ACTIVISM TOOLKIT: SNAP (Foodstamps)

Last month, Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) introduced the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 2996). This legislation builds on the success of President Clinton’s 1996 welfare reform that requires able bodied adults to be engaged in some sort of work or work activity in order to receive welfare benefits.

Conservatives should work to get their representatives to be co-sponsors of the SNAP act. The goal is to get as many Republican members on the bill to gain momentum to have a full floor vote on the bill.

Key Talking Points: 

  • The SNAP Reform Act would 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” or ABAWDs. These include adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who are not disabled and who have no children to support. 
  • 90% of Americans believe that able-bodied adults receiving means-tested welfare assistance should be required to work or prepare for work.
  • From 2000 to 2015, food stamp recipients increased by more than 28 million and cost the government $83.1 billion in FY 2014 alone.
  • In FY 2014, Maine implemented a work requirement for ABAWDs. After the implementation of the work requirement, Maine’s ABAWD caseload dropped 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.

To learn more read the full Sentinel brief available here.

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

  • @MEMBER co-sponsor #SNAPreform Act of 2017. 90% of Americans support work requirements
  • @MEMBER #SNAPreform would help end government dependence and save taxpayers billions of dollars
  • @MEMBER work requirements for able-bodied adults to receive food stamps is sensible, effective policy #SNAPreform
  • Welfare programs should have the goal of getting people back to work. @MEMBER Americans want #SNAPreform

General Tweets:

  • #SNAPreform would help reduce poverty & government dependency, increase self-sufficiency, and restore families
  • #FoodStamps have grown out-of-control in recent years, both in cost and in the number of recipients. It’s time for #SNAPreform
  • Work requirements have been implemented in Maine, Kansas & Alabama with great success. It’s time for all of America to have #SNAPreform
  • Welfare programs, including food stamps, should be temporary, limited in size and scope, and assist those truly in need. #SNAPreform

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].

The goal of welfare programs should be to increase self-sufficiency and decrease government dependency. However food stamp recipients have increased at an alarming rate, and so has spending for the program. It doubled under Bush and doubled again under Obama. It’s time for reform.

Rep. Garret Graves introduced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 2996) and I noticed the Congressman is not a co-sponsor. This bill would encourage millions of Americans to get back to work, help end the cycle of poverty for those dependent on government assistance, and save taxpayers billions of dollars. 

Able-bodied adults without dependents should be required to work or prepare for work in exchange for government assistance — and 90% of Americans agree.

Please tell the Congressman to co-sponsor the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017. It’s time to reform the food stamp program to ensure it serves those truly in need.

The goal is to get all Republican members on the co-sponsor list, however we are starting with asking Conservative members to add their names.

COMING SOON

Will be all Republican members minus the co-sponsors

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, Support Work for Welfare

Over the past two decades Congress has let the Food Stamp Program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, grow out-of-control.

From 2000 to 2015, the number of food stamp recipients increased from around 17 million to more than 45 million while government spending on the program rose from just over $20 billion to $83 billion! Alarmingly, the most rapidly growing group of Americans receiving food stamps is able-bodied adults without kids.

President Ronald Reagan once said: “We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.” Millions of our fellow adult citizens without children are living off taxpayer dollars without working. It’s time for the party of Reagan to step up and help solve the problem.

Inspired by the success of the 1996 work for welfare reforms, Representative Garret Graves (R-LA) introduced the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 2996). This bill enacts work requirements on able-bodied adults without dependents as a condition to receive food stamp benefits. 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.

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 those dependent on government assistance, and save taxpayers billions of dollars.

Congressman [X] should support work for welfare reform by cosponsoring the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017.

  

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ENLIST Act (H.R. 60) Claims and Responses

In January, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) introduced a bill that would provide legal status to illegal immigrants if they join the military. The Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training (ENLIST) Act (H.R. 60) would allow “Dreamers” to receive lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in exchange for military service.

While promoted by some of its supporters as a solution to our military preparedness problem, the ENLIST Act is amnesty — little more than a backdoor promise of citizenship for those who came here illegally. The bill would further damage our broken immigration system by putting those in violation of the law ahead of those who want to come to our country legally. It is difficult to argue that such an arrangement advances U.S. national security objectives. Conservatives should oppose the ENLIST Act and fight any effort by Rep. Denham or others to attach the bill to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) later this year.  

