Morning Action: Senate to Vote on Motion to Proceed for Gun Bill

GUNS. The Senate will vote today at 11 AM on a motion to proceed for their gun bill:

But the first debate Thursday will be the threatened filibuster led by Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah. Lee said a filibuster would allow “three more days to assess how the bill would impact the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

“This debate is not just about magazine clips and pistol grips,” he said on the Senate floor. “It’s about the purpose of the Second Amendment.” Such far-reaching legislation should be subjected to a 60-vote majority to ensure bipartisan consensus, he said.

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Cloakroom: They’re Back

House Cloakroom: April 8 – April 12

Analysis: The House reconvenes Tuesday and members will consider a series of suspension bills. House Republicans will also begin moving a debt prioritization bill, similar to the Full Faith and Credit Act pushed by conservatives in 2011.

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Surprise! Obamacare Fails to Offer Small Businesses Choices

Liberals think Obamacare will someday magically become good for American small businesses, but only after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can iron out some wrinkles. They were wrong in 2009 and still are today.  Tigers don’t change their stripes; Obamacare is a bad law and that’s not going to change.

Here’s how they made Obamacare seem attractive (sub. req’d):

A major selling point of the 2010 Affordable Care Act was its pledge to help lower health-care costs for small businesses by letting them shop in exchanges that offered more plan choices. The broader pool of options theoretically would increase competition among insurers and attract more plan participants, thus resulting in lower insurance premiums.

Another popular aspect of the small-business exchanges is that they would make it easier for small employers, which typically lack human-resources departments, to manage plans. An employer could make a single payment to an exchange, which would disperse the money to the various insurance providers covering its staff, among other benefits.

Obamacare’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) isn’t giving said small businesses as many “options” as President Obama had promised.   Rather than being able to shop for insurance policies in an insurance market, or exchange, and chose from multiple plan options, small employers only get to offer one plan to their workers.  That is what HHS suggested for the first year for businesses that use the 33 state exchanges run fully or in part by the U.S. 

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Vote-A-Rama and the Arms Trade Treaty

In the wee hours on Saturday morning during vote-a-rama, the Senate voted on the Inhofe amendment #139 to the Senate Democrat Budget, and it was agreed to by a vote of 53-46.  The amendment was designed to protect the Second Amendment to the Constitution and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

What this vote indicates is that the treaty will likely not have enough support in the Senate because treaties need two-thirds present and voting — 67 votes, as a rule of thumb to be ratified.  Since only 46 Senators voted against the Inhofe amendment, proponents of the treaty are 21 votes short.

This is good news.  Why? 

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The Cloakroom (is Empty)

For the next two weeks, there will be no formal legislative activity in Washington.  The House adjourned for their Easter recess on Thursday, and the Senate did the same on the wee hours of Saturday morning after a 13-hour vote-a-rama.

Action will continue behind closed doors in Washington though, as a handful of lawmakers quietly plot the way forward on issues such as immigration, guns and the debt ceiling.

That horse-trading will take place as President Obama attempts to use the bully pulpit to demagogue lawmakers for failing to do their jobs.  Of course, that criticism should ring hollow with the media considering the President has yet to unveil his budget.

Even as Washington slows down for the next two weeks, Heritage Action will be standing watch.  You can get the latest on our blog, The Forge, Twitter and Facebook.

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