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Freedom Works
Sunday June 24, 2018 @ 01:30:02 AM mt

Key Vote YES on Limited Government Amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act H.R. 5515

On behalf of FreedomWorks activist community, I urge you to contact your Senators and urge them to vote YES on limited government amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 5515. These two amendments would restore much needed congressional oversight on investment policymaking and guarantee due process of law for American citizens in accordance with the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

S. Amdt. 2700, offered by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), would ensure that any major regulation handed down by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) requires congressional approval before taking effect. CFIUS is one of the latest efforts to expand the administrative state and would give federal regulators the ability to broadly define which transactions must face intense government scrutiny. This will chill investment into U.S. businesses and our economy.

Sen. Toomeys amendment would apply the principles of the REINS Act to CFIUS to make sure Congress has a final say on these regulations. This will mean that only regulations that try to address truly predatory behavior will pass, while those that are unnecessary and anti-market will be stopped from taking effect. This was the intent of Congress when it authorized CFIUS and it should not abandon its ability to set policy in this way. Sen. Toomeys amendment gives Congress this oversight.

The amendment also increases transparency. It would require CFIUS to submit a written report detailing the facts, studies, and reports upon which it based its decision for any new regulation. This will allow businesses and consumers the opportunity to see and judge for themselves whether new regulations are in the countrys best interests.

S. Amdt. 2366, offered by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), would guarantee due process of law for American citizens. The Fifth Amendment provides that no American shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without it. However, a section of the 2012 NDAA implicitly allows the government to detain American citizens indefinitely, without trial. This is a blatant violation of the Constitution.

The Lee Amendment ensures that if the government wishes to making any such detention, that it have clear authorization to do so. The entire text of the Lee Amendment is consistent with the Constitution and with the prior Supreme Court cases that govern this issue. This amendment is narrow in scope, and will not hinder our counterterrorism efforts. This is merely to strengthen American citizens constitutional protections.

FreedomWorks will count the votes for these amendments on our 2018 Congressional Scorecard and reserves the right to score votes for amendments not listed above. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.


Adam Brandon President FreedomWorks

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Freedom Works
Sunday June 24, 2018 @ 01:30:01 AM mt

FreedomWorks Celebrates US District Court Ruling in Favor of ATTTime Warner Merger

Washington, DC - FreedomWorks celebrates todays U.S. District Court ruling, which allowed the proposed AT&T/Time Warner merger to proceed. This ruling will allow the two companies to develop more innovative services for their customers at a lower price.

This decision is a major win for free enterprise. Government agencies should resist involving themselves in private transactions in the marketplace. Companies must be allowed to innovate without the heavy hand of government picking winners and losers. Thankfully, the courts ruling upheld this principle.

FreedomWorks Director of Policy Patrick Hedger commented:

Today was a clear victory for the free market. Private entities should be free to expand their range of services and market themselves to consumers on their own terms. The federal government should limit its antitrust actions to actual instances of anti-competitive practices, not simple mergers intended to produce economic growth and innovation.

It has consistently been the position of FreedomWorks, particularly in regards to the increasingly de-segmented media market, that a transaction in the marketplace reached voluntarily between parties is already a good sign that the transaction serves the public interest.

The only proven way government has ever fostered increased competition is by getting out of the way. FreedomWorks supports this merger that will get the government out of the way and allow for enhanced competition and technology.

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Freedom Works
Sunday June 24, 2018 @ 01:30:00 AM mt

Criminal Justice Reform Success Story Unfolds in Utah

In 2015, Utah legislators passed and Governor Gary Hulburt signed into law a package, HB 348, to reform its state criminal justice system. This package included new concepts such as prioritizing prison space for people with serious and violent offenses as well as strengthening community supervision, both of which have yielded substantial public safety returns.

Since passing the law, Utah has reaped the benefits of common sense criminal justice legislation. The states prison population has declined by nine percent. Crime rates have fallen as well. As the overall incarcerated population fell, the share of the population convicted of harming the publics safety rose from 60 to 68 percent, indicating that limited resources are being used more properly.

Prisoners convicted of simple drug possession are now only two percent of Utahs prison population, down from 5 percent . New programs have diverted more low-level drug offenders to community based treatments, keeping them connected to their families and support networks. This is proven to be effective in solving the underlying addiction problem that lengthy prison sentences do nothing to alleviate.

Since Utahs reform package included an alternative to incarceration, the state reinvested more than $35 million in treatment and evidence-based alternatives by the end of 2017, increasing taxpayer savings. It is also expected to redirect about $14 million into evidence-based strategies to reduce recidivism, or likelihood of reoffense, reconviction, or reincarceration after release from prison. These recidivism-reducing programs save taxpayer dollars and enhance public safety simultaneously.