Below are some commonly made claims and straightforward conservative responses:

Claim: The ENLIST Act does not provide backdoor amnesty, only lawful permanent resident status.

Response: Once an illegal immigrant acquires LPR status through this bill, they are eligible to apply for citizenship on an expedited basis and become citizens within months. Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow Charles Stimson explains:

“[S]ections 328 and 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) allow LPRs to apply for expedited naturalization either after one year of military service or after one day of military hostilities, respectively. Thus, if the ENLIST Act were passed in its current form, illegal immigrants who signed up for military service would obtain LPR status immediately and, after one day of service during conflict, could apply for expedited citizenship. That process takes only a matter of months.”

Claim: Earning legal status by serving in the military is not amnesty.

Response: The ENLIST Act turns the notion of an all-volunteer military on its head. Wade Miller, a Marine combat veteran and South Central Regional Coordinator for Heritage Action, explains it would “undermine the important social narrative that allows our all-volunteer military to thrive, namely that service is a benefit, as opposed to a punishment.” Miller continues:  

“It is a privilege to serve in America’s all volunteer force, and that service instills some of the most valuable virtues a citizen could hope for in a Republic. Military service also builds within one the vital moral warrior ethos that every peaceful society must maintain. The United States government also spends significant amounts of money to impart enduring skills on military servicemen and women. The financial compensation for my time in the military pales in comparison to the betterment of my character that military service and combat experience gave me.

“In proposing the exchange of amnesty for military service, politicians not only create the wrong incentives for military service and potentially expose security risks, they also undermine the military’s service-oriented ethos.”

Claim: The ENLIST Act does nothing to incentivize more illegal immigrants to come to the United States.

Response: While the current version of the bill only applies to those who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children prior to 2012, it suggests the Federal Government is not serious about enforcing its immigration laws and makes similar legislation in the future more likely to pass. Congress should fix our broken immigration system and enforce the law, not pass one-off legislation like the ENLIST Act that exacerbate the problems.

Claim: The ENLIST Act does not harm U.S. national security objectives.

Response: This bill does nothing to advance U.S. national security objectives. Instead, it undermines the military by unnecessarily dragging the controversial immigration debate into the military and the brave men and women who serve it. Based on the experience involving the temporary amnesty that President Obama instituted through executive fiat known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Stimson suggests vetting could also be problematic:

“This program, however, has not met its already modest requirements. Specifically, DACA recipients are supposed to pass a background check, but after just a couple of months, DHS began conducting “lean and lite” background checks, urging employees to accept all DACA recipients, explicitly waiving rules regarding proof of identity, and even stopping background checks altogether.”

Claim: The ENLIST Act helps our military preparedness.

Response: It is true that the U.S. military is experiencing a more challenging recruiting environment, but the answer is not a backdoor amnesty program that itself raises national security challenges. Increasing the pool of potential applicants to illegal immigrants is a short-sighted answer to the ongoing readiness issue the military faces. Congress should instead focus its efforts on adequately funding the military to address readiness issues.

Claim: President Trump wants Congress to pass the ENLIST Act to help improve our military readiness.

Response: Legislation is unnecessary. Section 329 (8 U.S.C. 1440) gives the president the authority to provide the same citizenship to aliens who have served in the military during “armed conflict with a hostile foreign force.” Thus, when we need people during times of war, the president can use this provision to attract non-citizens (legal and illegal) into the military.

Claim: The ENLIST Act is consistent with long standing military policy that rewards foreign nationals with citizenship if they serve in the military.    

Response: Historically, U.S. military policy has rewarded legal immigrants with citizenship for serving in the armed forces, not illegal immigrants as clearly laid out in Sections 328 and 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The U.S. has and continues to welcome foreigners throughout the world who desire to come to our shores legally; especially those who want to serve in the military. The ENLIST Act violates generous U.S. immigration laws by putting those who violated the law ahead of those who are waiting in line to come to the country legally.   

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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.

 

Read More

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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Want to talk to your Members of Congress? Check this list

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.

As always, make sure to confirm the details with the Representative or Senator’s office.

Email Emily.Stewart@heritageaction.com for any further details.

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