As GOP Looks to Eliminate State Tax Deduction, New Jersey Democrat Wavers on Millionaires Tax

Rachel del Guidice /

New Jersey is potentially holding off hiking its income tax due to the possibility of the state and local tax deduction being eliminated in the GOP tax plan, according to the president of the New Jersey Senate.

“I’m actually very concerned for the people of this state if this Trump tax happens, and I think we’re going to have to re-evaluate everything once that happens,” Senate President Steve Sweeney said Nov. 15 in reference to hiking the state’s tax rate on the highest earners from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent.

The Senate tax plan, which was voted out of the Senate Finance Committee Nov. 16, does away with the state and local tax deduction, a tax that allows taxpayers who itemize to deduct from their federal taxable income any property and income taxes paid to state or local governments. Eliminating the state and local tax deduction would provide roughly $1.3 trillion in new revenue for the U.S. government.

Sweeney, who previously maintained, according to the Observer, that “an increase in the marginal tax rate on income above $1 million would be the first bill the state Senate passes when Governor-elect Phil Murphy takes office in January,” appears to be softening his stance.

“I voted for it seven times,” Sweeney said, referring to the millionaires tax. “I’ve said it’s the top priority … But I’m actually getting very, very nervous now with what’s happening in Washington.”

President Donald Trump has been outspoken about reforming the tax code and has said he wants to sign a bill by Christmas.

Republican Senators are working very hard to get Tax Cuts and Tax Reform approved. Hopefully it will not be long and they do not want to disappoint the American public!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2017

Some Republican lawmakers, like Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., from high tax states oppose the elimination of the state and local tax deduction.

“It will have damaging effect on the overall economy and also on individuals. It’s a terrible thing,” King said on in interview with John Catsimatidis on AM970’s “The Answer,” which aired Sunday.

Adam Michel, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, said New Jersey potentially stopping plans to raise its taxes shows the positive impact of tax reform.

“This is great news for both New Jersey and tax reform,” Michel said, adding:

The fact that New Jersey is taking a second look at raising their income tax is an excellent example of the horrible incentives caused under the current system. Today, taxpayers around the country are subsidizing New Jersey, New York, and California’s high taxes, creating an incentive to continually raise taxes—they can just pass the tax on to federal taxpayers.

Ending the state and local tax will also level the playing field for taxpayers, Michel said.

“Eliminating [the state and local tax deduction] and using the savings to lower tax rates will result in a fairer and less complex tax code—a tax code that no longer allows a $3,000 deduction for a taxpayer in New York and a $900 deduction for someone making the same income living in Tennessee, for example.”

A vote on the Senate tax plan is expected after Thanksgiving.

Here’s Why We Should Still Celebrate the Pilgrims at Thanksgiving - The Daily Signal

Here’s Why We Should Still Celebrate the Pilgrims at Thanksgiving

Rachel del Guidice / Jarrett Stepman /

For most American families, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones, eat delicious food, and perhaps watch some football.

But not everyone is pleased with the celebration of this holiday, and some have taken to maligning its “originators,” the Pilgrims.

An editorial in Al Jazeera labeled Thanksgiving a “thoroughly nauseating affair,” one that is “saturated with disgrace.” Other articles have called the Pilgrims genocidal toward Native Americans, or argued that the original idea of a Thanksgiving feast is a “myth.”

“Debunking” the nature and origin of Thanksgiving seems to be turning into its own cottage industry.

But the Pilgrim Thanksgiving story is based on real events. The small band of religious dissenters who crossed an ocean to a dangerous new world have, rightly, been given special prominence in the origin story of the United States.

A year after the Pilgrims landed in what is now Massachusetts, Gov. William Bradford called for a day of thanksgiving. As historian Rod Gragg noted:

The Pilgrims were not the first Europeans to hold a thanksgiving event in the New World—although they appear to have been the first to do so in New England … It was the Pilgrims of Plymouth, however, who would be credited with establishing America’s distinctive Thanksgiving holiday—thanks to a joyful observance sometime in the autumn of 1621.

The Pilgrims gathered for a three-day feast with about 90 local Wampanoag Indians to celebrate a bountiful harvest following a year of toil (over half of the Pilgrims had died since they set out for America in 1620).

Though the food on the menu excluded modern items like pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce, those who gathered for that Thanksgiving likely ate wild turkey, among other foods common in the area like venison and shellfish.

While later conflicts would ensue between the Pilgrims’ descendants and the descendants of the Indians who feasted with them, the initial contact between the cultures was positive and beneficial.

Political misunderstandings unfortunately led to future conflicts—in particular King Phillip’s War—in which atrocities were committed by both sides.

The Pilgrims would certainly be foreign to the conventions of modern America. They were, after all, a different people who lived in a harsher world than ours. But they don’t deserve to be maligned as genocidal monsters, nor should we dismiss the fact that they set incredibly beneficial norms for a future American culture.

