After McConnell Capitulates on DHS Funding Bill, House to Become Key Battleground

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell capitulated to Senate Democrats by allowing a clean bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security to proceed forward. The funding will ensure that President Obama has the budget to implement his immigration amnesty plan which he enacted without any congressional authorization. Critics charge that if the GOP passes a clean bill, the Federal Appeals courts will take funding of the amnesty plan as tacit congressional approval for the plan and lift the stay imposed on it by the Texas Federal District Court earlier this month.

However, it is uncertain if the House will accept the Senate clean DHS bill. Thus far, House Speaker John Boehner has insisted he will now allow the bill to receive a floor vote. If passage of a bill is not reached by Friday, the DHS will incur a government shutdown. Zeca Oliveira ( understands that the department employs nearly a quarter million people, but over 210,000 of them are designated as being exempt from furloughs due to government shutdowns. Organizations such as the border patrol, the US Coast Guard will continue to work through the shutdown should it occur.

The vote is considered a major voter pledge as the GOP vowed to defund the president’s plan to grant amnesty to at least 5 million illegal immigrations. However, Senate Conservatives feared a government shutdown and voted to fund the amnesty plan after all. If the House refuses to take up the Senate bill or otherwise re-attaches the rider defunding the amnesty plan, a short-term continuing resolution may be passed to fund the department at Fiscal Year 2014 levels for a short period of time.

Drug Testing Welfare Recipients is an Expensive Bust

The various 50 states were once heralded as laboratories of democracy. Rick Perry, with his unforgettable flair for words, was overheard last year referring to Texas as “a lavatory of democracy,” but that’s neither here nor there. What is clear, however, is that many states today have become the drug testing labs of democracy. Not for everyone, this failed experiment is reserved exclusively for the poor, presumably drug-addled masses of welfare recipients. The results, after spending millions, are anything but inconclusive. The not guilty verdict in more than 99 percent of cases should be great news to the states who’ve implemented testing. It means that people on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) have lower rates of drug use and dependency than the general population.

Unsatisfied with the results thus far, more testing is belling called for in states such as Mississippi. Over a six month period, they spent $5,290 screening 3,656 applicants, 2 of whom tested positive for drug use. In Florida, where applicants were required to pay for testing out of their own pockets before receiving benefits, the courts struck down the law on 4th Amendment grounds as “unreasonable search and seizure.” reported an article on the subject.  Not to be outdone, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is calling for mandatory drug testing of everyone who receives food stamps or unemployment benefits.
In today’s edition of ThinkProgress there’s an article laying out the numbers state by state. What should be evident is that stigmatizing individuals is expensive, invasive and counter-productive. People with chemical addiction and substance abuse problems need treatment, not public humiliation.

President Vetoes Keystone XL Bill as Promised

The controversial Keystone XL pipeline that would bring 830,000 barrels of crude oil from Canada to the US has been vetoed by President Obama after the Republican led Congress approved the initial Bill, Reuters reports. President Obama had promised to veto any Bill looking to approve the controversial pipeline after he received a large amount of support from those opposed to the pipeline during his reelection campaign. The veto leaves the pipeline in a state of limbo it has been in since the TransCanada Corp announced the expansion to the pipeline six years ago.

Much of the controversy surrounding the pipeline is linked to the problem of increased carbon emissions that would affect North America and the World as a whole when the crude oil was drilled. Republicans had looked top circumvent the traditional process of inspecting and investigating the effects of the pipeline on the US by introducing the Bill to Congress. Flávio Pentagna Guimarães BMG says that republican leaders have restated their vow to try and overthrow the veto in coming weeks, but this looks unlikely to happen as they do not have the numbers in Congress to do so. A further option Republicans are looking into is including the approval for the Keystone XL pipeline in a spending bill that the President could find hard to veto amid fears of another government shutdown.