Why Florida is a Magnet for Illegal Alien Workers

In 1986, 32 years ago, Congress agreed to implement a mandatory system in the U.S.A. To protect American workers jobs by verifying that all workers were legal workers. Obviously that did not happen as all attempts failed.

In 2010 Governor Scott ran promising to make E-Verify mandatory in Florida. He lied. In 2012 he said it was a Federal not state matter. Another lie.

In 2017 the Miami Herald reported:

South Florida is home to nearly half a million immigrants who are in the country illegally, making it the metropolitan area with the fifth-largest undocumented population in the United States, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center.

About 450,000 unauthorized immigrants reside in the greater Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area, Pew found, based on 2014 estimates from government data. About 55,000 live in the city of Miami alone.

In 2007 the cost to Floridians was $1.85 Billion, in 2017 it was more than triple 2007 at $6.3 Billion. Unchecked, will it triple again in another decade to $20 Billion?

Meanwhile, seven states around us in the South passed what Scott said wasn’t their responsibility and so today we are the only state in the Southeastern part of the country that does not have mandatory E-Verify.

A campaign was launched by Floridians for E-Verify Now to get on the 2018 state ballot to be voted on to become a Constitutional Amendment. Early votes by the Commission were favorable but the final vote was negative. The Chamber of Commerce, Ag owners and criminal illegal alien employers exerted pressure to kill it.

So what some would ask?

The answer is as illegal aliens invade the country looking for jobs they will come to Florida where their legality won’t be checked.

Currently Chairman Bob Goodlatte has a bill, HR 4760, in Congress with 95 co-sponsors that includes mandatory E-Verify. We need to support the bill to protect Florida’s workers and our wallets.

Florida has 27 Representatives in Congress. ONLY FIVE representatives are currently co-sponsors. They are: Rep. Rutherford ®, Rep. Yoho ®, Rep. Posey ®, Rep. Rooney ® and Rep. Bilarakis ®. They are all Republicans and should be applauded for trying to protect Florida’s workers.

That leaves 22 Florida Representatives who either don’t care to protect Florida workers or are being compensated in some way to not support HR 4760.

Give them a call and ask them their reason for not wanting to support Florida’s legal workers. Encourage them to join Goodlatte and get the legislation passed.

Congressional Delegation from Florida

SENATE

Name Room Phone
Nelson, Bill 716 HSOB 202-224-5274
Rubio, Marco 284 RSOB 202-224-3041

HOUSE

District Name Room Phone
1 Gaetz. Matt 507 CHOB 202-225-4136
2 Dunn, Neal 423 CHOB 202-225-5235
3 Yoho, Ted 511 CHOB 202-225-5744
4 Rutherford, John 230 CHOB 202-225-2501
5 Lawson, Al 1337 LHOB 202-225-0123
6 DeSantis, Ron 1524 LHOB 202-225-2706
7 Murphy, Stephanie 1237 LHOB 202-225-4035
8 Posey, Bill 2150 RHOB 202-225-3671
9 Soto, Darren 1429 LHOB 202-225-9889
10 Demings, Val 238 CHOB 202-225-2176
11 Webster, Daniel 1210 LHOB 202-225-1002
12 Bilirakis, Gus M. 2112 RHOB 202-225-5755
13 Crist, Charlie 427 CHOB 202-225-5961
14 Castor, Kathy 2052 RHOB 202-225-3376
15 Ross, Dennis 436 CHOB 202-225-1252
16 Buchanan, Vern 2104 RHOB 202-225-5015
17 Rooney, Tom 2160 RHOB 202-225-5792
18 Mast, Brian 2182 RHOB 202-225-3026
19 Rooney, Francis 120 CHOB 202-225-2536
20 Hastings, Alcee L. 2353 RHOB 202-225-1313
21 Frankel, Lois 1037 LHOB 202-225-3001
22 Deutch, Ted 2447 RHOB 202-225-9890
23 Wasserman Schultz, Debbie 1114 LHOB 202-225-7931
24 Wilson, Frederica 2445 RHOB 202-225-4506
25 Diaz-Balart, Mario 440 CHOB 202-225-4211
26 Curbelo, Carlos 1404 LHOB 202-225-2778
27 Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana 2206 RHOB 202-225-3931

RELATED ARTICLE: More than 56 per cent of crimes in German town are committed by asylum seekers

Small Business Confidence Way Up in the Trump Era

This week, America is celebrating the annual National Small Business Week.

Highlighting the vital contribution of small businesses to the U.S. economy, President Donald Trump proclaimed that “small business owners embody the American pioneering spirit and remind us that determination can turn aspiration into achievement.”

Indeed, small businesses are critical assets to the economy. Defined as firms employing fewer than 500 employees, they play a huge role in America’s $20 trillion economy.

There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, employing about half of the private workforce, according to the Small Business Administration.

Small businesses are also a proven source for job creation. Historically, they have generated two out of every three net new jobs created in America

In his recent proclamation honoring small business, Trump elaborated:

My administration worked with the Congress to enact a tax-relief plan that provides small businesses with hundreds of billions in additional tax cuts.

Moreover, we remain focused on eliminating unnecessary and unduly burdensome regulations, which hurt hardworking Americans. …

As we usher in a new era of American prosperity, my administration will continue to implement a pro-growth agenda based on policies that champion small business creation and growth, giving more Americans the opportunity to start, scale, and succeed in businesses of their own.

As documented in The Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom, economic freedom is the vital link between opportunity and prosperity. The overarching objective of economic policies should be to create an environment that provides the best chance of translating opportunity into prosperity, enhancing economic dynamism.

The index’s findings over the past two decades have shown that such economic dynamism can be sustained when governments adopt economic policies that empower individuals and firms with more choices, thereby encouraging greater business creation and growth.

According to a recent survey, confidence among America’s small business owners remains near an all-time high, perhaps reflecting the Trump administration’s significant pro-growth economic reforms to date.

Yet, the administration’s trade policies have generated a considerable degree of uncertainty. Maintaining the freedom to trade—both exporting and importing—is particularly important for small businesses, which generate more than 97 percent of all trade activity.

At a recent Heritage Foundation event that unveiled the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross acknowledged the importance of enhancing America’s economic freedom.

By better aligning trade policy with its tax and regulatory reform agendas that brush off government intervention, the Trump administration can advance the economic freedom that is critical to further nurturing America’s small businesses.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Anthony B. Kim

Anthony B. Kim researches international economic issues at The Heritage Foundation, with a strong focus on economic freedom. Kim is the research manager of the Index of Economic Freedom, the flagship product of the Heritage Foundation in partnership with The Wall Street Journal. Read his research. Twitter: .

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by shapecharge/Getty Images.

High Public School Spending in D.C. Hasn’t Produced Desired Outcomes

Spending by Washington, D.C., public schools can be difficult to pin down.

Estimates suggest spending is somewhere between $27,000 and $29,000 per child per year, which is roughly double the national average. Assuming $27,000 per student per year, D.C. taxpayers spend about $350,000 on a student from kindergarten through graduation.

