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Going to Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana Is Harming America

February 10, 2015 As part of The Heritage Foundation’s ongoing series of programs addressing drugs and drug policy in America, authors William J. Bennett and Robert A. White join us to examine the societal and scientific arguments against the legalization of marijuana. Once considered worthy of condemnation, marijuana has in recent years become a "medicine," legalized fully in four states, with others expected to follow. But the dangers are clear. According to Bennett and White's research, more Americans are admitted to treatment facilities for marijuana use than for any other illegal drug. Studies have also shown a link between marijuana use and abnormal brain structure and development. In their new book, Going to Pot, Bennett and White warn against jumping on the legalization bandwagon until fully examining all the facts. Read more

The Forgotten Depression - 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself

February 5, 2015 Starting with the Great Depression, virtually all major economic crises have been met with expansive government policies. This wasn’t always the case. In The Forgotten Depression, James Grant tells the story of America’s last governmentally untreated depression – relatively brief and self-correcting, it gave way to the Roaring Twenties. In 1920-21, Woodrow Wilson and Warren G. Harding met a deep economic slump by seeming to ignore it, implementing policies that most 21st Century economists would call backward. Read more

ISIS’ Influence in Social Media

February 5, 2015 With the growing state of ISIS and its media outreach, the regular release of propaganda and threat videos, and Islamic State sympathizers’ hacking of social media accounts of the U.S. media, and now U.S. Central Command, The Heritage Foundation is proud to host Daniel Cohen from the Institute for National Security Studies to discuss the social media capabilities of ISIS and its influence through the internet. Read more

Introduction to Homeland Defense and Defense Support of Civil Authorities: The U.S. Military’s Role to Support and Defend

February 4, 2015 The application of our Armed Forces within the states and territories of the United States is far from intuitive. The challenges of defending the country against assaults within the homeland are much more complex than engaging our enemies on foreign soil. Likewise, the introduction of the military’s many capabilities in response to disasters -- whether natural or manmade – comes with restrictions reflective of an American ethos that will always hold those forces as the servants of the people, never their overseers. Read more

A New Foreign Policy Agenda: Looking Toward 2016

January 30, 2015 2014 seemed like a year of foreign policy crises – Ukraine, Russia, the Middle East. While most of these may have moved from the top of the news cycle, by no means have they been solved permanently. It is a little under two years before the next presidential election, but foreign policy might figure more prominently in the 2016 cycle than it has in recent elections. World events are deteriorating rapidly, and national security is more on people’s minds. There is widespread popular discontent with the conduct and outcome of current U.S. foreign policies. Democrats are raising significant questions about the direction of U.S. strategy. Republicans are searching for a consistent foreign policy vision. The time is ripe to begin thinking about what an alternative U.S. foreign policy should be and the principles behind its successful conduct. Read more

Obama Administration Antitrust Policy: A Report Card

January 29, 2015 Read more

Total War Against Mormons

January 29, 2015 The LDS Church is about to learn that the terms of our common surrender will be brutal Read more

Department in Transition: Challenges and Opportunities Facing SecDef Nominee Ashton Carter

January 29, 2015 With President Obama nominating Ashton Carter, a former Deputy Secretary of Defense, for the top job at the Pentagon, the Department of Defense (DoD) is at a crossroads. Carter, slated to become President Obama’s fourth Secretary of Defense, will face a number of institutional and national security challenges – all of which will require him to draw from his vast experience in the department. Obvious objectives will include the formulation of a more effective strategy against ISIS, a determination on how to counter a revanchist Russia, tackling elements of defense reform, and the restoration of budgets that are consistent with the unpredictable strategic operating environment in which U.S. forces find themselves. Read more

Israel and the “Jacksonians”

January 29, 2015 In this case many so-called "Jacksonians" will make excuses for another government's shoddy behavior, which is exactly what "Jacksonians" aren't supposed to do. Read more

Come Quickly, Thermidor

January 29, 2015 The threat the Loony Cultural Left poses to liberals -- and to us all Read more

What Rubio Revival?

