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Week Ending June 30, 2006 - From Washington, DC
June 30, 2006 12:21PM EST


LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - WEEK ENDING JUNE 30, 2006

HOUSE IN RECESS / SENATE IN RECESS (Returns on July 10, 2006)

THE HOUSE

PLEDGE PROTECTION ACT DEFEATED IN COMMITTEE

Click for larger imageThe Pledge Protection Act is listed as number one in the House GOP "Values Agenda" released by Majority Leader Boehner (R-OH) this week. Yet the Judiciary Committee , in a state of confusion, managed to drop the ball. The PPA failed to go to the floor because of a tie vote in a committee that has seven more Republicans than Democrats. Below is our "timeline of failure" on the PPA:

June 13, 2006 PPA was first on the agenda of the Judiciary Committee, but was not visited until the end of the committee meeting. As a result, Chairman Sensenbrenner (R-WI) adjourned the meeting literally in the middle of discussion on the PPA.

June 21, 2006 Although listed on the agenda of the Judiciary Committee the PPA was never visited on this day.

June 27, 2006 Majority Leader Boehner announced the American Values Agenda, with the PPA listed as top priority.

June 28, 2006 PPA was first on the agenda of the Judiciary Committee. Three amendments were offered by Democrats which would have gutted the bill. Over a period of six hours the Democrat amendments were voted down by the majority Republicans. Yet the final vote for the PPA resulted in a 15-15 tie. In a surprise to all present Congressman Inglis (R-SC) voted against the PPA on ideological grounds and six Republicans (Hyde, Cannon, Bacchus, Issa, Flake, and Pence) failed to be present. As a result of the tie, the PPA was defeated. Only a congressman who voted "no" can call to re-consider under House rules.

June 29, 2006 Representative Inglis would have the option of making a motion to reconsideration the PPA. After floor votes finished the committee reconvened and the PPA was brought up for a motion. Rep. Inglis refused to motion to recommit and as a result the committee adjourned without vote. Congressman Inglis issued a statement giving his reasons for voting against the PPA. When contacting Congressman Inglis or other congressmen concerning the PPA please first read some very good arguments for its passage at Eagle Forum's and Court Watch.

AMERICAN VALUES AGENDA

Majority Leader Boehner (R-MI) this week launched an "American Values Agenda" listing legislation he plans on pushing before the mid-term election in November. As mentioned above the number one issue is the Pledge Protection Act (HR-2389; Akin) One of our favorites, The Public _Expression of Religion Act (HR 2679; Hostettler) was number three. This bill would stop public funding of ACLU lawyers who bring anti-religion cases on the grounds of civil liberties violation. Other bills Boehner hopes to push are the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (HR 356; C. Smith) and The Human Cloning Prohibition Act (HR 1357; D. Weldon) To read Majority Leader Boehner's statement and a short explanation of each of the nine bills click here.

THE SENATE

CHILD PREDATOR ACT

During a meeting this week with conservative leaders, which I attended, Majority Leader Bill Frist reiterated his support for social conservative legislative action. On June 28th Senator Frist issued a statement calling for the Child Predator Act to be resolved in Conference Committee and presented to the President for signing no later than July 27th. Different versions have passed in the House and Senate and the bill, which would create a national sex offender registry, is awaiting resolution of differences. Currently only state registries exist and many sex predators live in one state while practicing their evil in another state. Resolution of those differences are up to Judiciary Chairman Specter in the Senate and Chairman Sensenbrenner in the House.

CHILD CUSTODY PROTECTION

The Child Custody Protection Act has already passed the House and is now awaiting passage of the Senate version. Although Majority Leader Frist listed it as one of his top ten legislative priorities it has not moved forward. The Child Custody Protection Act (S.8 in the Senate) would make transporting a minor across state lines for an abortion a federal offense. The legislation is needed because adults are circumventing parental notification laws in some states by transporting minors to neighboring states that do not require parental notification or consent. Contact your Senator and ask his support of the Child Custody Protection Act.

IN GOD WE TRUST

July 30th is the 50th anniversary of "In God We Trust" becoming the official motto of the United States of America. Although being used for nearly two centuries on coin and currency it was not until 1956 that the motto was made official. At a time when atheist Michael Newdow has filed lawsuits to remove our national motto from our currency, it is appropriate that both the House and the Senate pass resolutions of support for the motto on its 50th anniversary. The commemoration resolution (H. Con Res. 411) in the House is sponsored by Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and (S. Con. Res. 96) in the Senate by Senator Sam Brownback (R.KS). In the House there are 47 co-sponsors and in the Senate just 11. Please contact your congressman and Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the "In God We Trust" commemoration resolutions.

INTERNATIONAL

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL

The Vacation Bible School sponsored by the Religious Freedom Coalition in the Bethlehem area has concluded. During June many of the youth from the Bethlehem / Beit Jala area were invited to participate in the school, which used materials in both English and Arabic. Volunteers paid their own way from the United States to assist with the VBS held at Hope School in Beit Jala just outside Bethlehem. Group Leader Gary Gordon took my place in distributing funds to needy children at the various Christian schools in the Bethlehem area. The funds for the students will be used for books, uniforms and school lunches. Gary is preparing a full report on the VBS as well as on the distribution of RFC funds to Christian students in need.

URGENT HELP NEEDED

As we move into summer and Congress goes into longer recesses before the mid-term election the number of contributions to the Religious Freedom Coalition falls. Our budget is $375 per business day. Total Internet gifts for the month of June were less than $1,000. Working on real issues out of a real office on Capitol Hill costs money. Please help. Please make your donation today! Click here to give a gift or send your tax deductible donation to the address below.

Recommend the RFC Update to someone! In 2006 we are praying to top the 100,000 subscribers mark and you can help. If this e-mail has been forwarded to you, please subscribe at http://www.rfcnet.org/subscribe.asp 

William J Murray, Chairman

Religious Freedom Coalition , PO Box 77511, Washington, DC 20013 - (202) 543-0300

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Religious Freedom Coalition * Copyright - 2006



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