Posts Tagged ‘House Republicans’

House votes to stop Obama immigration lawsuits

The House voted early Wednesday morning to stop the Obama administration’s lawsuits against state immigration laws.

The amendment, which strips funding so that the Justice Department cannot pursue the lawsuits, passed 238-173. Twelve Democrats voted for it, while six Republicans voted against it.

The amendment specifically applies to laws in Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, Utah, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Indiana. The Obama administration and immigrant-rights groups have sued to block laws in each of those states.

“Instead of using tax dollars to sue states, the Department of Justice and other branches of this government should start focusing on enforcing existing immigration laws,” said Rep. Lou Barletta, a Pennsylvania Republican who as mayor of Hazleton oversaw a city ordinance cracking down on illegal immigration. “Until they do, the Department of Justice should not receive one federal tax dollar to sue states.”

Last month the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the Obama administration’s challenge to Arizona’s crackdown law, which requires state and local police to check the legal status of those they are investigating whom they suspect of being in the country illegally.

The amendment still would need approval by the Senate and acceptance by President Obama — both of which are unlikely. But Wednesday’s vote underscores the popularity of state laws. Recent polling shows an overwhelming majority of voters support the idea of states being able to act.

The Republicans who voted against the amendment were Reps. Judy Biggert of Illinois, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Robert Dold of Illinois, Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania, David Rivera of Florida and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

The Democrats who voted yes were Reps. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, John Barrow of Georgia, Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Ben Chandler of Kentucky, Larry Kissell of North Carolina, Stephen F. Lynch of Massachusetts, Jim Matheson of Utah, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Colin Peterson of Minnesota, Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia, Mike Ross of Arkansas and Heath Shuler of North Carolina.

House GOP moves to defund health care law

House Republicans are taking another shot at the health care law, this time with a threat to cut off funding.

By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said he expects an amendment to defund the law will be offered next week when the House considers a budget for the rest of 2011.

The amendment is likely to be offered by Rep. Dennis Rehberg, R-Mont., chairman of the House appropriations panel that funds the Health and Human Services Department. Rehberg announced recently that he will run in 2012 for the Senate seatnow held by Democrat Jon Tester.

Cantor told reporters on Tuesday that “one way or the other” the budget bill will “preclude any funding” for the health care, and spoke of Rehberg’s “insistence” that such a provision will be offered.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office sent out an e-mail to reporters chiding Republicans for the defunding effort.

“Instead of focusing on Americans’ number one priority — jobs — Republicans are threatening patients’ rights and moving to put health insurance companies back in charge,” said Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesman.

When Rehberg was appointed chairman of the health appropriations panel, he made clear to reporters that President Obama’s signature domestic achievement was in his sights.

“I will defund Obamacare if we’re not successful repealing it,” Rehberg told the Bozeman (Mont.) Daily Chronicle.

The GOP-led House last month easily passed a bill to repeal the health care law, but majority Democrats blocked a similar effort in the Senate.

Meanwhile, according to The Hill, an Iowa Republican told a Tea Party gathering that the effort to defund the health care law has a precedent.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said Democrats used the same strategy to cut off funding for the Vietnam War. But he told the town hall meeting that he’ll push to defund the law permanently.

House GOP Readies Ban on EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations

Published February 02, 2011

| Associated Press

WASHINGTON –  In a sharp challenge to the Obama administration, House Republicans intend to unveil legislation Wednesday to ban the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act and expect to advance the bill quickly, officials disclosed Tuesday night.

The officials said the bill would nullify all of the steps the EPA has taken to date on the issue, including a threshold finding that greenhouse gases constitute a danger to the public health and welfare.

In addition, it seeks to strip the agency of its authority to use the law in any future attempts to crack down on the emissions from factories, utilities and other stationary sources.

Many scientists say that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollution contribute to global warming, and attempts at regulating them is a major priority for President Barack Obama as well as environmentalists. Critics argue the evidence is thin and that new rules will drive up the cost of business and cause the loss of jobs.

The officials who described the GOP plans did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to pre-empt the release of a draft measure prepared by the Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan.

he legislation marks yet another arena in which newly empowered House Republicans are moving quickly to challenge the administration.

Sworn into office less than a month ago, the House has already voted to repeal last year’s health care law and is advancing toward a series of expected confrontations with Obama over Republican demands for deep spending cuts. In addition, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, recently announced support for legislation to restrict abortions.

A vote on the greenhouse gases bill would occur first in the Energy and Commerce Committee, and is expected later this winter. The measure would then go to the House floor, where Republicans express confidence they have a strong enough majority to overcome objections by Democrats, many of whom are expected to oppose it on environmental grounds.

Republicans are attempting similar restrictions in the Senate, where the Democrats are in a majority and the political situation is more complicated. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming has introduced a more sweeping measure than the one House Republicans are drafting. At the same time, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has proposed a two-year moratorium on EPA attempts to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, a plan that already has attracted a handful of Democratic supporters.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA has authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, but it wasn’t until the Obama administration took office that the effort began.

Initially, the administration’s principal focus in the area was on passage of legislation to impose restrictions, but that attempt failed when the Senate balked at a bill Democrats pushed through the House in 2009.

Since the Republican election gains of last fall, Obama has made several moves to accommodate the concerns of business, including an executive order to weed out proposed new regulations that would hurt job growth. Despite the order, there has been no indication to date that the White House intends to stop plans to regulate greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act.

In a statement posted on its website late last year, the EPA announced it is moving unilaterally to clamp down on power plant and oil refinery greenhouse emissions, announcing plans for developing new standards over the next year.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said the aim was to better cope with pollution contributing to climate change.

“We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce GHG pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans,” Jackson said in a statement. She said emissions from power plants and oil refineries constitute about 40 percent of the greenhouse gas pollution in this country.

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