January 29, 2015 Pundits keep trying to conjure up the ever-elusive Rubio revival, and of course the revival never comes. Read more

Hidden in Plain Sight: What Really Caused the World’s Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again

January 29, 2015 The 2008 financial crisis was a major event, equivalent in its initial scope – if not its duration – to the Great Depression of the 1930s. What caused it will be debated for years. Conventional wisdom claims that the crisis was caused by Wall Street greed and insufficient regulation of the financial system. Thus, the most comprehensive financial-system regulation since the New Deal – the Dodd-Frank Act – was enacted. Peter J. Wallison, however, offers a compelling, competing narrative that contends the crisis was actually caused by government housing polices and that in reality the Dodd-Frank Act has only served to slow the recovery from the recession Read more

Thinking, and the Big Divide

January 28, 2015 On learning to be and to see, despite the dragonish validity of modernity Read more

Hey, America: Give the Balance of Power a Chance

January 28, 2015 Read more

The Myth of the American Love Affair With Cars

January 28, 2015 Read more

Week 1–Liberalism: Sources and Themes

January 28, 2015 What John Locke and Tom Paine reveal about the origins of an ideology that surrounds us like an ocean. Read more

How Obama Can Stop Netanyahu’s Iran War

January 28, 2015 Bibi has Boehner's support—but the president has the American people's, if he speaks out. Read more

Obama, Modi, and U.S.-Indian Relations

January 28, 2015 The two leaders have made a point of cultivating a better relationship over the last year. Read more

Your Son Is Deceased

January 28, 2015 Read more

Why Are Republicans So Weirdly Hesitant to Talk About America’s Middle Class?

January 28, 2015 Read more

Support Your Local Paper

January 28, 2015 Where local newspapers die, civic engagement and awareness suffer. Read more

The U.S.-Israel Relationship and “Reckless Driving”

January 28, 2015 Netanyahu seems sure that there will be no real consequences for Israel for his behavior. Read more

Attention Dante Readers!

January 28, 2015 The Cook & Herzman course is on sale. Buy it, quick Read more

2015 Index of Economic Freedom: Promoting Economic Opportunity and Empowerment

January 27, 2015 The 21st edition of the Index of Economic Freedom (www.heritage.org/index) evaluates economic conditions and government policies in 186 countries. Since its inception in 1995, the Index, an annual cross-country analysis by The Heritage Foundation, in collaboration with The Wall Street Journal, has tracked the progress of economic freedom around the globe and measured the impact of advancing economic liberty. Read more

The Forgotten Angel of Bastogne

January 27, 2015 The Forgotten Angel of Bastogne is a classic story of courage and compassion. But it is especially relevant now, as the world recognizes the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. The massive German assault on the Allies front line began on December 16, 1944 and went on for weeks. Had the U.S. forces failed to stop the much larger and better-equipped German army, the war might well have had a different outcome. It was a crucial turning point in the war, and in the history of the world. It is an anniversary well worth remembering and honoring. Read more

How Right-to-Work Impacts Union Dues and Union Officer Salaries

January 27, 2015 Monopolies charge their customers higher prices and care less about controlling costs. New research from The Heritage Foundation shows labor unions act just like business monopolies in this regard. Union financial filings reveal unions in non-right-to-work states charge workers 10 percent more. They also pay their top full-time officers $20,000 more a year. Unions charge monopoly prices and pay monopoly salaries when they can force workers to pay their dues. Read more

Flores Statement on National School Choice Week

January 26, 2015

Today, Republican Study Committee Chairman Bill Flores (R-TX) released the following statement on National School Choice Week:

“President Reagan repeatedly said that choice in education ‘affords hope and opportunity,’ a statement proven true by the incredible growth of America’s charter schools over the last few decades. School choice allows parents and teachers to work together to create innovative and quality solutions that will benefit their children and communities the most. While many on the Left oppose school choice, increased options give students the chance to break out of dysfunctional educational monopolies run by bureaucrats. Today, 2.6 million students attend a public charter school, but hundreds of thousands more sit on wait lists, hoping for the opportunity to improve their education through choice and competition. The federal government should serve as an ally, not an obstacle, so states can promote school choice policy that will provide a better education and a brighter future for America’s students.” 

