Senate BCRA Activist Toolkit

Before the August recess, the Senate failed to pass a “skinny repeal” of Obamacare. The bill was not a meaningful repeal, but rather a legislative vehicle that would have allowed the House and Senate to go to a conference committee to negotiate a stronger bill — ideally including reforms to let states opt out of Obamacare’s costly regulations. Moderate Republican Senators refused to support that bill despite promises on the campaign trail over the last seven years.

Rather than fighting for their campaign promises, moderate Republicans are now signaling they are ready to work with liberals to bail out the broken law. Conservatives cannot allow this. Even before the vote failed, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) suggested hearings to explore “stabilizing the individual market.”  Continuing illegal bailouts to prop up insurance companies’ losses does nothing to solve the underlying problems of Obamacare and work toward patient-centered affordable health care. We need to apply pressure to your senators to publicly oppose any bail out of Obamacare. 

Any effort at bipartisan stabilization will all but guarantee the status quo of rising premiums and declining choice. Simply throwing more taxpayer dollars at the problem will not solve it.

Congress should oppose any attempt to bail out Obamacare and instead go back to the table and continue to negotiate a bill that actually repeals and replaces Obamacare.

Since the Senate can’t garner enough votes to bring relief to the millions suffering under Obamacare, it’s time Congress subject itself to the full brunt of the law. Back in 2013, the Obama administration’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) exempted members of Congress and their staff from the full burden of Obamacare by letting them enroll in the small-business health care exchange and receive taxpayer subsidized plans.

President Trump can unilaterally undo Obama’s unconstitutional exemption, requiring members of Congress to live under the laws they pass. Facing the reality of double digit premium increases, like millions of Americans on the individual market, Congress may feel pressure to come back to the negotiating table and follow through on years of promises to finally repeal Obamacare.

To learn more read the full Sentinel brief available here.

Name Phone Number Twitter
Cotton (R-AR) (202) 224-2353 @SenTomCotton
Cruz (R-TX) (202) 224-5922 @SenTedCruz
Johnson (R-WI) (202) 224-5323 @SenRonJohnson
Lee (R-UT) (202) 224-5444 @SenMikeLee
Paul (R-KY) (202) 224-4343 @RandPaul
Sasse (R-NE) (202) 224-4224 @SenSasse
Toomey (R-PA) (202) 224-4254 @SenToomey
Barrasso (R-WY) (202) 224-6441 @SenJohnBarrasso
Corker (R-TN) (202) 224-3344 @SenBobCorker
Fischer (R-NE) (202) 224-6551 @SenatorFischer
Flake (R-AZ) (202) 224-4521 @JeffFlake
Hatch (R-UT) (202) 224-5251 @senorrinhatch
Wicker (R-MS) (202) 224-6253 @SenatorWicker
Capito (R-WV) (202) 224-6472 @SenCapito
Heller (R-NV) (202) 224-6244 @SenDeanHeller
Gardner (R-CO) (202) 224-5941 @SenCoryGardner
Murkowski (R-AK) (202) 224-6665 @lisamurkowski
Portman (R-OH) (202) 224-3353 @senrobportman
Sullivan (R-AK) (202) 224-3004 @SenDanSullivan
Boozman (R-AR) (202) 224-4843 @JohnBoozman
Cassidy (R-LA) (202) 224-5824 @BillCassidy
Daines (R-MT) (202) 224-2651 @SteveDaines
Hoeven (R-ND) (202) 224-2551 @SenJohnHoeven
Kennedy (R-LA) (202) 224-4623 @SenJohnKennedy
McCain (R-AZ) (202) 224-2235 @SenJohnMcCain
McConnell (R-KY) (202) 224-2541 @SenateMajLdr
Alexander (R-TN) (202) 224-4944 @SenAlexander
Young (R-IN) (202) 224-5623 @SenToddYoung
Burr (R-NC) (202) 224-3154 @SenatorBurr
Tillis (R-NC) (202) 224-6342 @SenThomTillis

(Make sure to insert the twitter handle of your Senator)

Click to tweet: President Trump is right – Congress should live under the laws they pass. #NoExemptions #NoBailouts

Click to tweet: @MEMBER bailouts are not the next step, keep your promise to repeal and replace #Obamacare.

