town hall

Recess Accountability: Townhalls

Conservative accountability goes beyond casting a vote. Building a society in which freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and the civil society flourish requires a sustained effort.  That is why we have compiled a non-exhaustive list of upcoming townhalls, all of which provide excellent opportunities to discuss important issues with members of Congress.

Make sure to visit the Heritage Action Dashboard and check with the local district offices prior to attending your local meeting.

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Obama Confused

Obama’s Sneakiest Syria Maneuver

The Washington Post headline said it all: Congress may pass Obama’s Syria proposal — without technically voting on it.

The Post explained:

“[I]n their bid to win support for the Syrian rebel training, White House officials have asked congressional leaders to include the measure on a temporary government funding bill … In other words: Under the scenario that Obama favors, there is no standalone vote on the Syria proposal itself — it would just be written into the bigger bill.”

Even Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Brad Sherman6%House Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard6%, an enthusiastic supporter of the President’s overall Syria strategy, called the legislative process outlined above the “sneakiest of all maneuvers.”

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ObamaExIm3

Ex-Im: Little More Than A Fund for Corporate Welfare

Let’s be honest. President Obama isn’t exactly known for being straight-forward about his policies.

So it might not be a surprise to you that he changed his mind on the Export-Import Bank. Despite calling the cronyist institution “little more than a fund for corporate welfare” during his presidential campaign in 2008, Obama has spent his time in the White House doing the bank’s bidding. Recently, in one of his weekly addresses, the President specifically called for Ex-Im’s reauthorization.

Touting misinformation about job creation and helping the economy, he sought to pressure Congress to reauthorize the bank. The President even said it was just the status quo in Washington to reauthorize the bank and “this time shouldn’t be any different.”

At Heritage Action, we are not satisfied with Washington’s status quo, which is why we are fighting to end the Export-Import Bank.

When we saw Obama’s abrupt about-turn on Ex-Im, we knew that we needed to bring it to the forefront of the fight to end the Bank. That’s why we made this video to drive calls into congressional offices and help activists with their messaging.

As the video says, Obama is now using phony job creation numbers to crutch Ex-Im. We know that Ex-Im has no discernible impact on the number of jobs in America. What Ex-Im does do for the American economy is pick winners and losers, inviting cronyism and corruption, and distorting the free market.

The Export-Import Bank should not be reauthorized. Call Congress now and tell your Representative to oppose any bill that reauthorizes Ex-Im.

Make the Call Now

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Obama’s Plan to Tax the Internet

One of Washington’s well-known tricks is to set up unpopular legislation for lame duck passage. The continuing resolution (H.R. Res. 124) released on Tuesday night seems to set up another such violation of the will of the people.

While much of the attention surrounding the CR has rightly focused on the Export-Import Bank, the funding bill quietly tilts the scales on the debate over the internet sales tax. The CR contains just a 2-month extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA), which prevents states and localities from imposing taxes on internet access (sometimes called “email taxes”). This places the expiration of ITFA right in the middle of a lame duck session.

ITFA has enjoyed widespread support since it was first enacted in 1998. In fact, the House recently passed a bill, H.R. 3086, making the moratorium permanent, by a simple voice vote. The companion bill is sponsored and championed in the Senate by none other than the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Ron Wyden4%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard4%.

Despite this clear mandate for a permanent extension, pro-internet sales tax members of the Senate are holding a permanent solution hostage to try to jam through their unpopular tax on internet sales, ironically known as the Marketplace Fairness Act. Sensing that the time was not quite right to try their internet sales tax gambit in weeks before an important national election, the members engaged in a strategic retreat on the issue, calculating that their best chance of passing their plan would be with a short-term extension of ITFA that pushed the issue into the lame duck.

The CR that could be voted on as soon as Thursday plays right into the hands of the pro-internet sales tax crowd. Instead of demanding Senate action on the House’s permanent ITFA extension (and holding the hostage-takers accountable if Americans’ internet bills went up in October), the CR lets the pro-internet sales tax crowd off the hook, releases them from their political bind, and sets them up nicely for their ultimate goal.  All this despite the fact that their position is unpopular and would not win out in the court of public opinion.

And just how unpopular is the internet sales tax? Just 35% of Americans say they favor the idea. Two-thirds of self-identified Republicans and conservatives oppose the measure, and independents are not far behind, opposing by a 56%-37% margin. Even the majority of self-described Democrats oppose the internet sales tax.  And, far from being an uninformed opinion, the polls swing less favorably when respondents are given more specific descriptions of the internet sales tax legislation being promoted in Congress.

That the internet sales tax is unpopular is clear. It is also bad policy, effectively increasing Americans’ taxes and violating principles of federalism, government taxing power, tax competition, and regulation without representation. There is no excuse for Congress intentionally punting on the issue to a time when the American people’s ability to hold their representatives accountable is lowest.

The internet sales tax cannot withstand public scrutiny. It can only be pursued in a lame duck Congress. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what looks likely if the current CR is passed into law.

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CallEndExImTwitter

Ex-Im: Use Twitter and Facebook to Spread the Word

Over the summer, conservatives ignited a national movement against the Export-Import Bank. This poster child for cronyism is now battling for its survival. But just as Americans across the country rose up to demand an end to Ex-Im, Congress, at the behest of the White House, is preparing to extend its expiring charter.

Use Twitter and Facebook to spread the word.

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