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Day Two - Human Rights Hotspots The Middle East, Asia, Russia, and Cuba

January 23, 2015 After focusing on human rights issues in the Middle East, Asia and Russia on Day One of “Human Rights Hotspots,” our second day’s program will examine the evolving situation nearest to our shores in Cuba. Read more

Saving Congress from Itself: Emancipating the States and Empowering their People

January 23, 2015 Saving Congress from Itself proposes a single reform: eliminate all federal grants-in-aid to state and local governments. This action would reduce federal spending by over $600 billion a year and have a profound effect on how we govern ourselves. The proliferation of federal grants-in-aid programs is of recent vintage: only about 100 such grants existed before Lyndon Johnson took office, and now they number more than 1,100. Eliminating grants to the states will result in enormous savings in federal and state administrative costs; free states to set their own priorities; and improve the design and implementation of programs now subsidized by Washington by eliminating federal regulations that attend the grants. Read more

Day One - Human Rights Hotspots: The Middle East, Asia, Russia, and Cuba

January 22, 2015 2014 saw a variety of human rights crises occur all around the world. The background to these crises – politics, corruption, ethnic and religious strife, and outright war – are varied and complicated. Although the human rights aspects of these instabilities may no longer be on the front page of the news, most situations are unresolved and remain no less dire for the affected populations. Join us for one or all of our special presentations, over the course of two days, featuring noted experts focusing on “Human Rights Hotspots” around the world. Read more

Flores Statement on 42nd Annual March for Life

January 22, 2015

Today, Republican Study Committee Chairman Bill Flores (R-TX) released the following statement on the 42nd annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.:

“It was an honor to join tens of thousands of pro-life students and families, hailing from every corner of the country, at the March for Life. Today, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we remember the millions of lives tragically lost due to abortion in America. We have hope, however, that soon the continued efforts of the pro-life movement will ensure every life, no matter how vulnerable, is protected by the law.  I will fight tirelessly to make sure Congress hears these pro-life voices and that we uphold our responsibility to protect America’s unborn children.”

Rep. Flores was recognized for his pro-life leadership in Congress onstage at the 2015 March for Life.

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Confronting Political Islam: Six Lessons from the West's Past

January 22, 2015 How should the Western world today respond to the challenges of political Islam? Taking an original approach to answer this question, Confronting Political Islam compares Islamism’s struggle with secularism to other prolonged ideological clashes in Western history. By examining the past conflicts that have torn Europe and the Americas – and how they have been supported by underground networks, fomented radicalism and revolution, and triggered foreign interventions and international conflicts – John Owen draws six major lessons to demonstrate that much of what we think about political Islam is wrong. Read more

Judicial Elections and the First Amendment: Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar

January 21, 2015 On January 20, the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments in Lanell Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar. At issue is whether a ban on solicitation of campaign donations by judicial candidates in state elections in Florida violates the First Amendment rights of the candidates. Does Florida have a compelling interest in imposing such a ban to preserve the appearance of impartiality of its judges? Is it necessary to ensure judicial independence and maintain public confidence in the judicial system? Does this ban on solicitation violate the First Amendment rights of candidates to engage in political speech and political activity? Does the soliciting of campaign donations involve core political speech? In a post-argument briefing, two First Amendment experts who filed amicus briefs in the case, along with the former Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, will discuss these issues as well as the oral arguments conducted that morning before the Supreme Court. Moderating the panel will be a former FEC commissioner. Read more

Welcoming Every Life: Choosing Life after an Unexpected Prenatal Diagnosis

January 21, 2015 Every year, thousands of expectant mothers and fathers receive the devastating news that their unborn child may suffer from a severe disability or fatal condition. Regrettably, many children diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18, Spina Bifida, and other fatal and non-fatal conditions are more often aborted than carried to term. How can we help more Americans see the inherent value and dignity of every life, regardless of dependency, disability, or life expectancy? How can we better support families in welcoming the life of every child? Read more

