This is the beast that never dies. Some members actually openly admitted that they need to bring back earmarks in order t get members to sign onto bad bills.
As we noted yesterday, a number of Republicans who inherently oppose the RSC budget, yet wanted to go on record as voting for it, switched their votes from no to aye when they realized that Democrats wouldn’t vote present and let it pass. This stratagem was orchestrated by the GOP Whip team. Here is a list of the vote switchers (from the Congressional Record) who supported the RSC budget, but only after it was clear that it would never pass:
Messrs. RIVERA, HARPER, THOMPSON of Pennsylvania, Mrs. ELLMERS, Messrs. SHIMKUS, HUNTER, HULTGREN, MICA, FINCHER, COFFMAN of Colorado, TIPTON, Ms. FOXX, Messrs. OLSON, MURPHY of Pennsylvania, SHUSTER, and BUCSHON changed their vote from “no” to “aye.”
In addition, four members switched from aye to no; Messrs. DREIER, WALZ, BILIRAKIS, and YOUNG of Florida.
I was curious to see which members voted for the budget this year but not last year, and vice versa:
It’s not too often that we have the opportunity to elect a conservative fighter who retired early from Congress and is seeking a second run. But with Dan Burton’s retirement in Indiana’s 5th district, we have the prospect to elect a battle-tested fighter in former Congressman David McIntosh.
David McIntosh was elected to Congress as part of the Republican Revolution in 1994. Unlike many of his colleagues, McIntosh never abandoned his commitment to fighting for limited government. Nor was he just a bench-warmer. After just a few years in the House, David was recognized as a full spectrum conservative leader, and in 1998, he became chairman of the Republican Study Committee. When Gingrich butted heads with conservatives at the RSC, McIntosh helped lead the coup against him. In 2000, McIntosh retired early to run for governor in Indiana, a race he unfortunately lost.
Ideally, we like to seek out fresh blood to fill the ranks of conservatives in the House. However, there is nothing better than a former member who served through similar circumstances and has shown himself to be a steadfast and consistent conservative leader. There will be no doubt as to how McIntosh will vote and with whom he will work. He was not cowed by Gingrich’s heavy-handed leadership; he certainly will not be cowed by today’s House leadership.
McIntosh is also a co-founder of the Federalist Society and has a deep knowledge of the Constitution. Since leaving office, he has led the fight against liberal judicial nominees who seek to supplant the Constitution. He is a policy wonk who can articulate conservative ideas from a position of strength.
After a year of growing disappointment with the new Republican revolution, McIntosh feels a calling to reenter Congress and beef up the ranks of the minority within the majority. From our perspective, we have seen too many newly-elected Republicans who have failed to remain faithful to their campaign pledges, even in this era of the Tea Party and dedicated conservative pressure groups. It is apropos to elect more members who have proven themselves during a time when limited government wasn’t as popular. The Madison Project is proud to support David McIntosh to serve this Indiana district, which spans from the northern suburbs of Indianapolis to Marion. Let’s help send a proven fighter to Congress.
Evan Feinberg, a Madison endorsee who is running to unseat SEIU Republican Tim Murphy in PA-18, received the backing of two stalwart state senators; Senator John Eichelberger (R-Blair) and Senator Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon). This will be the next big intra-party battle for conservatives. The primary will be held on April 24.
As a movement, we have enjoyed unparalleled growth over the past few decades, particularly, over the past few years with the advent of the Tea Party. We have more conservative thinkers, writers, talk radio hosts, and organizations than Ronald Reagan would have ever imagined. Most importantly, we have more passion and grassroots activism than ever. However, the most direct way to affect conservative change is to win elections; both primary and general. Writers, thinkers, and speakers help galvanize and unify the conservative movement, but we cannot win elections on superior ideas and arguments alone.
The seminal ingredient to electoral success has not changed; it all boils down to turning out the vote and establishing an efficient and effective ground game to connect with the most consequential voters in a given district. What has changed is electronic communication. The only way to run an effective campaign in this era of mobile devices and social media is to create the perfect synergy between the venues of communication, the voter information, and the GOTV operation.
Let’s face it; the left has been drubbing us in the race to harness technology for GOTV. The entire Google establishment is married to the Obama machine. In fact, they have been outgunning us in GOTV in general. We crushed the Democrats in the war of ideas and the political narrative in 2010, yet we dramatically underperformed our historic potential for success due to a lopsided GOTV disadvantage. We underperformed our polling numbers in key states because of the superior ground game of the leftist union machine. We will never fully succeed if we only seek superior ideas and passion, especially when we are already at a disadvantage in terms of time, treasure, and talent.
This is where American Majority comes into play. As Erick Erickson always says, American Majority and AM Action are among the few organizations that he wholeheartedly endorses without any reservations. They think of all the key elements of affecting generational change from the local school board on up to statewide office – and implement them with overwhelming effectiveness. And most importantly, in this era of intra-fighting between Tea Party organizations and personal egos, they are true team players.
