Jack Seaman: Bringing Votes In Congress To Light

With little to no media coverage, there have been some important votes in Congress recently. Not that every vote isn’t important but let’s face it, some more than others.

I wanted to take a minute and point out some of the votes and make sure people understand how I am very different than our current congressman. My “would have” votes on these bills are in direct contrast to our current Rep.

First, a topic I already touched on here but I wanted to point it out one more time. I would have vote NO on HR 4152, the “Support for Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014″ which authorizes up to $10 billion in loans and guarantees to Ukraine.  Fact is, we’re broke and shouldn’t be meddling in their affairs.

Next is HR 2548, the “Electrify Africa Act”. This act seems to be a bill that requires the President to develop a government strategy to promote electricity in sub-saharan Africa. Why we need the federal government to do this when we have so much debt many issues here at home is beyond me. Further, what is also quietly in the bill is the re-authorization of OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corp.) which provides taxpayer backed loans, loan guarantees and insurance to private companies that invest overseas. Sounds like corporate welfare in my book. I would have voted NO.

Also, we have HR 3361, the USA FREEDOM act, which I wrote about here. Congress had a chance to really curtail NSA abuse but they fell short. Way short. What does it say about a bill when a MAJORITY of the original co-sponsors ultimately voted no on the final version of a bill? Yep, watered down, diluted and gutted is what this once promising bill became. I would have voted NO as well.

Finally, we have HR 4435, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2015. I’ll try to be brief, but in 2012 a clause was added to this bill that allows for the indefinite detention without charge or trial of “covered persons” (including U.S. citizens) anywhere in the world (including U.S. soil) until the “end of hostilities”. This power was claimed to be granted under the Authorization to use Military Force (AUMF), which was passed quickly following 9/11. This clause has been hotly debated and especially frowned on by those who support civil liberties.

There were 2 key amendments offered to this year’s version of the bill. 1.) The Smith amendment which would have removed the indefinite detention portion of the bill entirely. I would have voted YES. 2.) The Schiff amendment which would have sunsetted the AUMF one year from the passage of the bill. I would have voted YES on that as well. (They both failed). Because of these failed amendments I would have voted NO on the main bill.

Actions are louder than words. Talk is cheap but VOTES are actions. As your representative in Congress, I will always vote to stop us from meddling in the affairs of other countries, stop spending money we don’t have, stop corporate welfare, stop NSA data gathering and spying, and of course vote to restore our privacy rights and civil liberties. Anything less would be a disservice to the citizens North Dakota.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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