Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 by Ericka Andersen and is filed under Blog
When you hear “No Child Left Behind,” you may cringe at the memory of a bad policy put into place back in 2002 by President George W. Bush. Many conservatives pushed against the big government program from the start — and now, we’re back at it.
Unfortunately, the federal government hasn’t “left it behind” yet.
Congress is currently looking at a re-authorization of the failed legislation, which is the largest federal law governing education policy for students in grades K-12.
This time they are branding it the Student Success Act (SSA) and it’s moving along rather quickly — up for a vote this Thursday in fact.
The SSA combines dozens of different programs originally authorized under NCLB and like much of what comes out of Washington, the details are easy get confused.
Supporters are touting the “flexibility” this new version would give states but that line should be taken with a grain of salt. In reality, the “flexibility” is very small, and the SSA would only perpetuate the problems caused by NCLB as a whole.
Lindsey Burke, and education policy analyst from the Heritage Foundation, writes:
NCLB currently authorizes roughly $24 billion in spending for the nearly 80 programs that fall under the law. Providing flexibility within a single title of the law totaling just 10 percent of overall spending in NCLB, and within a limited scope, is a missed opportunity to truly restore state and local decision-making.
There’s always something. In this case, there are multiple things. For example, the new version of NCLB doesn’t slow spending, cut programs or allow education dollars to follow students.
What’s the point in renewing a program that has made little impact on test scores — one of the main components of the program — and taken away from other important aspects of educational life? With so much focus on national test standards, funds were diverted from other things and educational freedom denied. Most of all, it doesn’t do anything to reduce federal mandates and make education effective at the local level.
States shouldn’t be forced into another long tour of duty under this big government monstrosity. Education works best at the local level, where parents, teachers, students and local government make the decisions for themselves.
Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 by Madison Project Staff and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
This morning, Washington, DC awakened to earth shattering news. Mitch McConnell and team were seriously considering repealing ObamaCare. The process was in place, they were doing due diligence and putting the wheels in motion.
It was show time.
Until the Senate parliamentarian said they couldn’t use the budgetary reconciliation process to dismantle ObamaCare. Like truant school children, the response from Mitch McConnell and team was to hang their heads and say, “Well, we tried to do the right thing. . . .”
That is gist of the story that is in The Hill this morning.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Mitch McConnell has no intention whatsoever of repealing ObamaCare. Now or ever.
If you read the story closely, its apparent that the source of the parliamentarian’s concern are “GOP sources.” Read that as either Senate leadership aide or McConnell staff. As far as anyone knows, the Senate parliamentarian has no concerns regarding using the budgetary reconciliation process to repeal ObamaCare.
Team McConnell would 1) like for you to think that she does and that 2) the parliamentarian’s advice is akin to the Ten Commandments, i.e. carved in stone. Once she speaks, it is settled.
If you have been around DC long enough, the story must be read as a trial balloon from the GOP leadership as it intends to claim that the budgetary reconciliation process is not a legitimate way to dismantle ObamaCare and that “because we don’t have the White House, we’re just going to have to wait to see how 2016 plays out before we can take any serious action against ObamaCare.”
This story is a marker for them to turn to and say, “Look, we tried, but as The Hill reported, it’s just impossible to do.”
This is a manufactured story if ever there was one.
McConnell and team will, of course, trot out the obligatory floor votes for full repeal of ObamaCare and hope the conservative movement seal claps for this shiny object. After all, this is why they won in November-to show people they are serious about getting things done. But the fact of the matter is, full repeal votes are simply show votes that Mitch McConnell and team know have no chance of going anywhere.
Now, for the parliamentarian.
For a moment, let’s say that the parliamentarian does have concerns with using the budgetary reconciliation process to dismantle the ObamaCare. Who is the parliamentarian and what is this person’s role in the Senate?
To begin with, the role of the parliamentarian is simply an advisory one that was established in 1935 in hopes of creating a more orderly flow in the Senate during the New Deal. In essence, the role of the parliamentarian was created to house the working knowledge of how the Senate was supposed to operate as more and more Senators spent less time on the floor.
