Friday, September 1, 2017

After Harvey, the Trump administration reconsiders flood rules it just rolled back

Source: The Washington Post

A couple of weeks ago President Trump scrapped Obama-era rules, intended to reduce the risks posed by flooding, that established new construction standards for roads, housing and other infrastructure projects that receive federal dollars.

Trump derided these restrictions, which were written in response to growing concerns over the impact of climate change, and other federal rules as useless red tape holding back the economy.


White House Petition to Declare Soros a Terrorist Has Over 60k Signatures!

Source: TruthFeed

Finally, there’s a White House petition that’s calling on President Trump to declare radical leftist George Soros a terrorist and seize the assets of organizations tied to him.


Trump Issues Ntl Day of Prayer Proclamation for Harvey Victims and First Responders

Source: The White House; President Donald J. Trump


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Hurricane Harvey first made landfall as a Category 4 storm near Rockport, Texas, on the evening of August 25, 2017. The storm has since devastated communities in both Texas and Louisiana, claiming many lives, inflicting countless injuries, destroying or damaging tens of thousands of homes, and causing billions of dollars in damage. The entire Nation grieves with Texas and Louisiana. We are deeply grateful for those performing acts of service, and we pray for healing and comfort for those in need.

Americans have always come to the aid of their fellow countrymen -- friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, and stranger helping stranger -- and we vow to do so in response to Hurricane Harvey. From the beginning of our Nation, Americans have joined together in prayer during times of great need, to ask for God's blessings and guidance. This tradition dates to June 12, 1775, when the Continental Congress proclaimed a day of prayer following the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and April 30, 1789, when President George Washington, during the Nation's first Presidential inauguration, asked Americans to pray for God's protection and favor.

When we look across Texas and Louisiana, we see the American spirit of service embodied by countless men and women. Brave first responders have rescued those stranded in drowning cars and rising water. Families have given food and shelter to those in need. Houses of worship have organized efforts to clean up communities and repair damaged homes. Individuals of every background are striving for the same goal -- to aid and comfort people facing devastating losses. As Americans, we know that no challenge is too great for us to overcome.

As response and recovery efforts continue, and as Americans provide much needed relief to the people of Texas and Louisiana, we are reminded of Scripture's promise that "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Melania and I are grateful to everyone devoting time, effort, and resources to the ongoing response, recovery, and rebuilding efforts. We invite all Americans to join us as we continue to pray for those who have lost family members or friends, and for those who are suffering in this time of crisis.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 3, 2017, as a National Day of Prayer for the Victims of Hurricane Harvey and for our National Response and Recovery Efforts. We give thanks for the generosity and goodness of all those who have responded to the needs of their fellow Americans. I urge Americans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers today for all those harmed by Hurricane Harvey, including people who have lost family members or been injured, those who have lost homes or other property, and our first responders, law enforcement officers, military personnel, and medical professionals leading the response and recovery efforts. Each of us, in our own way, may call upon our God for strength and comfort during this difficult time. I call on all Americans and houses of worship throughout the Nation to join in one voice of prayer, as we seek to uplift one another and assist those suffering from the consequences of this terrible storm.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.


Governor Abbott Announces Day Of Prayer In Texas After Hurricane Harvey

Source: Texas Governor Gregg Abbott

Austin, TX - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation announcing September 3, 2017, as a Day of Prayer in Texas. In his proclamation, the Governor urged Texans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers on that day for the safety of first responders, public safety officers, and military personnel, and for the healing of individuals, rebuilding of communities and the restoration of the entire region struck by this disaster.

"Throughout our history, Texans have been strengthened and lifted through prayer, and it is fitting that Texans join together in prayer in this time of crisis," said Governor Abbott. "Throughout this disaster, we have seen the power of Texans helping Texans, and I am hopeful this proclamation will bring people together once more. We have remained strong throughout this ordeal, and this Day of Prayer will make us even stronger together."

