Christian Coalition

As immigration protests surge at airports and cities across the United States and in other places around the world, President Donald Trump continues to stand by his Jan. 27 executive order, with some adjustments, restricting immigration and his pledge to safeguard the citizens of the United States. Acknowledging America as a nation of immigrants, he vowed “compassion to those fleeing oppression…while protecting our own citizens and borders.” The importance of protecting borders from illegal entry is something Israel has known for a very long time yet she is unjustly criticized by the international community for protecting her citizenry from those whose objective is to perpetrate acts of terror.

President Trump’s order temporarily suspends immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries that sponsor terrorism and provides improved vetting of radical Islamic terrorists. With certain exceptions such as those with work permits, refugee entry into the U.S. has been largely curtailed for Syrian refugees and those traveling from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Unlawful entry is a detriment to the national security of democratic countries. It opens the door to terrorist infiltration and, in the case of Israel, would have a major negative impact on the demographic balance of the Jewish state.

Nevertheless, President Trump’s immigration policy stirred up a hornet’s nest around the world. In the United States, lawsuits challenging the order say it is discriminatory and violates constitutional rights. But case law overall indicates that noncitizens do not enjoy such rights. In all the brouhaha, a crucial and determining factor for keeping America and other Western democracies safe is being overlooked by the media and is missing from public discourse. Islam’s own immigration strategy is not part of this discourse but it should be.

In the Muslim Brotherhood’s 1991 “General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America,” purposeful Muslim immigration is Stage One of radical Islam’s battle against the West and Western values.  The 1987 Muslim Brotherhood Project presents Islam as a “civilization alternative” supporting a “global Islamic State” through jihad ...“to eliminate and destroy Western civilization from within, and to sabotage its miserable house…so it is eliminated…so that Islam is victorious over all other religions.”  Islam is on a global caliphate mission with a country-by-country political strategy of subjugation in four stages beginning with immigration (“settlement”) and population expansion. The second stage is “consolidation of power”—via demands for deferential treatment, religious accommodation, judicial, cultural and educational non-integration, and covert efforts to destroy the host society from within. This is achieved by undermining the power base of non-Muslims and their religions, especially Jews and Christians. The third stage is “Open War.” The fourth is transformation of the host state to an Islamic theocracy under sharia law, which denies and destroys non-Muslims’ rights, freedoms, religions, culture, worship and populations. Most global jihadist organizations embrace this theology, including Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian militants who threaten Israel from the southwest, north and from its own heartland, squeezing her forcibly from three sides.

The only two countries that acknowledge radical Islam’s goal of a worldwide caliphate are Israel and the United States, though political correctness misleads some. Israel is a Jewish state and the United States historically was founded on Judeo-Christian values. In democracies, immigrants are free to live and worship as they choose, but not to unravel the fabric of the society, culture and country that has welcomed them. Democracy’s "melting pot" doesn’t mix with radical Islam, because Islam and freedom cannot coexist.

House Majority Leader McCarthy & Chairman Black Op-Ed in NR: Conservative Repeal and Replace is Here

Our health-care system is broken. It was inefficient before Obamacare, and Obamacare’s Washington-knows-best-mandates made it many times worse. The American people have suffered as a result. We can’t return to the pre-Obamacare status quo, because Americans need more access to health care. But we also can’t leave the American people tied to a sinking Obamacare ship, forced to face higher annual premiums and fewer provider choices.

We need relief based on clear principles: Government shouldn’t dictate our health-care choices, health care should be driven by market principles, and we must help those who truly need our help.

This week, House Republicans introduced legislation rooted in those principles. Our market-driven, patient-centered reforms offer relief from Obamacare, providing a stable transition to a new and reformed health-care system. Big problems require big fixes, so we’ll take this opportunity to lay out clearly what our repeal-and-replace legislation does and why... (READ MORE)

 
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The Obama administration funneled billions of dollars to activist organizations through a Department of Justice slush fund scheme, according to congressional investigators.

“It’s clear partisan politics played a role in the illicit actions that were made,” Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, told Fox News. “The DOJ is the last place this should have occurred.”

