Heritage Call Notes12/5/2016

 

Heritage Call Notes 12/5/2016  and Action Alerts

The House and Senate are back in session this week.

End the Lame-Duck: Earlier this month, Americans voted to give Republicans control of the House, Senate and White House after a disastrous eight years of President Obama’s liberal policies. The election of Donald Trump to the White House is a clear sign that the status quo is no longer acceptable, there are no more excuses.

Congress returns to session today with less than a week to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) before the federal government runs out of discretionary funding on December 9th. Congress should no longer negotiate a long-term spending deal with lame-duck President Obama, but instead pass a clean, short-term CR that funds the federal government until President-elect Donald Trump takes office in order to renegotiate spending levels and other conservative priorities with a Republican President.

Last week, the House passed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34), a fiscally irresponsible 1,000 page omnibus health care spending bill which increases funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Senate should reject this bill and instead focus its attention on laying the groundwork for achieving concrete policy objectives next year, such as repealing Obamacare. Click hereto read Heritage Action’s key vote against the 21stCentury Cures Act.

Obamacare “Two Budget” Repeal Strategy: Since 2010, Republicans have promised to fully repeal Obamacare, campaigned on full repeal, and voted over 60 times to repeal parts or all of the disastrous healthcare law. Earlier this year, Congress used a filibuster-proof process known as budget reconciliation to pass an Obamacare repeal bill that was ultimately vetoed by the President. But now that voters elected to keep Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress and give Republicans the White House, Congress can use the same budget reconciliation process to successfully and fully repeal Obamacare once and for all under a Trump administration. There are no more excuses to be had.

Thanks to conservatives who successfully prevented Congress from passing a fiscal year 2017 budget that failed to lower spending, Republicans can now use that same budget and reconciliation process to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority and have it ready for President-elect Trump to sign soon after he takes office. Ideally, Congress should pass a one-sentence reconciliation bill that fully repeals Obamacare and sends it to President Trump’s desk by inauguration. The next best option would be for Congress to take the reconciliation bill that was vetoed earlier this year (H.R. 3762), and pass it again with additional language repealing the Obamacare insurance mandates – a central reason health insurance premiums continue to rise. The third and minimal option would be for Congress to simply re-pass H.R. 3762, which does not include the repeal of insurance mandates and other important provisions.

After Obamacare is completely repealed, Congress can then pass a second budget for fiscal year 2018 that lowers spending levels and achieves other conservative priorities. Republicans should debate and pass a series of conservative, free-market healthcare reforms that enact consumer choice, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and lower costs. This two budget strategy will ensure that momentum for repeal does not stall. It also provides ample time for individuals who have insurance through the Obamacare exchanges to transition back to the individual market without losing coverage.

Thankfully, Republicans are beginning to unite around this strategy to ensure momentum for Obamacare repeal does not die. House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) told CQ, “I think having the opportunity to have two reconciliation bills as opposed to one, two reconciliation processes as opposed to one, is wise.” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) also endorsed this strategy telling Politico it would be the best way to avoid a filibuster from Senate Democrats. Republicans have promised Obamacare repeal for five years and now possess the political capital to do it. The only remaining question is do they have the will to follow through. In Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s own words: “It’s (Obamacare repeal) pretty high on our agenda as you know. I would be shocked if we didn’t move forward and keep our commitment to the American people.”

Click here to read Heritage Action’s detailed memo on “How to Repeal All of Obamacare by Inauguration.”

Two-Speech Rule: In November 2013, Senate Democrats used the so-called “nuclear option” to eliminate the ability of Senators to filibuster all federal administrative appointments and judicial nominees with the exception of Supreme Court nominees. Now that Republicans maintained their Senate majority and won the White House, some are calling for Senate Republicans to use the nuclear option to confirm President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court and pass many upcoming conservative legislative priorities. However, other procedural means exist to move conservative priorities through the Senate without using the nuclear option.

