Trump Budget Puts Taxpayers First

Washington — This morning, the Trump Administration unveiled its FY 2018 budget proposal called “A New Foundation for American Greatness.” The budget includes $3.6 trillion in spending reductions while prioritizing much-needed defense funding. And while the budget does not include much-needed structural reforms to Medicare and Social Security’s retirement program, it does offer reforms to other mandatory programs. Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“Budgets are visionary documents, and President Trump’s proposal would put taxpayers first by starting to direct their dollars more efficiently to the most effective programs. It is the type of document the president promised on the campaign trail, including some serious, structural reforms to our nation’s entitlement system. Unfortunately, the failure to address Social Security and Medicare will make it difficult to truly rein in our nation’s ever growing debt.

“Nonetheless, Trump’s budget presents an opportunity to unite Republicans around fiscally responsible reforms to food stamps, disability insurance and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Even with unified Republican control of government, delivering policy victories has proven difficult in Washington, but enacting these reforms would demonstrate a true commitment to putting taxpayers first.”

Related:
Heritage Experts Analyze Trump’s Budget Request

FCC Takes Step Toward Freeing the Internet

Washington – Earlier today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 2-1 to revisit the the 2015 Open Internet Order that imposed what The Heritage Foundation describes as “1930s-era regulations on internet providers.” The Obama-era rule brought internet service providers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which was originally intended to provide detailed oversight of telephone companies. Today’s vote will allow a new comment period on “restor[ing] the internet to a light-touch regulatory framework by classifying broadband internet access service as an information service and by seeking comment on the existing rules governing internet service providers’ practices.” Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“Chairman Pai and his colleagues at the FCC have demonstrated leadership by jumpstarting the process of rolling back these so-called net neutrality rules. The political left’s desire to treat internet service providers as publicly regulated utilities will erode choice and competition in the marketplace.

“In the end, consumers would suffer from inadequate service as the federal government’s authority expands. It is rare that a federal agency seeks to give itself less power, but that is exactly what the FCC is proposing. America’s republic would be well served if more public servants took a more humble view of their role in our economy and culture.”

Earlier this year, The Heritage Foundation’s senior research fellow in regulatory policy James L. Gattuso explained that “Erasing these rules is by no means easy” because the FCC “must eliminate the rules in a such way that will stand up to court review” while “minimiz[ing] the ability of a future FCC to simply reimpose them.” Gattuso added that new chairman Ajit Pai is “ready to go”:

“This state of affairs makes the news from the Federal Communications Commission especially noteworthy. Rather than install a neophyte to the job, President Trump in January tapped a sitting FCC commissioner, Ajit Pai, as the new chairman. Pai has been on the commission since 2012, serving as one of two Republican members of the FCC. His appointment avoided the typical pitfalls for two reasons. First, it required no immediate Senate confirmation, because he was already on the commission. Second, and more importantly, Pai did not need any on-the-job training—he was ready to go on day one.”

Related:
Heritage: New FCC Chairman Takes Weed Whacker to Regulation (2017)
Heritage: Time to hit ‘delete’ on net neutrality (2015)
Heritage: Net Neutrality: Reining in Innovation (2015)

Obamacare Repeal Effort Finally Moves to Senate

Washington — This afternoon, the House passed an amended version of the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), 217 to 213.  Heritage Action key voted against the original version of the bill, which failed to repeal the regulatory architecture of Obamacare that is responsible for the rising cost of health care. Last month, Heritage Action withdrew its key vote after House Republican leaders accepted the MacArthur-Meadows Amendment, which would allow states to opt out of core elements of Obamacare’s regulatory architecture. Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

Today’s vote ensures the Obamacare repeal effort can continue to move forward. Surely more must be done in the Senate, but the months-long negotiations in the House identified many of the key issues for senators to tackle. Representatives MacArthur and Meadows deserve tremendous credit for their good faith effort to address Obamacare’s regulatory architecture.

“There is no doubt the Republican Party is divided in fundamental ways, but for the years-long repeal effort to be successful, the Senate will have to demonstrate a level of cohesion and commitment that eluded House leaders. The process up until now has been disastrous, but we have confidence the bill can be improved upon in the Senate.”

MacArthur-Meadows Amendment Moves Obamacare Repeal Process Forward

Washington – Last month, House Republican leaders unveiled the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), which failed to repeal the regulatory architecture of Obamacare that is responsible for the rising cost of health care. Over the past 52 days, conservatives have worked in good faith to elevate and address serious concerns with the AHCA. A draft amendment, the product of weeks-long negotiations by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) 42% and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) 90%, currently circulating would allow states to opt out of core elements of Obamacare’s regulatory architecture. Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“Representatives MacArthur and Meadows deserve tremendous credit for their good faith negotiations to improve the bill. Their proposed amendment advances the debate and raises key issues for the Senate to consider as the effort to repeal Obamacare moves forward.

“To be clear, this is not full repeal and it is not what Republicans campaigned on or outlined in the Better Way agenda. The amendment does, however, represent important progress in what has been a disastrous process. Given the extreme divides in the Republican Party, allowing Texas and South Carolina to make different decisions on health insurance regulations than New York and New Jersey may be the only way forward.”

Heritage Action will withdraw the current House key vote against the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628) if the MacArthur-Meadows Amendment, as currently understood and drafted, is adopted.

Related:
Heritage: Freeing States from the Obamacare Insurance Mandates

Heritage Action Congratulates Russ Vought

Washington — Today, President Trump announced he intends to nominate former Heritage Action Vice President Russ Vought to be Deputy Director of the Office of the Management and Budget. Before coming to Heritage Action, Vought spent 12 years on Capitol Hill, in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. He also served as Policy Director for the House Republican Conference, chaired by then-Representative Mike Pence. Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“President Trump made an excellent decision in nominating Russ Vought, one of the most talented conservatives in Washington, D.C. to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Budgets are expressions of priorities, and the American people should know that a principled, courageous leader will be heavily involved in translating the administration’s priorities into conservative budgets. We are grateful for Russ’s willingness to return to public service and are confident America will be a better nation as a result. ”