This Week in Congress

The Senate is in session this week and may still vote on “GrahamCare” although at this writing it is unlikely they will find the votes to pass the bill.  On Sunday Ted Cruz said he could not support the bill as written, and yesterday Maine Senator Susan Collins changed her vote from leaning no to definite no. This should definitely kill the bill, although it may not end the ability of Congress to pass real Obamacare repeal via reconciliation.

Collins opposition comes after GOP leadership agreed to give Maine an increase in federal funding. They also made the same deal with Alaska in order to get Lisa Murkowksi on board. You can read about the deal making here.

The House is in session Monday through Friday. Among the legislation the House will consider is H.R. 2824, which reauthorizes the “home based visitation act.” This program sends social workers to “visit” new mothers to help improve their child’s quality of life. This bill requires recipients of federal funds show the visitations are making improvements in “benchmark” areas. If this seems a tad Orwellian, you maybe on to something.

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

  1. H.R. 3823—Extends the Federal Aviation Administration programs until December and provides tax relief for victims of the recent hurricanes. This bill was defeated on Monday under suspension because they objected to provisions in the bill extending flood insurance program and some health programs.

  1. H.R. 2061—reauthorizes the North Korean Human Rights Act, which deals with helping North Korean refugees. However it also contains a provision instructing the Broadcasting Board of Government to report to Congress on ways to overcome North Korea's blocking of U.S. broadcasts.

  1. H.R. 311—calls for enhanced U.S. involvement the with the Association of South East Asian Nations.

  2. S 1141—this bill expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) the United States should be a global leader in promoting the participation of women in conflict prevention, management, and resolution and post-conflict relief and recovery efforts; (2) the political participation and leadership of women in fragile environments, particularly during democratic transitions, is critical to sustaining democratic institutions; and (3) the participation of women in conflict prevention and conflict resolution helps promote more inclusive and democratic societies and is critical to country and regional stability.

The President, within one year after enactment of this bill and again four years later, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees and make public a Women, Peace, and Security Strategy, which shall:

  • be aligned with other nations' plans to improve the participation of women in peace and security processes, conflict prevention, peace building, and decision-making institutions; and

  • include goals and evaluation plans to ensure strategy effectiveness.

Such a strategy shall include a specific implementation plan from each relevant federal agency.

The President is urged to promote women's participation in conflict prevention.

It is the sense of Congress that the President should: (1) provide technical assistance and training to female negotiators, peace builders, and stakeholders (non-governmental and private sector entities engaged in or affected by conflict prevention and stabilization, peace building, security, or related efforts); (2) address security-related barriers to women's participation; (3) encourage increased women's participation in U.S.-funded programs that provide foreign nationals with law enforcement, rule of law, or military education training; (4) support appropriate local organizations, especially women's peace building organizations; and (5) expand gender analysis to improve program design.

The Department of State shall ensure that personnel responsible for, or deploying to, countries or regions considered to be at risk of undergoing, or emerging from, violent conflict obtain training in the following areas, each of which shall include a focus on ensuring participation by women:

  • conflict prevention, mitigation, and resolution;

  • protecting civilians from violence, exploitation, and trafficking in persons; and

  • international human rights law.

The Department of Defense shall ensure that relevant personnel receive training in:

  • conflict prevention, peace processes, mitigation, resolution, and security initiatives that addresses the importance of participation by women; and

  • gender considerations and participation by women, including training regarding international human rights law and protecting civilians from violence, exploitation, and trafficking in persons.

(Sec. 7) The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development shall establish guidelines for overseas U.S. personnel to consult with stakeholders regarding U.S. efforts to:

  • prevent, mitigate, or resolve violent conflict; and

  • enhance the success of mediation and negotiation processes by ensuring the meaningful participation of women.

The State Department is urged to work with international, regional, national, and local organizations to increase the participation of women in international peacekeeping operations.

(Sec. 8) The State Department, within one year after the first strategy's submission, shall brief the appropriate congressional committees on training regarding the participation of women in conflict resolution.

The President, within two years after each strategy's submission, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that evaluates the implementation of such strategy and the impact of U.S. diplomatic efforts and foreign assistance programs to promote the participation of women.

So the problem with interventionist foreign policy is it does not do enough to promote women's participation in “conflict resolution”! Got it. Just a few billions on this and we will have global democracy.

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