Can President Trump use emergency powers to build the wall?


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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?

Heritage sounds alarm on Pelosi’s “Equality Act”


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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 Constitution is designed to protect economic freedom


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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?

Daily Signal raises alarm over anti-conservative House rules


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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?


Dr. Feulner: The growing judicial crisis


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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?

Carafano: five foreign policy stories to watch


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As 2018 came to a close, Heritage expert James Jay Carafano scanned the horizon to see what 2019 will bring to the world stage. In a Fox News column, the vice president of the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy predicted the five major national security headlines you will see this year.

Carafano started with Israel, pointing out how their elections may lead to a day of reckoning for Hezbollah. He said that China would pull back its horns as it deals with a stumbling economy and seeks to ease trade tensions with the United States. He also predicts that, notwithstanding the president’s recent policy change regarding troops in Syria, the U.S. would stay in Afghanistan to address the Taliban.

He further forecasts that the administration will keep working with Mexico and Brazil to meet the humanitarian challenges wrought by a collapsing Venezuela. Finally, he foresees continuing disputes with Russia over nuclear weapons, specifically in regards to the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The bottom line: foreign powers are holding their breath to see how the 2020 presidential election will shape American foreign policy. With experienced observers like James Jay Carafano, we can continue to inform policymakers in the conservative movement and beyond to create the best policy outcomes for the United States.

Read Carafano’s Fox News column here.

What do you think will be the biggest foreign policy challenge of 2019?

President Trump Cites Heritage Expert on Fox News


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In a recent interview with Fox’s Harris Faulkner, President Trump cited Heritage Senior Legal Fellow Hans von Spakovsky’s work in The Daily Signal. The piece addressed the popular liberal argument that claims President Trump conspired to violate campaign finance laws by giving money to Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford.

The President’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, pled guilty to tax evasion and financial fraud charges, but von Spakovsky takes issue with the notion that there were violations to campaign finance law, which were part of Cohen’s plea agreement.

As a former member of the Federal Election Commission, von Spakovsky notes that spending restrictions established by the Federal Election Campaign Act specifically do not apply to expenditures that would “exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.”

Von Spakovsky also recalled that the Justice Department’s prosecution of similar charges against former Senator John Edwards resulted in acquittal. The claim that the President violated campaign laws doesn’t withstand scrutiny.

When you have the best legal minds analyzing the issues of our day, it’s possible to dismantle an attempt to use election laws as a weapon against the president. Thank you for giving us the resources to defend the truth and lay out the facts for all—even the President of the United States.

Read Hans von Spakovsky’s Daily Signal commentary here.

What should be done about the criminalization of politics, and the endless investigations against public officials?

Keeping the United Nations Out of America’s Border Security Debate


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The United States could have ceded its immigration lawmaking power to the United Nations. But it didn’t, because as Ambassador Nikki Haley said last year, “immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone.” Under the Obama administration, the United States supported the United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.

The U.S. will not sign the migration compact, and that’s a good thing, according to Senior Legal Fellow Hans von Spakovsky and Senior Research Fellow Brett Schaefer. The pact was deeply flawed, blurring the line between legal and illegal immigration and making detention of illegal immigrants “a measure of last resort.” Had the U.S. signed onto those agreements, U.S. immigration laws would have been overruled by international laws.

Von Spakovsky and Schaefer originally released their analysis in The Daily Signal, telling the backstory of how the U.S. narrowly escaped from entering a binding arrangement that would have greatly increased our national security risks, even as it undercut our national sovereignty. Thank you for supporting The Daily Signal and helping us share stories the progressive media would rather suppress.

Click to read von Spakovsky and Schaefer’s analysis here.

Given that we didn’t sign on to the compact, how should the United States help refugees while maintaining border security?

How Heritage is preparing conservative leaders to win


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Heritage believes that our nation’s current and future political leaders should us the guiding the principles that animated the Founders. Furthermore, they must be equipped with policy recommendations that apply those principles to today’s problems. That’s why we started the Candidate Briefing Program, which helps state, congressional, and presidential candidates understand, articulate, and apply conservative principles and policy solutions.

This year, Heritage experts briefed 84 candidates in need of conservative answers. Heritage was able to provide each candidate with a briefing and impactful parting gift: Solutions 2018, a compendium of our latest policy recommendations.

Fourteen of the candidates, briefed by Heritage, won their races. Soon, they will be putting what they’ve learned to use. But Heritage doesn’t wait until they’re sworn in to help them be effective advocates of conservative policy.

On Nov. 20, Heritage welcomed almost two-thirds of the incoming House Republican class to our 2018 New Members Orientation. In addition to reminding them of the conservative values they promised to uphold, the two-day program provided practical information on organizing and staffing a congressional office. And each new Member left with a binder containing resumes of over 300 qualified, conservative job-seekers compiled by our Truluck Center for Leadership Development.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to inculcate conservative ideas in aspiring national leaders, to inoculate candidates against progressivism, and to build relationships that helps produce better policy.

If you had one thing to tell candidates before they became elected officials, what would it be?


Obamacare is dying, and Heritage is ready


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The so-called Affordable Care Act may die on the steps of the Supreme Court. That will depend on the Fifth Circuit, and the Supreme Court Justices later on. Last week, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee, granted a motion to strike down the Affordable Care Act.

Marie Fishpaw, Heritage’s Director of Domestic Policy Studies, and John Malcolm, Vice President of the Institute for Constitutional Government, wrote a joint commentary discussing what happened and where to go from here. They also highlighted the Health Care Choice Proposal, the next logical step for Congress to consider if the Court voids Obamacare.

States that received waivers under Obamacare were able to innovate around the burdensome regulations and reduce premiums for their residents. The Health Care Choice Proposal would build upon that experience. In the end, Fishpaw and Malcolm write, “[it] would lower premiums up to an estimated 32 percent and ensure that everyone can access a quality private coverage arrangement of their choice.”

Because of your support, Heritage stands ready to help you regain the healthcare freedom and choice lost under Obamacare. We are ready to replace that failed program with something that costs less, and returns the power of choice to Americans everywhere. Thank you for standing with us on this issue.

Read John Malcolm and Marie Fishpaw’s commentary here.

Read the Health care Choice Proposal here.

Should the states make healthcare policy, or should the federal government make a new policy to replace Obamacare?

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