Chad’s Morning Brief: Rand Paul’s Filibuster, Plastic Bag Ban, & More
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of March 7, 2013. Give Chad your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am.
1. Rand Paul Spoke (link)
Senator Rand Paul held a filibuster of CIA nominee John Brennen yesterday and into Thursday for nearly 13 hours. The filibuster was about much more than Brennen though. Paul spoke for hours about the use of drones to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. He also spoke about liberty and the Constitution.
Paul, R-Ky., is one of several lawmakers – on both sides of the aisle – who has raised concerns about the legal justification for launching drone strikes against Americans overseas. But Paul took to the floor after receiving a statement from Attorney General Eric Holder that creaked open the door to the possibility of using a drone to kill an American inside the United States.
“To allow one man to accuse you in secret — you never get notified you’ve been accused,” Paul said on the floor. “Your notification is the buzz of propellers on the drone as it flies overhead in the seconds before you’re killed. Is that what we really want from our government?”
Paul said he’d be raising the same complaints under a Republican president.
“No one politician should be allowed to judge the guilt, to charge an individual, to judge the guilt of an individual and to execute an individual. It goes against everything that we fundamentally believe in our country,” he said.
Paul, who started speaking shortly before noon, said he will filibuster the nomination “until I can no longer speak.”
The senator, speaking for hours, was later joined by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, as well as fellow Republican senators — all of whom dragged out the fillibuster by asking Paul lengthy and drawn-out questions.
This kind of filibuster is rare – typically, senators “filibuster” by refusing to grant the majority the 60 votes needed to proceed to a final vote on certain bills.
Paul, though, said he wanted to raise the “alarm” about the drone issue.
I was able to listen to much of what Senator Paul had to say and it was very impressive. Paul spoke about freedom and the Constitution. He spoke about what could happen in the United States if the President is given the authority to kill Americans on U.S. soil. Both Senator Ted Cruz and Senator John Cornyn joined in the filibuster with Senator Cruz bringing up the Alamo and even reading William Barrett Travis’ letter from the Alamo. Senator Paul had mentioned that he was a fan of the Alamo and had hoped to have the letter read at some point.
It was an impressive and important filibuster from Senator Paul. It was very disturbing to see how many Democrats stayed away.
2. Springer Wants to Overturn Bag Ban (link)
Texas Rep. Drew Springer doesn’t like the Austin ban on plastic bags. So much so that he has filed a bill that would overturn the Austin ordinance. According to Amarillo.com,
Even before he was elected to the Texas Legislature, Rep. Drew Springer made it clear he has no use for what he considers a “nanny state,” whether at the federal, state or local level.
So, Springer, R-Muenster, has filed what he calls “The Shopping Bag Freedom Act,” a bill that would overturn an Austin ordinance requiring consumers to bring their own bags when grocery shopping.
“This act is just the latest example of government elites trying to step between the business and consumer in an attempt to push forward a misguided nanny-stage agenda,” Springer said of his House Bill 2416.
“It is all for show,” he said of the ordinance the Austin City Council passed last year with the aim to reduce 90 percent of landfill waste by 2040. “Plastic bags make up just 6 percent of Austin’s litter and in San Francisco, litter from bags increased after enacting their ban.”
Springer, who believes people would waste a lot of water washing reusable bags, said this type of overreach must be stopped. If not, the day will come when the government could mandate how large a soft drink can be or how much salt people put on their food.
I agree with Rep. Springer on the nanny-state and the fact that government keeps getting bigger. The Austin bag ban is stupid, but do we really want state lawmakers overturning local ordinances? Isn’t that a slippery-slope of big government? If the people in Austin hate the ban, then they should vote out their local officials and have the new elected officials overturn it. We should value local government and at the same time we shouldn’t look to the state to save us from stupid ordinances.
3. Defunding Obamacare (link)
Senator Ted Cruz has filed an amendment that would defund Obamacare.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will offer an amendment to the continuing resolution – the bill to keep the government open after March 27 — that would defund the Affordable Care Act.
“The very first priority of every elected official—Democrat and Republican—should be restoring economic growth, so we can ensure continued strength, prosperity, and opportunity for the next generations,” Cruz said in a statement. “Obamacare does precisely the opposite. It is already hurting small businesses, reducing the hours Americans are allowed to work, forcing employers to drop coverage, and leading to substantial increases in healthcare premiums—especially for young people.”
Cruz’s effort is unlikely to make any progress in the Democrat-controlled Senate. But he’s still going to try.
“I believe we should continue to delay such funding at least until economic growth returns to historic averages, and I intend to object to consideration of any Continuing Resolution that does not include a vote to delay funding of Obamacare.”
I agree with Politico that this probably won’t go anywhere, but it shows that Cruz is doing what he said he would do while campaigning. Who knows, maybe it will spark discussion on spending.
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