One could be forgiven for expecting good educational outcomes for such breathtaking sums. Yet educational outcomes in the District of Columbia are one of the clearest examples of the disconnect between spending and academic achievement.

Recently released National Assessment of Educational Progress scores make that clear.

Although the District has made considerable progress on the national assessment—often referred to as “the nation’s report card”—over the past two decades, the city’s scores for eighth-graders still fall short of the national average by nearly 20 points—approximately two grade levels of learning.

In eighth-grade math, for example, D.C. students scored 16 points below the national average. In reading, D.C. students were 19 points behind their peers across the country.

Proficiency levels in reading and math also leave much to be desired. Among fourth-graders, 32 percent scored proficient or better in math, and 29 percent scored proficient in reading. Just 20 percent of eighth-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and just 21 percent in math.

That’s right: Just two out of 10 eighth-graders in D.C. public schools can read or do math proficiently.

In addition to lackluster academic outcomes, achievement gaps persist among students. If future performance replicates the past 20 years, the reading achievement gap between children from low-income families trail three grade levels behind their more affluent classmates in math.

“Expert-driven” reforms in the District have failed to produce notable improvements. As the Manhattan Institute’s Max Eden and I note:

Education reformers used to celebrate D.C.’s dramatic decline in school suspensions. Then a Washington Post investigation revealed that it was fake; administrators had merely taken suspensions off the books.

The same reformers used to celebrate D.C.’s sharp increase in high-school graduations. Then an NPR investigation revealed that it, too, was fake; almost half of students who missed more than half the year graduated.

There have, however, been some bright spots in the nation’s capital. Although charter schools scored only eight points higher than noncharter schools in eighth-grade math, charters deserve recognition, having achieved better results at significantly lower cost.

And as education scholar Matthew Ladner noted, the charter schools are at a disadvantage, since transfer students often “experience a temporary academic setback.” Consequently, as charter schools become more established with more stable student bodies, they can “improve with age.”

Overall, the scores on “the nation’s report card” illustrate the District of Columbia’s acute need for improved education performance.

The past 20 years illustrate some progress, especially at the fourth-grade level, where students are within one grade level of the national average. However, the slow momentum gained with the fourth-graders does not persist at the eighth-grade level, where students struggle to improve, trailing the national average by 16 to 19 points in math and reading.

In 2003, the city laid the groundwork for what has been the brightest spot in education in the District—namely, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program—a school voucher program open to students from low-income families—has produced excellent academic attainment results.

Beyond other reasons to applaud the school choice option, such as happier parents and safer students, an experimental evaluation commissioned by the Department of Education found that students who used a scholarship graduated at a rate 21 percentage points higher than their peers who were awarded a voucher but did not use it.

D.C. would be well-served by expanding access to the Opportunity Scholarship Program and by formula-funding the program so that parents can rely on it to be there in the future.

Expanding school choice in D.C. will enhance education at all grade levels because parents will be able to match their children with educational options that are the right fit. Instead of having limited options based largely on where they live, parents empowered by choice can find the school that best fits the academic and social needs of their children.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress scores show that D.C. children remain in dire need of access to better education options. Expanding school choice can make that a reality.

COMMENTARY BY

Jude Schwalbach is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

Portrait of Lindsey Burke

Lindsey M. Burke researches and writes on federal and state education issues as the Will Skillman fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research. Twitter: .

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Weedezign/Getty Images.

Justice Department Funded ‘Parent’ of Group Whose App Helps Illegal Immigrants

An organization whose parent group received taxpayer funds developed and offers an app that allows illegal immigrants to notify family and lawyers when they encounter law enforcement.

The app, a computer program designed to run on a cell phone or other mobile device, also allows the user to warn other illegal immigrants when authorities are in the neighborhood.

A division of the Justice Department awarded at least $206,453 to the National Immigration Law Center, which advises illegal immigrants on their rights, according to records obtained by Judicial Watch.

The Office of Justice Programs awarded the grants between fiscal years 2008 and 2010, the records cited by the conservative government watchdog group show. That would overlap the administrations of both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

One of the projects of the National Immigration Law Center is United We Dream, which describes itself as a youth program for “undocumented” immigrants.

United We Dream created the smartphone application, or app, which is called Notifica.

In a request filed under the Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch seeks to determine whether the federal government has given any other money to the National Immigration Law Center, said Irene Garcia, editor of the Judicial Watch blog and the group’s Spanish media liaison.

“Judicial Watch believes that using the app to warn someone could definitely be considered abetting, since it is helping lawbreakers—illegal immigrants—avoid law enforcement,” Garcia told The Daily Signal.

United We Dream also receives funds from liberal megadonor George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, Garcia said.

“We are working on getting the latest OSF [Open Society Foundations] funding, but essentially OSF is United We Dream’s biggest financial supporter,” Garcia said. “We are also in the process of obtaining the latest U.S. funding records. It appears that United We Dream may receive money under different umbrella groups.”

Neither United We Dream nor the National Immigration Legal Center responded to phone and email inquiries from The Daily Signal.

The Laredo Morning Times quoted Adrian Reyna, director of membership and technology strategies for United We Dream, as saying that “when something actually happens, most people don’t know what to do at that moment.”

The Texas newspaper also reported that United We Dream is working on a second version of Notifica that will include the ability to use more languages besides Spanish and English.

The second version, set to be released this summer, would include Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese. The updated app also will be able to determine where an illegal immigrant is being detained, the newspaper reported.

United We Dream pushes to give legal status to so-called Dreamers, illegal immigrants brought to the United States when they were children. The organization, which has a hotline, advises illegal immigrants against cooperating with agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In a press release, the group says: “United We Dream calls on our communities to defend their rights, not open the door to ICE, and to report ICE activities to the United We Dream MigraWatch hotline.”

The April release adds: “United We Dream has also developed the mobile app, Notifica, which immediately alerts your loved ones and legal advocates to the user’s location in cases of detention. Text ‘Notifica’ to 877-877 for a link for download.”

The Soros-backed Open Societies Foundations don’t have a direct role in the app, but doesn’t find it objectionable, said Angela Kelley, the senior strategic adviser on immigration at the Open Society Foundations.

“The Open Society Foundations does provide general support to both United We Dream and the National Immigration Law Center. The foundations do not specifically fund this app,” Kelley told The Daily Signal.

“The app allows immigrants who face detention to notify loved ones of their whereabouts, and encourage them to contact a lawyer,” Kelley said. “It is a way of ensuring that people confronted by immigration enforcement are aware of their rights, are afforded due process, and have access to legal counsel in their hour of need.”

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED ARTICLE: Soros-Funded Group Launches App to Help Illegal Aliens Avoid Feds.

The Real Costs Of Florida’s Hasty Parkland Legislation Are Coming Out

This is the price of letting the mob, even one led by sympathetic teens, rule over sound principles: the loss of Constitutional rights and wrecked budgets.

After the deadly shooting of 17 people at a Parkland, Florida high school earlier this year that resulted in huge protests fronted by students of the school, the GOP-dominated Florida Legislature caved to the emotional mob and passed laws violative of Americans’ Second Amendment rights while causing havoc with the budgets of every School District and Sheriff’s Office in the state.

