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Freedom Works
Tuesday August 22, 2017 @ 02:28:20 AM mt

Lee and Leahy Move to Protect Email with Due Process



FreedomWorks supports the ECPA Modernization Act of 2017 by Senators Mike Lee and Patrick Leahy to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of every American by amending the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. This outdated law was written before most people even knew what the word internet meant, and well before the world of cloud-computing and online data storage. This legislation is in dire need of an upgrade, and Sens. Lee and Leahy should be applauded for taking the lead on this important issue.

Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, federal agencies do not need a warrant to search emails and other digital communications that are over 180 days old. But under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution, Americans are explicitly protected from having their physical property compromised without due process. These same protections should apply in the digital world as well. Additionally, the Fourth Amendment clearly protects Americans against unreasonable search and seizure and requires probable cause prior to issuing a warrant. ECPAs outdated standards for warrantless searches do not comport with the Fourth Amendments protection against warrantless searches.

FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon issued the following statement:

In the digital world, Americans deserve the same privacy protections that we have for our papers and personal information in the physical world. Senator Lees efforts to reform ECPAs outdated standards will restore the protections that our founders enshrined in the Constitution. Im glad to see Sens. Lee and Leahy's continued leadership on this important issue.

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Freedom Works
Tuesday August 22, 2017 @ 02:28:19 AM mt

Tax Reform: Its Time to Get Our Economy Growing Again



FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement following today's joint statement on fundamental tax reform:

"It's time to get our economy growing again. We need tax reform that fundamentally overhauls, not just tweaks, our current tax code. The tax code is a mile long with exceptions and carve-outs for everything under the sun. It's inaccessible and hard to follow. FreedomWorks and our activist community have waited a long time for this moment, and we're ready to get started to make tax reform a reality.

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Freedom Works
Tuesday August 22, 2017 @ 02:28:18 AM mt

FreedomWorks Presents FreedomFraud Awards



FreedomWorks today announced the FreedomFraud Award winners for this year: Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Dean Heller (R-Utah), and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). This is the counterpart to the FreedomFighter Awards.

The FreedomFraud Awards recognize the height of political fraud by senators who voted to defend ObamaCare by voting against a bill virtually the same as one they supported less than two years ago. While protected by Barack Obamas veto, they supported ObamaCare and railed against it. Now that President Trump supports the bill, they have exposed themselves as political liars.

FreedomWorks Vice President of Legislative Affairs Jason Pye delivered the awards to senators offices Friday afternoon. You can see an archived live stream here. Eligibility for the award is based purely on whether senators campaigned on repeal and voted for this bill less than two years ago and opposed it when it could have passed.

These people committed the greatest political fraud in American history, said Jason Pye. Republican politics has focused on repealing ObamaCare for the better part of a decade. There were frequent votes to repeal ObamaCare. These senators showed great contempt for their constituents by going against everything theyve stood for on ObamaCare repeal.

After the 2015 bill passed, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said, I'm for repealing this broken law and replacing it with something better that gives patients more choice, decreases costs and increases access to quality, affordable care.

After the 2015 bill passed, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) said, This law is not affordable for anyone in Alaska. That is why I will support the bill that repeals the ACA and wipes out its harmful impacts. I cant watch premiums for Alaskans shoot up by 30 percent or more each year, see businesses artificially constrained, or see the quality of public education decline.

After the 2015 bill passed, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said, I am glad that a repeal bill will finally reach the presidents desk.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, It is clear that any serious attempt to improve our health care system must begin with a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare, and I will continue fighting on behalf of the people of Arizona to achieve it.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said, This DC bureaucrat-driven healthcare system will only result in limited health care choices and higher costs for Nevadans.

Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) , The wisest course is to repeal Obamacare and replace it step by step with solutions that lower health care costs.

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Freedom Works
Tuesday August 22, 2017 @ 02:28:18 AM mt

The Weekly Fix: Double Standard



The fix is in. Did you know, corporations like General Electric Co. (GE) spend more money on lobbyists than they pay in taxes?

The federal government currently taxes corporations at 35 percent. While many argue the rate is too high, you dont hear companies like GE complaining about it. Thats because they arent paying it.

Over the past 15 years, GEs federal income tax rate averaged only 5.2 percent. General Electric paid no federal taxes in 2010, despite earning $5.1 billion in U.S. profits. Instead, the company claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

Meanwhile, GE executives awarded themselves more than $75 million in compensation and paid lobbyists a total of $39 million that same year- all while laying off their own employees.