Governor Abbott announced the Day of Prayer at an event today at First Baptist church in Rockport, TX with Vice President Mike Pence and Reverend Franklin Graham.

TX Governor says Price Gouging Illegal

Source: Texas Governor Gregg Abbott

Austin, TX - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Governor Greg Abbott has issued a proclamation reaffirming Texas' firm stance against price-gouging across the entire state in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Texas law strictly prohibits price-gouging and gives the Attorney General the authority to prosecute anyone exploiting a declared disaster by charging exorbitant amounts for food, fuel, or other necessities. In his proclamation, the Governor assures Texans that the Attorney General and other law enforcement officers will seek to identify and prosecute those who use price-gouging to take advantage of the public during this crisis.

"Price-gouging is unlawful throughout Texas, and I will work with Attorney General Ken Paxton to ensure all who engage in this reprehensible act are vigorously prosecuted," said Governor Abbott. "Taking advantage of victims of Hurricane Harvey is indefensible and Texas will punish these lawbreakers to the fullest extent of the law. We must be helping our fellow Texans in need, not seeking to exploit their struggles."


Source: House Representative Neal Dunn (R-FL, 2nd)

Washington, D.C. - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- As NAFTA renegotiations continue this weekend in Mexico City, Congressman Neal Dunn, M.D. (FL-02), led a group of 20 Florida House members in support of the Administration’s efforts to protect Florida agriculture from Mexico’s unfair trading practices.

“The new rules for seasonal and perishable products” sought by the Administration, the lawmakers wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, “will ensure that these producers, who can only sell during certain periods of the year and are especially vulnerable to trade surges, have recourse to viable trade remedies when faced with unfair trade practices.”

The remedies sought include a “separate domestic industry provision for perishable and seasonal products” in countervailing duty and anti-dumping suits.

“We applaud the Administration’s support for U.S. perishable and seasonal sectors and stand ready to work with the Administration on improving trade remedy coverage for these sectors…” the lawmakers stated.

DeGette to Ryan on DACA legislation: What are we waiting for?

Source: House Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO, 1st)

Denver, CO - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- In response to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s statement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is something Congress has to engage in rather than the President simply ending it, Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), Chief Deputy Whip said, “What are we waiting for?”

“Speaker Ryan has been sitting on legislation that would help DACA recipients remain productive members of our community and seek a pathway to citizenship,” DeGette said. “Now that it looks likely that President Trump will soon end the program, Mr. Ryan is finally moved to act. Well, Mr. Speaker, what are we waiting for? Let’s put legislation on the House floor next week.”

DeGette is a co-sponsor of the BRIDGE Act (H.R. 496), which would ensure that DACA recipients’ status in this country will be extended for at least another three years, as well as the bipartisan American Hope Act (H.R. 3591), which would prevent those qualified for DACA from being deported.

“There are 800,000 DREAMers nationwide, including more than 17,000 in Colorado,” DeGette said. “When President Obama established the program in 2012, he made a promise to these young men and women that America would help them remain productive members of our communities and provide a pathway to citizenship. President Trump may be ready to break this promise, but those of us who still believe in DACA’s goals will continue our efforts to fulfill them.”

SAPD changes policy on sanctuary cities

Source: House Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX, 35th)
Originally written by Jason Buch at

Questions about immigration status are “still off the table” for San Antonio police after a federal judge blocked most of the new Texas “sanctuary cities” law set to take effect Friday, Police Chief William McManus said Thursday.

The San Antonio Police Department will have to change its policies after U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia on Wednesday upheld a portion of Senate Bill 4, which creates penalties for local governments that prohibit police from asking about immigration status.

But city officials and lawyers who had challenged the law said Thursday that other portions of the ban that Garcia struck down severely limited its impact.
The law allows the attorney general to fine or remove from office local officials who “prohibit or materially limit” a police officer from “inquiring into the immigration status of a person under a lawful detention or under arrest” and sharing information with federal immigration authorities.

Garcia blocked the phrase “materially limit,” writing that it was too vague, but left in place the word “prohibit.” As a result, the police department removed from its policy a line that states: “Officers will not ask any person for proof of citizenship or legal residency.”

