Here’s a Conservative Win the Media Didn’t Publicize

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Late last week the House quietly pulled a bill to reauthorize the George W. Bush-era education law known as No Child Left Behind until 2021.  NCLB is frequently cited as one of the biggest failures of the Bush administration, and as Heritage expert Lindsey Burke has pointed out, the bill proposed by the House missed several opportunities to advance meaningful reforms.

The withdrawal of the legislation, which Burke dubbed “No Program Left Behind,” is a win for education freedom. It shows the power conservative ideas can have — despite what we hear from the progressives and the establishment.

What’s the alternative? Burke has a suggestion: “Conservatives in Congress should pursue the A-PLUS approach in order to restore educational decision making to state and local leaders, who are better positioned to make informed decisions about the needs of their school communities. ”

Do you think stopping NCLB reauthorization was a success for the conservative movement?

A Victory for Common Sense Beats Back Overcriminalization

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The Supreme Court this week sided with a fisherman who faced up to 20 years in federal prison for throwing undersized fish into the ocean. He was charged under a law passed after the Enron scandal designed to prevent the shredding of financial documents.

The ruling for fisherman John Yates was a victory against overcriminalization, Heritage Foundation legal expert John Malcolm writes. Overcriminalization, in which ordinary activity is subject to severe penalties, is a real problem:

It is not uncommon for prosecutors to stretch the law beyond the breaking point by charging defendants with violating a broadly-worded statute that carries an unusually stiff penalty even though it seems self-evident that the particular statute was not designed to address the factual situation presented.

Yates’ legal team sent the following message to Heritage after the court’s ruling:

On behalf of Mr. Yates, the Yates team, and the entire Middle District of Florida, Federal Defender’s Office, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to you for your support on Mr. Yates’ case.  The decision, as it turns out, was a close one, and undoubtedly your support helped carry the five votes at the end of the day. We cannot express how valuable we found your moot to be and how much we gained from that experience.

Do you think the government has too many laws on the books regulating Americans’ lives?

Ben Carson Visits With The Daily Signal at CPAC

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Ben Carson stopped by The Daily Signal booth at CPAC today. The Heritage Foundation and The Daily Signal have a robust presence at the annual conservative gathering outside Washington, D.C.

Heritage’s Pfitzenmaier Tells Senators Why Fixing the Debt Is Critical for Young People

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Heather Pfitzenmaier

“Higher debt threatens opportunity and stifles growth,” Heritage’s Heather Pfitzenmaier told the Senate Budget Committee in testimony today.

“My generation does not want to be the first generation in living memory that will be worse off than our parents.”

Pfitzenmaier, who directs Heritage’s Young Leaders Program, explained how young people will bear the burden of paying off today’s soaring federal debt.

The Young Leaders Program includes Heritage’s rigorous internship program and our work to promote conservative principles on college campuses nationwide.

Should we be concerned for younger generations as our government piles debt onto their shoulders?

Heritage’s Paul Larkin Urges Congress to Reform DOJ Practices

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Heritage expert Paul Larkin testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on February  12, 2015.

Photo: Heritage/Willis Bretz

When the federal government resolves corporate criminal investigations, it often requires the company to make payments to a third party. This practice is very problematic and should be reformed, Heritage legal scholar Paul Larkin said last week in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee (link in PDF):

First, the Justice Department lacks the statutory authority to hand over government funds to parties of its own choosing. Second, the practice of required third-party contributions is inconsistent with the federal laws that supply financial assistance to the victims of crime. Third, third party contribution requirements circumvent the constitutional process for appropriating taxpayer dollars. Fourth, this practice denies the public the opportunity to know how public funds are spent and to hold elected officials accountable for their choices because it enables Representatives and Senators to shirk their fiscal responsibilities. Fifth, third-party contribution requirements are rife with opportunities for political cronyism because they allow the Justice Department to pick-and-choose among private organizations as to which ones will receive federal funds without any guidance from Congress or any oversight by the Judiciary or Appropriations Committees in each chamber. Sixth, third-party contribution requirements are not necessary for plea bargains, civil settlements, and nonprosecution or deferred prosecution agreements to work as a means of disposing of criminal or civil cases.