As an advisor, the parliamentarian’s advice is non-binding. The presiding officer of the Senate can take it or leave it. The parliamentarian serves as a reference point, a lexicon so to speak, for new Senators to ask questions of as they serve as the presiding officer of the Senate. Senators may disagree with the parliamentarian. In fact, both the Democrats and the Republicans have fired the parliamentarian when they feel the parliamentarian is disagreeing with them for no apparent reason (Robert Dove being the most famous case, fired in 1987 by the Democrats and in 2001 by the Republicans).
So while the parliamentarian plays a role in the United States Senate, let’s not let Mitch McConnell and team fool us into thinking it is a critical one. It’s not. It’s a functionary role that was always intended to give advice to the chair, not bind the majority into what they could and could not do. At best, The Hill story today was a fig leaf for McConnell and team to hide behind.
And frankly, it was a small one.
Monday, February 23rd, 2015 by Madison Project Staff and is filed under Blog, Uncategorized
Back in 2001, then President George W. Bush hailed the passage of what he called one of the hallmarks of his administration, the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)*. Considered the most sweeping education reform since Lyndon Johnson’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act, No Child Left Behind’s proponents claimed that it would raise the standardized test scores nationwide. In 2005, these same proponents pointed to the National Assessment of Educational Progress results that appeared to show marked improvement among 9 year olds in reading and math.
Oddly enough, there appeared to be no progress in other age groups and opponents to NCLB argued that scores even fell among other age groups even as the makers of the standardized tests worked to make the tests easier.
To some extent, the problem above is not that scores may or may not have improved in certain groups or sub-groups of students nationwide or that standardized tests were made easier.
Those are just footnotes to a much larger problem – a federally mandated education standard.
When standardized testing becomes the goal for teachers, the curriculum follows suit and the learning environment is constrained. With focus on reading, writing and mathematics and rewards based on how students test on those subjects, the liberal arts are, in effect, dismissed as non-essentials. Teachers teach to the test.
It is now proven that under NCLB, history, art, music, language and other subjects have been reduced by over 70% nationwide. On top of all this, NCLB does nothing to actually cut the $25 billion budget of the Department of Education, one of the most bloated bureaucracies in Washington, D.C.
There were a lot of conservatives elected these last few election cycles under the auspices of cutting government spending in Washington, D.C. and getting government out of our lives.
This Thursday, they have an opportunity to do so by voting against reauthorizing NCLB and working towards commonsense education reforms that give parents and local education boards more control over how students are taught as well as making American school childrens’ educational experience more well rounded.
Given its lack of popularity, many would think defeating the reauthorization for NCLB would be an easy task with Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate.
Apparently, it is not.
As Daniel Horowitz writes over at ConservativeReview.com:
Unlike welfare dependency programs, which the best we can hope for is a reform bill cutting around the edges of the program, NCLB is detested by both the Right and the Left. As an added bonus, it has created no dependency. Quite the contrary, there is popular sentiment to scrap federal intervention and standardized testing altogether. So why are Republicans committed to preserving it by reauthorizing the program for another seven years?
It is our hope that many of you reading this post will ask the same question and reach out to your Members, asking them to vote against the reauthorization of NCLB on Thursday.
To reach your Member’s office, you can go to www.House.gov and find a listing of each Congressional office with contact information.
If you would like to call them, dial 202-224-3121 (the Capitol switchboard) and ask for your Member’s office.
The request is simple. Ask them to vote against the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, bill H.R. 5.
*The Madison Project’s chairman, former Congressman Jim Ryun, voted against No Child Left Behind during his tenure in Congress.
Friday, February 13th, 2015 by Ericka Andersen and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
It’s well known by now that President Obama and his White House refuse to call Islamic terrorism by it’s name.
Their hyper-PC rhetoric would be funny if it weren’t so consequential to U.S. foreign policy on a larger scale.
Obama’s infamous speech at last week’s National Prayer Breakfast was breathtakingly obtuse in how to approach an evil enemy of our country and the world.
On the world stage, he told America to get off our “high horse” and remember all the awful things done in the name of Christianity during the Crusades.
