Congress is now back in session and taking votes creating a new urgency for your conversation with your Representative and Senators! Be on the lookout for this week’s Sentinel Story, and be sure to let me know if you are interested in hosting a small Sentinel gathering in your area OR if you might be interested in helping to coach and introduce new Sentinels in your area to the ins and outs of Congressional accountability.
1. This Friday, the House will vote on Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s 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 Actor Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10). Plan to participate in our CHOICE Act Tweetfest tomorrow, Wednesday from 2pm-4pm ET using hashtag #CHOICEAct. You can read more about this bill in the call notes below and be sure to call your House Representative today or tomorrow.
>>Take Action:Call your Member of Congress and encourage them to vote YES and support the CHOICE Act.
2. Registration for the 4th annual Sentinel Summit is now open!!! This year’s Sentinel Summit will be held in Orlando, Florida from September 14th-16th. The early bird registration cost which includes all meals (reception, 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners) is only $90.00 per person. Hurry and reserve your spot! You’ll enjoy fellowship and networking with other activists from across the country. Learn more and register at www.sentinelsummit2017.com.
3. Here is the article by Mike Needham and David McIntosh on how Republicans should resist attempts to essentially lock Obamacare’s over-subsidization of Medicaid expansion that Dan Holler referenced on the Sentinel Call last night.
The House and Senate are back in session after their one week-long recess. The Senate will continue negotiations on Obamacare repeal and replace legislation while the House will vote on legislation to roll back significant parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.
Dodd-Frank Repeal: This Friday, the House will vote on Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s 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 or Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10). 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. The Financial CHOICE Act is a positive, first step toward the full repeal of Dodd-Frank and would provide significant financial regulatory reform that wouldboost our economy and increase income for all Americans. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it would also reduce federal deficits by over $24 billion and provide much needed regulatory relief to community banks.
Retailers oppose a provision in the bill that would repeal the Durbin Amendment – a government price control on debit card swipe fees that banks charge retailers. According to news reports, retailers successfully lobbied enough Republican members of Congress as the final version of the CHOICE Act will not include the repeal of the Durbin Amendment. There are also rumors that some members of Congress want to add an Export-Import bank amendment to the bill that would lower the quorum requirements for the bank so that it can approve loans of more than $10 million. Heritage Action opposes the Durbin Amendment and the Ex-Im Bank. Heritage Action endorses the CHOICE Act and will key vote YES. Conservatives should contact their member of Congress to support the bill.
Heritage Action legislative endorsement, click here.
Heritage Action press release on Durbin Amendment, click here.
Sentinel Brief, click here.
Daily Signal blog, click here.
Congressional Budget Office report, click here.
Obamacare Repeal: Last week, Senate staffers on the Finance Committee, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the leadership team reportedly wrote a draft bill to replace and replace Obamacare. According to news reports, Senate Republicans are united around the goal of lowering health care premiums by addressing the regulatory architecture of Obamacare, however serious policy differences remain on Medicaid, subsidies and regulations. While there is no public timetable for Senate action, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told reporters that the chamber could vote on health care legislation by the August recess. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has not placed a deadline on Obamacare repeal either, but did mention that the Senate could not take forever as the Obamacare marketplaces continue to collapse and insurance companies must submit premium hikes for next year’s plans. A recent study from the Department of Health and Human Services shows that since the rollout of Obamacare, individual market premiums have gone up 105 percent in the 39 states using Healthcare.gov.
On May 4th, the House passed an amended version of the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628) by a final vote of217 to 213 with 20 Republicans joining all Democrats in opposition. Earlier in March, Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to pull the bill from the floor 18 days after it was first introduced due to serious concerns from both conservatives and moderate Republicans. Most conservative organizations and nearly all conservative health policy experts opposed the original version of the AHCA because it failed to repeal the regulatory architecture of Obamacare (Title I) that isresponsible for the rising cost of health care premiums by a national average of 44.5 to 68 percent. Republicans of all stripes campaigned for over seven years to repeal all of Obamacare, including the Title I regulations, as clearly outlined in Speaker Ryan’s “A “Better Way” plan.
During the Easter recess, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), co-chairman of the moderate Tuesday Group, worked out a deal to allow states to easily opt-out of core elements of Obamacare’s Title I insurance regulations if they set up high-risk pools to assist those with pre-existing chronic conditions. This compromise, along with a second amendment offered by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) adding $8 billion in assistance to those with pre-existing conditions, convinced enough conservatives and moderates to vote for the AHCA. Heritage Action withdrew its original key vote after House Republican leaders adopted the MacArthur-Meadows Amendment.
As counterintuitive as it sounds, conservatives have leverage and a great opportunity to make the bill better in the Senate. Senator Mitch McConnell is already leading a 13-member health care working group in the Senate that includes conservatives such as Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX). Although there are no guarantees the outcome will be ideal, conservatives like you are making a difference by moving the bill in a better direction.
