Category: US Senate

Rep. Richmond Leans Toward Support of Military Force in Syria

Like a good citizen I emailed my Congresspeople this week to voice my desire for them to vote against using United States military force of any kind in Syria.

As of this post, I have only heard back from Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA2). His response in its entirety (as regards this issue) is below.

“The use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime on unarmed civilians demands strong action. It is critical that President Obama outline the level of our engagement with a clear timetable. It is equally critical that we achieve our goals without boots on the ground, however, we must do what we can to ensure that this grave human offense is addressed. I am pleased that the President has sought approval from my colleagues in Congress before taking action in Syria and I look forward to listening to the evidence presented by the Administration and the important and necessary debate that will follow.  I have grave concerns about the use of force, but I believe that the overpowering use of chemical weapons against un-armed non-combatants crosses a line that demands a robust response from the international community.”

I would read his response as leaning toward supporting the use of force in Syria. Since I don’t believe it should be the role of the United States to act as the policeman of the world, I respectfully disagree with Rep. Richmond, and again urge him to vote against any use of U.S. military force.

*FULL DISCLOSURE* The author of this post, Caleb Trotter, ran against Rep. Richmond in the 2012 Congressional race in LA.

Hey Durbin, Quit Dicking With The Saints

So it seems that completely upending the banking industry wasn’t enough for Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). Now he wants to lock up the New Orleans Saints defense. According to the Associated Press, Durbin has called a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to explore whether federal law can make “bounty” systems illegal. He has asked representatives from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and NCAA to testify.

This is yet another example of when the “there oughta be a law” crowd goes wild. Does Durbin feel that the NFL’s punishment of the Saints isn’t enough and now they need to worry about criminal charges? This is completely ridiculous. Hopefully public reaction will be enough to squash this assinine idea before it goes anywhere, but Durbin is from NFC North division territory so you never know.

Nolatarian Goes to Washington 12/12/11 – 12/20/11

“Nolatarian Goes to Washington” is a weekly column on the activities of Louisiana Senators David Vitter and Mary Landrieu and Congressmen Steve Scalise and Cedric Richmond.


The last week of floor votes for 2011. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter had one more chance to vote against the National Defense Authorization Act with the Conference Report that accompanied the House version of the bill in it’s passing on to the president, but of course they didn’t. So, the government marches on to ignoring the 5th Amendment. They both also voted for the ever so critical Reid-McConnell Amendment 1465 to the Middle Class Relief and Job Creation Act that extends the payroll tax cut for all of 2 months. At least the act includes a provision that will force a decision by the president on the Keystone XL pipeline within 2 months.

In other Senatorial news this week, Vitter proudly announced that the US Mint was discontinuing production of the $1 presidential coin. Big whoop. If he really wants to get serious about eliminating “mindless government waste” he would propose a bill that scraps production of the penny which actually costs more to make than it’s worth, unlike the $1 coin. So, Senator Vitter, please take on the zinc lobby and introduce a bill that gets rid of pennies and then come talk to us. Thanks.

House of Representatives

Final week of the year for voting in the House as well. Steve Scalise voted for and Cedric Richmond against the payroll tax cut bill. However, Scalise gave a speech complaining about the stop gap measure in favor of a more long term solution of a whole year.

Scalise contributed some good news on 12/16/11 however, with the introduction of HR 3675 in tandem with S 2008 sponsored by Sen DeMint. The bills make up the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act which would deregulate aspects of the television industry. Some highlights from the press release:

“The government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers, and the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act ensures that by removing the heavy-hand of government, the market is free to operate in a way that continues to benefit consumers and encourage innovation.”

“The bill removes government interference from what should be free market business relationships between and among content creators, network programmers, television broadcast stations, and multichannel video programming distributors. The bill maintains intellectual property rights for copyright holders and privacy protections for customers of cable and satellite companies.”

And thus ends at the very least an interesting year in Congress in 2011. 2012 is an election year for Steve Scalise and Cedric Richmond and I will be eagerly looking at and for their competition. Everything our representatives did this year wasn’t horrible, but certainly left a lot to be desired. So onward we go.


Nolatarian Goes to Washington 12/5/11 – 12/9/11

“Nolatarian Goes to Washington” is a weekly column on the activities of Louisiana Senators David Vitter and Mary Landrieu and Congressmen Steve Scalise and Cedric Richmond.


After a busy week of violating the Constitution last time we checked in, the Senate didn’t have much activity on the floor this week other than the rejection of two dueling payroll tax cut bills.

House of Representatives

More drug war hysteria on the way with passage on Thursday, 12/8/11, of HR 1254 , otherwise known as the Synthetic Drug Control Act. The bill adds synthetic drugs to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Scalise voted for and Richmond against. The bill now heads to the Senate. We all know how effective the original bill has been on preventing use and abuse of the already “banned” substances.

Some better news from 12/8; the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011 (HR 1633) passed the House with support from Scalise and opposition from Richmond. The bill temporarily prevents the EPA from placing burdensome regulations on farmers to essentially prevent them from kicking up dust in the course of their work.

Nolatarian Goes to Washington 11/21/11 – 12/2/11

“Nolatarian Goes to Washington” is a weekly column on the activities of Louisiana Senators David Vitter and Mary Landrieu and Congressmen Steve Scalise and Cedric Richmond.

Apologies for getting a little behind with this column. Will cover 2 weeks with this post.


The biggest action in the Senate was the debate over S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. Aside from setting the “Defense” budget for next year, a provision was added primarily by John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI) that would allow the U.S. military to detain American citizens indefinitely for suspected terrorist activities, even if caught on U.S. soil. This measure directly violates Constitutionally protected Due Process for U.S. citizens. So, how did Sens David Vitter and Mary Landrieu vote? Lets start with 3 amendments offered to the bill; the Udall (CO) Amendment 1107, Paul Amendment 1064, and Feinstein Amendment 1126 all sought to limit the bill’s provisions against holding U.S. citizens without trial. Vitter and Landrieu both voted against ALL 3. Naturally, they joined 91 other senators in passing the whole bill on Dec. 1, 2011. I emailed both Senator’s offices about this and only Vitter’s staff responded with a reply completely ignoring the question about U.S. citizens. Major fail for the Constitution on this bill unless Pres. Obama vetoes as he’s threatened to do. I wrote more about this here last week.

One redeeming action by Vitter is the co-introduction of S. 1932. The bill would require the Obama administration to issue a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days, as opposed to Obama’s stated wish to postpone a decision until after the 2012 election.

Randomly, Landrieu apparently feels she knows more about running an airline than the airlines do. Air Mary?

House of Representatives

Remember that box on your federal tax return that asks if you want to donate to federal campaigns? Well, this bill that passed with support from Steve Scalise and opposition from Cedric Richmond would discontinue taxpayer funded presidential election campaigns and party conventions and apply any leftover funds directly to the federal budget deficit. Also, it eliminates the Election Assistance Commission, consolidating its duties into the Federal Election Commission. Here’s hoping for a passage through the Senate.

Also taking expected positions, Scalise votes for, and Richmond against, successful bill HR 527 which analyses the impact of regulations on small businesses and forces alternatives to be studied. Keeping the theme with their votes, HR 3010 passed which would reform the process of analysing and creating new regulations and guidelines.