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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?

Political correctness is a growing epidemic that’s stifling free speech on America’s college campuses, Heritage President Jim DeMint said in a talk at Yale University:

Whether it happens in the Ivy League or state colleges or even high schools, it affects the rest of the nation. The surrender of one institution sets precedent for the surrender of the next, and eventually most of academia.

Along with it, hundreds of thousands of bright minds will only hear one side of the debate—one that teaches them to despise their national heritage, to rebel for the sake of rebellion, and to profane the sacred on the belief that nothing is sacred, except for the idols that the elites themselves create.

You can read or watch DeMint’s remarks here. 

Do you think university-style political correctness will spread beyond academia?

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl–the captured soldier Obama infamously swapped for five Taliban leaders in Guantanamo Bay last year–has been charged with desertion. Heritage expert of military law, Cully Stimson, weighs in on the charges in a new Daily Signal article:

This case may take a long time to get to trial, or it may end up resulting in a guilty plea in short order. It is way too early to predict what will happen. What is clear is that now that felony charges have been preferred against Sgt Bergdahl, the process will proceed in some fashion until the case is resolved.

You can read Stimson’s full analysis here. 

Heritage’s Daily Signal produced this short video explaining the Senate’s “vote-a-rama” marathon voting session, which begins Thursday.

Potentially on the docket are votes about Obamacare and the Keystone pipeline.

What do you think lawmakers should consider during vote-a-rama?

Obamacare is back at the Supreme Court, this time to decide whether the Obama administration expanded the health care takeover beyond what the plain text of the law allows.

At question, Heritage Foundation experts Andrew Kloster and Andrew Abbott explain, is whether Americans who purchase health insurance on the federally-run exchanges are eligible for subsidies:

To help offset the cost of insurance, the Obamacare statute specifically states that lower-income individuals whose incomes fall within a set range are eligible for premium assistance tax credits to purchase health insurance “through an Exchange established by [a] State.”The text of the statute, however, does not say that such credits are available for purchases made through exchanges established by the federal government.

Nevertheless, in 2012, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a rule saying that the tax credits are available for purchases not just under state exchanges, but also in the (currently 34) states in which the federal government operates the exchange.

Kloster and Abbott explain what may happen if the high court rules in favor of the plaintiffs and against the Obama administration:

  1. Individuals for whom insurance coverage became a greater out-of-pocket expense (exceeding 8 percent of their income in any given month) without the premium support tax credit would become exempt from the individual mandate.
  2. Employers in states that refused to set up Obamacare exchanges would be exempt from the employer mandate because no federal outlays would be made to trigger the penalty.

Removing the individual and employer mandates from the already shaky foundation will inevitably lead to the law’s collapse.

Do you think SCOTUS will rule in favor of the plaintiffs and lead to Obamacare’s dismantling?

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