Sunday, June 9th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections, Immigration, News
It’s amazing how many Republicans ran for election as absolutely opposed to any form of amnesty – certainly before enforcing existing laws. Somehow within a year or two, all of them have had an epiphany. The latest example is Senator Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire, the third amigo in the McCain/Graham Schumer club.
In 2010, Ayotte ran strong on the issue of illegal immigration, and actually aired a number of ads lambasting her Democrat opponent on support for amnesty. During the primary, she had a strong Tea Party challenge from Ovide Lamontagne, winning by just 1600 votes. Needless to say, she wouldn’t have been caught dead supporting amnesty during that primary. Here is a quick summary of some of her greatest hits in 2010, brought to you by Project Vote Smart:
- Kelly Ayotte. News. 16 September 2010. “‘We don’t need to add, necessarily, more laws,” she said. “Let’s look at enforcing what we have on the immigration context and then measure where we are.’ Ayotte would push for illegal immigrants already living in the U.S. to be immediately deported and does not support any form of amnesty, she said.” (www.ayotteforsenate.com)
- Schoenberg, Shira. 2010. Concord Monitor: Ayotte in Line with GOP Policy. 16 August 2010. “Ayotte said she would first address illegal immigration by securing the country’s borders, enforcing existing immigration laws and making English the official language of the U.S.” (www.concordmonitor.com)
- Kelly Ayotte. Issue Position: Crime and Safety. “Kelly believes in the importance of enforcing our national borders and in ensuring only legal immigration.” (votesmart.org)
- Kelly Ayotte. Issue Position: Immigration. “In the Senate, Kelly’s top immigration priority will be to secure our borders — no excuses. Simultaneously, she will work to ensure that existing immigration laws are enforced and is against amnesty. Kelly knows that Americans can solve any problem if they put their mind to it — and she will bring that results-oriented approach to this critical issue.” (votesmart.org)
Well, fast-forward less than three years, and Ayotte plans to vote for the worst amnesty bill ever proposed. This, from Breitbart:
On Sunday’s Face the Nation (CBS), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) announced she would support the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform proposal. “Our immigration system is completely broken,” she said, calling the legislation “a thoughtful, bipartisan solution to a tough problem.” She specifically singled out the bill’s loose border security requirements for praise, labeling them strong enough to prevent “another wave of illegal immigration.”
Wow – just wow. This bill actually imposes numerous restrictions on future deportations, which, coupled with the new incentive of legalization, will ensure that there is a future wave. The future wave will, in turn, be guaranteed automatic defacto amnesty.
Of course, the most significant driver of all the defections is the support from the GOP Leader, Mitch McConnell. Hey, who needs Democrats when the GOP leader is scoring points for their side anyway?
Here’s a novel idea: if all these undocumented supporters of open borders think that ‘amnesty first, enforcement never’ is such a good idea, why don’t they have the moxie to run on that platform during the election. Why do all these people – from Rubio and Flake to McConnell, Hatch, and Ayotte – undergo such a cathartic change within a few years?
It’s time we call all the GOP offices and ask them to either vote no on cloture or stand before their constituents during the primaries and defend their real position on amnesty. A number of these weak Republicans (along with the phony red state Democrats) are up for reelection next year. They might think they are safe from a primary challenge, but we are still early in the cycle. There are a number of potential candidates who may come forward over the next few months. We look forward to seeing these brave statesmen defend their political U-turns with courage and alacrity.
Thursday, June 6th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Issues, News
[Update: The cloture vote on the farm bill passed 75-22, with the help of 22 Republicans.]
Today, the Senate will invoke cloture on the 5-year farm bill, S. 954. The 1150-page Senate bill costs $955 billion over 10 years and creates a new shallow loss program covering up to 90% of a farmer’s income – on the taxpayer dime. Roughly 80% of the cost is related to food stamps. For good measure, this bill contains sugar subsidies, biofuels subsidies, and conservation programs. This mega-bill was rushed through the committee process and has only been subject to four amendments on the floor. I guess Reid is agog with enthusiasm to get to the amnesty bill.
The House bill is, more or less, the same thing; it just cuts an extra few billion of the baseline spending for food stamps, while adding more spending to socialist price support programs for Big Ag special interests. As an added bonus, it contains a Soviet-style milk productions regulatory regime and new taxes on rocks!
