U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, successfully had legislation amended into the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act bill that would give all Americans suspected of terrorism and arrested on U.S. soil initial access to the nation’s court system.
The Republican-controlled U.S. House first rejected a more thorough libertarian-and-Democratic-pushed amendment on Friday that would have barred indefinite military detention for terrorism suspects arrested in the U.S.
Instead, the U.S. House approved on a 243-173 vote the amendment by Landry and U.S. Reps. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; and Scott Rigell, R-Va., that would ensure Americans their constitutional access to courts.
Landry and Rigell also are co-sponsoring legislation that would give all people suspected of terrorism and arrested in the U.S.– foreign as well as American — initial access to the courts.
But Friday’s amendment applies only to American citizens.
“After months of hard work, Senate testimony, legislation writing, and vote whipping — I am proud to report the new NDAA allows us to fight and win the War on Terror without compromising American civil liberties,” Landry said in a prepared statement.
JPMorgan affects lawmakers
U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter and U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany are members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation at least indirectly affected by the $2 billion trading loss announced this month by Wall Street giant JPMorgan Chase.
The Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics reported Thursday that 38 federal lawmakers in 2010 disclosed holdings in the company, assets totaling between $2.1 million and $3.8 million.
Landrieu, D-La., was one of six members of Congress reporting shares valued at more than $100,000. She disclosed a stake in the bank in the $100,001 to $250,000 category, while Vitter, R-La., and Boustany, R-Lafayette, held stakes in the much smaller $1,001 to $15,000 range.
“Reckless trading by the largest Wall Street banks is precisely what led to the financial meltdown in 2008 — and we are still recovering from that mess,” Landrieu said in an email response, noting her support of Wall Street regulatory changes in 2010.
“Our community banks in Louisiana are not the problem,” she added. “The gross abuses and excesses of Wall Street cost many people their life savings, retirement accounts, children’s college tuition and home equity. We should not repeat this painful history.”
As for Boustany’s smaller stake, he responded, “My grandfather gave me a JPMorgan stock certificate when I was a child, and I have kept it for sentimental reasons.”
Cantor coming to Louisiana
The GOP’s 2012 American Energy and Jobs Tour is coming to Louisiana with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., along for the ride.
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, is leading a small congressional delegation on an energy tour in New Orleans and on a deepwater drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico’s Outer Continental Shelf on Thursday and Friday.
Also participating are U.S. Reps. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss.; John Sullivan, R-Okla.; and Gene Green, D-Texas.
“The 2012 Offshore Energy Tour will allow members from around the country to see firsthand what goes into safely producing American energy in the deep water of the Outer Continental Shelf,” Scalise said in a prepared statement. “This tour will provide the members with a better understanding of the skills and technology involved in offshore energy production and how it is critical to America’s energy security.
“Increasing domestic energy exploration and production is a proven way to create millions more American jobs while lowering gas prices at the pump and reducing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil,” Scalise added, reiterating GOP talking points used to criticize President Barack Obama. “American families know that we cannot achieve energy security by killing energy jobs and handcuffing our families to Middle Eastern oil.”
The group will host a news conference at 3 p.m. Friday at the Louis Armstrong International Airport in Kenner.
The traveling delegation also will meet with stakeholders from the energy industry, tour an offshore production platform and an offshore drilling rig, visit with workers and participate in an aerial tour of the Louisiana coast.
Compiled by Jordan Blum, chief of The Advocate’s Washington bureau. His email address is email@example.com.