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Ahead: Speech Codes, Gun Bans And Obstructionism

The coming week in Congress…

Americans have been praying for those harmed in the Arizona shootings. The actions here in Washington, however, haven‚??t been as positive.

Washington, it‚??s said, does two things well: Overreact and nothing. Congress is clearly in overreact mode in response to the mass killings. Politicians in Washington are proposing new speech codes, gun bans and a procedure in the Senate to obstruct Republican Senators Jim DeMint (S.C.), Tom Coburn (Okla.) and David Vitter (La.) from doing their job. Many on the left are trying to use the Arizona tragedy to push new rules and legislation to marginalize conservatives.

Speech Code for Palin

There is no evidence that anything Sarah Palin has ever said motivated the killer in Arizona, but that hasn‚??t stopped the left from attempting to demonize and blame her.

‚??The phrase ‚??don‚??t retreat, reload,‚?? putting crosshairs on congressional districts as targets, these sorts of things, I think, invite the kind of toxic rhetoric that can lead unstable people to believe this is an acceptable response,‚?Ě Sen. Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.) said on CNN. Palin is a victim of a coordinated left-wing smear campaign.

Fairness Doctrine Pushed

Some politicians have made proposals to grant government more control over the speech of those on radio and TV. There is no evidence that talk-radio motivated the events in Arizona, yet Rep. Jim Clyburn (D.-S.C.) has called for government-mandated ‚??balance‚?Ě on the radio and on cable. This is a backdoor-version of the so-called ‚??fairness doctrine.‚?Ě This is merely the beginning of a debate that will result in a government attempt to control Fox News and talk-radio.

Gun Control

Not surprisingly, Many liberals are using this tragedy to call for more gun control. Rep. Peter King (R.-N.Y.) plans to propose a law to ‚??make it illegal to knowingly carry a gun within 1,000 feet of certain high-profile government officials.‚?Ě A moving 1,000-foot gun-free circle around government officials seems like an idea full of constitutional problems and practical enforcement issues.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D.-N.J.) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D.-N.Y.) have proposed banning high-ammunition clips. But National Review‚??s Kevin Williamson argues that reauthorizing the ammunition clip and banned-firearm provisions of the expired Clinton gun ban law wouldn‚??t have prevented the shootings: ‚??A 9mm Glock 19 pistol was not banned, neither were the 31-round magazines the shooter used.‚?Ě The expiration of the so-called ‚??assault weapons ban‚?Ě in 2004 had no impact on what clips and firearms the Arizona killer was allegedly able to use.

Government-imposed gun control won‚??t make us safer, but Americans will have to keep a close watch over their 2nd Amendment rights.

Filibuster ‚??Cheat Scheme‚??

Mike Hammond of Gun Owners of America calls the attempt to change the Senate‚??s rules in the name of ‚??filibuster reform‚?Ě a ‚??cheat scheme.‚?Ě The ideas (See ‚??Lowdown‚?Ě last week. ) proposed by Sen. Tom Udall (D.-N.M.) sound reasonable, yet the strategy to implement the proposal is based on the extraordinary assumption the Senate can get rid of the filibuster with a simple majority vote, even though the Senate‚??s rules explicitly forbid this power play.

‚??Every senator who has been around for more than one term understands that this Udall-Merkley gambit is based on fraud,‚?Ě Hammond tells HUMAN EVENTS. ‚??If this sleazy effort is successful, from now on 50 senators will determine what happens in the Senate in every case where it counts.‚?Ě

Understand that any effort to change the Senate‚??s rules should be consensus ideas that don‚??t marginalize Senators DeMint, Coburn and Vitter. These senators have reaped scorn for offering amendments that would force tough votes on banning earmarks, repealing ObamaCare and cutting spending.

Getting Senate ObamaCare Repeal

This week the House will pass a bill to repeal ObamaCare. Pundits will say that the Senate won‚??t go along, so this is the end of the fight for full repeal in this Congress. Yet there are tools that senators can use to force a vote on full repeal.

Under the Senate‚??s rules, any senator can prevent a bill from being referred to a committee. Clearly liberals will want this repeal bill to be referred through the committee process so it can die a quiet death. If a senator lodges a strategic objection, he can keep the bill on the Senate‚??s calendar. At that point, any senator can gather up 16 signatures on a cloture petition to force liberal Democrats to do something that they‚??ve been denouncing for weeks: Wage a filibuster, this time against repeal of ObamaCare.

Make no mistake. Senate Republicans can force a vote on full repeal of ObamaCare, if they have the will to do so.

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Written By

Brian Darling is Editor at Large for Human Events. He is also Sr. Vice President for Third Dimension Strategies, a strategic communications public relations firm in Washington, D.C. Darling served as Sr. Communications Director and Counsel for Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) from 2012-15. Before his tenure with Sen. Paul, Darling served in three different capacities with The Heritage Foundation. Follow him @BrianHDarling on Twitter.

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