Still, Garcia sufficiently diluted the SB 4 provisions, said lawyers representing San Antonio and other city and county governments who sued the state to halt the law. They said police departments can tell officers questions about immigration status are a low priority and should be avoided as long as they don’t outright block them from asking.

To that end, McManus read to reporters at a news conference the city’s revised policy: “Officers will not detain and/or arrest an individual based on the fact or suspicion that they are in the United States illegally. The enforcement priorities of this department are to protect the public safety, and the priorities do not include asking any person for proof of citizenship or legal residency.”

Officers are also instructed not to ask victims or witnesses of a crime about their immigration status “unless an officer must ask to further investigate the offense” or the officer is providing information about visas for immigrants who cooperate with police, the new policy states.

“Otherwise, we do not ask and our priorities remain the same, and that is to answer calls for service and work with the public to help prevent and deter crime,” McManus said.

The chief said that officers will receive a copy of the new policy and will be shown a video about it at roll call.

While Garcia ruled that police are allowed to ask about immigration status during an arrest or detention, which could include a traffic stop, and are allowed to share information with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he warned that the law does not allow police to stop someone to determine their immigration status or to draw out detentions for immigration enforcement, even if someone admits to being in the country illegally.

“SB 4 merely requires that the officer be permitted (but not required) to share with ICE whatever information (however incomplete) he discovers during his immigration inquiry, either after releasing the individual or during the seizure, provided that this communication does not prolong the seizure,” Garcia wrote.

His ruling, a response to a lawsuit filed by local governments, including San Antonio and the border town of El Cenizo, temporarily blocks most of SB 4 from taking effect until he can decide its constitutionality. Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a notice Thursday stating he’ll appeal Garcia’s decision.

A section the judge blocked that allows the attorney general to fine and remove from office for local officials who “adopt, enforce, or endorse a policy under which the entity or department prohibits or materially limits the enforcement of immigration laws” had made opponents particularly nervous.

They’d argued the word “endorse” in that context allowed the state to punish any official who voiced opposition to SB 4 and that the phrase “materially limits” was so vague it would require local police to act as immigration officers or risk penalties.

Garcia agreed, saying that both were likely unconstitutional and barred the state from enforcing them.

In a brief filed Thursday asking Garcia to stay his injunction, attorneys for the state wrote that Garcia misunderstood the segment of the law, which “is designed to stop local law enforcement agencies from having policies that obstruct cooperation with federal immigration officials.”

Garcia denied the state’s request to stay his decision until the appeal is decided.

Although he said some portions of the law were constitutional, Garcia expressed concern about the bill.

“There is overwhelming evidence by local officials, including local law enforcement, that SB 4 will erode public trust and make many communities and neighborhoods less safe,” the judge wrote.

“There is also ample evidence that localities will suffer adverse economic consequences which, in turn, harm the State of Texas. Indeed, at the end of the day, the Legislature is free to ignore the pleas of city and county officials, along with local police departments, who are in the trenches and neighborhoods enforcing the law on a daily and continuing basis. The depth and reservoir of knowledge and experience possessed by local officials can be ignored. The Court cannot and does not second guess the Legislature. However, the State may not exercise its authority in a manner that violates the United States Constitution.”

Opponents of SB 4 cast the debate over the law as a contest between the will of officials in Austin and local governments.

“This is the most vivid example of the state playing Big Brother in a year that has been overloaded with state and federal attempts to dictate municipal policy to local elected officials,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Thursday. “The bottom line is that SB 4 is an excessive and cruel reaction to the federal government’s failure to deal with immigration.”

The fight over SB 4 is part of a larger shift in the national immigration debate. During the administration of former President Barack Obama, the federal government and the state of Texas were often at odds on immigration policy. Under President Donald Trump, the Justice Department has come out in favor of SB 4, telling Garcia the law is constitutional.