How was this possible? It was an inside job. General Electrics tax planning team includes former employees from the Treasury, IRS, and congressional tax-writing committees. GE doesnt have a tax compliance team, it has a tax defiance team.

This is how the revolving door of power works in Washington. Entry-level staffers move to our nations capital and work as public servants for a few years. They learn the rules of the game, then cash out in the private sector to help lobbying firms and corporations like General Electric manipulate the system.

And the door spins round and round ...

No wonder Fortune 500 companies are so quiet on the sidelines while grassroots America fights to reform the tax code. Theyve already cut a deal behind closed doors.

With a Republican-led Congress and White House, there is a serious opportunity for tax and welfare reform in 2018. Its time to finally level the playing field. Any serious GOP entitlement reform effort must begin with corporate welfare reform.

Everyday families cant afford entire teams of lawyers and lobbyists dedicated to avoiding taxes. We work hard, and play by the rules. Political insiders and corporate America should do the same.

The American people arent being heard by government because the game is rigged. Washington isnt broken. Its fixed.

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Freedom Works
Tuesday August 22, 2017 @ 02:28:17 AM mt

Some Republicans Just Dont Want to Repeal ObamaCare



FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement about the defeat of the skinny repeal of ObamaCare:

Last nights vote was a slap in the face to every conservative who has been promised that Republicans would repeal ObamaCare. Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins voted against the skinny repeal of ObamaCare, theoretically the least repeal that can be achieved because so many Republicans went back on their votes for a 2015-style repeal. The Republican Party has been all about ObamaCare repeal for the better part of a decade, and now we see that they have been writing checks to voters that they knew the Bank of Obama wouldnt cash. Now that President Trump would sign it, they have exposed themselves as frauds.

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Freedom Works
Tuesday August 22, 2017 @ 02:28:12 AM mt

Senate Reauthorizes JJDPA Setting Up a Conference Committee with the House



Before adjourning for the August recess, the Senate quietly passed the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act, S. 860, by a voice vote. The bill reauthorizes the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, the authorization for which expired in 2007, and provides long overdue reform to the juvenile justice system.

For as quiet as passage was, the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) is notable. Last year, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who ridiculously once said that the United States has "under-incarceration problem," blocked a similar bill. In fact, he was literally the only member of the upper chamber who stood in the way of its passage.

Sen. Cotton's objection to the bill was over the proposed phase out of the valid court order (VCOs) exception. A violation of a VCO would allow state and local judges to detain juveniles for status offenses -- actions such as curfew violations, truancy, and tobacco use that are offenses only because of the person's status as a minor. In some states, juveniles who commit a status offense and are subject to a VCO are detained with serious offenders, increasing a juvenile's risk of recidivism.

The use of VCOs has been in decline nationwide. Last year, however, Sen. Cotton's spokesperson defended his intransigence, noting that Arkansas has one of the highest VCO use rates in the country. The use of VCOs in Arkansas had been in decline, dropping by roughly half between FY 2013 and FY 2014, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The most recent report from the Arkansas Division of Youth Services showed that 46 percent of youths who entered the state's juvenile justice system had committed misdemeanors or violated probation for adjudicated for a misdemeanor. The cost of detaining a youth Arkansas is nearly $64,000 annually, so detaining juveniles for what amounts to status offenses comes at a big cost.

Because Sen. Cotton wouldn't agree to allow JJDPA reauthorization to move in the Senate, the bill that would have reauthorized JJDPA died.

The issue was given new life earlier this year in the new Congress. The House passed the Juvenile Justice Reform Act, H.R. 1809, in May by voice vote. The House version of JJDPA reauthorization includes a phase of VCOs. The Senate, however, still struggled to get passed Sen. Cotton's strange desire to ensure that judges could essentially lock children up for status offenses.

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act, introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), offers key reforms. The bill reauthorizes JJDPA, prohibits the placement of juveniles in adult facilities, places a greater emphasis on evidence-based recidivism reduction programs, and increases transparency.

Unfortunately, the bill doesn't include a phase out of the VCO exception, though it does prohibit the detention of juveniles who commit status offenses, with one exception -- if a juvenile violates a VCO. In short, Sen. Cotton got his way, and judges will be able to place children who violate VCOs because of a status offense in detention facilities.

