Jim DeMint Wins Edmund Burke Award

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British MEP Daniel Hannan, right, presents the Edmund Burke Award to Heritage’s Jim DeMint. (Photo: AECR)

On May 22, the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists presented their first-ever Edmund Burke award to Heritage President Jim DeMint for his work to advance conservative principles.

In his acceptance speech, DeMint explained the importance of limited government and the relationship of American conservatives to their allies in Europe:

No top-down control can force goodwill, but it is very likely to destroy it. True patriotism and brotherhood flourishes when men and women are allowed to be masters of their own spheres.

It is a cruel irony that any authority, with the pretense of celebrating diverse cultures, demands they all fit the same mold.

I have been saddened to see this trend in the United States.

Americans live under an administration that runs roughshod over their rights and traditions, and accuses those who stand against it of being bigots, or clinging bitterly to guns and religion … Two things, I might add, that our Constitution gave us every encouragement to cling, so that a demagogue could not take more power for himself.

Far from being unified, top-down policies have divided my countrymen further than ever—whether by race, riches, or faith.

But there are many who are fighting back, who are rebuilding the “little platoons” of society—their communities, churches, and local governments—working toward prosperity, self-sufficiency, and independence.

They do not hate their country because of those in power. They love her in spite of them.

You can read all of Sen. DeMint’s remarks on The Daily Signal.

 

Gen. Mattis Says We Need a Leader Who Is ‘Unapologetic About American Values’

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Gen. Mattis

Photo: Katie Nielsen

Too many of America’s leaders today lack a coherent strategy for addressing the world’s challenges, General James Mattis said Wednesday at The Heritage Foundation. Instead, America needs a leader who is “unapologetic about American values.”

“The greatest generation taught us that if you don’t talk about something then things will go wrong fast,” Mattis said. But today’s leaders often ignore the problem and hope it goes away.

He warned that ignoring the problems with Russia, China, and political Islam won’t make them go away. Rather, ignoring them will allow them to escalate which could be catastrophic for both the U.S. and our allies.

Though things may look gloomy now, he emphasized we can reverse it through the powers of intimidation and inspiration. He has high hopes for the younger generation, which is why he focuses his attention on universities.

This leadership can be gained through learning, he said, and emphasized the importance of the reading lists Marines are required to read upon advancing ranks.

Mattis, a retired four star general in the Marine Corps, delivered the annual Colonel James T. McGinley lecture. Known as the “Warrior Monk,” Mattis served as Commander of the United States Central Command, Commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander.

Mattis said he turns down most speaking requests, but since he quotes Heritage research so often, he felt he should accept this opportunity.

Do you think today’s leaders have developed a strategy to deal with the world’s challenges?

Heritage Brings Together Conservatives from Across the Country

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For the last 38 years, Heritage has hosted the annual Resource Bank meeting to bring together conservative leaders and organizations from around the country and around the world. Attendees talk strategy, share tactics and best practices, and work to strengthen the movement.

This year’s meeting took place last week in Bellevue, Washington. Highlights of the agenda include:

  • Strategy sessions on issues like education reform, restoring federalism, health care, social services, grassroots organizing, educating more Americans about conservative principles, and more.
  • A keynote address by Maine Gov. Paul LePage about state-based conservative reforms
  • A speech by Ann McElhinney, who most recently crowdfunded a movie about abortionist Kermit Gosnell
  • The awarding of the Salvatori Prize to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for their “What Will They Learn” project, which seeks to raise education standards.
  • A dinner hosted by Heritage’s Steve Moore and Heritage trustee Steve Forbes.

As Heritage Foundation Founder Ed Feulner has always said, it is better to add and multiply the conservative movement than it it to divide and subtract. That’s what Resource Bank is all about.

Do you think it’s important for conservatives to work together and share ideas about how to succeed?

How Congress Can Use the Power of the Purse to Reform the U.N.

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The United States contributes a whopping 22 percent of the United Nations’ regular budget. As by far the largest contributor to the U.N., the United States can play a major role in reforming the organization.

In testimony this week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Heritage expert Brett Schaefer offered four major ways Congress can do just that:

  1. More equitably distribute the costs of the regular budget;
  2. More equitably distribute the costs of the peacekeeping budget;
  3. Enforce the 25 percent cap on America’s peacekeeping assessment; and
  4. Give major contributors more influence on U.N. budgetary decisions.

Read Schaefer’s full testimony here.

Do you think Congress should use the power of the purse to reform the U.N.? 

Heritage Research Fuels Bill to Cut $7.5 Billion in EPA Spending

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Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) wants to cut 13 programs in the Environmental Protection Agency. And he is using Heritage research to back him up, as The Hill reports:

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) introduced a bill, the Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act, which he said is a money-saving measure, citing a Heritage Foundation forecast that it would save $7.5 billion over 10 years.

This statistic comes from a Heritage report on the 2016 Obama budget. Heritage expert Nick Loris explained that his proposed budget would give over $4 billion in handouts to states that meet the carbon emission quotas of the administration’s Clean Power Plan. Loris writes:

States should not be lured by the carrots the Administration is dangling. If Congress wants to help the states, they should not only reject the President’s $4 billion handout but also strip away the Environmental Protection Agency’s funds to implement and enforce any carbon dioxide rules.

Now Congress is taking action with Loris’s findings behind them.

Do you think Congress should cut programs this like? 

After Heritage Expert Testifies, Tennessee Passes School Choice Legislation

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Three weeks ago, Heritage education expert Lindsey Burke testified before the Tennessee legislature about the benefits of education savings accounts.

And in a major victory for school choice, the state legislature passed a bill this week to create ESAs for students with special needs. The bill is now on its way to the desk of Gov. Bill Haslam.

