No Amnesty Toolkit

America welcomes more than one million immigrants every year who go through a long vetting process. A combination of lax enforcement and lawlessness has broken our immigration system and it no longer works for our nation as as a whole.

America’s borders aren’t secure and temporary visas are routinely misused. The current system also opens the door for family members to get citizenship (also known as chain migration), rather than favoring a merit-based immigration system.

In 2012, President Obama used his pen and phone to bypass Congress and create Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). He felt his unconstitutional act was justified because multiple amnesty schemes failed to pass Congress, even when Democrats were in complete control.

DACA’s goal was to grant temporary “legal” status to individuals who were under 30 years old and brought to the U.S. as minors (often referred to as “dreamers”). The roughly 1.7 million eligible recipients would be required to work or go to school, but could ultimately defer their deportation for two years. Recipients could renew their status.

President Donald Trump made a campaign promise to secure our borders and rollback Obama’s lawless actions and now he intends to rescind the DACA program in six months, leaving time for Congress to act.

It is critical the executive and legislative branches learn from past mistakes, and work together to build consensus around an immigration policy that makes sense for all 320 million Americans. America deserves an immigration system that secures our borders, upholds the rule of law, and works for our economy.

Key Talking Points:

Why the U.S. Immigration System is Broken:

  • Our Federal Government Does Not Enforce the Law. Current U.S. law, written and passed by Congress and signed by the president, makes it illegal for foreign nationals to enter or stay in the country without authorization. Despite this clear provision of law, an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants reside in the United States.
  • America Lacks Strong Border Security. U.S. borders are not secure. Criminals, drug cartels, terrorists, and those that wish to do our nation harm know this and seek to exploit it every day. A basic role of the federal government established the U.S. Constitution is to uphold our national sovereignty.
  • America’s Immigration System has the Wrong Incentives. The current family-based (or chain-migration) system prioritizes “immediate relatives” before meeting more pressing needs for our country such as high-skilled migrants. These policies appeal to political, emotional or special interest agendas dictated by politicians.
  • Real Immigration Solutions are Held Hostage. Liberals, Washington elites and big business are convinced that a sweeping amnesty is the political silver bullet of immigration reform. They continue to send a clear signal to would-be migrants: That the United States ignores the rule of law and will not hold lawbreakers accountable for their actions. This trend must be reversed for commonsense solutions to become reality.

Conservative Solutions:

  • Enforce U.S. Immigration Law. Deporting illegal immigrants, denying amnesty, and simply enforcing current law sends a very strong signal to potential offenders: Do not enter or stay in the U.S. illegally. The Trump administration has begun enforcing U.S. immigration laws and should continue to restore lawfulness. Congress should act if the Trump administration’s efforts to deny funds to so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to enforce federal immigration laws are blocked by the courts.
  • Secure our Borders. Congress should approve funding to build more secure fencing along the southern border and implement a comprehensive surveillance system to monitor border activity. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Border Patrol, and the Coast Guard should receive targeted resources needed to enforce the law on the border.
  • Oppose Amnesty. Prioritizing those here illegally is a grave injustice to those waiting in line to come to America the right way. Amnesty creates a vicious cycle. It increases expectations for future amnesties while encouraging more migrants to break the law in the meantime.
  • Oppose Bipartisan “compromise” on DACA. President Trump was right to rescind DACA, but his suggestion to swap codification of the program for additional border security measures is misguided.  Republicans should not repeat the 1986 mistake of agreeing to permanent amnesty in exchange for future promises of border security. It was a bad deal then and a bad deal today.
  • Reform Legal Immigration. Moving away from a blanket, chain-migration system and replacing it with a rational, skills based-migration system should be prioritized after our border is secure. Improving internal enforcement through E-Verify is a critical part of this transition and would allow for better prosecution of companies who hire illegal immigrants.

To learn more read our latest brief on immigration available here.