It had been days since the murder of a Jordanian pilot by ISIS – and 1,000 years since the Crusades took place. Yet, he felt it necessary to condemn the latter among the world’s most prolific religious leaders in our nation’s Capitol.
It was one of the worst foreign policy decisions he could have made, even if it wasn’t a policy at all. As Ravi Zaccharias wrote this week:
Citing the Crusades, he used the single most inflammatory word he could have with which to feed the insatiable rage of the extremists. That is exactly what they want to hear to feed their lunacy. In the Middle East, history never dies and words carry the weight of revenge.
Another incident happened just yesterday, exemplifying the Administration’s refusal to call things what they are. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest refused to admit that religion played a role in the shooting of individuals inside a Paris kosher deli by Islamic terrorists. Playing off of President Obama’s own words that the shooting was “random,” it was obvious he didn’t want to place religious discrimination at the forefront — and was criticized by reporters.
The White House has since backtracked on those remarks — but it shouldn’t have been remotely confusing to begin with.
There’s a problem — a big one. Obama’s refusal to admit that this terrorism is rooted in Islam can be summed in the words of AEI scholar Marc Thiessen:
You cannot defeat an ideology unless you’re willing to name it.
And that’s just it. We’re not dealing with a country here. We don’t have a leader to schedule peace talks with. The United States cannot create a strong, successful strategy to deal with this without accepting it for what it is: Islamic radicalism.
As Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro put it:
Mr. President, what’s most interesting is that with the crusaders, you so easily identify them as Christians. Why is it so hard for you to identify today’s jihadi terrorists as Muslim?
It’s time for the President to stop being worried about offending people and perhaps to his chagrin, get on the high horse that is the United States of America — land of the free, beacon of hope, tower of strength for the world.
Our leadership in the world and success in defeating this evil depends on it.
Thursday, February 5th, 2015 by Madison Project Staff and is filed under Blog
For Immediate Release
February 5, 2015
Madison Project Calls for U.S. Senate to Skip Recess
“Stay in session until U.S. House DHS bill is passed.”
Fort Worth, TX – The Madison Project PAC, released the following statement today regarding the immigration debate in the U.S. Senate:
“The U.S. Senate must keep their promise and fight President Obama’s executive amnesty,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project. “Many Republican Senators have decried the abuse of the Obama Administration in attempting to circumvent their legislative power with the President’s actions regarding amnesty. This is their chance to back their words with action. The House has done its job and the message from the American people is very clear – they need to pass the U.S. House DHS bill that ends the unlawful action by this president and they should forgo recess to do it.
“It’s evident that the leadership of the Senate has been content to rely more on rhetoric than action and that must come to an end. Executive amnesty will put our country on a dangerous path and it must be stopped. Senate leaders vowed to stop this action so now is their chance. America’s voters are expecting them to deliver.”
The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found athttp://madisonproject.com/
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 by Ericka Andersen and is filed under Blog, Debt, Economy
Submitting his $4 trillion busting-at-the-seams budget to a Republican Congress today might have felt a little pointless to President Obama — and redundant.
As the Heritage Foundation’s economic policy analyst Curtis Dubay wrote,
This is the seventh budget he has released, and each of them had trillions of dollars of tax hikes that would needlessly increase the tax burden on American families and increase the already bloated size of the federal government.
But it’s been trending #2016budget all day on social media and analysts are coming out of the woodwork to praise or criticize depending on which policy perspective they come from.
Obama calls for higher taxes for businesses and the wealthy to cover the cost of increased domestic and military spending and infrastructure — as well as an end to sequestration and tax credits for things like education, childcare, paid leave and more.
He seemingly continues to live in fantasy world where government provision, supposedly, costs middle class and lower class Americans nothing, but that’s far from the truth.
“We need to put politics aside, pass a budget that funds our national security priorities at home and abroad and gives middle class families the security they need to get ahead on the new economy,” he said of the budget.
Of course, Obama is the first to employ politics in nearly everything he does, including the making of this budget — and Republicans in Congress know that.
