Defending the House GOP Agenda

As a political conservative, I have been waiting for quite awhile for the time when our leaders and representatives in the U.S. federal government would start chopping away at some of the unneeded and unwanted federal bureaucracy and regulatory restrictions and other laws that are a blight on our nation. From what I have seen so far, the Trump Administration combined with the current, Republican-led legislative branch is beginning to do just that. It won’t be easy, and there will be much internal disagreement. But, I am encouraged to see positive steps being taken.

So, you can probably imagine what I thought the other day, when a politically “progressive” friend of mine on Facebook — call him “SB” — shared the following on his wall:

In case anyone got overly sidetracked by the Russian spy drama, the following bills HAVE been introduced:

1. HR 861 Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency
2. HR 610 Vouchers for Public Education
3. HR 899 Terminate the Department of Education
4. HJR 69 Repeal Rule Protecting Wildlife
5. HR 370 Repeal Affordable Care Act
6. HR 354 Defund Planned Parenthood
7. HR 785 National Right to Work (this one ends unions)
8. HR 83 Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill
9. HR 147 Criminalizing Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”)
10. HR 808 Sanctions against Iran

Please copy/paste and share widely. Call your House Representative and ask them to not only vote “NO”…but to speak up for our rights, health & safety, and our beautiful country.

[Incidentally, I found a version on Citypages that includes “11. HR 622 Removing federal policing from National Parks turning over to local authorities.” Is that really so scary?]

I didn’t engage other than to Like another person’s “Go Donald” comment (even though the above are House bills and not Executive Orders). My friend’s response to this comment was:

“Just like Christ would have done right can we stop pretending we’re either Christians or he is for once and be honest with ourselves”

I took this comment to mean that SB thinks that 1) Jesus would be against these bills and 2) it is hypocritical for Trump or anyone else who is for them to call themselves “Christian”. (Just f.y.i., SB grew up in a Christian household but no longer professes to be a follower of Christ.) Leaving aside the question of Trump’s spiritual status, I strongly disagree. So, let’s take a brief look at each of these bills….

First, the “environment”.

1) The shared goal of #1 and #4 (and a couple others) is to get the federal government out of controlling areas where it’s not supposed to be. OK, sure, an argument can be made that the federal government has a vested interest in the nation’s ecological well-being, and the EPA is supposed to ensure that. But, the unelected officials running the EPA (under direction of the Executive) have long abused their position by instituting many costly and burdensome regulations on American businesses and individuals. (Check out this article for some examples.) We don’t need the EPA to responsibly care for our natural resources. In fact, we can do better without it.

4) HJR 69 is a Joint Resolution that says both houses of Congress disapprove (and hereby nullify) the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior relating to “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska” (81 Fed. Reg. 52247 (August 5, 2016)). Basically, this rule would allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to “seize authority away from the State of Alaska to manage fish and wildlife on federal wildlife refuges in Alaska – a clear violation of federal law.” (Read more here.)

Next is education.

2) Simply put, HR 610 is an effort to give parents more choice in where to have their children educated. As this Forbes article concludes,

“In simple terms, public schools would be left with fewer total dollars but more dollars per student. This implies opposition is not due to concerns over funding, but likely a simple case of trying to maximize public school enrollment so as to maximize unionized teaching jobs. Opponents of school choice are not worried about children, either the ones who want to leave or the ones that would stay. They only care about the teachers’ job security. So remember, the debate about school choice isn’t about education quality, it is really about jobs and union dues.”

3) The Constitution gives the federal government *no* authority in this area. Worse, since President Carter (re-)created it in 1979/80, the Dept. of Education has become a bloated, expensive, largely ineffective bureaucracy that, along with many teachers’ unions, actually works against the best interests of the students.

Healthcare & abortion…

5) Re HR 370, we all know what an extraordinarily expensive failure the ACA (aka Obamacare) has been. Sooner rather than later, we need a truly patient-centered, market-driven healthcare and insurance system. I’m not sure “Ryancare” is the best replacement — in fact, I have serious reservations about it. But, repealing the ACA is a necessary first step to getting there, so that Americans can truly have personal healthcare that is both competent and affordable.

6) Numbers 6 & 9 are — and this should be obvious by now, but… — to protect unborn, defenseless human lives. I have written several posts on the matter of abortion (see “Pro-Life’ link at top of page), so I won’t delve into that here. But, from a moral standpoint, it should be apparent why we should defund the #1 abortion-provider in America. It should also be clear from a Constitutional and financial standpoint why the federal government has no business funding an organization responsible for such atrocities, let alone to the tune of over a half billion dollars a year!