Joining immigration activists in front of the federal courthouse Thursday morning, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-San Antonio, said the SB 4 decision “gives us encouragement that we will ultimately prevail, that we will never accept being drug backwards by those state officials who are kind of the Junior Trumps up there in Austin.”

Doggett noted that despite the victory over SB 4, recipients of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program face a looming threat, again driven by the state of Texas.

Paxton has told the Trump administration that if it does not end the program that provides renewable two-year reprieves from deportation to some young immigrants who are in the country without permission, he will challenge it in court on Tuesday. According to national media reports, Trump is considering halting or changing the program, possibly as early as Friday.

“It’s very unlike President Trump to yield to a threat,” Doggett said. “So I hope he’s not going to back down in the face of Ken Paxton.”

Selene Gomez, the San Antonio area coordinator for Mi Familia Vota, said at the rally that activists will be holding another event Friday in Milam Park asking the City Council for a resolution in favor of immigrants’ rights and preparing for a decision on deferred action, known as DACA. Her organization will continue to combat SB 4 and encourage Texans to vote against the legislators who supported it, Gomez said, but “everybody now is shifting 100 percent to DACA.”

Congress shouldn't fund a Trump-Russia fishing expedition

Source: House Representative Ron DeSantis (R-FL, 6th)
Originally published at

Washington, D.C. - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defended against criticism of his handling of the amorphous “Russia investigation” by saying that the Department of Justice “doesn’t engage in fishing expeditions.” Yet, his clumsy management of this matter is the reason why many Americans are concerned that the investigation lacks focus and will veer into unrelated matters, thereby extending the probe far into the future and hampering the ability of the Trump administration to attend to the people’s business.

Rosenstein’s order appointing Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel failed to enumerate a crime to be investigated; instead, the order cited then-FBI Director James Comey’s March testimony identifying the existence of a counterintelligence investigation focusing on Russia, not a criminal investigation targeting members of the Trump administration. The order was defective because DOJ regulations make the existence of a criminal investigation a condition precedent to the appointment of a special counsel. Moreover, the order was so vague that it places little in the way of substantive limits on the scope or duration of the investigation.

The Rosenstein order is effectively an invitation to conduct a fishing expedition. And news reports have suggested that the investigation is veering into territory that has little, if any, relationship to the question of whether anyone committed crimes while in cahoots with the Russians.

Now, in recent appearance on Fox News Sunday, Rosenstein assures us that “Bob Mueller understands and [he] understands the specific scope of the investigation and so, it’s not a fishing expedition.”

Given the failure to issue a clear appointing order, Congress should not simply take Rosenstein’s word for this. Instead, Congress should use the upcoming appropriations bills to establish clear limits to the scope and duration of the special counsel investigation.

Specifically, Congress should deny funding for the investigation of any matters that precede the commencement of the 2016 presidential campaign. This will prevent the investigation from going off the rails and from becoming a roving commission to simply “find something” on members of the Trump administration, including the president himself.

In addition, Congress should terminate funding for the investigation at a date certain – say, 180 days from the date of enactment – so that the Trump administration and the Congress can move on to dealing with the key issues facing the American people.

The notion that the Trump campaign illegally “colluded” with Russian government agents has always seemed to be more a matter of wishful thinking by the media than something based on hard evidence. Imposing a deadline will force the special counsel to put up or shut up: if evidence of criminal activity has not surfaced after what will be nearly two years of investigation (including the pre-special counsel investigation conducted by the FBI), then this investigatory cloud hovering over the Trump administration should be removed.

There was never a clear basis from which to establish a special counsel in the first place, but we are where we are and it is in the public’s interest that this investigation be focused in scope and limited in duration.

The drag that such an investigation places on an administration means that the business of governing is necessarily hindered. For his part, President Trump is reviled by the Washington ruling class and the appointment of a special counsel is a way for the “Swamp” to seek his presidency’s destruction -- through investigative paralysis at least, with no evidence of wrongdoing uncovered. The inexplicable decision of Special Counsel Mueller to stock his office with Democratic partisans has underscored concerns along these lines.

