WASHINGTON (Washington Times) — Sen. Rand Paul on Thursday blocked the Senate’s attempt to fast-track President Biden’s $40 billion military and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine over concerns there is insufficient oversight and transparency into how the money is being spent.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, both hoped for a swift final passage of the bill, after the House overwhelmingly approved the aid 368-57 on Tuesday.
But Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican, blocked Mr. McConnell’s request for unanimous consent on the measure Thursday afternoon without the addition of language into the bill that would create a special inspector general to oversee the disbursal of aid to Ukraine.
The move was met with vitriol from both the Democrat and Republican leaders anxious to get the aid out the door. Mr. Paul’s objection will push the Senate’s final vote on the measure into next week.
“He is simply saying my way or the highway,” Mr. Schumer said. “When you have a proposal to amend a bill, you can’t just come to the floor and demand it by fiat. You have to convince other members to back it first. That is how the Senate works.”
WASHINGTON (Breitbart)– Senate Democrats on Wednesday failed to pass legislation that would prohibit local, state, and federal governments from preventing abortions.
The Senate attempted to invoke cloture and end debate on S. 4132, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022. The motion failed 49-51, as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) opposed the motion, and it required 60 votes to invoke cloture. The legislation would prohibit government restrictions on access to abortions. Specifically, the legislation states that governments may not limit a healthcare provider’s ability to:
- Prescribe certain drugs
- Offer abortion services via telemedicine
- Immediately provide abortion services when the provider determines a delay risks the patient’s health
The legislation, according to Congress.gov, stipulates:
In addition, governments may not (1) require patients to make medically unnecessary in-person visits before receiving abortion services or disclose their reasons for obtaining such services, or (2) prohibit abortion services before fetal viability or after fetal viability when a provider determines the pregnancy risks the patient’s life or health.
The bill also prohibits other governmental measures that are similar to the bill’s specified restrictions or that otherwise single out and impede access to abortion services, unless a government demonstrates that the measure significantly advances the safety of abortion services or health of patients and cannot be achieved through less restrictive means.
The Department of Justice, individuals, or providers may bring a lawsuit to enforce this bill, and states are not immune from suits for violations.
The bill applies to restrictions imposed both prior and subsequent to the bill’s enactment.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sponsored the legislation after Politico leaked a draft Supreme Court opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade. The Senate Democrats proposed the legislation to attempt to enshrine many of the pro-abortion protections enabled by the landmark Supreme Court ruling.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said in a statement after the vote:
Today’s vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act is a continuation of the left’s mission to undermine the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and prop up their abortion-on-demand agenda. This bill would force states to legalize late-term abortions, remove informed consent laws, and prevent restrictions on gruesome fetal dismemberment procedures. Today, I stood up to the woke mob and voted to protect women and their unborn children.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who voted against the bill, said that the bill “would disenfranchise every voter in Missouri, overturn our state laws – and give the power to DC Democrats.”
Sean Moran of Breitbart contributed to the contents of this report.
WASHINGTON (The Hill) — Joe Biden on Monday signed into law a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill at a boisterous ceremony at the White House, sealing a major accomplishment of his first term after weeks of negotiations in the House culminated in a bipartisan vote.
Biden welcomed lawmakers from both parties, from Congress and from state and local governments, to celebrate the passage of the bill and tout what he insisted would be the transformational ways it would improve day-to-day life for many Americans.
Biden used the bill signing to highlight a rare instance of bipartisanship at a polarized time in U.S. politics, even as former President Trump and other conservatives were suggesting House Republicans who voted for the bill should be challenged in primaries or stripped of committee assignments.
After weeks of talks and two trips to the Capitol from Biden, the House voted on the infrastructure bill earlier this month, passing it with a final tally of 228-206, with 13 Republicans crossing the aisle to support the measure, and six progressive Democrats bucking Biden and party leaders to oppose it.
The Senate passed the bill three months earlier in August, with 19 Republicans joining Democrats to move it to the House. The legislation languished there for weeks as progressives sought assurances on the other key piece of Biden’s economic agenda — a social spending bill focused on climate, child care and health care programs that Democrats intend to pass without GOP support through budget reconciliation.
The $1.2 trillion bill, which contains roughly $550 billion in new funding, will provide for new investments in roads, bridges and railways around the country. White House officials have also said it will allow for the replacement of lead pipes to provide clean drinking water to communities, establish a network of electric vehicle charging stations and help expand internet access for swaths of the country that do not have it.
Biden has tapped former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) as a senior White House adviser to coordinate the implementation of the bill, which cuts across several government agencies.
Democrats are hoping that officials will be able to get some projects up and running quickly so the public feels the impact of the legislation, which could help Biden and his party politically ahead of the midterms.
Biden’s approval ratings have been sinking for several weeks and it’s unclear thus far whether the president will see a bump from the infrastructure bill becoming law.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted after the infrastructure bill passed the House found that 41 percent approve of Biden’s handling of the presidency, while 53 percent disapprove, a new low for Biden in the survey.
Attention will now shift to the fate of a $1.75 trillion proposal that is contains many of the priorities of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, including funding to combat climate change, efforts to expand health care access and child care assistance, as well as money toward education and housing programs.
If the House passes the reconciliation bill, it will likely be tweaked in the Senate, where Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has expressed reservations about moving too quickly with such a major piece of legislation.