There is still an opportunity to address the concerns about the use of VCOs. Appointed members of the House Education and Workforce Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee will likely enter into a conference committee and produce a final version of the bill that rectifies the differences between the two bills. If language phasing out the VCO exception in put in the conference report, it can't be amended from the floor of either chamber. The conference report is given a straight up or down vote.

Hopefully, the House conferees will insist that the VCO exception for status offenses should be phased out in the conference report.

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Freedom Works
Tuesday August 22, 2017 @ 02:28:12 AM mt

John Tamny Joins FreedomWorks' New Center for Economic Freedom



FreedomWorks today announced that John Tamny will join FreedomWorks and serve as the director of the organizations Center for Economic Freedom.

The Center for Economic Freedom will have a special focus on promoting policies that get government out of the way and allow Americans to keep more of what they earn, while highlighting the dangers of overregulation and protectionism.

John Tamny will lead the Center for Economic Freedom. John has been the political economy editor at Forbes and the managing editor at RealClearMarkets since 2002. He is an author of two books related to his specialization in economics: Popular Economics: What the Rolling Stones, Downton Abbey, and LeBron James Can Teach You about Economics (Regnery Publishing, 2015) and Who Needs the Fed?: What Taylor Swift, Uber, and Robots Tell Us About Money, Credit, and Why We Should Abolish America's Central Bank (Encounter Books, 2016).

Among other projects, John will begin his time at the Center for Economic Freedom with a weekly Facebook Live called Not Fake News to highlight the very real facts about what our federal and state governments are doing to slow our economy and dampen American entrepreneurship.

John is a brilliant mind and seasoned expert in his field, and we are excited to have him working with us to promote economic freedom, said FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon. He is a great addition to our already stellar team, helping us to spread our message for free markets and limited government even further.

John Tamny said, FreedomWorks expertly enhances the terms of the U.S. policy discussion, and in doing so is constantly changing the course of policy in Washington for the better. I'm thrilled to add my voice to an organization that is on any short list of Washington's most influential.

In the coming years, I'll be publishing various books and hundreds of opinion pieces meant to expand FreedomWorks' already substantial voice. The fight for economic freedom is of singular importance, and I'm excited to be a part of an organization that will continue to advance these freedoms, Tamny added.

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Freedom Works
Monday August 21, 2017 @ 04:41:21 PM mt

Support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act H.R. 2996



On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act, H.R. 2996, introduced by Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.). The bill would establish work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps.

The number of SNAP recipients has increased dramatically over the past several years. Between 2006 and 2016, participation in the program grew by 17.7 million people. In 2016, 44.2 million people received SNAP benefits, at a cost of more than $66.5 billion.

States have shown that work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents helps reduce welfare spending. In Maine, caseloads have declined by roughly 80 percent after the work requirements were put in place. Similarly, Alabama has seen an 85 percent decline in caseloads in 13 counties that were exempted from work requirements as a result of recent reforms. Unemployment rates in both states have fallen since the implementation of work requirements.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act would establish work requirements for childless able-bodied adults who receive SNAP benefits. A recipient would be able to satisfy the work requirement by participating in a supervised job search. States that fail to comply would be subject to a 10 percent reduction in SNAP funding from the federal government.

Welfare reform has broad bipartisan support. According to a September 2016 survey commissioned by the Foundation for Government Accountability, 79 percent of likely voters support work requirements for childless able-bodied adults. This includes 70 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of independents.

Congress has a responsibility to promote upward mobility and dignity by passing legislation that encourages people to leave welfare and join the workforce. For these reasons, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act, H.R. 2996.

Sincerely,

Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks

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Freedom Works
Monday August 21, 2017 @ 04:41:21 PM mt

Key Vote YES on Four Conservative Nominees to Key Administration Posts



On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your senators and urge them to vote YES on the nominations of former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) to serve as president and chairman of the Export-Import, Ajit Pai to serve an additional term on the Federal Communications Commission, William Emanuel to serve as a member of the National Labor Relations Board, and Kevin Hassett to serve as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Each of these nominees will serve crucial roles in the Trump administration. Unfortunately, they have been stalled in the Senate for at least two months. In the case of Ajit Pai, who is the chairman of the FCC, his nomination has been stalled since March.

Former Rep. Garrett served in the House from 2003 to 2017, earning a 92 percent lifetime score with FreedomWorks. Rep. Garrett has been nominated to serve as the president and chairman of the Export-Import Bank. The Export-Import Bank has long been a textbook example of cronyism and corruption in the federal government, which is why conservatives fought against its reauthorization. Rep. Garrett would bring principled, conservative leadership to Ex-Im.