(Make sure to insert the Twitter handle of your Representative)

  • Click to Tweet: @MEMBERNAME DACA creates a powerful magnet for more illegal immigration. Conservatives must fight to #EndDACA
  • Click to Tweet: Our immigration system is lawless, lacks border security & has the wrong incentives. @MemberName #EndDACA and reform our current system
  • Click to Tweet: @MEMBERNAME DACA never passed Congress and is illegal. Immigration reform must start with enforcing America’s laws.
  • Click to Tweet: The DREAM Act allows illegal immigrants to gain legal status & eventually bring in other family members #EndDACA
  • Click to Tweet: @MEMBERNAME No Amnesty. No exception. #EndDACA
  • Click to Tweet: Want immigration reform?

1 Enforce laws
2 Secure Borders
3 Crackdown on illegal labor
4 Defund Sanctuary Cities
5 Reform Legal immigration

 

These are notes to use when calling your member of Congress. Always remember to make these notes your own and include a personal story if you have one relating to the topic.You can find their phone number on the Heritage Action Dashboard.

Hi, I’m [NAME] from [STATE].

With the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA and urge Congress to act on immigration, I want to tell [MEMBER OF CONGRESS] not to move forward with DACA, but instead focus on passing reforms to strengthen our border and fix immigration laws.

Here’s the five part plan:

First, enforce the law. The Trump administration is already beginning to enforce current U.S. immigration laws and should continue to do so. Deporting illegal immigrants, denying amnesty and simply enforcing the law sends a strong signal to potential offenders not to enter or stay in the U.S. illegally.

Second, secure our borders. Congress should approve funding to build more secure fencing along the southern border and implement a comprehensive surveillance system to monitor the border that includes cameras, sensors and drones. Doing so will make it more difficult to enter the U.S. illegally.

Third, crack down on unauthorized labor. Improve internal enforcement through E-Verify, while prosecuting companies who hire illegal immigrants.  

Fourth, defund sanctuary cities. Municipalities who wish to disobey federal immigration laws should be denied federal security grants. Legislation to do just that is pending Congress, but has been blocked by Democrats.

Fifth, reform the legal immigration system. We need to move away from blanket chain-migration and replace it with a rational, skills based-migration system. There are lessons from the Canadian and Australian models that might best serve the United States’ immigration system.

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

Congressman [X],

The current immigration debate makes no sense to anyone except elites in Washington.

America welcomes more than one million immigrants every year who go through a long vetting process. A combination of lax enforcement and lawlessness has broken our immigration system and it no longer works for our nation as as a whole.

America’s borders aren’t secure and temporary visas are routinely misused. The current system also opens the door for family members to get citizenship (also known as chain migration), rather than favoring a merit-based immigration system.

The solution should be obvious: Border security, enforcement of our current laws, and targeted reforms to our legal immigration system. But these commonsense solutions have been held hostage by politicians in Washington who want amnesty.

Congress should work with the Trump administration to enforce our laws and crack down on illegal immigration through a step-by-step process. We must first secure our borders, enforce existing immigration law, and prosecute those who fail to abide by those laws.

Only after we secure our borders should we consider reforming the legal immigration system. We need to move away from blanket chain-migration and replace it with a rational, skills based-migration system. There are lessons from the Canadian and Australian models that might best serve the United States’ immigration system.

Immigration reform that is done properly can fit with America’s open arms and with our commitment to the rule of law.

With these reasons in mind, I hope Congressman [X] will steer Congress toward conservative immigration solutions.

Read More

Immigration Reform Brief

History of DACA (and conservative/constitutional critique).

Current U.S. law, written and passed by Congress and signed by the President, makes it unlawful for foreign nationals to enter or stay in the country without authorization. Despite this clear provision of law, an estimated 11.4 million people live in the United States without authorization.

