Discussions

Heritage Conference Call for October 16th, 2017

To watch/listen to a replay of this week’s Sentinel Call, please visit our Heritage Action Sentinel Nation Page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SentinelNation/.

BIG NEWS: President Trump will be speaking tomorrow night at Heritage Foundation’s Annual President’s Club Dinner. If you are in town for the event, please stop by and say hello to me and meet the Sentinel Builders from the Northeast. If you’d like to watch a live stream of the address, please check out heritage.org for the live stream.  http://www.heritage.org/press/president-donald-trump-deliver-keynote-address-the-heritage-foundations-annual-presidents

Congressional Brief: The Senate is in session. The House is on recess this week. Many representatives are back home in their districts for the week. Now is a great opportunity to reach out to their district offices and see if there’s still an opportunity to set up a meeting with your member of member of the staff regarding Tax Reform. Not sure who to talk to or what to do? Please reply to this email and we will work with you to try and set up a meeting with your legislator of their staff.

For more specific details on Tax Reform and other issues please scroll down below.

Writers and Letters to the Editor Wanted: Thank you to those of you who have already submitted Letters to your local paper on Tax Reform to your local paper. We are off to a great start….

For the first time since 1986, Congress has the opportunity to pass significant Tax reform that not will only benefit individuals but businesses across the United States. But we are still seeking writers to submit Letter to the Editor regarding Tax Reform. We have templates and I am happy to help you craft or submit a strong letter to a local paper.

Please reply to this email if you are interested in supporting this effort or helping to find individuals in your network who’d be willing to contribute a Letter to the Editor.

Thank you for holding Congress accountable. If you have any questions, ideas, suggestions, please simply reply to this email.

Betsy Nelsen
Northeast Regional Coordinator
Elizabeth.nelsen@heritageaction.com
@Nelsen.Elizabeth

October 16th: Sentinel Weekly Action Guide

Washington, D.C. Update:

The Senate is in session this week while the House is in recess until October 23rd. The Senate will consider a House-passed $36.5 billion emergency spending package, which includes an irresponsible provision to cancel $16 billion of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) debt. Any emergency spending package must meet five criteria: necessary, sudden, urgent, unforeseen, and not permanent. The Senate is also scheduled to hold a “vote-a-rama” on the fiscal 2018 budget resolution, or vehicle for tax reform, this week. The Trump administration announced significant policy changes affecting health insurers and employers last week. The administration intends to “discontinue” illegal Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies, while also expanding the ability for individuals to buy less expensive and less regulated health insurance plans.

Core priorities for this week:

  1. Tax Reform: Tell lawmakers to support the tax reform plan released by the “Big Six”, especially the repeal of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction in exchange for lower rates for all Americans.  
  2. Obamacare: Tell senators to oppose any straight bailout of Obamacare, including the Alexander-Murray proposal and support President Trump’s decision to end the illegal CSR payments to insurance companies.  
  3. Immigration: Tell lawmakers to support President Trump’s efforts to end DACA, secure our borders, and reform legal immigration.  

Taxes
Pro-Growth Tax Reform

State of Play: Republican leadership represented by the “Big Six” recently released an outline of their tax reform plan. Heritage Action praised the GOP tax reform framework as pro-growth since it lowers the corporate rate, moves to a territorial system, permits full and immediate expensing, cuts individual taxes, and calls on Congress to end special interest carve outs. This plan will increase wages, create jobs, and grow the economy. Republicans in Congress plan to use the fiscal year 2018 budget reconciliation tool to pass pro-growth tax reform without Democrat support by the end of the year.

The Senate Budget Committee has approved a draft fiscal 2018 budget resolution while the House approved its version (H. Con. Res. 71) on a 219-206 vote earlier this month. The Senate is scheduled to hold a “vote-a-rama” on its budget resolution this week. Once the House and Senate adopt a joint budget resolution with the appropriate reconciliation instructions, lawmakers will be able to move forward on tax reform. Some attention in the White House and on Capitol Hill is turning to how tax cuts and reforms would affect the deficit. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), and Charlie Dent (R-PA) remain skeptical of the tax reform framework due to the issue of revenue-neutrality.   

Action Item: Sentinels should encourage their members of Congress to agree to a budget resolution that allows them to move forward on pro-growth tax reform, not revenue-neutral tax reform, as outlined by the “Big Six.” Sentinels should encourage their members to support a tax reform package that reduces the overall tax burden on the American people. Congress has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Tax reform should include the following principles:

1.) lower and simplify the individual tax rate

2.) lower and simplify the corporate tax rate

3.) permit tax-free entrepreneurship (full expensing),

4.) tax profits only made in the U.S. (territorial system), and

5.) eliminate carve outs for special interests (including state and local tax deduction).  

Resources:
Heritage Action activist toolkit: http://heritageaction.com/2017/08/tax-reform-toolkit/
Sentinel brief: http://heritageaction.com/2017/08/need-pro-growth-tax-reform/
Heritage Action Myth vs. Fact: http://heritageaction.com/2017/10/pro-growth-tax-reform-myth-vs-fact/
Heritage Action pushes back on special interest lobby: http://heritageaction.com/press-releases/swamp-creatures-attempt-drown-tax-reform/

Healthcare
No Obamacare Bailouts

State of Play: Last week, the Trump administration announced significant policy changes affecting health insurers and employers. The administration intends to “discontinue” illegal Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies, while also expanding the availability of Association Health Plans (AHPs), short-term health plans, and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). The court filing and executive order are steps in the right direction, and expand the ability for individuals to buy less expensive and less regulated health insurance. As Heritage Action noted last week, the administration deserves credit for understanding these payments are unlawful and for halting them immediately.