Findings spearheaded by the House Judiciary Committee point to a process shrouded in secrecy whereby monies were distributed to a labyrinth of nonprofit organizations involved with grass-roots activism.

“Advocates for big government and progressive power are using the Justice Department to extort money from corporations,” Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton told Fox News. “It’s a shakedown. It’s corrupt, pure and simple.”

There is a recent effort by Republicans to eliminate the practice, which many believe was widely abused during the Obama administration... (READ MORE)

 
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Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee today sent a letter to Director James Comey calling on the FBI to follow all legitimate investigative leads regarding Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as leads regarding the mishandling of classified information. Members signing the letter also renewed their request for a briefing on these matters and allegations made by the President over the weekend that he and his associates were under surveillance during the presidential election.
 
Members signing the letter are: Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Crime Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Steve King (R-Iowa), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Ted Poe (R-Texas), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.)... (READ MORE)

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Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement on House passage of H.R. 1301, the FY 2017 Department of Defense Appropriations:

“Defense is and remains our government’s highest priority. If we don’t defend our nation, we can’t do anything else. Our nation faces an increasing number of threats abroad and we must be sure our military has everything necessary to overwhelm any challenge. This legislation funds a pay raise for our military personnel, supports readiness programs, and ensures our military has the resources it needs now and the technology it will need in the future. I would like to thank Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) for his work on this bill to get Democrats, Republicans, the House, and the Senate all together for the sake of our national defense”... (READ MORE)

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JERUSALEM­ - for the Christian reader it’s a name that invokes the Psalms describing its beauty, its spiritual significance, and the importance of praying for its peace.  For others it stirs a wide spectrum of emotions and a quagmire of international disagreement. Here are several reasons for the multilayered controversy over Jerusalem.
 
THE UNITED NATIONS, WAR OF INDEPENDENCE, AND SIX DAY WAR

Over the last 150 years, as Jerusalem expanded beyond the ancient walls of the Old City, Jews and Arabs lived interspersed on both the eastern and western sides. A complicating factor was introduced in 1947 when the United Nations drew up the Partition Plan, offering swaths of land for both Jewish and Arab states, and keeping Jerusalem separate as an internationally managed city. The Jews begrudgingly accepted the plan and declared statehood, while the Arabs rejected it outright and, instead of statehood, declared war on the new-found Jewish State... (READ MORE)

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Days after UNSC Resolution 2334 condemned Israeli settlements in the “occupied Palestinian territory” of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation under international law” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat issued a strong rebuke: The mayor and his planning-committee director announced the committee’s intent to approve building 618 previously planned housing units in East Jerusalem—a first step toward an additional 5,600 units in the city. “I’m not ever going to stop building. No construction will be stopped by me as mayor,” he said. While the Obama administration harmed its ally by strengthening its enemies, if President Trump holds to his promises perhaps things will change going forward but there is already talk of backpedaling.

Barkat is “politically correct” in the most positive sense of the phrase. He is also legally and historically correct. In property disputes over land ownership, lawyers search property records for deeds, liens and related issues in order to identify the real legal owner(s). They also use mandatory “discovery” to demand that the opposing party provide all relevant documents, inspections and depositions that pertain to the dispute. In the courtroom, the presiding judge determines whether the proceedings and evidence of both sides are represented in a fair and balanced way.

The U.S. abstention of Resolution 2334 and John Kerry’s specious rhetoric laying out his two-state agenda were mockeries of the these basic processes and premises of justice. As further evidence of’ the resolution’s shaky legal grounds, it conflicts with tenets of international law in the Palestine Mandate, UNSC Resolution 242, the Oslo Accords and Camp David Summit.

The Bible clearly defines ancient boundary lines and one of the oldest title deeds in the world is recorded in the Tanach, where King David purchased the future site of the Jewish Temple from Araunah the Jebusite for 600 gold shekels. David’s son, King Solomon built the First Temple on that site. There’s ample additional biblical, archeological, religious and historical evidence of Israel’s abiding connection to Jerusalem that pre-dates Palestinian claims. The Jews governed Israel for a thousand years, and lived there continuously for the past 3,300 years. According to Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs researcher Nadav Shragai, Jerusalem was the Jewish capital during that time, never a capital of any Arab or Islamic entity.