Congress can and should use its power of the purse to impose guardrails on the investigation. The congressional corollary to the Rosenstein admonition that the DOJ doesn’t conduct fishing expeditions should be that the Congress will not fund fishing expeditions.

Chairman Crowley Statement on August Jobs Report

Source: House Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY, 14th)

Washington, D.C. - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on the August jobs report:

“Hard-working families are struggling to find financial security. President Trump and Republicans in Congress are giving Americans a raw deal with their relentless focus on destroying the Affordable Care Act and advancing tax cuts that would only benefit the wealthy and corporate special interests instead of the middle class. This is not how we put Americans back to work or grow their paychecks. I urge my Republican colleagues to stop the partisan games and join Democrats in moving forward an agenda that creates more jobs with better wages.”

Dickinson Based Company to Develop Prototype for Southern Border Wall

Source: House Representative Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota)

Washington, D.C. - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Kevin Cramer announced today the U.S. Customs and Border Protection awarded Dickinson-based Fisher Sand & Gravel Co. a contract to develop a prototype for construction of a wall along the southern border.

“I am not surprised by today’s announcement knowing Fisher Industries as well as I do. When I saw the presentation they prepared for the Department of Homeland Security, I was impressed with their design and quite confident they would make it to the top of the list. Fisher’s strong work ethic and reputation for a quality product has made them a leader within the aggregate and construction industry,” said Cramer. “Today is a win not only for national security, but for the taxpayer as well.”

Fisher Industries, the parent company to Fisher Sand and Gravel Co., was started in south western North Dakota by Gene Fisher in 1952. Today, Gene’s eldest son, Tommy Fisher, is president of the company and has expanded operations beyond North Dakota. Fisher Sand and Gravel is one of the top 25 sand and gravel companies in the United States.


Source: House Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI, 13th)

Washington, D.C. - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- 60 Members of Congress, led by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), today sent a letter to Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, requesting information on the steps the EPA is taking to protect Americans, bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides.

The letter notes that last year, “EPA scientists concluded that the agency should ban chlorpyrifos, a commonly used pesticide, on farms across the country due to significant evidence of the harmful effects it has on farmworkers and young children.” Research shows that prenatal exposures to chlorpyrifos are associated with reduced IQ, loss of working memory, attention disorders and delayed motor development. In March, the Trump Administration reversed this decision and instead chose to keep this pesticide on the market. Chlorpyrifos was previously banned for household use in 2000.

According to news reports, EPA Administrator Pruitt met with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris on March 9th, just 20 days before reversing the Administration’s decision on pesticides. The Members wrote,

“Given the precedent this action has created at EPA, we are deeply concerned that your agency has adopted a new standard of pesticide review and will start making pesticide registration determinations based on recommendations from pesticide manufacturers instead of basing agency decisions on sound, independent science.”
Congressman Conyers said,

“The science is clear. These pesticides are a severe risk to Americans’ health and pose an equally concerning risk to our food supply. It appears that the EPA, an agency long tasked with protecting Americans’ food, air and water, has spent more time listening to chemical companies and industry interests rather than its own scientists and the American people. I call on Mr. Pruitt to carefully evaluate the mission of the EPA and return to keeping Americans, and our food supply, safe.” “The Trump administration has ignored basic science time and time again, and the decision to reverse the ban on this dangerous pesticide is yet another glaring example,” said Blumenauer. “Our constituents demand answers, and the EPA has a responsibility to protect the health of the American people. The administration should reverse course on its decision and demonstrate that it is capable of making objective, science-based decisions.”