Though America’s Thanksgiving conventions have morphed and evolved over the years, Thanksgiving has retained a permanent connection to the Pilgrims of New England. Many of the traditions they passed on have become integral to what is now the cultural heritage of the United States.

The Pilgrims came to America as part of a quest to be distinct. They set out to the New World to establish a new religious, social, and political order—to be free from the constraints of the Church of England, and free from what they saw as the corrupting influences of Holland, where they were staying temporarily.

It wasn’t necessarily religious liberty or pluralism that the Pilgrims sought, but space to create a society based on strict Protestant Christian teachings. As Massachusetts Bay leader John Winthrop once exclaimed in a sermon, the new colonies would be as a “city upon a hill.”

The Puritans wanted to be a beacon of light in a fallen world. “The eyes of all people are upon us,” Winthrop said.

Nearly 400 years later, the idea of America as a kind of promised land continues to resonate.

The other great legacy the Pilgrims left us was a tradition of political consent and the seeds of republican government.

The Mayflower Compact, a relatively simple document, established a kind of covenant between the citizens of the new colony. It was the first such document in the New World creating a “civic body politic” through clear, written guidelines. It was an indirect antecedent to the Constitution of the United States and our tradition of placing laws above men.

Undoubtedly, the modern holiday of Thanksgiving has evolved from being a regional and haphazard holiday to a nationally celebrated one. Notable New England orators, such as Daniel Webster, kept the Pilgrim flame alive in the early 19th century by singing songs of remembrance of their way of life on “Forefathers’ Day,” a Thanksgiving precursor that is still celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

But Thanksgiving as we know it never became a formal holiday until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln nationally recognized it. Magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale had advocated a national Thanksgiving holiday for decades.

Thanksgiving has since grown to become a significant part of our nation’s shared cultural inheritance. Though our customs have evolved over the years, Thanksgiving has retained a permanent connection to its origins with the Pilgrims of New England—and for that, we can be thankful.

A Surprising Legacy From My Father, Antonin Scalia - The Daily Signal

A Surprising Legacy From My Father, Antonin Scalia

Rachel del Guidice / Jarrett Stepman / Christopher Scalia /

The speaker at my high school graduation was my father, Justice Antonin Scalia.

Although he delivered a fine speech, he did not deliver the line I remember most vividly from that day—I did.

It was my responsibility to introduce him with a brief speech of my own. I told the assembled throng about my father’s personal life: his immigrant father, his schoolteacher mother, his marriage to Maureen McCarthy, their nine children (gasps from the crowd!).

I covered his degrees from Georgetown and Harvard Law School, his work for presidential administrations, his time as a law professor at the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago.

I may have mentioned in passing that he’d been nominated to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and confirmed by the Senate, 98–0. I cracked a joke about him gaining an unparalleled knowledge of the Constitution from his eighth child (that would be me).

I felt pretty good about the performance as I came down the final stretch. All that was left was to say his name and shake his hand as he approached the lectern.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” I said, “please join me in welcoming Justice Anto—.” Suddenly my tongue swelled up, my mouth tightened, and I couldn’t control what either did as I heard myself mispronounce my own father’s first name. I don’t even remember how I mispronounced it, because I’ve never rewatched the speech.

At the time it felt like I turned his first name into a 10-syllable tongue twister. (For the record, he pronounced it “AN-tuh-nin.”)

If I remember correctly, my father began his speech by returning the favor, pretending to forget my name. At least I think he was pretending. It’s not easy remembering the names of nine children.

The rest of my father’s speech proceeded without incident, which was no surprise. Steve Martin once observed, “Some people have a way with words. Other people, um … not have way.” Dad had a way.

>>> Purchase Christopher Scalia and Ed Whalen’s edited book, “Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived

Dad delivered hundreds of speeches over his career, around the United States and across five continents. He spoke to legal organizations, of course, and those speeches include some of the sharpest and most concise articulations of his legal philosophy.

These are speeches that lawyers still talk about, and that helped change the course of American jurisprudence.

Shortly after my father died, Neil Gorsuch recalled hearing him speak nearly 30 years before, “remember[ing] as if it were yesterday sitting in a law school audience.” One year after he shared that memory, Gorsuch filled my father’s vacancy on the Supreme Court.

But my father didn’t speak only to lawyers. And even when his subject was the law, his language was tailored to lay audiences in a way that his court opinions, as readable as they are, simply could not be.

Speeches also allowed him to reveal insights into his personal feelings and tastes in ways that legal opinions never can, or at least never should.

Of course, my father’s speeches were excellent in part because he was such a good writer. I once asked my father if writing was easy for him. “No,” he said. “It’s hard as hell.” That was a relief. If even he struggled with the craft, then maybe there’s hope for all of us.

