Friday, June 30, 2006
MILWAUKEE - The nation's oldest Hispanic rights group scheduled numerous speakers - both Democrats and Republicans - for its annual convention, but one sought-after name is missing from the agenda.
The League of United Latin American Citizens says it wants to hear from U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner on why he proposed a bill that would make it a felony to be in the U.S. illegally and, among other things, build a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Sensenbrenner, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has not accepted any of its invitations, says the group, which this week is holding its annual convention in Milwaukee, the Republican's backyard.
More than 10,000 people are expected at the convention, which began Monday and wraps up Saturday. The week's programs include sessions on immigration, Hispanics and business, and health care.
Speakers include House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee and Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Sensenbrenner told representatives of the group that he has votes scheduled in Washington through Friday and constituent business on Saturday, said Jeff Lungren, a spokesman for Sensenbrenner and the House Judiciary Committee.
"Therefore, when deciding between serving the constituents that elected him or giving a speech to a special interest group, Congressman Sensenbrenner will choose his constituents every time," Lungren said.
LULAC has been using the proximity of its convention to the home district of Sensenbrenner, nearby Menomonee Falls, to call attention to his proposals. On Sunday night, about five members of the group, including the executive director, attended a town hall meeting held by Sensenbrenner in the Milwaukee suburb of Thiensville, said Gabriela Lemus, director of policy and legislation for LULAC.
She said Sensenbrenner, like several other lawmakers associated with the measure, changed topics when asked by LULAC members about his immigration proposals.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Judiciary Chair F. Jim Sensenbrenner lost a big vote in his committee Wednesday, and one report says he reacted with his typical temper tantrum and disregard for the rules. This from AP:
And this from Raw Story:
'Under God' pledge protection measure fails
GOP members fail to show for vote
WASHINGTON - House Republicans failed Wednesday to advance a bill protecting the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Only a day earlier, the GOP had placed the measure on its "American Values Agenda" in hopes of bolstering the party's prospects in the fall election.
But Republicans could not muster a simple majority on the issue in a committee where they outnumber Democrats by six.
The legislation tries to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over cases challenging the pledge. It responds to a federal appeals court ruling in 2002 that the pledge is unconstitutional because it contains the words "under God." A district court judge made a similar ruling last fall, citing the appeals court precedent.
Another shot possible
A simple majority is required to report a bill to the House floor with a favorable committee recommendation. The House Judiciary Committee split 15-15 on the pledge bill Wednesday; Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C., joined 14 Democrats to oppose it.
Inglis said he is concerned that if the Republican-dominated Congress passes "court-stripping" legislation, a future Democrat-dominated Congress might pass its own bill denying courts jurisdiction of more issues. In addition, he said, the legislation would allow state courts to rule on issues related to the Pledge of Allegiance while denying litigants the ability to appeal to a federal court.
Ten of the committee's 23 Republicans did not show up for the vote. The chairman, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said he would try again for a majority on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Senate Republican leaders failed by a single vote to pass a constitutional amendment to ban the burning of the American flag.
The GOP's "American Values Agenda" also includes a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, which died in the Senate before it even reached a vote; a prohibition on human cloning; and possibly votes on several popular tax cuts.
Dems say Judiciary Chair breaks rules, closes meeting after losing voteWhat makes this believable, of course, is that Sensenbrenner has done it before.
Chairman of the House JudiciaryCommitteee F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has broken House rules to adjourn a meeting after losing a vote to Democrats, Democratic sources tell RAW STORY.
The vote was on an item from the Republican's "American Values Agenda," which the party says will codify "the American character." Specifically, it aims to bar any court--including the United States Supreme Court--from hearing any legal challenge to the pledge of allegiance.
Sensenbrenner, according to sources, hoped to reverse the vote when the committee reconvened later in the afternoon.
Democrats on the committee, save ranking member John Conyers (D-MI) refused to attend. With many Republicans also absent, there was no quorum present to hold a vote.
Conyers attended, according to sources, only for the sake of raising a point of order, indicating that the previous adjournment had violated rules. Sensenbrenner responded by indicating that he had not heard the objection earlier. However, sources tell RAW STORY that Sensenbrenner actually responded to the earlier statement at the time.
RAW STORY hopes to make a transcript available shortly.
The committee was again adjourned, and is likely to reconvene Thursday. Whether or not they hold another vote remains to be seen, however sources tell RAW STORY that it is likely to happen. Several Republicans on the committee did not cast a vote in the first round.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The idea is not dead, and some still believe it is needed, the Washington Post reports, but neither house included it in their immigration bills:
"There's just no support for it," said Jeff Lungren, spokesman for the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), who sponsored the House immigration bill that sparked hundreds of protests this spring. Sensenbrenner wrote his disdain for the idea into his bill. Nothing in the legislation "shall be construed to authorize . . . the establishment of a national identification card," the bill says.
Sensenbrenner favors the expansion of a worker verification system that employers would check through the Internet. In its companion bill, the Senate opted for a similar tactic rather than a national ID system.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
When the Senate's not stopping Sensenbrenner's lock-em-up immigration laws, it's holding up action on property rights. Lack of Senate action puts every one of us at risk that the government is going to seize our homes and give them to Exxon or Halliburton, apparently.
You can almost hear the famous Sensenbrenner whine in this press release:
WASHINGTON, June 23 /U.S. Newswire/ -- On the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's terrible decision in Kelo v. New London, House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.) today praised President George W. Bush for signing an Executive Order reiterating support for private property rights and opposition to the government's using eminent domain for the economic benefit of private parties. ..
Chairman Sensenbrenner stated, "President Bush should be praised for doing what he can to ensure private property rights are protected by signing this Executive Order. The House of Representatives has acted by overwhelmingly passing by a 376-to- 38 margin the bipartisan 'Private Property Rights Protection Act.' Unfortunately, in the year since the horrendous Kelo decision, the U.S. Senate has not acted."
"The Senate's failure to act leaves every homeowner vulnerable to having the government seize their property and give it to a large corporation for a private business use. It has been 232 days since the House passed this legislation that is vital to protecting the rights of every property owner in America, yet this bill is stuck in the U.S. Senate. That needs to end," added Chairman Sensenbrenner.