Congress

National Reciprocity for Concealed Carry Passes House, Heads to Senate

On December 6 the House of Representatives passed national reciprocity for concealed carry after well over an hour of debate, including a 15 minute vote resulting from a last-ditch effort to recommit national reciprocity to committee. The effort to recommit to committee was a Democrat effort to derail the vote on national reciprocity. The vote to recommit failed by a margin of 236 to 190. The House then passed Rep. Richard Hudson’s (R-NC) national reciprocity legislation via a voice vote. Democrats then requested a recorded vote and the final tabulation on the recorded vote was 231 to 198. On December 4, Breitbart News reported that Hudson urged his colleagues to honor the 73 percent of Americans who support the passage of national reciprocity. Hudson predicted national reciprocity would receive a floor vote December 6, saying, “[The] 73 percent of Americans who want to see reciprocity are finally going to have their day on the House floor.” National reciprocity now moves to the Senate. If it passes there it will correct the cumbersome and often confusing patchwork of concealed carry laws that law-abiding Americans face as they traverse the U.S.

Agreed!!   🙂

Major concealed-carry bill picks up momentum, steams toward House floor

Gun-rights supporters are eyeing a big win this week as a bill that would make concealed-carry permits valid across state lines heads to the House floor — though it faces long odds in the Senate amid deep-pocketed opposition from gun-control advocates. “This is just simple, common-sense legislation that says if you’re a law-abiding citizen … we’re not going to turn you into a criminal just for crossing an invisible state line,” bill sponsor Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., told “Fox News @ Night.” Hudson says the bill simply attempts to clarify the patchwork of state laws that confuse citizens who can unwittingly get arrested when traveling from state to state. “All I’m saying is, when I cross the state line, I don’t want to automatically become a criminal,” he said. The three-term congressman also is quick to point out the measure does not attempt to usurp state and local authority with federal law, nor does it ease background checks on gun purchases. The bill has 213 cosponsors, including three Democrats, and backing from 24 state attorneys general. Hudson has tried for several years to get his Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act passed and scored a victory several days ago when it got through the House Judiciary Committee. The full House is set to vote on Wednesday.

House Tax Plan May Kill Deduction Taken by 95% of Itemizers

The tax plan the House Ways and Means Committee will release on Wednesday may eliminate the federal income tax deduction that people are currently permitted to take for the state and local income or sales taxes they have paid. That deduction, according to the latest Internal Revenue Service data, was taken by 42,502,130 tax filers—or 95 percent of the 44,671,840 tax filers who itemized their deductions in tax year 2015. The deduction allowed those 42,502,130 tax filers to reduce their federal taxable income for 2015 by a combined $351,163,796,000. The tax reform framework that the White House, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee agreed to in September said the tax plan it envisions “eliminates most itemized deductions, but retains tax incentives for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions.” It did not say it would retain the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes.

Nor should it.  We need to get to a “flatter,” fairer income tax, as long as we have it.  For more, click on the text above.

House narrowly passes Senate budget in Republican quest for tax reform

The House voted Thursday to adopt the Senate’s budget blueprint in whole, officially kicking off a monthslong sprint to pass a massive overhaul of the tax code and have something to show to voters by next year’s elections. The plan allows for up to $1.5 trillion in new tax cuts as part of the overhaul, giving lawmakers far more room than the original House budget — but also leaving them open to accusations that they’re ruining the government’s finances in the quest for tax reform. House members voted 216-212 to approve the budget, which also sets out fiscal year 2018 discretionary spending levels at about $1 trillion, and envisions deficits of $641 billion this year. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, the House’s top tax-writer, said the plan is now to release a tax bill next Wednesday, Nov. 1, and start marking it up in committee the following week. “Today is a historic day — and we are ready to deliver tax relief that improves the lives of middle-income Americans and struggling families who have been left behind in our slow-growing economy,” said Mr. Brady, Texas Republican. House GOP leaders pushed the Senate budget through rather than spend weeks hammering out a compromise with the Senate, figuring it was more important to build momentum for tax reform than to argue over specific numbers in the plan. “This budget acknowledges that our economy is in desperate need of a jolt, and the tax cuts included in the Senate-passed budget hold the promise of doing just that,” said Rep. Diane Black, who chairs the House Budget Committee. “President Trump is with us on this, and I agree that we must move quickly,” said Mrs. Black, Tennessee Republican. In a signal of the vote’s importance, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan voted “yes,” even though the speaker typically abstains. Mr. Ryan also eyed the chamber’s giant boards displaying how all the members voted as Republicans approached the magic number to get them over the hump. The White House cheered the vote, saying it sets the stage for Congress to ultimately pass tax cuts and tax reform. “President Trump has always made cutting taxes for hard-working American families, creating more jobs for American workers, and simplifying the rigged and burdensome tax code a priority, and he looks forward to further cooperation with Congress to advance the administration’s pro-growth and pro-jobs agenda,” said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

