Jim DeMint Wins Edmund Burke Award

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In Heritage Impact

British MEP Daniel Hannan, right, presents the Edmund Burke Award to Heritage’s Jim DeMint. (Photo: AECR)

On May 22, the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists presented their first-ever Edmund Burke award to Heritage President Jim DeMint for his work to advance conservative principles.

In his acceptance speech, DeMint explained the importance of limited government and the relationship of American conservatives to their allies in Europe:

No top-down control can force goodwill, but it is very likely to destroy it. True patriotism and brotherhood flourishes when men and women are allowed to be masters of their own spheres.

It is a cruel irony that any authority, with the pretense of celebrating diverse cultures, demands they all fit the same mold.

I have been saddened to see this trend in the United States.

Americans live under an administration that runs roughshod over their rights and traditions, and accuses those who stand against it of being bigots, or clinging bitterly to guns and religion … Two things, I might add, that our Constitution gave us every encouragement to cling, so that a demagogue could not take more power for himself.

Far from being unified, top-down policies have divided my countrymen further than ever—whether by race, riches, or faith.

But there are many who are fighting back, who are rebuilding the “little platoons” of society—their communities, churches, and local governments—working toward prosperity, self-sufficiency, and independence.

They do not hate their country because of those in power. They love her in spite of them.

You can read all of Sen. DeMint’s remarks on The Daily Signal.

 

In the Amtrak Funding Debate, ‘Ideology Tramples Facts’

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Photo: NTSB/UPI/Newscom

Some left-leaning politicians are exploiting last week’s Amtrak derailment tragedy to push for more government spending. Heritage experts Paul Winfree and Michael Sargent write on the FoxNews.com that this solution is not only distasteful but also doesn’t address the key problem:

The partisan finger-pointing came well before the investigation into the accident could produce any answers—including the revelation that the train went into a sharp curve at more than twice the designated speed limit. In addition, the Republican funding bill they were disparaging does not cut allocations to safety programs for the National Transportation Safety Board or the Federal Railroad Administration. Yet when federal funding is at stake, ideology happily tramples facts in its race to exploit human tragedy.

You can read Winfree and Sargent’s full analysis here.

Do you think spending more money on Amtrak is the right answer? Tell us in the comments.

How Congress Should Fight the Obama Administration’s Massive Regulations

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Under the Obama administration, regulations are out of control.  The Obama administration added 184 new major rules that cost over $80 billion dollars a year — and there are 126 more to come. That’s according to a new Heritage report: Red Tape Rising: Six Years of Escalating Regulation Under Obama.

“In many respects, the need for reform of the regulatory system has never been greater,” write Heritage experts James Gattuso and Diane Katz.

So how can Congress curtail these ever-increasing massive regulations? Gattuso and Katz have a few suggestions:

  1. Put Congress, not unelected bureaucrats, in charge of approving new major regulations.
  2. Require Congress to evaluate the impact of these rules before they go into effect.
  3. Make sure regulations will expire.
  4. Review the “independent” agencies that make these rules
  5. Require that regulations are based on facts and necessity, not politics.

You can read more on these and other suggestions here.

How do you think Congress should curtail massive regulations from the executive branch?

How Congress Can Use the Power of the Purse to Reform the U.N.

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The United States contributes a whopping 22 percent of the United Nations’ regular budget. As by far the largest contributor to the U.N., the United States can play a major role in reforming the organization.

In testimony this week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Heritage expert Brett Schaefer offered four major ways Congress can do just that:

  1. More equitably distribute the costs of the regular budget;
  2. More equitably distribute the costs of the peacekeeping budget;
  3. Enforce the 25 percent cap on America’s peacekeeping assessment; and
  4. Give major contributors more influence on U.N. budgetary decisions.

Read Schaefer’s full testimony here.

Do you think Congress should use the power of the purse to reform the U.N.? 

Heritage Research Fuels Bill to Cut $7.5 Billion in EPA Spending

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Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) wants to cut 13 programs in the Environmental Protection Agency. And he is using Heritage research to back him up, as The Hill reports:

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) introduced a bill, the Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act, which he said is a money-saving measure, citing a Heritage Foundation forecast that it would save $7.5 billion over 10 years.

This statistic comes from a Heritage report on the 2016 Obama budget. Heritage expert Nick Loris explained that his proposed budget would give over $4 billion in handouts to states that meet the carbon emission quotas of the administration’s Clean Power Plan. Loris writes:

States should not be lured by the carrots the Administration is dangling. If Congress wants to help the states, they should not only reject the President’s $4 billion handout but also strip away the Environmental Protection Agency’s funds to implement and enforce any carbon dioxide rules.

Now Congress is taking action with Loris’s findings behind them.

Do you think Congress should cut programs this like? 

