Cyber Security Executive Order: Move Aside, Congress

Last month, after the Senate blocked the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, President Obama threatened to bypass Congress with another executive order (because, you know, he can’t wait).  The Hill reports that with the inter-agency drafting process nearly finished, this threat is now close to completion.

Unfortunately, President Obama operates under the assumption that any time Congress doesn’t do as he pleases, he can simply pass an executive order to get his way.  The whole topic of executive orders won’t be broached here, but this instance is an excellent example of why it is not the job of the executive branch, or of the President for that matter, to make the laws.  Heritage’s Steven Bucci has explained that there are certain critical protections that can only be provided by an actual law, something an executive order cannot accomplish. 

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Remembering 9/11

This morning Heritage’s Morning Bell reflects on 9/11 and the men and women who lost their lives both on that day and in the ensuing fight against terrorism, a struggle that is not yet over:

Eleven years ago today, terrorists shattered America’s sense of safety. Generations who did not remember Pearl Harbor suddenly knew the shock of an attack on U.S. soil.

Brothers, fathers, cousins, wives, and daughters were lost. And more sisters, mothers, husbands and sons would give their lives in the years that followed as they fearlessly joined the fight against terrorism around the world.

Because of the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform—and the hours put in scanning intelligence documents and patrolling the streets by our servants here at home—America has thus far avoided another 9/11. Since that day, at least 51 terrorist plots against the country (that we know of) have been foiled. Terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden has been eliminated.

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When Will Senate Act on Defense Sequester?

In May, the House took an important step forward by passing a reconciliation measure that cut spending, made important reforms, and avoided the harmful defense sequester.  We wrote at the time:

House Republicans are trying to set a new tone and demonstrate they are serious and genuinely prepared, come 2013, to make the necessary choices our nation needs.

Indeed, the reconciliation measure – which is essentially a spending reduction plan – takes an important step forward.  It seeks to address two pressing problems: the soaring cost of entitlement spending and the arbitrary defense cuts mandated by the so-called Budget Control Act.


House Republicans deserve credit for beginning a serious conversation on spending, welfare reform and defense.  Despite the spin and antics from the left and hostile media outlets, Heritage Action maintains that good policy is indeed good politics.  Our nation is fast approaching a point of no return, and Americans will respond positively to serious leaders who put forth bold ideas.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. Senate has not taken up the measure.  Representatives Brian Bilbray (R-CA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Pete Olson (R-TX) have had enough.  In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), they write: 

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Experts Debunk the Myths of LOST

Samantha Leahy and Allison Cook are interns at Heritage Action for America.

Last week, the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee – led by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) – held a hearing on the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), and showcased two largely contested items: veto power and authority of claims.

The International Seabed Authority (ISA)

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and The Heritage Foundation’s Steven Groves – both opponents of LOST – stood firm under questioning, arguing that ratifying this treaty would encroach on American sovereignty by allowing a supranational body to collect potential royalties from our labor, and then redistribute those royalties to developing landlocked countries and state sponsors of terrorism, like Iran.

Furthermore, the money is distributed to these countries without any accountability. The beneficiaries will receive the funds without binding parameters of how they should be used. So in theory, hostile nations could use this money in ways that could threaten our national security.

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A Memorial Day Disservice

Heritage Action’s communications director, Dan Holler, wrote a column about proponents of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) invoking the military in order to gain support for a flawed treaty. Not only do they use the military, but they are using the word “sovereignty” in an insincere way in order to justify their position:

“It is a savvy public relations move that proponents of the U.N. treaty have decided to play the national security card and hijack the winning message of sovereignty. There is just one problem with these arguments, though: they are not true.

“Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) asked General Martin E. Dempsey, USA, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whether America is ‘at risk as a result of failure to ratify this treaty.’ In a measured tone, the General Dempsey responded, ‘based on our current application of customary international law, we will, of course, assert our sovereignty and our ability to navigate’ and ‘our ability to project force will not deteriorate.’

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