#LLPH #House Key Vote Alert: “NO” on #HR749 ( #Amtrak Reauthorization) & “YES” on McClintock Amdt.! #TCOT #Liberty

amtrak logo temp

LLPH urges all House members to vote NO on H.R. 749, the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 which reauthorizes Amtrak. Offered by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), Pete DeFazio (D-OR), Jeff Denham (R-CA), and Michael Capuano (D-MA), this bill does little to reform Amtrak.

Amtrak (The National Railroad Passenger Corporation) is a publicly funded railroad system. Amtrak does decent transportation work, but the federal government has no constitutional role in this area. With an $18+ Trillion, the federal government should stop subsidizing Amtrak and privatize it. Allow the free market to work.

Our friends at the Heritage Action explains several problems with the bill:

The bill’s sponsors misleadingly claim the bill “reduces Amtrak’s authorized funding levels by 40 percent.”  This is a reduction in previous authorization levels, but does not represent an actual reduction in spending, as authorizations for Amtrak have consistently exceeded appropriations.  For instance, Amtrak received $1.4 billion in FY 2015.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, H.R. provides $1.4 billion for Amtrak in FY 2016.

Amazingly, the bill also increases the authorized subsidy for money-losing long distance routes rather than placing these routes on a path to fiscal sustainability.  The Heritage Foundation called for the elimination of federal operating subsidies in its recently released “Budget Book: 106 Ways to Reduce the Size & Scope of Government.”  These subsidies also stand in stark contrast to theHouse-passed FY 2015 budget:

“The budget supports eliminating operating subsidies that have been insulating Amtrak from making the structural reforms necessary to start producing returns. The 1997 Amtrak authorization law required Amtrak to operate free of subsidies by 2002.”

Another selling point made by the bill’s sponsors is a provision that supposedly “eliminates Amtrak’s losses in food and beverage service.” Despite the fact that Congress has technically prohibited Amtrak from running losses on its food and beverage service since 1981, Amtrak lost $87 million per year providing food and beverage services from 2006 to 2012.  The consequences for noncompliance under this new policy would not occur until after the bill’s funding authority expires.  There is little incentive for Amtrak to make the necessary reforms to ensure that its food and beverage service does not continue to be a taxpayer liability.

Amtrak has failed to respond to congressional mandates for decades, and there is little reason for that to change under H.R. 749.  If lawmakers want to provide quality, reliable service without burdening taxpayers they should seek to privatize Amtrak, ending federal subsidies altogether.

The Club for Growth states:

In the official 2012 GOP platform, it states, “Amtrak continues to be, for the taxpayers, an extremely expensive railroad.”  Indeed, most Republicans claim they want to end or greatly reform Amtrak.  But this bill doesn’t do that, even though it was drafted and supported by House GOP leaders.  Spending authorization levels go up, not down, between fiscal years 2016 and 2019.  Worse, the bill allows taxpayer-backed debt to be more easily accessed – up to a whopping $35 billion.

Thankfully, conservative members are stepping up to the plate to massively improve the bill. Rep. Tom McClintock, one of the stalwart defenders of liberty and a close friend of LLPH has offered a simple but strong freedom amendment. It reads:

Page 2, line 3, through page 3, line 10, strike section 101.

This amendment would eliminate all Federal assistance for Amtrak. We are in strong support of the amendment.

H.R. 749: http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20150302/CPRT-114-HPRT-RU00-HR749.pdf

LLPH urges a YES vote on the McClintock Amendment to H.R. 749 and a NO vote on H.R. 749 if the amendment is not adopted. We intend to score the McClintock Amendment 20 points in our scorecard and H.R. 749 50 points. As usual, voting correctly and constitutionally will get members positive 20 and 75 points negatively respectively, while voting incorrectly will lead members to receive negative 20 and 75 points respectively.

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#LLPH #House & #Senate Key Vote: “NO” on “Clean” #DHS Funding Long or Short-Term! #TCOT #NoAmnesty

LLPH urges all members of both chambers to vote NO on any DHS Funding bill that does not defund executive amnesty whether short-term or long-term. Kicking the can down the road while letting executive amnesty move forward is wrong.

