Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: U.S. Rep. Broun files ‘Sanctity of Life Act’ then laughs at assassination question

Every year, some conservative politician files a bill in the U.S. House attempting to define “human life.” The reason, of course, is to use such a definition to then attack various policies such as legal abortion and stem cell research.

Luckily every year, cooler heads prevail and (rightly) decide that this question is a scientific and moral one, not political.

But this year, the introduction of a “Sanctity of Life” bill proves a little more ridiculous when you look at who sponsored it.

On January 7, Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia filed H.R. 212 — the Sanctity of  Human Life Act — to “provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization.” The language accompanying the bill states “the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being, and is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person.”

Now, fast forward to earlier this week, when the native Georgian organized a town hall meeting with his constituents. At one point, an elderly man asked Rep. Broun, “Who is going to shoot Obama.” According to witnesses, Rep. Broun responded with laughter and then failed to condemn the question:

“The thing is, I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president,” Broun responded, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. “We’re going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we’ll elect somebody that’s going to be a conservative, limited-government president … who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.” (Politico.com)

Rep. Broun may have respect for the life of the unborn, but that respect doesn’t seem to carry over to living humans — at least not if they are President of the United States.

Rating: 5 teabags

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Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: Florida Congressman wants to create ‘Museum of Ideas’

Rep. Clifford Stearns from Florida’s 6th Congressional district is one of the many Republicans in the house that campaigned on fiscal responsibility and cutting the nation’s deficit. This Florida Republican even sponsored legislation to bar Federal money from the United Nations and voted for the latest budget that cuts funding for a host of social betterment programs, including AmeriCorps and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

But while he uses one hand to push for a tighter reign on Washington’s wallet, he’s using his other hand to file H.R. 294, a bill that would create a commission to build a “Museum of Ideas.”

He’s filed this bill two other times in recent years.

Stearns’ Museum of Ideas would chronicle the evolution of civilization and human thought. Here’s what he told his hometown newspaper, the Ocala Star-Banner:

“Ideas and innovations — political, philosophical, religious, economic, technological — are the driving force in the human experience, and I believe that a museum dedicated to the creativity of mankind would preserve and celebrate these ideas and innovations, and educate the public on the power of thought,” Stearns explained in an e-mail.

Noble idea, I guess, but bad timing. While he has noted that he prefers private donations to build the museum, creating a commission in itself is costly, in both money and time.

Wait — I got an idea! How about tabling the  museum for the moment and put that time and money to better use, i.e. saving public-sector jobs? Or even better, not spending the money at all.

Rating: 2 teabags

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Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: Lawmakers target universities that accept illegal immigrants

While we’re still on the subject of illegal immigration, take a look at H.R. 310. This bill filed by Rep. Sue Myrick seeks to withhold Federal funds from universities who accept illegal immigrants. Some states have already passed laws barring illegal immigrants from college.

Last time I checked, it was federal agents (and now state police) who enforced immigration law, not universities. Secondly, most “illegal immigrant” students are those who were taken to the United States by their parents at a young age. Why should they be punished? And, illegal or not, wouldn’t barring thousands of young people from an education cause more harm to the communities with large immigrant populations, i.e. crime, poverty, use of social services?

Rep. Myrick holds some interesting views on immigration. Take a look at this interview where she explains how Hezbollah is entering the country at our southern border:

Rating: 2 teabags

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Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: The ‘Anchor Baby’ bill

Many legislators came to power in November campaigning on money-related issues: inflated budgets, taxes and the country’s economy. But many politicians also ran on various wedge issues – those hot button topics that force voters on one of two sides. After Arizona leaders passed a law giving police the power to stop drivers and check their immigration status, our neighbors to the south once again became a wedge issue.

So it comes as no surprise that politicians on both sides of the aisle are sponsoring immigration-related bills. Unfortunately, when dealing with an issue as complex as immigration, most politicians only offer simple, politically-expedient and divisive legislation.

The worst of the bills comes from Rep. Steve King. This Iowa Republican — who even scares other Republicans with his inflammatory language — is sponsoring the Birthright Citizenship Act, also known around talk radio circles as the “Anchor Baby Act.” This piece of legislation basically seeks to overturn the 14th amendment, which allows for U.S. citizenship to anyone born on American soil. H.R. 140 already has four other politicians signing on. In addition, many states are planning similar proposals.

Putting the immigration debate aside, this bill is a waste of time for three reasons:

1) If simply being born in the U.S. does not qualify us for citizenship, then a birth certificate is proved useless. How much money, time and hassle will it take for the country to move away from using birth certificates? And how long will that take?

2) The U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld birthright citizenship. Check out the United States v. Wong Kim Ark. Why file a bill that will be ruled unconstitutional? Because it’s the easy way to gain political points. If Rep. King would have filed a Constutitional amendment, we all know it wouldn’t pass.

3) It would have a negligible effect on the numbers of undocumented immigrants. Having babies is not the reason folks come to the United States. Employment is/has/will continue to be the No. 1 reason people cross our borders illegally. Even mothers who come to the U.S. pregnant so their children can become U.S. citizens only do so because they can get work and a better life. Which means, even if this passed, there would still be pregnant mothers crossing the borders. But instead of their children becoming U.S. citizens, the kids will just add to the statistics of illegal immigrants.

Rating: 5 teabags

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Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: Should we give 1 percent GDP to other countries?

Throughout the years, there have been numerous studies that show Americans are a charitable people, both at home and abroad. I would even say that philanthropy is a quality that defines our nation.

But Rep. Barbara Lee’s H. Con Res. 11 takes our coutnry’s philanthropic spirit and puts it on a track to become law. Somehow that doesn’t seem right.

H. Con. Res. 11 would declare that the “United States should provide, on an annual basis, an amount equal to at least 1 percent of United States gross domestic product (GDP) for nonmilitary foreign assistance programs.”

Rep. Lee makes some good points for the bill:

Whereas poverty, lack of opportunity, and environmental degradation are recognized as significant contributors to socioeconomic and political instability, as well as to the exacerbation of disease pandemics and other global health threats;

Whereas elevating the United States standing in the world represents a critical and essential element of any strategy to improve national and global security by mitigating the root causes of conflict and multinational terrorism, strengthening diplomatic and economic relationships, preventing global climate change, curbing weapons proliferation, and fostering peace and cooperation between all nations;

Right now, the bill is more of a statement and would not require Congress to appropriate such money. But it sets a precedent, so I’ve added it to the list.

Rating: 1 teabag

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Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: Now is not the time for a health care Constitutional amendment

While we’re on the subject of politicians with bad timing seeking to change the Constitution, let’s move our focus to another U.S. House member: Jesse Jackson Jr. He wants to add a health care provision to the Constitution.

From the bill:

``Section 1. All persons shall enjoy the right to health care of
equal high quality.
    ``Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce and implement
this article by appropriate legislation.''.

Don’t get me wrong: Mr. Jackson’s Constitutional amendment — along with several others he’s filed this session — seems to be in good faith. Yet, this doesn’t seem to be the best year for such an amendment.

Democrats will have to fight hard to even keep the latest health care law on the books as Republicans file bill after bill to reduce its effectiveness, including their absurdly partisan bill: Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. So, perhaps instead of grandstanding, Mr. Jackson should be spending time looking into doable initiatives this session.

Rating: 2 tea bags

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