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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Watch the 2014 Midterm Election Results, Live

The 2014 election is about Washington writ large: Obamacare, amnesty, runaway spending, and an ineffectual Congress. As each race is decided, we’ll talk about what caused the result and what we can learn.

Join us, starting in the early evening, as we see how these candidates, and their messages, perform down the stretch.

2014 Midterm Election Results Live Blog

11:56 PM

We’re wrapping up the live blog for the night. Between too-close-to-call, a recount, and a runoff, things are winding down.

Clearly Obamacare remains an important issue to voters — and the campaigns reflected that.  Not only did every single newly elected Republican Senator run on “repeal”, the ad war had a distinct anti-Obamacare flare.  The Republican majority — House in 2010 and Senate in 2014 — is built on repeal.

Incredibly, not one single newly elected Republican Senator ran in favor of comprehensive immigration reform and amnesty.  In fact, every candidate that made amnesty an issue, including 6 of the Republican pickups, ran a strong anti-amnesty campaign.  The U.S. Chamber spent millions supporting anti-amnesty candidates while the NRSC and Crossroads-affiliated groups ran anti-amnesty ads to help push Republicans across the finish line.

Conservatives carried the night. Now they must govern as they campaigned.

11:40 PM

Obamacare is deciding elections:

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11:33 PM

What we’re seeing:

Incredibly, not one single newly elected Republican Senator ran in favor of comprehensive immigration reform and amnesty.  In fact, every candidate that made amnesty an issue, including 6 of the Republican pickups (so far), ran a strong anti-amnesty campaign.  The U.S. Chamber spent millions supporting anti-amnesty candidates while the NRSC and Crossroads-affiliated groups ran anti-amnesty ads to help push Republicans across the finish line.

11:32 PM

What we’re seeing:

Outside of Washington, Obamacare remains an important issue to voters — and the campaigns reflected that.  Not only did every single newly elected Republican Senator run on “repeal”, the ad war had a distinct anti-Obamacare flare.  The Republican majority — House in 2010 and Senate in 2014 — is built on repeal.

11:30 PM

SHOCK!

GOP picks up 7th seat: Thom Tillis has won North Carolina’s closely watched Senate race.

Tillis hammered the Obamacare issue: “When [Hagan] cast the deciding vote for Obamacare, voted to kill the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs.”  Hagan tried to defend Obamacare.

11:25 PM

GOP PICKUP MAKES 51

Joni Ernst defeats Rep. Bruce Braley in hotly contested Iowa Senate race.

Obamacare was a major issue in Iowa.  In contrast to Braley who voted for and tried to defend Obamacare, Ernst advocated “immediate action to repeal Obamacare.”  She even used the Weekly Republican Address as an opportunity to hammer Obamacare and ran an ad that promised to “take aim” and “unload” on the law.

10:49 PM

Sen. Pat Roberts survives a strong challenge in Kansas.

Despite continued efforts to downplay the importance of Obamacare to the electorate, it was a major issue in Kansas.  Roberts continued to tout his opposition to Obamacare and his willingness to take action, noting he joined the Cruz-led “effort to defund the law.”

10:42 PM

Perdue Wins in Georgia

David Perdue defeated Michelle Nunn in Georgia, keeping the seat for Republicans.

Perdue hammered Nunn for “support[ing] amnesty” and pushing “open border policies.”  He did so time and time again while promising to, “once and for all, forget amnesty.”

10:34 PM

So-called ‘conservative Democrat’ Rep. John Barrow (D-GA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. John Barrow29%House Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard29% lost.

29% isn’t conservative.

09:56 PM

Rep. Cory Gardner has defeated Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado.

Despite continued efforts to downplay the importance of Obamacare to the electorate, it was a major issue in Colorado.  In announcing his surprise bid, Gardner declared “We will stop the government takeover of health care.”  He called Udall, who pressured insurance companies to hide 20,000+ cancellation notices, the “deciding vote” and promised to repeal Obamacare.

09:39 PM

Louisiana Heads to Runoff

The Louisiana Senate race between Bill Cassidy (R) and Mary Landrieu (D) will head to December 6th runoff.

If the runoff focuses on amnesty, Obamacare and an authentic conservative, reform-oriented agenda, conservatives should do well.

09:28 PM

Shaheen Survives in New Hampshire

Despite a strong challenge, Sen. Shaheen survives in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire nearly turned into the upset of the 2014 cycle.  Brown found success by running on conservative issues like Obamacare and no candidate ran harder on stopping Obama’s planned executive amnesty.  Although independent and undecided voters broke his way, Shaheen managed to hang on.

09:08 PM

Sasse Wins in Nebraska

Although the outcome was never in doubt, tonight’s victory by Ben Sasse in Nebraska is encouraging. He’ll be a force in Washington, pushing for real solutions to the problems plaguing hardworking Americans.

09:02 PM

First call from the 9pm states:

Peters Wins in Michigan

Rep. Gary Peters easy win in Michigan is an example of a missed opportunity.

Even worse than running a stale, anti-Obama campaign is running big-government solution. Land flipped on several issues and abandoned her anti-Obamacare push down the stretch.

08:59 PM

Another thought on the Arkansas Senate race:

COTTON

Another seven states close their polls at 9pm. We’ll keep you posted.