Congressman Connolly’s Statement on DACA and DREAMers

Source: House Representative Gerald E. “Gerry” Connolly (D-VA, 11th)

Washington, D.C. - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Gerry Connolly issued the following statement on DACA and the contributions of DREAMers to Virginia in response to troubling reports that President Trump may end the DACA program:

“Since its creation in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has given nearly 800,000 DREAMers the opportunity to work and attend school. In Virginia, we have more than 12,000 DREAMers and they have contributed more than $711.4 million to our annual GDP. These young, hardworking DREAMers are contributing to our communities, creating jobs, serving our military, teaching our children, and caring for our family members. Ending DACA is a moral outrage and we must protect this program. That is why I am offering an amendment to protect these DREAMers from deportation by prohibiting DHS from using information submitted through the DACA program to initiate removal proceedings.”

Ban on Venezuelan Oil Imports

Source: House Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO, 6th):

Aurora, CO - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- At the Colorado State Capitol, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) announced that he will introduce the ‘Protecting Against Tyranny and Responsible Imports Act (PATRIA) of 2017’ which would impose a ban on the importation of petroleum and refined petroleum products from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. In light of the recent actions taken by the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to solidify his authoritarian regime, Coffman plans to introduce the ‘PATRIA Act’ on September 5th.

Earlier this year, the Venezuelan Supreme Court, who is led by Maduro loyalists, stripped the country’s National Assembly, their democratically elected legislative body, of its authority. Recently, Maduro ordered the formation of a ‘Constituent Assembly’ which has the authority to rewrite the country’s constitution, dismiss officials, and eliminate existing institutions. This will allow Maduro to consolidate his dictatorship, perpetuate the humanitarian crisis, and imprison democratically-elected officials in Venezuela.

Coffman’s legislation would require that President Maduro reinstate the freely and fairly elected National Assembly of 2015 before the oil ban is lifted. Restoring the National Assembly would provide Venezuela with a democratically-elected legislative body that their people have been protesting and dying for in recent months.

“Although I am pleased that President Trump authorized additional sanctions against Venezuela, I believe that we must take stronger action to get Maduro to reinstate the National Assembly”.

If enacted, the ‘PATRIA ACT’ will have an estimated $10 billion impact in lost income to the Venezuelan government and will deny the authoritarian Maduro government the ability to use these funds to pay the regime’s security forces who have been oppressing the growing opposition and prolonging an ongoing humanitarian crisis.

“Venezuela, once the richest country of Latin America, is now a poor country without a respect for the rule of law or human rights,” said Coffman. “No doubt, this could make economic conditions even tougher for the Venezuelan people but it will also deliver a devastating blow to Maduro’s ability to stay in power without restoring the democratically-elected National Assembly,” Coffman continued.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have recently floated the possibility of U.S. military intervention to stop Venezuela from sliding into an authoritarian Cuban-style dictatorship while not discussing a ban on imported oil that supports the Maduro government.

“The price of the blood that could be shed by our own military has a greater value to me than any increase in the price at the pump caused by a ban on the sale of Venezuelan oil in the United States,” said Coffman, a Marine Corps combat veteran.

On June 17, 2017, Congressman Coffman authored a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that called on the State Department to impose more severe sanctions on “individuals and corporations within Venezuela that actively contribute to the ongoing crisis in that country...” Coffman continued, “I believe that, without a robust and wide ranging sanctions regime, the Maduro government will never consider democratic reforms…or stop its heinous pattern of human rights abuse.”

A preliminary CBO score reflects this legislation would result in a revenue loss of about $8 million dollars per year to the United States.

Congressman Cleaver’s Statement Regarding DACA

Source: House Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO, 5th)

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II released the following statement in regards to President Trump’s plans to effectively end the DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, program.

“Because I am an ordained United Methodist clergy, I cannot resist saying that Ezekiel 18 is clear, each individual is responsible for his/her own sins. Listen to the text:

Ezekiel 18:19

“The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness.”

Who are we to punish young Americans for their parents’ decision? Come on, opponents of that which is right, get with it or get out of the way!”

Castro Statement on Texas Voter ID Ruling

Source: House Representative Joaquin Castro (D-TX, 20th)

Washington, D.C. - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), first vice chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, issued the following statement after a federal court granted a preliminary injunction halting Senate Bill 4 from taking effect:

“This preliminary injunction is a relief, but not a surprise – SB 4 is discriminatory and unconstitutional. No one living in or visiting Texas should fear that they will be asked to prove their citizenship just because of their skin color or accent.