In 2012, then-President Obama — under tremendous political pressure from his base — issued a memo through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) titled “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA). DACA sought to grant temporary legal status to individuals who were under 30 years old and brought to the U.S. as minors (frequently referred to as “Dreamers”). The roughly 1.7 million eligible recipients would be required to work or go to school, but could ultimately defer their deportation for two years. Recipients could renew their status.

Conservative legal groups challenged these actions in court as an unconstitutional overreach of executive power. Several states sued the federal government, and appeals courts ultimately ruled in favor of states to enjoin (or prohibit) an extension of DACA. Since the issuance of the DACA memo, and during debate over a larger amnesty, the number of people unlawfully crossing the U.S. border has increased significantly.

In 2013, debate began on a comprehensive immigration bill (the now infamous “Gang of Eight” proposal) that would have included amnesty for most of the unlawful immigrant population, including “Dreamers.” The Senate passed the Gang of Eight amnesty bill, which included a partial codification of the 2012 DACA memo (known as the “DREAM Act,” which the Senate failed to pass in 2010), but the proposal died in the House.

What the Trump administration did.

In response to another impending lawsuit against DACA, the Trump administration officially rescinded the unconstitutional Obama-era program on September 5th, with an effective enforcement date of March 5, 2018. Rescinding DACA fulfills a key campaign promise made by then-candidate Donald Trump to end the program and begin enforcing U.S. immigration laws. By including a six-month delay, the Trump administration is providing Congress with an opportunity to address the larger issue of illegal and legal immigration legislatively.

Effective immediately, the government will no longer accept new applicants for the DACA program — capping the program’s participation at roughly 690,000. However, pending applications and those wishing to renew their applications will continue to be processed until October 5.  

Possible congressional action.  

The day after his administration announced the end of DACA, President Trump told reporters that he’d “like to see something where we have good border security, and we have a great DACA transaction where everybody is happy and now they don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

In setting up a straight DACA codification for border security trade, the president risks repeating the mistakes of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. That law provided amnesty for 2.7 million illegal immigrants and the promise of future border security and internal enforcement. As President Reagan’s Attorney General Edwin Meese III wrote in 2013, the 1986 amnesty “encourage[d] millions more to risk entering the country illegally in the hope that one day they, too, might receive amnesty.”

Americans witnessed this dynamic in full force as the Obama administration’s unlawful DACA program came into effect and Congress debated a more sweeping amnesty in 2013. As The Heritage Foundation explained in 2014, DACA was “creating a powerful magnet for more illegal immigration, since children and their families have hope that they might receive some sort of amnesty, or at least not be deported, if they make it into the U.S.”   

A simple trade would also ignore another major flaw in our nation’s immigration system: family-based chain migration policies. As The Heritage Foundation previously wrote, DACA — or the DREAM Act, would allow illegal immigrants that gain legal status to “convert to non-conditional status immediately (and use his green card as a platform to bring in family members).”

Conservatives have long-opposed family-based chain migration policies, preferring instead to move to a skills or merit-based immigration system. Senator Tom Cotton — the Senate’s top immigration hawk — told the Washington Examiner’s Byron York that failure to fix America’s legal immigration systems means legalizing DACA recipients “creates a whole new class of people who will then be eligible for a green card and citizenship — namely, the extended family members of those who will receive legal status who can, through chain migration, get legal status themselves.”

Moving forward, it is imperative the executive and legislative branches learn from past mistakes, and work together to build a national consensus for an immigration policy that makes sense for all 320 million Americans, not only a sympathetic group put into an untenable situation because former President Obama illegally bypassed Congress.

Pathway to conservative immigration reform.

One of the most important lessons of the 1986 amnesty was that in order for immigration reform to be successful, it must be accomplished through a step-by-step process.

First, enforce U.S. immigration law: The Trump administration is already beginning to enforce current U.S. immigration laws and should continue to do so. Deporting illegal immigrants, denying amnesty and simply enforcing the law sends a strong signal to potential offenders not to enter or stay in the U.S. illegally.