Senate Republicans should move forward by enforcing the so-called “two-speech rule” as a strategy to move their conservative agenda. Under Senate rules, each Senator is limited to a maximum of two floor speeches in the same legislative day. A legislative day begins when the Senate meets after an adjournment and ends when the Senate adjourns next, which could last as short as one day or as long as multiple months.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could use the “two-speech rule” to evade a Senate Democratic filibuster and confirm a conservative justice or pass legislation with a simple majority. This strategy would allow Senate Republicans to push through their agenda without changing any of the Senate’s existing rules. It would also clearly demonstrate to the American people that the Senate minority is being obstructionist and playing politics instead of doing its job.

Click here to read more about the two-speech strategy on the Daily Signal.

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA): Last week, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a final vote of 375 to 34. Due to conservative opposition, the final version of the bill did not include language forcing our daughters to sign up for a potential future draft, despite the earlier Senate version which did. This is a significant conservative victory on the role of women in the military. Unfortunately, the conferees failed to include a religious liberty protection amendment offered by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK). The so-called Russell Amendment would have reaffirmed decades-old religious liberty protections that allow religious-based organizations to hire employees who share the organization’s religious beliefs without the federal government discriminating against them by denying grants or contracts.

While this is a disappointment setback, “the upcoming Congress should prioritize religious liberty and send Russell Amendment language to the president-elect’s desk, whether as an amendment to another bill or as stand-alone legislation” early next year. Click here to read a statement from Heritage Action on “Conservatives Secure Important Victory on National Draft.”

Earmarks: A week after the resounding election of a President who campaigned to “drain the swamp” and end cronyism in Washington, D.C., Republicans in Congress attempted to lift the six-year old ban on earmarks behind closed doors. Earmarks are a form of pork-barrel spending politicians use to pass bad spending bills and redirect taxpayer dollars back to their own districts or states. Republican members including Reps. John Culberson of Texas, Mike Rogers of Alabama, Tom Rooney of Florida and Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania were the four leading proponents of lifting the ban.

Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham issued a statement against lifting the ban before the vote took place. According to multiple news reports, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) tabled the earmark proposal just before it was about to pass, but Ryan promised to create an internal working group to study the issue and propose a way forward by March 31next year. Conservatives must continue to hold the line on earmarks and be prepared to fight for its defeat early next year. Sentinels are urged to encourage their congressmen to support the current ban on earmarks.

Click here to read Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham’s full statement on preserving the earmark ban.


Call Notes November 28th, 2016

The House and Senate are back in session this week.

End the Lame-Duck: Earlier this month, Americans voted to give Republicans control of the House, Senate and White House after a disastrous eight years of President Obama’s liberal policies. The election of Donald Trump to the White House is a clear sign that the status quo is no longer acceptable. Now that the American people voted to give Republicans unified control of the federal government, there are no more excuses.

Congress returns to session this Tuesday and may consider legislation including the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6), which creates a new funding stream for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This bill could be included in a larger spending package negotiated under President Obama that only serves as a distraction from laying the groundwork for achieving concrete policy objectives next year, such as repealing Obamacare. Congress should no longer negotiate a long-term spending deal with lame-duck President Obama, but instead pass a simple, short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the federal government until President-elect Donald Trump takes office in order to renegotiate spending levels and other conservative priorities with a Republican President.

Click here to read Heritage Action’s CEO Michael A. Needham’s full statement on the Presidential election and what Congress should do next. Click here to read Heritage Action’s key vote against the 21stCentury Cures Act.

Obamacare “Two Budget” Repeal Strategy: Earlier this year, Congress used a filibuster-proof process known as budget reconciliation to pass an Obamacare repeal bill that was ultimately vetoed by President Obama. Now that voters elected to keep Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress and give Republicans the White House, Congress can use the same process to fully repeal Obamacare once and for all under a Trump administration.

Thanks to conservatives who successfully prevented Congress from passing a fiscal year 2017 budget that failed to lower spending, Republicans can now use that same budget to repeal Obamacare and have it ready for President-elect Trump to sign soon after he takes office.

Congress can then pass a second budget for fiscal year 2018 that lowers spending levels and achieves other conservative priorities. After Obamacare is fully repealed, Republicans should debate and pass an Obamacare replacement plan that enacts consumer choice, strengthens the doctor-patient relationship and lowers costs. This two budget strategy will ensure that the momentum for repeal does not stall. It also provides ample time for individuals who have insurance through the Obamacare exchanges to transition back to the individual market without losing coverage.

