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Thursday, March 23rd, 2017Last Update: Friday, February 3rd, 2017 01:39:14 PM

The Federal Page for Summer 2016

By: Theodore King

Conscience Protection Amendment

On July 13, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 245 in favor of and 182 against the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act, which included a conscience protection amendment authored by Diane Black of Tennessee which would allow health-care providers to refuse to be involved in abortions. The voting was along party lines except for three Democrats -- Henry Cuellar of Texas, Dan Lipinski of Illinois, and Colin Peterson of Minnesota -- joining Republicans by voting yes. One Republican, Richard Hanna of New York, voted no. All Oklahoma representatives except Steve Russell of the Fifth District, who was absent, voted for the bill, which goes to the Senate.

It is to be noted that California, New York, and Washington state are attempting to force abortion coverage into employees' healthcare, and Washington state is also attempting to force hospitals to perform abortions even if they have a religious objection.

It is also noted that after Roe v. Wade, Sister M. Therese Gottschalk, the CEO of Saint John's Hospital in Tulsa, publicly stated that if Saint John's were required to permit abortions, she would close the hospital. As a general rule, it's a bad idea to mess with nuns. It's a really bad idea to mess with German nuns.

Separation of Powers Restoration Act

On July 12, the House passed H.R. 4768, the Separation of Powers Restoration Act, authored by Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas by a vote of 240 to 171. It was a party-line vote, but one Democrat, Colin Peterson of Minnesota, voted for this bill.

All five members of the Oklahoma delegation voted for it, which now goes to the Senate. The bill would amend the Administrative Procedure Act. When a regulator like the Environmental Protection Agency or the Food and Drug Administration comes up with a new regulation, the regulated industries would have recourse to the courts to challenge the regulations. This is a result of a 1984 Supreme Court decision, Chevron v. National Defense Resource Council, in which the majority opinion stated a regulatory agency can implement a policy as it sees fit. Therefore, federal courts take a hands-off approach to agency regulations. If the Separation of Powers Restoration Act becomes law, it will allow the regulated their day in court to challenge regulations. This is a good bill in that it may curb regulators' powers.

I'm 0 for 2

In the spring issue, I wrote that Hillary Clinton would not be the Democrat nominee. Well, I was wrong, but she did have to fend off a real challenge from 74-year-old Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders, who won almost half the states including Oklahoma. And in the summer issue, I predicted Jeb Bush would be the nominee because it was his turn as a member of the Bush family. That prediction also proved to be inaccurate.

Primary Elections for the U.S. House

This year's Oklahoma primary elections were not very interesting. All the incumbents were retained for another two years; some still face general election opponents, but they will almost certainly be re-elected. This means nothing will change in Congress, at least with our delegation, and a majority of Oklahoma voters don't seem to care. The good news is that First District Congressman Jim Bridenstine, the only real conservative in the House Oklahoma delegation, won his primary with 81% of the vote over Tom Atkinson, a Tulsa oilman and brother-in-law of Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, who was defeated for his bid for re-election. This will be Bridenstine's last term in the House in keeping with his three terms pledge. He drew no Democrat opponent. Therefore, he's re-elected.

Brexit

The most important political change in Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 took place in Britain on June 23, and it may have ramifications for our country. In a national referendum, British voters decided by over a million votes to leave the European Union (EU). The EU is a supra-national state comprised of 28 nations, soon to be 27. The EU, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium and Strasbourg, France is a bureaucratic leviathan that regulates everything from toasters to fisheries.

Since its creation in 1993, the EU has grown in power as member nations have seen their power decrease. The EU can overrule courts and laws passed in national parliaments. Member nations send representatives to the EU, but they are not allowed to draft or amend proposed laws sent to them. They may cast only an up or down vote. The EU is planning to have its own army, thus eliminating national armies of member nations. One of the big issues in the British referendum was immigration. Member nations are not allowed to control their own borders. Immigration policy is set by the EU without the consent of individual states..

The election result to Leave was unexpected. Even Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which is in favor of leaving the EU, predicted shortly after the polls had closed that it would be a Remain win. Exit pollsters were the source for that prediction. About 4:30 A.M. British time (10:30 P.M. Central Time), it was apparent the Leave vote had the upper hand. At 8:15 A.M. British time (2:15 A.M. Central), Prime Minister David Cameron, a staunch supporter of Remain, admitted defeat in front of his residence at Number 10 Downing Street and announced he was stepping down as prime minister.

This was a revolution by ordinary people against big government and big business and against President Obama, who had chided the British people not to leave the EU.

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson was a leader in the Leave campaign. He is now the foreign minister in the new government of the new Prime Minister Theresa May. It will be his job to negotiate the formal exit of Britain from the EU. But the man of the hour was Nigel Farage, without whose leadership of UKIP, Brexit would never have come to pass. This is an important point: outsiders are the only ones who ever really change anything. Insiders, i.e. the establishment, maintain the status quo, which according to Will Rogers is "the mess were [sic] in," because the status quo is good for them. I think Nigel savored his victory with champagne and cigarettes!

Trump

Recently, a noxious supporter of Congressman Markwayne Mullin commented to me online that it is angry people like me that got us Donald Trump. It was ironic for this man to write such a thing when he's a supporter of Deputy House Whip Mullin. For the past six years, Republicans have controlled the House and Senate and yet have done very little to stand up for conservative values. For example, Congressmen like Markwayne Mullin, Frank Lucas, and Tom Cole, by their lack of conviction, have created angst on the right that fueled a Trump nomination. Last year, these men wouldn't even allow the crony-capitalist Export-Import Bank, which is a holdover from the New Deal, to expire but instead voted to extend it. See my columns in the summer and fall 2015 issues regarding the EX-IM Bank.

Had the Republican Congress stood up to President Obama, the base would be in better spirits, and Donald Trump would be a clown sideshow, not the nominee.

If ever a case were to be made for a third party during an election year, this is it! Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is a former Republican governor of New Mexico. He is joined by squishy former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, also a Republican, as his vice presidential running mate. I don't like Bill Weld, but I really dislike the cartoon character Donald Trump and the criminal Hillary Clinton. Hillary's problem is she's never gone to jail. Donald's problem is he's never been socked in the face!

About Theodore King

Theodore J. King is an Oklahoma native who graduated from Northeastern State University in 1996. He spent a summer at the Republican National Committee in 1994, worked at the National Right to Work Committee, and spent time working on the Hill in Washington D.C. In 1999, he was a temporary employee with Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas and later worked for the Media Research Center in Alexandria, Virginia. He served as our Washington D.C. correspondent for our From Washington page before returning to Oklahoma in 2001, and continues his reports with The Federal Page. He recently authored a book, The War on Smokers and the Rise of the Nanny State, which is now available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million and iUniverse. You may contact him at: theodoreking@juno.com

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