Second, secure our borders: Congress should approve funding to build more secure fencing along the southern border and implement a comprehensive surveillance system to monitor the border that includes cameras, sensors and drones. Doing so will make it more difficult to enter the U.S. illegally.

Third, crack down on unauthorized labor: Improve internal enforcement through E-Verify, while prosecuting companies who hire illegal immigrants.   

Fourth, defund sanctuary cities: Municipalities who wish to disobey federal immigration laws should be denied federal security grants.

Fifth, reform the legal immigration system: Move away from the blanket chain-migration and replace it with a rational, skills based-migration system. There are lessons from the Canadian and Australian models that might best serve the United States’ immigration system.

Read More

Tax Reform Toolkit

Over the past few decades, the U.S. tax code has become a significant obstacle to economic growth, job creation and higher wages for American workers.

President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear before the November 2016 election that pro-growth tax reform would be a major legislative priority for Republicans in 2017 if they were given the chance to govern. Now that the American people gave Republicans control of the House, Senate and White House, there is a real opportunity to achieve comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform.

A rewrite of the tax code couldn’t come soon enough. It has been far too long since Congress made major updates to the tax code. In fact, the last major reform of our nation’s tax code was under the Reagan administration in 1986, and every major effort since then has failed. After three decades of no major changes to the tax code and a stagnant economy, the time for tax reform is now.

Key Talking Points:

Our tax code currently:

  • Suppresses American business creation and growth. Our high corporate tax rate is a problem for American businesses. The U.S. corporate tax rate of 39.1 percent is the highest rate in the world and reduces domestic investment.  
  • Is far too complex for the average citizen. The individual tax system is a problem for families. In 1913, the tax code was a reasonable 400 pages long, but by 2013 it grew to over 74,000 pages. Americans spend nearly 9 billion hours complying with the tax code every year.
  • Is full of special interests. Pervasive cronyism in our tax code hurts entrepreneurs and consumers. Over decades, Congress has enacted policies that manipulate the marketplace to benefit certain business or industries.

Accordingly, tax reform should include the following principles:

  • Lower and simplify individual tax rates. Tax reforms should aim to improve the simplicity and transparency of paying taxes. Lowering overall rates will allow families and hard working Americans to keep more of their earnings.
  • Lower the corporate tax rate. Congress should lower the corporate tax rate to encourage growth and investment.
  • Permit tax free entrepreneurship: Businesses should be permitted to deduct the full cost of their capital expenses when they incur them, known as expensing, rather than over many years using cumbersome depreciation schedules currently in effect.
  • Establish a territorial tax system. High U.S. tax rates reduce domestic investment by both U.S. headquartered business and foreign businesses, stifling job creation and wage growth.
  • End cronyism. Tax reform should explicitly seek to abolish policies that Congress intended to benefit particular industries or particular groups.

To learn more read the full Sentinel brief available here.

(Make sure to insert the Twitter handle of your Representative)

  • Click to tweet: @MEMBER it’s time for Congress to pass #ProGrowth policies and #TaxReform that allows America to prosper
  • Click to tweet: @MEMBER Americans need #taxreform that levels the playing field and ends special interest handouts. #ProGrowth
  • Click to tweet: @MEMBER tax laws should not favor the well-connected over hard-working taxpayers #TaxReform
  • Click to tweet: @MEMBER our high U.S. corporate tax rates are making American companies uncompetitive. #TaxReform should lower rates.
  • Click to tweet: @MEMBER #ProGrowth #TaxReform should stand up to special interests and serve American taxpayers

General Tweets:

  • Click to tweet: It’s been too long since Congress passed meaningful #TaxReform. The time is now to push forward #ProGrowth policies
  • Click to tweet: #TaxReform could bring back more than $2.6 trillion in profits currently locked out of the U.S.
  • Click to tweet: #ProGrowth #TaxReform would encourage new business investment, job creation and wage growth
  • Click to tweet: Americans spend nearly 9 billion hours complying with the tax code every year, we need to simplify tax code #TaxReform
  • Click to tweet: True #TaxReform must be fair for all hardworking Americans. No more special interest handouts!