Do you think the government should be able to direct companies to spend money this way as a condition of agreements with prosecutors?

Heritage Expert Testifies on Amnesty’s Cost to Election Integrity

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Heritage's Hans von Spakovsky testifies on the consequences for election integrity of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants on February 12, 2015.

Photo: Heritage/Willis Bretz

Granting amnesty to illegal immigrants could allow more noncitizens to vote in elections, Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans von Spakovsky said last week in testimony before the House Oversight Committee.

Amnesty would make it “extremely difficulty for election offocials to prevent or detect those who intentionally or negligently affirm their eligibility to vote,” he said.

Read his full testimony (link in PDF).

Heritage Leads the Way in Building Ties with India – a Key Asian Partner and Force for Stability

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Heritage Foundation experts Jim Carafano, Walter Lohman, and Lisa Curtis attend a conference in Dehli, India. (Photo: Vivekananda International Foundation)

While the Obama administration “leads from behind,” Heritage Foundation experts are actively advancing freedom and American interests globally.

Last week, Heritage and the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) cohosted a conference in New Dehli, India to advance U.S.-India cooperation on mutual security interests, including defense and counter-terrorism cooperation, and maintaining stability and peace in the Asia Pacific.

With a population of 1.2 billion and GDP of $5.1 trillion, India is a critical partner for the U.S.. That’s why Heritage experts Lisa Curtis, Jim Carafano, and Walter Lohman and the newly-appointed U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma attended the conference about how to deepen the U.S.-Indian partnership.

Heritage has for several years partnered with VIF, whose founder is now India’s National Security Advisor. Our partnerships with influential think tanks in other countries gives Heritage global policy impact.

This is just one example of how Heritage is making impact all over the globe. Do you think it’s important for Heritage to build relationships like this overseas?

Taiwan’s President Attends Launch of Index of Economic Freedom

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Heritage’s Anthony Kim and Terry Miller, left, greet Taiwan’s President Ma (Photo credit: Office of the President of Taiwan).

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou attended this week’s Taiwan launch of Heritage’s 2015 Index of Economic Freedom.

Ma’s attendance reflects Taiwan’s commitment to economic freedom and the importance of the Index overseas. Taiwan is ranked as the 14th-freest economy in the world.

In fact, four of the top 20 freest nations are Asian nations, which is why Kim and Miller are touring the continent to advance freedom. They will be heading next to Seoul, South Korea.

Do you think the United States shares the same commitment to economic freedom as Asian countries like Taiwan?

Roll Call Acknowledges Heritage’s Budget Cutting Proposals

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This article from Roll Call gives a very useful overview of The Heritage Foundation’s Budget Book and outlines how impactful Heritage’s policy recommendations will be for Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The Heritage book is initially aimed at the House and Senate Budget committees, which are both under GOP control for the first time in years and will soon begin work on their respective fiscal 2016 budget resolutions set to be unveiled in March. The organization of the report follows the functional categories or divisions of spending in the budget resolutions, including defense, international affairs, income security and others.

Be sure to check out the Budget Book to see where we can trim the fat from our federal spending.

Why the Senate Should Use the Power of the Purse to Block Amnesty

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Senate can block President Obama’s amnesty. (Photo: The Daily Signal)

We all know the lengths to which President Obama will go to give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Now we want to know what steps the House of Representatives and the new Republican Senate will take to stop him.

Congress can easily block President Obama’s unilateral amnesty by simply refusing to fund it, as the Heritage Foundation’s Genevieve Wood explains in The Daily Signal:

 One of the most talked about strategies for stopping Obama’s executive actions was to simply not give him or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the money to implement them.  Congress has the constitutional authority to fund or not to fund government activities, often referred to as the “power of the purse.” In this case, Congress could deny funding and resources for DHS that would be used for Obama’s executive amnesty.

The House passed such a measure and the Senate now has until the end of February to do the same.

Blocking Obama’s executive orders on immigration is exactly the approach Heritage’s David Inserra recommended last fall.

Of course, even if the measure passes in the Senate, it is very likely to be vetoed by the President. The battle against amnesty for illegal immigrants then goes to the court of public opinion, where a majority favors the conservative approach: Continue Reading »

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