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This Week in Washington – July 26, 2010

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is the Republican key for the Obama Administration to pass New START Treaty this year.  67 Senators are needed to pass any treaty, therefore the support of Republicans is necessary to pass START.  Republicans may want to stall passage of the treaty into the next Congress, because the New START Treaty may harm national security.  The Obama Administration may have signed a side agreement to dismantle missile defense to get the Russians to sign the Treaty.  Evidence of this agreement would be contained in the negotiating record that the Obama Administration refuses to share with Senators. 

As I wrote over the weekend for Big Government, “Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has been a hero on this issue and pledged that ‘until I’m satisfied about some of these things, I will not be willing to allow the treaty to come up.’  That is great news, yet Kyl also told the New York Times that he could support if the Administration agrees to ‘modernize the nuclear force, and the administration has proposed spending more than $100 billion over 10 years to sustain and modernize some strategic systems.’”  Promises from this Administration are not worth very much.  Furthermore, modernization will not mitigate any side agreement the Obama Administration has cut with the Russians.  Conservatives should watch Senator Jon Kyl, because he is the key as to whether this treaty passes by the end of this year.

The House this week has scheduled votes on 34 bills on the suspension calendar and three appropriations measures before recessing for the month of August.  The Senate has a cloture vote scheduled on the DISCLOSE Act.  Also, the Senate will continue work on the small business lending measure and the nomination of anti gun activist Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court before the scheduled August recess at the end of next week. 

Issues for Conservatives to watch this week are the following:

  • Senate – The Senate will have a vote to end debate on the motion to proceed to the DISCLOSE Act, S.3628, a bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections, to prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and to establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such elections (DISCLOSE Act).  The Washington Post describes the Schumer version of the DISCLOSE Act as “a revised version of the Disclose Act, which would require corporations, unions and nonprofit groups to provide more details about their political spending and fundraising. The legislation, approved by the House last month, is aimed at countering a Supreme Court ruling in January allowing unlimited political spending by corporations and other groups.”  This bill would legislatively overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court case and may further do harm to the First Amendment.  According to Hans Von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation (my employer), this idea will chill free speech before the Fall elections. ”If this bill passes, it will become effective within thirty days, which will cause such confusion and chaos only two months before the fall congressional elections that many corporations, both profit and nonprofit, and incorporated associations, will no doubt stay out of the election and stay out of grassroots activity on other bills and issues being considered by Congress before November. But then, there is little doubt that deterring such activity that could lead to criticism of the positions and votes taken by incumbent senators and representatives is an intentional objective.”  Also, the Senate is expected to consider the nomination of anti-gun activist Elena Kagan to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Our own Erick Erickson called for a filibuster of Kagan and it will be interesting to see if any Senator takes up Erickson’s call.  The updated Senate schedule for this week can be found on the Senate Majority Leader’s web site.
  • House – In addition to a blizzard of suspension votes, the House will try to complete three appropriations bills this week.  The high profile appropriations bill of the three is the $59 billion War Supplemental, H.R. 4899.  The Senate passed a version that cut out $23 billion in domestic unrelated funding measures and the big question is whether the House passes the Senate measure or change it and sends it again to the Senate.  There are two other appropriations bills being considered by the House:  H.R. 5822, the Mil Con – VA approps bill and Transportation-HUD appropriations bill.  For a complete list of items for the week, please refer to the House Majority Leader’s web site.

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