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].

It is my understanding that Congress is expected to consider tax reform legislation in the coming months. This effort is long overdue and presents a real opportunity to rewrite tax laws that are currently holding American business back, allowing IRS bureaucrats to pick ‘winners and losers,’ and enabling cronyism to pervade Washington.

Americans should not be burdened to comply with a tax code that is far too complex for the average citizen. By the same token, it is unacceptable that the tax code has been deliberately made more complex by lobbyists to benefit big business, big labor, and big government interests.

America needs tax reform. Reform should provide common sense solutions to the problems facing individual Americans – studies show that Americans spend nearly 9 billion hours complying with the tax code every year, costing our economy over $400 billion in foregone economic growth.

More importantly, business tax reforms are necessary to grow the economy and spur job creation – at an average of 39.1 percent, the U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest in the industrialized world. This rate, combined with the inability of businesses to fully deduct their cost of new capital investment, makes American companies uncompetitive with their foreign counterparts.  

Please tell the Congressman to be aware of these issues when reforming the tax code. Above all, I expect Congressman [NAME] to stand up to special interests and serve American taxpayers and [his/her] constituents. It is time to reform outdated tax laws with a principled approach – to end cronyism, simplify our tax code, and support American business with pro-growth policies.

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

Congressman [X],

Today, we have an anti-growth, complex and out-of-date tax code. President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear before the November 2016 election that pro-growth tax reform would be a major legislative priority for Republicans in 2017 if they were given the chance to govern.  

Our tax code currently suppresses American business growth, is far too complex for the average citizen, and is full of cronyism. Accordingly, I encourage [you] to stick to the following principles on tax reform: lower and simplify individual tax rates, lower the corporate tax rate, permit “full expensing,” establish a territorial tax system, and end cronyism.

The American people gave Republicans control of the House, Senate and White House, and there is a real opportunity to achieve comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform. Congress can use this as an opportunity to pair tax reform with spending cuts in order to comply with the rules of budget reconciliation and maximize the economic benefits of tax reform. After all, the federal government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Read More

The Need for Pro-Growth Tax Reform

Background: President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear before the November 2016 election that pro-growth tax reform would be a major legislative priority for Republicans in 2017 if they were given the chance to govern. Now that the American people gave Republicans control of the House, Senate and White House, there is a real opportunity to achieve comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform. A rewrite of the tax code couldn’t come soon enough. It has been far too long since Congress made major updates to the tax code. In fact, the last major reform of our nation’s tax code was under the Reagan administration in 1986, and every major effort since then has failed. After three decades of no major changes to the tax code and a stagnant economy, the time for tax reform is now.

Problem: Over the past few decades, the U.S. tax code has become a significant obstacle to economic growth, job creation and higher wages for American workers. This is due to a number of reasons.

1.)    Our tax code suppresses business creation, expansion and reinvestment here in America due to high rates, double taxation, and how foreign profits are taxed. At an average of 39.1 percent, the U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest in the industrialized world making Americans companies uncompetitive with their foreign counterparts. Small businesses, who mostly file taxes through the individual income tax code as pass-through entities, also have a difficult time competing as they experience an average top marginal income tax rate of 47.2 percent. High tax rates encourage businesses to raise prices, decrease wages for workers, or even leave the country altogether.

If this wasn’t enough, the tax code inherently punishes saving and investment, the lifeblood of economic growth. Income that is saved or invested is often taxed two, three, or more times. The same dollar can be hit by individual income taxes, again by the corporate income tax, and yet again by the capital gains and dividends tax. After all this, before your family can inherit your small business or farm, the government levies a final death tax. These forms of double taxation discourage saving and investment, the most essential components of economic growth.