A View from Estonia: Russia and the Threats Posed to Transatlantic Security

January 20, 2015 While Russia’s annexation of Crimea and further aggression against Ukraine in the Donbas came as a shock to many in western Europe and the United States, these actions came as little surprise to those member states on NATO’s front lines – especially the Baltic states. Leveraging insights and experience from the nations in the Alliance that know Russia the best could prove a critical advantage as the U.S. and NATO develop a new strategy to deal with a resurgent Russia. Estonian Brigadier General Meelis Kiili, Commander of the Estonian Defence League, shares his insights on Russia. Join us to learn how energy, cyber, and information warfare are likely to factor into any potential future conflicts between Russia and the West. Read more

Flores on SOTU: The New American Congress Will Lead with a Bold, 21st Century Vision for America

January 20, 2015

Today, Republican Study Committee Chairman Bill Flores (R-TX), released the following statement in response to President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address:

“Once again, President Obama used his State of the Union address to push a big government agenda full of unaffordable tax-and-spend initiatives. His outdated, top-down approach is just a re-run of the same policies that have failed America’s hardworking families. Each time the president proposes a new government expansion as part of his liberal agenda, like ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank or cap-and-trade, he does so with promises that it will benefit the middle-class. We have seen firsthand, however, that these oppressive policies have hurt working Americans and families. It is time we put forth proven solutions that promote economic growth, more jobs and better paychecks, instead of growing the Washington bureaucracy.

“Last November, the American people made it clear that they are tired of the president putting the priorities of special interests and government bureaucrats ahead of hardworking families. They want the new American Congress to restrict the federal government back to its constitutional role, as our founders intended. The House has already introduced and passed solutions cut bureaucratic red tape and grow our economy from the bottom up. Meanwhile, the president continues to issue veto threats to thwart these common-sense solutions. It appears he is more interested in paying lip service to bipartisanship than practicing it.

“Looking beyond our economy, our country needs to deal with the instability that the president’s policies have caused internationally. We need to stop Iran’s nuclear program and we need to defeat radical Islamic terrorism wherever it exists. The new American Congress will aggressively address these threats by adopting Ronald Reagan’s ‘peace through strength’ approach to national security. The world is safer when America is strong; it is less safe when its president adopts a strategy of appeasement.

“As chairman of the Republican Study Committee, I will work tirelessly with my fellow Republican colleagues to get things done and deliver a new and fresh vision for a 21st century America. Unlike the president, we are focused on growing America’s economy instead of Washington’s; fixing Washington’s fiscal mess; restoring America’s strength, security and international respect; protecting American values; and restricting the federal government to its constitutional role and restoring accountability and trust. It is my hope that the president will work with us as we chart out a path to healthy economic growth and improved opportunities that will benefit all Americans.”

Read more

Tunisia’s Ongoing Political and Economic Transition: Challenges and Opportunities

January 17, 2015 January 14, 2015 marks the fourth year since Tunisia became the birthplace of the Arab Spring after Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his crony-dictatorship regime was moved from power. Today the political landscape across the Middle East and North Africa is vastly different than four years ago. Some countries, such as Morocco and Jordan are better off following significant democratic reforms, while Syria and Libya remain in perpetual violence and civil war. In the wake of successful parliamentary and presidential elections, the new year holds a new set of challenges for Tunisia and its newly elected leadership, most importantly tackling critical economic reforms and countering Islamist extremism. Tunisia’s continued commitment to a democratic transition has created a model for the region. Read more

Taxes and Entrepreneurship

January 16, 2015 Small and start-up enterprises account for most of the net new job creation in the United States and are the source of much of the dynamism in the economy. Taxes have a substantial negative impact on small and start-up business. Tax compliance costs and complexity impose a high and disproportionate burden on small firms. High marginal tax rates reduce the incentive to invest in risky enterprises and the overall tax burden starves businesses of the cash flow needed to grow and create jobs. Read more

Flores Names Republican Study Committee Staff

January 6, 2015

Today, Republican Study Committee Chairman Bill Flores (R-TX) named the Committee’s staff for the 114th Congress. Chairman Flores was elected to lead the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the caucus of House conservatives, in November 2014. 

