Lawmakers Flock to Heritage This Fall to Speak on Policy Reforms


Lawmakers Flock to Heritage This Fall to Speak on Policy Reforms

Nov 9, 2017

Photo by Willis Bretz

Lawmakers and policy advocates have a multitude of options when it comes to choosing events and venues at which to speak on Capitol Hill.

This fall, The Heritage Foundation has been a popular choice for many looking to discuss important issues—tax reform, in particular.

After months of negotiations, House Republicans kicked off their tax-reform agenda on Sept. 27. The very next day, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the top tax writer, spoke at Heritage about the urgent need for tax reform.

“Yesterday, with the release of our unified framework, we took a big step forward in making tax reform a reality for the American people,” Brady said in his opening remarks. And today, I’d like to tell you exactly how our unified approach will help middle-class Americans—and all those who want to be in the middle class—throughout their lives. Because that’s really what tax reform is all about.”

Romina Boccia, Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Research Fellow, says that Heritage’s proximity to Capitol Hill and direct focus on Congress make Heritage an appealing venue.

“Additionally, The Heritage Foundation has been a recognized leader in advocating for better tax policy for many years, developing a strong research foundation for the tax-reform proposal that is being discussed in Congress today,” said Boccia.

In his remarks, Brady noted Heritage’s influence in the process. “There is no doubt Heritage has helped shape in a major way this bold effort for tax reform. But the value of Heritage is that you have helped shape a generation of tax reformers.”

A few weeks later, members of the House Republican Study Committee sat down for a panel discussion, hosted by Heritage President Ed Feulner, on what tax relief for the American people should look like.

At a widely publicized event at Heritage in mid-October, House Speaker Paul Ryan addressed some of the pushback that Republicans are facing on their tax-reform plan.

“Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is urging conservatives to push back against criticism of the GOP's tax plan as he seeks to build momentum for his top legislative priority,” The Hill reported.

‘"I say: Let’s have this debate. Let’s tackle these baseless arguments head-on," Ryan said in prepared remarks for a speech … at the Heritage Foundation, a prominent conservative think tank.’”

Even the president of the United States himself, Donald Trump, decided that a Heritage Foundation event was where he wanted to address the nation on the issue of tax reform.

“The great Heritage Foundation has been at the center of several incredible tax cuts in American history. Working closely with the Heritage Foundation, Ronald Reagan cut taxes to unleash the economic miracle of the 1980s,” Trump said at Heritage’s 2017 President’s Club meeting.

And it’s not just the issue of tax reform that advocacy groups are flocking to Heritage to speak about this fall. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke came to Heritage to give his first public speech, discussing the importance of domestic energy production.

The think tank also welcomed Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency; Christopher Wray, director of the FBI; and David Shedd, former acting director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, to discuss the importance of the renewal of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed the Heritage Foundation's fall Legal Strategy Forum, discussing a number of issues surrounding the judicial system.

John Hilboldt, director of Heritage's lectures and seminars, says that events at Heritage’s professionally managed and well-equipped auditoriums are key in shaping the national policy debates–both inside and outside the Beltway.

“With these resources, we can amplify our outreach and impact. National networks and C-SPAN in particular know the quality of our production personnel and rely on the expertise of our presenters for informative analysis of breaking-news topics.”

Heritage held 28 events in October alone and will have held more than 185 events in 2017 by the end of the year.