Click to tweet: Congress shouldn’t get special treatment and avoid the impact of #Obamacare. #NoExemptions

Click to tweet: Congress should live under the same laws it imposes on the American people. End the illegal #Obamacare exemption

Click to tweet: @MEMBER, propping up Obamacare betrays years of promises to the American people, don’t support bailouts.

Click to tweet: When Congress says “stabilizing the market,” they mean propping up Obamacare’s failures #NoBailouts

Click to tweet: GOP broke 7 years of promises. The solution is not to bailout a failed law. #NoBailout

These are notes to use when calling your member of Congress. You can find their phone number on the Heritage Action Dashboard.

Hi, I’m [NAME] from [STATE].

Republicans campaigned for seven years to repeal and replace Obamacare. After the Senate failed to move the process to repeal this law forward,[Member/Senator] should not support any effort to put Obamacare on life support by bailing out insurance companies.

Obamacare continues to drive up premiums and decrease choice. Propping up a fundamentally unworkable law with even more taxpayer money and regulations will not provide Americans with relief.

President Trump is right to say that both insurers and Members of Congress shouldn’t be shielded from Obamacare’s failures.Please tell the [Member/Senator] to keep the promise you made over the past few years to repeal Obamacare and enact free-market reforms, not prop up the law through taxpayer bailouts.

Below is a sample letter to the editor. We encourage you to adapt and personalize it. Heritage Action Regional Coordinators are always here to help edit your letter and get it published.

LTE: Senator X – Bailing out Obamacare is not the solution

Before the August recess the Senate failed to follow through on years of campaign promises to to repeal and replace Obamacare. The GOP’s failure to provide relief for the American people suffering from rising premiums and the collapsing health care exchanges is no excuse to walk away from the negotiating table and bail out Obamacare.

Moderate Republican Senators want to begin bipartisan hearings to “stabilize the individual market.”  Working with liberals to throw more money at a broken law and perpetuate big government health care policy is an unacceptable betrayal of the American people.

SENATOR X, continuing these illegal bailouts to prop up insurance companies’ losses does nothing to solve the underlying problems of Obamacare and work toward free-market, patient-centered health care.

STATE has been waiting for Obamacare repeal for seven years. If SENATOR X wants to put failed law on life support, then President Trump is right to say Congress should live under the laws it passes. Ending the congressional exemption from Obamacare, which would ensure members and their staff know the full brunt of this laws consequences, should bring members back to table to finally repeal this law.

SENATOR X, it’s up to you to oppose any bailouts of Obamacare and instead support repealing it’s taxes, rolling back the Medicaid expansion and empowering states through deregulation. You promised a repeal, not a bailout, and it’s time to get it done.

 

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Welfare Reform: Work Requirements for Food Stamps

Background: First created in the late 1930s as the Food Stamp Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal aid program that provides food-purchasing assistance for low-income families and individuals. SNAP is the second largest mean-tested welfare program in the U.S., providing more than 45 million individuals with food-assistance at a cost of $83.1 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2014 alone.

Problem: Welfare programs, including food stamps, should be temporary, limited in size and scope, and assist those truly in need. But over the past two decades the program has grown out-of-control, both in cost and in the number of individuals receiving benefits. The number of food stamp recipients has increased from around 17 million in 2000 to more than 45 million in 2015, all while costs have risen from $20.7 billion to more than $83 billion during that same time frame.

The goal of any welfare program should be to increase self-sufficiency by helping individuals find a job, provide for their family, and escape the cycle of poverty. As President Ronald Reagan so elegantly put it:

“Welfare needs a purpose: to provide for the needy, of course, but more than that, to salvage these, our fellow citizens, to make them self-sustaining and, as quickly as possible, independent of welfare. We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.”

If we accept how President Reagan defines welfare success, the food stamp program has clearly failed. Perhaps most concerning is the number of able-bodied Americans without children who are now hooked on the program. Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow in Domestic Policy Studies in the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at the Heritage Foundation, and Rachel Sheffield highlight this concern in their 2016 paper Setting Priorities for Welfare Reform:

“In recent years, the most rapidly growing group of food stamp recipients has been able-bodied adults without dependents. ABAWDs are adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who are not disabled and who have no children to support. In 2014, nearly five million ABAWDs received food stamps each month; few are employed. ABAWDs who receive food stamps should be required to work, prepare for work, or look for work in exchange for receiving benefits.”

