Acting Secretary Mark Esper, right, with Thomas Spoehr, director of Heritage’s Center for National Defense. (Photo: Willis Bretz)

Mark Esper, a former chief of staff at The Heritage Foundation, is taking on a new and much bigger role at the Department of Defense. President Donald Trump named Esper the acting secretary of defense on Tuesday, June 18.

“The nation would be lucky to have Mark serve in any capacity, but he is particularly well-suited to step into one of the most important jobs in the world – leading the men and women of the armed forces in defense of America’s interests,” says James Jay Carafano, vice president for Heritage’s Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy and E.W. Richardson fellow.

“The qualities that made Mark Esper a great secretary of the Army will make him a great acting secretary of Defense, and ultimately secretary of defense, if nominated,” says Thomas Spoehr, director of Heritage’s Center for National Defense.

Learn more about Mark Esper.

Please join us in congratulating Mark Esper!

Heritage’s newest “Federal Budget in Pictures” provides charts that illustrate current levels of government spending, taxes, budgets, debt, and entitlements.

This week, the House passed a $1 trillion spending bill; one that would not only prevent the shifting of Department of Defense funding to construct a border wall – it would also block President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The spending bill will likely not pass in the Senate.

“Year after year, the federal government passes spending bills so riddled with wasteful spending, crony handouts, and thoughtless debt accumulation that it’s pretty much like a massive car crash,” says Romina Boccia, director of our Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, and her co-author Benjamin Paris, a member of Heritage’s Young Leaders Program. In an article in The Daily Signal, Boccia and Paris say the budget process is “… so awful to watch that you can’t even look away.”

Read this article by Boccia and Paris: Averting the Next Fiscal Train Wreck

With national debt already in excess of $22 trillion, it is dangerously negligent for Congress to blithely dismiss, year after year, the issues of spending, taxes, and debt. To help citizens understand this issue, Heritage’s Hermann Center released the 2019 edition of, which features a series of charts that illustrate in easy-to-understand ways how vital it is that lawmakers take responsibility and fix America’s spending problem.

How can conservatives better communicate the fiscal challenges we now face?

(L-r) Event host John York, Ph.D., a policy analyst at Heritage’s Simon Center; Paul Coleman, executive director of the Alliance Defending Freedom; Klon Kitchen, Heritage senior research fellow focusing on technology; and Arthur Milikh, associate director of Heritage’s Simon Center, gather for a panel discussion entitled “Will We Ban ‘Hate Speech’? Lessons from Europe and the Threat of Big Tech.”

The demand to outlaw so-called “hate speech” continues to grow in America. Too few citizens, however, understand the radical theory behind “hate speech” criminalization, how our nation will change should it be banned, and the tech world’s involvement in ushering in a future where speech is policed.

On Friday, June 21, Heritage hosted a panel discussion featuring Klon Kitchen, our senior research fellow  focusing on technology; Arthur Milikh, associate director of Heritage’s Simon Center; and Paul Coleman, executive director of the Alliance Defending Freedom. Coleman is the author of “Censored: Why European Laws are a Threat to Free Speech.”

In Europe, where “hate speech” is actively criminalized, we see that governments persecute politicians, priests, political commentators, and private citizens – whose speech they can characterize with ever-widening definitions of “hate” – with censorship, fines, arrests, investigations, and prosecutions. These actions are having their desired effect: People who disagree with government positions are becoming rightfully fearful of expressing those views freely. In America, the tech world is working hard to ensure that our nation looks more like Europe. Should “hate speech” be banned in America, it is the tech world that will help bring forth this revolution.

Watch the full event here.

What should Heritage do to stand against corporate censorship as companies define the limits of free speech?

In “The Soul of an American President: The Untold Story of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Faith,” authors Alan Sears and Craig Osten tell readers about an often overlooked component of Eisenhower’s life. (Photo: MPI/Getty Images)

This week, The Heritage Foundation hosted events that delved into the faith lives of two fascinating Americans: President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

On Monday, June 17, Heritage hosted Alan Sears and Craig Osten, coauthors of “The Soul of an American President: The Untold Story of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Faith.”

While there have been many biographies of Dwight D. Eisenhower that focus on his military career or the time of his presidency, none explores the important role faith played both in his personal life and in his public policy. This, despite the fact that he is the only U.S. president to be baptized as a Christian while in office. “The Soul of an American President” portrays Eisenhower as a man whose faith was based in his own sincere personal conviction, not simply a sense of political expediency or social obligation.

Watch the event here or listen to it on the Heritage Events podcast.

This week on Heritage’s “SCOTUS 101” podcast, host Elizabeth Slattery, who works at Heritage’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, spoke with Christopher Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, about their book, “On Faith: Lessons from an American Believer.”

Antonin Scalia reflected deeply on matters of religion and shared his insights with many audiences over the course of his remarkable career. As a Supreme Court justice for three decades, he vigorously defended the American constitutional tradition of allowing religion a prominent place in the public square. As a man of faith, he recognized the special challenges of living a distinctively religious life in modern America, and he inspired other believers to meet those challenges. “On Faith: Lessons from an American Believer” gathers the wisdom and practical advice of Justice Scalia for living a life of faith in America.

Watch the event here or listen to it on the SCOTUS 101 podcast.

As we focus on the faith of great Americans like President Eisenhower and Justice Scalia, which contemporary public servants do you feel are living out their faith?

On Wednesday, members of Heritage’s health care team traveled to Atlanta, Ga., to meet with Gov. Brian P. Kemp, the governor’s health policy specialist Ryan Loke, and Regina Quick, special counsel to Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.

These meetings were coordinated with the help of Heritage ally and president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Kyle Wingfield.

Gov. Kemp presented our team with his overall vision for health care reform in Georgia, and learned about Heritage’s involvement in the formulation and promotion of the Health Care Choices Proposal. His goal is to make Georgia “the gold standard” when it comes to real health care reform that works.

Heritage health care experts Marie Fishpaw and Nina Schaefer offered innovative ideas that could be included in the broad reforms that Gov. Kemp is exploring. The Health Care Choices Proposal would give governors like Kemp the flexibility to create their own state-level health care systems, which would offer greater choices, higher quality of goods and services, and all at lower costs to consumers.

Fishpaw and Schaefer also met with Andre Jackson, editorial page editor for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, to promote the Health Care Choices Proposal, which is one of Heritage’s primary strategic issues this year.

“I am encouraged that Gov. Kemp is thinking big and pursuing reforms to increase choice and lower the cost of health care for Georgians. His approach is the kind of innovation we would like to see sweep the country,” said Fishpaw. “The Health Care Choices Proposal would better encourage this type of innovation.”

Read more about the right way to overhaul the health care system.

Watch: America’s Biggest Issues: Health Care

Do you think the states should lead the way in crafting health care reform  alternatives to Obamacare, or should they wait for the federal government to act?

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