There is also what he calls “writing genius,” which includes the ability to understand one’s audience. This isn’t the same as aiming to please.

He once gave my brother Paul some counterintuitive public speaking advice: “Never tell them what they want to hear.” Paul, who was deciding whether to study for the priesthood when my father said that, suspects that this was Dad’s way of telling him how to be a good priest.

Of course, Dad lived by this counsel, joking even before he was on the Supreme Court that the “endearing quality of saying the right thing at the wrong time is the secret of my popularity.”

My father’s approach wasn’t contrarianism for its own sake. The point was to challenge listeners out of complacency, to inspire them not by affirming what they knew to be true, but by provoking them into reconsidering their preconceptions. It was the public-speaking equivalent of the Socratic method, which he applied as a law professor.

Dad’s speeches also provided a chance for him to perform.

My father was a ham. In his high school’s production of “Macbeth” his senior year, he played the title role. As an undergraduate at Georgetown, he was president of the student theater group.

Along with his friend Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in 1994 and again in 2009 he appeared as an extra in the Washington National Opera’s performance of Richard Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos.” He sang and played the piano at parties and was one of the best story and joke tellers I’ve ever heard.

Giving speeches catered to those strengths and loves in a way that opinions never did. The charm and gregariousness that drew so many people—including ideological adversaries—to him are prominent throughout this collection.

Several months before my father died, I dropped by my parents’ house to borrow something. He was in the basement, watching an old western.

“Sit down,” he said from his recliner. “Join me for a cigar.”

It was a tempting offer, but I couldn’t. Besides, there would be other opportunities—I had just moved back to the D.C. area and would see him often.

“Take a cigar with you,” he said. I did.

Although reading through these speeches doesn’t quite make up for that missed opportunity to spend more time with him in what turned out to be his final months of life, it did make me hear his voice again in all its warmth, wisdom, and humor.

This adapted excerpt was taken with permission from “Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived” (Crown Forum, 2017). The book is a definitive collection of beloved Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s finest speeches, and covers topics as varied as the law, faith, virtue, pastimes, and his heroes and friends. Featuring a foreword by longtime friend Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and an intimate introduction by his youngest son, this volume includes dozens of speeches, some deeply personal, that have never before been published. Christopher J. Scalia and the justice’s former law clerk Edward Whelan selected the speeches.

(Photo: Kainaz Amaria. Cover: Darren Haggar)

Podcast: The Dangers Border Patrol Agents Face - The Daily Signal

Podcast: The Dangers Border Patrol Agents Face

Rachel del Guidice / Jarrett Stepman / Christopher Scalia / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kelsey Harkness /

In today’s podcast, we discuss how President Donald Trump is declaring North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, and new allegations of inappropriate behavior from Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and a New York Times reporter. Talking about the death of a Border Patrol agent, Kelsey Harkness, who has been to the United States-Mexico border, tells us about how Border Patrol agents face real risks on the job.

After Agent’s Death, Trump Declares US ‘Must Build the Wall!’ - The Daily Signal

After Agent’s Death, Trump Declares US ‘Must Build the Wall!’

Rachel del Guidice / Jarrett Stepman / Christopher Scalia / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kelsey Harkness / Fred Lucas /

President Donald Trump is renewing his demand that Congress fund a wall on the southern border after a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed from injuries inccurred while working over the weekend in southwest Texas, while his partner was injured.

“Border Patrol officer killed at southern border, another badly hurt,” the president said in a tweet. “We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the wall!”

Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt. We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the Wall!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2017

Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez, 36, and his partner were responding to “activity” in Van Horn, Texas. Martinez died and his partner, not named by officials or in news accounts, is reportedly hospitalized. News reports Monday morning said the government hasn’t confirmed what the agents were responding to.

The cause of death is not known. Jeanette Harper, with the FBI’s El Paso, Texas, office told the San Antonio Express-News: “They were not fired upon. There are so many different agencies working together that we need to come together and develop a timeline.”

CBP tells us Agent Martinez’ hometown was El Paso. He was 36 and entered on duty with the Border Patrol on 8/12/2013. pic.twitter.com/f9p1jzO7wW

— Ashley Claster (@ClasterKFOX_CBS) November 19, 2017

“Earlier this morning, I was notified that Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez died as a result of serious injuries suffered while on patrol in the Big Bend Sector of our southern border in Texas,” acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke said in a public statement. The Border Patrol is a division of the Department of Homeland Security.

Duke continued:

Agent Martinez was responding to activity while on patrol with another agent, who was also seriously injured. We are fully supporting the ongoing investigation to determine the cause of this tragic event. On behalf of the quarter of a million frontline officers and agents of DHS, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Agent Martinez and to the agent who is in serious condition.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also weighed in.