Solution: In 1996, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which became popularly known as “welfare reform,” into law. The legislation transformed the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) into Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a program intended to provide temporary financial assistance to low-income families while encouraging work and self-sufficiency.

Most significantly, the 1996 welfare reform included mandatory federal work requirements, stipulating that welfare recipients must be engaged in work or some type of work activity in order to receive TANF benefits. These reforms were popular and successful as welfare caseloads dropped “by over 50 percent, employment of the least-skilled single mothers surged, and the poverty rates of black children and single-parent families dropped rapidly to historic lows.”

Legislative Solution: Congress should build on the success of the 1996 welfare reform by applying similar principles involving work requirements to SNAP. At a minimum, Congress should enact work requirements for ABAWDs as a condition to receive food stamp benefits. Rep. Garret Graves’ (R-LA) recently introduced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 2996) that would do just that.

This legislation would help reduce poverty and government dependency, increase self-sufficiency, and restore families by strengthening the effective and popular work requirements. An overwhelming 90 percent of Americans agree that able-bodied adults receiving means-tested welfare assistance should be required to work or prepare for work. This reform was included in both President Trump’s FY2018 budget request as well as the House GOP’s FY2017 budget, and it has been implemented in Maine, Kansas, and Alabama with great success.

Call to Action: Heritage Action has endorsed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 and urges Sentinels to contact their members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the bill. If passed and signed into law, this legislation would encourage millions of Americans to get back to work, help end the cycle of poverty for individuals dependent on government assistance, and save taxpayers billions of dollars.

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Heritage Action Supports Rep. Garret Graves’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017

This week, Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) introduced the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 2996). This legislation would help reduce poverty and government dependency, increase self-sufficiency, and restore families by strengthening the effective and popular work requirements for all “able-bodied adults without dependents” (ABAWDs) who receive food stamps from SNAP.  

In 1996, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which became popularly known as “welfare reform,” into law. The legislation transformed the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) into Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a program intended to provide temporary financial assistance to low-income families while encouraging work and self-sufficiency.

Most significantly, the 1996 welfare reform included mandatory federal work requirements, stipulating that welfare recipients must be engaged in work or some type of work activity in order to receive TANF benefits. These reforms were popular and successful as welfare caseloads dropped “by over 50 percent, employment of the least-skilled single mothers surged, and the poverty rates of black children and single-parent families dropped rapidly to historic lows.”

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 builds on the success of the 1996 welfare reform by applying similar principles involving work requirements to SNAP – a welfare program that has grown out-of-control in recent years, both in cost and in the number of recipients. From 2000 to 2015, food stamp recipients increased by more than 28 million and cost the government $83.1 billion in FY 2014 alone.

According to Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow in Domestic Policy Studies in the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at the Heritage Foundation, and Rachel Sheffield’s paper Setting Priorities for Welfare Reform:

“The food stamp program is the second largest means-tested welfare program. In 2014, government spent $83.1 billion on the program. In recent years, the most rapidly growing group of food stamp recipients has been able-bodied adults without dependents. ABAWDs are adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who are not disabled and who have no children to support. In 2014, nearly five million ABAWDs received food stamps each month; few are employed.”

Congress must consider common-sense reform to SNAP in order to rein in its unsustainable growth. Requiring able-bodied adults without dependents to work as a condition for food stamp benefits is a sensible, effective policy that should receive broad bipartisan support. An overwhelming 90 percent of Americans agree that able-bodied adults receiving means-tested welfare assistance should be required to work or prepare for work. This reform was included in both President Trump’s FY 2018 budget request as well as the House GOP’s FY 2017 budget, and it has been implemented in Maine, Kansas, and Alabama with great success.

Rector and Sheffield continue:

“ABAWDs who receive food stamps should be required to work, prepare for work, or look for work in exchange for receiving benefits. In FY 2014, Maine implemented a work requirement for ABAWDs. After the implementation of the work requirement, Maine’s ABAWD caseload dropped substantially, by 80 percent within just a few months. If a federal work requirement for ABAWDs were enacted and achieved the same level of success as was achieved in Maine, the reform could save taxpayers up to $9.7 billion annually.”

If passed and signed into law, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 would encourage millions of Americans to get back to work, help end the cycle of poverty for millions dependent on government assistance, and save taxpayers billions of dollars over the next decade.       