It’s the dirty little secret largely being ignored. This was not a well-thought-through, studied, principled piece of legislation. And it was not necessary. It would not have prevented Parkland.

Most of the news coverage focused on guns, guns, guns. The media narrative was all zeroed in on how much would the Republican Florida Legislature go against the wishes of the NRA in a pro-gun state. Quite a bit it turns out, particularly when activists bring uninformed teens into the chambers for gimmicky procedural votes specifically designed to elicit an emotional response.

The portion of the law most people know about is the one restricting gun ownership for those under 21 and requiring a three-day waiting period to buy all guns. So you can be in the military and go to war, you can be in law enforcement and engage bad guys, you can enter into contracts, you can drive trucks, you can get married and start a family — but you cannot do what the Constitution of the United States expressly protects your right to do: own a gun.

“This bill punishes law-abiding gun owners for the criminal acts of a deranged individual,” said the NRA-ILA’s executive director Chris Cox. The NRA is suing on Constitutional grounds, which will cost plenty of money, as they have a strong case are not apt to back down.

The second part of the Parkland legislation news coverage was over whether “we should arm teachers” — as the media framed the verbiage. This provision allows districts to voluntarily create a program where educators can volunteer to be trained on an ongoing basis and then allowed to carry a weapon on campus to defend students and others. Of course, this was roundly opposed by the guns, guns, guns crowd and it appears only a handful of rural school districts will opt in to the program.

But given very little coverage was the requirement to beef up law enforcement at the schools by requiring a school resource officer in every Florida school that did not opt for allowing school personnel to conceal carry. This is a generally popular response, despite the total collapse of law enforcement in Broward County at Parkland — where there was a school resource officer who stayed outside during the slaughter.

This is an extraordinarily expensive provision given the size of Florida as the nation’s third largest state.

There are 4,000 public schools in Florida. Law enforcement figures each school resource officer costs about $100,000 in salary, benefits, supplies and general overhead. So putting one at every school represents a $400 million endeavor statewide, towards which the state only committed $100 million. This is an ongoing, $300 million expense, every year.

And there’s the rub. The Legislature responded to the Parkland tragedy and difficult environment with not only a bad law, but one that shoves its badness down to the local level for payment.

This has created a mini crisis among school districts, sheriff departments and the counties that fund them around the state. An average-sized school district in Florida (they are all countywide) would need to find $3 million to $5 million to accomplish this task. The big districts would need much more.

Again. Every year. While safe schools are felt to be an urgent need, what this means is taking funding from elsewhere in the operating budget — the largest single cost of which are teachers. So districts are hoping that local sheriffs will either cover all or part of the costs. But sheriffs have their own budget constraints and resource demands, including the desire of the population not inside a school building to be safe.

So this hasty legislation has pitted school districts against sheriffs when those relations were traditionally quite strong and cooperative.

Worse, it may prove impossible to even meet outside the financial constraints. Most sheriff departments have openings they cannot fill because there are not enough qualified applicants. Florida’s economy is so strong and unemployment so low (3.7 percent) that neither sheriff departments or private security companies can maintain full strength, and they are competing with each other for the few candidates that come available.

The guardian program could solve this, as it is much less expensive to train school personnel and they are already on campus, but professional school administrators prevent most from even considering it.

The Legislature’s action means finding thousands of new sheriff deputies to be trained as school resources officers; or reducing the number of deputies patrolling the streets, making the rest of the community potentially less safe — including students when they are not in school.

This damaging legislation should never have been rammed through so quickly, despite the unconscionable way anti-gun activists marshalled and organized sympathetic students for their cause.

RELATED ARTICLE: Same Policies That Failed to Stop Florida Shooter Exist in School Districts Nationwide

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act. Please visit The Revolutionary Act’s YouTube Site.

Conservative Lawmakers’ Blueprint Would Trim Nondefense Spending, Balance Budget in 8 Years

House conservatives propose to cut nondefense spending and balance the federal budget within eight years in a blueprint released Wednesday.

The document produced by the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus of GOP lawmakers in the House, includes a long list of policy goals such as repealing Obamacare, restoring power to states, making tax cuts “permanent,” reforming welfare programs, and “saving” Social Security and Medicare.

The 169-page blueprint, called “A Framework for Unified Conservatism,” proposes to cut government spending by more than $12.4 trillion over the next 10 years, compared with current law.

“I am very hopeful, when it comes to the legitimacy of this, if we are ever going to talk about the expectation of the federal government to live within its means, here’s the framework, this is the blueprint,” Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., chairman of the 150-member caucus, said Tuesday during a press briefing.

“I don’t believe for one second that everything can be immediately instituted,” Walker told reporters, but “our job … is to put together some kind of blueprint, the framework that I have discussed, where we show, ‘Here is the path.’”

The Republican Study Committee traditionally seeks to unify GOP lawmakers to promote a conservative agenda, and this proposal boasts that it “refocuses federal spending on core constitutional responsibilities like national security.”

Under the budget framework, total defense spending would rise from the current $700 billion in fiscal 2018 to $716 billion in fiscal 2019.

The framework would reduce nondefense discretionary spending from the current $579 billion to $355 billion in fiscal 2019.

It also would reverse the decision by Congress to break caps on spending, which President Donald Trump approved Feb. 9 and again last month in signing the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill for the remainder of fiscal 2018.

The RSC plan also calls for:

  • Cutting or eliminating programs that fall outside Congress’ constitutional authority and those that are “duplicative, unnecessary, wasteful, or ineffective,” and limiting funding for “unauthorized programs.”
  • Increasing defense spending from $716 billion in fiscal 2019 to $800 billion in fiscal 2028, with an emphasis on military readiness, a “robust naval fleet,” and responsiveness to threats in multiple theaters
  • Banning budget earmarks for lawmakers’ pet projects, ending permanent authorizations, and increasing transparency in the budget process.
  • Making permanent full and immediate expensing, which allowsbusinesses to immediately deduct expenses from taxable income.
  • Reforming and ensuring solvency for Social Security, including more accurately calculating cost-of-living adjustments and phasing in a higher eligibility age of 70 to avoid tapping out the trust fund by 2035.
  • Improving Medicare through more choices, lower costs, and a simpler model, including implementing premium support in 2023, retaining the traditional fee-for-service approach as an option, and phasing in the higher eligibility age of 70.

The blueprint also calls for saving taxpayers’ money by converting some mandatory government programs to discretionary programs. With “discretionary” programs, Congress must set funding levels each year, while the funding of mandatory programs such as Social Security and other entitlements is determined by the number of those enrolled.

The RSC plan says it considered input from congressional committees, individual lawmakers and their staff, conservative think tanks, and the executive branch to put forward over 300 specific policy reforms and spending cuts.

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., chairman of the group’s budget and spending task force, told reporters Tuesday that this is the right way forward:

We block-grant many programs back to the states, giving them the freedom to innovate according to their own best judgment and needs; we fully fund the president’s defense requests while eliminating several wasteful programs and moving them to core defense priorities; [and] we save Medicare from impending insolvency in 2029 by moving to a premium support plan, very similar to the existing Medicare Advantage program.

