Heritage Call Notes April, 2017

Heritage Call Notes April 24, 2017

Please be sure your Representative and Senators hear from you on the important policy discussions outlined below! I will be standing by to assist. Please let me know any questions you may have or any way I may help.

The House and Senate are back from their two-week Easter recess and have four days before government discretionary funding lapses. Congress will consider legislation to fund the federal government past April 28th and may consider a revised version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The Senate confirmed Sonny Perdue as Agricultural Secretary earlier today.

 

Continuing Resolution (CR): Lawmakers have until Friday to extend federal discretionary funding beyond the current April 28th deadline. President Trump initially requested an $18 billion reduction in spending over the next five months while also providing an additional $30 billion for the military and$1.5 billion for construction of a southern border wall. Many conservatives agree with the President and would like the spending bill to reflect conservative policy priorities as well as lower overall federal spending. While nothing has been decided, these asks appear to be dead on arrival even though Republicans control the House and Senate.

 

Referencing conservatives, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said: “They have to work with somebody to keep the government open…So if you can come to the table, great. If you can’t, then don’t be surprised if the train moves in another direction; because it has to.” One report suggested that “The White House felt like the plans — at least where they stood [in March] — could’ve been drafted by Obama.”

 

Even though the deadline is just a few days away, rank-and-file Republicans have no clue what their leadership will ask them to vote for later this week. While conservative lawmakers and their constituents are left in the dark, Senate Democrats are demanding no funding for the border wall and want to include billions in funding to bail out insurance companies under Obamacare known as “cost-sharing subsidies.”
Any funding bill should be used to advance key administration priorities, including overall spending levels and key policy changes, such as funds to begin building the southern border wall. Additionally, no funding should be appropriated for Obamacare’s cost sharing subsidies.

 

Obamacare Repeal Debate Continues: Last summer, House Republicans released their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. The “Better Way” said:

 

“Obamacare is making things worse by the day. It drives up premiums and deductible costs for individuals, families, and businesses. It forces people off the plans they like. It fuels waste, fraud, and abuse. And it cannot be fixed. Its knot of regulations, taxes, and mandates cannot be untangled. Obamacare must be fully repealed so we can start over and take a new approach.”

 

This is exactly right. It is what Republicans campaigned on in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. It is what they voted on dozens of time. And it is what they promised America if they won the House, Senate and White House. It was the type of approach that would have united the Republican Party; instead, House Speaker Paul Ryan worked with a small group of moderate lawmakers to draft the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628). This bill was bad policy and bad politics, but it was also bad process. Conservative lawmakers were left out, conservative health care scholars were left out, and conservative activists were left out.

 

Thankfully, conservatives inside the beltway, led by the House Freedom Caucus and Heritage Action, and conservatives outside the beltway like you rejected the AHCA for a variety of reasons, but mainly for its failure to include a repeal of the regulatory architecture of Obamacare that is responsible for the rising cost of health care. This regulatory architecture is found in Title I of Obamacare and includes a number of insurance regulations and mandates such as community rating, essential health benefits, guarantee issue, actuarial value, among others. Taken together, these mandates and regulations restrict consumer choice and drive up the cost of health care premiums by a national average of 44.5 to 68 percent. If the House passed the AHCA and it was signed into law, the heart of Obamacare would have remained the law of the land and health care premiums would have continued to increase leading up to the 2018 elections.

 

Why in the world has Obamacare repeal been so hard? Well the answer is actually simple: far too many Republicans like the basic premise of Obamacare, which was to turn health insurance companies into publicly regulated utilities. They ran on repeal because it was a good political message — during the 2010 midterms there was $108 million in ads against Obamacare and 87 new Republicans were elected — but few ever thought they would have an opportunity to actually repeal the law. Heritage Action has critiqued liberal members of the Republican Party — namely the House Tuesday Group — for their unwillingness to advance conservative priorities, but their acceptance of Obamacare is stunning.

