With Budget, Senate Takes a Walk on the Child Side
It’s not every day you see the words “Senate” and “passes” in the same sentence. But Thursday night, the underachieving chamber finally delivered, approving a $4 trillion budget resolution — and unlocking the door to the GOP’s major tax overhaul. It was a rare victory for the Republicans, who haven’t exactly been winning popularity contests since their botched attempts to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood.
Although the bill squeaked through 51-49, it unlocks the reconciliation process, meaning that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will only need 50 votes instead of the usual 60 to get his tax plan through. That’s a relief for GOP leaders, who would have had a tough time rallying any Democratic support for the idea. President Trump, who’s been waiting nine months for the Senate to do anything of substance on his legislative agenda, seized the rare opportunity to applaud the Senate. “This now allows for the passage of large scale Tax Cuts (and Reform), which will be the biggest in the history of our country!”
In my conversation with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) on “Washington Watch” Thursday, it’s obvious that the GOP understands the stakes moving forward. “Republicans in this Senate understand that if we don’t get this done, we’re in a lot of trouble. And that’s a big motivator… We have reason to be fearful of what will happen when our constituents see us failing to do this, which is why we can’t fail.” With very little margin for error after the health care debacle, the GOP is determined to bring the same growth we’re seeing on Wall Street to America’s main streets.
One of the most important ways conservatives can do that is putting more money in families’ pockets. Relief like the child tax credit, an idea that FRC originated in the 1990s, is exactly the kind of forward-thinking that leads to meaningful reform. Fortunately, Senators Lee and Marco Rubio (R-FL) realize that and spent a lot of hours fighting to ease that burden in this bill. Their hard work paid off in Thursday’s resolution, which doubled the credit to $2,000 per child. As Mike Lee reminded listeners of my show, “Today’s children are tomorrow’s workers,” and the government needs to promote — not punish — families that produce the future drivers of our economy.
We have to protect our ultimate entrepreneurial and investor class, which is America’s moms and dads. The family is the most important institution in our society. It’s the fundamental unit of our society and our economy. This is really an incubator of economic opportunity. It is one of the best indicators of economic success, and it’s becoming more socially and economically important every day. But unfortunately, our current tax code singles out parents of young children and unfairly double taxes them. This is what I call the parent tax penalty. It’s a glitch in our system that requires parents to contribute to our entitlement programs — not once, but twice. So my idea for increasing the child tax credit is really a solution to this penalty.
The idea is to reward the moms and dads who are working and actually contributing to society. These are the families, after all, that the country is relying on to keep massive entitlements like social security afloat. As Joy Pullman points out in this sobering article for The Federalist, the system will collapse without a future generation of workers. As Rubio said on the Senate floor:
[The family is] the first government. It’s the first school. It’s the core institution that underlies everything else we do as a nation. There is no more important job that any of us will ever do than the job of a parent. And if you think about our tax code, it says if you invest money in a piece of equipment or a business, the tax code will help you with that, but if you invest it in a future American taxpayer, if you invest it in someone who you are going to need to build the sort of economy and future we want for our nation, the tax code does not really take it into account. That makes no sense to me.
Apparently, it made no sense to Democrats either, who voted unanimously to raise the tax credit and start leveling the playing field for America’s parents. For once, it may finally be sinking in that strong families are the key to a strong economy. A lot of the credit for that belongs to the Trumps, who’ve made this a centerpiece of their growth plan since day one. Our hats off to the Senate for bringing them one step closer to the ultimate goal: helping families help America.
Originally published here.
Retweet After Me: Pro-life Social Media Saves Lives
Pro-lifers aren’t just winning in Washington, DC, and state houses around America. They’re winning online! The virtual fronts of the Internet and social media are changing the debate for life every day. Don’t believe me? Ask pro-abortion activist Robin Marty.
