House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced last week that the bills that would ban online gambling were made a part of the "American Values Agenda" in the House of Representatives. The agenda is a list of freedom-based legislative initiatives expected to move through the House in the coming weeks and months before the end of this year's session.
"The House of Representatives belongs to the American people, and the American people want us to act on the issues they care about. This is their agenda," said Boehner, adding that the agenda is a collection of initiatives that speak to the values many Americans hold dear.
The House merged H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, and H.R. 4411, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2005, into one agenda item labeled Internet Gambling Prohibition.
The "American Values Agenda" includes:
- Pledge Protection Act: Protects the Pledge of Allegiance from attacks by judges seeking to rule it unconstitutional because of its "under God" reference
- Freedom to Display the American Flag Act: Ensures the right to display the U.S. flag on residential property
- The Public Expression of Religion Act: Ensures officials and communities don't face financial ruin to defend their right to freely express their religious views as protected by the right to free speech
- Marriage Amendment: Constitutional amendment defining marriage to be between a man and woman
- Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act: Requires that doctors performing late-term abortions inform women seeking an abortion of the medical evidence that the unborn child feels pain, and give them the option of choosing anesthesia for the child.
- Human Cloning Prohibition Act: Bans human cloning and the importation of products derived from human cloning
- BATFE Reform: Reforms the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to protect citizens' rights
- Internet Gambling Prohibition: Makes it illegal to use a banking instrument like a check or credit card to settle Internet wagers and updates the Wire Act to specifically prohibit online gambling
- Permanent Tax Relief for Families: Series of votes on the child tax credit, marriage penalty relief, tax incentives for adoption and more
- Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act: Would prohibit governments from using federal funds to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens during emergencies
Boehner announced the agenda June 27, and that same day, the House voted on an item from the list, the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act. One of the lesser controversial items, it passed and has been referred to the Senate.
In what could be an omen for things to come for the more controversial items, though, House Republicans failed to advance their Pledge Protection Act the following day when it came up for vote. The act was considered controversial because it would strip the courts of certain powers in order to protect the "under God" portion of the Pledge of Allegiance.
The House will resume debate and voting on issues when they return from their Independence Day break July 10. With an adjournment date for this year's session of Congress scheduled for Oct. 6, the odds are slim that the Internet Gambling Prohibition will become a law, much less even make it to a vote this year in the House.