Conservative Rep. Tim Huelskamp sent this humorous tweet:
Blatantly missing from the budget are ways to fix social security and medicare entitlements, which are drowning our country in more debt every single year.
The budget does include $561 billion in military spending, to help in the fight against Russia, ISIS and cybersecurity issues. Conservatives can get on board with that, but they aren’t going to stand for it being paid for with tax increases that will hurt the economy.
Conservatives like Rep. Mike Kelly spoke out, calling the budget a “nonstarter” and Rep. Raul Labrador called it “tone deaf.”
It’s clear Obama hasn’t been listening to the American people, who called for real change in the last election. It’s up to the Republican Majority in Congress to stand up to Obama’s bad policies and formulate something that truly meets the needs of our country.
Friday, January 30th, 2015 by Ericka Andersen and is filed under Blog, Immigration
You would think a bill with “border security” in the title would be a surefire win with conservative Members of Congress. But, it’s easy to give a bill a deceptive name that doesn’t truly reflect it’s full intentions.
That’s exactly the case with Rep. Michael McCaul’s “Secure our Borders First” (H.R 399). Sounds great, but doesn’t do nearly enough to begin fixing America’s massive immigration problem.
As conservatives Members huddle in talks in the newly minted House Freedom Caucus, so too do establishment Republicans hell bent on keeping their agenda afloat. But transparency is the key to all things government so let’s talk about what this “border security” bill really is.
The border security provisions in the bill aren’t bad ideas, they’re just not good enough. More moderate Republicans like McCaul and his supporters aren’t committed to crafting hardcore immigration legislation that substantively combats Obama’s awful policies.
Sen. Jeff Sessions has been a vocal opponent of the bill and a voice for conservatives in the fight to do more, noting how little McCaul’s bill does to tackle Obama’s amnesty policies, which are the main issue at stake now. Sessions has said:
Surely, Congress must not allow the president a single dime to carry out an illegal order that Congress has rejected and which supplants the laws Congress has passed.
The opposition is gathering steam. A vote on the bill was pushed back from this week. GOP leadership claimed it was due to inclement weather but insiders believe they feared a lack of support. So, they are likely scrambling behind the scenes now, attempting to rally more Members to support the bill before moving forward.
The bill did pass last week in the House Homeland Security Committee, which McCaul chairs, but it’s anyone’s guess whether they can gain needed support in the House now. As one conservative member, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said, it’s a “show horse, not a work horse.”
Are GOP leaders trying to fool the American people into thinking they’re actually doing something? Americans certainly expect that they will make bold moves on this issue, considering they just elected a GOP majority in both houses with these very reforms in mind.
The bottom line is this: The GOP needs to stop trying to prove their doing something — and actually DO it. This issue will affect our country for a long time to come and it’s worth heading back to the drawing board and presenting something with true, lasting value that will put us back on the right track.
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 by Madison Project Staff and is filed under Blog, Elections, Family Values, Uncategorized
We all know them. In fact, every election cycle, they woo us with campaign trail promises that they will go to Washington, D.C. and be champions for the conservative cause. However, when they get to Capitol Hill the excuses begin: the time is not right, you don’t understand the process, etc. On and on the well worn excuses go, more smoothly with each use as the power of incumbency sets in and the very folks who elected these people are left scratching their heads in frustration.
Who are these two-faced politicians?
They are #ConvenientConservatives who know exactly what it takes to get elected and have no intention of ever fulfilling their campaign promises.
In fact, as we have noted before, many Republican candidates won in 2014 running on conservative issues: the repeal of Obamacare, halting illegal amnesty, defending life, lowering taxes, etc.
The problem is, very few of them actually intended to go to Washington and fulfill their promises. There are reasons for this. The chief amongst them is many campaigns are poll tested for messaging. In other words, campaigns and candidates know what the voters want to hear often before campaigns are even launched.
Two, those who decide elections have loyally followed the GOP thinking they are the party of limited government and social conservatism and these activists work overtime to get them elected.
Yet charts like this one from the Heritage Foundation beg the question: if the GOP is the party of limited government, why has government grown so much during an era when the GOP has dominated control of the House of Representatives, the chamber from which all fiscal bills originate?