9) As for HR 147, here’s the beginning of the official summary:

“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2017

This bill imposes criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly or knowingly attempts to: (1) perform an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex, gender, color or race of the child, or the race of a parent; (2) use force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection or race-selection abortion; (3) solicit or accept funds for the performance of such an abortion; or (4) transport a woman into the United States or across a state line for the purpose of obtaining such an abortion.

Violations or attempted violations shall result in fines and/or imprisonment for up to five years….

A woman having such an abortion may not be prosecuted or held civilly liable.”

So, this is hardly an all-encompassing law to outlaw abortion, nor does it send violators to the electric chair, or even mandate anything close to a life sentence. Furthermore, the mothers are not held guilty. On the contrary, it punishes those involved in coercing, performing, or receiving funds for abortions based on sex- or race-selection. Even liberals should appreciate that!

Unions.

7) Contrary to the above, the National Right-to-Work Act would not end unions. Rather, by amending a few sections of the existing National Labor Relations Act, its stated purpose is:

“To preserve and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities.”

The labor unions currently have way too much control over who can be hired in the industries they are involved in. Workers are often forced to join a union if they have any hope of getting a job, and they are required to pay union dues. There may be benefits to being part of a union, but unions (and their dues) should never be mandated, especially when there is so much corruption typically involved. This bill not only gives laborers the right to have & join unions (which they already have, of course) but also makes it clear that are not required to do so (or pay dues/fees) and they have federal support should they choose to opt out.

Sanctuary cities?

8) There are many issues with illegal immigration in this country. For the sake of national security and the safety of U.S. citizens and legal residents, there needs to be cooperation between local/state governments (and their law-enforcement) and the federal government (and its law-enforcement). More to the point, defiance by local/state government is a big problem. To partially address one area of conflict, HR 83 has been sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA). According to the official summary,

“This bill prohibits a state or local government from receiving federal financial assistance for a minimum of one year if it restricts or prohibits a government entity or official from: (1) sending to or receiving from the responsible federal immigration agency information regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status, or (2) maintaining or exchanging information about an individual’s status.

The bill restores assistance eligibility upon a Department of Justice (DOJ) determination that the jurisdiction no longer restricts or prohibits such actions.

DOJ shall report each year to Congress regarding state or local jurisdictions that restrict or prohibit such actions.”

Seems fair to me.

Finally, Iran sanctions.

10) Iran is a very dangerous, terrorism-sponsoring, human rights-abusing nation. The U.S. (and our allies) must use whatever means we can to curb Iran’s agenda, based on its politico-religious aspirations, while trying to avoid going to war. Introduced by Rep. Peter J. Roskam (R-IL), HR 808 (i.e., “Iran Nonnuclear Sanctions Act of 2017”) proposes to do this via a number of a) sanctions with respect to entities owned by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); b) sanctions relating to human rights abuses in Iran; c) sanctions with respect to the ballistic missile program of Iran; d) sanctions with respect to certain Iranian transactions; and e) miscellaneous other measures, involving the modification of requirements relating to state sponsors of terrorism.

Granted, I only skimmed the bill, but I don’t think there is anything excessively harsh or uncalled for. On the contrary, Iran deserves everything we can do to slow them down and/or “punish” them for their many terrible actions.

Of course, the liberals/”progressives” love Big Government control and the associated reductions in Constitutionally-recognized freedoms. They are all for onerous restrictions in favor of “the environment”. They love abortion-on-demand. The unions give them a lot of money, support, and votes. And many think that letting states like Iran have nuclear weapons, etc., will make them feel “respected” and, thus, no longer feel the need to “posture” and do bad things. IMO, these attitudes betray a mix of naivete, misinformation, and moral confusion, but they explain why SB and others think these 10 bills are bad and need to be voted down.

I, on the other hand, see them as potentially doing a lot of good, increasing security, improving the economy, and saving innocent lives. As an American, I think these are all good things that promote the general welfare. As a professing Christian, I hold these to be positive things, the benefits of a wise government that seeks the best for its citizens and friends.

Jesus didn’t come to Earth (the first time) as a political savior. But, do I think He would be in favor of retaining inalienable rights (and perhaps granting others based in Judeo-Christian principles); improving/ensuring people’s health & safety in a fair, ethical, and economically effective way; and responsible management of natural resources in our beautiful country; not to mention, minimizing the potential for governmental tyranny? Yeah, I think He would.

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