THIS WEEK IN POLITICS: MARCH 1, 2019
SATURDAY FEB. 23, 2019: FIRST FEMALE AMBASSADOR APPOINTED BY SAUDI ARABIA TO U.S.
Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud was appointed as the first female ambassador to the U.S. on Saturday. She was raised in Washington and eventually graduated from George Washington University. She is also the daughter of a former Saudi Arabia ambassador to the U.S. and in the past has advocated for women and the increase of opportunities for them in Saudi Arabia. The former Saudi Arabia ambassador to the U.S. Prince Khalid bin Salman, abruptly left the U.S. last October when information about the killing of Washington Post columnist Kamal Khashoggi began to surface.
SUNDAY FEB. 24, 2019: TRUMP DELAYS TARIFF INCREASES ON CHINA
President Donald Trump announced that he first will be meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping and therefore will be delaying the increased U.S. tariffs on China. The purpose of the planned summit with China’s President will be to finalize the trade agreement that would end the “trade war” going on between the U.S. and China, and if an agreement is reached that could potentially prevent the $200 billion tariff Pres. Trump was planning on putting on Chinese imports.
MONDAY FEB. 25, 2019: SENATE DEMOCRATS BLOCK ABORTION BILL
Sen. Ben Sasse (R) from Nebraska had introduced a bill that would “penalize doctors who fail to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion”. The bill needed 60 votes to pass, but ended up getting 53-44 resulting in it not passing. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) tried to sway the votes of a few democrats by saying that “It isn’t about changing the options available to women. It’s just about recognizing that a newborn baby is a newborn baby. Period.”. That did not work with those opposed to the bill because the introduced bill would expose doctors to lawsuits or even imprisonment, even though they would still exercise their medical practices to their best judgement no matter if the baby was just regularly born or had survived an abortion. There was a bipartisan act passed in 2002 called “Born-Alive Infants Protection Act” that is still in effect today and touches upon many of the things mentioned in Sen. Sasse’s new bill.
TUESDAY FEB. 26, 2019: RESOLUTION PASSED IN HOUSE TO OVERTURN PRES. TRUMP’S NATIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION
President Donald Trump had declared a national emergency to unlock funds for his border wall, but this Tuesday the House was able to vote on a resolution that would overturn that action. The resolution ended up passing in the House with the vote being 245-182, with 13 Republicans voting to pass the resolution. With a Democratic majority in the House, it was easy for such a resolution to pass but it will face a challenge in the Senate. The Senate currently has a Republican majority, so that will definitely challenge the resolution to pass in the Senate but so far three Republican Senators have announced that they are in favor of the resolution passing. Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R), in the Senate announced that it is expected the resolution will be voted on in the week of March 18th, which is before the next Senate recess.
WEDNESDAY FEB. 27, 2019: BILL EXPANDING BACKGROUND CHECKS DURING GUN SALES PASSED IN THE HOUSE
On Wednesday, the House passed a bill that would require background checks on gun sales, especially private ones mostly made at gun shows or online. The bill ended up passing with a 240-190 vote, with eight Republican lawmakers voting to pass the bill. This was one of the most significant gun control bills that had been passed in several years since a bipartisan legislation had failed in 2013 in the Senate. House Democrats held a victory with this bill passing but so did House Republicans. Before the final vote for this bill, Republican House members won on a procedural vote that allowed them the motion to add to the bill that would require sellers to notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when immigrants who do not have legal status attempt to purchase a firearm. The passed bill now has to move from the House to the Senate where it will face a challenge there as well since is it majority Republican, but the added motion should be able to sway a few Republican in favor of the bill.
THURSDAY 28, 2019: GREEN NEW DEAL ALTERNATIVE INTRODUCED BY SENATE DEMOCRATS
On Thursday, there was a joint resolution alternative introduced in the Senate by Democrats for the Green New Deal that has significantly split both parties. This resolution was introduced by Delaware Senator Tom Carper (D), who is also on the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee. This alternative Green New Deal doesn’t specifically address ways to decrease emissions and fight climate change, but is seen as a first step to start moving in the right direction in order to combat climate change since the GOP hasn’t been successful in releasing such bills. This legislation was co-sponsored by all 47 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
FRIDAY MARCH 1, 2019: PROPOSAL FOR $2 BILLION FOR SPACE FORCE
Last week the Trump administration had announced plans for the creation of a future Space Force. This new branch would fall under the Air Force and the Trump administration has announced that they are planning on spending $2 billion and over five years to create this new branch. In June, Pres. Trump had first signed an order for the Pentagon to create this new Space Force.