Our prayers are with the families of this Border Patrol Agent who was killed & the other who was injured in this attack in Texas. Our resources must be increased to prevent these attacks in the future. #txlege #tcot https://t.co/60tHfoWKRq

— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 20, 2017

Democrats in Meltdown Mode as Obamacare Individual Mandate Moves Toward Extinction - The Daily Signal

Democrats in Meltdown Mode as Obamacare Individual Mandate Moves Toward Extinction

Rachel del Guidice / Jarrett Stepman / Christopher Scalia / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kelsey Harkness / Fred Lucas / Emily Miller /

Democrats, of course, oppose the tax cuts moving through Congress. They believe government knows how to spend your money better than you do.

But what has really got their goat is eliminating the Obamacare tax—known as the individual mandate—that Americans have to pay to the IRS for simply choosing not to buy health insurance. This has thrown them into a tailspin of despair.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said eliminating the individual mandate would amount to the “destruction of the Affordable Care Act.” She said it would create no less than a “life-or-death struggle for millions of American families.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the floor Thursday that “[t]he number of middle-class families who would lose money from this bill may be even higher now considering the 10 percent increase in premiums that will occur as a result of the Republican plan to repeal the individual mandate.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was asked by Anderson Cooper on CNN about cutting the individual mandate. “It’s a bad idea,” replied the former Democratic presidential candidate. “This is going to throw 13 million Americans off the health insurance they currently have.”

No doubt the talking points that flew around Democratic offices on Capitol Hill were written to scare people into thinking the tax cut forces people off all health care. But it’s a big stretch to state that as fact.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the individual mandate would decrease the number of people with health insurance by 4 million in 2019 and 13 million in 2027. It also predicted average premiums in the individual market would increase by about 10 percent per year.

However, the Congressional Budget Office was extremely careful to explain the inexact science of its analysis. A whole section of the report is titled “Uncertainty Surrounding the Estimates.” To put it simply, economists can’t predict human behavior.

I don’t even know what health insurance I will pick to get the best bang for my buck in 2019. How would bureaucrats in D.C. know?

Nevertheless, Democrats grabbed that report and ran with it, trying to put on a horror movie through the halls of Congress.

Pelosi threatened that as the bill moves toward final passage in the Senate and a reconciled bill through both chambers, “outside mobilization” will be activated to stop it. She said the Senate Finance Committee’s decision to include repeal of the individual mandate “really electrified, energized the base even further … .”

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., tweeted on Tuesday: “RED ALERT: Senate GOP just added provision to their tax plan that would gut ACA & kick 13M ppl off insurance.”

RED ALERT: Senate GOP just added provision to their tax plan that would gut ACA & kick 13M ppl off insurance. Yes, it’s same tax plan that would add $1 trillion+ to deficit while giving majority of benefits to corporations & the rich. We need you to make your voices heard again.

— Sen. Al Franken (@SenFranken) November 14, 2017

(Yes, Franken tweets blatant falsehoods when he’s not groping women.)

Schumer took to Twitter to put the blame on the White House: “.@POTUS’s absurd idea to repeal the individual mandate as a part of the #GOPTaxPlan would boot 13M ppl from the health insurance rolls and cause premiums to skyrocket – all to pay for an even bigger tax cut for the very rich, those who pay the top rate. What a toxic idea!”

.@POTUS‘s absurd idea to repeal the individual mandate as a part of the #GOPTaxPlan would boot 13M ppl from the health insurance rolls and cause premiums to skyrocket – all to pay for an even bigger tax cut for the very rich, those who pay the top rate. What a toxic idea!

— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 14, 2017

President Donald Trump, however, is quite enthusiastic about taking a big whack at Obamacare through the tax bill. Reportedly, Trump encouraged Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., to get repeal into the committee bill text. This is what also infuriated the Democrats.

You can’t help but smile that Republicans are now using a 2015 ruling by the Supreme Court—which let the individual mandate stay in law, with the rationale that it was a tax and not a fine—as a way to ultimately kill the key provision that keeps Obamacare on life support.

Since the mandate is now considered a tax, its repeal will fit perfectly into the GOP tax reform plan.

Last week, a reporter asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders if the individual mandate repeal is a priority for the president. “That’s something the president obviously would love to see happen,” she responded.

The Obamacare mandate tax was always more of a “nanny tax” than a way to raise government funding. Democrats included it in the law in order to force the young and healthy to buy into the government-run health exchanges so as to offset the high cost of the old and very sick.

But the tax has ended up hitting lower-income and working-class families the hardest because it is much cheaper to pay the tax than to buy insurance on the Obamacare exchanges and pay the absurdly high insurance premiums and deductibles.

The hardest thing to do in Washington is to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. If the Obamacare tax can be repealed in the final bill that lands on Trump’s desk, Americans will get back a key individual liberty—the right to choose whether or not to buy government health insurance.