As Gov. Herbert said in 2015 , This package will enhance public safety and put the brakes on the revolving prison door. HB 348 will establish better treatment resources and alternatives for nonviolent offenders, ensuring our citizens get the best possible return on their tax dollars. Three years later, this has been proven true.

Before the reform, Utahs prison population rose dramatically by 19 percent from 2004 to 2013. Without implementing reform measures, Utahs prison population would still be on the road to grow tremendously. Not only has this reform package prevented growth, but it has actually shrunk the prison population. In doing so, it has already begun to save taxpayers money and is expected to save more than $500 million over 20 years.

Utah, a traditionally conservative state, has chosen to make critical changes to its criminal justice system that refocus resources on offenders who threaten society, while providing opportunities for rehabilitation to those who do not. In doing so, Utah follows in the footsteps of the states that have led on these issues, including Texas and Georgia.

As a result, Utahans have reaped the same benefits of saved taxpayer dollars, less crime, and returning citizens who contribute to society. Approximately two-thirds of states across the country have now implemented such reforms. The remaining states -- and the federal government -- should do the same.

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Freedom Works
Sunday June 24, 2018 @ 01:29:59 AM mt

FreedomWorks Supports Government Non-intervention in Comcast Proposal to Acquire Twentieth Century Fox

Washington, DC - FreedomWorks calls for government restraint in wake of Comcasts recent all-cash proposal to acquire Twentieth Century Fox. Echoing our comments regarding yesterdays DC District Court decision to approve the AT&T/Time Warner merger, American consumers stand to benefit the most from free market decisions and competition between private firms.

FreedomWorks Director of Policy, Patrick Hedger commented:

"We're encouraged to see this dynamism in the media market. Consolidation doesn't mean less competition, it means more vigorous competition across increasingly integrated multimedia platforms. We encourage regulators to understand that the competition is not TV versus TV or website versus website.

The competition is for the eyes and ears of Americans, full stop. Fox, Comcast, and all other media companies should be primarily responsible to their shareholders, customers, and viewers, not the antiquated views of antitrust hawks."

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Freedom Works
Saturday June 23, 2018 @ 01:12:53 PM mt

FreedomWorks Cheers Pennsylvania General Assemblys Passage of the Clean Slate Act

WASHINGTON, DC - FreedomWorks cheers the Pennsylvania General Assemblys passage of the Clean Slate Act, in the House in April by a vote of 188-2 and in the Senate this afternoon by a vote of 49-0. Governor Wolf has previously stated that he will sign the bill into law, representing a significant step in the right direction for criminal justice reform for the state.

The Clean Slate Acts benefits are manifold. The law will benefit public safety and save taxpayer dollars, while at the same time allowing for reformed offenders to rejoin society as the productive members they wish to be.

FreedomWorks Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Jason Pye, commented:

As states have continually taken the lead on criminal justice reform in the past decade or so, it is encouraging to see Pennsylvania doing the same. Always the laboratories of policy innovation, states such as this one have been able to craft, with input from across the political spectrum, legislation that has overwhelming support. Pennsylvanias Clean Slate Act is a prime example of this.

This innovative legislation that utilizes todays technology to an impressive extent will serve as a marker and a model for what is possible across all states to further break down barriers to reentry. The current process for petitioning to have a record sealed is cumbersome and backlogged, wasting resources while unnecessarily disabling many former nonviolent misdemeanor offenders from access to employment, education, and stability that are critical to continued success in society.

Reversing this by sealing records automatically of those qualified individuals who have remained crime-free for a predetermined period of time is quite simply a no-brainer. We look forward to seeing it signed into law by Gov. Wolf, and even more so to see the marked effects it will have on individual lives, on the state as a whole, and on communities across the country as other states look toward and follow Pennsylvanias lead.

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Freedom Works
Saturday June 23, 2018 @ 01:09:39 AM mt

TSA Caught Violating Civil Liberties Again

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has created a secret watch list of individuals who they claim pose potential threats to airport security. This ridiculous safety precaution allows the TSA, an unaccountable government agency, to get away with unnecessary and invasive searches and violates travelers privacy rights.

One troubling fact about this watchlist is that an individual does not need to have an intent to injure or cause physical pain to a security screener in order to be put on this list. An offense as minor as loitering near security checkpoints can land you a spot on the watch list that will affect all your future travel. It also leads to increased security screenings of family members who travel.

All it takes to be nominated to this watchlist is reasonable suspicion on the part of TSA agents. This suspicion can be pulled from places like social media as well, which further damages privacy protections and can hurt free speech. Additionally, loved ones of people on the list can be monitored, despite having raised no suspicion.

