The Senate's Weapons of Mass Distraction
There are just three weeks on the legislative calendar before November, and Democrats plan to spend all of them fixing the nonexistent "crisis of contraception." The world is literally falling to pieces, along with the U.S. economy, and liberals think we're obsessed with social issues? Democratic liberals think the future of the free world hinges on employers being forced -- under the threat of crippling fines -- to provide drugs that can end a pregnancy.
Days after a new report showed that free birth control is being covered in record numbers, liberals are complaining that the Supreme Court won't trample the First Amendment to deliver even more. Tossing aside tax, diplomatic, ObamaCare, military, and other reforms, Senate liberals are plowing ahead with their ridiculous agenda to overrule the Supreme Court.
Under a new bill from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), liberals want to re-impose the ObamaCare mandate on the same family businesses the justices just exempted. Murray's cleverly named Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act would make companies the ideological hostages of the federal government, ordering them to ignore their deeply held religious beliefs on contraception and abortifacients or pay crippling fines. And they'll resort to outright lies to do it. Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) showed shades of desperation when she wrongly implied that the justices had outlawed birth control altogether.
"Really, we should be afraid of this court," she insisted. "The five guys who start determining what contraception are legal." It was the kind of whopper that makes Pinocchio look honest. At the prompting of Fox News's Megyn Kelly, even PolitiFact wouldn't let Pelosi off the hook. Using its truth-o-meter, the media's referee called the California Democrat's statement patently "false."
And of course the irony, as Megyn points out, is that Pelosi is guilty of the same sexism she accused the Court of. "Does Ms. Pelosi think those justices were ill-equipped to fairly decide that case? Or is it only when a judge disagrees with Ms. Pelosi that his gender is an issue?" Pelosi's office, which was on clean-up duty after PolitiFact's reading, insisted the Minority Leader "misspoke." Of course, had a conservative male "misspoken" like Pelosi, we all know how that story would have ended.
In the meantime, birth control won't solve the problems in the Middle East, grow the GDP, or create jobs. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to matter to the President's party, who seems content to chuck the country's real priorities for its own political gain. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) knows a little something about election smokescreens, having just squeezed his First Amendment rewrite out of the Judiciary Committee.
On Thursday, liberals tried to camouflage their failures by fast-tracking a bill that would make them more bulletproof in the midterms. A summer away from a reelection bloodbath, Democrats know they can't hide from their records -- but they can try to silence the people talking about them. That's the aim of S.J. Res. 19, which would essentially strip political speech out of the First Amendment and put it in a separate legislative box where Congress (the targets of that speech) can regulate it.
Under Udall's bill, Congress would have the "power to regulate the raising and spending of money" on campaigns and candidates, undermining voters and minimizing the influence of their opponents. It could limit everything from "how many billboards a candidate can buy," Luke Wachob explains, "to how many hours [they] can spend going door-to-door." "A lot has changed over the years," Wachob writes for the Washington Examiner. "Instead of trying to change the culture by speaking out and organizing, now 43 Senators are trying to change the Constitution to prevent people from speaking out and organizing."
After passing out of Committee, Udall's amendment is postmarked for the Senate floor, where it will have a difficult time finding the two-thirds majority it needs to pass. Ultimately, however, the only approval that matters is voters' -- and Harry Reid will have a tough getting it for an agenda like his.
Law & Border: Bridenstine Weighs in on Detainees
President Obama wants Congress to pay for the border's detention centers -- but he sure doesn't want members visiting them! Last week, Oklahoma conservative Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R) was turned away from the temporary shelters in his own state and told to "make an appointment." The House freshman, one of the many members incredulous about the White House's $3.7 billion request for emergency immigration "aid," was stunned. "There is no excuse for denying a Federal Representative from Oklahoma access to a federal facility in Oklahoma where unaccompanied children are being held. Any member of Congress should have the legal authority to visit a federal youth detention facility without waiting three weeks."
With more than 52,000 children detained, Congressman Bridenstine wanted to see for himself the conditions these minors are facing. Worried about the PR fiasco that would ensure, Obama officials finally relented, giving the Congressman a tour of the facility at Ft. Sill with his House colleague Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). After visiting the center, Rep. Bridenstine said his fears were validated. "The children are exposed to human trafficking, abuse, and even death. My concerns about the 'sponsors' to whom the children are being released were also validated."
Still, he made clear, this is a crisis of the administration's own making. For six years, the President has pushed "failed policies" and refused "to enforce the law. The President's $3.7 billion spending proposal will not stop this... We must secure the border..." With so little time left on the legislative calendar, Congress will have to debate solutions sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, new Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd knows what Americans can do -- pray. Reminding Christians that the Gospel calls us to love the immigrant, Floyd asks Christians to come together and ask the Lord for a solution. "The lives of people are at stake," he urged. "The security of our nation is at stake. If you believe in prayer, please pray." FRC certainly believes in prayer, and we stand with the SBC in taking this urgent issue to God. We hope you'll join us.
** With the elevated threats overseas and at home, FRC's Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin had a lot to talk about with the Daily Caller, who invited him for a lengthy sit-down interview on subjects spanning the VA scandal to Benghazi. Don't miss the video below.
*** Two weeks after the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood ruling, experts are still studying its effects -- including FRC's own Travis Weber. Don't miss his analysis in The Federalist, "Supreme Court: Government Can't Make People Into Religious Hypocrites."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.