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  • Issue Brief posted February 1, 2017 by Diane Katz A Regulatory Reform Agenda for the First 100 Days

    No modern American President has come close to matching Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the scope of actions taken during the first 100 days in the Oval Office. Just 48 hours after his inauguration, he suspended all banking transactions, and two days later began drafting legislation to seize regulatory control of the entire financial system. He also launched a public works…

  • Backgrounder posted February 1, 2017 by David R. Burton Reforming FINRA

    An Introduction to FINRA The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the primary regulator of broker-dealers.[1] It regulates 3,895 broker-dealers and 641,761 registered representatives.[2] The Securities Exchange Act requires that a broker-dealer be a member of a registered “national securities organization,”[3] and FINRA is the only extant registered…

  • Legal Memorandum posted February 1, 2017 by John Malcolm, John-Michael Seibler Mandatory “Ban the Box” Requirements May Do More Harm Than Good

    Should private employers be able to ask a job applicant about a potential criminal record when they think it is appropriate, or must they wait to ask until lawmakers allow them to do so? While many employers have voluntarily agreed to “ban the box” by eliminating or delaying questions about a job applicant’s possible criminal record—and should be applauded for doing…

  • Backgrounder posted February 1, 2017 by Anne Ryland, Lindsey Burke School Rules: Lessons from the ESSA Regulatory Process

    On December 10, 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the eighth reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and most recent successor to No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Now, a little more than a year later and after significant critique of the U.S. Department of Education’s regulations for their…

  • Backgrounder posted January 31, 2017 by Romina Boccia A Social Security Primer for the New Administration: Reform Needed Now

    The Social Security Trustees project the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) program to be exhausted by 2035. This means that the program is expected to have only enough revenue from payroll taxes, interest on the Trust Fund balance, and repayment of borrowed Trust Fund dollars to pay out scheduled benefits until 2035. If no action is taken to improve Social Security’s…

  • Issue Brief posted January 30, 2017 by Edmund F. Haislmaier, Alyene Senger The 2017 Health Insurance Exchanges: Major Decrease in Competition and Choice

    One of the stated aims of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was to increase competition among health insurance companies.[1] That goal has not been realized, and by several different measures the ACA’s exchanges offer less competition and choice in 2017 than ever before. Now in the fourth year of operation, the exchanges continue to be far less competitive than the individual…

  • Issue Brief posted January 27, 2017 by Charles W. Calomiris , Matthew Jaremski Stealing Deposits: Deposit Insurance, Risk-Taking, and the Removal of Market Discipline in Early 20th-Century Banks

    Deposit insurance in the U.S. is backed by federal taxpayers and administered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). As of 2016, the FDIC guaranteed approximately $7 trillion in deposits, backed by an insurance fund of $75 billion (a reserve ratio of just over 1 percent).[1] Installed under the Banking Act of 1933, deposit insurance was a temporary policy…

  • Special Report posted January 26, 2017 by Elizabeth Slattery, The Honorable William H. Pryor, , Jr., Edwin Meese III The Originalism Revolution Turns 30: Evaluating Its Impact and Future Influence on the Law

    Introduction October 2016 marked the 30th anniversary of then-Attorney General Edwin Meese III’s speech on “The Law of the Constitution,” which was part of a series advancing a jurisprudence of originalism. Champions of this theory, including Meese, Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, and Antonin Scalia, believed that the Constitution and laws should be interpreted based on…

  • Issue Brief posted January 25, 2017 by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. The Trump–May White House Meeting: Five Key Recommendations for Advancing the Special Relationship

    On January 27, just seven days after taking office, President Donald Trump will meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Washington. It will be the first visit to the White House by a foreign leader since Trump’s inauguration, and the meeting sends a clear signal that the Anglo–American alliance will be at the heart of strategic thinking in the new Trump…

  • News Releases posted January 24, 2017 by Marguerite Bowling Heritage Launches Center for Education Policy

    Washington, DC, January 24, 2017—With a school choice supporter set to head the U.S. Department of Education and mounting enthusiasm for restoring state and local control of education, there is real opportunity for education reforms. To help lead the effort, The Heritage Foundation today announced the launch of its new Center for Education Policy. The Center, headed by…

  • Issue Brief posted January 24, 2017 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. A Simple Plan in 2017 for the Arms Trade Treaty: Return To Sender

    Though then–Secretary of State John Kerry signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on behalf of the United States on September 25, 2013, the Obama Administration waited until December 9, 2016, to transmit the treaty to the Senate. The strength of the opposition to the treaty and the fact that the Administration only acted when it had less than six weeks left in office make…

  • Backgrounder posted January 23, 2017 by James Wallner, Ed Corrigan A Rules-Based Strategy for Overcoming Minority Obstruction of a Supreme Court Nomination

    On November 21, 2013, Senate Democrats used the so-called nuclear option to end a Republican filibuster of one of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees.[1] Using the nuclear option enabled the Democratic majority to overcome minority obstruction by unilaterally lowering the required number of votes to invoke cloture (end debate) on all executive and almost all…

  • Backgrounder posted January 21, 2017 by James Sherk Labor Department Can Create Jobs by Calculating Davis–Bacon Rates More Accurately

    The Davis–Bacon Act (DBA) requires federal construction contractors to pay “prevailing” wages. However, the Department of Labor (DOL) estimates these prevailing rates unscientifically. DBA surveys use tiny, statistically unrepresentative samples of the construction workforce. As a result, DBA rates differ markedly from true market wages. Calculating DBA rates with Bureau…

  • News Releases on January 19, 2017 Priorities for the First 100 Days of the Trump Administration

    The Trump administration's crucial 100-day window to make its priority policy decisions starts tomorrow. It is time to seize the opportunity American voters have just given conservatives -- moving quickly to deregulate the economy, defend our freedoms and rebuild the military. The following list of policies Heritage has formulated for years can set the process in motion. …

  • Backgrounder posted January 19, 2017 by Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris Rolling the DICE on Environmental Regulations: A Close Look at the Social Cost of Methane and Nitrous Oxide

    During his two terms in office, President Barack Obama claimed that global warming is an urgent problem and implemented costly policies in an effort to mitigate climate change.[1] This includes not only very public proposals like the Clean Power Plan and Paris Protocol, but also regulatory measures that are profound in their impact but less visible to the public. Chief…