Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 14, 2016

GOP Leaders Face Libertarian Revolt Over NSA, Egypt, Syria

House GOP leaders are scrambling to quell a quiet libertarian rebellion that threatens to block consideration of the Defense appropriations bill.

A small group of Republicans are holding the spending bill hostage until they get votes on several controversial amendments.

“We’ve conveyed to the whip team that we won’t vote for the rule if they don’t allow debate and votes,” Thomas Massie, R-Ky., said Friday. “We don’t need all the amendments to be allowed. We need at least one substantial amendment on three things: Egypt, Syria and NSA.”

Massie has two amendments before the Rules Committee: one that would defund military operations in Syria and one that would defund military operations in Egypt. Another leader in the Republican rebellion, Justin Amash of Michigan, has an amendment that would end funds for the National Security Agency’s blanket collection of telephone call records in the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaking of the program.

Rules Committee member Rich Nugent, R-Fla., has a similar NSA amendment, but the libertarian lawmakers say it insufficiently addresses the issue.

GOP leaders have been coming off a string of impressive victories lately — from passing the farm bill without a single Democratic vote to navigating a No Child Left Behind rewrite. But the Rules Committee postponed their meeting Thursday on the Defense appropriations bill, and leaders are still figuring out if they have the votes to squash the Republican revolt.

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has pleaded with lawmakers in the group to not shoot down the rule and, consequently, shoot Republicans in the foot.

According to an aide to one lawmaker in the group threatening to vote down the rule, leadership has used “every tool in the toolbox” to block the amendments. The aide said they have faced a number of procedural roadblocks, from leadership saying their amendments legislate on an appropriations bill to having their amendments submitted to the Congressional Budget Office for a score. The aide said it has been a “concerted effort.”

But the lawmakers have cleared the hurdles, they say, and they want votes. They are drafting a letter calling for the opportunity to vote on their amendments, and they are seeking signatories.

On Friday, Jim McGovern, D-Mass., who will be controlling the Defense appropriations rule on the floor for the Democrats, said the Republican Conference is “just chaos.”

“They can’t seem to get their act together. So they got a problem,” McGovern said. “The Republican leadership long ago lost the ability to lead.”

McGovern, who is also a Rules panel member, said Democrats were initially told the Rules Committee was delaying its Thursday meeting on the Defense appropriations bill “out of deference to us” so Democrats could vote in the ranking member of the Natural Resources election, even though no Democrat asked the committee to delay the hearing.

“And then they delayed for another hour, and then they delayed it indefinitely and never told us why,” McGovern said. “We all know why: It’s because of these NSA votes.”

The Rules Committee plans to mark up the rule for the Defense appropriations bill at 5 p.m. on July 22, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Friday that the House will consider the DOD appropriations bill next week.

“We have been working with members all week and will continue to do so,” said Doug Heye, Cantor’s deputy chief of staff.

Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said members and staff were taking the time to carefully review the bill and the amendments.

“It’s real simple: We’ve got a series of very important national security and public policy issues that deal not just with the Congress, but actual real life events that are occurring around the world,” Sessions said Friday. “And it is very apparent to us this is not just an appropriations bill, it’s one that we’ve got to look at broader ramifications.”

Sessions said the Rules Committee would take up the Defense appropriations bill “hopefully next week.”

He predicted the group holding up consideration would eventually come around.

“I think these guys are bright young guys,” Sessions said. “I know them and I know them well, and I hope to give them that confidence that they’ll vote for their favorite Rules Committee chairman’s rule.”

  • William Lund

    Good job Massie and Amash. We need more congressman like you.

  • b. LO

    cantor and beohner blocking real conservatives…wat a suprise

  • ronb28135

    Could it be that the Libertarians are learning to lead in the Congress. After that RINO Bo(eh)ner’s Establishment RNC leadership it will be a very welcome relief. Maybe there will be a definable difference between Republicans and Democrats in 2014. Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change?

  • RobertFallin

    It just goes to show that a principle, determined minority can stymie an unprincipled leadership. For the “fence sitters,” this is “where the rubber meets the road”.

    • Cowboydroid

      “It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”

      -Samuel Adams

  • Dennis Boylon

    Wow. There are a few congressman trying to stand up to the NSA’s illegal spying?

  • Randy Hitt

    TEA Party libertarians and ONLY TEA Party Libertarians SHOT DOWN Obama’s DISARMAMENT bill, the TEA Party PLOWED UNDER the Senate FOODSTAMP bill fakin like it was a FARM bill, now we are in the process of REPELLING this POS INVADER AMNESTY bill, and as soon as we are done with that, we are going to LATE TERM ABORT Ocommiecare with a pair of scissors to the base of it’s skull.