This would be the perfect early Christmas gift for hard-working families. Democrats should think twice before standing in the way of it.

Here’s How Bad the TSA Is Failing at Airport Security. It’s Time for Privatization. - The Daily Signal

Here’s How Bad the TSA Is Failing at Airport Security. It’s Time for Privatization.

Rachel del Guidice / Jarrett Stepman / Christopher Scalia / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kelsey Harkness / Fred Lucas / Emily Miller / David Inserra / Ceara Casterline /

This year, the Department of Homeland Security carried out covert tests on Transportation Security Administration security, and the results weren’t pretty.

The results of the tests showed that the TSA screeners failed to detect weapons, drugs, and explosives almost 80 percent of the time. While the exact failure rate is classified, multiple sources indicate it is greater than 70 percent.

The Department of Homeland Security inspector general carries out “Red Team” tests periodically to check the competence of the TSA’s ability to detect and stop fake weapons from getting through airport security.

In 2015, the TSA failed these tests by an even larger margin—95 percent.

Sadly, these results are not surprising. The TSA has a history of failing to uphold basic security standards.

So why is the TSA failing 80 percent of the time, and why is Congress not demanding serious changes be made? Congress cannot stand idly by and watch as the TSA continually fails to uphold basic standards and loses the faith of the American people.

In any other business, 95 percent and 80 percent failure rates over the course of several years would not be acceptable. Any vendor who failed to deliver on his promises, or any employee that failed to show up to work that often, would be fired.

And so it is time to fire the TSA from front-line screening. The best solution to our broken airport security system is to privatize TSA screeners.

The U.S. could mirror the Canadian public-private partnership, or switch to the Screening Partnership Program already in place, which currently allows airports to opt out of TSA screenings and use private screeners instead.

Either of these options would replace government employees with private screeners who would be responsible for monitoring the screening process.

The TSA would still be responsible for setting and overseeing aviation for security rules—in fact, rather than running a large screening workforce, it could focus exclusively on setting standards and figuring out how to improve security.

Private screeners would increase productivity, security, provide better accountability, and be more cost-effective.

Reports have found Canada spends 40 percent less per capita on aviation security, which frees up money that could be used in other areas to secure the homeland. That could be true for the U.S. as well.

The TSA has struggled to manage its workforce, but allowing private security companies to manage their workforces would strengthen screeners’ capabilities and allow the TSA to improve its oversight role.

Additionally, if the private workers did not meet safety standards, they could promptly be fired and replaced, unlike in the current system.

We cannot afford to wait for the next terror attack to become serious about reforming our airport security system. Congress needs to privatize the TSA to protect travelers from the very real threats our nation faces.

Citing Virginia Election Losses, Conservatives Demand Congress Follow Through on Promises - The Daily Signal

Citing Virginia Election Losses, Conservatives Demand Congress Follow Through on Promises

Rachel del Guidice / Jarrett Stepman / Christopher Scalia / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kelsey Harkness / Fred Lucas / Emily Miller / David Inserra / Ceara Casterline / Casey Ryan /

Conservatives are calling for Republicans in Congress to fulfill their campaign promises by supporting President Donald Trump’s spending proposal and to not enact amnesty in a year-end deal with Democrats.

A letter released Monday and signed by 44 conservative leaders explains that Virginia is “in ruins” after Republican losses at both the statewide and local level earlier this month. The leaders warn that the Republican majority in the House could be in jeopardy next.

“Your consultants and managers are out of excuses—and your conservative grassroots are running out of both patience and time,” the letter states. “So stop panicking and start legislating.”

The letter criticizes Republicans—who control both chambers of Congress—for making deals with the Democrats that hurt the GOP agenda in the long run. The letter warns Republicans not to fall in line with the agenda of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Congress, the letter says, is heading toward a path in December that will lift “the domestic spending caps set in 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) debt deal, allowing ballooning trillion dollar deficits in future years,” will give amnesty to the illegal immigrants who came as minors, will give “billions of dollars of bailouts” to insurance companies, and will only allot a small amount of funding for Trump’s border wall.

The letter is signed by the leaders of many conservative organizations, such as Colin Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring; Jenny Beth Martin, chairman of Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund; and Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, of Liberty Consulting.

The letter also calls on Congress to repeal Obamacare in 2018 and says that what happened in Virginia was just an “aftershock” with more to follow.

Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, an organization that works to prevent the expansion of government, helped write the letter and also signed it. He said the circumstances behind the current Congress is disappointing as they have failed on their platform promises, and because of this, the Republican majority is in danger.

“The truth is this letter is designed to really reach a hand out to the Republicans who are floundering and say, ‘We’ll help you find your way back to where you were when you got elected,’” Manning said. “We’re hoping they’ll pull up alongside us, and we’ll be able to fulfill the promise of the Republican majority, which was a limited government promise.”