“The Republican Study Committee is the most influential caucus in the House and will continue to be a fierce and vocal advocate for conservative values in the 114th Congress,” Chairman Flores said in a statement. “I am honored to be joined by staff that will fight wholeheartedly for the right policies to restore our nation’s economy, strengthen our national defense, defend our Constitution and protect America’s social values.”

Chairman Flores announced the following staff:

Will Dunham, Executive Director

Will Dunham will continue his role as the Republican Study Committee’s Executive Director under Chairman Flores. Before joining the RSC, Will served as Budget Analyst for Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), as a Staff Writer at The Heritage Foundation, and as a Research Assistant for Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn. 

Caitlin Carroll, Communications Director

Caitlin Carroll joins the RSC as Communications Director. Previously, Caitlin served as Press Secretary for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee under Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). Prior to coming to the Hill, she worked on Romney campaign and at CRC Public Relations.

Andrew Shaw, Policy Director

Andrew Shaw will start at the RSC as Policy Director beginning January 20th. Andrew is currently the Legislative Director for Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ). Previously, Andrew served as Legislative Assistant for Senator John Ensign (R-NV) and was an Analyst for the Congressional Budget Office.

Kelley Hudak, Director of Conservative Coalitions and State Outreach

Kelley Hudak will continue as the RSC’s Director of Conservative Coalitions and State Outreach. Kelley came to the RSC in 2013 from CRC Public Relations.

Jon Oehmen, Director of Business Outreach

John Oehmen joins the RSC as Director of Business Outreach. He will also continue his role as Legislative Director in Chairman Flores’ personal office.

Jessica Harrison, Director of Operations and Member Services

Jessica Harrison currently serves as Chairman Flores’ scheduler and will work with the RSC as Director of Operations and Member Services.

Rebekah Armstrong, Professional Policy Staff

Rebekah Armstrong will continue as a Professional Staff Member at the RSC under Chairman Flores, focusing on health care, education, labor and veterans affairs. Rebekah joined the RSC in October 2013.

Matthew Dickerson, Professional Policy Staff

Matthew Dickerson will continue as a Professional Staff Member at the RSC under Chairman Flores, focusing on appropriations, budget and transportation issues. Matt joined the RSC in February 2014.

Nicholas Rodman, Professional Policy Staff

Nicholas Rodman will continue as a Professional Staff Member at the RSC under Chairman Flores, focusing on defense, foreign affairs, energy, intelligence, homeland security, trade and agriculture. Nicholas joined the RSC in May 2014.

James Young, Research Assistant

James Young will continue as Research Assistant for the RSC under Chairman Flores. James joined the RSC in July 2014. 

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RSC Statement on President Obama's Unilateral Plan to Move on Immigration

November 20, 2014 (Washington, D.C.) – House Republican Study Committee Chairman Rob Woodall issued the following statement after the White House announced President Obama will bypass Congressional authority and take executive action to provide legal status and work permits to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants:

“President Obama’s unconstitutional plan to circumvent Congress and grant amnesty by unilateral executive order is unprecedented, and an insult to the American people who on Election Day rejected his policies and voted to change the way Washington functions. A majority of Americans oppose President Obama’s amnesty plan and want the White House to work together with the newly elected Congress to find solutions that secures our borders and reforms the process so that it actually works for those trying to do it the right way. Unfortunately, President Obama is securing his legacy of ignoring the Constitution by playing political games with immigration. House Republicans will use every tool available to stand up against this unconstitutional plan”

A recent survey found that three-quarters of voters want the President to work with Congress to change immigration policies, not act on his own.
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RSC Elects Flores New Chairman

November 18, 2014  (Washington, D.C.) – The House Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group of more than 170 House conservatives, today elected Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) as its new Chairman for the 114th Congress. Flores released the following statement upon his election as Chairman:

“I am humbled and honored to be elected by my fellow conservative colleagues to lead the Republican Study Committee for the 114th Congress. The RSC is a prolific organization in charge of advancing positive, conservative solutions to strengthen our country and improve opportunities for hardworking American families.

