Sunday, March 24, 2013

Alan Nunnelee Voted Poorly

UN Dues.
During consideration of a continuing appropriations bill (H.R. 1) to fund government operations through the rest of the fiscal year ending on September 2011, Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) offered an amendment to prohibit any funding in the bill from being used to pay for any dues to the United Nations. The House rejected Broun’s amendment on February 18, 2011 by a vote of 177 to 243 (Roll Call 107). Stopping U.S. dues payments to the United Nations is a step toward getting the United States out of the UN. Our membership in the UN undermines U.S. sovereignty — e.g., when the Security Council passes various resolutions, including resolutions calling for military intervention, that the United States is expected to enforce, irrespective of the U.S. Constitution or congressional powers.
Alan Nunnelee Voted AGAINST this bill.

 Patriot Act Extension.
This legislation (S. 990) extended for four years three provisions of the Patriot Act that were set to expire: the “roving wiretap” provision that allows the federal government to wiretap any number of a suspect’s telephone/Internet connections without specifying what they will find or how many connections will be tapped; the “financial records” provision that allows the feds to seize “any tangible thing” that has “relevance” to an investigation; and the “lone wolf” provision that allows spying on non-U.S. citizens without a warrant. These provisions violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which requires that no warrants be issued “but upon probable cause” (a much higher standard than “relevance”), and that warrants must contain language “particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The Patriot Act even allows the FBI to issue warrants called “National Security Letters” without going to a judge, though this provision was not set to expire and therefore was not part of this legislation. The House passed the Patriot Act extension on May 26, 2011 by a vote of 250 to 153 (Roll Call 376). The provisions that were extended, as well as the Patriot Act as a whole, violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
Alan Nunnelee Voted FOR this bill.
Libya Troop Withdrawal.
House Concurrent Resolution 51 would have directed President Obama, “pursuant to … the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya.” The War Powers Resolution bars the President from militarily engaging the armed forces for more than 60 days without congressional approval. Obama had not sought congressional approval for undertaking military action in Libya. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who sponsored H. Con. Res. 51, noted: “In the weeks leading up to the war, the administration had time to consult with the Arab League, the United Nations, the African Union, but apparently had no time to come to this Congress for approval.” The House rejected Kucinich’s resolution on June 3, 2011 by a vote of 148 to 265 (Roll Call 412). Obama’s Libya deployment is now in violation of the War Powers Act’s 60-day requirement for congressional authorization, and it violates the Constitution, which clearly assigns to Congress the power “to declare war.”
Alan Nunnelee Voted AGAINST this bill.
 Libya. During consideration of the Defense appropriations bill, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced an amendment to prohibit the use of funds in the bill to carry out military actions against Libya unless Congress declares war against Libya. The House rejected the Kucinich amendment on July 8, 2011 by a vote of 169 to 251 (Roll Call 530). Under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution only Congress has the power “to declare war.” The Founding Fathers assigned this power to Congress because they did not want a single man deciding when to go to war. Yet President Obama usurped this congressional war-making authority by initiating offensive military actions against Libya without even asking advice from Alan Nunnelee Voted AGAINST this bill.
Debt Deal. This legislation (S. 365) provided for an immediate $400 billion increase in the national debt limit, while allowing the President to raise the ceiling an additional $500 billion unless Congress passes a resolution of disapproval. This legislation also established a process for reducing future cumulative deficit projections by up to $2.4 trillion for fiscal years 2012 through 2021, including the establishment of a super-committee tasked with recommending cuts totaling up to $1.5 trillion for the 10-year period. If the super-committee were to fail in recommending at least $1.2 trillion in cuts (and, as we know, the super-committee failed to recommend any cuts), then the legislation would trigger automatic cuts totaling up to $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The debt-raising/deficit-cutting package created the appearance that Congress was doing something to rein in out-of-control spending. But in reality, the total national debt would still increase even if the entire dollar amount of cuts called for in the legislation were identified and enacted, since the cuts are not cuts in the absolute sense but cuts in future budget projections. The national debt would continue to go up, but not as fast as before, for the simple reason that cutting (say) $1.2 trillion over 10 years will not offset projected annual $1 trillion-plus deficits. The House passed S. 365 on August 1, 2011 by a vote of 269 to 161 (Roll Call 690). The debt deal allows both the national debt and spending to continue their upward trajectories. Moreover, the budget process established by the legislation is clearly unconstitutional since no Congress can bind the actions of future Congresses via the so-called automatic cuts.
Alan Nunnelee Voted FOR this bill.
South Korea Trade Agreement.
On a single day — October 12, 2011 — both the House and Senate approved three separate trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. These measures are three more in a series of “free-trade agreements” intended to transfer the power to regulate trade (and eventually other powers too) to super-national arrangements via a step-by-step process. NAFTA is a prime example of such an arrangement. So is the developing continental government now known as the European Union, which is an outgrowth of a free-trade arrangement once called the Common Market. In fact, the Common Market-EU trajectory to regional governance served as a model for the formation of NAFTA. The South Korea agreement, to quote Congressional Quarterly, is “considered the most economically important trade deal since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.” The House passed H.R. 3080, the measure to implement the South Korea trade agreement, on October 12, 2011 by a vote of 278 to 151 (Roll Call 783). Agreements such as this one are intended to transfer trade (and other) powers to super-national arrangements binding the United States, despite the fact that under the Constitution only Congress has the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations.”
Alan Nunnelee Voted FOR this bill.
Agriculture-Commerce-Justice-Science-Transportation-HUD Appropriations.
This so-called “minibus” bill (H.R. 2112) combined into a single package three of the regular appropriations bills — Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (HUD) — for fiscal 2012. Just the “discretionary” spending in the minibus for the three-bill package totaled $128.1 billion. In addition, there is the spending that the government deems “mandatory.” In the case of the Agriculture bill that was incorporated into the minibus, for instance, the appropriations include $116.8 billion in mandatory spending in addition to $19.8 billion in discretionary spending. The so-called mandatory spending in the Agriculture bill includes nearly $99 billion for food and nutrition programs. The House passed the final version of this bill (known as a conference report) on November 17, 2011 by a vote of 298 to 121 (Roll Call 857). Congress has no constitutional authority to fund many of the programs in the bill, including the farm programs, food programs, and housing (under HUD).
Alan Nunnelee Voted FOR this bill.

Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
This bill (H.R. 3523) would foster information sharing about cyber threats between the federal government and private businesses. Businesses that would participate in this sharing would be protected from lawsuits regarding this sharing of their customers’ private information with the government. According to Violet Blue in an article posted on on June 8, “Most people familiar with CISPA believe it will wipe out decades of consumer privacy protections and is primarily to give the US government unprecedented access to individuals’ online data and communications.” The House passed H.R. 3523 on April 26, 2012 by a vote of 248 to 168 (Roll Call 192). The CISPA bill would permit government access to the private information of citizens, in violation of the Fourth Amendment “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Alan Nunnelee Voted FOR this bill.
Indefinite Detention.             
Detainee-related language in the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310) is so sweeping that American citizens accused of being terrorists can be detained by the U.S. military and held indefinitely without habeas corpus and without even being tried and found guilty in a court of law. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) offered an amendment to strike this language from the bill, but the House rejected Smith’s amendment on May 18, 2012 by a vote of 182 to 238 (Roll Call 270). The War on Terror must not be allowed to destroy constitutional legal protections, including the issuance of a warrant based on probable cause (Fourth Amendment) and the right to a trial (Sixth Amendment).
Alan Nunnelee Voted AGAINST this bill.
Foreign Relations Authorization.
The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 6018) authorizes $9 billion for the State Department’s diplomatic and consular programs, $1.6 billion for dues to international organizations (about $0.6 billion for UN regular budget dues and about $1 billion in contributions to 43 other UN-system, regional, and non-UN organizations), and $1.8 billion for contributions for UN peacekeeping activities. The United States is the largest contributor to UN dues and peacekeeping, paying 22 percent of total UN regular dues and 27 percent of UN peacekeeping operations. When the U.S. Senate approved U.S. participation in the United Nations by a vote of 65 to 7 on December 4, 1945, it violated the Constitution by ceding our national sovereignty regarding engaging in wars to the United Nations. Whereas the Constitution grants the power “to declare war” exclusively to Congress in Article I, Section 8, the UN Charter grants this power to the UN’s Security Council. The House passed H.R. 6018 on July 17, 2012 by a vote of 333 to 61 (Roll Call 469). U.S. participation in the United Nations involves an unconstitutional delegation of our national sovereignty to the UN.
Alan Nunnelee Voted FOR this bill.
Afghanistan Withdrawal (Defense Appropriations Reduction). 
During consideration of the Defense appropriations bill for fiscal 2013 (H.R. 5856), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) proposed an amendment to cut overseas military spending by almost $21 billion. The intent behind the amendment was to allow enough funding for an orderly withdrawal from the unpopular war in Afghanistan but not enough to continue the conflict. According to Rep. Lee, the original bill includes over $85 billion for the war in Afghanistan. The House rejected Lee’s amendment on July 18, 2012 by a vote of 107 to 312 (Roll Call 485). The massive expenditure on undeclared foreign wars and nation building is unconstitutional and unaffordable.
Alan Nunnelee Voted AGAINST this bill
The proposed FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012 (H.R. 5949) would reauthorize for five years, through 2017, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which governs electronic surveillance of foreign terrorism suspects. The law allows warrantless surveillance of foreign targets who may be communicating with people in the United States, provided that the secret FISA court approves surveillance procedures. The House passed H.R. 5949 on September 12, 2012 by a vote of 301 to 118 (Roll Call 569). Warrantless surveillance is unconstitutional and violates privacy and individual liberty. While ostensibly carried out only on “foreign suspects” communicating with U.S. citizens, it is difficult to imagine this surveillance not extending to U.S. citizens.
Alan Nunnelee Voted FOR this bill. 
Continuing Resolution.
House Joint Resolution 117 would provide continuing appropriations for the federal government from October 1, 2012 through March 27, 2013. This would amount to an annualized rate of $1.047 trillion in “discretionary” spending for regular appropriations, and would include a 0.6 percent increase in funding for most federal programs and agencies. This continuing resolution would also provide nearly $100 billion in war funding and $6.4 billion in advance disaster relief funds. To put this appropriations bill into perspective, consider what the Congressional Budget Office reported on August 22, 2012: “For fiscal year 2012 (which ends on September 30), the federal budget deficit will total $1.1 trillion, CBO estimates, marking the fourth year in a row with a deficit of more than $1 trillion.” This deficit is based on the CBO’s estimates of $2.435 trillion in federal revenue and $3.563 trillion in federal outlays for fiscal 2012. Therefore, 32 percent of every federal dollar spent in 2012 had to be borrowed. For 2011, 2010, and 2009 the shortfall has been 36, 37, and 40 percent respectively. The House passed H. J. Res. 117 on September 13, 2012 by a vote of 329 to 91 (Roll Call 579). Passage of this mammoth continuing resolution provided a way for Congress to perpetuate its fiscally irresponsible, unconstitutional spending habits with a minimum of accountability to its constituents.
Alan Nunnelee Voted FOR this bill.  


Blogger Mark Skoda said...

A very good review! Nice work.

5:32 PM, July 06, 2013  

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