Monday, January 20th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
On Friday, we all learned the sad news that Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) will be resigning from the U.S. Senate next year as he fights his battle against cancer. Coburn has valiantly fought waste in the federal bureaucracy and he will, God willing, fight off this wretched disease.
The impending vacancy in Oklahoma has triggered a special Senate election for this year, with the primary to take place on June 24, 2014. Over the weekend, several expected candidates, including Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), announced they will not vie for the seat, while Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) plans to officially declare his intentions to run later today. We are safe to assume the GOP establishment wants a united front. And if Lankford becomes their anointed candidate, in what is perhaps the most conservative state in the country, color us underwhelmed.
To be clear, Lankford is not a purely liberal Republican and an anathema to Oklahoma like Rep. Tom Cole would have been, had he contested the seat. And in a perfect world – one without a truculent Democrat Party and a treacherous GOP party establishment – Lankford would go with the flow and drift in the proper direction. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Our country, culture, marketplace, and system of government are on fire. If we don’t aggressively reverse the tide of Obama’s 100-year culmination of the progressive utopia, our slide into socialism and moral decay will be immutable. The only way to reverse this trend is to drive straight through the obstructionist bodies of the GOP establishment and the special interest ruling class. Politicians who support the status quo in the way we approach politics and policy are not up for the task.
Rep. Lankford is a quintessential status quo Republican. After just two years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Lankford was groomed for a leadership position, serving as the number six-ranking member in the Boehner-Cantor team. Nobody gets into leadership that quickly if they are bent on fighting the power structure in Washington. He has since served as a conduit for Boehner and Cantor, supporting their debt ceiling increases and funding for Obamacare in budget bills, thereby obviating one of the reasons for Republicans controlling the U.S. House.
Given that Lankford is from Oklahoma and has always had his eye on higher office, he tends to be more careful about his final votes than most other members of leadership. We noticed that Lankford voted for the Ryan-Murray budget deal in December, which busted the spending caps set by the Budget Control Act. Yet, he voted against the omnibus bill last week, even though that bill was directly born out of the December deal. Lankford cited a number of objections, but he knew exactly what the Ryan-Murray deal engendered. Moreover, he voted for the FY 2012 budget in December 2011, which contained similar objections. Clearly, he understood the optics of voting for this leviathan a week before announcing for the Senate seat would not bode well for his campaign.
Moreover, as we’ve noted before, immigration reform is likely to be the most important issue pending before Congress in the coming years. Lankford supports amnesty and is one of those Republicans who believes “doing nothing” (with regards to amnesty, not enforcement) is not an option. More disturbingly, he offered a typical liberal non-sequitur in support of amnesty: “I wouldn’t prohibit forever (people from getting citizenship). I’m a Christian, and restitution and reconciliation’s a big deal. If you do something illegal or inappropriate you should be able to resolve that, face the penalty, clear it and be forgiven.”
Lankford clearly doesn’t understand the broader consequences of our inane cycle of amnesty and will not be down for the struggle against Obama when he pushes it as a dangerous lame-duck president. When Obama issued his illegal administrative amnesty in 2012, all Lankford could muster was a feeble equivocation over whether it was even amnesty: “It is technically not amnesty, and it is amnesty. It’s both. That’s the frustrating part of it.” [CQ, GOP Avoids Taking a Position on New Immigration Enforcement Policy, 6/19/12]
Folks, we have enough of these consummate politicians in the U.S. Senate already. The Senate GOP Conference is even farther to the left than the House GOP. There is no way someone like Lankford will change the country club culture of Senate Republicans; we will be changed by them. Sending another mediocre Republican to the meat-grinder would be a waste of one of the most conservative seats.
Fortunately, Oklahoma is home to one of the most conservative game-changers in Congress. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), which the Madison Project endorsed last year for reelection, was a game-changer when he defeated the sponsor of the NatGas subsidy bill in a primary, he was a game changer when he voted against Boehner for Speaker, and he will be a game changer in the Senate when he stands up to weak-kneed leaders. Lankford is a yes-man for House leadership, and he will be a yes-man for Senate leadership.
We will never change Washington with the status quo.
Bridenstine has too much to offer Oklahoma in the Senate for him to sit this one out. We encourage him to jump in the race and give voice to conservatives.
Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration
Something peculiar is happening on the immigration front in Washington. With an eerie resemblance to the drumbeat leading up to Obamacare, Republican leaders are creating a sense of urgency that immigration must be addressed now. And much like Obamacare is doing to our already-broken healthcare system, their proposals will exacerbate the very factors that have broken our immigration system over the past few decades.
Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
One of the things we look for in our candidates is the ability to move beyond platitudes and articulate how limited government and free markets helps improve the lives of ordinary Americans. Career politicians like Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) might intuitively think Obamacare is a bad idea, but he has no ability to articulate free market healthcare policy from a position of strength. That’s because, at heart, Roberts is more of a politician than a conservative. Hence, he was easily sucked into the “go-along-to-get-along” mode and endorsed Kathleen Sebelius to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources in 2009.
Dr. Milton Wolf, who we were proud to endorse last month, is the panacea to inarticulate and inconsistent Republican politicians like Roberts. Yesterday, he unveiled his ideas for free market healthcare reform. Every Republicans should read this straightforward document, as it explains in plain English, from the perspective of a doctor, why even before Obamacare was implemented we languished under a centrally planned, market-distorted system. He then proceeds to explain how the lack of portability, government distortions of insurance, tendentious tax treatment of employer-based healthcare, and out-of-control tort system have hurt patients and doctors. Obamacare has only exacerbated all of these “pre-existing conditions.”
We are proud to put our name on smart conservative candidates like Milton Wolf. His articulate presentation of healthcare reform is exactly what we need in Washington. We need more than just a vote; we need a loud and unwavering voice to represent our values. Help us support Milton Wolf in Kansas and send a 21st century conservative to Washington. http://www.retireroberts.com/
Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Press, Taxes
No Way to Craft a Budget
The Madison Project PAC released the following statement today regarding the $1.1 trillion, 1586-page omnibus bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives:
“Once again, Republican leadership has shown us that they are not willing to change the culture of backroom spending deals in Washington,” said Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project. “In 2010, they vowed in the GOP Pledge to America, not to pass massive omnibus bills without enough time to read them. This nearly-1600-page monstrosity covers every aspect of the federal bureaucracy, yet members will not even have the minimum 72-hours to read the bill, as stated in the Pledge. Sadly, it has become commonplace for Republican leaders to violate their word precisely when it comes time to pass the most important and contentious pieces of legislation.
“Even after agreeing to increase the topline spending levels under the ill-conceived Ryan-Murray agreement, Republicans still should have pushed for regular order by passing each of the 12 appropriations bills, one-at-a-time. And at the very least they should have secured a commitment from Democrats to pass next year’s budget through regular order. This would have made it easier to fight funding for Obamacare in one bill without holding up funding for the entire government. Instead, taxpayers are left with one massive bill that funds Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and many other liberal priorities without any ability to scrutinize each department separately.”
“These past two years, more than any, it has become increasingly clear that if we ever hope to downsize the federal government and inject more transparency into the legislative process, that we will need to elect a new cadre of committed conservatives to replace the failed leadership in both parties,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project. “That is why the Madison Project will continue to support and encourage conservative candidates that will hold true to their campaign promises and not fall victim to the special interests of Washington like so many today.”
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 at http://madisonproject.com/
Monday, January 13th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog
Washington is a place filled to the brim with irony and hypocrisy. This week Congress will consider a $1.1 trillion omnibus bill and an extension of dependency-inducing long-term unemployment benefits for the seventh year in a row. Watch how the irony unfolds.
After agreeing to undo part of the sequester for the first two years of the budget frame, as part of the Ryan-Murray agreement, the House plans to pass a full omnibus bill this week to reflect the topline budget numbers of that deal. Pursuant to the December agreement, one of the only real spending cuts used to offset the sequester cancellation was a cut in military pensions to those currently serving in the Armed Forces. Even though we all warned about the dyslexic priorities of that agreement, both parties proceeded to vote for the bill, opting to complain about those cuts the minute the bill was signed into law.
Fast-forward to this week and there are rumors that the omnibus bill will repeal those pension cuts. Remember, this omnibus bill is the execution vehicle of the Ryan-Murray deal, which was proposed for the very purpose of vitiating the sequester and replacing it with military pension cuts. What a bunch of fools.
The other main item on this week’s legislative agenda is Harry Reid’s bill in the Senate to extend unemployment benefits for yet another year. Towards the end of 2013, some sense of sanity finally settled upon Congress when they agreed not to extend this counterintuitive program – or at least 73-weeks’ worth of it. Just a few weeks later, after an aggressive push by Democrats to change the subject from Obamacare, Republicans are once again agreeing to the premise of extending UI. Even Senator Marco Rubio said there is a “general consensus” to extend the program, albeit with offsets.