 

Fortunately, last week it was reported that Mark Meadows — the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus — is negotiating with Tom MacArthur — the chairman of the House Tuesday Group — on Obamacare. Contrary to Paul Ryan and House leadership’s desire to run away from Obamacare repeal, Meadows is negotiating in good faith to do three things:

 

  1. Expose the role Obamacare’s regulatory architecture plays in increasing premiums and dictating health insurance plans;
  2. Ensure the Ryan bill gets at some of those core regulations; and
  3. Move the debate forward to the Senate where Paul Ryan and many of those liberal Republicans cannot play a role in the debate.

The policy has been discussed at length before — a system of state waivers that allow states to opt out of core elements of Obamacare’s regulatory architecture. To be absolutely clear — this is not full repeal. This is not what Republicans campaigned on. It is not what candidate Trump promised. And it is most certainly not what conservatives voted for when going to the polls.

 

The current debate is the result of a disastrous process led by a Republican leadership team that was overly focused on catering to its liberal and moderate members instead of delivering on the conservative promises the Party campaigned and won on. In that context, there are three key points to evaluate when language becomes available:

 

  1. Which regulations will states be able to opt out of?
  2. How easy will it be for states to receive a waiver?
  3. How long will the waivers last?

It is clear that House Republican leaders are not capable of doing better, which is why many House conservatives are eager to advance as much as they can in the House — to them, it is this waiver system — and then let the Senate take the baton. That is usually a very bad idea, but when it comes to the budget reconciliation process it have proven successful in the recent past. The initial 2015 reconciliation bill passed by the House was dreadful — Heritage Action key voted against that bill too and only a handful of Republicans opposed by House leaders said it was the best they could do — but the Senate made the bill substantially better.

 

As counterintuitive as it sounds, conservatives have leverage and a great opportunity to make the bill better in the Senate. They need to do that. And those conversations are already happening as conservatives are being brought in. Even before the debate has started, the Senate is taking a different approach than Paul Ryan did although there are no guarantees the outcome will be ideal. But whatever the House passes will not be the conclusion of that effort, it will be the beginning of that effort, and thanks to all of your work the Washington Establishment did not move on when things got difficult.

 

This week will be busy with the government funding deadline taking most of the legislative oxygen, but text of the MacArthur-Meadows Amendment could be made available later this week and potentially a vote on a revised AHCA next week. Nothing is set in stone. Text is not publicly available. Liberal Republicans may recoil at even the hint of federalism and things could change dramatically over the next week or so. What will not change though is the total distrust of the House leadership of this process. In many ways the process has created an irredeemable product and we will need other voices in the legislative process to move things closer to what the American people were promised.

 

Click here to read Heritage Action’s fact sheet on how the GOP campaigned on repealing Obamacare’s community rating provision. Click here to read Heritage Action’s key vote on the bill and here to read the latest Sentinel brief on how to improve the AHCA.

 

Dodd-Frank Repeal: Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) of the House Financial Services Committee is expected to re-introduce a bill to repeal or replace some of the worst provisions contained in Dodd-Frank called the Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers, and Entrepreneurs Act orFinancial CHOICE Act. The committee will markup and introduce the bill this week.

 

In 2016, Chairman Hensarling successfully passed the originally version of the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 5983) out of committee but the bill never received a House floor vote. Dodd-Frank codifies “too big to fail” policy, harms local community banks, restricts access to credit for investors and homebuyers, raises lending costs, reduces access to capital for small businesses, and created one of the most powerful and unaccountable federal agencies — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Evidenceshows Dodd-Frank is one of the major factors responsible for the country’s historically slow economic recovery.

 

Now that Congress has a President supportive of rolling back Dodd-Frank, Chairman Hensarling has a perfect opportunity to improve and pass Financial CHOICE Act 2.0 out of his committee and onto the House floor. Congress should use this momentum to pass Financial CHOICE Act 2.0 and sent it over to the Senate for consideration. Congress could also use budget reconciliation to defund the CFPB and pass a number of other provisions contained in the bill later this year. Click here to read Heritage Action’s legislative endorsement of the bill.

 

Stop Earmarks: A week after the resounding election of a President who campaigned to “drain the swamp” and end cronyism, 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. 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 31st. The deadline for decision making was pushed back until June, giving conservatives more time to rally against the false claims being made by pork-backing lawmakers and special interest groups. Conservatives should encourage their congressmen to support the current ban on earmarks. Click here to read a Daily Signal article discussing how to convince your friends that earmarks have no place in Congress.

