“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.