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.

TAKE ACTION

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

The Omnibus Bill – The American People’s Lump of Coal in their Christmas stocking!

thuneOn Friday, December 18, Congress approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill (2000+ pages) with a pair of overwhelming bipartisan votes, capping a frenzied final few weeks of legislating before lawmakers head home for the holidays and gear up for the 2016 election year.

The House moved first, passing the government-funding bill on a 316-113 vote. The Senate followed suit just a few hours later, clearing the legislation —which also included a $680 billion tax package that the House cleared on Thursday — on a 65-33 tally.

VOTING NO:  South Dakota Senator John Thune

VOTING YES:  South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds and Representative Kristi Noem

The Family Heritage Alliance views the vote on the omnibus bill as a ‘Family Value’ and we applaud Senator John Thune’s principled stand in opposing its passage.  We consider his vote…bold leadership.

Wikipedia defines an omnibus bill as:  “a proposed law that covers a number of diverse or unrelated topics. Omnibus is derived from Latin and means “for everything”. An omnibus bill is a single document that is accepted in a single vote by a legislature but packages together several measures into one or combines diverse subjects.  Because of their large size and scope, omnibus bills limit opportunities for debate and scrutiny.”

Congressman Mark Sanford, (R-NC) wrote the following concerning the passage of this omnibus bill:

“That the debt, deficit, and budgetary constraints continue to be issues in Washington – as elusive as Taliban fighters in the mountains of Pakistan – was evidenced this week by the omnibus bill. It’s a 2,000-page bill with $1.1 trillion in spending that we had but three days to review. Like any of these bills that combine many areas of government spending, there is enough good and bad to give all members of Congress a reason to vote for or against – and that generally means the taxpayer is the one losing in the process.”

Thank you again Senator Thune for your vote!

Click here for the Heritage Foundation’s Press Release on this topic

Click here to send send your appreciation to Senator Thune

Heritage Foundation Press Release on Omnibus Bill

heritagefoundationClick here for the Heritage Foundation

Finally, from the respected HERITAGE FOUNDATION we read the following press release issued moments after the omnibus bill was unveiled:

Omnibus a Missed Opportunity to Rein in Wasteful Spending

WASHINGTON December 16, 2015 – Congress has released a $1.1 trillion spending omnibus that—with about $50 billion in spending authority above the Budget Control Act—Heritage Foundation experts call a “missed opportunity to rein in wasteful and excessive spending.

“While higher spending levels were agreed to back in November, Congress had no obligation to spend up to the cap,” said Paul Winfree, director of Heritage’s Thomas A. Roe Institute for economic policy studies. “This bill also contains a number of budget gimmicks that allow the bill to spend billions more than the November agreement.”

Spending limits present a ceiling, not a goal, Winfree contends. “With annual interest costs on the debt on course to reach nearly $800 billion within 10 years, Congress should have used this as an opportunity to enact meaningful policy reforms and embrace the budget they agreed to earlier this year. This omnibus also shortchanges defense at a time when national security should be a priority by using the war fund to pay for non-security programs.”

When it comes to leveraging the omnibus to govern with policy riders, Heritage experts conclude that Congress mostly disappointed. From continuing funds for abortion-providers like Planned Parenthood to failing to restrict taxpayer dollars for the Obama administration’s illegal and overreaching waters of the United States rule, there isn’t much to laud in this bill.

Ending the ban on oil exports will create more economic opportunities for Americans, increase employment and economic growth, and augment the overall efficiency of global oil markets. Unfortunately, the bill also gives the oil industry a special handout by providing small domestic refiners with a tax credit for the costs they incur from transporting oil.

The bill also continues a provision to prohibit CMS Program Management funds from being used to make payments under Obamacare’s Risk Corridor program. This will prohibit the administration from using undedicated funds to bailout unprofitable qualified health insurance plans in the individual and small group markets.

On the tax extenders bill that was also released, research fellow Curtis Dubay says Congress once again dropped the ball by not going through each policy in the package—making those that reflect sound policy permanent, and eliminating those that are not sound policy permanently in a revenue neutral way.

“Further complicating matters is that Congress included a delay of certain Obamacare taxes without reducing Obamacare spending, including the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost health insurance plans,” Dubay notes. “This is the wrong approach to that tax, which should instead be restructured into a more useful cap on the tax-free amount of employer-provided health insurance.”