Fast Facts: PATH Act

Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners (PATH) Act

  • Voted out of the House Financial Services Committee
  • Ends the dominance that the federal government has on the housing finance system by dissolving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Ends the taxpayer subsidies of Fannie and Freddie by phasing out their failed taxpayer-backed business model over a five-year transition period.
  • Returns the Federal Housing Administration to its traditional mission: serving first-time homebuyers and those with low and moderate incomes and ensuring it will be able to insure loans to any qualified borrow-ers if ever faced with another economic crisis.
  • Removes regulatory barriers to private capital to attract investment and encourage innovation.

Heritage Research

Support From Others

  • Wall Street Journal Editorial: “Hensarling unveiled legislation to close down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, add much-needed discipline to the Federal Housing Administration, and clear away regulatory barriers to more private housing capital.” Editorial, “Housing Reform Breakout,” The Wall Street Journal, July13, 2013, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324425204578597883614289330.
  • PATH Act is supported by Freedom Works, the National Taxpayers Union, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, and Heritage Action.

You can read more about Heritage Action’s policy plan by downloading the Heritage and heritage Action book:  “Opportunity for All and Favoritism to None”. 

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Fast Facts: RAISE Act

The RAISE Act (Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees Act)

No governing agenda would be complete without addressing hardworking Americans’ need for more take homepay. That is especially important today, as the Great Recession, as well as rapidly advancing technology, has resulted in serious, continuing challenges for American workers.

While many conditions are beyond the government’s (or anyone’s) control, the fact is the government today artificially inflates the problems facing working Americans with misguided rules, regulations, and policies that make it harder than necessary for workers to thrive.

The RAISE Act would address one of these barriers. Currently, federal labor law supports union efforts to create wage ceilings on union members. As a result, unionized workplaces are often not allowed to give productive employees pay raises without re-opening negotiations with union bosses. This means that no matter how hard an employee works, he or she faces unnecessary barriers to getting a raise, even when his or her employer would like to reward that hard work with a raise. And this is not a simple matter of contract law between two private parties – this is an artificial concept explicitly supported by federal law.

The RAISE Act would fix this flaw in federal statute. It would allow employers to give their employees raises even if their union contract discourages it. Workers who work hard and provide value to their employers should be able to receive a raise; and the government should stop standing in their way.

Key Heritage Research

You can read more about Heritage Action’s policy plan by downloading the Heritage and heritage Action book:  “Opportunity for All and Favoritism to None”. 

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Mike Needham on the future of the Tea Party and Republican Establishment

This month, Mike Needham wrote an article for National Affairs on the growing tension between the Tea Party groups and the Republican establishment entitled “Building a Real Reform Mandate”.

The excerpt below summarizes the conservative hope for Congress in 2015.

Aiming High

Unified Republican control of the Congress now presents an opportunity for a reset, perhaps making possible a fresh start for collaboration between the grassroots and the Republican leadership that has long been reluctant to govern from one house of Congress.

Having faced years of charges of obstructionism, Republican leaders are no doubt anxious to demonstrate to the American people their competence for governing. They will have opportunities to do so early in the next Congress by generating bipartisan coalitions on consensus issues like approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, potentially sending legislation to the president’s desk for signature.

They must, however, keep in mind that conservatives expect more than bill signings, particularly ones that primarily serve the interests of the business community. We got plenty of those in 2009 and 2010. The biggest problem facing the American people isn’t gridlock in Washington; it’s stagnation in America — slow growth in wages, poor economic mobility, weakening social cohesion, a high cost of living exacerbated by government distortions of crucial markets. The Republican Party’s primary concern must be advancing policies that change these trends and, to the extent that the policies of the Obama Administration are to blame, turning the page on the last six years.

The president and his party will naturally be reluctant partners at best in such a project, and Republicans therefore must conceive of their most important efforts as designed to operate around them. The prospect of enacting legislation, tantalizing as it may be, will be more of a distraction for the remainder of the Obama presidency than a tangible goal.

Winning the Senate should not cause the GOP to trim its own sails to accommodate the realities of the upper chamber. The budget reconciliation process allows conservatives an opportunity to bring legislation on an issue of maximum contrast like Obamacare to the president’s desk with 51 Senate votes. Meanwhile, conservatives maintain the power to advance a broader policy agenda without concessions to the left by passing bills and resolutions through the House alone with simple majorities.

This mechanism for internal consensus-building and platform development led in 2011 to the party’s embrace of premium support for Medicare. The House should continue this pattern in 2015 with an optimistic agenda addressing the real concerns of working-class Americans: the price and quality of health care; the state of our school system and the affordability of appropriate higher-education opportunities; unaffordable prices for food, gas, and housing; and the availability of well-paid jobs.

We know a Republican Senate would at least take up the pieces of this agenda if received from the House — an important departure from years past. The gridlock ensuing from a Democratic filibuster, while not ideal, would still provide opportunities to educate and persuade the nation of the merits of our vision — though only if the party offers a reasonably unified front championing solidly conservative legislation.

Through it all, the Tea Party can be an asset to conservative lawmakers committed to using their platform to articulate a reform agenda. As Democrats saw at their 2010 town halls, these activists can be a force to be reckoned with when turned on a recalcitrant left — as would ideally be the case in the event of Democratic filibustering of popular House-passed measures. But the Tea Party can devote its efforts to such tasks only if the Republican Party is discharging its own duties appropriately. Otherwise, it will continue to serve as a pressure mechanism on the right, demanding that conservative legislation be brought to the floor in each chamber, criticizing deal-making that undermines conservative priorities, and holding risk-averse Republicans accountable for squandering opportunities for productive interparty conflict.

Visit the National Affairs website to view the full article.

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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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Capitol Building at Night, Washington DC

Obama’s Amnesty: How They Voted vs. What They Said

Saturday night, the Senate voted on a constitutional point of order raised by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Ted Cruz95%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard95%.  Heritage Action’s chief executive officer Michael A. Needham explained the vote this way:

“If Senators are opposed to President Obama’s executive action on immigration, they should vote in favor of Sen. Cruz’s constitutional point of order.  A vote against the point of order is a vote in favor of unchecked presidential power and granting work permits and Social Security numbers to people who are in the country illegally.”

While 22 Republican Senators voted to uphold the constitutional point of order, 20 Republican Senators joined with 54 Democrats in voting against the point of order.  Three Republicans and one Democrat did not vote.

The sharply divided vote came as a surprise.  Though some Republican Senators are pro-amnesty, they have all spoken out against President Obama for overstepping his constitutional authority, including those that voted against the point of order.   Their statements, made just three weeks ago, are below. 

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