The RSC budget was defeated earlier today, but the good news is that it garnered the support of 136 Republicans, 56% of the conference. Or did it? Take a look at this summation from The Hill of the roll call vote and ask yourselves what we are supposed to think about the leadership within the conference:
Members rejected the RSC proposal in a 136-285 vote in which 136 Republicans supported it and 104 Republicans opposed it. That’s more support than the RSC budget received last year, when 119 Republicans favored it and 120 opposed it.
The increase was due mostly to the decision by Democrats to vote against it rather than to vote “present,” as they did last year. In 2011, most Democrats voted “present” at the last minute, causing a chaotic scene in which many Republicans were forced to oppose the proposal lest it pass over Ryan’s budget, which was preferred by leadership.House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) appeared to thwart the “vote present” strategy this year by holding down the GOP vote totals until after the electronic vote had closed. Once the clock had ticked down, at least ten GOP members voting against the amendment switched to “yes.”
At the very least, it shows that our efforts to educate Republican voters about their members’ voting records is working. At the very worst, it means that we need to find more innovative ways to expose them as frauds.
Late last night, the House began voting on the substitute budget amendments to the Ryan budget. Here is a quick rundown.
Every single Republican in Washington is committed to doing everything in his or her power to terminate Obamacare, right? Wrong!
Last night, 16 Republicans from the ‘pale-pastel caucus’ voted for the Simpson-Bowles budget alternative in the form of the Cooper-LaTourette amendment. This budget fully funds Obamacare. Period. There would have been more supporters if not for the fact that Heritage Action and other organizations scored against the vote.
Over the next few months, we will hear many self-ingratiating protestations over our conservative choices for Congress, particularly our Senate candidates. They will claim that we must elect any Republican that they deem to be electable, as the only means of garnering 51 votes to repeal Obamacare through reconciliation. Anyone who thinks that “just any Republican” would have the courage to seek full repeal through expedited parliamentary measures (especially if the Supreme Court strikes down only part of the law) is not grounded in reality.
As an aside, the Simpson-Bowles budget also raises $1.2 trillion in taxes to feed the voracious bureaucracy, fails to deal with the major drivers of the deficit, cuts the military, and fails to close one agency or abolish a single program. The amendment was defeated 38-382; 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans voted for it. The list of Republican supporters is below the fold.** And no, they’re not all from swing districts.
In addition to the Simpson-Bowles budget, the House held votes on several other proposals. The final vote on the underlying bill – the Ryan budget – and the RSC alternative will take place later on Thursday. Here are the roll call results for those budget alternatives:
Do you think Solyndra was the only bad apple in the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program? Think again. The DOE loan guarantee program, which was actually created by Bush in 2005, has authorized more than $54 billion in loan guarantees, primarily to green energy companies. They are all, of course, backed by taxpayers. Now it turns out that the DOE has realized that many of these loans are risky and prone to corruption. In fact, up to 1/3 of all DOE loans are being monitored for possible violations, according to the Wall Street Journal:
The Department of Energy has placed nearly one-third of its clean-energy loan portfolio on an internal “watch list” for possible violations of terms or other concerns, according to a copy of the list obtained by The Wall Street Journal, highlighting how such concerns have spread beyond the now-bankrupt Solyndra LLC.
The redacted copy, released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Journal, showed that as of Feb. 29 there were 10 projects on the watch list out of 32 loans and loan guarantees made to electric-vehicle and renewable-energy companies.
So what are the reasons for a company to be placed on this list?
There is no doubt that the economy is recovering. However, it is doing so at such a slow pace that we will never return to our per-recession condition, much less enjoy further growth, unless something transformational occurs. Take a look at this chart from AEI scholar James Pethokoukis:
This is what a centrally-planned Keynesian recovery looks like.
Here is one of my personal favorite dictums: Republicans and conservatives have correctly asserted that the federal government doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem. However, a more trenchant summation of our public policy vices would go something like this: we don’t have a spending problem, per se; we have a big government problem. Call it the Dan Horowitz Golden Rule.
All too often we focus exclusively on the budgetary cost of a government program or agency. We must remember that in the case of many of these agencies, even if we had all the money in the world we should never support them. Not only are they expensive, they kill the private economy. No organization better exemplifies this distinction than the EPA. In Washington dollars, the EPA’s annual budget, $8 billion, is not so much. However, try to quantify the cost that the EPA exacts on the private economy. Hundreds of billions? Trillions? Try to quantify the cost in jobs and the cost to consumers resulting from their onerous regulations. These costs far outweigh the budgetary problems, which are nonetheless important.
Yesterday, the EPA unveiled new greenhouse gas emissions regulations for power plants that will cripple the coal industry and raise the cost of electricity exponentially for all American families. Specifically, the EPA would require that all power plants cap their greenhouse gas emissions to the level of natural-gas power plants. This rule will effectively eliminate any new construction of coal-fired power plants. That’s nothing to sneeze at considering that coal fuels almost half of our electricity needs. It will also effectively kill hundreds of thousands of jobs and necessarily raise the cost of the electricity on everyone – just as Obama promised during the 2008 elections.