In addition, the U.S. is one of a very few countries that operate under a worldwide tax system rather than a territorial one. This means domestic companies are double taxed on profits they earn overseas – once by the foreign country they earn profits in, and once again when they bring those profits back to the U.S. This system encourages domestic companies to keep their profits out of the country, preventing more than $2.6 trillion in profit from being reinvested here at home.

2.)    Our tax code is far too complex for the average citizen. In 1913, the tax code was a reasonable 400 pages long, but by 2013 it grew to over 74,000 pages. Americans spend nearly 9 billion hours complying with the tax code every year costing our economy over $400 billion in foregone economic growth. The complexity of the tax code allows individuals and businesses with the best lawyers and accountants to game the system and pay the least amount of taxes possible.

3.)    Our tax system is full of cronyism that allows a few well-connected actors to game the system over hard-working taxpayers. The combination of tax credits, deductions and carve outs littered throughout the tax code due to special interest lobbying allow the most powerful and established individuals and businesses to pay low taxes while suppressing their competition.

Solution: Congress must pass comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform that lowers rates for individuals and businesses, simplifies the tax code, ends cronyism, and encourages domestic business creation, expansion, and investment. To do this, tax reform should include the following principles:

1.)    Lower and simplify individual tax rates: This can be accomplished by increasing the standard deduction for low-income earners and lowering rates for high-income earners and small businesses that use the individual code. The current standard deduction, which is the fixed amount of income not taxable, is $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a married couple. Lowering and simplifying rates will allow hard-working taxpayers to keep more of their money while encouraging small business owners to expand their companies and create more jobs.

2.)    Lower the corporate tax rate: Taxes on businesses should be cut as much as possible to encourage job creation and higher wages for workers who end up paying more than 70 percent of all business taxes through lower wages. The federal corporate tax rate is 35 percent plus the state corporate income tax rate. The average U.S. combined federal and state rate is the highest among developed countries and is making American companies uncompetitive.

3.)    Permit tax free entrepreneurship: Allow all businesses to deduct the full cost of capital investments from their taxable income, replacing the current system of depreciation, a convoluted multi-year accounting system that only allows a partial deduction. Full expensing would encourage new business investment, job creation and wage growth.

4.)    Establish a territorial tax system: A territorial tax system only taxes U.S. companies on the profits they earn in America. This will encourage foreign business investment here in America and help bring back more than $2.6 trillion in profits currently locked out of the U.S. by our broken and outdated tax system.

5.)    End cronyism: This includes all the special interest handouts, tax credits, deductions, and exemptions in exchange for lower tax rates across the board. For businesses this includes getting rid of tax subsidies to green energy, special economic development zones, nuclear power, and every other preference in the tax code. For individuals, tax reform should remove as many special deductions and exemptions as possible, including the state and local tax deduction which subsidizes high tax states at the expense of fiscally responsible states. Removing tax preferences must be paired with lower rates, so average Americans receive a tax cut.

According to recent analysis, this kind of pro-growth tax reform has the potential to grow the economy by 10 percent over the next 10 years and increase the average American family’s wages by more than 7 percent or about $4,000 for someone earning $50,000 a year.

Conclusion: In order to bypass a Democrat-led filibuster in the Senate, Republicans intend to use a powerful tool called budget reconciliation to pass tax reform. While this path allows Congress to fast-track tax reform in the Senate, it prohibits the consideration of legislation that increases the federal deficit outside the adopted budget window. Although somewhat restrictive, Congress can use this as an opportunity to pair tax reform with spending cuts in order to comply with the rules of budget reconciliation and maximize the economic benefits of tax reform. After all, the federal government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Federal revenues are expected to rise to 20 percent of the economy by 2021, a dangerous level seen only once since the end of World War II. Reducing federal spending alongside tax reform would ensure tax reform is permanent; whereas simply cutting taxes through the budget reconciliation process would result in the expiration of those tax cuts in 10 years. Regardless of the approach taken, by enacting pro-growth tax reform Republicans can fulfill their promise to create jobs, increase wages, and restore our stagnant economy back to sustainable long-term growth.

