COMPASS: Freedom Caucus delivers first legislative win in Washington

March 13th, 2023

Good afternoon from Capitol Hill.

The House is out of session and Senate will work 3 of the 5 days this week.

In case you missed it, the Senate passed by a vote of 81-14, a Joint Resolution aimed at overturning the D.C. Council’s desire to weaken the D.C. criminal code. The House of Representatives voted to pass Rep. Andrew Clyde’s (R-GA) resolution in February. President Biden surprisingly announced that he will not veto the Joint Resolution, despite the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issuing a Statement of Administration Policy in direct contradiction to the President’s tweet. Former OMB Director, Russ Vought, points out this is a departure from normal lock step positioning between OMB and the White House. If this Joint Resolution does in fact become law, it will be the first time in over 30 years for the Congress to do such a thing.

As designed by the Constitution, the Congress has direct oversight and control of the District’s affairs. House Oversight Committee Chairman, James Comer, took to the House floor in February to point this out. “There is a crime crisis in America’s capital city. According to the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, carjackings in the District have increased by 76% compared to this time last year. Total property crime is up 24%. And homicides are up 17%. In fact, D.C. is currently on track to have the most homicides since 1995.” If you want proof for yourself, here are the stats.

Think of that: a House Freedom Caucus member, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), will have his bill signed by President Biden.

On the Senate side, Senator Tommy Tubberville (R-AL) is making good on his promise to block DOD nominations amidst the DODs effort to illegally push for abortion access. “I’m holding DOD nominations because the Secretary of Defense is trying to push through a massive expansion of taxpayer-subsidized abortions without going through this body, without going through Congress,” Senator Tubberville said on the Senate floor.

Senator Tubberville went on to say that he even warned the Secretary of Defense of his potential action. “I informed Secretary Austin that if he tried to turn the DOD into an abortion travel agency, I would place a hold on all civilian, flag, and general officer nominees.” It seems as though the DOD did not take his threat seriously. Senator Tubberville’s actions are aimed at getting the DOD to focus on national defense and readiness, amidst increasing aggression from China, dismal military recruiting numbers, and a vaccine mandate that discharged servicemembers for refusing to get the covid vaccine.

With little meaningful legislative action for Senators to engage on, nominations and personnel issues can be hooks for legislative engagement. More than one Senator can place a hold on a pending item, so this action is not limited to just what Senator Tubberville is doing. It is certainly possible that more Senators could get in on the action and place holds as well.

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