DeMint Is First Person Asked to Comment on President Obama’s Request for Billions

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In Heritage Impact

“We know the human traffickers throughout Central America are using the president’s pledge of amnesty to actually get these payments to bring these kids here,” Heritage President Jim DeMint said last night on Fox News’s On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.

DeMint was the first person Van Susteren asked to comment about President Obama’s announcement that he will ask for $3.7 billion in deficit spending to fix the illegal immigration crisis.

A better plan would prioritize existing spending to fix the border crisis. Heritage experts recommend that the administration “stop its anti-enforcement policies that are encouraging the increase in illegal immigration, thus making it more difficult and costly to secure U.S. borders.”

Watch the full clip above and let us know in the comments what you think about the President’s plans for your tax dollars.

The Supreme Court Blocks the Obama Administration’s Attack on Religious Liberty

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In Other Work of Note

hobbylobby2

The media wait for the Hobby Lobby lawyers to make their first public statement in front of the Supreme Court. Photo credit: Kayla Toth

In their ruling Monday in the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court struck a blow against Obamacare’s coercive contraceptive mandate.

“The government can’t compel a ‘closely held’  business such as the Hobby Lobby chain to cover abortion-inducing drugs or devices in employee health plans if doing so would violate the employer’s moral and religious beliefs,” Heritage’s Kelsey Harkness explains.

Heritage experts Sarah Torre and Elizabeth Slattery explain what this ruling means:

To be clear, the decision today applies only to the Obamacare rule that was threatening the religious freedom of the Greens’ and Hahns’ family businesses. Other claims for religious exemptions by closely held family businesses from other laws will have to be litigated on a case-by-case basis. RFRA doesn’t provide a blank check for religious believers to do whatever they want in the name of religion and neither does today’s decision.

With today’s ruling, the Greens’ and Hahns’ family businesses will be able to continue offering their employees generous healthcare plans (which cover most forms of contraception) without fear of government penalties. And the women who work for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood remain free – like all women – to make their own decisions about these four drugs and devices (as well as other birth control) and to purchase or find insurance coverage for them. But the government cannot coerce these family businesses to participate in those decisions in violation of their beliefs.

Do you think the court made the right call in the Hobby Lobby case?

Unanimous Supreme Court Rules Against the Obama Administration’s Unconstitutional Power Grab

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In Heritage Work

The Supreme Court unanimously struck down as unconstitutional the Obama administration’s “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, which were conducted while the Senate was formally in session.

The “decision marks the 12th time the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the Obama administration on the issue of executive power,” Heritage Foundation legal expert Elizabeth Slattery explains.

The Constitution allows the President to make appointments during a Senate recess. President Obama’s appointments, which bypassed Senate approval, were made during a period when the Senate convened pro-forma sessions every three days. The Supreme Court held that recess appointments can only be made during breaks of “sufficient length.”

Read more about the Recess Appointments Clause in the Heritage Guide to the Constitution.

Do you think President Obama has been abusing his executive powers? 

The Facts About the EPA’s Questionable Climate Regulations

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In Heritage Work

After the cap-and-trade energy scheme failed in Congress, President Obama said he’d push for other ways to control Americans’ energy use. “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat,” he said at a press conference. “It was not the only way.”

So the EPA designated carbon dioxide, a naturally occurring compound and necessary component to life on Earth, as a pollutant.

Predictably, it has proven more difficult for the EPA to determine how to regulate CO2 than for it to determine whether it should be regulated. A new report by Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis, for example, finds that the models the EPA used as the basis for its regulation “are fundamentally unsound as a basis for justifying significant regulations of the American economy.”

Do you think the EPA should go back to the drawing board?

The Fantasy and Reality of the President’s Budget

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In Heritage Work

Obama greatly understated deficits in his budget

When it comes to managing the deficit, President Obama’s 2015 budget relies heavily on hope. That’s the takeaway from a new analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The administration makes quite a few convenient and overly-rosy assumptions about our struggling economy. This leads to wildly differing projections about future deficits.

The chart above shows the gaping differences between the CBO’s projections and Obama’s. But even under the White House’s scenario, the deficit will never be less than $400 billion, and the budget will never be close to balanced.

