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House Watch – January 9, 2023

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Welcome to the second edition of the House Watch Newsletter for FreedomWorks activists and partners nationwide. In this email, we will give you an inside look into the legislation that your Representative is voting on, as well as updates on House Republicans’ oversight of the Biden administration. 

This week, the House may consider the following measures:

Adopting the Rules of the House of Representatives for the One Hundred and Eighteenth Congress Key Vote YES

  • Background: Last week, conservatives negotiated several key changes to the House Rules for the 118th Congress that will empower each representative to influence the legislative process and help restore accountability in Washington. 
  • Major changes to House Rules for the 118th Congress include:
    • A mandate that legislation be made available for 72 hours before a vote;
    • The reinstatement of the Holman Rule, which allows Congress to effectively zero-out the pay of federal of incompetent federal bureaucrats;
    • The full reinstatement of the Motion to Vacate the Chair;
    • Reforms to the budget and debt limit processes; and
    • Conservative representation in key committees, such as the powerful House Rules Committee. 
    • For a more detailed analysis of the House Rules, click here
  • FW view: This rules package is a step in the right direction and represents an acknowledgment that Congress is broken. Strong implementation of the new Rules will be the most important aspect of making Congress work for the people again. We will count this vote on FreedomWorks’ congressional scorecard. 

Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act

  • Background: President Biden depleted our nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve stockpiles to their lowest levels since 1983 in attempts to bring down the cost of gasoline. Reports indicate that the Biden administration sold 95,000 barrels from the SPR to a company owned by the Chinese government.
  • This bill would prohibit the sales of petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve “to any entity that is under the ownership, control, or influence of the Chinese Communist Party…”

Establishing a Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party

  • This resolution would create a 16-Member panel (9 majority, 7 minority) to oversee issues concerning U.S.-China competition. 
  • The Committee would have no legislative authority to take action on any bill or resolution, but would have power to investigate the CCP’s “economic, technological, and security progress and its competition with the United States.”
  • Note: Semafor wrote that the House GOP’s China oversight will go beyond this Select Committee. Investigations will include the COVID-19 outbreak, export controls targeting industries in China, foreign investment by U.S. companies in China, intellectual property theft by China, U.S. policy on Taiwan, among other issues. 

Illegal Alien NICS Alert Act 

  • Background: The National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) is a federal system that determines if a person purchasing a firearm is permitted to do so. 
  • A federal court ruled last year that undocumented immigrants do not enjoy the right to keep and bear arms in the U.S. 
  • This bill requires NICS to notify ICE and state and local law enforcement when a person who is in the country illegally attempts to buy a firearm. 

Strategic Production Response Act 

  • Background: President Biden depleted our nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve stockpiles to their lowest levels since 1983 in attempts to bring down the cost of gasoline. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Biden administration leased fewer acres for oil-and-gas drilling offshore and on federal land than any other administration in its early stages dating back to the end of World War II.
  • This bill would require the administration to increase oil and gas production on federal lands before it could release petroleum from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. 
  • FW view: The government’s decision to limit oil and gas production moved us from energy independent to energy dependent. Biden’s energy policy is hurting Americans by forcing them to pay higher prices at the pump. The Biden administration’s decision to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to counteract high gas prices has left the country vulnerable in case of an actual emergency.   

Border Safety and Security Act of 2023 

  • Background: In fiscal year 2022, the number of undocumented immigrants to enter the U.S. at the southern border topped 2.7 million, which is more than 1 million more immigrants than in fiscal year 2021. In 2006, the Secure the Border Act was signed into law and defined operational control as “prevention of all unlawful entry into the U.S. which includes preventing any unlawful aliens, narcotics, or contraband from entering the U.S.”  
  • This bill requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to prevent illegal aliens from entering into the country by shutting down the land and sea borders if the Department of Homeland Security does not have operational control over the border. 
  • FW view: The current immigration system is outdated but before major changes can be made, the U.S. must secure the border and be able to control who enters and exits the country. 

No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2023 

  • This bill prohibits any federal funds from being appropriated for abortions. Specifically,
    • the bill prohibits federal funding for abortions and health plans that cover abortions; 
    • prevents federal facilities from being used for abortions; and 
    • prevents anyone from purchasing additional health plans that cover abortions if the individual or entity receives federal funds. 
    • The restrictions in the bill do not apply to anyone who seeks an abortion as a result of rape or incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk. 

Expressing the sense of Congress condemning the recent attacks on pro-life facilities, groups, and churches. 

  • Background: In 2022, there were 22 times more attacks on pro-life groups than on pro-choice groups following the leak of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. 
  • By passing this resolution, Congress:
    • condemns attacks against pro-life groups or organizations; 
    • recognizes the sanctity of life and the important role pro-life facilities play in supporting pregnant women and families; and
    • calls on the Biden administration to use all appropriate law enforcement authorities to uphold public safety and to protect the rights of pro-life facilities and groups. 

Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act 

  • This bill would require that any child born after an attempted abortion should be treated like any other person and would require health care professionals and facilities to provide care to those born during an abortion or after an attempted abortion. 
  • A health care practitioner or any employee of a hospital, physician’s office, or abortion clinic who has knowledge of failed compliance must report the failure to state and federal authorities. 

Establishing a Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government as a select investigative subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary. 

  • Background: Federal agencies like the FBI and others have long used their powers to silence speech they do not like and have coordinated with private organizations to further that agenda. Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the FBI and U.S. attorneys to probe parents who spoke out over school closings during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • This resolution would create an investigative subcommittee that would look into efforts by various federal law enforcement agencies to investigate American citizens. The committee would be housed under the House Judiciary Committee and made up of 15 members (9 Republicans and 6 Democrats) with Speaker McCarthy and Minority Leader Jeffries appointing the members. The subcommittee would have full investigative authority and would issue a report by January 2, 2025.  
  • FW view: Providing actual oversight into government activities is one of the main roles of Congress. It is essential that these agencies answer the questions truthfully so that Americans can have faith that their government is not actively spying on anyone that should not be spied on or have their rights stifled by unelected bureaucrats. 

Prosecutors Need to Prosecute Act 

  • Background: The “woke” movement has made its way into the justice system as it has in many aspects of American society. There is a disturbing practice nationwide among leftist District Attorneys who are refusing to prosecute criminals, including violent criminals, in the name of social justice. 
  • This bill requires prosecutors serving jurisdictions that receive Byrne Grants and are larger than 380,000 persons, to submit an annual report to the Attorney General on the prosecution of individuals who committed a covered offense, including murder, forcible rape, arson, or illegal use or illegal possession of a firearm. 
  • FW view: The reports required under this bill will hopefully shame “woke” prosecutors into doing their job of keeping communities safe and criminals off the streets. 

Expressing support for the Nation’s law enforcement agencies and condemning any efforts to defund or dismantle law enforcement agencies 

  • By passing this resolution, Congress:
    • “offers its sincere gratitude and appreciation for law enforcement officers who protect and serve our communities”;
    • “recognizes the great sacrifice our law enforcement officers make to keep the Nation safe”; and
    • “rejects the misguided and dangerous efforts to defund and dismantle the Nation’s law enforcement agencies.”

FW view: This resolution should get unanimous support from the House, but keep an eye out for any radical leftists who want to continue going on record against law enforcement.

The post House Watch – January 9, 2023 appeared first on FreedomWorks.


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