“It is my plan to lead the RSC as a member driven organization which puts forth positions developed through member participation and dialogue consistent with the RSC’s mission and the U.S. Constitution. It is important that we take full advantage of the RSC’s size, character and the passion of its members to advance our conservative agenda in order to restore America to the ‘shining city on a hill’ that Ronald Reagan envisioned.

“For the 114th Congress, the RSC will be the largest, most influential caucus in Congress. I look forward to leading the RSC as we continue to promote constitutionally limited government, an environment for more jobs and better paychecks, a strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, American energy security and American family values.”

Current RSC Chairman Rob Woodall (R-GA) commended the election of Flores:

“It’s my pleasure to congratulate my friend Bill Flores on his election as Chairman of the Republican Study Committee for the 114th Congress. He is a tireless public servant and advocate for the conservative principles we in the RSC share, and I’m confident he will be a fantastic Chairman.
  Read more

Woodall Statement on the Passing of RSC Co-Founder Former Congressman Phil Crane

November 12, 2014 (Washington, D.C.) - House Republican Study Committee Chairman Rob Woodall issued the following statement after the passing of RSC co-founder, former Illinois Congressman Phil Crane:

“We lost a great American with Congressman Phil Crane’s passing. A tireless advocate for the conservative principles of lower taxes, freedom, limited government and the free market economy, Phil’s influence on future generations of conservatives and his legacy in Congress will continue to be felt for many years to come. Phil was a pioneer who showed America that true conservative solutions strengthen the economy, our families and our nation. My thoughts and prayers go out to Phil’s family and friends, and I join my many colleagues honoring his leadership and celebrating his life.”

Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia and serves as Chairman of the Republican Study Committee.
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McMorris Rodgers Op-Ed: Why a Republican Senate could make a difference

September 25, 2014 Read the op-ed online here:

In homes all across America, working parents struggle to pay their bills at the end of the month. College graduates move back in with their parents because student loan debts are so high. Young families juggle two jobs just to afford their rising health care premiums.

These are the problems Americans face every single day, in every state across the country. As the heads of the Republican communications offices in the House and the Senate, it's our job to listen to these problems and share Republican solutions.

Our party has heard Americans' concerns, and that's why we've put forward hundreds of bills to help grow the economy, create jobs, expand opportunity and give American families hope for tomorrow. Our conversations with people back home, from the supermarket to the church pews to the doctor's office, have helped us develop legislative solutions that will make life better for Americans in every corner of this country.

The House Republican majority has passed one jobs bill after another -- bills like the Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act, which eliminates costly regulations for small and medium-size businesses, and which passed the House with the support of 36 Democrats.

The House passed the America's Small Business Tax Relief Act, which gives small businesses more certainty by making permanent the maximum expensing allowance at $500,000, and the measure passed with the support of 53 Democrats. And House Republicans advanced the bipartisan Hire More Heroes Act, which would help America's veterans get back to work by excluding them from Obamacare's employer mandate threshold and therefore incentivizing businesses to hire them, and that legislation passed the House with almost unanimous Democratic support.

And those are just the beginning.

Unfortunately, once these bills go to the Democrat-led Senate, their progress comes to an abrupt halt. Scores of jobs bills and other important legislation are currently gathering dust on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's desk.

The same thing has happened to Senate Republicans.

Senate Republicans have put forward numerous bills to help create jobs and opportunities and solve the challenges facing working families, but Reid has resolutely refused to allow any of them to come to the floor. And Senate Republicans have repeatedly been prevented from offering amendments to Democrat bills, including amendments that would have garnered bipartisan support, like an amendment to repeal Obamacare's burdensome medical device tax.

While the Democratic majority in Washington refuses to debate the challenges facing the American people, Republicans continue to introduce solutions. While Reid ties up the Senate with political gimmicks and boutique bills designed to appeal to Democrats' far-left base -- like this month's effort to erase the free speech clause of the First Amendment with a proposed constitutional amendment on campaign contributions that would have empowered incumbent politicians to suppress the speech of their constituents -- Republicans move forward pro-jobs, pro-growth legislation that will get Americans back to work.