    • Mario Leli

      randy the problem with liberterians is that they are very very pro immigration and the reason I am not one

      • Jared Vyborny

        I’m a libertarian (small l) and many of us don’t agree with open borders because of the gigantic welfare state. If we had sound money, lower regulations, lower taxes, and decreased military presence around the world, we could except more of the immigrants we need because our economy would be streamlined and would explode with production and innovation, not over night but it would. Mario, this type of “reasoning” is why us right wingers are labeled as racists because some wrongfully believe that all immigration is bad and anti-American. We need to follow our immigration laws currently on the books and streamline the process of coming to America legally. Its all common sense, I believe, but the freebies need to stop

        • Mario Leli

          whites refuse to see we are by plan being genocided thru peasant imm. forget legal imm. they will make the word illegal imm void and open the floodgates to LEGAL imm. this country used to have high wages and low land prices now the opposite BECAUSE there are to many people here. we are done as a country when you got white people paying and gleefully accepting there own destruction. never in history has this happened

          • Cowboydroid

            After the “whites” committed genocide against the Native inhabitants of this land, I have little sympathy for this fake “genocide” against whites you claim is taking place.

            You fail economics 101 by claiming that wages are strictly tied to the total amount of available labor.

          • Mario Leli

            I am sick and tired of this native American bull. the Kennewick man was a european man that was found and the Indians stole the skeleton for years until researchers got it back it predated the “native” americans by 5000 years. they genocided the Europeans. white will be a minority in 15 years from being 95% of population. THAT IS GENOCIDE . how the f**k do figure 20 latrinos and one American competing for roofing job will not affect what the man will pay? you are insane one reason for mass peasant imm IS TO LOWER wages and eliminate the whites

          • Cowboydroid

            Right, put your faith in pseudo- “science” to justify your irrational fears and hatred.

          • Daniel Staggers

            White gleefully accepting their own destruction? No, it’s not rare, read the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. Those who do not learn by history are doomed to repeat it. God gave us a brain, he expects us to use it.

          • Mario Leli

            yes gleefully dan and paying for it. when I bring this up around white people I am savagely attacked

      • tionico

        I’m a strong libertarian and constitutionalist.. and I STRONGLY oppoe the open border and amnesty insanity roaming about these days. Yes, we need to make it possible for foreigners to come here legally, NOT make legal those here illegally. One of my main beefs on the proposed amnesty insanity is that so many of them not here lawfuly are draining our public coffers dry by the stupid welfare/entitlement/handout mentality. I’ve known a number of people who came to this country from Eastern European and Southeast Asian nations, leaving everything behind and glad to be here. Remember the Viet Nam Boat People? I’m now related to some, and have known others. They got here, were given a small sum of money to “get settled”, and were left to their own devices. NONE of them ended up feeding off the public teat. EVERY ONE of them is successful, hard working, and have become vital parts of their local communities. NONE are on public assistance of any kind. Same with Romanians, Slavs, Armenians, Poles…… so why now do we do things so differently with the present crop of illegals? Insane.

        • Mario Leli

          you are falling into the trap the open border lunatics set for you by saying you are for legal imm. they will accommodate you by making everyone that wants to come here LEGAL. and lets face it White Christians built this country and importing million of non whites like Indians that own every 7-11 gas station and motel in the country will lead to its demise. as far as the viet nam boat people not being a burden I say you are a liar.

          • Cowboydroid

            And I say you are a raving xenophobe.

      • cookielee

        pretty sure someone in your family was a immigrant way back when

        • Jarrod Dowell

          I have family that were both Native Americans (Cherokee and Choctaw) and immigrants (Irish, Scottish, Belgian, British, Swedish) I have no problem with immigrants coming here legally no matter how many people want to come here. LEGALLY being the operative word, I also agree with Jared, common sense and streamlining need to happen prior to open borders. Immigration applicants are a sign of the strength of our economy, so long as people want to come here shows we are a desirable place to live and work. When people stop wanting to come here this is a bad sign. I think the immigrants coming here should be held to the same standards my immigrant ancestors were held to. They came here and started working, no handouts, no freebies, no government interference, they were only offered an opportunity here, they had to make success happen.

          • Cowboydroid

            There is no Constitutional basis for current immigration laws, thus the “LEGAL” moniker is a deflection. Congress has the power to naturalize UNIFORMLY, it does not have the power to place restrictions on immigration based on protectionist concepts.

            I think we can all agree that immigrants should not be receiving handouts. But that extends to ALL natural inhabitants of America. This is the land of those who make a living, not the land of those who leach off others.

          • Jarrod Dowell

            You are right, but until we get our leaders to follow The Constitution, which in turn would reduce the number of people who hate us, we cannot have our borders wide open. “Quid pro quo” I think applies here.

          • Cowboydroid

            WHY NOT?

            That’s a slippery slope you’re heading down. You’re justifying the infringement of human rights by the US government because the US government infringes the rights of humans in other countries. That’s not logic at all. “Those people” hate us because of what our government does to their societies. It doesn’t make any sense to justify those same human rights abuses here at home.

            As far as I’m concerned, anyone with a beef against the US federal government needs to come in and join the rest of America in expressing their outrage.