McClintock is a senior member of the House Budget Committee as well as the Natural Resources Committee.

Besides calling for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, the RSC blueprint proposes to make the health care market more affordable and competitive by allowing Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines, and by budgeting block grants for Medicaid at pre-Obamacare levels and limiting eligibility to U.S. citizens.

The budget blueprint says it “aims to go well beyond the least common denominator of politics to reflect the American people’s desire to see a more responsible and accountable government.”

It says it would do so in part by building on recent reforms such as making permanent the tax relief for individuals and other elements of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that took effect Jan. 1 after Trump signed the package that passed Congress without a single Democrat vote.

And it calls for:

  • Reforming the regulatory process and expanding congressional oversight of government programs.
  • Increasing opportunity and self-sufficiency by rewarding work and “earned success” and requiring work, job searches or training, or volunteering for able-bodied adults who want to qualify for welfare programs.
  • Reaffirming conservative principles such as the right to bear arms, the sanctity of life, religious freedom, and border security.

The RSC framework follows the Feb. 12 release of Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins Oct. 1.

That document includes the president’s recommendations to Congress, but Stan Collender, a former staffer for the House and Senate budget committees, is among those arguing that a rational budget process no longer exists. In an op-ed Tuesday in Forbes, Collender writes:

The federal budget process is not broken: It’s dead. Under Trump administration and congressional Republican control, the budget rules that are supposed to guide what the president and Congress do about the budget each year have died an ignominious death because of a combination of abject abuse and atrocious neglect.

In the congressional tradition known as regular order, the House Appropriations Committee passes 12 spending bills covering different aspects of government from transportation and social services to foreign policy and defense. Then the full House does the same, and the Senate follows suit. Finally, the president signs the 12 appropriations bills into law.

Congress hasn’t followed this process for more than 20 years, however.

In the latest go-round, Congress passed the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill to fund the government through Sept. 30, the end of fiscal 2018. By that time, Congress will need to approve a budget for fiscal 2019, or at least short-term funding, to avert a government shutdown.

With such problems for Congress in mind, the Republican Study Committee proposes “reclaiming the … power of the purse by limiting spending and reforming the budget process.”

The next move on a budget for fiscal 2019 and beyond essentially is that of the House Republican leadership team under Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who recently announced he will not seek re-election in November and will retire in January.

All 435 seats in the House are up in the November elections; Republicans currently hold 236 seats and Democrats 193, with six vacancies.

Justin Bogie, a senior policy analyst in fiscal affairs at The Heritage Foundation, said that if the RSC’s budget plan were to clear Congress, Americans “would see a smaller federal government certainly, less regulation, basically less of the federal government getting into areas that businesses and state and local government should be into.”

Instead of passing 12 separate appropriations bills this year, Bogie said, Congress might choose to do smaller omnibus spending bills, or “mini-buses,” where spending legislation is packaged into three or four bills. Congress technically would pass all 12 bills by Sept. 30, but not individually.

If Congress tries to pass the same type of omnibus that Trump threatened to veto before he signed it March 23, though, Republicans could be in hot water with the president.

“If they do it the exact same way that they did it last time, he probably doesn’t sign it or at least that threat is out there; if they pass more bills or most of the bills and then put them into an omnibus, then I think he probably signs it,” Bogie said.

Congress has no excuse for failing to start work on the budget, McClintock said.

“I think it would be an inexcusable dereliction of duty for the House Budget Committee to fail to produce a budget, and I am disappointed and embarrassed that it has not even begun that work, now a full week after the deadline for the House to adopt a budget,” the California Republican said.

“That’s why the RSC budget is so important,” he said. “It is the only credible and comprehensive plan put forward in this session to turn us back toward fiscal solvency before it is too late.”

Ken McIntyre contributed to this report.

Portrait of Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., chairman of the Republican Study Committee is by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom.

New National Test Scores Show Betsy DeVos Was Right About Public Schools

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ recent interview with Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” caused quite a bit of backlash from critics.

As my colleague Jonathan Butcher has written, “60 Minutes” ignored many of the facts about the state of education in America. Response to the interview drew quite a bit of criticism of DeVos and her policy solutions.

Perhaps one of the most pivotal moments came when she suggested that the United States’ heavy federal investment in education has not yielded any results. Stahl hit back, asserting that school performance has been on the rise.

But the latest government data show otherwise. According to the recently released 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the nation’s “report card,” we now have more evidence that DeVos was correct.

In fact, recent scores show virtually no improvement over 2015 scores. Eighth-grade reading saw a single point improvement over 2015 scores (10 points is considered equivalent to a grade level), while all other categories saw no improvement.

These lackluster results come on the heels of declines on the 2015 assessment, suggesting the beginning of a trend in the wrong direction for academic outcomes.

Indeed, Stahl’s claim that the state of public schools has gotten better simply doesn’t hold up to the data. It fact, DeVos is entirely correct to point out that public school outcomes have not meaningfully improved, and that our nation’s heavy federal intervention in K-12 education has failed to help the problem.

As Heritage Foundation education fellow Lindsey Burke writes:

Forty-nine out of 50 states were stagnant on the 2017 report card, and achievement gaps persist. Historically, federal education spending has been appropriated to close gaps, yet this spending—more than $2 trillion in inflation-adjusted spending at the federal level alone since 1965—has utterly failed to achieve that goal.

Increasing federal intervention over the past half-century, and the resulting burden of complying with federal programs, rules, and regulations, have created a parasitic relationship with federal education programs and states, and is straining the time and resources of local schools.

Indeed, for decades, Washington has poured billions of dollars into the public education system under the assumption that more federal spending will close achievement caps and improve the academic outcomes of students. With mounting evidence that more federal spending is not the answer, it may be time to consider other policy approaches.

DeVos is correct to suggest school choice as a solution to lackluster school performance. Parents who cannot afford to send their child to a school that is the right fit deserve to have options. As DeVos told Stahl:

Any family that has the economic means and the power to make choices is doing so for their children. Families that don’t have the power, that can’t decide, ‘I’m gonna move from this apartment in downtown whatever to the suburb where I think the school is gonna be better for my child.’ If they don’t have that choice, and they are assigned to that school, they are stuck there. I am fighting for the parents who don’t have those choices. We need all parents to have those choices.

In light of recent evidence from the nation’s report card, “60 Minutes” and other school choice critics should consider that DeVos was correct in her framing of problems facing the nation’s schools and is on the right track with possible solutions—namely, that empowering parents is the right approach to improving American education.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Mary Clare Amselem

Mary Clare Amselem is a policy analyst in education policy at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE:  Nation’s ‘Report Card’ Shows Federal Intervention Has Not Helped Students

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is by Amy Beth Bennett/TNS/Newscom.

Trump’s Vitally Important Anti-Poverty Initiative

It takes a lot of courage for a president to target almost a quarter of the federal budget for reform in an election year.

But this is exactly what President Donald Trump is doing with his executive order, “Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility.”

We’re now spending more than $700 billion per year on low-income assistance, which is more than we are spending on our national defense. And there are plenty of reasons to believe this spending is inefficient, wasteful, and counterproductive.