The columnist for Dame wrote a surprisingly encouraging column about the domination of the pro-life movement on the Internet (“They’re killing it on Twitter!”). “Abortion opponents use the social media platform like a weapon, and with absolute precision,” she says, “and they’re winning as a result.”
From turning the trial of Kermit Gosnell from a local crime story to a national rallying cry against dangerous rogue abortion providers to forcing Planned Parenthood into instant crisis mode within moments of the first so-called “baby parts” videos hitting the internet, the anti-abortion movement doesn’t just use social media as a highly effective tool: It is a literal weapon in their hands. Over the last few years, the movement has successfully trended hashtag after hashtag, using them to push media coverage on Supreme Court cases, abortion bans, even bubbles of mainstream news coverage of the annual March for Life.
Marty says she was so intrigued that she decided to go straight to the source and ask how pro-lifers got to be “so good at this.” A lot of movement leaders credit the young generation of pro-lifers. According to one, pro-lifers have “far more young activists in their base, which gives them more social media power — and they also benefit from having so many stay-at-home mothers … who aren’t working and who can be ready to hit Twitter with a message when asked.”
But, Marty thinks, the answer may be the closeness of the community, which is bound and determined to protect life. “What it all boils down to is that what really makes the anti-abortion movement’s Twitter campaigns (or Twitter derailing campaigns) so successful is that their leaders all work cohesively together across the boards on them, turning several groups into one large social media unit.” It’s a cohesion, she says, that’s “often lacking in the world of pro-abortion rights activists, and one that is probably unlikely to ever exist.”
One of the anti-abortion movement’s biggest successes is its ability to be the loudest voice in the room, despite the fact that for most of the last two decades more Americans have identified as pro-choice than as pro-life. Their social media prowess has allowed that voice to become even louder, both in pushing their own talking points and shutting down the voices that disagree. It’s no wonder that they are so enamored of Twitter, which provides the biggest megaphone to those who are the most organized, aggressive, and persistent. It’s a lesson the abortion-rights movement could stand to learn a little from themselves.
So take heart! The next time you log on, remember what a difference you’re making! Your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, and your Instagram photos can all change the way human life is valued in this country. If you aren’t already following us on Twitter, check us out @FRCdc and @tperkins.
Originally published here.
Paul Kengor on Reagan, the Pope and Communism’s Defeat
When we are courageous for what we believe in, God will use us for His purposes in ways we can never imagine. This is one of the great lessons we can learn from the lives of John Paul II and Ronald Reagan, and the extraordinary partnership they shared in the 1980’s that led to the eventual downfall of communism in Eastern Europe. Best-selling author Dr. Paul Kengor recently shared with FRC some of the highlights of this extraordinary untold story in his new book A Pope and a President, detailing the striking similarities between the two leaders that would lead to the formation of an intimate bond. Both men were nearly assassinated just six weeks apart in 1981, only to recover and come back stronger than ever determined to defeat communism.
The first words of John Paul II’s papacy were “Be not afraid!” — and to the shock of the Soviets, he decided that his first official papal visit would be to his homeland of Poland in 1979, which at the time was gripped by an atheist communist regime. At the same time, Ronald Reagan was contemplating his foreign policy strategy for fighting the Soviet Communist Bloc, and witnessed on TV the jubilant crowds of millions that attended the pope’s visit, despite the decades-long suppression of Christianity perpetrated by the communist regime. At that moment, Reagan saw his answer, and expressed his desire to make John Paul II his ally in the fight against communism. To the astonishment of the world, the Soviet Communist Bloc would fall within just 10 years.
Dr. Kengor’s insights on this incredible partnership are based on two decades of declassified (and sometimes still secret) documents and interviews, so don’t miss this inspiring FRC Speaker Series event. The lessons we can learn from these two great men are timeless, and particularly relevant to our work here at FRC, as Dr. Kengor pointed out. When we stand with character and conviction in the face of naysayers and ridicule and fulfill the duty of our God-given talents, just as John Paul II and Ronald Reagan did, God will multiply the works of our hands.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.