VVS 2013: The Beck Stops Here
Just when we thought the program couldn't get any better, FRC Action is proud to announce that Glenn Beck, the voice behind the third highest-rated radio program in America will be joining the Values Voter Summit in October. Beck, who conservatives know from TheBlaze TV, one of the world's largest streaming video networks, is making a return trip to VVS after headlining the program in 2011. As part of this year's event, Glenn, whose shows have topped the charts of the conservative talk circuit, will be capping off the general session on Saturday afternoon. Beck joins fellow commentator Mark Levin, as well as Senate leaders Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Governor Mike Huckabee, Dr. Ben Carson, Senator Rick Santorum, Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Joel Rosenberg, and many more! The Summit is just around the corner, so make your reservations now for the biggest pro-family event in Washington. Click over to ValuesVoterSummit.org to get your tickets for October 11-13.
The GOP's Last Stand
When Senator Ted Cruz said he was going to stand up to ObamaCare, who knew he meant literally? Twenty-one hours into the fourth longest speech in Senate history, Cruz's one-man crusade finally came to an end -- the victim of age-old Senate procedure. While he might not succeed in keeping Harry Reid from amending the continuing resolution to include ObamaCare funds, he has succeeded in bringing international attention to one of the worst legislative catastrophes in American politics: ObamaCare.
Senator Cruz said he rose to "make D.C. listen" -- and listen they did, to an all-night talkathon that touched on everything from Dr. Seuss, Duck Dynasty, and the Old Testament to space travel, White Castle hamburgers, and Ashton Kutcher. "I will say," Senator Cruz said well after midnight, "standing here after 14 hours, standing on your feet, there's sometimes some pain, sometimes some fatigue that's involved. But you know what? There's far more pain involved in rolling over... far more pain in hiding in the shadows, far more pain in not standing for principle, not standing for the good, not standing for integrity."
Around 1:00 a.m., Cruz (who probably had days' worth of material on the negative effects of ObamaCare) lashed out at the religious liberty implications of ObamaCare, specifically the contraception-abortion mandate. He read from Hobby Lobby's testimony, one of the many companies suing against the mandate that would order them to provide abortion-inducing pills against their faith. From there, Cruz broadened his attack to the administration's hostility toward Christians and chaplains in the military.
Finally, at noon, Majority Leader Harry Reid used the Senate rules to shut the Senator down, saying his gutsy speech had "been a big waste of time." (This from the biggest time-waster in Senate history.) For now, the Senate moves on to considering the House's budget resolution, which, if everything goes according to Reid's plan, will reinstate the funding for ObamaCare. If members use the full debate time, a final vote on the short-term budget would come sometime this weekend. From there, the bill would ping-pong back to the House for an eleventh hour-dash to fund the government.
Fortunately, this isn't the House's only chance to put an expiration date on ObamaCare. While the cameras were on Cruz, conservatives were quietly working on an equally important push: the debt ceiling. By mid-October, the United States will officially default on its loans if Congress doesn't raise its credit limit. In the end, the debt ceiling will probably be raised. The question is how much conservatives can extract from the Left in exchange for their cooperation in increasing it. This morning, we sent an FRC-organized letter to Congress signed by over 200 religious leaders urging them to attach religious freedom protections to any must-pass legislation.
Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) piggybacked on our letter with one of his own (modeled after language from FRC). Together with more than 60 cosponsors, Pitts is seizing the moment to accomplish something over two and a half years in the making: attaching conscience rights to the debt ceiling bill. "This attack on the pro-life conscience of Americademands immediate congressional action," they write to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). "Nothing short of a full exemption for both non-profit and for-profit entities will satisfy the rights guaranteed in the First Amendment, and nothing but a complete prohibition on public funding for abortion coverage will keep the status quo under the Hyde amendment."
None of this would have happened if people like you hadn't called their congressmen. The House and Senate offices I've talked to have been so overwhelmed by the public's response that they're more motivated than they've ever been to put pressure on leadership. Your voice makes all the difference -- use it!
Hard Core on Common Core
There are few things parents care more about than their children's education. That's why the current push for Common Core (CC) curricula is so troubling. In a lecture and panel discussion today at FRC, Dr. Allan Carlson of The Howard Center and editor of "The Family in America," Maureen Van Den Berg of the American Association of Christian Schools, and FRC Senior Fellow and former Reagan Administration Department of Education Bob Morrison official outlined the dangers of CC to children and families.
Dr. Carlson noted that CC calls for "more testing, more centralization, more 'experts,' and more money for a failing (public education) system." He also said that CC has been "stripped" of Judeo-Christian values to make it appear "neutral" about worldviews and what's right and wrong. Mrs. Van Den Berg said that given its federal orientation, CC is "easily influenced by cultural norms" and observed that CC will, if widely adopted, lead to national testing controlled by the federal government and also threaten the autonomy of private, religious, and home schools. Bob Morrison summarized by paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson, that in America, the people historically have shaped the government, but "under Common Core, the government shapes the people."
The good news is that increasingly, state governments are wary of this top-down imposition on our educational system. Just yesterday, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida said his state would be "dialing back its participation" in CC testing. Contact your state officials and encourage them to avoid CC and its lure of federal money. A rotten Core is worse than no core at all.
** Don't miss Wednesday's edition of "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins," as Craig James joins us to talk about his recent firing from Fox Sports Southwest over his pro-marriage views -- and what it'll take to fight back. And, speaking of marriage, Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) drops by to give us an update on his bill to protect religious liberty for organizations and churches. Also, FRC's Ken Blackwell will be on to talk about John Kerry's signing of the U.N. arms treaty and what implications it may have.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.