Finally, Republicans in Congress and the Obama administration agree on a piece of legislation: the Trade Promotion Authority package to fast-track future trade bills.  If you think this is too good to be true, you’re right: liberals in Congress are attempting to link this legislation to spending on Trade Adjustment Assistance, an ineffective welfare program.

Heritage Founder Ed Feulner and Heritage President Jim DeMint weigh in:

Trade Promotion Authority should be considered on its own merits, and good conservatives can disagree on whether the current draft of TPA is appropriate. However, all conservatives should agree that it should not be tied to Trade Adjustment Assistance, an expensive and ineffective program.

Now that it’s done, Trade Promotion Authority in its current form doesn’t deserve passage. A free trade deal worth making can and should be passed on its own, without throwing a bone to those who would waste our tax dollars.

Read the full article in The Daily Signal.

Do you think Congress should pass a trade bill that’s linked to a big-government spending program like Trade Adjustment Assistance?

The attempted attack on the Muhammad Art Exhibit contest in Garland, Texas marked the 68th attempted terrorist plot since 9/11. Heritage expert David Inserra says this should be a wakeup call to reform our counterterrorism structure. He has six suggestions to start:

  1. Streamlining U.S. fusion centers. Congress should limit fusion centers to the approximately 30 areas with the greatest level of risk as identified by the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).
  2. Pushing the FBI toward being more effectively driven by intelligence. While the FBI has made high-level changes to its mission and organizational structure, the bureau is still working to integrate intelligence and law enforcement activities.
  3. Ensuring that the FBI shares information more readily and regularly with state and local law enforcement and treats state and local partners as critical actors in the fight against terrorism.State, local, and private-sector partners must send and receive timely information from the FBI.
  4. Designating an office in DHS to coordinate countering violent extremism (CVE) efforts. CVE efforts are spread across all levels of government and society. DHS is uniquely situated to lead the federal government’s efforts to empower local partners.
  5. Supporting state, local, and civil society partners. Congress and the Administration should not lose sight of the fact that all of the federal government’s efforts must be focused on empowering local partners.
  6. Maintaining essential counterterrorism tools. Support for important investigative tools is essential to maintaining the security of the U.S. and combating terrorist threats. Legitimate government surveillance programs are also a vital component of U.S. national security and should be allowed to continue.

Do you think the government is doing enough to stop terrorists?

The Environmental Protection Agency is looking to expand its power by redefining what “waters” are under the Clean Water Act. While usually the term “waters” is used to mean any lake, river or pond, now the EPA wants to use it to regulate man-made ditches and tributaries too.

Heritage expert Darren Bakst says this is a violation of your rights:

Put simply, this rule is an attack on property rights. As EPA and the Corps of Engineers claim jurisdiction over more and more waters, property owners will have to secure more and more permits—or simply forgo projects because of the additional cost and time required to secure a permit.

And there’s a growing risk of “gotcha” enforcement. It’s already tough for property owners to know that their property has a jurisdictional water. Because the proposed rule is so broad and vague, this problem is only going to get far worse.

Read Bakst’s full analysis on The Daily Signal.

Do you think the EPA should have the power to regulate your property?

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?

While Israel is a strong and resilient country, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said yesterday at The Heritage Foundation, much could change if nuclear weapons make their way into the region:

Israel is a very strong country with a very strong economy, and a very resilient public. We didn’t come back from 2,000 years of exile to see a bunch of fanatical ayatollahs cut the thread of Jewish history. That’s not gonna happen.

We have to stay very strong, and have to recognize that because Israel is a very strong country, we can go from great strength to great vulnerability like that. If Israel makes mistakes, we can become very vulnerable very quickly. We cannot roll the dice on the future of the one and only Jewish state.

Read more of Ambassador Dermer’s comments at The Daily Signal.

Do you think the Iran deal is bad for America and America’s allies? Tell us in the comments. 

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