Congress has the power of the purse and must use it. We will score any votes on any DHS Funding bills that does not defund amnesty negatively. It is that simple. Vote NO!

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#LLPH #House Key Vote: “NO” on #HR5 (#StudentSuccessAct)! #NCLB #Education #NoChildLeftBehind #TCOT

LLPH is officially urging a NO vote on H.R. 5, The Student Success Act. While this bill contains some good reforms, it fails to remove the federal government from its unconstitutional role in education and reauthorizes major parts of No Child Left Behind.

Here are some our largest problems with the bill (thanks to our friends at Heritage Action for putting this together):

H.R. 5 does not enable states to completely opt out of the programs that fall under No Child Left Behind. The bill does not include language that would allow states to opt out of all the programs that fall under NCLB, along with the law’s mandates, and utilize those dollars for any lawful education purpose under state law.

H.R. 5 does not eliminate programs or reduce spending.  The bill consolidates more than 65 programs into a Local Academic Flexible Grant, which requires states to submit detailed documentation, follow prescriptive rules, and comply with onerous reporting requirements.  This is not a block grant.  Furthermore, H.R. 5 does not appreciably reduce spending in relation what was actually spent.

H.R. 5 does not eliminate all the burdensome federal mandates.  Although the proposal wisely eliminates counterproductive and prescriptive Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) mandates, H.R. 5 maintains the current NCLB mandates for states to establish standards in reading and math and to test kids annually between grades 3-8 and once in high school. H.R. 5 orders that academic achievement standards “include the same knowledge, skills, and levels of achievement expected of all public school students in the state.” States must also use “the same academic assessments…to measure the academic achievement of all public school students in the state.” Taken together, these twin mandates direct the state to establish a single uniform assessment, limiting the ability of local schools to determine their own curriculum.

H.R. 5 does not provide states the option of full Title 1 portability.   H.R. 5 provides increased portability, but only to public schools and public charter schools. Adequate portability would extend to private schools of choice, if a state chose.

For each of the substantial shortfalls described above, an amendment was submitted to the House Rules Committee for consideration.

An amendment proposed by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), known as A-PLUS, would have given the states the ability to escape NCLB’s prescriptive and programmatic requirements, consolidate their federal education funds and use them for any lawful education purpose they deem beneficial.  Even though 91 current members of the House Republican Conference have co-sponsored a version of A-PLUS, it was not made in order by the Rules Committee.

An amendment by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) and DeSantis would have eliminated federal testing mandates, avoiding the “twin mandate” that H.R. 5 would create.  It was not made in order by the Rules Committee.

Finally, an amendment by Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) would have expanded the Title I portability in H.R. 5 to include private schools, if a state chose, while protecting their autonomy.  Despite the Speaker’s vocal support for school choice, it was not made in order by the Rules Committee.

Now is the time for Congress to restore federalism in education, empower parents and students instead of bureaucrats and unions, and remove archaic obstacles that have prevented true opportunity for all. By blocking commonsense conservative amendments, the House Rules Committee precluded lawmakers the opportunity to address the bill’s underlying problems.

The bill funds education programs in the billions of dollars, continuing to involve the federal government in the education business. It continues to require federal testing and forces states to develop standards, which even proponents like Rep. Todd Rokita admits (although not explicitly):

It is true the Student Success Act requires states to develop academic standards in reading, math, and science, against which student and school performance can be measured.

In approving a state’s curriculum, H.R. 5 states on page 43 of the Rules Committee Print:

The secretary shall—

‘‘(B) disapprove of the State plan only if the Secretary demonstrates how the State plan fails to meet the requirements of this section and immediately notifies the State of such determination and the reasons for such determination;

The Secretary of Education can make any decision and be vague in their reasoning. If the secretary makes the decision in a political way, the bill does not state how Congress is going to hold the secretary accountable.

