New & Notable Legislation

by Derek Granquist on March 5, 2010

The Senate passed a $15 billion “jobs” bill Wednesday by a 70-28 vote. Thirteen Republicans, including newly minted Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, joined Democrats in voting for passage. The centerpiece is a payroll tax cut for businesses that hire new employees, but it’s unlikely that short-term tax relief will have a real effect on unemployment. The bill now goes to the House for consideration, though leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus have announced their opposition to the bill, which they called inadequate and just a “tax bill,” not a jobs bill. No word yet from the Congressional White Caucus.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced the Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA), S. 3002, which would empower the Food and Drug Administration to regulate dietary supplements such as vitamins. The FDA could arbitrarily reclassify supplements as drugs or pull them off the shelves altogether. Find that one in the Constitution. With Republicans like this, who needs Democrats?

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) plans to introduce legislation to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prohibits homosexuals from disclosing their pathology while serving in the military. The White House supports his bill, but no timeline for its implementation has been established. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) introduced a more aggressive bill in the House that calls for repeal in 2010. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have indicated support for repealing the law but stated that the Pentagon would need at least a year to study implementation. General James Conway, head of the U.S. Marine Corps, dissented. “My best military advice … would be to keep the law such as it is.” Conway added that the only question that mattered is this: “Do we somehow enhance the war fighting capabilities of the United States Marine Corps by allowing homosexuals to openly serve?”

House Democrats expressed their displeasure with the slow pace of their Senate counterparts by producing a list of 290 House-passed bills that are stalled in the upper chamber. The various pieces of that legislation range from routine naming of buildings to more significant legislation like health care, Wall Street reform and climate change. Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were both quick to blame Republicans, but Reid’s Democrats had held a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate until earlier this month. The Democrats have few if any friends across the aisle, but their worst enemies seem to be located within their own caucus. All in all, these 290 stalled bills are the best news to come out of the Swamp all week.

From the Patriot Post

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