offenders released could exceed 13,000.
 
A bill under consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee, known as the "Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015," S.2123, proposes to go down the same path and shorten the sentences for repeat cross-border drug traffickers, manufacturers, and distributers caught in the future.
 
Dan Cadman, a Center fellow and author of the analysis, said, "It is beyond incomprehensible that Senate leaders would attempt to fast-track a sentencing reform bill painted with such a broad brush that tens of thousands of aliens will be released from federal penitentiaries with no assurance of prompt deportation putting public safety at great risk."
 
The present bill affects sentences going forward, and also is retroactive in effect, which could make it easier for some alien offenders to challenge their deportation.
 
Equally concerning, it does not ensure that released alien prisoners will be detained while in deportation proceedings following their release. Since 2013, the administration has freed more than 76,000 convicted criminal aliens while in deportation proceedings, resulting in an uncounted toll of new crimes.
 
Several specific provisions will shorten the sentences of aliens who are repeat offenders convicted for trafficking illegal drugs into the United States from abroad, and for those caught serving as drug mules. In addition:
 

  • Courts will be required to seal juvenile offenders' records, including those
  • The bill shortens the sentence for those also charged with illegally possessing or using a firearm to effect the crime (often drug trafficking), from 25 down to 15 years.

"The immigration and public safety priorities of the Republican-led Senate will be apparent if this bill is rushed through like the Trans-Pacific trade and Iran sanctions bills, while Sen Vitter's solid anti-sanctuary bill, S.2146, languishes," said Cadman. "The tragic death of Kate Steinle and so many others seems to have already been forgotten."

Contact: Marguerite Telford
202-466-8185, mrt@cis.org

Rep. Bonamici to hold Town Halls

Alert date: 
August 25, 2015
Alert body: 

For those of you living in Congressional District 1:

Representative Suzanne Bonamici has scheduled 6 town hall meetings in August and September, beginning on August 29 in McMinnville.

Her announcement states:  “It’s critical that I hear from my constituents about issues affecting them,” Congresswoman Bonamici said. “These town hall meetings provide me with a useful perspective that informs my work. I always appreciate hearing from my constituents about their ideas, concerns, and questions.”

OFIR encourages members in Congressional District 1 to attend one of these meetings and discuss immigration issues.  Rep. Bonamici is rated F- by NumbersUSA on her voting record on immigration bills in the current Congress, and D- overall for her years in Congress, 2012-2015.  In 2015 alone, she voted 4 times for amnesties to illegal aliens.  The particular bills are listed here.

You might wish to read the useful tips posted on NumbersUSA’s website for constituents’ effective participation in town halls.  We suggest that you express to Rep. Bonamici your concerns about her consistent support for illegal aliens and illegal immigration and her apparent disregard of the consequences for citizens and the viability of our nation. 

If you wish, you can print copies of her voting records here, and give them to her.

Here is the Townhall schedule:

LOCATION

DATE & TIME

McMinnville: 
Chemeketa Community College
(Yamhill Valley Campus)
Building 1, Rooms 101-103
288 NE Norton Lane
McMinnville, OR
97128

 

Saturday August 29
10:30-11:30 a.m.

Tualatin:
Tualatin High School Library
22300 SW Boones Ferry Road
Tualatin, OR
97062

 

Saturday August 29
1:30-2:30 p.m.

St. Helens:
St. Helens Public Library
375 S 18th Street
St. Helens, OR
97051

Monday August 31
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Cornelius:
Centro Cultural
1110 N Adair Street
Cornelius, OR
97113


Monday August 31
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Portland:
Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital Auditorium
1015 NW 22nd Avenue
Portland, OR
97210


Tuesday September 1
6:00-7:00 p.m.

Warrenton:
Warrenton Community Center
170 SW 3rd Street
Warrenton, OR
97146


Sunday September 13
1:30-2:30 p.m.


