Week Ending September 12, 2003
Religious Freedom Coalition
September 12, 2003 10:24AM EST
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 12, 2003
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 12, 2003
Special Notice:Charting the End Times is now in stock and ready to ship!
CONGRESS IN SESSION - No Votes Friday
PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION
I receive many e-mail's asking me why the Partial Birth Abortion Ban (PBA), which passed both Houses of Congress earlier this year, is somehow still stuck and not yet at the President's desk. The problem lies in the fact that two versions of the PBA were passed. The Senate version (S-3) passed 52-46. The House version (HR-760) passed on June 4th by a margin of 282-139. But, as mentioned above, the two versions have slightly different language. It is very rare for any bill to pass both Houses of Congress with identical versions. As a result almost every bill must go to a "conference Committee," which is a joint committee made up of members from both Houses to work out the differences. The Conference Report is then sent back to both Houses for a final vote.
The same liberal Democrats who have been blocking the judicial nominations of President George W. Bush have also been blocking the nominations of conference committee members, to stop legislation from becoming law even after they have lost the actual vote. Thus, even though the PBA won in the Senate, Senators Clinton, Kennedy, and Boxer, and other pro-abortionists have blocked with various procedures the appointment of the conferees to work with the House. Why? Since Republicans control the Senate, the majority of Senators on the conference committee will be pro-life Republicans and so there is not chance the PBA will be changed to reflect pro abortion views.
This will probably end on Monday of next week. Majority Leader Bill Frist will force a vote in the Senate to officially disagree with the House version. This vote will force the appointment of conferees. Within thirty days the conference report will be voted on and will pass both the House and the Senate. It will then be presented to the President for his signature.
Many of the e-mail's I have received have been extremely hostile to the Senate and to Majority Leader Frist in particular for the lack of speed in moving the PBA to the President's desk. Many of the e-mail's say "...why bother to vote Republican if they can't do this?" Sometimes these e-mail's are the result of radio and TV shows by well known and well meaning evangelical leaders who just do not understand congressional processes and particularly the procedures of the Senate. Many evangelical leaders who are fast to criticize Senator Frist have no offices in Washington and no direct relations with congressmen or Senators.
With just one or two more Republicans in the Senate, Senator Frist could pass more social conservative legislation. Because of health and other issues he cannot count on all 51 votes the Republicans have in the Senate each and every day. Social conservatives should spend less time badmouthing Senator Frist and the Republican Senate and more time working to oust liberal Democrat Senators who stand in Senator Frist's way.
"Why don't the Republicans force the Democrats in the Senate to have a real filibuster? Why do they let them just drop a sheet of paper to stop bills and nominees? Make them stay up all night, that is what I say." This is one of hundreds of e-mail's and letters I have received demanding that Republicans take action and force a "real" filibuster by the Democrats on judicial nominees.
Here is the sad filibuster truth .... only one or two liberal Democrats need be in the Senate Chambers to conduct their filibuster, but all 51 Republican Senators would have to remain in the Chamber to "force" the Democrats to do a "real" filibuster. There must be a quorum in the Senate at all times for the filibuster to continue. If even one Republican goes to the bathroom, the Democrat doing the filibuster demands a "quorum call" and he gets to rest while all the Republicans are rounded up to form a quorum. As one Democrat gets tired he hands off to a buddy while he sleeps; meanwhile all fifty-one Republicans have to stay in the chamber all day and all night. Many of these men are in their 70's and have had major surgery including heart by-pass operations. It just can't be done. Also, while all the Republicans were stuck in the Chamber, the Democrats would get to run all of the committees and pass whatever they wanted to. Evangelical leaders who call for this "real filibuster" to "teach the Democrats a lesson" are just plain ignorant of Senate procedures. Maybe they watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and they think that is how the system works; it doesn't.
SCHOOL VOUCHERS AMENDMENT
School vouchers for inner city schools in Washington, DC have been approved by the House. The amendment to the DC spending bill was offered by Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA) and strongly supported by the President. The principle opposition comes from public school teachers' unions including the NEA. The unions view vouchers as a threat to union jobs. RFC executive director Peggy Birchfield and myself attended an event in July with President Bush supporting school vouchers for DC's inner city kids who are in failing schools. Congressman Davis' amendment to the DC appropriations bill passed by only one vote, showing the power of the unions. To read Congressman Davis' comments on the victory click here. The vouchers face an uncertain future in the Senate where union teachers' pet Senator, Ted Kennedy, threatens to filibuster the entire DC appropriations bill to stop this small voucher program. To view a pro-voucher Internet site click here.
CHARITABLE GIVING ACT
What is left of President George W. Bush's faith based initiative is in the Charitable Giving Act (HR-7) sponsored by Majority Whip Roy Blunt. Congressman Blunt has moved the bill out of committee and expects a vote on the floor within a week. As previously mentioned, the bill would open corporate and IRA funds to charitable giving. This is an important bill that will assist faith-based organizations across America. Read more here.