This is not the governments first time around the block when it comes to secret watchlists. In 2014, according to government documents obtained by The Intercept, the Obama administration expanded the watchlist program to include a number of civil liberties abuses:

*In addition to data like fingerprints, travel itineraries, identification documents, and gun licenses, the rules encourage screeners to acquire health insurance information, drug prescriptions, 'any cards with an electronic strip on it (hotel cards, grocery cards, gift cards, frequent flyer cards),' cellphones, email addresses, binoculars, peroxide, bank account numbers, pay stubs, academic transcripts, parking and speeding tickets, and want ads. The digital information singled out for collection includes social media accounts, cell phone lists, speed dial numbers, laptop images, thumb drives, iPods, Kindles, and cameras. *

This watchlist is an anti-privacy tactic that gives the government access to a large amount of our personal information that requires no burden of proof on the government, simply a reasonable suspicion. If abused, the government will be able to monitor individuals and use their information to further track innocent Americans and their families.

The TSA is an administration that is meant to keep travelers safe. In reality, however, it is continuously stripping citizens of their privacy protections and has failed 95 percent of security trials conducted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These privacy invasions are troublesome at best, and Orwellian at worst.

There are many cases where the TSA has groped individuals based on false explosives alerts over the years as well. In 2016, the TSA thoroughly groped a ten-year-old girl in the Raleigh-Durham airport. In an interview with Good Morning America, the girl explained her experience as very uncomfortable and violating.

That same year Jim Bovard, a libertarian political commentator, shared a similar experience with the TSA and noted that they recorded him in the airport from start to finish, except when he was in the private room receiving an invasive search. Thousands of Americans have filed complaints against excessive pat downs at security checkpoints. It is clear that your rights dont matter to the TSA while youre in an airport, regardless of the Constitutions privacy protections.

With many of these intensive security screenings happening every day, not only is there a chance of innocent travelers missing their flights, they are also losing their constitutional rights. In this way, the TSA actually does more harm than good to American travelers and has its priorities wildly out of order.

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Freedom Works
Friday June 22, 2018 @ 03:17:40 PM mt

Senator Burrtrays Principle and Party on Rescissions

Theres almost always a Republican who gets in the way of a positive legislative victory. On health insurance reform, there were a few, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who blocked the skinny repeal of ObamaCare from moving forward. It almost happened on tax reform because of Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). On nearly every issue, Sen. Susan Collins (?-Maine) plays a key part in it. Yesterday, joining Sen. Collins, was Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who played the part of Judas.

Lets replay this Burrtrayal.

On June 7, the House passed the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act, H.R. 3, by a small margin, 210 to 206. The bill would have rescinded roughly $15 billion in unobligated budget authorities from previous years, reducing the deficit by about $1.1 billion and taking away money that appropriators would have otherwise used to spending higher than budgeted levels.

On Wednesday, the Senate considered the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act. Now, in the upper chamber, this measure is privileged. The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 allows a president to make rescissions request and temporarily allows the administration to impound, or not spend, the funds. The process bypasses the filibusters, requiring only a simple majority, or 51 votes, for all procedural matters.

No one expected this no vote from Sen. Burr, which came entirely out of left field. Following his vote was a much-anticipated press release explaining the vote. However, his offices explanation was less than impressive, citing the need to defend $16 million from being cut from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which, according to the press release, operates with no taxpayer funding.

This is by definition, true, as the fund he cites is funded by royalties paid by energy companies to the government to extract publicly owned offshore oil and gas from the Outer Continental Shelf and not by tax dollars. In practice, though, this is funded by taxpayers, as increased regulatory costs on businesses inevitably fall on consumers in the price they pay for the final product or service.

This is, however, beside the point. The office explained that Sen. Burr introduced an amendment to strike the provision and that he has been seeking permanent reauthorization for the fund, which expires on September 30. The former of these explanations could have been directly addressed by a yes vote on the motion to discharge, which undermines his entire premise for his vote on the motion.

The vote he made to sink the rescissions bill prior to was only the motion to discharge. That is to say it would have allowed the Senate to bring the bill out of the Appropriations Committee to the floor for consideration. It was the first procedural vote, and it would have allowed senators to progress the bill and eventually offer amendments in a vote-a-rama."

Vote-a-ramas only occur during consideration of a budget resolution and consideration of a rescissions package. After the allotted time of debate on a bill expires, any senator may introduce any number of amendments to a piece of legislation, all of which will receive a vote in a back to back marathon voting spree.

Now, Sen. Burrs office claimed that he had offered an amendment. doesnt show that he offered an amendment. Even if he did, why vote against the motion and prevent the Senate from moving forward to the vote-a-rama where his amendment could have be considered? If he was concerned about losing on the amendment, at least the process would have played out.

Sen. Burr took to Twitter today to defend the popularity of the the LWCF, touting over and over its merits and its lack of cost to taxpayers. If this is the case, he should have eagerly voted to allow his colleagues to join him in this noble cause in passing his amendment to strike this provision. Alas, he did not, and is left doing damage control of tanking the chance for his chamber to even consider a key priority of conservatives and the administration.

