This Is How Congress Can Stop Obama’s Amnesty

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In Heritage Work

President Obama’s executive order on immigration shields immigrants from deportation who have been in America for more than five years and have a child who is a legal resident. This amounts to around five million people. These people will be allowed to apply for work permits to the Department of Homeland Security.

Today’s vote on immigration in Congress is simply symbolic. Its purpose is merely to show President Obama that Congress disapproves of his amnesty plan for over five million illegal immigrants.

The more important vote will happen next week. This one will allow Congress to use its power of the purse to block programs associated with Obama’s amnesty executive order.

Here is The Heritage Foundation’s round up of the different ways Congress can block amnesty.

Congress has constitutional powers over appropriations, meaning it is acceptable and lawful for Congress to provide or deny taxpayer funds to any government programs and can determine the conditions under which money is spent.

But what if the federal agency is funded using fees, not taxpayer money? Congress still has the power of the purse. They can limit and determine how money is expended in any federal agency, regardless of where the money comes from. So although the Department of Homeland Security funds its immigration services through fees that it collects, Congress still has the final say on how this money is put to use.

Bottom Line: Congress has the power to govern all aspects of how federal money is used.

Should Congress defund President Obama’s unlawful executive order?

Obama’s Immigration Task Force Skips Assimilation

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In Heritage Work

Photo: Pete Souza

President Obama’s “Task Force for New Americans” takes a fundamentally wrong approach to immigration,  The Heritage Foundation’s Mike Gonzalez explains.

His initial memorandum makes no call for assimilation, and includes no concept of encouraging immigrants to see themselves as Americans first and members of ethnic groups second. And its calls for America to be like other advanced economies–which have themselves done a poor job of integrating new immigrants.

Most troubling is the tight-knit relationship between the administration and La Raza, a far-left group that emphasizes ethnic division rather than national unity. President Obama appointed La Raza’s former vice president to be co-chair of the task force.

Do you think immigrants should consider themselves Americans before anything else?

Regulations Will Strangle the Internet, Not Strengthen It

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In Heritage Work

Writing in the Boston Herald, Heritage’s James Gattuso explains what’s wrong with President Obama’s endorsement of treating Internet providers as mere utilities:

In spite of its style points, the president’s policy fails on substance. Simply put, regulating the 21st century Internet under common carrier rules designed for railroads in the 19th century simply makes no sense.

With a stroke of a pen, the networks connecting millions of Americans to the World Wide Web would be subject to thousands of regulations, requiring them to obtain FCC permission for the most basic of decisions. The nimble Internet we know would be slowed to the speed of government and the innovation level of a local water company.

The president’s call for an outright ban on paid prioritization, often referred to as Internet “fast lanes,” is also troubling, if not surprising. In comments last month, he criticized “the notion that some folks can pay a little more and get better service.”

But premium pricing is a profoundly routine practice in most markets. From airline travel to theater tickets to package delivery, premium service offerings are an established, and essential, part of the business.

Worse, rather than protect innovation, the government rules pushed by Obama would chill it.

Do you think the federal government should regulate the Internet?

Why It Probably Doesn’t Matter Who the Next Secretary of Defense Will Be

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In Heritage Work

Late last week, Chuck Hagel announced he would be stepping down from his position as secretary of defense. Unfortunately, though not surprisingly, the media was so distracted by guessing his replacement, they failed to note the policy failures that led to his departure.

Today, the secretary of defense is weaker due to (1) the President’s failed national security agenda and (2) his dysfunctional approach to handling national security matters, Heritage Foundation experts Jim Carafano, Dakota Wood, James Phillips, and Luke Coffey report.

And until these issues are sorted out, it won’t matter who takes over after Hagel: Continue Reading »

Important Reforms that Can Make America Safer

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In Heritage Work

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Photo: Newscom

To more effectively defend the country, lawmakers and military leaders should change the way the Pentagon manages personnel, property and equipment, Heritage Foundation expert Jim Carafano explains.

Making defense operations more efficient is a natural common cause for Congress and the Pentagon. Increased efficiency would save money—freeing up dollars that the Pentagon could plow back into rebuilding the capacity and capabilities needed to defend the country.

One change, known as Performance Based Logistics, could help the Pentagon work better with the resources it has. Other changes would improve how the Pentagon acquires equipment. This requires leadership changes, real accountability for major weapons acquisitions, cutting red tape, and ensuring the Pentagon gets the equipment it actually needs.