Thankfully, Republicans are beginning to unite around this strategy to ensure momentum for Obamacare repeal does not die. House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) told CQ, “I think having the opportunity to have two reconciliation bills as opposed to one, two reconciliation processes as opposed to one, is wise.” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) also endorsed this strategy telling Politico it would be the best way to avoid a filibuster from Senate Democrats. Republicans have promised Obamacare repeal for five years and now possess the political capital to do it. The only remaining question is do they have the will to follow through. In Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s own words: “It’s (Obamacare repeal) pretty high on our agenda as you know. I would be shocked if we didn’t move forward and keep our commitment to the American people.”

Click here to read Heritage Foundation Director of Economic Policy Research Paul Winfree’s op-ed detailing “How to Repeal Obamacare: A road map for the GOP.” Click here to read a Daily Signal article for more information on Republicans uniting behind the “two budget repeal” strategy.

Two-Speech Rule: In November 2013, Senate Democrats used the so-called “nuclear option” to eliminate the ability of Senators to filibuster all federal administrative appointments and judicial nominees with the exception of Supreme Court nominees. Now that Republicans maintained their Senate majority and won the White House, some are calling for Senate Republicans to use the nuclear option to confirm President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court and pass many upcoming conservative legislative priorities. However, other procedural means exist to move conservative priorities through the Senate without using the nuclear option.

Senate Republicans should move forward by enforcing the so-called “two-speech rule” as a strategy to move their conservative agenda. Under Senate rules, each Senator is limited to a maximum of two floor speeches in the same legislative day. A legislative day begins when the Senate meets after an adjournment and ends when the Senate adjourns next, which could last as short as one day or as long as multiple months.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could use the “two-speech rule” to evade a Senate Democratic filibuster and confirm a conservative judge or pass legislation with a simple majority. This strategy would allow Senate Republicans to push through their agenda without changing any of the Senate’s existing rules. It would also clearly demonstrate to the American people that the Senate minority is being obstructionist and playing politics instead of doing its job.

Click here to read more about the two-speech strategy on the Daily Signal.

Russell Amendment: Earlier this year, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) adopted a religious liberty amendment offered by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), known as the Russell Amendment. This amendment reaffirms decades-old religious liberty protections that allow religious-based organizations to hire employees who share the organization’s religious beliefs without the federal government discriminating against them by denying grants or contracts.

The House NDAA passed by a vote of 277 to 147, however; the Senate passed their own NDAA without including Russell Amendment language. Differences between the House and Senate version are currently being resolved in conference committee. 42 Senate Democrats already sent a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee asking that the Russell Amendment be stripped from final NDAA language during conference negotiations. President Obama followed up with this letter by threatening to veto the entire bill if it contained Russell Amendment language.

Republican Leadership should not be intimidated by President Obama’s veto threat. The U.S. Constitution ensures every American the right to peacefully practice their religion free from government discrimination. Congress should reaffirm existing religious liberty protection contained within federal anti-discrimination law by passing the Russell Amendment. The NDAA Conference Committee should stand strong and include the Russell Amendment in the final conference agreement.

Click here to read a statement from Heritage Action’s Vice President, Dan Holler, calling on the NDAA Conference Committee to protect religious liberty by preserving the Russell Amendment.

Earmarks: A week after the resounding election of a President who campaigned to “drain the swamp” and end cronyism in Washington, D.C., Republicans in Congress attempted to lift the six-year old ban on earmarks behind closed doors. Earmarks are a form of pork-barrel spending politicians use to pass bad spending bills and redirect taxpayer dollars back to their own districts or states. Republican members including Reps. John Culberson of Texas, Mike Rogers of Alabama, Tom Rooney of Florida and Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania were the four leading proponents of lifting the ban.

Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham issued a statement against lifting the ban before the vote took place. According to multiple news reports, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) tabled the earmark proposal just before it was about to pass, but a companion proposal is expected to be considered early next year. Conservatives must continue to hold the line on earmarks and be prepared to fight for its defeat early next year. Sentinels are urged to encourage their congressmen to support the current ban on earmarks.