Let’s also look at the House Education and Workforce summary of the bill in which they admit that the federal government will still be involved:

States are required to give the same reading and math assessments to all students in the state in each of grades 3-8 and once in high school.

Many portions of H.R. 5 are similar or exactly worded from No Child Left Behind. This bill is 600+ pages…it does not take 600+ pages to eliminate the Department of Education and get the federal government out of the way of states and local governments.

Multiple amendments were offered to improve the bill, but the GOP leadership refused to allow the bill to receive a vote.

It is for all these reasons we urge a NO vote on H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, because it does too little to help our states, our parents, our teachers, and most importantly our students. This vote will likely be included as a TEST (50%) section, if not in our QUIZ (40%) section.

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#House #Conservatives Stand Up Against Current #StudentSuccessAct; Call for Amendments! #TCOT #Education #NCLB #HR5

LLPH is continuing to stand against H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, in its current form. We are glad to see strong conservatives representatives fighting against the Student Success Act, since it reauthorizes most of No Child Left Behind and keeps a large part of federal government control.

Washington Examiner reports:

Conservatives are balking at a GOP measure that would reform the unpopular No Child Left Behind Act, which could threaten passage this week.

The bill would reduce federal input when it comes to deciding where federal dollars are spent on low-income and impoverished students.

The right faction of the House Republican conference wants the bill to go further to unwind federal involvement in education and some say they won’t vote for the measure unless there is an opportunity to change it through the amendment process.

House offices have been flooded with calls from constituents, GOP lawmakers told theWashington Examiner, and conservative groups are lobbying against the measure.

“Right now I’m a no,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., who homeschools his children, said. “I just have a philosophical opposition and a constitutional opposition to No Child Left Behind. Take it all out. Get rid of No Child Left Behind.”

Republican support is critical for the legislation to pass, since Democrats appear wholly opposed to the legislation.

President Obama has threatened to veto the bill, saying it “abdicates the historic federal role in elementary and secondary education of ensuring the educational progress of all of America’s students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners and students of color.”

The legislation would allow federal dollars to follow the student, rather than tying the money to a school district, and would give states more flexibility on how they administer some aspects of the No Child program, which was first implemented during the administration of George W. Bush but has been widely criticized.

Conservatives are demanding a range of changes to the GOP re-write, including an opt-out policy for states who do not want to participate in the program.

“We feel all of those tentacles should be taken down,” Rep. John Fleming, R-La., said.”The only role the federal government should have is to ensure that the states have testing and some level of quality attainment but not dictating to the states what programs and curriculum they should have.”

A vote on the Success Act is slated for Friday.

According to a House GOP leadership aide, there are no plans to pull the bill.

Republicans can only afford to lose about 27 Republican votes on the legislation to prevent it from failing.

“We are moving forward as scheduled,” the aide said. “We don’t really feel that it is in jeopardy.”

Conservatives are balking at a GOP measure that would reform the unpopular No Child Left Behind Act, which could threaten passage this week.

The bill would reduce federal input when it comes to deciding where federal dollars are spent on low-income and impoverished students.

The right faction of the House Republican conference wants the bill to go further to unwind federal involvement in education and some say they won’t vote for the measure unless there is an opportunity to change it through the amendment process.

House offices have been flooded with calls from constituents, GOP lawmakers told theWashington Examiner, and conservative groups are lobbying against the measure.

“Right now I’m a no,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., who homeschools his children, said. “I just have a philosophical opposition and a constitutional opposition to No Child Left Behind. Take it all out. Get rid of No Child Left Behind.”

Republican support is critical for the legislation to pass, since Democrats appear wholly opposed to the legislation.

President Obama has threatened to veto the bill, saying it “abdicates the historic federal role in elementary and secondary education of ensuring the educational progress of all of America’s students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners and students of color.”

The legislation would allow federal dollars to follow the student, rather than tying the money to a school district, and would give states more flexibility on how they administer some aspects of the No Child program, which was first implemented during the administration of George W. Bush but has been widely criticized.