While Democrats stand in the way of 21st-century solutions that will move our economy forward, Republicans continue to advance them.

The contrast between the two parties couldn't be more clear: Republicans are working to create jobs for Americans. Democrats are working to save their own.

American families can't afford to keep waiting for Senate Democrats to get their act together. Unemployment is high, and jobs and opportunities are few and far between. Obamacare has driven up health care premiums and significantly reduced health care choices for some Americans. Gas prices have risen by 84% since President Obama took office. And household income has fallen by about $2,600.

Right now, too many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, support their families, pay their premiums and get back to work. In fact, nearly one in three Americans says their financial situation has gotten worse in the past year. We want to make it better.

Americans need solutions. But as long as Reid continues to obstruct meaningful legislation in the Senate, they're not going to get them.

The American people should not have to endure another two-year solutions blockade from Senate Democrats.

The Senate needs a new majority with leaders who understand that they were elected to govern and who will work with the House to actually pass legislation to address America's challenges and provide the relief hard-working American families need: more jobs, increased take-home pay and more opportunities for advancement, expanded workplace flexibility, lower energy prices and real health care reform that will lower costs and put patients in charge.

It's our hope that when Congress reconvenes next year, there will be new leadership in the Senate. We need leaders who will create opportunities, not stand in the way of them. We're ready and waiting to get things done for the American people. We just need willing partners.
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Black Op-Ed: The governing party

August 13, 2014 Click here to read the op-ed online

On a recent edition of Meet the Press, host David Gregory asked his guest whether Republicans have given voters a reason to vote for them in the fall. He asked whether Republicans have demonstrated that they should control both Chambers of Congress and be “a governing party.”

With less than three months before voters head to the polls this is certainly an important question, and one that I believe my House Republican colleagues have answered. When it comes to addressing the most pressing issues facing the American people, the Republican-led House of Representatives has led the charge. For instance, while President Obama has recently boasted of a “booming” economy under his watch, Americans continue to feel great anxiety. In fact, 6 in 10 Americans say they are dissatisfied with the state of the economy and 7 in 10 believe our country is headed in the wrong direction.

Unlike President Obama, House Republicans have not lost touch with these very real economic concerns. That is why we have acted to pass dozens of sensible and bipartisan measures to help our economy grow and help Americans get back to work. In fact, there are currently 43 House passed jobs bills – most of which enjoy bipartisan support -- sitting in the Democrat-led Senate just waiting for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to schedule a vote. These include measures that would create jobs, lower energy prices for hard working Americans, and give relief to the predominantly female and lower income workers hurt by Obamacare, among other measures.

Our national debt is now over $17.6 trillion – that’s over $55,000 for each American man, woman and child. Yet Obama and Democrats in Washington refuse to get serious about our nation’s fiscal outlook. This year, Obama once again submitted a budget plan over a month late that failed to ever balance even though it called for massive tax increases on the American people. Senate Democrats fared even worse by failing to even introduce a budget plan, let alone pass one with a simple majority vote as required by law.

On the contrary, I was proud to help once again advance a responsible budget plan with Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and my colleagues on the House Budget Committee. The plan we introduced would bring our books to balance without needlessly harming our economy with painful tax increases like the ones Obama called for. House Republicans responsibly passed this budget plan this past April.

Most recently, and to answer David Gregory’s question on Meet the Press, only one party in Washington has acted to address the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children who have illegally crossed our southern border. While the Democrat-led Senate recessed for the summer without passing legislation to address this humanitarian crisis, the Republican controlled House of Representatives stayed in Washington and worked until a supplemental border appropriations bill was passed. This contrast has been consistent throughout the year, as House Republicans have worked to pass seven different bipartisan appropriations bills to fund government operations for the next year while Senate Democrats have passed none. This behavior by Senate Democrats is not how a governing majority should behave and virtually guarantees unnecessary brinksmanship when lawmakers return to work in September with just weeks before the current appropriations lapse.