“SB 4 would make our communities less safe and drive away businesses. Even local law enforcement chiefs from across the state oppose the law and say it will make it harder for them to protect Texans. Yet, Republican state leaders will continue to challenge today’s ruling. I’m confident that ultimately, this unjust measure will be deemed unlawful.”

Carter Statement on President Trump's Tax Reform Speech

Source: House Representative Buddy Carter (R-GA, 1st)

Congressman Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (GA-01) released the following statement in response to President Trump's speech on tax reform:

"I have always said that I believe our antiquated and burdensome tax code is the greatest threat to economic opportunity in this country. I believe Americans need and deserve tax relief so strongly that I made sure my first act as a Member of Congress was to cosponsor the Fair Tax in an attempt to deliver relief and build a stronger economy. Today, President Trump reaffirmed he shares these concerns and is ready for action on pro-American tax reform. We stand united in this effort and together we will deliver a tax code that will empower all Americans to achieve the American dream."

President Trump To Pledge $1 Million Of His $3.5 Billion Fortune For Hurricane Harvey Relief

Source: The New York Post

I move that we make President Trump an Honorary Texan!

The White House says President Donald Trump is pledging $1 million in personal funds to Harvey storm relief efforts.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the announcement at a briefing Thursday.

And she says he’s calling on reporters to help decide which specific organization he will give to.


Budd Statement On President Trump’s Tax Reform Plan

Source: House Representative Ted Budd (R-NC, 13th)

Washington, D.C. - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Representative Ted Budd (NC-13) released the following statement regarding President Trump’s speech discussing his tax reform plan:

“President Trump’s speech today laid out an optimistic vision of what our country can accomplish when we put more money back in the pockets of American families. Over the past few years, North Carolina has seen first hand what is possible when you lower rates and simplify the tax code. I look forward to working with President Trump to deliver on the promise of cutting taxes for the American people”.

Buchanan Offers Amendments to Stop Horse Slaughter, Protect Endangered Species and Fight Red Tide

Source: House Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL, 16th)

Washington, D.C. - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan today announced that he will be offering amendments to prohibit horse slaughter, combat red tide and protect endangered species as part of a government funding bill to be considered by Congress next week.

Buchanan submitted the three amendments to the House Rules Committee, which will decide Tuesday whether to allow the measures to be brought to the House floor for a vote.

“Banning the slaughter of horses, curbing harmful red tide and funding the Endangered Species Act are important issues to the people in my district and the rest of Florida,” Buchanan said. “It's time for Congress to end partisan gridlock and pass common-sense policies.”

Specifically, Buchanan offered the following amendments to H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of 2018:

  • Buchanan Horse Slaughter Amendment – Prevents the reopening of horse slaughter facilities in the United States by prohibiting federal funding for health and safety inspections which is required by law at all meat processing plants. Buchanan is also the sponsor of the SAFE Act to permanently ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the U.S. as well as the export of live horses to Mexican and Canadian Slaughterhouses.
  • Buchanan Red Tide Amendment – Increases funding for NOAA’s National Ocean Service by $8 million to detect, respond to and develop new and innovative technologies to mitigate the impacts of red tide. Red tide, caused by Karenia brevis algae, is a toxic bacteria that has lingered along Suncoast shores on and off for several months now, killing thousands of fish and discouraging potential visitors from taking in some of the country’s best beaches.
  • Buchanan Endangered Species Amendment – Restores $3,393,000 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for new species listings under the Endangered Species Act. The FWS is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving and protecting fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats. Two of Florida's most iconic animals, the panther (endangered) and the manatee (threatened), have been listed under the Endangered Species Act since 1976.

  • Buchanan, the co-chair of Florida's congressional delegation, has long placed a priority on combating red tide and cracking down on animal cruelty. He has successfully fought for red tide research and was recently honored as the U.S. Humane Society's Legislator of the Year for his leadership on animal welfare issues.