Thank you for all you do to hold Congress accountable to conservative principles!

Sincerely,

Melody

Melody Himel Clarke

(202) 716-9738

Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator

Tell a Friend about our Sentinel Program!

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

melody.clarke@heritageaction.com

 


Heritage Call Notes April 10, 2017

Congress is on Easter recess.  That means it is even more important for you to submit your letter to the Editor urging support for those members of Congress calling for a real repeal of Obamacare; as well as calling out those who have become roadblocks to real reform of the regulatory architecture.  Keep reading and you will find all the information and links you need to put together a great letter to your Editor! As always, I will be standing by to offer assistance.

In case you missed the Sentinel Strategy Call, Listen Herehttp://heritageactionsentinel.com/call/

The House and Senate are both in week one of a two-week Easter recess. The Senate will return on April 24th and the House will return on April 25th – just four days before the federal government runs out of discretionary spending. Click here for a list of townhalls happening near you.

 

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch: Last week, the Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court by a final vote of 54 – 45 after overcoming an unprecedented partisan filibuster by using the nuclear option to change the way the Senate operates. It is important to remember that this change in precedent only applies to the Senate’s executive calendar, not the legislative calendar which operates under its own separate set of rules and precedents. Ending debate on legislation will still require 60 votes.

 

Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

 

“Republicans campaigned on nominating and confirming justices to the Supreme Court in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. President Trump made good on his campaign promise when he nominated Judge Gorsuch. And today, Senator McConnell and his Republican colleagues upheld their end of the bargain by confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch.

 

“The American people, regardless of their party affiliation, should be encouraged that the next Supreme Court Justice will interpret the text of the Constitution rather than create unwritten rights supposedly hidden between the lines.”

 

Click here to read the Sentinel brief on Neil Gorsuch and here to read Heritage Action’s key vote in support.

 

Obamacare Repeal Debate Continues: On March 6th, House Republican Leadership released a long anticipated bill that partially repeals and replaces Obamacare named the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628). Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to delay a vote on the bill before finally pulling the bill from the House floor due to a lack of support among House Republicans – conservatives and moderates included. Nearly every major conservative organizationopposed the bill for a variety of reasons, but the main issue with the AHCA is what it fails to include: a repeal of the regulatory architecture of Obamacare that is responsible for the rising cost of health care.

 

This regulatory architecture is found in Title I of Obamacare and includes a number of insurance regulations and mandates such as community rating, essential health benefits, guarantee issue, actuarial value, among others. Taken together, these mandates and regulations restrict consumer choice and drive up the cost of health care premiums by a national average of 44.5 to 68 percent. If the House passed the AHCA and it was signed into law, the heart of Obamacare would have remained the law of the land and health care premiums would have continued to increase leading up to the 2018 elections. This bill was bad policy and bad politics, but it was also bad process. Conservative input into the bill was excluded when written, members were given only three weeks to debate and review the bill, and an arbitrary all-or-nothing deadline was imposed by House Republican Leadership.

 

Conservative members of Congress led by House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) negotiated in good faith with President Trump and Republican leaders throughout the process in an attempt to include the repeal of Obamacare’s regulatory architecture in the AHCA. Adding these insurance regulations and mandates into the repeal bill would have lowered health care costs and fulfilled a seven-year old Republican promise to the American people to fully repeal Obamacare. In the end, the repeal of the regulatory architecture of Obamacare was not included in the AHCA and the bill did not have the votes to pass the House.

 

Instead of giving up and moving on, the failure of the AHCA is a necessary first step to begin the hard work of fully repealing Obamacare. Republicans now have the perfect opportunity to reset the debate and openly negotiate a better bill that repeals Obamacare and lowers health care costs.

 

Unfortunately, despite the White House’s best efforts to renegotiate the Obamacare repeal legislation last week, members of the House Republican moderate “Tuesday Group” refuse to compromise. According to news reports, Vice President Mike Pence had brokered a deal to allow individual states to opt-out of Obamacare Title I insurance regulations until members of the Tuesday Group and even some members in GOP Leadership balked at the compromise, despite having campaigned and voted to repeal Obamacare for the past seven years.