The only party in Washington that is working to govern is the Republican Party, but unfortunately we only control one chamber of one branch of government. These upcoming elections can change that, giving Republicans control of the Senate and giving the American people the chance to see important, bipartisan measures advance through Congress. This will give Obama the opportunity to decide whether he wants to help us govern or to continue to play politics. On November 4th, let’s give the president the opportunity to make that decision.

Black has represented Tennessee's 6th Congressional District since 2011. She sits on the Budget and the Ways and Means Committees.

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Kelly Op-Ed: Pushing Back Against Obama's War on Coal

August 3, 2014

Click here to read the op-ed online.
 
A dozen states filed suit on Friday to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from enacting its "Clean Power Plan," new rules that will put many coal-fired power plants out of business. The filing came the same week the EPA held nation-wide public hearings about the plan—including in Pittsburgh, where thousands of coal workers turned out to register their unhappiness with the Obama administration's intentions.

Coal workers are upset because the White House-ordered regulatory scheme will badly damage the coal industry and cost Americans in higher electricity costs and lost jobs while doing little to fight climate change. It was good to see coal finally get a public hearing. The bad news is that President Obama and the EPA have already issued their guilty verdict and handed down the sentence.

Coal generates 40% of America's electricity—more than any other energy source. Its stable price and abundance insulates the U.S. economy from spikes in energy demand. Yet the EPA is proposing to destroy coal's benefits by imposing onerous emissions standards on all existing power plants, under the threat of crippling fines, which is certain to lead to plant closures.

The EPA's war on coal has troubling economic implications for every American and U.S. business. As the new regulations take effect, Americans could see their electric bills increase annually by more than 10%—$150 for the average consumer—by the end of the decade, according to the American Action Forum.

By keeping energy rates reliably low, coal helps give U.S. manufacturing its global edge against foreign competitors. On June 2 the National Association of Manufacturers warned that the EPA rule "could single-handedly eliminate this competitive advantage by removing reliable and abundant sources of energy from our nation's energy mix."

Coal also provides, directly and indirectly, hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country. In my state of Pennsylvania, more than 40,000 jobs are tied to coal production, including thousands of manufacturing jobs in factories powered by coal. Federal regulations have already forced two plants in my district to close over the past two years. The National Mining Association estimates that more than 300 plants will retire nationwide due to EPA rules over the next six years. When mines and plants shut down, manufacturing costs rise and employment plummets.

According to the Heritage Foundation, the result of the EPA's proposed rule "will be fewer jobs and less income for American families." A study by the foundation released in June predicts that the EPA's anti-coal crusade could terminate 600,000 American jobs by 2023 while dampening economic growth by more than $2 trillion.

What is the point of all this pain? China and India, not the United States, are the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide from coal. China alone has increased coal production by more than 24% since 2005, according to the Energy Information Administration, while the U.S. power sector's carbon emissions have declined by 15%. According to the National Mining Association, a coal plant built today emits 90% fewer emissions than a plant built in the 1970s. That's not clean enough for the EPA.

The New Republic puts it this way: "The goal of these regulations is not to stop global warming, but to prove to the international community that the U.S. is ready to pay additional costs to combat climate change." In other words, the Obama administration expects the American people to sacrifice for the sake of mere symbolism.

I recently introduced the Coal Country Protection Act (H.R. 4808) in the House of Representatives, a companion to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's legislation in the Senate. This bipartisan bill—co-sponsored by West Virginia Democrat Nick Rahall, among others—would halt new EPA regulation on power plants until there is a guarantee that there will be no loss of American jobs, no drop in gross domestic product, no higher electricity rates and no interruption in energy delivery.

In January 2008 as a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama promised that "electricity rates would necessarily sky-rocket" under his policies and boasted that "if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can—it's just that [it] will bankrupt them." He has shown as president that he intends to make good on that promise by eradicating coal from American life.

He used his first-year political capital to try to pass a cap-and-trade plan, but that legislation failed even in the Democratic Senate. Now he is leading the charge again through regulatory fiat. The Clean Power Plan must be stopped—not just for coal country, but the whole country.

Mr. Kelly is a Republican congressman from Pennsylvania.

 

 

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