Click here to read Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham’s full statement on preserving the earmark ban.


Call Notes November 1, 2016

The House and Senate are both out of session until November 14th.

 

2016 Sentinel Summit: Join Heritage Action and hundreds of your fellow Sentinels at this year’s Sentinel Summit on November 17-19th in San Antonio, Texas. The summit offers two full days of training to build our shared, strategic vision, political influence, and a strong regional network. Register today at www.sentinelsummit2016.com or contact me, your regional coordinator, to learn more.

 

Russell Amendment: Earlier this year, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) adopted a religious liberty amendment offered by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), known as the Russell Amendment. This amendment reaffirms decades-old religious liberty protections that allow religious-based organizations to hire employees who share the organization’s religious beliefs without the federal government discriminating against them by denying grants or contracts.

 

The House NDAA passed by a vote of 277 to 147, however; the Senate passed their own NDAA without including Russell Amendment language. Differences between the House and Senate version are currently being resolved in conference committee. Last week, 42 Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee asking that the Russell Amendment be stripped from final NDAA language during conference negotiations. President Obama followed up with this letter by threatening to veto the entire bill if it contained Russell Amendment language.

 

Republican Leadership should not be intimidated by President Obama’s veto threat. The U.S. Constitution ensures every American the right to peacefully practice their religion free from government discrimination. Congress should reaffirm existing religious liberty protection contained within federal anti-discrimination law by passing the Russell Amendment. The NDAA Conference Committee should stand strong and include the Russell Amendment in the final conference agreement.

Lame Duck: Instead of passing a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the federal government into next year, Congress passed a short-term CR that funds the government until December 9th. This creates an unaccountable lame-duck session of Congress after the November elections are over.Historically, lame-duck sessions produce liberal policy outcomes as well as trillion dollar omnibus spending packages right before Christmas. Heritage Action is concerned with the following five issues that could make their way into the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress:

  1. A Bad Budget Deal: Congress should work to pass a budget that reins in out-of-control federal spending by sticking to the lower spending levels established under the Budget Control Act (BCA). With a national debt nearing $20 trillion, Congress must pass a fiscally responsible budget.
  1. Obamacare Insurance Bailouts: Health insurance companies operating on the Obamacare exchanges continue to face huge economic losses and are either abandoning the exchanges or raising their prices to stay afloat. Obamacare premiums will increase nationally by an average of 25 percent next year. In some states, premiums are increasing by over 116 percent! Even former President Bill Clinton knows Obamacare is failing recently stating: “You’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care, and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half and it’s the craziest thing in the world.” The Obama Administration knew this could be a possibility in 2010 and had three health insurer bailouts written into the law, including risk corridors, reinsurance, and cost-sharing subsidies, to keep Obamacare intact.

The risk corridor provision redistributes profit made by successful insurance companies to those who suffer heavy losses, but because Obamacare is failing, losses far outweigh profits. As a result, health insurance companies want a taxpayer bailout and the Obama administration is attempting to go around Congress’ provision preventing this by using Judgment Funds from the U.S. Treasury to bail them out. The reinsurance provision requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect $25 billion in taxes on employer-provided health-insurance plans and 1.) Reimburse taxpayers $5 billion and then 2.) Bail out health insurance companies. Instead of following the law, the Obama Administration is attempting to bail out health insures before reimbursing taxpayers. Federal district court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled against the White House earlier this May and now the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently concludedHHS does not have the legal authority to bail out health insurance companies.

Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) is circulating a letter calling for a lawsuit against the White House, but this approach falls short of stopping Obamacare bailouts. In the short term, Congress should shut down all possible avenues that would bail out insurance companies to save the President’s failing law, and resist any attempts to extend these bailout provisions past the end of this year during the lame-duck. This includes passing the Taxpayers Before Insurers Act (S. 2803 and H.R. 5904) sponsored by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Representative Mark Walker (R-NC). If passed, this bill would penalize HHS for illegally prioritizing big insurance companies ahead of taxpayers through Obamacare’s reinsurance program by cutting 50 percent of HHS’s general department management fund unless the Secretary of HHS pays the full amount taxpayers are owed. 78 percent of Americans oppose Congress issuing Obamacare bailouts during a lame duck session.