Despite Israel and the Jewish people’s deep and abiding historical, cultural and religious connection to Jerusalem, the Palestinians, who began to define themselves as a people only about 100 years ago, insist they will never sign a peace deal that does not include Israel’s surrender of East Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Temple Mount. (Under international law, this area is disputed, not “occupied.”) Meanwhile, the Palestinians continue to deny Israel’s right to exist and incite violence and terrorism against her. As Dr. Joel Fishman wrote, “It is simply not possible to build [a state] on a foundation of myth and ignorance.”

Mayor Barkat and many others rightly discerned the previous administration in Washington D.C. as being anti-Israel long before Resolution 2334 reared its ugly head. Over the past eight years the U.S. has pressured Israel to halt “illegal” Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem. In recent years Barkat slammed the Obama Administration for criticizing Israel’s plans to expand the suburb of Ma'aleh Adumim—an effort to provide affordable housing in the over-crowded capitol. "I don't know of any city in the world whose regulator is the U.S. president," the mayor remarked. Efrat Mayor and pro-settler leader Oded Revivi added, “Israeli building policies are set in Jerusalem, not New York.”  Based on the latest news reports, it now appears that the Trump Administration are starting to sideways waffle on the topic of settlements.  Let’s hope these news reports are mistaken as they so often have been.

What country doesn’t have the right to its unified capital, and to develop and build it?  I pray the Trump Administration will focus its efforts at the United Nations against terror and stand strong on Israel’s side against any and all attempts to delegitimize the only democracy in the Middle East. 

House Passes Chairman Black’s Resolution Protecting States’ Right to Withhold Funding from Abortion Providers

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a registered nurse and member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, praised the bipartisan House passage of her resolution, H.J. Res. 43, which uses the authority of the Congressional Review Act to overturn a December 2016 Obama Administration rule forcing states such as Tennessee to provide Title X family planning grants to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. The resolution passed by a vote of 230 to 188.

Prior to the vote, Congressman Black led debate in support of the resolution. To watch her opening statement on the House floor, click here. A full transcript is provided below:

Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of my resolution of disapproval, H.J. Res. 43, which uses the authority of the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Obama Administration’s eleventh-hour rule forcing states like Tennessee to fund abortion providers... (READ MORE)

 

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte Statement at Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee Hearing on Religious Liberties

Washington, D.C. - Since the birth of our nation, debates about religious liberty have been centered on the relationship between religion and government. Indeed, the founding fathers feared the effect of government on religion. In a letter dated June 12, 1812, to Benjamin Rush, John Adams stated that "nothing is more dreaded than the National Government meddling with Religion." 

Many Americans today know all too well this dread. The policies and regulations implemented under the previous Administration were in many cases hostile to the religious protections afforded by our Constitution. Thankfully, several of these policies were struck down by the Supreme Court.

In 2012, for example, the Justices of the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the government’s argument in Hosanna-Tabor. To the surprise of many, the Administration’s lawyers argued that the First Amendment had little application to the employment relationship between a church and its ministers. The Court stated that “requiring a church to accept or retain an unwanted minister, or punishing a church for failing to do so, intrudes upon more than a mere employment decision.” The decision described the Administration’s lawyers’ position as “extreme”... (READ MORE)

 

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House Majority Leader McCarthy: The House is Focused on the Betterment of All of America

Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke at a leadership press conference today on the House’s work to repeal and replace Obamacare and how Republicans are restructuring Washington through regulatory reform.

"When it comes to replacing Obamacare, we all know the challenges of what's happening to so many families. The high deductibles, all those that joined the co-ops, those 23 co-ops that were given more than $2 billion—18 of them have failed....

"That's why we cannot slow down. We have to repeal and we have to replace it. When you look at the functions of what we're doing—focusing on the individual, focusing on the care, the betterment of all of America—these two individuals [Chairman Brady (TX-08) and Chairman Walden (OR-02)] and their committees are doing the work... (READ MORE)

 

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte Statement From Hearing on Judicial Transparency and Ethics

Washington, D.C. - House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) delivered the following statement during the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet's hearing on transparency and ethics in our federal court system.