Whose projections do you believe?

Another Big-Government, Big-Spending Budget from President Obama

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In Heritage Work

Photo Courtesy of whitehouse.gov

Not only is President Obama’s proposed budget for 2015 a month late, but it’s also unrealistic, Heritage Foundation experts report. It’s more of the same tax-and-spend liberalism:

  • Spending would go from $3.5 trillion in 2013 to nearly $6 trillion in 2024.
  • Debt borrowed in credit markets (public debt) would grow from $12 trillion in 2013 to $19 trillion in 2024.
  • The national debt, including debt owed to government agencies, would grow from $17.3 trillion today to $25 trillion in 2024.
  • The President’s budget includes about $1 trillion in new spending, partly offset by other spending cuts, and about $1.2 trillion in tax increases.

Here’s more from the Heritage analysis: Continue Reading »

This Costly Mandate Would Make Your Doctor Fill Out Oddly Specific Paperwork When You Get Sick

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In Heritage Work

Photo: Reuters

The “doc fix” bill sent to President Obama for his signature Tuesday contained an important provision to delay a costly new medical mandate from going into effect, Heritage Foundation expert Robert Moffit argues in a new report.

A federal rule would require many doctors to switch to a new method for classifying medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures by October 1. The new classification, known as ICD-10, would replace the existing 18,000 codes with 155,000 entries—creating headaches and costs for doctors.

Moffit explains the oddly specific nature of the new codes, which he urges Congress to delay or even scrap:

A number of [codes] have been highlighted in popular journalistic accounts, including codes for injuries sustained in a collision with a bicycle, while knitting and crocheting or gardening and landscaping, or in a collision with a balloon. Codes are also assigned to cases where a patient has been bitten by a parrot, injured in a spacecraft collision, or sucked into a jet engine.

There are even separate codes for injuries at museums, art galleries, music halls, theaters, and opera houses.

Doctors already spend 22 percent of their time on non-clinical paperwork. The switch to ICD-10 can only make matters worse.

Do you think the federal government should require doctors to use the new system?

How to Fix President Obama’s Misguided International Affairs Budget

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In Heritage Work

Photo: United Nations

Heritage Foundation expert Brett Schaefer has identified eleven critical ways Congress can fix President Obama’s unrealistic budget for foreign affairs.

Schaefer’s proposed fixes include: increased oversight over the United Nations; reversing the massive increase in spending on foreign affairs; trimming spending on climate change initiatives; prohibiting funding for U.N. organizations that grant full membership to the Palestinians; and capping U.S. contributions to United Nations peacekeeping.

Find out what else is on the list.

Do you think the President’s budget is misguided?

The Obamacare ‘Fix’ That Benefits Members of Congress

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In Heritage Work

Photo: whitehouse.gov

Obamacare requires members of Congress and their staffs to ditch their existing health care plans and purchase coverage through the law’s exchanges.

This provision has proved unpopular with lawmakers, who had become accustomed to paying as little as 28 percent of the cost of their premiums.

But the Obama administration feared that amending the law would open the door to other changes or even repeal. So President Obama created a loophole for his Congressional cronies so they can keep their taxpayer-funded plans.

Heritage Foundation legal experts Andrew Kloster and Joseph Morris explain what happened: Continue Reading »

The Obama Administration’s Bad Economic Aid Plan for Ukraine

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In Heritage Work

One of President Obama’s proposed solutions to the crisis in Ukraine would limit  American influence internationally. He argues that any aid to Ukraine must be linked with “reforms” that reduce the power of the United States at the International Monetary Fund.

This is a bad reform that has nothing to do with the crisis in Eastern Europe. Not only that, it will not address the root cause of Ukraine’s economic woes, Heritage Foundation expert James Roberts argues.

“At the root of the problems in Ukraine are the lingering effects of the corrupt and inefficient post-Soviet economic systems in the heavily industrialized eastern, Russian-speaking areas and throughout the country,” he says. Ukraine ranks 155th freest out of 178 countries in Heritage’s Index of Economic Freedom, and last in Europe. Continue Reading »

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