***Heritage Action supports the legislation, encourages Representatives and Senators to support it, and reserves the right to key vote in the future.***

 

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ENLIST Act Activist Toolkit

The ENLIST Act (H.R. 60) would permit certain illegal immigrants to serve in the military and grant them near-instant citizenship. Some members of Congress are pushing the radical idea of granting  illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors — known as DREAMers —  a path to instant citizenship by suggesting it is good for our military.

Make no mistake, this doesn’t help our military preparedness. It is a scheme to normalize amnesty for illegal immigration and essentially codify Obama’s unlawful executive amnesty.  

By allowing illegal immigrants to sign up for the armed forces, the government is granting them, a) pardon for violating the law, b) full military benefits, c) lawful permanent resident status in the U.S., and d) a back-door promise of instant citizenship. If enacted, this policy would provide citizenship within a few months to unlawful immigrant children of every foreign nation.

The purpose of this bill is NOT to help gain more recruits to the military, but to keep alive Obama-era policies that give certain unlawful immigrants an instant green card.

Introduced by Jeff Denham (R-CA-10), the bill has more than 200 co-sponsors, including 100 House Republicans. The legislation is gaining momentum with co-sponsors and may be added to the must-pass NDAA later this year.

Conservative activists must rise up and demand conservative lawmakers remove their name from the co-sponsor list to slow down the bill’s momentum.

Key Talking Points:

  • The ENLIST Act undermines the military by unnecessarily dragging the entire immigration debate into U.S. military policy.
  • By allowing unlawful immigrants to sign up for the armed forces, the government is granting them a pardon for violating the law, the full battery of military benefits, lawful permanent resident status in the U.S., and a back-door promise of instant citizenship.
  • The ENLIST Act further damages our broken immigration system by putting those who violated the law ahead of those who want to come to the U.S. legally.  

The ENLIST Act is a way to keep the Obama Administration’s policies alive by offering a path for amnesty to the estimated 1.7 million unlawful minors who are currently in legal limbo.

Top Priority Members

Name District Twitter Handle DC Office Phone #
Jim Banks IN03 @RepJimBanks 202-225-4436
Jody Hice GA10 @CongressmenHice 202-225-4101
Alexander Mooney WV02 @RepAlexMooney 202-225-2711
Steve Pearce NM02 @RepStevePearce 202-225-2365
Ted Yoho FL03 @RepTedYoho 202-225-5744
Tom Garrett VA05 @Rep_Tom_Garrett 202-225-4711
Morgan Griffith VA09 @RepMGriffith 202-225-3861
David Schweikert AZ06 @RepDavid 202-225-2190
Mike Gallagher WI08 @RepGallagher 202-225-5665
Scott Tipton CO03 @RepTipton 202-225-4761

Priority Members

Name District Twitter Handle DC Office Phone #
Jimmy Duncan TN02 @RepJohnDuncanJr 202-225-5435
Bill Huizenga MI02 @RepHuizenga 202-225-4401
Jason Lewis MN02 @RepJasonLewis 202-225-2271
Mia Love UT04 @RepMiaLove 202-225-3011
Andy Barr KY06 @RepAndyBarr 202-225-4706
Rob Bishop UT01 @RepRobBishop 202-225-0453
Trey Gowdy SC04 @TGowdySC 202-225-6030
Clay Higgins LA03 @RepClayHiggins 202-225-2031
Ted Poe TX02 @JudgeTedPoe 202-225-6565
Jason Smith MO08 @RepJasonSmith 202-225-4404
Joe Barton TX06 @RepJoeBarton 202-225-2002
Lloyd Smucker PA16 @RepSmucker 202-225-2411

 

(Make sure to insert the twitter handle of your Senator)

General Tweets:

Click to tweet: The #ENLISTAct is not immigration reform and doesn’t help our military preparedness.

Click to tweet: The #ENLISTAct keeps alive Obama Admin policies that give unlawful immigrants an instant green card & promises near-instant citizenship

Click to tweet: The #ENLISTAct is a scheme to normalize amnesty for illegal immigration and essentially codify Obama’s unlawful executive amnesty.

If your member is a co-sponsor:

Click to tweet: @REPNAME the #ENLISTAct gives unlawful immigrants a near-instant  citizenship. Remove your name as a co-sponsor!

