Sentinel Weekly Call Notes



If you missed Monday night’s call, you can watch it here. Be sure to join us on our next Sentinel Strategy Call - next Monday at 5:30 pm ET.

Also, a BIG “thank you” to everyone who took time to meet with your congressman or senators during the recess. I enjoyed reading many of your emails about how your meetings went, and we’ve been able to incorporate relevant feedback into our government relations strategy.

Now that the August recess is over and Congress is back in session, here’s what is on the horizon:

Sept 30 Budget Deadline. The federal government’s fiscal year ends on September 30. You may recall Congress just passed a bloated budget, but that bill only set topline spending numbers. Before Sept 30, Congress must pass a series of appropriation bills, authorizing spending among the various governmental agencies and departments. If they fail to pass all appropriation bills, they will likely pass a continuing resolution (CR) to avoid a government shutdown.

Conservatives should resist liberal “poison pill” amendments and push for timely process. A bad scenario would be for the spending process to wrap up right before Christmas, when the American people are busy, and it’s easier for the “swamp” to tack-on additional spending and liberal policies.

Second Amendment. This week, Democrats will begin “marking up” three gun-control bills in the House Judiciary Committee. Heritage Action is opposed to all three bills as they unnecessarily restrict Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

  • HR 1186 - Restricts Americans’ ownership of magazines of certain capacities, with exemptions for law enforcement and government agencies.
  • HR 2078 - Individuals who have been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime would be prohibited from owning firearms. Currently, the law prohibits individuals who have committed felonies from owning firearms—this is the appropriate and correct standard.
  • HR 1236 - This bill falls under the category of “red-flag laws” and allows law-enforcement to confiscate individuals’ firearms when other individuals report them as a danger or threat. There is some broader nuance on the general idea of red-flag laws, but there is no nuance on this bill. It’s a far-left bill that does not provide adequate due-process protections.

United State-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Trade Agreement. Trade agreements are complicated, but in short, they are negotiated by the Executive Branch and must be voted on and passed by Congress according to a set of timetables and deadlines. Check out this detailed explanation by The Heritage Foundation for background.

International trade has changed a lot since the 1990’s and USMCA provides a needed update to NAFTA, especially as it pertains to digital trade and intellectual property rights. The agreement is not perfect and contains some troubling language on labor and environmental standards, rules of origin for the automotive industry, and SOGI (sexual orientation, gender identity) references.

What’s most important is that as Congress considers and votes on USMCA, that they not add any liberal provisions that would make the deal worse. Read more about USMCA here.

President Trump has made USMCA a priority for his administration and is pushing for a vote in October. Speaker Pelosi has not yet signed off on the agreement. Politically, she is reluctant to give the President a “win” before an election year, but she may succumb to pressure from within her own party from many who wish to see USMCA passed.

This Week’s Action Items. Tell Congress to:

  • Oppose liberal gun-control bills (HR 1186, HR 2078, HR 1236).
  • Work to quickly pass USMCA and not add liberal provisions to any “deal.”

Thank you all for your continued activism,

Janae Stracke
Grassroots Director
Heritage Action

P.S. - Reminder, you can register now for our Southeast Sentinel Summit in Atlanta, GA that will be held on Saturday, November 9, 2019.