Here is the full text of the letter with signatories:

November 20, 2017

Dear Senator/Member of Congress,

Virginia is in ruins. Your House majority trembles with fear of what 2018 holds for them. Your chances of picking up Senate seats are fading as fast as a lobbyist’s handshake. Your consultants and managers are out of excuses – and your conservative grassroots are running out of both patience and time. So stop panicking and start legislating: Make America Great Again by supporting Trump’s Budget, opposing reckless spending, and killing any amnesty deal.

Earlier this year, President Trump proposed a responsible budget that balances within 10 years, restores critical funding to our national defense priorities and border wall, and cuts wasteful domestic spending. Republican leaders in Congress appear ready to discard that 2016 election mandate. Indeed, despite their majorities in both houses of Congress, they are poised to make yet another bad deal with the Democrats.

The stage is set for enacting the Schumer-Pelosi agenda under Republican auspices – and you all know it. Unless the rank and file of the Republican membership takes a stand now, you will be presented with this Christmas departure package:

Lifting the domestic spending caps set in 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) debt deal, allowing ballooning trillion dollar deficits in future years
DACA amnesty that could give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants
Billions of dollars in bailouts (known as CSRs) for insurance companies, many of which are experiencing record profits, token funding for a border wall, a mockery of the $4.1 billion the President requested.

That year-end deal would squander President Trump’s hard fought electoral victory. It would so alienate your conservative base that the Old Dominion’s electoral disaster could be replicated from coast to coast.

Our organizations represent every part of the Conservative Freedom agenda, from tax cuts to social issues, from regulatory reform to national security. We unite on three priorities that must be achieved by the end of the year: tax reform to spur economic growth, restoring defense funding after years of neglect, and putting our country back on a sustainable fiscal path. In control of Congress and the Presidency for the first time in a decade, Republicans must reverse the leftist policies that threaten our economy, our military, and the hopes of the American people.

We respectfully offer this warning. Voters around the nation still feel ignored by the leadership on Capitol Hill. After almost a year in power, it seems you no longer intend to restore constitutional government, Well, do you? If so, please consider this message a check-list toward that goal. The American people took seriously your campaign promises. You should too. You should cut wasteful spending, rebuild our national defense, and stop amnesty. And we expect you to follow President Trump’s call to finally repeal Obamacare in 2018, which is hurting millions of Americans with sky-high premiums and loss of quality health care.

One year ago the election of Donald Trump hit official Washington like an earthquake. What happened in Virginia on November 7th was only an aftershock, one of many that surely lie ahead. Ignore their message at your peril. The opportunity, if you act with daring and integrity, is unlimited both for our majority and for our mandate to bring Conservative Freedom to America.

Signed (organizations are for identification purposes only),

Colin A. Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring

Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West (US Army, Retired), Member, 112th US Congress

Anne Schlafly Cori, Chairman, Eagle Forum

Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com

Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks

Jenny Beth Martin, Chairman, Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund

Brigitte Gabriel, Founder & Chairman, ACT for America

The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell, Chairman, Constitutional Congress, Inc.

David Bozell, President, ForAmerica

Frank Gaffney, President, Center for Security Policy

Allen Roth, Vice Chairman, New York State Conservative Party

Ginni Thomas, Liberty Consulting

Rick Manning, President, Americans For Limited Government

Sandy Rios, Director of Governmental Affairs, American Family Association

J. Christian Adams, Attorney

Bob Adams, President, Revive America PAC

George Rasley, Managing Editor, ConservativeHQ.com

Jessie Jane Duff, Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps (ret), Senior Fellow, London Center for Policy Research

Becky Gerritson, President, Wetumpka TEA Party (AL)

James Simpson, Author, Investigative Journalist

Stella Morabito, Author

Steve Albertson, TheBullElephant.com

Philip B. Haney, DHS Founding Member, CBP Officer (Retired)

Paul Caprio, Director Family PAC Federal & One Nation Under God Foundation

Elaine Donnelly, Livonia, Michigan

Gayle Trotter, President, American Womens Alliance, Inc.