 

Illegal immigration top GOP talking point at New Hampshire presidential forum

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — The Republican Party's presidential class called for aggressive steps to curb illegal immigration, seizing on a delicate political issue as more than a dozen White House hopefuls faced off in New Hampshire on Monday night for a pointed preview of the first full-fledged debate of the 2016 primary season...

The candidates focused their criticism at Democrats instead of each other.. They addressed several contentious issues, immigration topping a list that included abortion, climate change and foreign policy.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who may not qualify for the upcoming formal debate, called the flow of immigrants crossing the border illegally "a serious wound."

"You want to stanch the flow," he said as his Republican rivals watched from the front row of the crowded St. Anselm College auditorium. On those immigrants who have overstayed visas, Perry charged, "You go find 'em, you pick 'em up and you send 'em back where they're from."

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum went further, calling for a 25 percent reduction of low-skilled immigrants coming into the country legally.

"Everyone else is dancing around it. I'm going to stand for the American worker," Santorum declared...

Trump, who launched his presidential bid by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, declined to attend the New Hampshire event. He cited criticism from the local newspaper host, yet he is expected to play a prominent role in Thursday's formal debate, where only the GOP's top 10 candidates — as determined by national polls — will be allowed on stage.

Monday's event was broadcast live on C-SPAN and local television stations in Iowa and South Carolina — states that, along with New Hampshire, will host the first contests in the presidential primary calendar next February...

Just one woman was featured on stage Monday night: former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who is unlikely to qualify for Thursday's higher-profile debate.

Democrats are also eager to debate Republicans on immigration.

GOP leaders have acknowledged the need to improve the party's standing among the surging group of Hispanic voters. Yet while many Democrats favor a more forgiving policy that would allow immigrants in the country illegally a pathway to citizenship in many cases, many Republicans focus on border security.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, once a lead salesman for a comprehensive immigration overhaul, said Americans want the border fence completed and more border security agents before there's any discussion of what to do with those 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.

Others offered a softer tone on the divisive issue Monday night.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said "law-abiding, God-fearing" immigrants in the country illegally should be allowed to stay. Those who break the law, he said, "have to be deported or put in prison."

Bush said fixing the nation's immigration system is a key part of his plan to help the economy grow 4 percent each year. He also called for reducing legal immigration, particularly the number of people allowed to enter the country on family petitions...

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called the move "a buzz saw to the nation's economy."

"I want to balance a sustainable environment with a sustainable economy," Walker said.

Several candidates involved Monday night won't make the cut for Thursday's debate...

Fiorina charged that Clinton has repeatedly lied during investigations into her use of a private email server and an attack on an American embassy in Libya while she was secretary of state.

"These go to the core of her character," Fiorina said.

"We have to have a nominee on our side who's going to throw every punch," she continued. "This is a fight."..

Attend a Town Hall!

Alert date: 
August 3, 2015
Alert body: 

Congress is in recess now for the month of August.  Two members of Oregon's Congressional delegation, Senator Merkley and Rep. DeFazio, have announced town halls on their websites, and one, Rep. Walden, invites registration for telephone town halls.  The schedule announced below is current as of August 3.  You might check the links below for any updates.

Town halls offer the best opportunity for voters to address their legislators publicly and in person.  They are your best chance to express your opinions directly to the legislator.

SENATOR JEFF MERKLEY

Sen. Merkley says he “will update constituents on his work in Washington, DC and answer their questions and invite their suggestions about how to tackle the challenges facing Oregon and America.”  http://www.merkley.senate.gov/events/town-halls

August 10, 2015 @ 2:30 PM

Clackamas County Town Hall

Wilsonville Public Library, 8200 SW Wilsonville Road, Wilsonville, OR 97070
Get Directions

 

August 12, 2015 @ 4:00 PM

Wallowa County Town Hall

Joseph Charter School Cafeteria, 400 E Williams Ave, Joseph, OR 97846
Get Directions

 