Chairman Goodlatte: This morning the Judiciary Committee continues its examination of our nation’s federal judicial system. It is widely recognized that the trust that the American people have in our court system is crucial to its success.

While this trust has been cultivated over many generations, it can be lost quickly. This is why it is important that the Judiciary continue to operate in a transparent manner at all times and handle the disputes before it efficiently, ethically, and impartially.

This morning we will hear from three witnesses who will present their ideas regarding ways to increase judicial transparency and accountability... (READ MORE)

 

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Although Barack Hussein Obama’s tenure as President of the United States has ended and John Kerry is no longer the U.S. Secretary of State, Israel’s woes on the world’s stage are not over. However, under the new Trump administration, Israel will hopefully once again find they have a true and loyal friend in the United States.

Obama and Kerry worked hard in their final hours of power to make Israel’s battle at the United Nations and elsewhere an even tougher challenge for the Jewish state. The biased United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution passed on December 23rd was quietly in the works for a long time.  Among many other anti-Israel provisions, the document condemns Israeli settlements as “illegal and dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution.” It also states that Israel does not own the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, any part of the West Bank and not a square inch of East Jerusalem. Furthermore, the resolution called on states that do business with Israel “to distinguish between the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967” which paves the way for renewed Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel. The United States broke with precedent by failing to veto the resolution which it has historically done whenever a proposed resolution was determined to be unfairly slanted against Israel. Obama’s failure to exercise his veto gave Israel’s enemies hope that the Paris conference would have relevance and it did but, surprisingly, it was in favor of Israel. All were taken by surprise when Britain broke ranks with Europe by refusing to join the 70 other nations in attendance at the Paris conference which signed a statement preserving the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Australia also refused to sign.       

The French-sponsored talks on the two-state solution were designed to send a message to now President Donald Trump that only a two-state solution will solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict … just in case Team Trump should get the idea to pursue a different approach.  Clearly globalist anti-Israel strategists were hard at work pushing their agendas.  While some feared, others were hopeful, that the Paris conference would produce a document to be brought to the Security Council for an immediate vote; a document that would establish parameters for future talks between Israel and the Palestinians.  

But that’s not all the anti-Israel strategists had been planning. Sweden and its virulently anti-Israel Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, bribed their way to a two-year nonpermanent seat on the Security Council perfectly timed to happen prior to Obama leaving office. This is no coincidence.

For months, Sweden worked assiduously behind the scenes, inviting U.N. ambassadors from poor and developing African countries to Stockholm. Sweden wooed the ambassadors with luxury to the tune of 27 million SEK (nearly $3 million), while wheeling, dealing and lobbying for their U.N. votes. The money was siphoned from its public budget for aid to poor and undeveloped countries.  According to Swedish press reports, Sweden also sent representatives to Africa to speak with Ethiopia’s prime minister, who promised to support Sweden’s candidacy for the Security Council seat in return for Sweden’s vote for him as director general of UNESCO this year.

“It was a cover operation for what this is really about, namely to buy votes,” a source told a Swedish human rights publication.The real aim and scope of the operation was kept secret, and the different steps of the campaign were not recorded.”

Sweden supports limiting the use of the veto by permanent Security Council members—such as the United States—“in situations where mass atrocity crimes have been, or risk being committed.”  

The French Connection 

Considering France’s record of anti-Semitism and its BDS-tainted labeling of goods produced in Israeli settlements, it should be no surprise that in December, France sent a security delegation to the United States for counterterrorism training by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). If you blinked, I understand. The Department of Homeland Security Community Engagement Office in Tampa, and the Obama State Department arranged for CAIR’s Florida chapter to train the French police and counter-terrorism personnel.

The program blatantly conflicts with the FBI policy of noncooperation with CAIR (except for criminal investigations) due to evidence linking its executives to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the thrust of the Tampa training was to discourage counterterror activities within Muslim communities, which CAIR claims undermine Muslims’ civil liberties.