Over the last half-century, some $22 trillion has been spent on anti-poverty programs and yet the percentage of poor in this nation remains unchanged. And it is not only a matter of the percentage staying the same but also that the people and families who are born poor stay that way.

The “Better Way” report produced by the House speaker’s office in 2016 reported that 34 percent of those born and raised in the bottom fifth of the income scale remain there all their lives.

The point has often been made that the greatest charitable gesture is teaching those in need to help themselves.

This principle defines the president’s reforms to our anti-poverty programs and spending. Let’s make sure that every dollar spent goes to those truly in need and that those dollars are spent to maximize the likelihood that the recipients will get on their feet and become independent, productive, income-earning citizens.

The executive order directs federal agencies to review the some 80 federal anti-poverty programs, consolidate where there is redundancy and overlap, and look to reform by applying the principles of hard work and self-sufficiency.

Needless to say, the usual left-wing megaphones, those that can’t tell the difference between compassion and spending billions of other people’s dollars, have wasted no time to go on attack.

The headline from the Southern Poverty Law Center screams, “Trump’s executive order on work requirements punishes low-income people for being poor.”

Calling the executive order “heartless,” the Southern Poverty Law Center rejects the premise that there are those receiving benefits from these programs who could work but don’t.

However, Robert Doar of the American Enterprise Institute reports that there are almost 20 million working-age Americans receiving benefits under Medicaid and food stamps who don’t work.

The Better Way report notes that “44 percent of work-capable households using federal rental assistance report no annual income from wages.”

But it’s not just about work requirements.

Vital to this reform project is moving programs out of Washington’s grasp and into the administrations at the state and local levels. Assistance programs need humanity and flexibility. This can only be done locally. There’s no way an army of bureaucrats in Washington can develop and implement programs for 50 million needy individuals that can properly recognize what unique individuals need to move out of poverty.

Assistance programs need to promote and embody those principles that go hand in hand with prosperity—ownership, investment, savings, and personal freedom and responsibility.

According to the Better Way report, almost 10 million Americans have no bank account and another 25 million have an account but get financial services outside of the banking system.

When I was a young woman on welfare, I saw the destruction that occurs when assistance programs penalize work, marriage, and saving, as was the case with the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. Subsequently, this was reformed and transformed with great success to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

We can’t go on spending hundreds of billions of dollars of limited taxpayer funds on programs that may have been conceived with sincerity and compassion but don’t work.

Trump deserves credit for exercising the courage and vision to move to fix what is broken in our anti-poverty programs. It is vital for the poor and vital for the nation.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Star Parker

Star Parker is a columnist for The Daily Signal and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. Twitter: .

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Ivy Imboden, originally from Anchorage, Alaska, clutching a warm drink after arriving at a new tent established for the homeless in San Diego, California. (Photo: John Gastaldo/Zuma Press/Newscom). The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

Out With the Old Tax Code, in With the New

Say your fond farewells, because this April marks the last year you will have to pay your taxes under the old tax code.

Next year, when you sit down to file your taxes for 2018, you and your family will send less of your paychecks to Washington.

In 2018, the average American will work the first 109 days of the year to earn enough money to pay their full tax bill. This year, thanks to tax reform, we will work three fewer days to pay our taxes than last year. That’s three more days of income you and your family get to keep for yourself.

Each year, the Tax Foundation calculates Tax Freedom Day—the day we are able to begin working for ourselves and our families, rather than Washington. Mark your calendars, Tax Freedom Day 2018 is April 19.

The Treasury Department estimates that next year, about nine out of 10 Americans will have larger paychecks thanks to lower tax rates, a larger standard deduction, and an increased child tax credit. But everyone wants to know exactly how the new tax code will help them, personally.

Luckily, Heritage Foundation research fellow Rachel Greszler crunched the numbers. Here are some examples.

Tom Wong, a single teacher making $50,000, just finished filing his 2017 taxes and paid $5,474 in federal income taxes for 2017. Next year, he can expect to pay $1,104 less to the federal government. His marginal tax rate dropped from 25 percent to 12 percent.

Under the old tax code, John and Sarah Jones, a married couple with combined earnings of $75,000, three children, and a home mortgage, just finished calculating that they will pay $1,753 this year. Next year when they file their taxes, their federal income tax bill will decline by $2,014. In fact, because of the larger $2,000 child tax credit, they will get a refundable credit of $261.

Now that the political rhetoric has subsided, it is clear that families across America can expect a sizable tax cut when they file their taxes next year.

Tax reform did more than cut personal income taxes. It was designed to boost the economy by making it easier for businesses to hire Americans and invest in the United States. The early evidence shows that tax reform is indeed contributing to more new jobs and higher wages for working Americans.

More than 450 companies to date have announced bonuses, pay raises, and better benefits—including American Airlines, AT&T, Bank of America, and Comcast. Americans for Tax Reform is keeping a running list here.

Fiat Chrysler announced it will move some of its manufacturing plants in Mexico back to the United States, invest more than $1 billion in Detroit, and add 2,500 new jobs.

A small Wichita business gave each of the company’s five employees bonuses,ranging from $4,000 to $6,000. Meanwhile, tech giant Apple announced it will invest $350 billion and add 20,000 employees in the U.S. over the next five years.

New lower tax rates for businesses and individuals have made the U.S. competitive again and given Americans much-needed tax relief. For tax reform to succeed, however, Washington must constrain federal spending to reduce pressures to raise taxes in the future.

The true measure of taxes is not what we pay, but what the government spends. If you include 2018’s federal borrowing, Tax Freedom Day—or more aptly, Spending Freedom Day—is 17 days later, on May 6.

Every American who just received a tax cut should be a newly minted deficit hawk. Congress made many of the tax cuts temporary, so without serious spending reforms, there will be continued pressure to let taxes rise again.

To solidify the gains of tax reform, Congress must make the existing tax cuts permanent and bring spending under control. Phase 2 of tax reform is nonnegotiable.

For now, we can bid adieu to the old tax system and welcome 2018 with lower taxes and a healthier economy.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Adam Michel

Adam Michel

Adam Michel focuses on tax policy and the federal budget as a policy analyst in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by DNY59/Getty Images.

Trump Issued a Call for Welfare Reform. Here Are 4 Actions Policymakers Can Take.

President Donald Trump this week signed an executive order calling for reforms in the welfare system to promote work and strengthen marriage.

The president is right to address this pressing issue. Welfare reform is needed.

Today, the welfare system aggressively penalizes marriage among low-income parents and discourages work and self-support. We have spent $28 trillion on welfare programs since the War on Poverty began, yet the ability of the poor to achieve self-sufficiency has actually decreased. Government spends $1.1 trillion annually on the same failed programs while hoping for different results.

Over this same time period, we have seen a decline in marriage that has exacerbated poverty. The proportion of children living in single-parent families has more than tripled since the 1960s. This family context is ripe for continued poverty, as about 80 percent of all long-term child poverty occurs in single-parent homes.