This is a HUGE step.  But, only a step.  We’ll, of course, take it….for now.    🙂

GOP Congress Presides Over Highest Spending Since Obama’s Stimulus

Real federal spending in fiscal 2017, which ended on Sept. 30, was higher than in any year in the history of the United States other than fiscal 2009, which was the year that President Barack Obama’s $840 billion stimulus law was enacted. Fiscal 2017 also saw the second highest real federal individual income tax totals of any year in U.S. history, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today. Total federal tax revenues were the third highest in U.S. history. While it was collecting the third highest total tax revenues in U.S. history, the federal government ran a deficit $665,712,000 because of its high total spending. Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives since 2011, after winning a majority of seats in the 2010 election. They have controlled the Senate since 2015, after winning a majority in the 2014 election. In fiscal years 2016 and 2017, a Congress in which the Republican Party controls both houses was responsible for enacting all federal spending legislation. Total federal spending in fiscal 2017, according to the Treasury, was $3,980,605,000,000. Total federal tax revenue was $3,314,893,000. Prior to this year, the highest level of real federal spending was the $4,024,794,600,000 in constant 2017 dollars (adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator) that the Treasury spent in fiscal 2009. In the years after 2009, real federal spenpding hit its lowest level ($3,633,572,490,000 in constant 2017 dollars) in fiscal 2014. In fiscal years 2015, 2016, and 2017 federal spending has been on the rise again—reaching this year’s $3,980,605,000,000, the second highest spending level in the nation’s history. On the tax side, federal individual income taxes hit their all-time peak in fiscal 2015, when the Treasury took in $1,598,265,180,000 in constant 2017 dollars in individual income taxes. In fiscal 2016, individual income tax collections dropped to $1,580,598,300,000 in 2017 dollars. Then, in fiscal 2017, individual income tax collections climbed back up to $1,587,119,000,000, the second largest sum in individual income taxes the federal government has ever collected. Total federal tax revenue also peaked in 2015 at $3,369,881,960,000 in 2017 dollars. It then dropped to $3,339,631,960,000 in fiscal 2016, and dropped again to $3,314,894,000,000 in fiscal 2017. According to a study by the Congressional Budget Office, the largest budgetary impact of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus law hit in fiscal 2010, which began on Oct. 1, 2009. The three first fiscal years under the law–2009, 2011, 2012–saw the biggest spending increases from it. “By CBO’s estimate, close to half the impact occurred in fiscal 2010, and more than 95 percent of ARRA’s budgetary impact was realized by the end of December 2014.” According to the CBO, Obama’s stimulus increased federal spending by $114 billion in fiscal 2009, $235 billion in fiscal 2010, and $147 billion in fiscal 2011. In fiscal 2012, the spending increase caused by the stimulus dropped to $59 billion. The CBO estimates that in the four fiscal years from 2016 through 2019, the Obama stimulus will only add a total of $28 billion to federal spending.