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No More Obamacare Bailouts

Background: In an effort to win the support of health insurance companies during the debate over Obamacare in 2009, three health insurer bailout provisions were written into the bill to compensate health insurance companies for insuring high-cost consumers in the Obamacare state exchanges. These three bailout provisions include risk corridors, reinsurance and cost-sharing reduction subsidies. Combined, these could cost taxpayers $170 billion over the next decade. The risk corridor and reinsurance provisions expired last year, while cost-sharing reduction subsidies are currently in flux.

Cost-Sharing Reduction Subsidies: This third Obamacare bailout provision uses taxpayer dollars to subsidize health insurance deductibles and co-payments for plans bought by households with incomes less than 250 percent of the federal poverty line. While Obamacare intended to create cost-sharing reduction subsidies, the bill text does not include language funding the subsidies. However, the Obama administration ignored the plain reading of the law and paid for the subsidies using taxpayer dollars to the tune of nearly $14 billion.

In response, Congress sued the Obama administration in November of 2014 in U.S. House of Representatives v. Burwell. The House argued that the White House violated its Constitutional authority by spending money not authorized by Congress. In May of 2016, federal district court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled in favor of the House, but the Obama administration appealed the decision to the D.C. Circuit Court. Now with President Trump in the White House, the last Obamacare bailout can be eliminated permanently. All President Trump has to do is accept the court’s initial ruling and stop paying the subsidies.

Problem: Since the November 2016 elections, congressional Republicans worked on legislation to repeal and replace parts of Obamacare. The House narrowly passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on May 4th, 2017 by a vote of 217 to 213, but Senate Republicans failed to pass their version of the bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) or even a scaled down version of Obamacare repeal called the “Skinny Repeal” bill. The latter failed when moderate Republicans refused to allow the bill to proceed to a conference committee where revised legislation could have been crafted and voted on.

Instead of repealing and replacing Obamacare, moderate Republicans are now working with Democrats to appropriate the Obamacare cost-sharing reduction subsidies to bail out insurance companies and prop up Obamacare. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced the Help, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee that he chairs would hold a hearing in early September “on the actions Congress should take to stabilize and strengthen [Obamacare’s] individual health insurance market, so that Americans will be able to buy insurance at affordable prices in the year 2018.”

Ed Haislmaier, an expert in health care policy and markets at The Heritage Foundation, explains the continuation of the cost-sharing reduction subsidies “will not help stabilize the broader individual market because the cost-sharing reductions apply only to plans purchased through the Obamacare exchanges.”

Solution: Under Obamacare, average individual market premiums more than doubled while health insurance companies fled the marketplace leaving 70 percent of U.S. counties with only one or two insurers. This all took place while President Obama was illegally paying out the cost-sharing subsidies. Authorizing the subsidies will do nothing to fix the underlying problems of our broken U.S. health care system spurred on by Obamacare. “What is instead needed to stabilize the unsubsidized market is the removal of Obamacare’s cost-increasing insurance mandates and misguided regulations,” Haislmaier explained. Heritage Action chief executive officer Michael A. Needham recently stated:

“The Senate’s inability to produce 51 votes for a piece of legislation that delivers on a seven-year campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare is not license for a bipartisan bailout of a failing law. Networks continue to narrow. Premiums continue to rise. And choice continues to decline. Obamacare is becoming a zombie law, and throwing more taxpayer money at Zombiecare is unacceptable.”

Senate Republicans must go back to the drawing board and find consensus on a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Until they do so, President Trump could simply withhold the Obamacare cost-sharing reduction subsidies and demand Republicans fulfill their seven-year old promise to repeal this disastrous law.

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