Click here to read the new Sentinel brief on this issue. Click here to read Heritage Action’s legislative endorsement of the Taxpayers Before Insurers Act. Click here to download shareable Heritage Action Obamacare Insurer Bailout Graphics.

  1. Internet Sales Tax: Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) released a discussion draft of a repackaged Internet Sales Tax bill. Named the Online Sales Tax Simplification Act of 2016, this bill would increase taxes by empowering states to tax the online sales of retailers. A Congress controlled by Republicans in both chambers has no business raising taxes, especially during a lame-duck session.
  1. Draft our Daughters: The House and Senate have yet to resolve the differences in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Senate’s version includes a provision forcing young women ages 18-26 to sign up for the Selective Service, making them eligible for a future military draft. The House version excludes this provision. Congress should not allow a draft our daughter’s provision to make it through legislation passed during the lame-duck.
  1. Supreme Court Nomination: After nearly 8 years of President Obama filling his liberal nominees to various federal court vacancies, 9 of the 13 Federal Appeals Courts are now controlled by liberal judges while the Supreme Court is only one bad judge removed from allowing executive amnesty, transgender school bathrooms, unfettered abortion, the restriction of free speech and gun control. Senate Republicans must remained opposed to all Obama nominees during the lame-duck. A lame-duck President should not appoint a Supreme Court Judge and a lame-duck Congress should not confirm one. Click here to watch the Heritage Foundation’s latest video highlighting the importance of electing leaders who will appoint/confirm conservative Supreme Court Judges.

I will be standing by to assist you with your logistics to join us for the Sentinel Summit!

Sincerely,

Melody

Melody Himel Clarke

(202) 716-9738

Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator

Follow us on Twitter: @Heritage_Action and me, @TheRightMelody.  Our hashtag is #Haction.

melody.clarke@heritageaction.com


Call Notes 10/24

The House and Senate are both out of session until November 14th.

2016 Sentinel Summit: If you are tired of business as usual in Washington, D.C. and want to learn how to effectively keep your Member of Congress accountable, join Heritage Action at this year’s Sentinel Summit on November 17-19th in San Antonio, Texas. Register today at www.sentinelsummit2016.comor contact your regional coordinator to learn more.

Lame Duck: Instead of passing a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the federal government into next year, Congress passed a short-term CR that funds the government until December 9th. This creates an unaccountable lame-duck session of Congress after the November elections are over. Historically, lame-duck sessions produce liberal policy outcomes as well as trillion dollar omnibus spending packages right before Christmas. Heritage Action is concerned with the following five issues that could make their way into the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress:

  1. A Bad Budget Deal: Congress should work to pass a budget that reins in out-of-control federal spending by sticking to the lower spending levels established under the Budget Control Act (BCA). With a national debt nearing $20 trillion, Congress must pass a fiscally responsible budget.
  1. Obamacare Insurance Bailouts: Health insurance companies operating on the Obamacare exchanges continue to face huge economic losses and areabandoning the exchanges at an alarming rate. Companies who chose to remain must raise their prices to stay afloat. Obamacare premiums will increase nationally by an average of 25 percent next year. In some states, premiums are increasing by over 80 percent! Even former President Bill Clinton knows Obamacare is failing. In a recent rally in Michigan he said, “You’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care, and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half and it’s the craziest thing in the world.” The Obama Administration knew this could be a possibility in 2010 and had three health insurer bailouts written into the law, including risk corridors, reinsurance, and cost-sharing subsidies, to keep Obamacare intact.

The risk corridor provision redistributes profit made by successful insurance companies to those who suffer heavy losses, but because Obamacare is failing, losses far outweigh profits. As a result, health insurance companies want a taxpayer bailout and the Obama administration is attempting to go around Congress’ provision preventing this by using Judgment Funds from the U.S. Treasury to bail them out. The reinsurance provision requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect $25 billion in taxes on employer-provided health-insurance plans and 1.) Reimburse taxpayers $5 billion and then 2.) Bail out health insurance companies. Instead of following the law, the Obama Administration is attempting to bail out health insures before reimbursing taxpayers. Federal district court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled against the White House earlier this May and now the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO)recently concludedHHS does not have the legal authority to bail out health insurance companies.

Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) is circulating a letter calling for a lawsuit against the White House, but this approach falls short of stopping Obamacare bailouts. In the short term, Congress should shut down all possible avenues that would bail out insurance companies to save the President’s failing law, and resist any attempts to extend these bailout provisions past the end of this year during the lame-duck. This includes passing the Taxpayers Before Insurers Act (S. 2803 and H.R. 5904) sponsored by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Representative Mark Walker (R-NC). If passed, this bill would penalize HHS for illegally prioritizing big insurance companies ahead of taxpayers through Obamacare’s reinsurance program by cutting 50 percent of HHS’s general department management fund unless the Secretary of HHS pays the full amount taxpayers are owed. 78 percent of Americans oppose Congress issuing Obamacare bailouts during a lame duck session.

Click here to read the new Sentinel brief on this issue. Click here to read Heritage Action’s legislative endorsement of the Taxpayers Before Insurers Act. Clickhere to download shareable Heritage Action Obamacare Insurer Bailout Graphics.

  1. Internet Sales Tax: Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) released a discussion draft of a repackaged Internet Sales Tax bill. Named the Online Sales Tax Simplification Act of 2016, this bill would increase taxes by empowering states to tax the online sales of retailers. A Congress controlled by Republicans in both chambers has no business raising taxes, especially during a lame-duck session.
  1. Draft our Daughters: The House and Senate have yet to resolve the differences in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Senate’s version includes a provision forcing young women ages 18-26 to sign up for the Selective Service, making them eligible for a future military draft. The House version excludes this provision. Congress should not allow a draft our daughter’s provision to make it through legislation passed during the lame-duck.
  1. Supreme Court Nomination: After nearly 8 years of President Obama filling his liberal nominees to various federal court vacancies, 9 of the 13 Federal Appeals Courts are now controlled by liberal judges while the Supreme Court is only one bad judge removed from allowing executive amnesty, transgender school bathrooms, unfettered abortion, the restriction of free speech and gun control. Senate Republicans must remained opposed to all Obama nominees during the lame-duck. A lame-duck President should not appoint a Supreme Court Judge and a lame-duck Congress should not confirm one. Click here to watch the Heritage Foundation’s latest video highlighting the importance of electing leaders who will appoint/confirm conservative Supreme Court Judges.

ICANN: Congress failed to prevent President Obama from handing over control of the Internet to ICANN. Click here to learn what Congress can do moving forward.


Heritage Call Notes October 19, 2016

The House and Senate are both out of session until November 14th.

2016 Sentinel Summit: If you are tired of business as usual in Washington, D.C. and want to learn how to effectively keep your Member of Congress accountable, join Heritage Action at this year’s Sentinel Summit on November 17-19th in San Antonio, Texas. Register today at www.sentinelsummit2016.com or let me know if you have questions or concerns.

Would you like to attend the Summit this year but think the combined expense of travel, hotel and registration might be an issue? Please keep in mind the registration of $99. (plus $50. each additional person) includes ALL of your meals: reception with Sen. Jim DeMint, plus six meals including dinner on the historic Riverwalk! The rooms at the San Antonio JW Marriott Hill Country resort are at an amazing rate of only $139.00 per night! This week is the perfect time to book your airline tickets because the rates are still low and our discount on rooms ends this Friday!

I want you with us for this important event because the Sentinel Summit is a great way to recharge your batteries after this long election season, get re-energized, reconnect and meet other great Sentinels and strategize for the looming policy fights ahead.  I have some great ideas to help you cut costs and a few Scholarships available so please be sure to let me know if you are considering attending this important event:  https://sentinelsummit2016.com/home/

 

Lame Duck: Instead of passing a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the federal government into next year, Congress passed a short-term CR that funds the government until December 9th. This creates an unaccountable lame-duck session of Congress after the November elections are over.Historically, lame-duck sessions produce liberal policy outcomes as well as trillion dollar omnibus spending packages right before Christmas. Heritage Action is concerned with the following five issues that could make their way into the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress:

 