 

Conservatives should use the two-week Easter recess to urge their members of Congress to repeal Obamacare, including Title I regulations, as soon as possible by actively participating in town halls, writing letters to the editor, and contacting their member of Congress directly.

 

Click here to read Heritage Action’s fact sheet on how the GOP campaigned on repealing Obamacare’s community rating provision. Click here to read Heritage Action’s key vote on the bill and here to read the latest Sentinel brief on how to improve the AHCA. Click here to read a Washington Examiner article detailing why Title I regulation repeal is possible through reconciliation.

 

Continuing Resolution (CR): Lawmakers will return from a two-week Easter recess on April 25th and will have less than a week to extend federal discretionary funding passed the current April 28thdeadline. President Trump wants to lower total federal spending by $18 billion while providing an additional $30 billion for the military and $3 billion for construction of a southern border wall. Many conservatives agree with the President and would like the spending bill to reflect conservative policy priorities. While nothing has been decided, there are some concerning signs that conservative priorities and important Trump administration priorities may not be part of the funding bill.

 

Referencing conservatives, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said: “They have to work with somebody to keep the government open…So if you can come to the table, great. If you can’t, then don’t be surprised if the train moves in another direction; because it has to.” One report suggested that “The White House felt like the plans — at least where they stood last week — could’ve been drafted by Obama.” Republicans in Congress should work with, not against, conservatives to enact conservative policy priorities and lower federal spending.

 

Dodd-Frank Repeal: The House Financial Services Committee is expected to markup a bill to repeal or replace some of the worst provisions contained in Dodd-Frank at the end of the month. Dodd-Frank codifies “too big to fail” policy, harms local community banks, restricts access to credit for investors and homebuyers, raises lending costs, reduces access to capital for small businesses, and created one of the most powerful and unaccountable federal agencies — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Evidence shows Dodd-Frank is one of the major factors responsiblefor the country’s historically slow economic recovery.

 

In 2016, Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) successfully passed his Dodd-Frank replacement bill out of the House Financial Services Committee. Named the Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers, and Entrepreneurs Act (H.R. 5983), Financial CHOICE Act for short, the passage of this bill out of committee was a significant first step toward full repeal of Dodd-Frank. Now that Congress has a President supportive of ending Dodd-Frank, Chairman Hensarling has a perfect opportunity to improve and pass Financial CHOICE Act 2.0 out of his committee and onto the House floor. Congress should use this momentum to pass the Financial CHOICE Act and sent it over to the Senate for consideration. Congress could also use budget reconciliation to defund the CFPB and pass a number of other provisions contained in the Financial CHOICE Act later this year.

 

Click here to read Heritage Action’s legislative endorsement of the bill.

 

Stop Earmarks: A week after the resounding election of a President who campaigned to “drain the swamp” and end cronyism, 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. 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 31st. The deadline for decision making was pushed back until June, giving conservatives more time to rally against the false claims being made by pork-backing lawmakers and special interest groups. Conservatives should encourage their congressmen to support the current ban on earmarks.

 

Click here to read a Daily Signal article discussing how to convince your friends that earmarks have no place in Congress.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Easter!

Melody

Melody Himel Clarke

(202) 716-9738

Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator

Tell a Friend about our Sentinel Program!

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

melody.clarke@heritageaction.com

 

--------------------------------------------

Heritage Call Notes April 3rd, 2017

The House and Senate are both in session and will begin a two-week Easter recess starting next week.

Confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court: Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Judge Neil Gorsuch out of committee along party lines. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell will file cloture on Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court on Tuesday and will vote to invoke cloture on Thursday. It is unlikely 60 senators will vote to end debate on the nomination, resulting in an unprecedented filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee.

 

Earlier this year, nine Senate Democrats argued Judge Gorsuch deserves an up-or-down vote including Sens. Chris Coons (DE), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Joe Manchin (WV), Dick Durbin (IL.), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Claire McCaskill (MO.), Jon Tester (MT), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), and Jeanne Shaheen (NH).  These comments signaled to Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) that he did not have enough votes to stage a filibuster and stop Judge Gorsuch from being confirmed; however, a number of Senate Democrats including Sen. Schumer recently stated they will now oppose his nomination. Only three Senate Democrats – Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, and Joe Donnelly – have officially come out in support of Judge Gorsuch, five votes short of preventing a filibuster. One other, Michael Bennet of Colorado, said he would not filibuster the nomination. However, that still means Republicans are four votes short of preventing a filibuster.