August 12, 2015 @ 12:30 PM

Union County Town Hall

Pleasant Grove Grange Hall, 67218 Hunter Road, Summerville, OR 97876
Get Directions

 

August 13, 2015 @ 9:30 AM

Grant County Town Hall

Long Creek Community Center, 210 West 2nd Street, Long Creek, OR 97856
Get Directions

 

REPRESENTATIVE PETER DEFAZIO

“Each year, Rep DeFazio holds town hall meetings across Oregon's 4th District to hear from his constituents and update Oregonians about what's been going on in Washington.”  His schedule is posted at http://defazio.house.gov/2015-town-hall-meeting-schedule

 

Wednesday, August 5

Brookings, 9-10 am, Chetco Activity Center, 550 Chetco Ln

Canyonville, 1-2 pm, Azalea Room, Seven Feathers Hotel, 146 Chief Miwaleta Ln

Roseburg, 5-6 pm, City Hall, 900 SE Douglas Ave.

 

Monday, August 24

Sweet Home, 10-11 am; Senior Community Center, 870 18th Ave.

Albany, 12-1 pm; City Hall,  333 Broadalbin St SW

Corvallis, 5:30-6:30, Benton Public Library, 645 NW Monroe Ave.

 

Tuesday, August 25

Eugene Seniors Town Hall Meeting, 10-11 am, Campbell Senior Center, 155 High St., Eugene

Springfield, 4:30-5 pm, Willamette Center for Sports & Recreation, 250 S. 32d St.

Eugene, 6-7 pm, NW Community Credit Union, 545 E. 8th Ave.

 

REPRESENTATIVE GREG WALDEN

Rep. Walden’s website invites constituents to sign up for his telephone town halls, after which they will be notified when a telephone town hall is scheduled.  To add your name to the list, please visit https://walden.house.gov/telephone-town-hall-signup-form.

House Approves Obamatrade’s TPA, Bill Must Go to Senate Next

Obamatrade is alive.

One week after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly rejected Obamatrade by voting against a key provision of it — Trade Adjustment Assistance — GOP establishment lawmakers resuscitated Trade Promotion Authority and rammed it through Thursday afternoon. The final tally was 218-208.

The House action is unusual. As Breitbart News reported: “To engage in the complicated procedural chicanery needed to revive the once-dead Obamatrade, bringing its Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) portion back to life,

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) 58% needed to gut a previous bill that has passed the House and Senate and then insert Obamatrade into it. It’s actually a very similar process to how Obamacare passed the House”...

Because the Senate passed TAA and TPA together, the individual House version will now have to go back to the Senate for approval, where it may face a filibuster. It’s unclear how many senators would support TPA without TAA, a measure to aid workers who lose their jobs because of trade policy.

The Senate isn’t expected to take up TPA until next week, but Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 52% has expressed confidence it can pass.  Obamatrade is making for unusual partnerships in Washington. Barack Obama is working with McConnell and House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) 35% to pass a measure his own party largely rejects.

Last week he traveled to Capitol Hill to lobby for his trade measures, but shortly before the House vote on TAA, Minority Leader. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 9% announced she opposes it. More than 300 representatives ended up voting down TAA, setting the stage for Thursday’s moves to bring TPA back to life.

CALL NOW! Another Fast Track vote imminent

Alert date: 
June 18, 2015
Alert body: 

The so-called free trade bill is being pushed again in the House, with all its harmful features expanding Presidential control of immigration, bringing in unlimited numbers of immigrants.

We are forwarding the alert from the Citizens Trade Campaign which targets Representatives who continue to support these bad trade bills.  Please call or email again. Thank you!

Call Representative Earl Blumenauer: 202-225-4811, or in Oregon: 503-231-2300
Webform for email: Click Contact on the homepage of his website: http://blumenauer.house.gov

----------------------
from Citizens Trade Campaign, June 17, 2015:

Fast Track Vote Imminent: Please Contact Your Rep Again Now
Apparently, some politicians didn’t get the message after last week’s vote blocking Fast Track legislation from moving forward in the House.  As I write this, the House Rules Committee is meeting to discuss a new scheme that would allow Fast Track to be voted on again this Thursday.