          • Jarrod Dowell

            The problem is that they don’t express their outrage against the government, they do it against our citizens. I am not against open borders, but right now is not the time for them. We need to repair the damage first. I would never justify government infringement into our civil liberties, but in order to stop a runaway passenger train you do not decelerate the train from 100 MPH to 0 MPH in .01 seconds. That is just as disastrous as not doing anything at all. The same theory is true with government, too many people are 100% dependant on it for survival. If we rip the rug out from all of them at the same time we create yet another train wreck. Also look at heroin addicts, quitting cold turkey would be devastating to them both mentally and physically, this is why methadone clinics exist. We need to start heading down the right path, just not at break neck speeds. “An idea whose time has come cannot be stopped.” We will win but not by hurting the people we are trying help.

          • Cowboydroid

            Maybe the REAL problem is that our citizens choose to remain ignorant about what their government does to societies overseas!

            Maybe the REAL problem is that our citizens even choose to support the actions our government takes against societies overseas!

            It is never a good time to abuse human rights, and immigration is a natural right. People have the right to choose where they want to live. Our founders declared that ALL men possess inalienable rights. The government does not get to decide who has rights and who doesn’t. It exists to protect the rights of everyone.

            Yes, if we ended the largesse of our government immediately, many, many special interests would become irate and might revolt in a manner totally inconsistent with the preservation of liberty. But history shows that bloated governments do not incrementally dissipate. They come crashing down in swift events. Power structures takes decades to build, and those in control do not willingly cede power.

          • Jarrod Dowell

            Then by all means rally the troops and prepare for war. Let me know how banging the war drum works out for you. In the meantime I will try to peacefully change this country until that option no longer exists. I do not disagree with you, I do disagree with the vehicle in which you would deliver liberty.

          • Cowboydroid

            Our founders were already doing just that over 200 years ago. Yet you mock the idea as if it’s unfeasible, as if it wasn’t the VERY idea that gave you the freedom that you enjoy today.

            As Patrick Henry stated:

            And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free² if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending²if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!

          • Jarrod Dowell

            Again, I don’t disagree with you, but we are sorely outnumbered and any sort of violent revolution without a hefty percentage of Americans willing to sacrifice life and limb in pursuit of the goal would be quashed almost immediately. The American Revolution, in which you make reference to, was nearly a century in the making. The numbers were roughly 1/3 for secession, 1/3 neutral, and 1/3 against it. We have approximately 1/425th of the nation supporting the ideas we are talking about. I base that of the 1.2 million voters that voted libertarian last November against the most recent US Census that pegged US population at about 425 million. The unfortunate thing is that this country will have to get much, much worse if we are to win.

            The reason I feel it is not yet time to mount a revolt is simply because the majority of Americans are completely pacified. By that I mean we have 24 hour entertainment to distract us and the fact that most Americans are too complicit in their life styles. Without any sizeable support to back up the liberty movement we would be swept aside before we got started.

            But don’t lose faith just yet. In the last election cycle we made gains, albeit small gains, but those gains yielded Thomas Masse, Justin Amash, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz. Four very loud voices that refuse to be silenced and truly have liberty in their hearts fueling their desire to fight back and give us a voice. This is merely the beginning of a long journey to win back the hearts and minds of Americans. The best thing we can do right now is continue to spread our message to those that will listen. As we grow in numbers so will our strength and the volume of our voices.

            My advice to you in the meantime is to calm down, take a deep breath, and continue to use logic and history to make your point when conversing with people. The best thing you can do is poke holes in their current beliefs, this will plant the seed of doubt and lead them to ask questions. The day may come for revolution, but that day is not yet here. If the day comes, have no doubt that I will stand with you and the rest of us to fight for our freedoms. Until then I will continue to spread libertarianism as far and wide as I can.

          • Cowboydroid

            “It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”

            -Samuel Adams

          • Jarrod Dowell

            That may have rang true 200 years ago but over time the secessionist aka our Founders were able to convince the pacifist and obtained the majority voice and strength to achieve their goal.

  • Silverado

    All this proves is that BOTH parties are seriously…..lacking when it comes to issues about the Constitution as well as freedom & liberty.

  • Gardentoolnumber5

    I don’t live in either of these two’s state, I have donated to Amash and will soon be donating to Massie.

    • LetsTryLibertyAgain

      Thanks for your financial support of Thomas Massie and Justin Amash. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find similar liberty oriented candidates and elect them to be your congressional representatives.

  • dddienst

    Give em hell till they give us heaven!

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    I hope voters everywhere are paying attention. It is possible to elect good people to represent us.

    I’m so grateful to Thomas Massie and his family for their sacrifice. Thomas saw the necessity of serving, and distasteful as the time spent in the District of Criminals is, it’s something he did to help restore our lost liberty. I’m very grateful. I campaigned for him, donated some money, and I’m donating more for his 2014 campaign. He’s one of the few good people in Congress.

    Thanks also to Justin Amash, and the good people in Michigan who elected him.

  • dmllc

    libertarian leaning republicans are the only way to save to gop.

  • anthony johnson

    To all of you that think this is agood idea, remember this the next time we are attacked from withinand they were not stopped because we (the US) did not know who they were nor where they came from. You can not have total freedom and security at the same time. You must choose which is more important. Pick now!

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