Although Obamacare remains a fundamentally flawed law, Senate democrats nevertheless are ramping up ‘bipartisan market stabilization’ efforts and urging Republicans to come back to the negotiating table. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are expected to introduce a plan to bailout insurers this week while Sen. Ron Johnson (R.-Wis.) will propose an alternative. Speaker Ryan reportedly drew a “red line” against bailing out insurance companies. The Trump administration has signaled its intention to take up Obamacare repeal next year and deny any straight bailout of Obamacare.

Action Item: Sentinels should tell their members of Congress to support the Trump administration’s decision and oppose any efforts to bailout Obamacare; through a congressional appropriation or otherwise. Heritage Action will continue to 1) oppose any bipartisan efforts to bailout Obamacare and 2) urge the president to overturn the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)’s 2013-era guidance that authorized illegal insurance subsidies for lawmakers and congressional staff so they wouldn’t feel the full burden of Obamacare.

Resources:
Heritage Action activist toolkit: http://heritageaction.com/2017/06/senate-ahca-activist-toolkit/
Sentinel brief on Obamacare bailouts: https://heritageaction.com/2017/08/no_more_obamacare_bailouts/
Sentinel brief on Obamacare exemption for Congress: https://heritageaction.com/2017/08/end-obamacare-exemption-congress/

Immigration
Ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

State of Play: The Trump administration announced an end to DACA with a delayed enforcement date of March 5th, 2018. Ten state attorneys general threatened to sue the administration over the program by September 5th if the President did not rescind the Obama-era program. The six month delay is intended to spur congressional action to address both DACA, but could also become a vehicle to address the broader immigration failures. On Sunday, the administration unveiled a list of 70 immigration-related policies Congress should pursue in conjunction with DACA efforts.

Action Item: DACA should be rescinded permanently. Sentinels should ask their members of Congress to support President Trump’s efforts to end the unconstitutional and illegal DACA program created by President Obama in 2012. Sentinels should encourage Congress to support the administration’s efforts to enforce U.S. immigration laws, secure our borders, and reform our broken legal immigration system. Additionally, the 1986 mistake of trading amnesty (i.e., DACA) now for border security funding later should not be repeated. Congress should pursue meaningful reforms such as ending chain migration and replacing it with a merit based immigration system.

Resource:
Heritage Action toolkit: http://heritageaction.com/2017/09/no-amnesty-toolkit/

Welfare
Work Requirements for Food Stamps

State of Play: Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) introduced a work for welfare bill called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 2996). This legislation would help reduce poverty and government dependency, increase self-sufficiency, and restore families by strengthening the effective and popular work requirements for all able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDS) who receive food stamps (SNAP). Speaker Paul Ryan indicated his support for including welfare reforms in tax reform legislation, stating to the press, in part: “It raises the stakes on some welfare reform that we’re going to do as part of tax reform. So it makes it important that we get those things done.”

Action Item: Sentinels should ask their members of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 2996.Click this link http://heritageaction.com/foodstamps/ for a list of cosponsors.

Resources:
Heritage Action activist toolkit: http://heritageaction.com/2017/07/snap-activism-toolkit/
Sentinel brief: http://heritageaction.com/2017/06/welfare-reform-work-requirements-food-stamps/
Heritage Action key vote co-sponsorship: http://heritageaction.com/key-votes/co-sponsorship-supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-reform-act-2017-h-r-2996/

Labor
Fighting Labor Union Bosses

State of Play: Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced the Employee Rights Act (H.R. 2723 & S. 1774 ). This legislation would protect workers from union pressure by putting power back in the hands of employees and making union leaders more accountable to their members.

Action Item: Sentinels should ask their members of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 2723 and S.1774. Click this link http://heritageaction.com/era/ for a list of cosponsors.

Resources:
Heritage Action activist toolkit: https://heritageaction.com/2017/07/employee-rights-act-era-toolkit/
Sentinel brief: http://heritageaction.com/2017/06/empowering-workers-not-labor-unions/
Heritage Action key vote co-sponsorship: http://heritageaction.com/key-votes/co-sponsorship-supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-reform-act-2017-h-r-2996/

Abortion
Defending life

State of Play: With pro-life majorities in the House and Senate, and a president who has committed to defend innocent life, Congress has the opportunity of a generation to pass key pro-life legislation. Last week, the House passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36). This legislation would protect unborn children by preventing abortions 20 weeks after fertilization, at which time scientific evidence suggests the child can feel pain. Heritage Action key voted the bill and released a key vote co-sponsorship of the Senate companion bill (S.1922).

Action Item: Sentinels should tell their members of Congress to support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect women and unborn children from gruesome late-term abortions performed after 20 weeks. Sentinels should ask their senators to cosponsor the senate bill.

Resources:
Heritage Action key vote: http://heritageaction.com/key-votes/yes-pain-capable-unborn-child-protection-act-h-r-36/
Heritage Action Senate cosponsor key vote: http://heritageaction.com/key-votes/co-sponsorship-pain-capable-unborn-child-protection-act-s-1922/

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