Chairman Pai has served on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since May 2012. Chairman Pai should not only be confirmed for his record of eloquently championing sensible regulation grounded by market principles, but because he also serves as an example of what the American people deserve from officials in Washington. Pais efforts, particularly on the debate surrounding Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, demonstrate his commitment to policies that work rather than policies that simply grow the power of government and relevance of his position as a regulator.

Mr. Emanuel has been nominated to serve on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). During the Obama administration, this particular agency was used as a means to boost labor unions. A seasoned attorney with a strong background in employment law, Mr. Emanuels confirmation would give Republicans an edge on the NLRB, providing an opportunity to undo the excesses of the previous administration.

Mr. Hassett has been nominated to serve as the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, which performs a crucial role in providing analysis and recommendations to the President on economic policy. Mr. Hassett, currently a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, believes in free markets, free trade, and fiscal responsibility. His advice to the White House will be important in putting the United States back on a path to real economic growth and improving the lives of Americans.

FreedomWorks will count the votes for these nominees when calculating our Scorecard for 2017 and reserves the right to score any related votes. 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.

Sincerely,

Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks

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Freedom Works
Monday August 21, 2017 @ 04:41:20 PM mt

The House Must Pass the 21st Century AIRR Act in September



FreedomWorks has released a key vote in support of the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, H.R. 2997. The bill would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the current authorization for which expires on September 30, for six years and modernize the United States air traffic control (ATC) system.

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure marked up the 21st Century AIRR Act on Thursday, June 27, by a vote of 32 to 25. Only one member of the majority, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), voted against the bill.

Past efforts to the reform the United States ATC system have failed. Part of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2003, the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) was supposed to modernize the FAAs air traffic control system and make it more efficient. Instead, what the country has seen is implementation programs, delays, and higher costs.

Between FY 2004 and FY 2016, according to the Government Accountability Office, the FAA received approximately $7.4 billion for programs and activities FAA identified as NextGen. Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel testified that NextGen could take 10 years longer to implement and that costs may reach $120 billion, far higher than original estimates.

The committee will well remember that the initial estimates from 9 or 10 years back called for $20 billion in Federal investments, plus another $20 billion in private investments, with a stated goal of completing implementation of the program by 2025. We are clearly not going to make it all by 2025, and we are clearly not going to make it with a total of $40 billion in investments, Federal and private. We are probably looking years beyond 2025, perhaps another 10, even.

And we are probably also looking at total expenditures in an order of magnitude two to three times that of the initial $40 billion estimate to achieve the original plan.

The most recent audit of NextGen by the Department of Office of the Inspector General didnt bring confidence that the FAA had gotten its act together. The six programs covered in the report had seen costs rise from $2.13 billion in 2012 to $5.77 billion, with the implementation of two of the programs delayed by six years.

Clearly, Congress must move away from NextGen and to a more sustainable model.

The 21st Century AIRR Act would sunset the Air Traffic Organization (ATO) and transfer air traffic control authority to a newly created nonprofit entity, the American Air Navigation Services Corporation. (AANSC). The board of directors for the AANSC will be comprised of 13 stakeholders, including two directors appointed by the Secretary of Transportation and one director each appointed by the passenger air carriers, air traffic controllers, and commercial pilots.

The proposed reforms are similar to what Canada has accomplished. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute explained:

Today, Canadian airspace users enjoy the most efficient and technologically advanced air navigation service provider in the world. Nav Canada has not raised user fees in 13 years and recently announced another permanent rate cut. As a result, the inflation-adjusted user fees charged by Nav Canada will soon be 45 percent lower than the aviation taxes they replaced. American airspace users deserve to enjoy the same benefits of modern air traffic control as our neighbors to the north and developed countries in Western Europe and the Pacific.

Several national conservative organizations including FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, the Coalition to Reduce Spending, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the National Taxpayers Union have expressed support for the ATC modernization proposed in the 21st Century AIRR Act. Separately, several conservative state-based think tanks also support these crucial reforms.

In addition to ATC modernization, the 21st Century AIRR Act would reduce regulation, promote safety, and improve service to passengers. Although there is room for improvement for every bill, FreedomWorks believes the 21st Century AIRR Act brings a long overdue series of reforms to the FAA. Conservatives in Congress should support this effort.

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