This Is How Congress Can Stop Obama’s Amnesty


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?

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


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 »

Video: Jim DeMint Exposes President Obama’s Amnesty on CNN


In Heritage Impact

President Obama’s amnesty is both unlawful and “unfair to those who have come here the legal way,” Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer yesterday.

Despite the President’s rhetoric, DeMint argued during the ten-minute interview, giving work permits to those who came here illegally amounts to amnesty.

DeMint’s interview ensured that millions of Americans heard a principled, conservative alternative to the liberal spin on amnesty.

Watch the video above and tell us you think about this abuse of presidential power in the comments below.

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?

Video: Will President Obama Work with the New Congress?

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In Heritage Impact

President Obama misunderstands the powers and responsibilities of his office, Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint said on Fox News this week. This complicates his relationship with the new Congress.

The president takes an oath to faithfully execute the laws. It’s not his job to create the laws. So when he says, “If Congress doesn’t act, I will,” that’s against his oath of office, against the Constitution. He is supposed to faithfully execute the laws that are passed by Congress. He needs to work with them to pass some laws that will move this country in the right direction, not create them on his own.

Are you optimistic that President Obama will work with the new Congress?

Or Is It High U.S. Tax Rates That Are Unpatriotic?

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In Heritage Impact

Over the summer, President Obama called companies who are trying to minimize their taxes “unpatriotic.” A Heritage Foundation economist had a clever retort in the Morning Consult:

David Burton, a senior fellow in economic policy at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, said another way to look at the “unpatriotic” argument is to question the patriotism “of those who keep the U.S. tax rates so high” since they’re maintaining the highest corporate tax rate among industrialized countries.

Heritage’s Curtis Dubay points out that the best way to end these “inversions” is to reduce the business tax rate and move to a territorial tax system that doesn’t penalize American firms with overseas operations.

What do you think the corporate tax rate should be?

President Obama’s Response to the ISIS Crisis Is Critical

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In Heritage Work

Later today President Obama will give a highly-anticipated speech on how he plans to handle the threat posed by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. This speech should give insight into what the “Obama Doctrine” really is.

The Heritage Foundation would hope for three clear policies to be outlined in this speech. First, that President Obama will take steps to protect the United States from any domestic threats originating from the Islamic State. Second, that he is firm about the goal of driving ISIS out of Iraq. And last, that he will seek authorization for any military action that will occur.

Given the President’s admission last week that he had no strategy yet for combatting ISIS, it is imperative that some sort of congressional oversight is in place.

Heritage expert Elizabeth Slattery recently wrote:

Now is not the time for Congress and the president to engage in a turf war over who is in charge when it comes to dealing with the threats posed by ISIS. The administration must develop a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS, communicate that strategy to the American people and Congress, and then work with Congress to accomplish that task.

In 2007 then-Senator Obama said, “It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.” However, in March 2011, President Obama did not seek any congressional authorization for military action in Libya.  If this is a precedent, it is reasonable to suspect that the President will not seek authorization for his military actions against ISIS. This would be a mistake.

Tell us what you think in the comments: How should President Obama handle the ISIS threat?

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


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


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


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? 

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