Well, we all know how the game of offsets works. Typically, they cobble together a patchwork of notional and intangible savings from a dozen programs spread out over 10 years to cover the one-year cost. Now Harry Reid is taking this stratagem to a new low by offering offsets 11 years from now. In order to pay for the UI extension, he is offering to extend the mandatory spending cuts of the sequester into 2024, outside the 10-year budget frame.
Let’s take a quick step back for a moment. After terminating part of the first two years of the sequester, we are to believe that the sequester will survive long enough that it will still be around in 2024 to offset this year’s UI extension! The irony is that, at this pace, we will still be extending current law for unemployment benefits in 2024. I guess we will have a sliding sequester for the next 10 years. As we continue to terminate the current year’s sequester and extend UI for an additional year, we will add another year to the sequester outside the 10-year budget frame. So in 2024, we will add 2034 to the sequester.
You’re not missing anything. This is what happens when Republicans opt for pale-pastels and agree to the fundamental premise of a Democrat policy. The rest of the story is merely a convoluted scheme for both parties to save face with the public.
Rinse and repeat, and you have yourself the cycle of government in Washington.
Monday, January 13th, 2014 by Madison Project Staff and is filed under Blog, News, Press
For Immediate Release:
January 13, 2014
Contact: Mary Vought
Madison Project Opens GOTV Headquarters in Kentucky to Support Matt Bevin
Fort Worth, TX – The Madison Project PAC, the first conservative PAC to endorse Ted Cruz (R-TX), announced today they are teaming with tea party groups across Kentucky to open five GOTV (Get Out The Vote) headquarters to help organize grassroots canvassing for U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin. The offices, which will have hired staff and volunteers, will be located in Bowling Green, Florence, Glasgow, Louisville and Owensboro.
“The Madison Project is focused on a bottom-up grassroots model to help empower local conservative activists and elect reliable conservatives to Congress,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project. “We are excited about our work with a wide array of dedicated conservative groups in Kentucky. That is why we have teamed up to open these GOTV headquarters in several parts of the state. Each office will be equipped with our voter canvassing technology, which will be used to contact thousands of Republican primary voters and spread Matt Bevin’s message of limited government via an interactive ground game. Polls show that Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is one of the most unpopular incumbents in the country, and voters are starving for new leadership in Washington.
“Not only will an effective ground game help propel Matt Bevin to victory on May 20th, it will also empower conservatives across the state. While conservative grassroots will never raise enough money to match Mitch McConnell’s special interests, which support amnesty and corporate welfare, an organic and dedicated ground game strategy can help even the playing field. We are extremely proud of the grassroots conservatives in Kentucky and look forward to working with them in cities and towns throughout Kentucky until November.”
The Madison Project endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin in July of 2013. The full endorsement can be read here.
Thursday, January 9th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Issues
Dr. Milton Wolf has never held public office, but he has already given voice to Kansas’s conservative values by forcing Senator Pat Roberts to change his voting habits. Ever since Wolf announced his candidacy, Roberts has clung to Ted Cruz and the conservative movement with all his might. Sadly, we’ve seen this bad movie before. Once the incumbent wins his primary and is reelected, he tends to relapse into his old ways of pushing for big government.
Help us support Milton Wolf in his historic bid to replace another ineffective Republican. RetireRoberts.com. Here is our latest video:
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration
For those of you who thought that our previous warnings about an amnesty push in the near-term were overblown, today’s developments should serve as a wakeup call. In what was clearly a coordinated effort by the establishment, Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor issued a call for passing immigration legislation this year during their weekly conference meeting at the same time Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue made an emphatic pitch for amnesty.
Boehner and Cantor
House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) both included an immigration rewrite among the top 2014 priorities they outlined during a closed-door meeting with the GOP ranks, lawmakers said after the gathering.
Mr. Boehner told Republicans on Wednesday that he expected to release a set of GOP principles in the coming weeks. The speaker had announced in November that Republicans, including House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.), planned to draft the guidelines before bringing any immigration bills to the House floor.
Although many House Republicans have been wary of changing immigration laws, GOP leaders have consistently maintained they plan to tackle the topic in their own fashion.
Mr. Boehner told lawmakers Wednesday that “‘This is an issue we have to deal with and I continue to believe that,’” said Rep. Matt Salmon (R., Ariz.). [WSJ]
The president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce vowed Wednesday that 2014 will be the year his organization pulls “out all of the stops” to pass immigration reform, pledging that the Chamber will turn the 2014 midterm elections “into a motivation for change.”