Barbarians at the Gates

You may wonder why democratic France, whose citizens have suffered a string of devastating terror attacks by Muslim extremists in the past two years, would seek security and counter-terrorism training from a Muslim group with proven terrorist ties. Why not call on Israel, which stood in solidarity with France after the attacks, and which offers counter-terrorism expertise?  France and the EU face barbarians not only at the gates, but also in the palais, marketplace, sports arena and workplace. By embracing or failing to acknowledge groups with terrorist ties and suspect agendas, the EU could be courting disaster. There’s more to this than naiveté.

CAIR officials enjoyed close relations with the Obama Administration, and DHS/State Department coordination with CAIR is not new. According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, DHS has funneled anti-terrorism funds allocated by Congress to the group, including a 2015 DHS sub-grant. That same year, the State Department discussed with CAIR officials “the need … to challenge [alleged] aggressive Israeli actions targeting the Al Aqsa mosque compound, one of the holiest sites in Islam.” Reports also have surfaced of DHS training procedures that would single out U.S. Jews and Christians as “domestic terrorists” in the event of martial law.

 For America and Israel to maintain free, democratic societies, threats to derail our democracies and way of life must be exposed and confronted. As Donald Trump begins his service as President of the United States, it would be prudent for those who value freedom and democracy to encourage him as well as the U.S. Congress to set fresh foreign policy initiatives that support America’s ally Israel and investigate DHS and State Department ties to Muslim extremists.  While it appears the United States is off to a good start with an Israel-friendly administration in Washington D.C., there are many holes in this dike and the more eyes watching the better.

 


Senate Majority Leader McConnell: President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released the following statement regarding President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court:

“The president made an outstanding decision in his nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He has an impressive background and a long record of faithfully applying the law and the Constitution. Judge Gorsuch understands the invaluable contribution to the federal judiciary and our democratic government made by the justice he is succeeding. Like Justice Scalia, he understands the constitutional limits on the authority of a federal judge and that the duty of a judge is to apply the law even-handedly, without fear or favor, and not to rule based on one’s empathy with a party in a case"... (READ MORE)

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Congressman Jim Bridenstine: No Taxpayer Funds for Abortion

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on January 24th to permanently prohibit use of federal funds to pay for abortions or for purchasing insurance plans that cover abortions, with certain limited exceptions.

Since 1976, the “Hyde Amendment” has been included on appropriations bills.  The legislation (H.R. 7) would make the prohibitions permanent and applies them to all federal funds.  It would also ban abortions in federal facilities and by federally employed healthcare professionals.  Health benefits under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) could not include coverage of abortions.  Obamacare “exchange subsidies” and cost-sharing subsidies for plans that offer abortion coverage would be disallowed. Further, no multi-state plans under Obamacare could include abortion coverage... (READ MORE)

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House Progress on Regulatory and Health Care Reform: Remarks from Weekly Press Briefing

“We continue to make progress on our agenda for the American people. By the end of this week, the House will have taken action to block five costly Obama administration regulations, including a rule that threatens to wipe out thousands of jobs in coal country. With a vote in the Senate and a signature by the president, we will be able to bring immediate relief to those workers.

“And this is just the start. In the weeks ahead, we will act on more resolutions to deliver relief from excessive regulations. When you think about the fact that the Obama administration was issuing major regulations at a rate of one every three days, this is real sea change. This is job creation.”

“We also continue to act on a step-by-step approach to repeal and replace Obamacare. Yesterday, the Energy and Commerce Committee held a legislative hearing on three bills to improve Medicaid. Today, the committee is holding a legislative hearing on another four bills to provide relief from collapsing markets"... (READ MORE)

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House Majority Leader McCarthy: The House Targets Five Job-Killing, Destructive Regulations

Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today on how the House is using the Congressional Review Act this week to help our economy and defend the rights of American citizens.

“Since the beginning of this Congress we have devoted ourselves most prominently to a single goal: making Washington work for the people again. And there is one thing here in Washington that consistently stands against our people, our economy, and our Constitution: the federal bureaucracy.“I thank the gentleman for yielding. Mr. Speaker, I rise in favor of the rule and the underlying legislation.