Conservatives are demanding a range of changes to the GOP re-write, including an opt-out policy for states who do not want to participate in the program.

“We feel all of those tentacles should be taken down,” Rep. John Fleming, R-La., said.”The only role the federal government should have is to ensure that the states have testing and some level of quality attainment but not dictating to the states what programs and curriculum they should have.”

A vote on the Success Act is slated for Friday.

According to a House GOP leadership aide, there are no plans to pull the bill.

Republicans can only afford to lose about 27 Republican votes on the legislation to prevent it from failing.

“We are moving forward as scheduled,” the aide said. “We don’t really feel that it is in jeopardy.”

We thank strong leaders like Rep. John Fleming (LA-4) and Tim Huelskamp (KS-1) for standing strong and calling for changes to the bill. The House Rules Committee is meeting on amendments tonight to decide which ones to allow to the floor, and we will announce which amendments we will be key voting soon.

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BIG Week in #Congress #House #Senate: #DHSFunding (#DHS), #Education (#NCLB), #LorettaLynch Cmte. Vote! #TCOT

This is a big week in congress and conservatives will be able to make huge separations between the men versus the boys, the women versus the girls, the constitutional heroes versus the surrender caucus members.

DHS FUNDING: First, both the Senate and House are expected to deal with funding for the Department of Homeland Security which is expected to run out on February 27, 2015. Republicans, led by conservative members, have insisted that DHS funding be tied to the defunding of executive amnesty. With the recent rulings by the judicial branch concerning President Obama’s executive amnesty in which he tried to grand millions of illegal immigrants the “right” to stay, it should be a no-brainer but to defund his actions. Unfortunately, Democrats have decided to stand by their man in lockstep, and so Republicans will need to decide whether to hold their ground or cave. We will keep you posted on any updates we receive but we intend to key vote NO on any DHS Funding Bill, long-term or short-term that does not defund executive amnesty. We wanted to have this fight in December on the CRomnibus, but leadership told us to wait for this bill. We expect them to hold their ground.

“STUDENT SUCCESS ACT”: The House of Representatives will be working on H.R. 5 (The Student Success Act), which unfortunately does little to decrease federal involvement in education. While the bill contains some good provisions, it falls remarkably short of a full repeal of the failed No Child Left Behind and leaves a lot of education control in the hands of the federal government. It even reauthorizes several parts of No Child Left Behind. The minimum that Republicans should agree on is that the federal government has no role in education, otherwise we might as well pack up and go home. The House Freedom Caucus is expected to offer several good amendments to try to improve the bill, and we will keep you posted on these amendments and votes on them.

Until then, barring significant changes to H.R. 5, LLPH will urge a NO vote on H.R. 5, and we will score this vote in our scorecard.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to be the next Eric Holder because she will be in lockstep with him, should be an easy nominee to oppose. The main reason why conservatives should oppose her is her support for President Obama’s amnesty. Her confirmation vote is this Friday and with a Republican majority, she is sure to fail to pass the committee vote. At least that is the way we wished it would be. Unfortunately, the Republican majority is only as good as the letter and the sound as several RINOs like Senators Hatch and Graham, members of the Surrender Caucus, are planning to vote for her confirmation. You can find members of the Judiciary Committee and urge them to vote against her: http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/members

As you can see, this is a busy week in congress with a lot of action and we need you to stay engaged. We will update you as new reports come in on these important topics. You can also stay up to date on member’s scores by visiting our scorecard page here.

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2/15/2015: #LLPH Team Conservatives Ready to Fight #Amnesty on #DHS! #NoAmnesty #ExecutiveAmnesty

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From The Hill:

Hard-line House GOP conservatives aren’t worried about a looming Department of Homeland Security shutdown as the deadline for congressional action draws near.

Many of the conservative lawmakers who most want to aggressively challenge President Obama’s executive actions on immigration think that if push comes to shove, a shutdown will be worth the fight.

And at this point, they don’t think there will be any electoral consequences if there is a shutdown.