 

Over the weekend, Sen. McConnell explained that “filibustering judges at all is a rather recent phenomenon” and noted that Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed 52 to 48, and even though he was controversial at the time, “not a single senator said, ‘He has to get 60 votes.’” Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has made it clear that he will confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court by the end of next week even if he has to use the “nuclear option” and bypass Senate filibuster rules.

 

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) explains that Democrats have no argument against this approach since then Senate Majority leader Harry Reid changed the filibuster rules years ago: “There is not one argument advanced in justification for the Democratic Senate majority to go nuclear in November 2013 that doesn’t also apply with equal force throughout the executive calendar. Not one argument they’ve made. That decision was made in November 2013…Once precedent has changed, precedent controls. Precedent in effect trumps the rule when the precedent is inconsistent with the rule.” The argument Senate Republicans will make is that the decision to go “nuclear” with Supreme Court nominees is now consistent with recent Senate rules and does not set any precedent to remove the filibuster on legislation. The recent changes to Senate rules only apply to the executive calendar, not the Senate’s legislative calendar which operates under its own set of rules and precedent.

 

Judge Gorsuch is a nominee very much in the mold of the late Justice Scalia and will, based on his record, interpret the text of the Constitution as originally written rather than create unwritten rights supposedly hidden between the lines. When pressed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to give an opinion on a second amendment case during his confirmation hearing last week, Judge Gorsuch responded: “It is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, senator, respectfully, it’s a matter of it being the law and my job is to apply and enforce the law.”

 

Judge Gorsuch has a long record of conservative jurisprudence, most notably upholding religious liberty in the cases of Hobby Lobby v. Burwell and Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, and maintains a deep respect for the separation of powers laid out in the Constitution. His academic experience – graduate of Columbia University, Harvard Law School and Oxford University, as well as his professional experience – clerked for Justice Byron White and Justice Kennedy and served ten years on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, make him overwhelming qualified.

 

Senate Republicans and Democrats should avoid the “nuclear option”, come together, and confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court next week. Heritage Action key votes “YES” to confirm Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Click here to read the Sentinel brief on Neil Gorsuch and here to read Heritage Action’s key vote.

 

House Resets Obamacare Repeal Debate: On March 6th, House Republican Leadership released a long anticipated bill that partially repeals and replaces Obamacare named the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628). Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to delay and then pull the bill from the House floor due to a lack of support among House Republicans – conservatives and moderates included. Nearly every major conservative organization opposed the bill for a variety of reasons, but the main issue with the AHCA is what it fails to include: a repeal of the regulatory architecture of Obamacare that is responsible for the rising cost of health care.

 

This regulatory architecture is found in Title I of Obamacare and includes a number of insurance regulations and mandates such as community rating, essential health benefits, guarantee issue, actuarial value, among others. Taken together, these mandates and regulations restrict consumer choice and  drive up the cost of health care premiums by a national average of 44.5 to 68 percent. If the House passed the AHCA and it was signed into law, the heart of Obamacare would have remained the law of the land and health care premiums would have continued to increase leading up to the 2018 elections. This bill was bad policy and bad politics, but it was also bad process. Conservative input into the bill was excluded when written, members were given only three weeks to debate and review the bill, and an arbitrary all-or-nothing deadline was imposed by House Republican Leadership.

 

Conservative members of Congress led by House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) negotiated in good faith with President Trump and Republican leaders throughout the process in an attempt to include the repeal of Obamacare’s regulatory architecture in the AHCA. Adding these insurance regulations and mandates into the repeal bill would have lowered health care costs and fulfilled a seven-year old Republican promise to the American people to fully repeal Obamacare. In the end, the repeal of the regulatory architecture of Obamacare was not included in the AHCA and the bill did not have the votes to pass the House.