Here are the Senate members you should be contacting in the Mid-Atlantic Region:
Your Obanacare Repeal Message to Senators in our Mid-Atlantic Region:
Capito: Focus on reaffirming Medicaid expansion leading to bankruptcy, keep House reforms
Manchin: Focus on making him feel pressure about failures of Obamacare.
NC Burr and Tillis: Continue Push to Repeal – Focus on getting them to take position on repeal and not hiding from questions.
MD & VA Senate: Focus on making them feel pressure about failures of Obamacare, understanding little will change.
Heritage Foundation commentary on the CBO score of the AHCA, click here.
Heritage Action statement on the Obamacare repeal effort, click here.
Heritage Action statement on the MacArthur-Meadows Amendment, click here.
Heritage Action fact sheet on Obamacare Title I regulations, click here.
Heritage Action key vote, click here.
Sentinel Brief, click here.
Daily Signal blog, here.
Debt Ceiling: The White House has asked Congress to raise the debt ceiling by the end of July, much sooner than the fall when Congress was originally expected to take action. The request caught most lawmakers by surprise and there has been very little legwork done by congressional leaders on how to proceed on the debt limit. Heritage Action has consistently argued that any increase in the debt limit should be paired with reforms that begin addressing the structural nature of America’s annual deficits.
Democrats are currently divided on the debt ceiling, with some maintaining their demand for a clean increase while others seek to use the leverage to achieve liberal policy objects. There is no unified strategy on the left or the right at this point. Regardless of the left’s demands, conservatives should insist that Congress reduce federal spending when considering any legislation to raise the debt ceiling.
Labor Reform: Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) recently introduced the Employee Rights Act (H.R. 2723). This legislation would protect workers from union pressure by putting power back in the hands of employees and making union leaders more accountable to their members. Heritage explains the legislation would guarantee employees the rights to vote privately in a secret ballot election before forming a union, opt out of having their personal contact information provided to a union during an organizing drive, hear from employers at least 40 days prior to voting in a union election, vote in a secret ballot election before accepting a contract or going on strike, vote regularly on re-electing their union, decide whether their union can spend their dues on matters unrelated to collective bargaining, and be free from union interference or extortion in exercising their legal rights. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will host hearings on the bill in the next few weeks. Heritage Action has endorsed the Employee Rights Act and urges members of Congress to support its passage.
Heritage Action legislative endorsement, click here.
Sentinel brief, click here.
Daily Signal blog, click here.
President Trump’s Budget & Appropriations: President Trump unveiled his FY2018 budget last month, allowing the appropriations committees to begin working on funding bills. The President’s budget puts taxpayers first by reducing spending by $3.6 trillion, including reforms to food stamps, disability insurance, and the Earned Income Tax Credit, while prioritizing much-need defense funding. The appropriations process could begin to move in the House in June, first through the committee and then to the House floor, but the idea of passing an omnibus before August recess has been proposed. We should not expect much, if any, action from the Senate since Democrats typically obstruct any appropriations bill early in the process to increase their negotiating leverage near the funding deadline. That is one reason Congress should consider moving a couple key bills through the process early and force Senate Democrats to block those bills. If the GOP is unified around a singular goal and moves early, conservatives can define the playing field for the next funding fight and hopefully avoid another bad omnibus funding package in September. If the GOP does not move, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren will define the fight.
Heritage Action press release on Trump’s budget, click here.
Heritage Foundation commentary on Trump’s budget, click here.
Thank you for taking time to take action. I also love to hear from you, even if it is only a quick ‘hello’ to let me know what is new in your area. All the best to you and yours!
Melody Himel Clarke
Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator
Follow us on Twitter: @Heritage_Action and me, @TheRightMelody. Our hashtag is #Haction.
May 30th, 2017 Call Notes
Legislative Update: Barack Obama’s Dodd-Frank financial overhaul propped up the big banks, stunted economic growth, and harmed hardworking Americans. But thanks to your activism, relief could be on its way.
The House of Representatives is advancing a key piece of legislation -- the Financial CHOICE Act -- that will take steps to unravel the most harmful pieces of Dodd-Frank.
What is CHOICE and how will it unravel Dodd-Frank?
Dodd-Frank serves to protect the interests of big banks at the expense of consumers.Because of the law, we pay more when using banking services like checking accounts, loans and credit cards, and we get little protection in return.
The CHOICE Act will repeal several of the burdensome regulations within Dodd-Frank and help to create an environment where small businesses can compete and thrive. To learn more about the CHOICE Act, you can read about it here.
How did we get here?
In 2013, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) became chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Heritage Action Sentinels worked closely with him on important issues, including the repeal of Dodd-Frank.
Grassroots activists haven’t wavered in the fight to free our markets. For years now, conservatives have made the case to repeal Dodd-Frank, pressuring Congress and ensuring the issue did not fall to the wayside.
The special interests do not like it, but the CHOICE Act is making its way to the House floor for a vote. If passed, the bill will then move to the Senate where we will continue to urge lawmakers to support it.
Though nothing in Washington changes overnight, it’s because of your hard work we've been able to move repeal of Dodd-Frank leaps forward.