08:49 PM

08:36 PM

What was Cotton’s victory about? Obamacare.

Despite continued efforts to downplay the importance of Obamacare to the electorate, Cotton said it was the “single biggest issue” in the campaign.  While touting repeal Cotton also reminded voters that Pryor was the “deciding vote” for Obamacare.

08:31 PM

Rep. Tom Cotton has defeated Sen. Mark Pryor in Arkansas.

Pryor’s support for amnesty was a major issue in Arkansas.  Cotton said he “received more questions about immigration [while campaigning] than any other issue.”  He continually hammered Pryor as “out-of-touch with Arkansas” because he “voted for amnesty, citizenship for illegals.”

08:02 PM

Sessions Wins in Alabama
Although the outcome was never in doubt, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Jeff Sessions84%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard84% will return to the Senate. During his first three terms, he has been one of the strongest opponents of amnesty. Expect that fight to continue as Obama looks bypass Congress yet again!

07:54 PM

Closing a 8pm EST: Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Tennessee, Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Dakota. Several of those won’t have results for quite some time.

07:36 PM

07:21 PM

Polls close in North Carolina and West Virginia in about ten minutes, at 7:30pm.

07:15 PM

The growing Republican majority in the House isn’t easy to characterize, but most ran strongly against amnesty and strongly against Obamacare. It will be a more conservative House.

07:09 PM

It appears that the race for US Senate in Virginia is too close to call.

07:05 PM

South Carolina Senator Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Tim Scott85%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard85% wins election to a full term.

07:02 PM

McConnell Wins in Kentucky
Sen. Mitch McConnell survived a strong challenge in Kentucky, now poised to become Senate Majority Leader.

06:51 PM

In ten minutes, polls close in Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia.

 

Heritage Action Staff Rapid Reaction

The Heritage Action team works across the country for conservative accountability. Read their rapid reaction to the 2014 midterm election on Twitter:

What do you think about the election results? Join the discussion in the comments section below.

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Obama Confused

Is President Obama Planning Unilateral Action on Amnesty?

In the spring of 2013, the Senate passed the “Gang of 8” amnesty bill (S. 744), which created a framework to legalize the estimated 11 million people currently living in the country unlawfully. House Republicans wisely recognized the bill for what it was—a comprehensive amnesty package—and refused to act on it. In spite of congressional inaction, President Obama has attempted a variety of unilateral maneuvers to ignore current immigration laws.

Is President Obama planning unilateral action on amnesty?

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Internet Keyboard Lock

Pass the Internet tax moratorium and oppose Internet sales tax

Americans from all sectors of society use the Internet for social and economic reasons. Many use it as a means of climbing the economic ladder. That’s why every American has a vested interest in the debate in Washington over the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) and the Internet sales tax (IST).

ITFA, a moratorium on discriminatory state and local taxes on the Internet (i.e. “email taxes”), is something Americans on both sides of the aisle and opposite ends of the political spectrum support.

Some lawmakers are trying to hold the moratorium hostage until they can attach to it a very unpopular tax on Internet sales, the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA). The MFA would allow states to require out-of-state retailers to collect and remit their sales taxes, regardless of whether they have a physical presence in the state.

Before ITFA’s passage in 1998, 10 states had imposed taxes on Internet usage. Over the past 16 years, Congress has renewed the moratorium four times, most recently in 2007, which means the moratorium is constantly under threat of not being continued should revenue-hungry lawmakers get their way. This year, the House passed a bill by unanimous voice vote extending the moratorium indefinitely, but the Senate failed to do the same, instead extending ITFA only until Dec. 11, 2014.

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Rally on Capitol Mall

The Importance of Persistent Activism

“I call, write, and email my members of Congress all the time and I never get a real answer from the staff or intern who answers the phone.  I don’t see the point in contacting them and wasting my time. I feel like because I never get an answer, my voice is never heard.”

Does this sound familiar?

It is important to know that regardless of whether a staff member gives you a definitive answer, your ideas and concerns are being heard.

Here is what typically happens when you call a Congressional office.

The staff member will answer the phone and take note of your concern. Pithy, fact-based inquires about where your representative stands will always go further than yelling or resorting to abusive comments. If the staff member reveals very little information on where the representative stands on an issue, do not lose hope. Your voice has been heard.

Throughout the day, a staff member will receive hundreds of calls and emails on a variety of topics.  Staffs update and maintain a quick tally on the most talked about issues.  Depending on the quantity of those constituent interactions, the member of Congress, Chief of Staff, or Legislative Director will identify concerns that are also most important to a district.  If a certain issue reaches a particularly high volume of call-ins, a member will have no choice but to defend his or her position and issue a response.

Now you might be saying, “Well I track their actions in Congress, contact them on issues that they will be voting on, and still I receive no answer.”  This means more inquires about these issues are needed.  New names and addresses flowing into their offices raises the level of concern for those members. The staff will assume constituents are becoming increasingly educated on these issues and that the grassroots in their district is organized and motivated. When members lack control over the narrative in their district, they know the status quo has been threatened.

All jobs require persistence and dedication to achieve a successful outcome. Congressional accountability is no different. Calling, emailing, writing – these are all critical in the fight for lasting accountability.

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