 

Instead of giving up and moving on, the failure of the AHCA was a necessary first step to begin the hard work of fully repealing Obamacare. Republicans now have the perfect opportunity to reset the debate and openly negotiate a better bill that repeals Obamacare and lowers health care costs. Democrats and the media are trying to force Republicans to blame each other, but we cannot give into this temptation. Republicans of all stripes must learn from their mistakes in this process and come back to the negotiating table in the next few weeks.

 

Thankfully, it appears the White House is doing just that. President Trump went golfing with House Freedom Caucus supporter and one of the AHCA’s harshest critics Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) over the weekend to discuss Obamacare repeal. According to news reports, the outing went well and there is a growing understanding that conservatives desire to repeal the Title I Obamacare insurance mandates and regulations is necessary and good policy.

 

In terms of timing, Vice President Mike Pence made clear over the weekend that “We will repeal and replace Obamacare and give the American people the world-class healthcare they deserve” and “once Obamacare is gone, we’re going to cut taxes across the board.” Some in the media suggest there could be a verbal agreement on how to move forward by the end of the week.  If that were the case, then the House could pass an improved Obamacare repeal bill in early May after Congress addresses how to fund the federal government passed the April 28th deadline.

 

Click here to read Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham’s statement on the failure of the AHCA. Click here to read Heritage Action’s key vote on the bill and here to read the latest Sentinel brief on how to improve the AHCA. Click here to read a Washington Examiner article detailing why Title I regulation repeal is possible through reconciliation.

 

Continuing Resolution (CR): Lawmakers will return from a two-week Easter recess on April 25th and will have less than a week to extend federal discretionary funding passed the current April 28th deadline. President Trump wants to lower total federal spending by $18 billion while providing an additional $30 billion for the military and additional funding for construction of a southern border wall. Many conservatives agree with the President and would like the spending bill to reflect conservative policy priorities. While nothing has been decided, there are some concerning signs that conservative priorities and important Trump administration priorities may not be part of the funding bill.

 

Referencing conservatives, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said: “They have to work with somebody to keep the government open…So if you can come to the table, great. If you can’t, then don’t be surprised if the train moves in another direction; because it has to.” One report suggested that “The White House felt like the plans — at least where they stood last week — could’ve been drafted by Obama.” Republicans in Congress should work with, not against, conservatives to enact conservative policy priorities and lower federal spending.

 

Dodd-Frank Repeal: The House Financial Services Committee is expected to markup a bill to repeal or replace some of the worst provisions contained in Dodd-Frank at the end of the month. Dodd-Frank codifies “too big to fail” policy, harms local community banks, restricts access to credit for investors and homebuyers, raises lending costs, reduces access to capital for small businesses, and created one of the most powerful and unaccountable federal agencies — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Evidence shows Dodd-Frank is one of the major factors responsible for the country’s historically slow economic recovery.

 

In 2016, Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) successfully passed his Dodd-Frank replacement bill out of the House Financial Services Committee. Named the Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers, and Entrepreneurs Act (H.R. 5983), Financial CHOICE Act for short, the passage of this bill out of committee was a significant first step toward full repeal of Dodd-Frank. Now that Congress has a President supportive of ending Dodd-Frank, Chairman Hensarling has a perfect opportunity to improve and pass Financial CHOICE Act 2.0 out of his committee and onto the House floor. Congress should use this momentum to pass the Financial CHOICE Act and sent it over to the Senate for consideration. Congress could also use budget reconciliation to defund the CFPB and pass a number of other provisions contained in the Financial CHOICE Act later this year.

 

Click here to read Heritage Action’s legislative endorsement of the bill.

 

Stop Earmarks: A week after the resounding election of a President who campaigned to “drain the swamp” and end cronyism, 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. 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 31st. The deadline for decision making was pushed back until June, giving conservatives more time to rally against the false claims being made by pork-backing lawmakers and special interest groups. Conservatives should encourage their congressmen to support the current ban on earmarks.

 

Click here to read a Daily Signal article discussing how to convince your friends that earmarks have no place in Congress.

Thank you for taking action on these issues. My job is to help amplify your voice. I’ll be standing by to offer assistance!

Sincerely,

Melody

Melody Himel Clarke

(202) 716-9738

Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator

Tell a Friend about our Sentinel Program!

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

melody.clarke@heritageaction.com