“These agencies, bureaus, and departments—so numerous that nobody even knows how many there are—they spend their lives thinking up new rules. And the rules they produce weigh down businesses, destroy jobs, and limit American rights"... (READ MORE)

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Senator Ernst Speaks at March for Life

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst today addressed the crowd at this year’s March for Life rally. In her remarks, Senator Ernst announced she will introduce two pieces of legislation on Monday: a bill that redirects funds from Planned Parenthood to other eligible women's health care providers, and a measure to scrap the Department of Health and Human Services’ new rule to amend regulations implementing the Title X Family Planning Program. 

The following is the full text of Senator Ernst’s remarks:

God bless you all! Thank you so much. Thanks for being here.

What I am wishing today, above all else. What I am wishing for all Americans whether they are born or unborn, is that they know peace, that they know love, and that they all might be touched by the grace of God... (READ MORE)

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Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement on House passage of H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act:

“The new Republican government has a unity of values and a unity of purpose. We are committed to defending life, not destroying it; and we are committed to ensuring taxpayer money is not used to support a practice that millions of Americans are deeply and morally against.

“By reinstating the Mexico City Policy, President Trump ensured American taxpayer dollars wouldn’t be used to support groups that provide and promote abortions abroad... (READ MORE)
 
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Washington, D.C. ­– House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement supporting President Trump’s decision to restore the Mexico City Policy and announcing the House’s intention to vote tomorrow on H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act:

“Days after President Obama took office in 2009, he overturned a longstanding policy initially instituted by President Ronald Reagan—the Mexico City Policy—that prohibited American taxpayer money from flowing to non-governmental organizations in foreign countries that provide or promote abortions. Not only is funding abortions abroad far outside America’s national interest, the decision to overturn this rule allowed money from the American people to be used to support a practice that millions of Americans are firmly against. Our foreign policy is shaped by our values, and supporting life is among our most sacred... (READ MORE)
 
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Today at a press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Ryan detailed his working relationship with President Trump and his administration:

"We are on the same page with the White House. We’re going to be hearing from the president today. We’ve been working with the administration on a daily basis to map out and plan a very bold and aggressive agenda to make good on our campaign promises and to fix these problems: To repeal and replace and repair our broken health care system; to reform our tax code to get jobs and economic growth; to clear out the regulatory underbrush so we can get economic growth going... (READ MORE)
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the challenges that President Trump is inheriting from the last administration:

“Last week, President Trump gave his first major address to the nation. The week before, President Obama gave his last.  These are different men. They come from different parties. But their speeches were more similar than you might think, and there were some common themes... (READ MORE)

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A popular mountain peak frequented by tourists in Israel is Mount Bental in the Golan Heights. From the top of this mountain, one can see into Lebanon to the northwest and into Syria to the east bringing home just how small Israel is and how close are her enemies: Hezbollah in South Lebanon, ISIS and other jihadist groups in Syria, not to mention the Syrian Assad regime.

Looking down into Syria, one can see a modern highway built in the general vicinity of one of the ancient roads leading into Damascus. The conversion of Saul in Acts 9 took place on just such a road, so this is a great place to review that story and act upon its lesson. Saul was an enemy of the believers in Jesus and had the authority of the High Priest in Jerusalem to capture  and bring them bound to Jerusalem.

The believers in Damascus were terrified and must have prayed much for Saul, because the next part of the story is nothing short of a miracle. Jesus appears to Saul before he even reaches the city and causes him to lose his sight. Ananias is then told to find Saul, lay hands on him, and pray for him to receive the Holy Spirit. Saul spends the rest of his life as: “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1).

Praying for Our Enemy

The lesson from this story is to pray for everyone – even one’s enemies who are bent on doing harm. Today, there is a great spiritual battle brewing over the region, and the same forces that want to destroy Israel and Christian communities are killing each other in the quest for control. Mount Bental is the perfect place from which to intercede for all the people caught up in this turmoil.

The Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, was predominantly Christian before the Islamic forces invaded in the 7th century. A thousand years ago, there were more Christians in the Middle East than in Europe. Even a century ago, more than 20% of the region’s population was Christian.

Today, estimates put the Christian population in the region at less than 5% and likely to become extinct. The second largest Christian community in the Middle East, after the Copts of Egypt, is the Syriac/Assyrian Christians from Iraq, Syria and surrounding areas. They are now displaced, many are refugees, and will never regain their community’s size and strength.