  1. A Bad Budget Deal: Congress should work to pass a budget that reins in out-of-control federal spending by sticking to the lower spending levels established under the Budget Control Act (BCA). With a national debt nearing $20 trillion, Congress must pass a fiscally responsible budget.
  1. Obamacare Insurance Bailouts: Health insurance companies operating on the Obamacare exchanges continue to face huge economic losses and areabandoning the exchanges at an alarming rate. Companies who chose to remain must raise their prices to stay afloat. Some 82,000 Nebraskans will pay more than expectedafter Blue Cross Blue Shield pulled out of the Obamacare exchange. Even former President Bill Clinton knows Obamacare is failing. In a recent rally in Michigan he said, “You’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care, and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half and it’s the craziest thing in the world.” The Obama Administration knew this could be a possibility in 2010 and had three health insurer bailouts written into the law, including risk corridors, reinsurance, and cost-sharing subsidies, to keep Obamacare intact.

The risk corridor provision redistributes profit made by successful insurance companies to those who suffer heavy losses, but because Obamacare is failing, losses far outweigh profits. As a result, health insurance companies want a taxpayer bailout and the Obama administration is attempting to go around Congress’ provision preventing this by using Judgment Funds from the U.S. Treasury to bail them out. The reinsurance provision requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect $25 billion in taxes on employer-provided health-insurance plans and 1.) Reimburse taxpayers $5 billion and then 2.) Bail out health insurance companies. Instead of following the law, the Obama Administration is attempting to bail out health insures before reimbursing taxpayers. Federal district court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled against the White House earlier this May and now the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently concluded HHS does not have the legal authority to bail out health insurance companies.

Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) is circulating a letter calling for a lawsuit against the White House, but this approach falls short of stopping Obamacare bailouts. In the short term, Congress should shut down all possible avenues that would bail out insurance companies to save the President’s failing law, and resist any attempts to extend these bailout provisions past the end of this year during the lame-duck. This includes passing the Taxpayers Before Insurers Act (S. 2803 and H.R. 5904) sponsored by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Representative Mark Walker (R-NC). If passed, this bill wouldpenalize HHS for illegally prioritizing big insurance companies ahead of taxpayers through Obamacare’s reinsurance program by cutting 50 percent of HHS’s general department management fund unless the Secretary of HHS pays the full amount taxpayers are owed.

Click here to read the new Sentinel brief on this issue. Click here to read Heritage Action’s legislative endorsement of the Taxpayers Before Insurers Act. Click here to read the Heritage Foundation’s statement against the illegal Obamacare payments.

  1. Internet Sales Tax: Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) released a discussion draft of a repackaged Internet Sales Tax bill. Named the Online Sales Tax Simplification Act of 2016, this bill would increase taxes by empowering states to tax the online sales of retailers. A Congress controlled by Republicans in both chambers has no business raising taxes, especially during a lame-duck session.
  1. Draft our Daughters: The House and Senate have yet to resolve the differences in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Senate’s version includes a provision forcing young women ages 18-26 to sign up for the Selective Service, making them eligible for a future military draft. The House version excludes this provision. Congress should not allow a draft our daughter’s provision to make it through legislation passed during the lame-duck.
  1. Supreme Court Nomination: After nearly 8 years of President Obama filling his liberal nominees to various federal court vacancies, 9 of the 13 Federal Appeals Courts are now controlled by liberal judges while the Supreme Court is only one bad judge removed from allowing executive amnesty, transgender school bathrooms, unfettered abortion, the restriction of free speech and gun control. Senate Republicans must remained opposed to all Obama nominees during the lame-duck. A lame-duck President should not appoint a Supreme Court Judge and a lame-duck Congress should not confirm one. Watch the Heritage Foundation’s latest video highlighting the importance of just one Supreme Court Judge by clicking here.

Thank you for taking action on these important issues AND for taking time to let me know how I can  make it easier for you to attend the upcoming Sentinel Summit in San Antonio next month! Register here: https://sentinelsummit2016.com/home/

Melody Himel Clarke

(202) 716-9738

Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator

Follow us on Twitter: @Heritage_Action and me, @TheRightMelody.  Our hashtag is #Haction.

melody.clarke@heritageaction.com