“I’m just not that scared of sticking to principles and filling campaign promises that we made back home, irrespective of what leadership tells us to do here,” said Rep. Curt Clawson (R-Fla.).

“It’s worth having this fight,” said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.).

Gone are assurances from Republican lawmakers that there won’t be a shutdown later this month.

Most DHS employees are considered “essential,” meaning that workers like border patrol agents and Transportation Security Administration employees would remain on the job, albeit without pay. So in the eyes of some lawmakers, a DHS shutdown wouldn’t have as much impact as the government-wide shutdown in 2013.

“The shutdown would be extremely limited. It would be only in one department, with only a small percentage of people in that one department. But again, nobody has a goal here of shutting anything down. The goal here is to get the president to get right with the Constitution that he swore an oath to uphold,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.).

The complacency extends to the coming week’s congressional recess. Lawmakers of all political stripes said they weren’t worried about spending all of next week in their districts for the Presidents’ Day holiday.

And yet only one lawmaker suggested that Congress should stay in Washington and keep working to solve the impasse.

“Forget about recess,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said at an event held with the Heritage Foundation this week. “Imagine what the American people will think about our party, the Republican Party, if we stay here for a week, we decide not to go on recess, and we actually fight for the principles that the American people sent us here to fight for.”

But Fleming refused to acknowledge that the strategy won’t take them any farther.

“I was elected to represent my district, not to predict the future,” Fleming said when a reporter pointed out that the fourth vote would fail like the others.

We encourage these great conservatives to keep up the fight and stand strong. We are so proud of their efforts!

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#CWC114: February 12, 2015: #DHS, #Immigration, #CRomnibus, #AUMF, #Conservatives! #TCOT

Conversations with Conservatives February 12, 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0YyR4ivQ9s

House Members Participating:

Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-4), Curt Clawson (FL-19), Raul Labrador (ID-1), Tim Huelskamp (KS-1), Thomas Massie (KY-4), Mark Walker (NC-6), Jim Jordan (OH-4), Jeff Duncan (SC-3), Mick Mulvaney (SC-5).

Highlights:

Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-4): “You have to define your enemy before you can defeat your enemy” on president’s proposals

Letting this go is a precedent for more bad behavior. My constituents don’t feel protected.

Rep. Curt Clawson (FL-19): AUMF – I would have to see a big coalition with big effort from others so we don’t have to bear more than we should.

Reporter: if DHS shutdown, will there be election impact? wasn’t last time. : people like officials who don’t flip.

I’m not afraid of sticking to principles and to my campaign promises.

Rep. Raul Labrador (ID-1): “media going apoplectic about Boehner inviting Bibi w/o talking 2 Obama, yet they dont care about executive amnesty

“The DHS obstruction is coming from Senate democrats.”

On funding lapse vs. short term ext. of DHS – senate needs to allow debate happen. Sen. Dems are the obstructionists

Ask Sen. Dems why they are putting 5mil illegal immigrants before the Constitution & those who are doing it legally.

AUMF – says he needs to first see that there is an existential threat.

On funding lapse vs. short term ext. of DHS – senate needs to allow debate happen. Sen. Dems are the obstructionists

Ask Sen. Dems why they are putting 5mil illegal immigrants before the Constitution & those who are doing it legally.

. what can you do if leadership puts a clean bill on the floor? We have to fight now, even if we lose.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (KS-1): Don’t let senate rules trump the Constitution.

Rep. Thomas Massie (KY-4): Bipartisan reform possible in criminal justice – fixing sentencing, addressing over incarceration. Pres would sign.

Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-4): DHS: said he didn’t have authority. Dems don’t need to change from that position to pass DHS funding

Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-3): Any AUMF should not micromanage war from DC.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (SC-5): “If the pres can’t pass , something so simple, then he can kiss the next two years goodbye.”

Senate should work! Instead of just signing their name. They should get up and speak.

AUMF – likes that there is some time table. Hours and hours of debate is very important. A vote is necessary.

We are where leadership thought we would be when we passed cromnibus.

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