Click to tweet: The purpose of the #ENLISTAct is NOT to help gain more recruits to the military, but backdoor Amnesty. @REPNAME remove your co-sponsor

Click to tweet: The #ENLISTAct essentially codify Obama’s unlawful executive amnesty. Remove your name as a co-sponsor @REPNAME

Click to tweet: @REPNAME remove your name as co-sponsor on the #ENLISTAct today!

These are notes to use when calling your member of Congress. You can find their phone number on the Heritage Action Dashboard.

Hi, I’m [NAME] from [District].

The House of Representatives is considering a bill to give illegal immigrants amnesty if they join the military. Rep. Jeff Denham’s (R-CA) Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training (ENLIST) Act (H.R. 60) would allow certain illegal immigrants to receive lawful permanent resident status in exchange for military service.

The ENLIST Act does nothing to advance U.S. national security objectives. In fact, this bill undermines the military by unnecessarily dragging the entire immigration debate into U.S. military policy.

In addition, the ENLIST Act further damages our broken immigration system by putting those who violated the law ahead of those who want to come to the U.S. legally.

Please oppose the ENLIST Act.

Below is a sample letter to the editor. We encourage you to adapt and personalize it. Heritage Action Regional Coordinators are always here to help edit your letter and get it published.

Congressman X, Oppose Military Amnesty

Congressman [X] currently supports a bill named the Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training (ENLIST) Act (H.R. 60). On the surface this bill seems like a harmless idea; the U.S. military receives more troops and those who recently immigrated to our country become eligible to serve.

Proponents of this bill argue that both the military and our immigration system benefit from this legislation, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  

The ENLIST Act would allow illegal immigrants to receive lawful permanent resident status in exchange for military service, aka, military amnesty.

The legislation does nothing to advance U.S. national security objectives. In fact, it undermines the military by unnecessarily dragging the controversial immigration debate into the U.S. military and the brave men and women who serve it.

The ENLIST Act also damages our already broken immigration system by putting those who violated the law ahead of those who want to come to our country legally.

Congressman [X] should respect our military and the rule of law by removing his name from the cosponsor list and opposing the ENLIST Act.

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Empowering Workers Not Labor Unions

Background: Labor unions and their bosses often have goals that do not line up with the desires of workers. When the interests of unions come in conflict with the interests of workers, unions typically make decisions that benefit them rather than employees. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has further exasperated this problem. When it was first established, Congress intended the NLRB to function as an impartial arbitrator mediating disputes between unions and businesses, but under the Obama administration, the Board consistently proposed and enforced rules that favored labor unions over both workers and employers.

These included: the Ambush Election Rule that shortens the time employers have to convince workers not to join a union, the Micro-Union Rule that allow unions to organize separate groups of workers within one company by job title, the Joint Employer Standard that empowers union members over business owners they indirectly work with, and undermining secret-ballot voting that protects worker privacy.

Problem: Past and recent union rules enacted by the NLRB and pushed by union bosses stifle job creation and undermine workers’ rights. Too often, union leaders put their desire to expand union size, revenue and power above the interest of their workers. In an effort to expand their power and influence, unions use dues to pay for political activities, discourage secret ballot elections to form a union, go on strike, or accept a contract, and suppress efforts by workers to replace union leaders. As a result, union leaders are no longer accountable to their members as 94 percent of union members never voted for the union that currently represents them.

Solution: In order to rebalance labor law in favor of workers rather than union bosses, Congress should pass the Employee Rights Act (H.R. 2723). Introduced by Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), the Employee Rights Act would guarantee employees the rights to:

  • Vote privately in a secret ballot election before forming a union;
  • Opt out of having their personal contact information provided to a union during an organizing drive;
  • Hear from employers at least 40 days prior to voting in a union election;
  • Vote in a secret ballot election before accepting a contract or going on strike;
  • Vote regularly on re-electing their union;
  • Decide whether their union can spend their dues on matters unrelated to collective bargaining; and,
  • Be free from union interference or extortion in exercising their legal rights.

This legislation is a major step forward in curbing the abuses of unions and will help ensure that unions best serve the interest of employees, not union bosses. Congress should also take steps to roll back the NLRB’s actions on ambush elections, the joint employer standard, and micro-unions.

Call to Action: The Employee Rights Act was cosponsored by 137 members of Congress when it was introduced last session by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA). Heritage Action has endorsed this legislation and urges Sentinels to contact their members of Congress and ask them to cosponsor the bill.

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