Marriage is one of the two most powerful factors in sustaining adult happiness, and it is the single most important factor in promoting upward social mobility among children. The collapse of marriage in low-income communities, abetted by the welfare system, has directly undermined the well-being of the poor.

In his executive order, the president directed his agencies to report back in 90 days with recommended actions that would implement his pro-work, pro-marriage goals. Here are four specific actions the Trump administration and Congress can take to achieve the president’s objectives and ensure the welfare system helps the people it serves rather than hurting them.

The administration can take these first two steps without legislative action.

1. Provide contract funding based on successful outcomes.

Agencies should insist that federal grants pay for outcomes, not services. Surprisingly, payment based on outcomes achieved by certain programs is almost completely nonexistent in the present welfare system.

Ten percent of spending in welfare goes to programs intended to increase human capabilities. These include drug rehabilitation, child development, educational, and job training programs. Studies show that these programs rarely produce positive outcomes for recipients.

Agencies should fund contracts based on whether a contractor provides successful outcomes. This would make programs more effective and weed out the contractors who produce subpar results.

2. Accurately account for welfare spending.

Additionally, the administration should provide accurate information about poverty and inequality by correctly counting, for the first time, the massive government funding provided to low-income populations.

The government spends $1.1 trillion a year on assistance for poor and low-income people through cash, food, housing, medical care, and other social services. Yet 97 percent of that is not counted by the Census Bureau as income for purposes of measuring either poverty or economic inequality.

It is impossible to accurately evaluate our welfare system without good information about spending and benefits.

To close this information gap, the president’s annual budget should include an aggregate welfare spending figure across all 89 means-tested programs that provide services across 14 government departments and agencies.

Faulty measurements of household income misleadingly give the impression that we spend very little fighting poverty. Despite trillions of dollars of spending, only 3.3 percent of all welfare spending is counted as income in the Census poverty surveys.

The federal government spends more than enough to eliminate all poverty in the United States. Current inaccurate measurements show much higher levels of poverty than actually exist.

3. Strengthen work requirements.

The president rightly recognizes that the goal of any welfare program should be to help move work-capable recipients toward greater self-support. Work requirements are a tested policy that offer a path toward self-sufficiency while still providing care for the truly needy.

Ninety-four percent of Americans believe that able-bodied adults who receive cash, food, housing, or medical care from the government should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving that aid. In the past, work requirements have been successful in reducing welfare rolls and increasing work and self-support.

Policymakers should strengthen work requirements by eliminating waivers that exempt certain counties and states from enforcing the current work requirement on able-bodied adults without dependents.

Sixty-seven percent of able-bodied adults without dependents in the food stamp program are in a waived area and do not have to fulfill any sort of work requirement. Eliminating these waivers will encourage 2.9 million unemployed, work-capable, childless adults who are on food stamps today to re-enter the economy by working, volunteering, or participating in training programs.

4. Stop penalizing marriage.

Marriage is extremely important in combatting poverty and promoting human well-being. When the War on Poverty began, only 7 percent of children were born outside of marriage. Today, the number is over 40 percent.

Children born into homes without married parents are five times more likely to be in poverty—and adults who grew up in single-parent homes are 50 percent more likely to experience poverty than those who grew up in intact married homes.

When compared to children in intact married homes, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems, to smoke, drink, and use drugs, to be aggressive, and engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior. They are also more likely to have poor school performance, be expelled, and drop out of high school.

Children raised in single-parent homes are almost five times more likely to experience physical abuse and seven times more likely to suffer childhood sexual abuse when compared to those raised by married biological parents. Children raised without a father in the home are three times more likely to engage in crime and end up in jail.

While marriage is one of the best antidotes to poverty, the current welfare system, ironically, penalizes it. A mother and father with two kids making $20,000 each will lose $6,302 a year in benefits if they marry, which amounts to 15 percent of their total combined earnings.

The president should call on Congress to address these problems immediately, starting by reforming the earned income tax credit and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to ensure that working adults can marry without a hefty financial penalty.

Long-Needed Reform

The president has issued a bold call to action on a critical problem: Despite its generosity, the welfare system is failing both taxpayers and the poor.

Encouraging self-sufficiency and well-being through work and marriage is the most effective and most compassionate way to approach those in need. A few simple, time-tested reforms would be a great start at improving the system.

Note: This piece has been updated to correct a typo in the amount of money spent on welfare since the War on Poverty began. The number is $28 trillion, not $28 billion.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Mimi Teixeira

Mimi Teixeira is a graduate fellow in welfare policy at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

Portrait of Robert Rector

Robert Rector, a leading authority on poverty, welfare programs and immigration in America for three decades, is The Heritage Foundation’s senior research fellow in domestic policy.

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of President Donald Trump speaking after signing an executive order calling for agencies to recommend policies that would advance pro-work, pro-marriage goals. (Photo: Alex Edelman/UPI/Newscom)

Planned Parenthood Gets the Ax in Nebraska Budget!

There might not be a more unpopular idea in Nebraska than sending taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood. At last check, only 19 percent of voters thought the state should sign another check to America’s biggest abortion business. And late last week, legislators made it clear they were listening.

For the first time since Congress gave back control over their Title X “family planning” dollars to states, Nebraska used it — ending its $2 million partnership with Planned Parenthood in its new budget. For the next two years, taxpayers can relax, knowing that local dollars aren’t going to a group that thinks abortion is the best form of birth control.

Governor Pete Ricketts (R), who had fought for the budget to “reflect our values,” inked his name to the bill late last week. To the cheers of Nebraskans, he announced, “The budget adjustments I have signed help to further control state spending. Additionally, these bills contain important new budget language, which ensures that Title X taxpayer dollars do not fund abortion services, including abortion referrals, at any clinic in Nebraska.”

But even with voters’ support, this was no easy task. As Nebraska Radio Network points out, Governor Ricketts really had to stick his neck out to change the budget.

Controversy engulfed the budget when Ricketts inserted language restricting the use of federal family planning funds. The language directs the money only to clinics which provide family planning services without performing abortions, effectively carving Planned Parenthood out of the budget. Supporters had to overcome a filibuster which derailed approval of the budget twice. It passed only when a handful of legislators negotiated a compromise, which changed the language, but left the restrictions in place.

Fortunately for the state, Governor Ricketts knows that life is worth fighting for. And, like us, he’s grateful for the president’s leadership on the issue. If it weren’t for Trump and the GOP leaders in Congress, Obama’s rules would still be in place — making it almost impossible for states to defund Planned Parenthood. Let’s hope that Ricketts’s courage inspires other governors to do the same!


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.


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In Recognition of America’s Contributions to Humanity

By Mounir Bishay

I’m very much aware that what I’m going to argue here is not the way many from Middle Eastern origins regard the United States.

The mere mention of “America” upsets some so much, pushing them over the edge. To many, hatred for America has become a faith-like passion, very hard to change. Hence, my purpose here is not to change these people’s minds, nor am I trying to defend America, as it certainly does not need my defense!

But for me this is a matter of principle and conviction, and it is my way of paying back some of the debt I personally owe to this great country. This is particularly true because I probably know more about America than many who criticize it claim they do. I have lived and worked in America for almost half-a-century, and I was fortunate enough to experience much of what life is really like here in America.

