Conservatives Secure Important Victory on National ‘Draft’

WASHINGTON- Earlier this year, House Republicans successfully removed a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have included America’s young women in a national military draft. Despite the House’s efforts, the “Draft our Daughters” provision was included in the Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Fortunately, 17 Senate conservatives  signed a letter, championed by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) 97%, advocating opposition to any defense bill that included the  “Draft our Daughters” provision. The provision was ultimately removed during conference negotiations, marking an important win against the left’s radical agenda.  Heritage Action released the following statement from vice president Dan Holler:

“Leaders in Congress heeded the outcry of the American citizens and stood firm to remove the provision to Draft our Daughters from the National Defense Authorization Act. This is victory for  standing firm against the progressive social agenda and an achievement in protecting America’s daughters from being forced into the selective service.”

Earlier this year,  Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) 85% offered an amendment that was added to the FY17 Financial Services Appropriations bill to prohibit funding for the implementation of any such changes.  Adoption of the amendment ensured conservatives stayed on offense.  Heritage Action also applauded the 17 signers of the letter, led by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demanding no inclusion of Draft our Daughters;  Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) 34%,
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) 51%,
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) 52%,
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) 67%,
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) 52%,
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) 66%,
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 97%,
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) 79%,
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) 41%,
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) 75%,
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) 100%,
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) 64%,
Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) 75%,
Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) 82%,
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) 80%,
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) 53%.

Additionally, Heritage Action criticized the conference report for failing to include the  Russell Amendment, which makes the religious exemptions under Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act apply to the contracting space by statute, in the NDAA. Heritage Action previously said:

“Even after enduring an electoral defeat, the Obama administration and its left-wing allies continue to use America’s military as a pawn to undermine religious liberty. The Russell Amendment simply reaffirms and reapplies longstanding federal protections of religious liberty. Republican conferees, including Chairmen John McCain (R-AZ) 51% and Mac Thornberry (R-TX) 55%, should not be intimidated by the Obama administration’s blatant attack on religious diversity. We should all fight to preserve the policies that have served our diverse nation well for more than half a century.”

Some have suggested the Obama administration’s excesses will be reversed shortly after January 20, 2017.  The Heritage Foundation’s Melanie Israel outlines the path forward for the Russell language come 2017:

“Though the outgoing administration has been eager to use executive action to discriminate against religious social service providers that interact with the government, President-elect Donald Trump has promised to defend religious liberty.

“As president, Trump can use executive authority to roll back the Obama administration’s abuse of executive authority.

“But executive orders alone are not sufficient: Ultimately, Americans need permanent protection from a hostile regulatory state. The incoming Congress should prioritize religious liberty and send Russell Amendment language to the president-elect’s desk, whether as an amendment to another bill or as stand-alone legislation.

“The amendment reflects the best of our traditions without taking anything away from anyone, and is a commonsense continuation of policy that has served our diverse society well since 1964.”

Message to NDAA Conferees: Protect Religious Liberty, Russell Amendment

Washington – According to reports, lawmakers are likely to remove language drafted by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) 67% from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report. The Russell Amendment simply “applies decades-old religious exemptions from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) to federal grants and contracts.” Heritage Action released the following statement from vice president Dan Holler:

“Even after enduring an electoral defeat, the Obama administration and its left-wing allies continue to use America’s military as a pawn to undermine religious liberty. The Russell Amendment simply reaffirms and reapplies longstanding federal protections of religious liberty. Republican conferees, including Chairmen John McCain (R-AZ) 51% and Mac Thornberry (R-TX) 55%, should not be intimidated by the Obama administration’s blatant attack on religious diversity. We should all fight to preserve the policies that have served our diverse nation well for more than half a century.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Melanie Israel outlines the path forward for the amendment, which was included in the House version of NDAA that ultimately passed by a comfortable margin (277 to 147):

“Though the outgoing administration has been eager to use executive action to discriminate against religious social service providers that interact with the government, President-elect Donald Trump has promised to defend religious liberty.

“As president, Trump can use executive authority to roll back the Obama administration’s abuse of executive authority.

“But executive orders alone are not sufficient: Ultimately, Americans need permanent protection from a hostile regulatory state. The incoming Congress should prioritize religious liberty and send Russell Amendment language to the president-elect’s desk, whether as an amendment to another bill or as stand-alone legislation.

“The amendment reflects the best of our traditions without taking anything away from anyone, and is a commonsense continuation of policy that has served our diverse society well since 1964.”

Heritage Action Congratulates Mark Walker on RSC Election

Washington – This morning, members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) elected Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) 85% as the committee’s chairman for the 115th Congress.  Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

During his short time in Congress, Congressman Walker led serious legislative efforts to advance conservative policy priorities on issues ranging from education to health care.  In an era of unified government, the Republican Study Committee is well positioned to advance conservative priorities that will help Americans who rightly feel disconnected from the success experienced by the nation’s ruling class.

“Heritage Action commends Rep. Andy Harris for his principled campaign and continued commitment to conservative principles.  We congratulate Mark Walker and look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Republican Congress Must Preserve Earmark Ban

Washington – When House Republicans consider their conference rules for the 115th Congress later this week, there is likely to be an effort to overturn the longstanding conference ban on congressional earmarks. Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“Americans in both parties are fed up with the cronyism and corruption in Washington, and seven days ago they delivered a stunning message to the nation’s ruling class. Any attempt to roll back the longstanding ban on congressional earmarks — the lubricant that empowers politicians to cut bad deals — would amount to a rebuke of those voters. Americans deserve an honest, transparent government that is working for everyone, not simply doling out favors to a well connected few.”

Heritage Action will continue to provide conservative guidance and accountability to Congress and the White House from our 16,500 Sentinels as well as our 500,000 activists.

The Next 71 Days

Washington — On Tuesday, Americans voted to give Republicans control of the House, Senate and White House. Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

This week, the American people rose up and resoundingly rejected the status quo. President Obama and the current Congress need to respect that message as they serve out their final days in office. Instead of negotiating with a lame duck president, Republicans in Congress must begin setting the stage for 2017.

First, Congress should not negotiate any massive spending deal with President Obama; instead, they should pass a simple Continuing Resolution into the next year. Second, Congress must make every preparation to fully repeal Obamacare by setting up the budget reconciliation process early in January to give President-elect Trump a bill to sign on inauguration day. Finally, the Senate must prepare to carry out their ‘Advise and Consent’ role for President-elect Trump’s forthcoming Supreme Court nomination. That nominee should interpret the text of the Constitution rather than create unwritten rights supposedly hidden between the lines.

Heritage Action will continue to provide conservative guidance and provide accountability to Congress and the White House from our 16,500 Sentinels as well as our 500,000 activists.