Hearts should break over the human toll and suffering this conflict has and could still potentially cause. All the peoples of the Middle East—Jew, Christian, and Muslim—are, in one way or another, victims of the spiritual stronghold over the region that causes hatred, violence, and death.

There needs to be much prayer for the protection of Israel and the Christians, but also for the gospel to go forth throughout the region in even greater ways than it already is. Indications are that the region is more open to the gospel than ever before. Throughout the Muslim world, Jesus is appearing to people in dreams and visions, and they are turning to Him. What began as a small trickle in the early 80s has mushroomed to now millions of Muslims who have turned to Christ.

God Chose Israel for Blessing

God loves all the peoples of the Middle East as they are part of the world He loved and sent His son to die for (John 3:16). This is just as true for the Arabs, or Muslims, as it is for anyone else.

God’s choice of Israel was not to bless the Jewish people to the exclusion of others, but that through them He would “bless all the families of the earth” (Genesis 12:3). In fact, it is because of God’s love for the world that He brought into existence the nation of Israel through whom He would bring about His redemptive plan.

Millions of people are caught in the crossfire of the forces of evil that hate God, His plan, and His people. Let’s pray for them. A “Damascus Road” revelation of the Prince of Peace is their only hope.

 

Susan M. Michael is US Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem www.icejusa.org and her articles can be found at www.icejusa.org/susans-blog

For information on the ICEJ’s tours to Israel go to www.icejusa.org/tours


Settlements are not the major obstacle to peace. 

While settlements can be a source of conflict, they are not the major obstacle to peace. From 1948-1967 no Israeli settlements existed, yet the Palestinian leadership and the Arab World still sought Israel's annihilation.

As a result of the resounding Israeli victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel gained the “West Bank,” “Gaza,” ”Golan Heights” and “East Jerusalem.” Less than a week after the war ended, the Israeli unity government under PM Levi Eshkol affirmed – and then told the Americans -- that Israel would return the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and the Golan Heights to Syria in return for signed peace treaties. Separate negotiations would then be conducted regarding the future of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the refugee issue. While Egypt accepted the Sinai offer, Syria rejected the Golan Heights offer. Negotiations over the West Bank and Gaza failed.

 

Settlements do not jeopardize future “Land for Peace” deals.

In the meantime, some Israelis took up residence in areas around Jerusalem that were across the 1967 armistice lines. These Israeli developments, known as “Settlements,” only take up around 2% of West Bank land. Over time, US Administrations recognized that Israel would retain some of these towns in any peace agreement.

Israel has uprooted other settlements such as those in the Gaza Strip. In 2005 Israel evacuated all the Jewish families living in Gaza—a total population of 8,000. However, instead of making peace, Hamas—a terrorist organization—took over the Gaza Strip and responded by firing thousands of rockets at Israeli cities in the ensuing years.

 

The Israeli government is not building new Settlements.

For years, the only legal construction allowed by the Israeli government has been within existing communities to accommodate the natural growth of resident families. Illegal outposts, which do not conform to Israel’s policies, do exist. Some critics fault the Israeli government for not dealing with them more forcefully, but the government works to resolve the issue peacefully or by court order.

 

Israeli Settlements may not be illegal at all.

[i]

Many legal scholars question whether Settlements are illegal at all. Eugene V. Rostow, one of the authors of UN Security Council Resolution 242—written after the 1967 war to create a framework for peace negotiations—stated, "The Jewish right of settlement in Palestine west of the Jordan River, that is, in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was made unassailable. That right has never been terminated and cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its neighbors." Moreover, Rostow contended that "The Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing Palestinian population to live there."

Others contend that the Geneva Convention, passed after WWII, makes the Settlements illegal. The December 2016 UN Security Council Resolution 2334 Vote—passed due to the US government’s abstention—declared them illegal and opened the door to future international actions against Israel. 

 

Palestinians are building illegally around Jerusalem.

