What The Schumer Shutdown Is Really About

A commentary from Congressman Gary Palmer

Democrat senators made a choice last night. They chose between funding our military along with funding for healthcare insurance for America’s most vulnerable children or funding an unconstitutional program for people here illegally. They made a bad choice.

By opposing passage of a reasonable continuing resolution (CR) to extend funding for the United States government, the Senate Democrats led by Sen. Chuck Schumer further endangered the safety and security of the men and women who serve in the United States military forces.  The Schumer Shutdown increases the potential for serious injury and death for the men and women who risk their lives in their training, in their operation of aircraft, ships and land equipment that are outdated and lacking adequate maintenance and for those serving in combat operations.

The CR included six year funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), something Democrats traditionally support and that millions of low-income Americans depend on for their children’s health care. Literally, the Schumer Shutdown has tied opposition to funding our military and CHIP to an attempt to force amnesty for people who are in this country illegally. This is not only compromising our national security, it is compromising the health and safety of millions of American children and  potentially causing resentment among American citizens against those who are here illegally as a result of the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional action called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

In general, I believe a majority of Republicans in the House and Senate are sympathetic to the plight of those who were brought into the United States illegally as children. My colleagues and I want to provide a remedy that resolves the legal issue and helps them get right with the law and have an opportunity to earn the right to stay. As the vocal and disruptive demonstrations on Capitol Hill by these DACA/Dreamer protesters visibly show, they are not just children, but young, in some cases older, adults who are being used, not for their best interests, but as political pawns of the Democrat Party.

By attaching their demand for full amnesty and citizenship in order to fully and adequately fund our military and CHIP, the Democrats in both the House and Senate have made hostages of our service men and women and children in low-income families. Literally, the Democrats are encouraging and supporting the disruptive demonstrations by illegal aliens at our nation’s Capitol while our soldiers and sailors go without the support they desperately need and potentially leaving millions of children without health insurance in the midst of the worst flu epidemic in America in years.  This is not only dangerous, it is shameful.

If it was not already apparent, by now it should be to every American that by refusing to pass the CR, Sen. Schumer and the Democrats are callously using the unconstitutional DACA program people in their quest for political power with a stunningly reckless disregard for our military and the well-being of American families and their children. And whether the DACA demonstrators realize it or not, the Schumer Shutdown could make matters worse by diminishing their cause and their future acceptance among millions of otherwise sympathetic American people.

Finally, as if it is not evident enough that what the Schumer Shutdown is really all about then consider this. The Democrats ensured that funding for our military, CHIP, and other government programs ended at the precise second that marked the first anniversary of Donald Trump taking office as President of the United States. There is a disturbing and obsessive inability of the Democrats in both the House and Senate to accept the will of the people who elected President Trump. It appears to me that the Schumer Shutdown is simply the latest attempt to bring down the Trump presidency and halt the amazing success President Trump has achieved in his first year. The Democrats have literally come to the point where they are not only compromising our military and the health and well-being of American children, they are compromising the cause of DACA recipients and their own legitimacy as well.”

-Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL)


Covering the windows at the Fort Meade VA Chapel


Recently FHA received a call from a distraught chaplain at the Fort Meade Chapel. It seems that the beautiful Christian-themed stained glass chapel windows have been covered to create a “religiously neutral” space.

In fact, the Veterans Health Administration’s Directive 1111 requires that VA facilities’ chapels be “religiously neutral, reflecting no particular faith tradition.” Fort Meade has opted to keep these windows covered at all times, unless a religious service is occurring.

FHA contacted Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s staff to advise of this situation. The response was immediate as the Congresswoman wrote a letter to the Veterans Administration Secretary Shulkin.

Please see the letter and News Release by clicking here.

FHA appreciates the prompt response and willingness of Congresswoman Noem to advocate for the veterans who have expressed their desire that these impressive stained glass windows not be mostly hidden from view.

We will remain engaged in this situation and we hope to report good news soon.

SCOTUS Nomination

Judge Neil Gorsuch

As I’m sure you know, President Trump just announced his nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Family Policy Alliance recently wrote: “Gorsuch serves as a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He’s made strong rulings in favor of religious freedom. He’s also known for the hard line he took against the abortion-pill mandate in Obamacare. The upcoming hearings and vote for Judge Gorsuch will be some of the most contentious we’ve ever seen. Your lawmakers need to hear from you now.”

President Donald Trump has kept his campaign promise to nominate a strong conservative to fill the Supreme Court position made vacant when Justice Antonin Scalia passed away last year. He called Judge Gorsuch “a person who is unbelievably highly respected.”

Gorsuch is a proponent of originalism, the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted as the Founding Fathers would have interpreted it.

Gorsuch is a believer in a broad definition of religious freedom and sided with Christian employers and religious organizations in the cases of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Little Sisters of the Poor.