ESAs allow parents to direct their child’s portion of education spending towards education options that meet their child’s needs. “They separate the financing of education from the delivery of services and empower families to choose which provider works best for their children,” Burke writes in The Daily Signal.

Twenty-two state legislatures are considering ESAs for the 2015 school year.

Do you think education dollars should follow the student, as ESAs allow? 

James Sherk Tells Nevada Lawmakers Why Public Sector Unions Are Bad Policy

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Photo Credit: The Daily Signal

Heritage economist James Sherk testified before front of the Nevada Assembly earlier this month on making collective bargaining optional for all government employees. In his testimony, Sherk argues that unions for government employees are bad policy, because unlike private sector unions they:

  1. Undermine representative government: “Collective bargaining in government takes away the final say on public policy from voters’ elected representatives. It forces them to negotiate a contract with union leaders, excluding all other citizens and potential workers from the bargaining table.”
  2. Come with no checks and balances: Private sector unions have competition with non-unionized businesses, but government employee unions do not: “Residents of Reno, Nevada, cannot receive police protection from Carson City or educate their children in Clark County Public Schools. Moreover mandatory taxes fund government operations.”
  3. Inflate pay for their workers: “Collective bargaining has considerably inflated the compensation of Nevada’s local government employees. It has produced benefit packages that few private-sector workers ever see. In many local governments, employees pay nothing toward the cost of their extensive health insurance benefits.”

Follow this link to see the rest of Sherk’s testimony.

Do you think Nevada should make unions optional for its government employees?

The Washington Post Profiles Heritage’s Ryan Anderson, a ‘Prominent Face’ in the Fight for Traditional Marriage

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Heritage's Ryan Anderson is profiled on the front page of Thursday's Washington Post.

Heritage’s Ryan Anderson is profiled on the front page of Thursday’s Washington Post.

Today’s Washington Post includes an in-depth front-page profile of Heritage’s Ryan Anderson, one of the nation’s leading proponents of traditional marriage:

Another day, another town. Ryan T. Anderson, the conservative movement’s fresh-faced, millennial, Ivy League-educated spokesman against same-sex marriage, has another busy schedule.

There is an interview with conservative talk radio, a debate with a liberal professor at the University of Colorado’s law school and, after that, a lecture to Catholic students eager to hear Anderson’s view that the Constitution does not require that marriage be “redefined” to include same-sex couples.

The Supreme Court will soon be deciding just that question. And Anderson, a 33-year-old scholar at the Heritage Foundation, has emerged as a leading voice for those who resent being labeled hopelessly old-fashioned — or, worse, bigoted — for believing that marriage should be only between a man and a woman.

“Gays and lesbians undoubtedly have been discriminated against,” Anderson says. “But marriage is not part of that discrimination.”

Be sure to read the whole article, which includes praise from the likes of Princeton’s Robert George and even his liberal sparring partners.

So why did the Post profile Anderson? Because his arguments are driving the debate:

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. cited his work twice in his dissent from the court’s opinion in United States v. Windsor, which struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Anderson is becoming a prominent face of the opposition in news media appearances.

Do you think conservatives need more young advocates like Anderson to sway more people to the conservative cause?

Mike Lee Wants Americans to Rediscover These 5 Key Points from the Constitution

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Our Lost ConstitutionReintroducing Americans to the Constitution and the Founders’ vision of limited government is the key to reining in government, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said last week at The Heritage Foundation.

In his new book, Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document, Lee notes five important constitutional provisions that have been “forgotten” in today’s America:

  1. The Origination Clause—“All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.”
  2. The Legislative Powers Clause—“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”
  3. The Establishment Clause—“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
  4. The Fourth Amendment—“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
  5. The Tenth Amendment—“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Lee’s book is far from a textbook on the Constitution, Heritage legal scholar Hans von Spakovsky writes in his review of the book–he keeps these important lessons lively with stories that illustrate the importance of these provisions to the Founding.

You can watch Sen. Mike Lee talk about his book at the Heritage Foundation here.

Do you think restoring these “forgotten” provisions will help us get America back on track? Tell us in the comments. 

Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Visits Heritage

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Photo: http://dailysignal.com/

Last week, Afghan Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah spoke at The Heritage Foundation during his visit to Washington.

Last fall, after months of political tensions over Afghanistan’s disputed election results, the two main contenders, Dr. Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani, agreed to a power sharing arrangement in which Ghani became the country’s new President and Abdullah was sworn in as his Chief Executive.

His speech yesterday focused on the way forward for the U.S.-Afghanistan partnership. Particularly, he spoke about how can the two countries can continue to work together to ensure Afghanistan’s long-term security and stability. He discussed the kinds of support Afghan security forces require to stave off Taliban advances and projected what the long-term role the U.S. could play in helping to stabilize the country.

Heritage expert Lisa Curtis sums up the Chief Executive’s speech:

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah talked about a new era in US-Afghan relations under the Unity Government that was established last fall. It is crucial that the US continue to support the Afghans in their fight against global terrorism. Yet as Dr. Abdullah pointed out, the ultimate goal is Afghan self-reliance. With fresh leadership at the helm in Afghanistan, the US can look forward to a more productive partnership that ensures gains made in the country over the last decade are preserved and that the country never again becomes a haven for terrorists intent on attacking the U.S.

This was not Abdullah’s first visit to Heritage. He came in May of 2010 and recognized Heritage expert Jim Phillips’ research on Afghanistan from before 9/11. Since his visit, Heritage has continued to focus on this important country. Curtis testified on Capitol Hill in 2013 on our next steps in Afghanistan, and she wrote about the April 2014 Afghan elections for Fox News.

Do you think it’s important to maintain close ties with our allies in the Middle East?

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