“We’re determined to make 2014 the year that immigration reform is finally enacted,” Donohue said at his 2014 State of American Business address. “The Chamber will pull out all the stops – through grassroots lobbying, communications, politics and partnerships with unions, faith organization, law enforcement and other – to get it done.”
Donohue refuted the idea that immigration reform would not pass in 2014, a midterm election year when very little, if anything, gets done on Capitol Hill.
“We hope to turn that assumption on its ear,” he said. “It’s based on a simple theory: If you can’t make them see the light, then at least make them feel some heat.” [CNN]
We’ve made this point a number of times, but it’s worth repeating. Why would Republicans be in a hell-fire rush to pass immigration legislation when they have so little political power? These are the same folks who suggest that we can’t even block bad things with control of just the U.S. House, even though the House is vested with control over the purse strings. Why would they think we can pass new immigration legislation built on conservative principles if it requires the cooperation of all three branches? Why in the world would Republicans reward Obama’s malevolence and disregard for our immigration laws by granting him his biggest second-term agenda item? Why not wait until Republicans control the White House, and we can trust the president to faithfully execute the enforcement first, thereby precluding another 1986-style disaster?
Moreover, why would we distract attention from Obamacare and dispirit Republican voters in an election year?
These are all rhetorical questions. As we know, the GOP elites and their special interest backers do not share our values. They agree with Obama 100% on open borders.
And speaking of the special interests, the Chamber is promising to reward those who support their views and punish those who oppose amnesty. Accordingly, in light of their large media buy in support of Senator McConnell, has anyone asked the Minority Leader about his plans for immigration? Will he support the push in 2014?
Furthermore, McConnell’s biggest selling point for his reelection is that he would be slated to become Majority Leader of the Senate. The most important consequence of obtaining that position is that he would control the floor schedule. And thanks to Harry Reid’s new precedent, that would include control over the amendment process. Will McConnell pledge not to bring any immigration legislation or amendments to the floor as long as Obama is in the White House?
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
It’s understandable why Democrats would feel embarrassed about unemployment. Employers are cutting jobs, reducing hours, and lowering wages as a direct result of the Obamacare mandates and taxes. Instead of putting out the fire that they set, Democrats have decided to distract our attention by offering band aids for the economic burns in the form of unprecedented long-term unemployment benefits.
Typically, the Unemployment Insurance program lasts for 26 weeks of unemployment with an additional 13 weeks during recessions. Most of the cost is purveyed by employer payroll taxes. Since 2008, however, Congress has funded Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for up to 99 weeks of unemployment.
As part of the fiscal cliff deal, they extended benefits for up to 73 weeks. In total, extended unemployment benefits have been renewed 11 times since 2008. Over the past 5 years, the federal government has collected roughly $240 billion in federal unemployment payroll taxes, while paying out about $600 billion in benefits. We are already in uncharted waters and dangerously close to creating another permanent entitlement program.
Yesterday, the Senate voted for cloture on a bill that will extend the 73-week maximum UI extension for another three months. Although the recovery in the job market is historically slow and lethargic, it is improving. Why in the world would we push another extension post-recession? Moreover, although the job market is improving relative to the nadir of the recession, are a record number of people have given up looking for work. Now is the worst time to offer incentives for disgruntled unemployed to remain outside the labor force.
And if we don’t stop the endless counterintuitive cycle of UI benefits five years after the recession, unemployment will become another permanent entitlement.
Then again, that is exactly what the Democrats want. They obviously have no intention to end this charade in three months. They want UI to become permanently enshrined into the welfare state, but are aiming for perpetual short-term extensions in order to use the issue as a convenient life boat amidst the tumultuous political waters created by Obamacare.
Republicans have an opportunity to speak with moral clarity and show a bold contrast: the conservative plan of cutting government red tape on job creators vs. the Democrat plan of engendering job losses and then offering permanent dependency – subsidized by future generations of taxpayers – as a panacea for their man-made disaster.
Republican leaders should directly challenge Democrats on the premise of their stratagem. If they really believe in the prudence of indefinite UI extensions, why not make the extension permanent law? Why not raise the dollar amount of the benefits? Why not expand coverage to 100 weeks or for the entire duration for which any individual is unemployed?
Sadly, in yet another manifestation of the impervious Democrat super-majority, six Republican Senators gave Democrats the requisite votes to break the filibuster. Other Republicans are taking the pale-pastel route, suggesting they would play the UI game as long as the three month expenditure is “offset,” presumably, over 10 years.