Family Heritage Alliance applauds President Trump’s choosing Judge Gorsuch and urges you to contact Senator John Thune (Click Here) and Senator Mike Rounds (Click Here) and encourage them to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is critical to so many cases involving our rights as Christians. Use these bullet points to help in writing your email messages to our Senators:

  • Judge Neil Gorsuch is eminently qualified to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Gorsuch would not make law from the bench as others have in the past
  • We need someone who understands the Founders’ original intent for the Constitution
  • Please confirm Judge Gorsuch

You and I know that America needs Supreme Court justices who will uphold the Constitution and defend the religious liberty of every American. We are hopeful that Judge Gorsuch will live up to President Trump’s and the American people’s expectations and strongly protect our constitutional freedoms.

Heartbeat Bill Introduced In Congress

HR 490 Will Move the National Debate from Regulating Abortion to Ending It

Congressman Steve King
(Republican, Iowa)

Congressman Steve King (R, Iowa) has introduced HR 490–the “Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017”–to “prohibit abortion in cases where a fetal heartbeat is detectable.”

Congressman King stated, “My legislation will require all physicians, before conducting an abortion, to detect the heartbeat of the unborn child. If a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.”

The architect of the Heartbeat Bill is Janet Porter, President of Faith2Action. She recently wrote: “The heartbeat is a universal indicator of life–it is time we recognize it across the board..”

“Even the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals recognized that ‘the point at which an unborn child possesses a detectable heartbeat’ is a ‘more consistent and certain marker than viability’-where the court currently allows legal protection,” explained Porter. “The federal Heartbeat Bill will move the line of legal protection much closer to conception–where it belongs.”

King added, “I believe our most important responsibility that God has bestowed upon us is to protect innocent human life, and I will continue to dedicate my life to that responsibility.”

The Family Heritage Alliance believes it is time we stop discriminating against the youngest members of the human family–babies whose heartbeats can be heard.

HR 490 will forever shift the national debate from regulating abortion to ending it and we would encourage our South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem’s support of HR 490.

FHA Action Meets A US House Candidate

The FHA Action team of Executive Director Dale Bartscher and Capitol Lobbyist Norman Woods left Rapid City on Monday, January 9, for Sioux Falls but made an inspiring dinner stop in Mitchell with Dusty Johnson, currently the only declared candidate for the 2018 US House seat. Norman reflected on the evening’s encounter saying, “Dusty shared with us an overview of his campaign fundraising, an explanation of why he is running, and several qualities that our next US Representative should have. Dusty is optimistic that he is gaining traction in his fundraising efforts and his explanation of why he is running was tied into the qualities that he believes our next Representative should have. These qualities included: being a hard worker, balancing work and family, being able to stay afloat in all the political nuances, and connecting with South Dakotans back home. He also said he puts great weight in his Christian Worldview and that even though there may be disagreements at some point, we are all striving for the same goal.” Stay tuned as the race for the South Dakota US House seat is about to get really interesting.

Family Research Council Praises House Passage of Conscience Protection Act

Used by permission from Family Research Council

Editor’s note:  Family Heritage Alliance Action would like to recognize our U.S. Representative  Kristi Noem for her YES vote on this!

Kristi_Noem_portraitWASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Conscience Protection Act to stop government discrimination against pro-life Americans who object to being forced to participate in abortion. Family Research Council urged Congress to pass this significant pro-life legislation.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

“Only one day after the Republican Party’s platform committee adopted a plank protecting conscience rights, the House of Representatives stepped in to do the same. I applaud the House for voting to codify longstanding federal conscience protections, and to give pro-life victims of government discrimination the right to sue in court. No person, organization or healthcare provider should ever be forced by the government to participate in the abhorrent act of abortion.

“Since the federal Department of Health and Human Services has dragged its feet and is now ignoring the federal law, known as the Weldon Amendment, this legislation is necessary to enable victims of government discrimination over their pro-life views, including churches, doctors, and nurses, to pursue legal action against the state for violating their consciences. The Conscience Protection Act is about basic fairness for everyone.

“I want to thank Rep. John Fleming, M.D. in particular for his work drafting this legislation, and Rep. Diane Black for sponsoring it. Also, our thanks go to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Leader Kevin McCarthy for bringing this bill to a vote, and to Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Joe Pitts for their tireless work on this legislation. Now that the Conscience Protection Act has passed the House, we are one step closer to providing judicial relief from California’s unlawful and discriminatory abortion mandate. We are one step closer to ensuring that if the federal government and states discriminate against pro-life health care providers and even churches which object to abortion they can sue to obtain relief. I urge the Senate to follow the House’s example and pass this legislation and force President Obama to decide whether the freedom to believe still has a place in American society,” concluded Perkins.

GOP Cites Pornography As A Public Health Crisis

enewsThe debate on the harms of pornography has officially hit the national political stage.  This week the Republican National Committee affirmed an amendment to its platform declaring pornography a public health crisis.  The full draft of the platform will be sent to the floor of the convention next week.  The Family Heritage Alliance commends this development, and asks the Democratic National Committee to take similar action.