Federal court upholds prayer in Congress

A federal court ruled Wednesday that Congress can continue to open its sessions each day with a prayer, and upheld the House’s ability to pick and choose who’s allowed to lead the prayer. U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, a Bush appointee who sits in Washington, D.C., rejected a challenge by Daniel Barker, co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation, who said he was not permitted to give an opening invocation, even though other guest chaplains have been permitted. Judge Collyer said House rules didn’t permit him to lead the prayer because he had left his faith. Judge Collyer also said an opening prayer has been a tradition in this country for more than two centuries, and the Supreme Court has ruled it doesn’t violate the Establishment Clause. “To decide that Mr. Barker was discriminated against and should be permitted to address the House would be to disregard the Supreme Court precedent that permits legislative prayer,” Judge Collyer wrote in her opinion on Wednesday. Mr. Barker said her ruling was tainted by personal bias against nonreligious people. “The judge’s acquiescence in this inequity sends a crystal clear message that our government, founded upon our entirely secular Constitution, may discriminate with impunity against atheists and freethinkers,” he said. But House Speaker Paul D. Ryan applauded the ruling. “Since the first session of the Continental Congress, our nation’s legislature has opened with a prayer to God. Today, that tradition was upheld and the freedom to exercise religion was vindicated,” said Mr. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican. He added the return of Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican, who was shot earlier this year by a left wing zealot, reminded Congress of the power of prayer.

Indeed..  This ruling was spot on, and with precedent from the Supreme Court.  This idiot from FFRF got slapped down, and rightfully so.  This is a small, yet important, victory for religious freedom, and for freedom of speech.  As we’ve documented on numerous occasions here at The Daily Buzz… The whole notion of a “separation of church and state” is bs.  There is no such thing.  That phrase originated in a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the members of a church where he raised the idea in a philosophical sense.  That’s it.  Nowhere in our founding legal documents (i.e. The U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc.) is that phrase found.   Our founders intended freedom OF religion; NOT freedom FROM religion.  Kudos to Judge Collyer for her spot-on analysis, and excellent ruling!

House Committee Approves $10B for Border Wall

The House Homeland Security Committee approved a $10 billion funding package for President Donald Trump’s promised border wall construction. The bill could be attached to legislation being debated to replace President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). “We have been talking about border security for many years. Now that we finally have a partner in the White House who has prioritized this issue, it’s time for Congress to do its part and get the job done,” Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said in a written statement. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in both chambers to get this bill to the President’s desk so we can finally provide the American people with the security they have long demanded and deserve.” “The U.S. Constitution enumerates Congress’ authority to provide for the common defense of our nation,” Chairman McCaul continued. “Today the Committee passed legislation that will protect our homeland by strengthening the security of our borders. This is a 21st Century, multi-layered approach, which authorizes $10 billion for the construction of a border wall, $5 billion for the modernization of our ports of entry, provides other tactical infrastructure and cutting-edge technology, puts more boots on the ground, and better empowers the Department of Homeland Security’s Secretary to take other necessary actions to secure the border.” The provision funding the construction of the president’s promised border wall came as part of a border security spending proposal that will reimburse states for up to $35 million for their costs of using National Guard troops to supplement border security efforts in their state, The Hill reported. It also includes $5 billion to increase security at ports of entry. Democrats expressed their displeasure with the committee’s attempt to secure the nation’s border with Mexico. The committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) attempted to change the name of the bill to the “Taking Americans’ Land to Build Trump’s Wall Act of 2017.” That proposal failed. Texas Democrat Rep. Filemon Vela attempted to attack snarky amendments that included adding the terms “big and beautiful,” “real,” “inclusive of a door,” and “paid for by the Mexican Government.” Those amendments also failed. “I appreciate the gentleman’s creativity in this amendment and sense of humor, but I will oppose this amendment,” Chairman McCaul responded to his fellow Texan. The Hill also reported that Democrats expressed concern that the bill is an attempt to tie border security to some type of replacement program for the executive action program, DACA. “There’s no doubt that this is a setup for that conversation,” Rep. Nannette Barragán (D-Calif.) told the committee.

We don’t want a “replacement program..”  We want to get rid of the current one!!  Kudos to this House Committee for moving forward with this.  It’s long overdue!