While the above is a sobering reminder, electing more and more conservatives should be encouraging to those who believe that “a government that governs best governs least.”
And they are not alone in their beliefs. A majority of Americans agree with conservatives that Obamacare is not our healthcare solution, that illegal immigration must be stopped (some polls even have Hispanics supporting efforts against illegal immigration at 66% to 21%), that a reduction in taxes is the path forward and that we must oppose abortion in all or most cases.
Could it be that the majority of Americans really are conservatives? Does the silent majority still exist in America today? We believe it does and therefore the electoral math is simple, isn’t it? Run on a platform of 1) Repeal Obamacare 2) Stop amnesty 3) Reduce taxes and 4) Run as a Pro-Lifer and statistically, you’ll have a greater chance of winning (gerrymandered districts not withstanding).
As noted above, however, the GOP Establishment has become a professional spin machine as it advances the cause of its corporate friends on the backs of the grassroots who elect them every cycle, all the while pacifying them with empty promises and throw away lines.
Lock stop with the GOP leadership are these #ConvenientConservatives like Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC). Elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, Ellmers ran as a comprehensive conservative. She was going to Washington, D.C. to take on career politicians, to buck the GOP leadership, to reduce taxes, limit the overreach of government and fight for family values.
At face value, it would appear that she has done much of that. One loses track of how many times she has voted to fully repeal Obamacare on the floor of the House. These votes mean nothing, though. They are show votes. Whether she is a willing participant in the scam or a backbencher looking to please leadership, none of these votes to repeal Obamacare meant anything (nor will they in the future).
However, on the votes that really matter, Ellmers has not only voted to fund Obamacare, she has voted for abortion loopholes for Planned Parenthood.
How, you ask, has she pulled this off under the noses of her conservative constituents and grassroots supporters?
It’s simple, really.
She voted yes on the $1.1 Trillion Omnibus and Cromnibus spending bills just this past December. While most conservatives are watching the shiny objects like full repeal bills that will never go anywhere legislatively, Ellmers is voting for the $1.1 trillion Omnibus Spending Bill that not only increases the base discretionary spending to $24 billion, it continues funding failing government programs. It also contains a loophole that could allow Obamacare subsidies to fund abortions.
After having read the above, ask yourself: is Renee Ellmers a conservative? She clearly goes out of her way to message like she is. Her voting record on the real bills (not the shiny object ones) indicates that she is not.
As for immigration, Ellmers ran on a strong, cookie cutter conservative platform. She was going to work to secure the borders and fight amnesty. But again, when the rubber hit the road, she voted for the Cromnibus that did nothing to defund President Obama’s executive amnesty that was tied to the Department of Homeland Security funding. Ellmers and her apologists will retort that two weeks ago she voted to send a House bill that defunded amnesty to the Senate.
It passed. And it was a shiny object and an easy vote.
The GOP leadership in the House knows full well that the Aderholt Amendment that defunds amnesty will be stripped out in the Senate and a bill that does nothing to defund amnesty (and frankly, may advance amnesty) will be returned to the House.
This next vote is the one that counts and it appears that the conservatives in the House will likely have to take down a rule to stop the Senate bill from advancing. All eyes will be on #ConvenientConservatives like Renee Ellmers to see what she does in this scenario.
If her about face on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is any indication, not only will Ellmers cave, but the litany of excuses will begin: we don’t have the votes, the President will veto it anyway, etc.
Sadly, Ellmers is not alone in leading the #ConvenientConservative Caucus. There are many more like her and instead of being fooled by show votes and shiny objects, conservatives need to start paying attention to their Members real voting records and holding them accountable when their true colors are exposed.
Monday, January 26th, 2015 by Ericka Andersen and is filed under Blog, Immigration
After the most interesting election for Speaker of the House in years, John Boehner won again and promised he would fight President Obama’s executive amnesty “tooth and nail.”
Many are skeptical of that promise, wondering if Boehner and his leadership friends will truly stand up for conservative principles in the face of the coming 2016 elections.