Dr. Tim Daughtry, Author and Consultant

Jake Hoffman, Rally Forge Consulting

Karen Vaughn, Gold Star Mother, Author, Speaker

Amy Kremer, Co-chair, Women for Trump

Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Center for Security Policy

Robert K. Fischer, Meeting Coordinator, Conservatives of Faith

Clare M. Lopez, VP for Research & Analysis, Center for Security Policy

Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Benway (US Army, Retired), Co-Founder, Special Operations Speaks

Dran Reese, President, The Salt and Light Council

Carol Taber, President, Family Security Matters (Family Security Foundation, Inc)

Rose Sullivan, General Manager, Family Security Matters (Family Security Foundation, Inc)

Nancy Kennon, Director of Operations, Family Security Matters (Family Security Foundation, Inc)

Kenneth R. Timmerman, Author

Eileen Watts, Delaware County, Ohio, DCRWC Vice President, Central Committee Member, Ohio United 4 America Co-Founder

Gerrye Johnston Founder/CEO Women for Democracy in America, Inc. D/b/a/ Men and Women for a Representative Democracy in America

Kimberly Fletcher, President & Founder, HomeMakers for America

Marvina Case, Texans United for America and Mom’s March USA

Mrs. Avis Marjean, Cisco-Met, Cedar Hills, Utah

I Worked on Barry Goldwater’s Campaign. Here’s the Moment I Knew It Was Over. - The Daily Signal

I Worked on Barry Goldwater’s Campaign. Here’s the Moment I Knew It Was Over.

Rachel del Guidice / Jarrett Stepman / Christopher Scalia / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kelsey Harkness / Fred Lucas / Emily Miller / David Inserra / Ceara Casterline / Casey Ryan / Lee Edwards /


In prime time on Thursday, July 16, 1964, Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., was introduced to the Republican National Convention and the country by the great unifier, Richard Nixon, who predicted that when Goldwater got through, President Lyndon Johnson would be singing “Home on the Range.”

He urged the faithful to ignore the polls and the columnists, reminding them that “Mr. Gallup isn’t going to be counting the votes on Nov. 3.”

Far from being weaker than it was in 1960, Nixon said, the Republican Party had more congressmen, more senators, more governors, and more state legislators. Ever the bridge builder, he mentioned Pennsylvania Gov. William Scranton and New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, and such was their respect for the man who had put Alger Hiss in jail that the Goldwater delegates applauded the liberal governors politely.

Nixon continued:

America needs new leadership. It needs a man who will go up and down the length of the land crying out, ‘Wake up, America, before it is too late!’ This is a time, my fellow Republicans and my fellow Americans, not for the New Deal of the 1930s or the Fair Deal of the 1950s or the Fast Deal of Lyndon Johnson but for the Honest Deal of Barry Goldwater.

Make your decision tonight about a man who has been called Mr. Conservative, a man who is now, by the action of the convention, Mr. Republican, a man who after the greatest campaign in history will be Mr. President—Barry Goldwater!

Watching from our campaign communications center at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, I saw my hero, deeply tanned and silver-haired, ensure his defeat with his acceptance speech.

Goldwater walked slowly down the flag-draped catwalk to stand at the rostrum, where he was met by the martial notes of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Red, white, and blue balloons poured down from the rafters while a chorus of voices more powerful than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir chanted, “We want Barry! We want Barry!” San Francisco’s Cow Palace seemed ready to explode.

>>> Purchase Lee Edwards’ book, “Just Right: A Life in Pursuit of Liberty

The senator waited patiently while the convention chairman pounded and pounded his gavel until at last the great hall fell silent. I placed a copy of his address in my lap and followed along.

“I accept your nomination with a deep sense of humility. The Good Lord raised this mighty Republic to be a home for the brave to flourish as the land of the free—not to stagnate in the swampland of collectivism, not to cringe before the bully of communism.”

(He would inspire a free society, not guarantee a Great Society.)

“The tide has been running against freedom. Our people have followed false prophets. We must, and we shall, return to proven ways—not because they are old, but because they are true.”

(Ways based on the Ten Commandments and the Constitution, not Freud and the editorials of The New York Times.)

“This party, with its every action, every word, every breath, and every heartbeat, has but a single resolve, and that is freedom.” (So hard to gain and so easy to lose, I thought.)

“Tonight there is violence in our streets.” (There had been Harlem riots, again.)

“Corruption in our highest offices.” (Everyone knew Bobby Baker was not only the clerk of the Senate but the panderer of the Senate. Baker would do anything to win a vote for Johnson, including arranging afternoon “dates” for randy senators at the Alibi Club in the Carroll Arms Hotel.)

“Aimlessness among our youth.” (Rebels whose only cause was themselves.)

“Anxiety among our elderly.” (Who could blame them, with runaway federal spending and a Social Security system ready to implode?)

“We are at war in Vietnam. And yet the president, who is the commander-in-chief of our forces, refuses to say whether or not the objective over there is victory.”

(President Goldwater would direct the Pentagon to win the war with overwhelming air and sea power and without nuclear weapons or U.S. ground troops.)

“Anyone who joins us in all sincerity is welcome. But those who do not care for our cause, we don’t expect to enter our ranks in any case. What is needed is focused and dedicated Republicanism that rejects unthinking and stupid labels.” (Like “Goldwaterism” and “right-wing extremism.”)

The senator paused, his face stern. The next words were underlined in the text: “And I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!”