This is not to say that America has no faults, as only God is perfect, and the fictional utopian philosophical ideas do not exist in the real world. Man is sinful by nature and is hence prone to commit all sorts of evil deeds. Nevertheless, in America the rule of law puts the brakes on these natural bents and everyone is subject to its authority, including the president. In my years here in America I have seen President Nixon lose his job as he covers up for his men when they were spying on the other party. Senior officials were convicted and sentenced to prison. Where else in the world can anything like that happen?

Perhaps the worst sin that was once attributed to America as a nation is racism. But, again, the most important virtue of America is its ability to confront and put a stop to it. African American citizens were, over time, elevated from slaves to like-citizens, to full citizens, now have even a preferred citizenship status, and finally attained to the prestigious position of head of state.

Not too long ago, America was a British colony, but the settlers decided to fight for their independence, rather than remain a mere vassal of the British Empire. Eventually, the United States of America assumed a leadership role and grew into a country greater than Britain. America was even able to protect Britain and all Europe against the Nazi threat by Hitler, who had tried to dominate the continent and had at first succeeded to some extent. But the balance of power turned against him after America entered World War II, which resulted in the defeat and elimination of Nazism. America is currently the most powerful nation on earth and any country which may achieve this status would be tempted to use it to subdue other nations. On the contrary, America has been a stabilizing force rather than a threat to other nations.

When the world was again threatened by the emergence of the Soviet Union and the spread of communism, no country, besides the United States, had the power to combat that danger, defeat the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and stop the spread of communism. Saddam Hussein came to power in Iraq, invaded Kuwait and threatened to control Middle East oil, and later ISIS came into being, terrorizing the region and promising to invade Europe. But thanks to American leadership, both were defeated.

Most important American achievements, however, have been those which contributed to improving the quality of human life. Thanks to American efforts, an environment that encourages innovation was created and America was a major player in developing countless inventions. It’s hard to imagine living without some of these inventions in the fields of food, and medicine, which make life easier for everyone. Some examples are: electricity, airplanes, TV, computers, the Internet, mobile phones, microwave ovens, laser beams, chemotherapy, and much more.

America pioneered the field of space travel, putting man on the moon for the first time. But America wouldn’t use this success or its technological advancement to threaten mankind but has used it for the good of humanity. Through this achievement, it was possible to develop satellite stations which are used to disseminate information to be passed on to people in their homes.

And, from America came the computer, which has revolutionized the lives of mankind, by helping to increase productivity and reduce corporate expenses, leading to lower prices. The development of personal computers (PC) and the launch of the Internet had changed the way people communicate with each other. With email, people can now reach anyone in the world and instantly know what is going on at the other end. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype have practically reduced the world to a small village.

Limitation of space for this article prompts me to jump ahead to other important points on this topic. The role of the American people in helping those in need around the world cannot be denied. Any time we hear of a devastating earthquake, a killer tsunami, deadly famines, war, or other natural or human-made disasters which turn people into refugees, we’re immediately aware that Americans are at the forefront of the relief work, with planeloads of food and medicine to help those victims, regardless of their race, color, or creed.

American efforts in defending human rights require coverage in another full-length article. Since its inception, America had identified this as a high calling of its worldwide presence. In this regard President Jimmy Carter said, “America didn’t invent human rights, human rights invented America.” This does not mean that America has become the policeman of the world, but with its influence, power and other means, America is able to promote democracy and stop repression and tyranny against vulnerable peoples in the world.

It is strange to hear words of criticism attributed to America (which at times amount to name calling) from people who would give anything for a chance to immigrate to the United States of America, who, even while they are in their homelands, may be living on American aid!


ABOUT MOUNIR BISHAY

Mounir Bishay, an Egyptian by birth, is a human rights activist and writer on Coptic (Christians of Egypt) issues. He is the head of the Los Angeles based Christian Copts of California. Mr. Bishay is also a contributorto SFPPR News & Analysis.

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GOP Should Exercise Fiscal Restraint through the Impoundment Control Act

Background

Passed in 1974, the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act establishes a process for cancelling unnecessary funding to executive branch agencies. Under this law, the president may withhold and permanently cancel funding to executive branch agencies passed into law by Congress. This is accomplished only if Congress approves of the president’s special message that includes rescissions specifying the “amount of budget authority” to be rescinded, as well as “all facts, circumstance, and considerations relating to or bearing upon the proposed rescission.” Congress is not required to introduce a rescission bill and can introduce a bill containing fewer rescissions than requested by the President. Once the special message is delivered and a rescission bill is introduced and referred to the relevant committee, the committee has 25 calendar days to report the bill. If the committee fails to report the bill, any member can discharge the bill from committee with one-fifth approval of the chamber vote. Debate on the motion to the recession bill is limited to two hours in the House, ten hours in the Senate, and two hours for a conference report within the period of 45 days of continuous session following delivery of the special message. A rescission bill not included in the president’s special message is subject to the filibuster.

Congress has rescinded a total of only $25 billion in federal spending using the Impoundment Control Act. The last time Congress used the law was in 1992, under President George H.W. Bush. The Impoundment Control Act has seldom been used because it requires Congress to approve cutting funding it recently authorized. The Act can almost be viewed as a weakened version of a line-item veto which allowed presidents to remove certain provisions of a bill before signing them into law. In 1998, the Supreme Court ruled the line-item veto unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York.

Rescind Omnibus Non-defense Spending

Last month, Congress passed—and President Trump signed into law—a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package that increased defense spending by $80 billion and non-defense spending by $63 billion over the Budget Control Act. According to congressional Republicans and President Trump, the GOP agreed to the omnibus spending levels because Senate Democrats threatened to filibuster and shutdown the government if Congress increased defense spending without increasing non-defense spending. This is where the Impoundment Control Act comes into play. Section 1017 of this law sets up a rescission process that can be used by Republicans in Congress to cancel the wasteful non-defense spending appropriated in the omnibus bill. That process begins with a special message by President Trump properly outlining his rescission requests. Senate Democrats would not be able to filibuster the President’s request if 218 House Republicans and 50 Senate Republicans can agree to the proposed spending cuts.

Potential Spending Reductions

The Good, Bad, and Ugly of the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act, The Heritage Foundation lays out a number of wasteful spending provisions the Trump administration could include in its Impoundment Control Act special message request to Congress. Additionally, in Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2018, The Heritage Foundation lays out billions in non-defense spending cuts the Trump administration could also consider in its request.

The recently-passed omnibus spending package broke the non-defense spending levels established in the Budget Control Act by $63 billion and authorized $100 billion more in non-defense spending than requested in President Trump’s 2018 budget. The President should use these numbers as a starting point in his special message rescission proposal to Congress.

Conclusion

If the Republican Party is truly concerned with excessive spending and debt, the Impoundment Control Act provides the best opportunity to undo the damage of the recently-passed omnibus spending package. According to a recent Gallup poll, 77 percent of Americans are “a great deal” or “a fair amount” concerned with federal spending and the budget deficit. By reining in federal spending using the Impoundment Control Act, congressional Republicans can demonstrate to midterm election voters that they will govern responsibly and steward taxpayer dollars if re-elected to the majority. It also gives the GOP leverage in future spending negotiations by neutralizing the threat of a democrat filibuster and government shutdown.