PLEDGE PROTECTION ACT
The Pledge Protection Act (HR-2028) sponsored by Congressman Todd Akin now has 221 co-sponsors. A bill only needs 218 votes to pass the House; thus victory is assured. Yet, the bill had been held up for unknown reasons by Congressman Sensenbrenner the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Those wishing to ask Congressman Sensenbrenner why he is stalling a bill the majority of congressmen want to vote on, may contact him here.
HOUSES OF WORSHIP FREE SPEECH ACT
Congressman Walter Jones now has 161 cosponsors for the House of Worship Free Speech Act (HR 235). A special Internet site set up to support the bill states: "HR 235 was introduced to liberate clergy from the muzzle imposed by the absolute ban on all speech that may be regarded as "political," and thereby enable them to speak out on all vital and moral and political questions of the day. It will free houses of worship from the fear and anxiety and uncertainty created by the threat that the IRS will impose financial penalties or revoke tax-exempt status altogether." The RFC has prepared a downloadable MS Power Point presentation in support of the HR 235. Click here to view Power Point. If your congressman has not co-sponsored this important legislation please contact him. View list of current sponsors and obtain phone numbers from those who have not here.
President George W. Bush spent a rather low key week after his Sunday night address to the nation, preparing for the somber events of this week. The President spoke at the FBI Academy located on the grounds of Marine Camp Quantico on the 10th and then early on the morning of the 11th briefly spoke at St. John's Church in Washington, DC.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM COALITION ACTIVITIES
IN THE NEWSPaul Weyrich, who is considered the father of the political conservative movement in Washington, DC, recently wrote a commentary concerning big corporate assistance to the promotion of the homosexual lifestyle. The commentary featured American Airlines' support of a bisexual conference in California and the very pro-gay Internet travel agency Orbitz. My comments concerning Orbitz were featured in the commentary as well. To read Paul Weyrich's commentary click here.
ISRAEL-US SOLIDARITY RECEPTION
The Religious Freedom Coalition was a co-sponsor of the annual awards receptions at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on September 10th. The primary sponsor Christian-Israel Political Action Committee. At the reception several congressmen including Walter Jones (R-NC), Dave Weldon (R-FL), Ralph Hall (D-TX) and others received awards for their support of Israel's right to exist. Several speakers demanded that President Bush follow the law passed by Congress and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The week of September 15th I will participate in panel discussions on religious freedom at the conference to be held at the European Union Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Officially, the conference is titled the Interparliamentary Conference on Human Rights and Religious Freedom and is sponsored by the Institute for Religion and Public Policy. Those Americans participating other than myself include Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS). Several Islamic Mullahs, Catholic Bishops and Jewish leaders will also have panel positions. For more information on the event click here. I will give a full report on the conference in a future Weekly Update.
Yesterday was the second anniversary of the 9-11 Jihad attack on the United States. By now, stores have stopped selling patriotic items and we have long been back to "business as usual" in Congress with backbiting and accusations flying wildly. On the campaign trail the nine Democrat candidates for President are making wild accusations against President Bush, virtually blaming him for the terrorists acts against this nation rather than the Muslims who are truly responsible. And the Democrats have a good reason not to blame Muslims. A new survey shows the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the United States are Democrats and only 2 percent plan to vote for George W. Bush in the next election, according to a Washington Times story. Over the past two years I have been very critical of the President for having an open door at the White House for Muslim leaders, many of whom turn out to support terror. In the past six months the White House seems to have mended its ways. No longer do we hear the daily mantra from the White House that Islam is a "religion of peace." Perhaps the President's men have begun to understand that they were lied to about the Muslim population in the United States by the likes of Islamic apologist Grover Norquist. Most Muslim voters, according to the poll, favor Gov. Howard Dean for president. I wonder why? Is it because Dean would bring our troops home and allow Islamic extremist to do whatever they want to, anywhere in the world? You decide.
We here at the Religious Freedom Coalition still remember the Jihad attack against us and what it really Represents. (Read my statement from last year.) We also continue to offer patriotic items at our online store. We still offer patriotic and Christian ties for men. For ladies we found patriotic scarves. We have an "In God We Trust" scarf that is a good match to the "Under God" tie. For couples that attend political meetings or conventions it is a set they have to have. For ladies' scarves click here. For men's ties click here. Guys ... the Inspiration socks are now in stock. To view socks click here.
Check our Internet site at www.rfcnet.org for last minute updates! Please feel free to forward this weekly update to friends. We are now at over 60,000 subscribers .... Get the word out and help us hit the 100,000 mark by the end of the year! See below for subscribe/unsubscribe instructions. God richly bless you, that is my prayer.
William J. Murray, Chairman - Religious Freedom Coalition
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