How Cloture Killed the 115th CongressCloture was originally designed to protect the minority's right to debate, but it has now degenerated into a very effective way for the minority to prevent any debate.
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February 13, 2019 Vote Notes on Legislation
January 29, 2019 Speeches
Our country faces two dangers that have proven fatal to other countries: the collapse of our borders and the collapse of our finances. This bill doesn’t solve our border crisis and it makes our fiscal woes worse. It provides only $1.375 billion of the $5.7 billion necessary to complete the border wall at a time when 60,000 foreign nationals are illegally crossing into our country every month. Further, it hamstrings the use of this money with restrictions on the type of wall that can be constructed, confines it geographically, orders massive breaks in coverage and subjects it to local delays. Worse, it places new restrictions on law enforcement in trying to enforce our existing immigration law. Furthermore, the President has statutory authority to re-reprogram more than $13 billion in military construction funds for border wall construction without such restrictions. With or without this bill, he will still need to invoke this authority. While the measure doesn’t solve the border crisis, it irresponsibly increases overall spending at a time when revenues are essentially flat, moving us closer to a trillion-dollar annual deficit which economists warn is risking a debt spiral and ultimately a sovereign debt crisis. Countries that can’t defend their borders or that bankrupt themselves aren’t around very long. This bill fails to defend our borders and brings us closer to catastrophic fiscal insolvency.
Withdrawing Congressional Authorization for Use of Force in Support of Yemeni Government: No. I am sympathetic to the concern of supporters that the use of military force can only be authorized by Congress and should only be authorized in response to an attack on U.S. territory or military forces. However, in the case of U.S. support against the Houthi rebels, the authorization was provided in the Authorization for the Use of Military Force approved by Congress in 2001, which covers the extremist elements directly affiliated with the Houthi rebels like Hezbollah. I have serious concerns about the way the AUMF was drafted and how it has been pursued, but invoking the War Powers Resolution, which hasn’t been done since the Vietnam war, after Congress has provided authorization is ill advised and will negatively impact our credibility in the region.
This act prohibits U.S. withdrawal from NATO and commits perpetual American support. While I support NATO and our continued presence in it, this bill is unnecessary and appears deliberately aimed at undercutting the President’s efforts to get NATO countries to pay their fair share for its support. NATO was formed to provide security against the now-defunct Soviet Union; not to relieve individual European nations from their responsibility to maintain their own defenses at America’s expense.
This bill funds Interior and related agencies through the end of the fiscal year. Setting aside the current impasse over border security, the bill is ill-advised on its merits. It plusses up almost every request made by the administration, with the notable exception of PILT funding that compensates rural communities that are slammed by excessive federal ownership of land in their jurisdictions. It reduces funds approved by the Republican House last year for hazardous fuels reduction, national park maintenance, and water infrastructure...