From our perspective, Sen. Burr is no better than Sen. Collins. He once said, We're $13 trillion in debt. The answer is to stop spending. Americans are saying enough. The answer is, let's stop spending. Sure, the rescissions bill was small, and its a drop in the bucket compared to the fiscally irresponsible Bipartisan Budget Act, which blew through the spending caps by nearly $300 billion, passed by Congress in February.

But for a senator who has complained about spending, this should have been an easy yes vote. Especially when a yes vote would have also allowed him a subsequent vote on the very issue he cited as the reason for his no vote.

Sen. Burr failed to live up to his rhetoric, and this Burrtrayal wont be forgotten.

Jason Pye contributed to this post.

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Freedom Works
Friday June 22, 2018 @ 02:12:03 PM mt

FreedomWorks Applauds House Budget Committees FY 2019 Budget Proposal

WASHINGTON, DC - FreedomWorks applauds the FY 2019 budget resolution approved on Thursday by the House Budget Committee. If passed, the proposal will facilitate $302 billion in spending cuts. The proposal is a step in the right direction to establish fiscal responsibility in Congress.

Jason Pye, FreedomWorks Vice President of Legislative Affairs, commented:

"We applaud Chairman Womack and the House Budget Committee for producing a budget for FY 2019. A key component of this budget is reconciliation instructions to 11 House committees to achieve at $302 billion in spending cuts over ten years. After the fiscal profligacy of the Bipartisan Budget Act and the omnibus, the spending cuts that would be achieved under the FY 2019 budget are a step in the right direction."

"Although the House Budget Committee is stepping up, whether the Senate will produce a budget or even consider the House's budget, should it pass, is an open question. If the House passes this budget, we urge Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans to do their jobs and consider a budget that begins to put America back on a sustainable path."

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Freedom Works
Friday June 22, 2018 @ 02:12:03 PM mt

The Weekly Fix: Cronyism Is a Family Business

The fix is in. Mylan Pharmaceuticals cant afford to keep 400 employees on its payroll in Morgantown, West Virginia, but it can afford to donate tens of thousands of dollars to Senator Joe Manchins (D-WV) re-election campaign.

Mylan executives donated $51,250 to the Manchin campaign in the first quarter of 2018, which brings the total of Mylan-related donations to $132,450 since 2010. It is the Manchin campaigns second largest source of federal campaign funds, closely following FirstEnergy Corp.

As coincidence would have it, the CEO of Mylan also happens to be Sen. Manchins daughter.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the pharmaceutical companys spending habits are under constant criticism for unethical business practices. From 2007 to 2016, Heather Bresch (Sen. Manchins daughter) gave herself a $16.6 million pay raise. At one point, Mylan fraudulently classified the EpiPen as a generic brand to avoid paying Medicaid rebates, which required the company to pay the federal government $465 million.

To increase revenue, the company spiked the price of a two-pack of EpiPen injectors to more than $600 in 2016. Since Mylan controlled 85 percent of the EpiPen market share, customers had no choice but to pay the extra $500. Their lives depended on it.

All this, and the CEO managed to avoid major legal consequences. There are other benefits to being the Senators daughter: In the years since Bresch took over, Mylan received millions of dollars in federal contracts. Before her tenure at the company, Mylan received federal contracts in the low thousands, or sometimes none at all.

Mylan Pharmaceuticals is a case study in what happens when big business colludes with big government. Heather Bresch continues to reap the benefits of being wealthy and well-connected, at the expense of the 400-plus West Virginians she just sent to the unemployment line.

Its time to take a stand. The American people arent being heard by their representatives because the game is rigged. Government isnt broken. Its fixed.

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Freedom Works
Friday June 22, 2018 @ 02:12:02 PM mt

FreedomWorks Applauds Supreme Court Decision in Carpenter v. United States

WASHINGTON, DC - FreedomWorks applauds the Supreme Court decision today in Carpenter v. United States, which determined that the federal government cannot retrace the location of a persons cell phone without a warrant. The ruling is a step forward in defense of Americans civil liberties.

Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks President, commented:

"Today's decision by the Supreme Court in Carpenter is a victory for Americans and the Fourth Amendment. If law enforcement wants an individual's cell phone records, they have to get a warrant. Otherwise, an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy and his or her records aren't accessible under the previously established third-party doctrine."

"Justice Gorsuch's dissent is notable because he actually agrees with the majority, but he wanted to go a step further by ending the bad precedent established in two previous cases in the 1970s. The precedent established in these cases were used as the justification of warrantless surveillance conducted by the NSA. Nevertheless, this decision is still a significant victory."

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