Can the president declare a national emergency on the southern border to begin construction on a border wall? President Trump has expressed hesitancy to do so, dampening several days of heated media debate over whether such an action would be legitimate.

While the media gushed soundbites and hasty conclusions, John Malcolm, the Vice President for Heritage’s Institute for Constitutional Government, thoroughly explained why the current law does give the president this power.

Traditionally, Congress designates national emergencies, but some 136 statutes give the president extraordinary powers to do so. These are not mere temporary powers; 31 emergencies declared by former presidents remain in effect today.

If the president were to declare an emergency, it would surely be challenged in court. But, Malcolm concludes, the president does have a strong legal basis to act if he so chooses.

It’s people like John Malcolm who help Heritage cut through the false assertions and wild exaggerations to tell the truth about the law and the president’s authority. Thank you for enabling us to bring facts and clarity to the debate on border security.

Read John Malcolm’s article here.

Should the president declare a national emergency, or should he secure a deal with Congress first?

The liberals in the House of Representatives have proposed a troubling piece of legislation that could further compromise the freedom of parents and families to the detriment of their children. Emilie Kao, Director of our Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, took to The Daily Signal to warn of the so-called “Equality Act.”

Kao says that Speaker Pelosi has prioritized legislation that “would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, making hospitals and doctors across America vulnerable to costly litigation if they don’t follow the medical recommendations of the transgender movement.” Such legislation would force doctors and nurses who are treating children with gender dysphoria to administer hormones and possibly surgery, even if parents want less drastic remedies like counseling.

The overwhelming majority of children with gender dysphoria become comfortable with their bodies by adulthood. If Washington mandates irreversible physical “solutions” for what the American Psychological Association classifies as a mental illness, it could spell disaster for these poor children. It’s a horrifying example of government making a problem worse, by substituting its doctrinaire policy preferences for the informed and loving decision-making of parents and loved ones.

Because of your support, Heritage experts like Emilie Kao are able to monitor the liberals in Congress and warn you when bad ideas are coming down the pike. Thank you for giving us the resources to catch the bad ideas and stop them from becoming law.

Read Emilie Kao’s Daily Signal article here.

How should conservatives engage on transgender issues?

The Founding Fathers recognized economic freedom as a cornerstone of free societies. And that fact was the subject of the most recent installment in Heritage’s speakers series, “Free Markets: The Ethical Economic Choice.

Determined to protect economic freedom, America’s founders “put it in writing.” It is manifest throughout the Constitution, in the contracts clause, the takings clause, the Privileges and Immunities Clause, the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clauses, and elsewhere. Their desire to preserve limited government, private property, and freedom of commerce shines throughout the document.

This week, Heritage hosted Randy Barnett, the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at Georgetown University, to discuss the Constitution and economic freedom. Thank you for empowering us to tell the truth about our founding principles, and to retell the story about the freedoms protected by the United States Constitution.

 What can we do to further protect economic freedom in 2019?

Speaker Pelosi has been out of power for a while, so when she takes power, she really takes power. This was evident in her changes to the House rules, as reported in The Daily Signal.

Heritage experts Justin Bogie, Romina Boccia, Adam Michel and Rachel Greszler chronicled how her new House rules will undermine the conservative reforms of the previous Congress, and tighten her grip on the people’s house. These changes include automatic debt-ceiling increases, not scoring bills for economic impact, and removing the requirement for a supermajority vote to raise your taxes. Pelosi’s new rules also enable the House to approve rolling back the 2017 tax cuts that are fueling the economy with a bare majority.

The House also reserves the power to sue the president of the United States. Speaker Boehner sued President Obama over The Affordable Care Act, but only after a Congressional resolution authorized it. Speaker Pelosi reserves the power to sue the president without explicit approval through a resolution, which will come into play if the president declares a national emergency to build a border wall and secure the border.

Additionally, the new rules make it harder for a member to “vacate the chair.” The new rule says, “A resolution causing a vacancy in the Office of Speaker shall not be privileged except if offered by direction of a party caucus or conference.’’ Translation: no one person can be the Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., of the 116th Congress, as individual members cannot stand up against the speaker as in previous congresses.

In the new majority’s Restoring Congress for the People  report, Rep. Kilmer, D-Wash., boasts “In order to prevent the Speaker from being held hostage by a single Member, this package reforms the motion to vacate the chair to a more thoughtful process.” Unless Speaker Pelosi’s entire conference moves against her, it is doubtful that she could be removed, even if the Speaker of the House abuses her power. As of now, Speaker Pelosi can spend with impunity and behave however she wishes, as long there isn’t a majority of her party’s caucus to advance a motion to vacate.

Because of your support, we have the best minds in the conservative movement keeping an eye on the liberals in Congress and giving you regular updates about their attempts to ram through massive spending and regulation. Thank you for trusting us with that responsibility.

Read the report in the Daily Signal here.

For more details, read the Heritage Action Blog here. 

How do you think the new rules will impact the laws that pass in the House?


What number of vacant judgeships quantifies a judicial crisis? In 2012, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said that number was 35. In 2015, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said that number was 15. In 2016, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said it was 62. That number under President Trump? Somewhere north of 130—the current number of vacancies. As Heritage founder Dr. Ed Feulner notes in a recent Washington Times column, liberals in the Senate are content to “reject any end-of-the-year deal on judicial nominations, signaling they’ll toe a tougher line on court appointments amid heavy pressure from the left.”

Assembling an impressive collection of quotes, Dr. Feulner exposed senatorial hypocrisy on the subject of judicial obstruction. For example, in 2014, Sen. Leahy declared that such “obstruction is not worthy of the Senate, and the resulting judicial vacancies do great harm to the judicial system.” Leahy’s words are still true, regardless of who’s president.

Dr. Feulner has fought for decades to promote conservative values, and continues to work to assure that the judiciary works as the framers of the Constitution intended. Thank you for supporting Heritage as we hold elected officials accountable.

Read Dr. Feulner’s Washington Times column here. 

What should be done to see that President Trump’s nominees receive a fair and timely vote in the Senate?

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