[ii]

All of the governments and international bodies that criticize Israel for building what many claim to be legal communities are silent about the construction of new Palestinian developments surrounding Jerusalem. According to a detailed article by Bassam Tawil of the Gatestone Institute, the questionable construction is primarily in Zone-C, which under the Oslo Peace Accords should be territory controlled by Israel. According to Tawil, Palestinians estimate that in the past few years they have built more than 15,000 illegal housing units in areas surrounding Jerusalem as part of a plan to encircle the city. These are not single family homes, but massive apartment complexes without proper licenses, not built to code, and some without proper sewage. The article claims that many of the "contractors" are land-thieves and thugs who are building without permission on private Palestinian-owned land or on lands whose owners are living abroad.

 

The major obstacle to peace is Palestinian leadership.

The Palestinian leadership's refusal to give up the conflict, recognize Israel as a Jewish State, and renounce the "right of return" for most Palestinian refugees, is the real obstacle to peace. The so-called "right of return" would allow millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees to flood Israel. No Israeli leader would ever accept the "right of return," since it would mean the end of the world’s only Jewish state. Yet, the Palestinian leadership has never told its own people that they must forfeit this claim in order to achieve peace.

 

Susan M. Michael is US Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem www.icejusa.org and her articles can be found at www.icejusa.org/susans-blog and www.israelanswers.com/blog  

 

Speaker Paul Ryan: Statement on Passage of Obamacare Repeal Resolution

WASHINGTON—Today, the House passed a resolution that gives Congress the legislative tools to repeal and replace Obamacare. Upon passage, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement:

“By taking this first step toward repealing Obamacare, we are closer to giving Americans relief from the problems this law has caused. Too many families have seen costs soar, quality drop, and choices reduced to one—which just isn’t a choice at all. This resolution gives us the tools we need for a step-by-step approach to fix these problems and put Americans back in control of their health care”... (READ MORE)

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressional Prayer Caucus co-chairman Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and former Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) today announced that Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) will serve as the new House co-chair of the Caucus. Walker will assume the leadership role previously held by Forbes, who founded the Caucus in 2005 to protect the right of individuals to pray and practice their faith freely. You can read more about the Caucus here. 
 
"Our nation was founded on the solid conviction that all men were endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, yet across America, faith has come under attack,” said Forbes. “Freedom of conscience is part of who we are as a nation, and we must preserve this fundamental freedom in our nation. That's why I founded the Prayer Caucus"... (READ MORE)

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Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke at the Hoover Institution this morning about why the House is tackling regulatory reform first to help our economy, restore our Constitution, and empower the people.
 
On how regulatory reform empowers the people:
 
“With Article I of the constitution, we started this country with three co-equal branches. They are no longer co-equal, and that’s really a threat to the economy, to the Constitution, and to the people.… I’m a firm believer that structure dictates behavior. So you have to get the structure right otherwise you’ll get the same behavior and outcome as it goes forward. So if you watched on the floor, right now we’re populating the committees, but we’re still moving legislation on the floor. And what did we focus on first? Article I. Midnight Rules [Act]. Just since Trump got elected in November to January 5th, this Administration has proposed 145 new regulations, $16 billion worth"... (READ MORE)

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Washington, D.C.— House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, requesting that the Department of Justice (DOJ) preserve all documents related to the Department’s controversial settlement practices. 
 
Chairman Goodlatte’s letter notes that of particular interest are “civil settlements that provide for or direct payments to non-victim third-parties, DOJ’s policies and practices relating to the settlement and administrative processing of class actions, and, more generally, cases in which payment was sought from the Judgment Fund, including DOJ’s efforts to settle with insurers claiming ‘risk corridor’ payments under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
 
As Chairman Goodlatte explains in the letter, it is important that DOJ preserve all documents related to the abuses because, as “bills to address these abuses are pending, it is important that the public have a full picture of the troubling practices that have caused Members to offer and support legislation addressing them”... (READ MORE)

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Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement on House passage of H.R. 21, the Midnight Rules Relief Act:

“The federal bureaucracy is out of control. Without the consent of the people or their representatives, unelected bureaucrats are publishing massive amounts of regulations in the final days of the Obama Administration—regulations that subvert the will of the people and will cost us money and jobs. The Midnight Rules Relief Act allows Congress to put these last-minute regulations from the Obama Administration on the chopping block all at once, giving the Trump Administration a cleaner slate and refuting overactive meddling by unelected executive employees”... (READ MORE)

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