This is a major victory.  It’s a bipartisan issue, rooted in peer-reviewed research that reveals pornography negatively affects the brain, sexual development, rates of sexual violence, and more.

Because pornography is so pervasive today, it has surpassed the ability individuals and families to protect themselves from its harmful influences.  This is why we need a public health approach that raises awareness about the harms of pornography, provides resources to those struggling with it, and offers effective prevention strategies.

FHA ACTION is exploring the very real possibility of submitting to the 2017 Legislative Session a state resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis.  A similar resolution has already passed in Utah and Tennessee and we sense it’s time for the SD Legislature to recognize the same.  Yes, Porn use leads to addiction, child sex abuse, sexual violence, marriage dissolution, spiritual destruction, sex trafficking, and on and on.  Stay Tuned!

FHA Action’s Thoughts on Trump’s VP Choice

Mike_Pence,_official_portrait,_112th_CongressThe FHA Action has not, as of yet, endorsed a 2016 Presidential Candidate.  At this point – we report and you prayerfully decide.

It is being widely reported that Donald Trump has selected Mike Pence, the Governor of Indiana, as his running mate.  If this is true then this is good news for conservatives in general and evangelicals in particular.

His selection goes a long way toward consolidating GOP support for Donald Trump, making a Trump-Pence ticket far more likely to defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall. As such, his selection shows the Trump campaign’s growing understanding that to win they need conservatives in general and evangelicals in particular.

Pence helps in this way for many reasons:

  • He has an excellent record as a six-term, 12-year-veteran of Congress as well as the chief executive of the Midwestern state with the best overall business climate.
  • In Congress, he was a champion of life, religious liberty and traditional marriage, as revealed by his votes and statements. He is also an unabashed champion for Israel, protecting our borders and a strong military.
  • Under Mike Pence’s stewardship, Indiana has record employment levels, a bond rating better than the U.S. government, and a business climate that is eighth best overall and best in the Midwest, according to Forbes magazine. Pence’s economic record includes accelerating a tax cut that eliminated ALL inheritance taxes in Indiana.
  • Pence is a policy expert. He led the Indiana Policy Review (State Policy Network economic think tank) in the 90s while serving on the board of the Indiana Family Institute (our sister organization in Indiana) before running for and winning a seat in Congress in 2000.
  • Pence also spent a decade on talk radio, honing his communication skills and showing all Hoosiers that he is a cheerful, winsome, policy leader who is “a Christian first, then a conservative and then a Republican.” He has truly walked the walk of a genuine believer both personally and professionally.
  • In Congress, he was a top leader as Chairman of the GOP Conference. He also served as a senior member of the House International Affairs Committee.
  • He and his wife, Karen, worship at an evangelical church in Indianapolis and have three grown children. Their son, Michael, was recently commissioned as a first lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, following graduation from Purdue University.

Gary Bauer, FHA friend and this year’s Eastern SD Stand Banquet Keynote Speaker, wrote recently concerning Mike Pence:

“I have known Mike Pence for many years, even before he entered Congress. He is a solid, pro-family, pro-life conservative, with a Reaganesque demeanor. I believe he will provide balance to the GOP ticket in many ways.”


US House Passes Bill that Defunds Planned Parenthood

The House has voted the will of the majority of Americans with this legislation, which makes Planned Parenthood ineligible to receive federal tax dollars and redirects those funds to support the thousands of better low-cost healthcare options for women and families.

Created by ADFJan 06, 2016
Planned_Parenthood_logo.svgThe following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox regarding the U.S. House’s passage Wednesday of the Senate’s budget reconciliation bill that includes a provision terminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood:

“The House has voted the will of the majority of Americans with this legislation, which makes Planned Parenthood ineligible to receive federal tax dollars and redirects those funds to support the thousands of better low-cost healthcare options for women and families. This historic vote recognizes the many issues of a scandal-plagued organization with a long track record of abusive and potentially fraudulent billing practices, caught in authenticated undercover videos trafficking aborted babies’ body parts, and that has repeatedly failed to report the sexual abuse of girls. For the first time, a bill will reach the president’s desk that will end taxpayer subsidies of an abortion business that has enjoyed nearly a billion dollars in profits over the last decade while taking more than $4 billion from American taxpayers. It is time to end this immoral partnership that has been forced upon the American people.” (#DefundPP)

The bill now goes to President Obama.

Kristi_Noem_portraitAlliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

Click here for ADF’s Website

Editor’s Note:  South Dakota’s Representative to the U.S. House was one of those who voted in favor of this bill.  Click here to send Mrs. Noem a note expressing your appreciation!

Coffee and Conversation with Senator Mike Rounds

roundsU.S. Senator Mike Rounds sends us the following.  We thought you might be interested.

On January 7, 2016, I would like to invite you for coffee and conversation in Rapid City. I will be hosting an open coffee at the University Center to take your questions and hear about the issues important to South Dakotans. I hope to see you there!

Coffee and Conversation with Mike
January 7, 2016
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. MT
University Center
4300 Cheyenne Blvd.
Rapid City, SD