A lack of unified opposition from Republicans is another example of the vacuum of leadership from the top. Leadership has failed to rally the conference against any Democrat legislation until Harry Reid restores the rules of the Senate. Indeed they are getting ready to pass a new 5-year farm bill next week. Nor have they unified opposition against the UI extension until and unless Democrats agree to pass a relief on the very regulations that cause joblessness, such as Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, and sundry EPA anti-energy restrictions.
As tens of millions of Americans begin receiving smaller paychecks due to the increase in withholdings for health insurance, joining the more than 5 million who already lost their coverage in the individual market, Democrats have an arduous task in shifting the public’s attention to unemployment benefits. But as Republicans equivocate and negotiate over their preposterous scheme, Democrats might succeed in deploying their latest political decoy.
Monday, January 6th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration
House GOP leaders have made it crystal clear that it is their intention to pass an amnesty bill based upon every liberal premise of the immigration issue. The only question is timing. Conservatives must sound the alarm and acknowledge that engaging in the upcoming primaries is the only way to preempt Obamacare 2.0 in the lame duck years of Obama’s tenure.
When talking with many grassroots activists throughout the country this primary cycle, it seems that many conservatives are fooled by the false sense of security that a GOP-controlled House would never pass amnesty. After all, why would Republicans reward a lawbreaker – a president who has ostensibly placed a moratorium on border security and immigration enforcement – with the biggest political victory of his second term?
After the government shutdown in October, I felt the same way. There was no way Republicans would play ball with Democrats on immigration after President Obama and Senator Harry Reid conducted themselves with such contempt during the budget battle. But like many others in the movement, I was temporarily overlooking the fact that our party is controlled by undocumented Democrats.
Immediately following the budget battle, we began to see news reports about Speaker Boehner promising a push for amnesty after the primaries are settled. We saw Rep. Eric Cantor hold up the Dream Act as a paradigm of positive conservative legislation. We watched in shock as John Boehner suddenly hired one of the key staffers involved in writing the Kennedy-McCain amnesty bill to be his top policy advisor on immigration. And we saw Rep. Paul Ryan, a rabid supporter of open borders, forge a budget deal for an extra year, clearing the schedule to focus on immigration over the next two years.
Now, the New York Times is reporting that John Boehner is planning to act on his tantalizing open border dreams, albeit through a surreptitious strategy. Knowing that conservatives are repulsed by anything comprehensive in nature, aides to the Speaker told the Times that he plans to push a “step-by-step” approach. In case you were wondering, that step-by-step approach doesn’t include reforming our out-of-control refuge and asylum policy, building the fence, cutting off the welfare spigot, clarifying birthright citizenship, ending chain migration, or reducing our record high levels of low skilled immigration before making other changes. It includes a list of liberal priorities couched with some shiny objects that will never make it in the final bill, especially with Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate and the White House.
And speaking of Democrat control, why are the same people who told us we can’t block bad legislation with control of just the House now suggesting that we can pass conservative immigration legislation with such little power?
The question answers itself. These people do not share our values. This intra-party battle is not just about strategy; it is about substance.
Indeed it is hard to sit back and watch Republican leaders remain silent as Obama hamstrings our border agents, suspends laws of Congress, and even harbors illegal immigrants in his own family. Instead of debating how much enforcement they will demand from Obama, Republicans are already negotiating how much amnesty and chain migration they will unilaterally cede to the President.
If conservatives remain silent, all of the incumbents will coast to reelection and the current leadership will remain intact. Even if Boehner retires, Reps. Cantor, McCarthy and Ryan will pursue amnesty with even more alacrity. That’s why conservatives must work to change leadership.
In addition to engaging in every contested primary this year, conservatives need to commence a discussion with sitting members regarding their plans for next year’s leadership elections. Instead of waiting until the last minute, there needs to be a well-organized effort beginning this year to block the current leaders from retaining or obtaining power during the next Congress.
After three years of failed promises from the Pledge to America, and now with the new push for amnesty by the big four players (John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and Paul Ryan), it’s time for new leadership. Make no mistake about it, if we are saddled with Boehner and Cantor for leaders, or if Paul Ryan replaces Boehner as Speaker, we will witness the fundamental transformation of America through immigration deform. It’s time we start bringing individual members out of the shadows and document their plans for leadership elections. Otherwise we will all be disenfranchised by an opposition party that joins with a very ambitious lame-duck president who has nothing to lose by pushing a sweeping amnesty bill.