Here’s What Congress Should Do After the Supreme Court Rules on Obamacare

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If the Supreme Court rules against the Obama administration in King v. Burwell and strikes down subsidies for health insurance purchased on federal exchanges, there are a couple of things Heritage experts Ed Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski think Congress should do to respond:

Any congressional response should first focus on exempting individuals, employers, and insurance plans in states without state-run exchanges from the ACA regulations and mandates that increased health insurance premiums to start with. Making the reduction of coverage cost the top priority is also a first step toward a post-Obamacare market in which more affordable coverage reduces the number of individuals who might need assistance, as well as the size and scope of such assistance.

Why focus on these regulations and mandates? Because doing so can reduce premiums as much as 44 percent.

Do you think Congress should rein in the regulations and mandates that make health insurance more expensive? 

After the Klein Family Raised Over $100,000 on GoFundMe, This Happened.

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Photo Credit: The Daily Signal

The Klein family–the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa–exercised their right to do business in accordance with their religious beliefs when they declined to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. After the Kleins were fined $135,000 by Oregon officials, many Americans wanted to support the family by sending them a donation via the crowdfunding website GoFundMe.

Then, GoFundMe shut down the page. Heritage Founder Ed Feulner explains why:

We all know the real reason — it’s not politically correct to say a word against same-sex marriage, no matter what the First Amendment says. But GoFundMe needed an official excuse, so it pointed to its bylaws, which prohibit “campaigns in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts.”

But this is GoFundMe exercising its right to choose who it does business with, just like the Kleins.

But you know what? Sweet Cakes has that right, too. So does Arlene’s Flowers, another business GoFundMe decided to blackball for the same reason — the owners wouldn’t provide flowers for a same-sex wedding because doing so would violate their religious beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Talk about cultural myopia. GoFundMe wants to enjoy the same liberty it’s happy to see denied to businesses that it disagrees with.

Do you think GoFundMe had the right to shut down the page? 

Six Intelligence Initiatives to Prevent Another 9/11

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Our defense system needs to reform the way it gets intelligence in order to protect our country from another 9/11-scale attack, Heritage Foundation visiting fellow David Shedd argues. He recommends six reforms in a new article for Defense One

  1. Reorganize the CIA around specific subjects and geographic regions.
  2. End bureaucratic turf wars to ensure effective cybersecurity.
  3. Integrate foreign and domestic intelligence to better identify threats.
  4. Strengthen the Defense Intelligence Agency as the hub of military intelligence.
  5. Ensure collaboration across intelligence agencies by temporarily assigning officers to work with other agencies.
  6. Create a National Intelligence Leadership Corps that rotates effective leaders through high-level positions.

According to Shedd, the most vital reforms will adapt the intelligence community to the current climate:

Today, the threat environment has radically changed, and, collectively, its challenges are greater than those we faced even a decade ago. To remain relevant, the Intelligence Community must accelerate its own transformation. We cannot afford to be timid with the work that lies ahead.

Do you agree that we need reforms like this? 

After Heritage Expert Testifies, Tennessee Passes School Choice Legislation

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Three weeks ago, Heritage education expert Lindsey Burke testified before the Tennessee legislature about the benefits of education savings accounts.

And in a major victory for school choice, the state legislature passed a bill this week to create ESAs for students with special needs. The bill is now on its way to the desk of Gov. Bill Haslam.

ESAs allow parents to direct their child’s portion of education spending towards education options that meet their child’s needs. “They separate the financing of education from the delivery of services and empower families to choose which provider works best for their children,” Burke writes in The Daily Signal.

Twenty-two state legislatures are considering ESAs for the 2015 school year.

Do you think education dollars should follow the student, as ESAs allow? 

James Sherk Tells Nevada Lawmakers Why Public Sector Unions Are Bad Policy

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Photo Credit: The Daily Signal

Heritage economist James Sherk testified before front of the Nevada Assembly earlier this month on making collective bargaining optional for all government employees. In his testimony, Sherk argues that unions for government employees are bad policy, because unlike private sector unions they:

  1. Undermine representative government: “Collective bargaining in government takes away the final say on public policy from voters’ elected representatives. It forces them to negotiate a contract with union leaders, excluding all other citizens and potential workers from the bargaining table.”
  2. Come with no checks and balances: Private sector unions have competition with non-unionized businesses, but government employee unions do not: “Residents of Reno, Nevada, cannot receive police protection from Carson City or educate their children in Clark County Public Schools. Moreover mandatory taxes fund government operations.”
  3. Inflate pay for their workers: “Collective bargaining has considerably inflated the compensation of Nevada’s local government employees. It has produced benefit packages that few private-sector workers ever see. In many local governments, employees pay nothing toward the cost of their extensive health insurance benefits.”

Follow this link to see the rest of Sherk’s testimony.

Do you think Nevada should make unions optional for its government employees?

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