This Week in Congress: Pay no attention to the spending behind the curtain

The US Senate continues work on the Fiscal Year 2017 budget resolution with a "voterama." This is where Senators offer any amendment to the budget bill.

The House is expected to take up and pass the budget on Friday, after the Senate passes it.

Senator Rand Paul has offered an amendment to freeze federal spending and balance the budget over a three-year period. Shamefully, only thirteen Senators stood with Rand and the American people. Here is the roll-call vote on the Paul amendment.

Last week, Senator Paul blasted the Senate leadership for putting forth a budget that adds 9.7 trillion to the federal deficit. Unfortunately, many "fiscal conservatives" are falling for their leadership's claims that they cannot be "distracted" by arguments over cutting the debt, because passing this budget is necessary to repeal Obamacare...as if it were impossible to pass a budget that both cut spending and set up Obamacare repeal.

The House is in session from Monday through Thursday. Among the legislation considered by the House is the Regulatory Accountability Act.

This Act overturns the so-called Chevon doctrine, which federal courts grant great deference to federal agencies' interpretation of the their own powers. Chevon makes it impossible for courts to carry out their constitutional role of ensuring federal agencies do not violate the law.

This bill also require agencies to choose the lowest cost alternatives; requires agencies to account for the impact of their rules on small businesses; publish information on the impact of their rules online and in clear English; and prohibits rules from imposing costs of over a billion dollars from taking effect until any court challenges to the rules are settled.

The House will also consider legislation reauthorizing and making "pro-investor" changes to the Commodity Futures Trading Corporation and legislation requiring the Securities and Exchange Commission to preform cost-benefit analysis before imposing new regulations.

The House will also consider several bills under "suspension" including:

1. HR 309-- Establishes a new commission to find ways to better coordinate care for individuals with "a complex metabolic or autoimmune disease, a disease resulting from insulin deficiency or insulin resistance, or complications caused by such a disease." This is an admirable goal but this shows how deep the federal government has sunk its tentacles into the practice of medicine.

2. HR 315-- Amends the Public Health Services Act to "distribute" maternity health care professionals to areas where such professionals are in short supply. You know what is really good at distributing professionals to undeserved areas? The market. You know what is really bad at that? The government.

3. HR 302-- Requires medical insurance offered to doctors specializing in sports medicine to cover services offered outside the state that they are licensed in.

Again this is well-intentioned and may address legitimate concerns but how is a mandate on insurance companies consistent with the new House's claims to oppose government meddling in the health care marketplace? (SPOILER ALERT: IT IS NOT).

4. HR 304-- This bill recognizes how the war on drugs can interfere with the provision of effective medial care. Unfortunately, instead of repealing the drug war, this bill sets up a special system for emergency medial personnel to use controlled substances to treat patients. Still, this bill will save lives so it's worth supporting.

5. HR 338-- Instructs the Secretary of Energy to "prioritize education and training for energy and manufacturing-related jobs in order to increase the number of skilled workers trained to work in energy and manufacturing-related fields when considering awards for existing grant programs." ... because centrally planned labor markets have such a great track record?

6. HR 288- Temporarily exempts small businesses from Federal Communications Commission "transparency regulations." This regulation requires Internet Service Providers to divulge the broadband speed that they give consumers.

7. HR 255-- Authorizes the National Science Foundation to support entrepreneurship programs for women. So much wrong with this bill, I do not know even where to begin.

8. HR 240-- Encourages Homeland Security to "engage" with leading technology experts in order to enhance cyber security, thus contribute to the generic cyber security industrial complex.


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