    Rep. Black Statement on Tax Reform

    Source: House Representative Diane Black (R-TN, 6th)

    Washington, D.C. - September 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), Chairman of the House Budget Committee and member of the House Ways and Means Committee, released the following statement in support of President Trump’s remarks on tax reform:

    “I applaud President Trump’s commitment to tackling tax reform and bringing relief to Tennessee families suffering under the heavy hand of government. In order for our free-market economy to thrive, we must get the government out of the way and create a tax code that works for all Americans, and our budget does just that,” said Congressman Diane Black. “Passing our budget resolution is the first step to finally delivering on our promise to provide a tax code built for growth—growth of paychecks, American business, and our economy. We have an ambitious game plan, and we're ready to work with the Trump Administration to score a victory for the American people.”

    Texas Proud in Face of Disaster (Commentary by Shonda Ponder)

    President Trump has pledged $1000000 of his own money towards the victims of hurricane Harvey. The greatness of this is exemplified in the fact that he refuses to take pay for being president of the United States of America from the taxpayers. And yet throughout all this the Democrats are still demonizing him.

    The mayor of Houston is going to have a lot to answer for. Two days before hurricane Harvey hit the coast of Texas governor Greg Abbott already knew the hurricane was coming. In order to get ready for it, he requested that Trump declare a National Emergency for Texas. Coast Guard was routed to the scene, as Trump signed the Declaration the day before Harvey hit. National Guard was also dispatched. I believe that my Governor and my President both did an exemplary job in the preparation for Hurricane Harvey.

    The governor warned all of Texas that the hurricane was on its way and to prepare for it by following the directions of their local authorities. The mayor of Houston, however, decided that there wasn't anything really to worry about. After all no one knows what the weather is really going to be like, right? He told the people of Houston not to panic and to stay in their homes. Therefore, the City of Houston was fully unprepared for what happened.

    I hope that the people of Houston have learned their lesson, and when election year comes around again they vote this mayor out. I am wholly surprised if that's the least they do to him.

    Two oil refineries in Houston were shut down, and one of them blew up, causing a gas Panic throughout Texas. On Thursday, a lot of gas stations in Dallas have run out of gas, and gas stations in the Northern parts of Texas were bracing for the worst as lines of cars decided to stock up on their gas while there was still time.

    The nation of Israel also donated money towards the Harvey clean up.

    Finally, the people of Houston and throughout Texas have shown heroic strength of character. Some of them in the midst of losing everything themselves, were seen out on the waters in boats helping with the rescue mission. Everyone was helping one another. It was a sight to behold, and I am proud of the example that the people of the State of Texas set for the nation.

    In the meantime, the mainstream media and the Democrats are relentless in their attacks of Trump throughout all of this. You would think that they could find something better to do, or to focus on, in the midst of all the turmoil. Instead of helping they are standing on the sidelines booing everyone who's trying to do something productive. One can only hope that when election year comes around again the people speak with their votes about how unappreciated and inappropriate this is.

    On the heels of hurricane Harvey, hurricane Irma makes its way towards the coast. With one disaster after another I doubt Houstonians or any of the coastal Texas cities can be any more prepared than they are now. Let's keep them all in prayer.

    In the northeastern part of Texas where I live, we rarely ever see the devastating effects of hurricanes that hit the coast. However, we feel the pain of our fellow Texans as we hustle about seeking what we can donate to help the cause. The problems that the southern part of Texas is facing is a problem for the whole state and we are acting accordingly.

    In Texas there is only one skin color: Texan. You either are, or you ain't. And, if you ain't, we don't want your divisive philosophy here.

    Our hearts go out to all who are affected. This is what makes me proud to be a Texan. We're a big state with big hearts!

    Sam Houston is known to have said, when Texas became part of the United States, “Texas doesn't need the United States. But, the United States needs Texas.” With the spirit that has been alive during the past week, I venture to say that Texas has shown the United States what unity and pride is all about.