Wesley Coopersmith
Policy Manager
Heritage Action for America

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Trump’s Idea of Using Military Resources for Border Wall Isn’t Unprecedented

The military has been involved before in putting up a barrier along the U.S.-Mexican border without explicit authorization from Congress, according to a 2009 government report.

President Donald Trump recently proposed to draw from the $700 billion appropriated for the military for funds to build the border wall, which comes with a price tag estimated at $25 billion.

Initial fencing constructed after Congress passed the 2006 Secure Fence Act was paid for by the Department of Homeland Security, while engineering and labor was carried out through an agreement with the Defense Department.

It isn’t clear whether this is what Trump had in mind.

The precedent means that military involvement would not be unheard of, said Art Arthur, resident fellow for law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, an immigration policy think tank.

“The military can’t enforce immigration laws inside the United States, but it can help fortify the border as a national defense issue,” Arthur, the former general counsel at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now Immigration and Customs Enforcement) told The Daily Signal.

Entering a church service Easter Sunday, the president talked to reporters about problems at the southern border.

“Mexico has got to help us at the border,” he said. “If they’re not going to help us at the border, it’s a very sad thing between our two countries.”

Trump tweeted Monday morning:

Speaking Thursday in Richfield, Ohio, Trump said: “We started our wall—what a thing of beauty. … We’re getting that sucker built.”

Trump recently signed an omnibus spending bill that allocated $1.6 billion for 33 miles of border fencing. Days later, the president suggested in a tweet that money from the defense budget could be used for the wall since its construction is a matter of national security.

Keeping drugs, weapons and contraband, and criminals out of the country likely could be classified as an act of national defense, Arthur said.

“The wall is not just about illegal aliens. The border is about more than illegal aliens,” Arthur said. “The border is like the skin of the country. If something penetrates that skin, it gets inside.”

Trump reportedly talked to Defense Secretary James Mattis about using defense dollars to pay for building the wall. The Pentagon has not characterized the retired Marine general’s reaction.

The question is whether drawing on the defense funds requires an act of Congress. Opponents of the president, such as Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., insist it does.

Others, such as Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, a constitutional conservative and frequent critic of executive overreach, are cautious about weighing in.

“We would have to see the specific statutory authority they claimed justified it,” Lee spokesman Conn Carroll told The Daily Signal.

Trump did not specify how he would use Pentagon money for the wall construction, since enforcing immigration law is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security.

But the two departments previously worked together, according to the report by the Congressional Research Service during President Barack Obama’s first year in office.

Essentially, Customs and Border Protection provided money and land, while divisions of the Defense Department provided design and labor.

The report states that Customs and Border Protection entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Engineering and Construction Support Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The National Guard and a military task force also were involved, the report says:

The ECSO [Engineering and Construction Support Office] manages several components of the construction process for CBP [Customs and Border Protection], including planning and acquisition of real estate; drafting the environmental protection plan; designing the project and formulating the engineering costs; overseeing the construction process; and enforcing the appropriate warranties.

On most of the tactical infrastructure projects, National Guard units and military units from the Department of Defense (DOD) Joint Task Force North provide the labor. DOD uses these projects as part of their training regimen, leveraging their ability to deploy tactical infrastructure and thereby providing zero labor costs to CBP.

The agreement saved taxpayer dollars, as Homeland Security did not have to procure commercial contractors and provided training to military personnel on building barriers in combat zones.

However, in its fiscal year 2007 budget request, Customs and Border Protection request the use of private contractor to expedite completion of portions of the border fencing.

Under the agreement, Customs and Border Protection bought materials and acquired the land, and the Army Corps of Engineers did engineering studies and provided manpower and machinery used to install the fencing.

“The actual manpower is typically provided by the State National Guard (the California National Guard, for example, constructed much of the San Diego fence), although occasionally the military, and sometimes the USBP [Border Patrol], are involved in the construction,” the Congressional Research Service report says.

The Congressional Research Service is a nonpartisan research and investigative office on Capitol Hill that responds to requests from members of Congress.

Asked March 27 about the potential for military funding for the wall, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to provide details.

“I can’t get into the specifics of that at this point,” Sanders told reporters, “but I can tell you that the continuation of building the wall is ongoing, and we’re going to continue moving forward in that process.”

There isn’t enough information available to determine whether using military money to build a wall—absent congressional authorization—would be constitutional, said Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

“It would depend entirely on which pot of money at DOD the president wants to use, and what the rules are regarding that money as laid out in the appropriations bill that provided the money,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal.

Building a wall along the southern border is likely beyond the capacity of the Army Corps of Engineers, said Arthur, the fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies. The U.S. has built some physical barrier along about one-third of the 1,933-mile border.
Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of President Donald Trump, with federal immigration officials, inspecting border wall prototypes on March 13th in San Diego County, California. (Photo: K.C. Alfred/San Diego Union-Tribune/Newscom)

This Real Disney Princess Has a Pro-Life Message for Planned Parenthood

Earlier this week, a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Pennsylvania called for “a disney princess who’s had an abortion” on Twitter:

We need a disney princess who’s had an abortion

We need a disney princess who’s pro-choice

We need a disney princess who’s an undocumented immigrant

We need a disney princess who’s actually a union worker

We need a disney princess who’s trans

The tweet was quickly taken down, but Deanna Falchook, a former singer and dancer at Disneyworld in California, responded with a heartbreaking personal story:

She writes:

At the age of 18, I became pregnant and had an abortion to keep my job as a singing princess. There was no pressure from the company or management to abort my baby. I didn’t tell them. But I made a decision on my own that I quickly lived to regret.

In the immediate days following my abortion, I struggled deeply. I continued to sing songs in front of the castle about dreams coming true, but eventually had to quit my dream job due to my inability to reconcile my decision within myself. I wanted to die.

Eventually, I found healing. It was an arduous struggle to navigate my personal grief. But by the grace of God, I am living an amazing life.

Now, Falchook and her husband not only have two children of their own, but they have adopted five children from around the world.

She refutes Planned Parenthood’s agenda in one sentence: “Abortion doesn’t empower.”

Click hear to read the rest of Falchook’s post.

And Falchook is right. Planned Parenthood’s abortion business doesn’t just end the lives of over 300,000 innocent babies every year; the overall abortion industry is complicit in providing cover for sex trafficking and rampant exploitation connected to the pornography business.

The abortion giant deleted the tweet above after even its own supporters found the content distasteful and claimed  the point might not have been “appropriate.” However, Planned Parenthood’s mistake was not a matter of appropriateness, but a matter of revealing its true agenda of normalizing abortion in the minds of young people.

Sadly, that’s an agenda that many corporations have no problem supporting with the dollars you spend. For the complete list, make sure you see our list of companies that directly fund Planned Parenthood here.

Help us continue holding corporations and non-profits accountable for their activism by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!