TAKE ACTION: Please tell Congress again now to vote NO on Fast Track.

There’s a reason we were able to block Fast Track in the House last week: you and countless others keep telling Congress in no uncertain terms that you want "No Fast Track for the TPP!"  We can't let up now.

Corporate lobbyists' and certain political elites' attempt to try ramming Fast Track legislation through again so soon after last week's failure � possibly as early as this Thursday � is a desperate movmove.  I have every confidence we can stop them again, but we need your support once more.

Tell Congress enough is enough, and to say NO to Fast Track for the TPP.  

You know as well as I do that the stakes here are very high.  If passed, Fast Track would create a virtual rubber-stamp for dangerous trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that threaten jobs, wages, the environment, public health and more in your community and communities throughout the world.  

As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote recently in USA Today, "As we look to the future, it is clear that this debate on the trade authority is probably the last of it’s kind.  The intense debate of the past few weeks has further convinced me that we need a new paradigm."

Fast Track legislation really did take a major blow last week.  Winning this vote should knock Fast Track out for good.  Please take action now.

Sincerely,

Arthur Stamoulis, Executive Director
CITIZENS TRADE CAMPAIGN
http://www.citizenstrade.org/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign:

We just found out that a stand-alone Fast Track bill for the TPP is going for a vote in the House tomorrow.

Congresswoman Bonamici has said publicly that she would not vote for Fast Track without Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). TAA helps workers whose jobs have been displaced by trade. We need to make sure she keeps her word and votes NO on Fast Track this time.

We need tons of constituent calls telling her to stand by her word and stand with Oregonians by voting NO on Fast Track when it comes for a vote tomorrow (Thursday). Please call her offices as soon as possible, and spread the word!

DC Office: (202) 225-0855
Oregon Office: (503) 469-6010

Script:

Hi, my name is ______  and I’m calling from __[City]__. Congresswoman Bonamici has said publicly that she would not vote for the Fast Track bill without Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). I’m calling as a constituent to ask her to keep her word and vote NO on the stand-alone Fast Track bill tomorrow  [THURSDAY, JUNE 18].

Thank you! Let’s win this!

Elizabeth Swager & Robyn Gottlieb
Oregon Fair Trade Campaign

House blocks trade deal from moving forward but may try again

After votes earlier today, the House has at least for now set aside the threat of giving Presidents the authority to use trade deals to guarantee other countries the ability to send their workers to take jobs in the U.S.

When the Senate passed the "fast-track" Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, it set things up so that it could go to the President to be signed only if the House passed BOTH the TPA and a companion Senate trade assistance bill.

The House today was able to pass only one of those must-pass bills, narrowly approving the TPA bill (219-211). But the trade assistance bill garnered only 126 votes, with 302 voting against it. That effectively killed TPA for the present moment.

Republican House Leaders, however, could decide to bring the trade assistance bill back to the floor early next week in hopes of persuading around 90 Members (mostly Democrats) to switch their vote to pass what Pres. Obama and House Majority Leader Boehner consider to be a top priority.

"We are not done with this," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said.

Moments before the first vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had been silent on the issue, urged Democrats to vote against the two bills, hoping to keep TPA from reaching the President's desk. Pelosi pleaded with Republican House Leadership to focus on legislation that puts American workers first instead of free trade; something she failed to do during the amnesty debates of the past two years.

Pelosi led 144 Democrats in joining 158 Republicans to defeat the trade assistance bill. That was all that was needed today to keep TPA from going to Pres. Obama, who had made a rare personal visit to the Capitol to meet with Democrats in an emotional appeal for them to help him pass TPA as an important part of his legacy.

 

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