These reforms address a real challenge, as outlined in Heritage’s 2014 Defense Reform Handbook:

The armed forces are already inadequate to protect all the nation’s vital national interests because of shortfalls in training and maintenance. By the end of his second term, the shortfalls in readiness will be compounded by reductions in military capabilities. It is not an overstatement to conclude that the capabilities-requirements mismatch will rival the hollow forces of the 1970s under President Jimmy Carter.

How would you ensure America is properly defended?

Why Did Japan Just Unexpectedly Slide into Recession? The Answer Won’t Surprise You

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In Heritage Work

The Japanese economy experienced negative growth for two quarters in a row, technically meaning it has entered a recession. (Photo: Natsuki Sakai/Newscom)

Japan unexpectedly announced this week that its economy is hurting, with negative growth reported for both the second and third quarters of 2014. Why? Stephen Moore, The Heritage Foundation’s resident economist, gives us the answer — and it probably won’t surprise you.

Japan raised taxes, in particular its sales tax.

It was supposed to be a way to help lower the national debt after massive government spending on infrastructure. Liberals also persuaded the Japanese Central Bank to flood the country with printed money in an effort to stimulate the economy. The result was a negative economic recovery as well as a devalued yen that makes it harder for the Japanese to buy imported goods – and all in just over six months.

Moore concludes:

It’s all a tragic story of economic playmaking that has gone all wrong.  But don’t tell that to Paul Krugman of the New York Times, who predicted Japan “may end up showing the rest of us the way out” of stagnation.

Should the United States follow the Japanese example?

Amnesty Would ‘Shred the Rule of Law’

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In Heritage Work

President Obama hopes to shield as many as 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation and give many of them work permits. (Photo: Oliver Douliery/Newscom)

Less than two weeks removed from a pummeling at the polls, an unbowed and unrepentant President Obama is preparing to move ahead with an executive order granting amnesty to more than 5 million illegal immigrants.

Heritage Foundation immigration expert David Inserra has written about the widespread negative effects of such a plan. Offering amnesty will further incentivize illegal immigration, make it harder for the Department of Homeland Security to do its job, and “shred the rule of law.”

Do you think granting unilaterally amnesty is legal?

President Obama’s Climate Capitulation

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In Heritage Work

President Obama’s “historic” agreement  with China on climate change will cost you more money. Not only will it raise energy costs for all Americans, it will weaken our economy and decrease our nation’s competitive advantage.

Heritage Foundation expert Nick Loris explains the absurd logic of the deal:

China’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is akin to a pledge from a broke, addicted gambler to his bookie to pay later.  China is telling the United States to make the economic sacrifices and restrict its energy use now, and China will start reducing its emissions beginning in 2030. 

Read more about why this is a raw deal.

What do you think of President Obama’s climate deal?

Iran as an Ally Against ISIS? Bad Idea

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In Heritage Work

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has ruled out any cooperation with the United States against the Islamic State. (Photo: Newscom)

Many in the foreign policy community are arguing that the United States should cooperate with Iran against the Islamic State. Especially worrisome, President Obama seems to have bought into the idea as well, given rumors of a secret letter by President Obama to the Ayatollah. This is a very bad idea, The Heritage Foundation’s James Phillips explains.

For one thing, Ayatollah Khamenei himself has publicly ruled out any cooperation with the United States in fighting the Islamic State. He even went so far as to blame America for its creation. Iran is not the kind of ally we want, or need, in this fight.

Iran is a state-sponsor of terrorism and opposes American aims in Iraq. Tehran openly supports and funds groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Jihad. Their support of Shia militias in Iraq helped kill hundreds of American troops.

Heritage’s James Carafano agrees. He said Iran and the United States have a common interest in Iraq “much in the way a robber and a customer have a common interest in a bank.”

Should the United States enlist the help of Iran to help defeat ISIS?

Jim DeMint Warns of a Dangerous ‘Zombie Congress’

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In Heritage Work

Congress returned to Washington this week for its post-election lame duck session. Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint urges all Americans to stay vigilant through the end of the year, since lame duck sessions are when some of the worst laws are passed.

While the natural tendency is to tune out after elections, a lame duck session, or what Jim colorfully calls a “zombie Congress,” is one of the most dangerous periods in the legislative cycle:

With no electorate to appease, the newly politically ‘deceased’ members have no incentive to restrain their more base urges to feast upon the hard-earned tax dollars of the living.

Outgoing liberals could try to push through bad legislation between now and the end of the year, including a massive omnibus spending bill, new taxes, and corporate welfare for “green” companies. Liberals may also try to stymie opposition to President Obama’s unilateral grant of amnesty to illegal immigrants.

Do you think liberals should be able to push through their radical legislation in a lame duck session of Congress?

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