The delegates jumped to their feet, hollering their approval, while the conservatives in the galleries blew their horns like the Israelites marching into battle.

Then he offered the other half: “And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”

I sat before the TV set watching our delegates exult in the words that sealed our defeat four months before Election Day. The firebrand in me hailed the senator for throwing the gauntlet before the liberals while the pragmatist in me winced.

From my campaign diary:

The acceptance speech was a disappointment to me. It was too literary, too long, too general, and continued that ‘extremism-moderation line’ which will continue to haunt us throughout this campaign. … It was written for posterity which because of that speech and what it portends will not include [Barry Goldwater] as president.

In those days there were no spin doctors to work the news media and declare that the senator’s speech was one of the most brilliant and evocative speeches in convention history.

If we had held a news briefing the next day, we could have placed the extremism line in perspective with references to Patrick Henry (“Give me liberty or give me death!”) and Martin Luther King Jr., who had endorsed extremism in his celebrated “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

Goldwater stood by his words, remarking 30 years later when I interviewed him, “I’d make that speech again, any place, any time—I think it’s the best statement I ever made.” But he never used the “extremism” line again in the campaign.

This adapted excerpt was taken with permission from “Just Right: A Life in Pursuit of Liberty” (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2017).

Why Amnesty Should Not Be Part of Any ‘Deal’ on DACA - The Daily Signal

Why Amnesty Should Not Be Part of Any ‘Deal’ on DACA

Rachel del Guidice / Jarrett Stepman / Christopher Scalia / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kelsey Harkness / Fred Lucas / Emily Miller / David Inserra / Ceara Casterline / Casey Ryan / Lee Edwards / Genevieve Wood /

Talk of amnesty deals are making the rounds again in Washington. Here’s what you need to know.

Apparently, the battles over tax reform, Obamacare, and the looming spending bill aren’t enough to keep Congress busy. There are increasing rumblings that some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are looking for ways to give legal status to illegal aliens currently in the United States.

When President Donald Trump was candidate Trump, he promised that if elected he would end the program known as DACA—the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that gave legal status to illegal aliens brought to the U.S. as minors.

The program was one of President Barack Obama’s most famous and arguably unconstitutional runs around Congress. He couldn’t get lawmakers to do what he wanted so he took it upon himself to create a new law via unilateral executive action.

Not exactly what the Framers likely had in mind if you read Articles I and II of the Constitution on the roles of the legislative and executive branches of government.

Which is why the Trump administration’s Department of Justice was absolutely right earlier this year to announce a six-month wind-down of the program with an end date next March. And because Congress, not the president, has the power to make or alter our laws, the ball is now back in its court.

Unfortunately, the only actions many in Congress seem interested in taking when it comes to immigration reform are the tried and true failed policies of the past.

Give amnesty now to those here illegally with a promise of later securing the border and doing the hard work to improve our country’s immigration system.

Democrats are threatening to shut down the government if so-called “Dreamers” aren’t given a “pathway to citizenship” in the end-of-year spending bill Congress must pass in early December.

Meanwhile, some Republicans are also considering various legislative amnesties, including a Senate proposal dubbed SUCCEED, the Solution for Undocumented Children Through Careers, Employment, Education, and Defending Our Nation Act.

Here’s the deal: Whether it’s granting amnesty outright—as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and a host of other Democrats want to do—or whether it’s granting amnesty to those here illegally if they agree to jump through some additional loopholes, it’s still amnesty and it is still unfair to the millions of people trying to come here legally.

And, oh, by the way, it does not solve our illegal immigration problem. History and previous flawed actions by Congress prove it makes it worse.

We tried in 1986 when we gave legal status, supposedly a one-time deal, to 2.7 million illegal aliens residing in the U.S. Fast forward to 2017, and we have 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants now living here.

And all the border security and serious enforcement measures promised in 1986 that were going to come later? They never materialized.

More recently, there was the surge in illegal border crossings during Obama’s second term as the president handed out promises of amnesty through executive orders and his administration did little to enforce our immigration laws.

Proponents of amnesty and those who don’t want to do the hard work of real immigration reform are likely to dangle smaller and unpopular measures like getting rid of diversity visas in exchange for granting amnesty to the DACA population.

There’s no doubt that the Diversity Visa Lottery Program needs to go, but we shouldn’t trade one bad policy for another.

The same goes for debates over family, or what is popularly referred to as chain migration, workplace visa programs, sanctuary cities, border security measures, and how to improve the legal immigration process itself. All of these policies should be debated on their individual merits and whether they benefit America.

Immigration, both legal and illegal, impacts our country’s culture, economy, and security.

Some in Congress may be tempted to play “let’s make a deal” on amnesty and pretend they are doing something about our broken immigration system.

It’s time lawmakers know that game is over.