This week in Congress

The House is in session Tuesday through Friday this week.

Before getting into this week's agenda, I have some good news. Late last week, the House pulled HR 1215 from the Congressional schedule. As I wrote last week, this legislation:

"...sets a federal statute of limitation on medical malpractice lawsuits, limits the amount of "non-economic" damages (such as pain and suffering) that can be awarded, and allows introduction of evidence of other compensation to the plaintiff (such as insurance payments).

Whatever one thinks of the merits of these proposals, the fact is they violate the 10th Amendment. The bill's proponents claim it is constitutional because it only applies to cases with a "federal nexus."

The bill was pulled because members of the House freedom caucus expressed opposition to the legislation on federalism grounds. This is a step forward, as ten years ago, only Ron Paul and a handful of others would have opposed giving the federal government authority over the nation's malpractice laws.

The Senate will spend most of the week on Coast Guard Reauthorization.

Among the legislation the House will consider are bills reauthorizing federal job training programs. Read Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul's explanation of the constitutional and other flaws with these programs here.

The House will also consider HR 2842, which provides grants to states "...for demonstration projects that provide wage subsidies to enable low-income individuals to enter and retain employment."

The argument for this is it will aid the transition from welfare-to-work, and thus save money in the long run. The argument against it is that it is a step toward creating a new entitlement for cash payments for the "working poor" which will extend to the middle-class.

The House will also consider a number of bills under suspension, including:

1. HR 2834 -- Creates a new grant program for states to help children whose families have been impacted by drug abuse. Helping children is a worthy goal, but this type of grant program exceeds the federal government's constitutional limitations. Also, this type of aid is better provided by voluntary institutions than a centralized government bureaucracy.

2. HR 2484 -- Commits the United States Government to promote the involvement of women in "conflict prevention" around the globe. So this is more interference in the affairs of other nations with the justification of promoting equality and peace.

If Congress wants to promote peace, maybe they should use their constitutional authority to stop the president from launching military action without seeking a declaration of war from Congress?

3. HR 2132 -- Instructs the Department of Homeland Security to create a redress process to adjudicate inquiries for individuals who:

(A) are citizens of the United States or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence;

(B) have filed an inquiry with DHS TRIP after receiving enhanced screening at an airport passenger security checkpoint more than three times in any 60-day period; and

(C) believe they have been wrongly identified as being a threat to aviation security.

Also requires a review of the "intelligence based screening process."

This may cut down on TSA abuses, but it is no substitute to eliminating the TSA and returning responsibility for airport security to the airlines and airports.

3. HR 1393 -- Exempts employees whose job requires them to work in multiple states from being subject to income tax in states other than the state where the employee resides or a state where the employee works for more than 30 days.

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