The first test for Republicans comes this week, when Rep. Michael McCaul’s border security bill comes up for a vote. It sounds good from the outset but key conservative leaders like Sen. Jeff Sessions — newly appointed chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration — aren’t so sure about that.
The bill is reported to provide multi-billions for drones, radars, surveillance systems, fencing and more — but Sessions said it “fail[ed] to include the measures necessary to fulfill its promises.”
Even though McCaul calls it the “toughest border security bill ever set before Congress,” it’s clear that conservative leaders want to get this right the first time.
After Obama’s amnesty passed last year against major opposition, they know there’s little room for error when it comes to re-establishing a solid immigration reform plan for the future. By placing Sessions in a high level position on the immigration issue, it’s clear Republicans are serious about taking a hard line stance.
The McCaul bill, however, just isn’t good enough.
“Democrats fight with more passion in defense of illegal immigrants than Republicans fight in defense of American workers,” said Sessions recently.
What exactly is the problem with the McCaul bill? Sessions says it’s a bad use of taxpayer money to put more into the border Obama’s policies have moved the problem inside the country, with amnesty for up to 5 million and permits for more to enter legally.
As The Daily Caller reported from one Hill staffer who opposes the bill, “Even if additional spending and border guards catch more migrants, Obama’s deputies will likely release them and give them work permits unless the laws are changed.”
Sessions isn’t alone in his concern. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) have all expressed doubts about the bill. Fleming claimed it has “too many loopholes” and many conservatives agree.
With less than 2 years left in his Presidency, Obama is on a destructive policy pathway and it’s up to conservatives in Congress to stand strong for foundational principles on immigration that will have a lasting legacy.
If this border security bill isn’t good enough, they need to create something that is — and get the rest of the GOP on board.
UPDATE: House Republican leaders have pulled the border security bill from this week’s schedule, pointing to bad weather conditions.
Monday, January 26th, 2015 by Madison Project Staff and is filed under Blog, Economy, Immigration, Uncategorized
The Rule of Law.
It is what America was founded on. When the first Pilgrims left England, they did so because they faced two options: open revolution or immigrate. On the heels of the English Revolution, they chose immigration and left England.
However, when the British government began attacking freedoms of their descendants in the colonies, revolution was the only option left. There was, in their descendant’s minds, no place else to immigrate to.
Out of this revolution, our nation was formed. Influenced by political theorists like John Locke and his Two Treatises of Government as well as Samuel Rutherford’s Lex Rex (The Law is King), the Founders vision was of an ordered, moral and structured society in which government played a limited and constrained role.
It was never intended to be a panacea used to cure societal ills. It was a necessary evil meant to constrain society and be constrained itself.
Jump forward 200 plus years and you find a completely different government, one that overreaches into virtually ever facet of our lives.
We live in a Nanny State where the ascendancy of individual freedom and choice are being replaced by a utilitarian “greater good.”
We have the Patriot Act, the TSA and NSA. We have 110 million Americans on welfare, a number that brings to mind Alexis de Tocqueville’s statement in Democracy in America:
[Democracy] can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy.
As we slide into a monitored welfare state, our government daily loses track of visa holders from hostile nations, illegal immigrants entering our country without threat of being sent back to their home country and border checkpoints over 50 miles into our sovereign territory.
Taxation, the spark that lit the fires of America Revolution, has spiraled even further out of control with the abuses of power of the Internal Revenue Service. As the IRS scandal continues to unfold, it’s clear that this is a simple cause and affect that the Founders wished to avoid at all costs. To them, limited government was possible due to low taxes. With limited resources, government could not grow and overreach its bounds. Now we live in an era where if something moves, the government wants to tax it and it has created a massive vehicle for doing so.
Why? A good starting point to answering this question is the de Tocqueville quote above.
The Nanny State is not a creation of the Obama Administration. Both parties are to blame as both have grown government for their own purposes, not that of the American taxpayer.
The equation in this scenario is not Republican versus Democrat, shirts versus skins. It is the American taxpayer versus the Ruling Class in Washington and if we are to beat it, it is going to take continual vigilance and effort to roll back the Nanny State they have put in place.