Meanwhile, instead of weaning the farmers off government dependency, this bill has created the potential for an entirely new crop subsidy. Earlier this week, the Senate adopted an amendment from Senator Moran, which would require the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to study and develop a crop insurance policy for alfalfa farmers, so they can receive their own carve out. It’s not like alfalfa farmers can’t take advantage of the current crop insurance program or the new shallow loss program; the special interests always need a personal handout.
Look, we all understand that it’s hard to end 80 years of government intervention in farming overnight, but do we really need to add more programs?
Moving forward, conservatives must work to break up the farm bill. The key element to passing massive farm bills over the years has been the inclusion of food stamps in the package. This allows members from rural and urban districts to “logroll” and trade their votes in exchange for each others’ special interest. The way to break this cycle is by separating the two elements, and demanding that each one stand on its own merit. Rep. Paul Broun is requesting signatories for a letter to Speaker Boehner asking for Food Stamps to be separated out from the House version of the farm bill before it is considered on the floor later this month. Please ask your member of Congress to sign the Broun letter.
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections, News
Earlier today, the House commenced the annual appropriators process when members began voting on amendments to the FY 2014 Military Construction/Veterans Affairs appropriators bill. Rep. Steve King offered an amendment which would have barred the use of funds in the bill to enforce Davis Bacon Act prevailing wage requirements. Davis-Bacon mandates that federal government contractors pay prevailing union-level wages for work on federally funded projects. This law discriminates against non-union firms and costs taxpayers 22% for each project. The amendment was defeated as 36 Republicans joined with every Democrat to side with Big Labor against the taxpayers.
One would think that all Republicans would realize that not only do labor unions want to destroy the economy; they want to destroy the Republican Party. It’s incomprehensible why Republicans would want to offer handouts to those who bankroll the Democrat Party.
Here is a list of the members who voted against defunding Davis-Bacon. The so-called conservative, Paul Ryan, was among the Big Labor Republicans. Bonus fact: Bill Shuster (PA-9) represents the most conservative district of those who sided with the labor unions. We’re proud to be the first organization to endorse Art Halvorson against him in next year’s primary:
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Issues, News
Today, our good friend, Becky Gerritson of the Wetumpka Tea Party in Alabama testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on her experience getting persecuted by the IRS. What is so unique about her testimony is not just the details she provides with regards to the IRS witch hunt against her organization, but how she passionately connects the IRS behavior with the broader problem of a tyrannical government that is threatening all of the founding ideals which made this country so great.
She also made all of us in the Tea Party proud of who we are and what we stand for. The left constantly demonizes us and lumps us in with their own special interests as uncompromising political operatives. The truth is that most tea party leaders are like Becky – middle class moms who simply feel that our country, as founded, is deteriorating due to the destruction of the civil society and big government. Unlike the special interest juke boxers from K Street who typically testify before this committee, Becky represented something new and refreshing.
You can watch her entire testimony here. It is worth viewing the whole thing:
Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News
Cross-posted from Red State
[Update: Politico just revised it original story and took out the part about McConnell waiving the right to force a vote. They now say Reid's agreement with McConnell was just that he "won’t oppose bringing the immigration bill to the floor." Whether this is more shoddy reporting from McConnell or a change in heart by the minority leader is yet to be determined. The Hill seems to suggest that McConnell did in fact agree not to force a cloture vote. If McConnell did not intend to offer that agreement, he should make sure Harry Reid doesn't get "the wrong message."
We must continue to pressure him to force a vote on motion to proceed. Either way, this is wrongheaded policy, as Democrats have made it clear they will vote down all enforcement amendments. There is no reason to vote yes on motion to proceed.]
We all understand that there is a lot of money to be raised by supporting the amnesty bill. It comes as no surprise that McConnell is promoting this bill on K Street every week. But one would expect a man who was in the Senate long enough to vote for the 1986 amnesty to be a bit more cautious in jumping into the same sinkhole this late in his career. Instead, McConnell plans to lay down in front of the La Raza tanks and let them steamroll through the Senate.
Mitch McConnell has already announced that he plans to vote for cloture to proceed with debate on the bill, ostensibly sealing the fate of the bill. Today, he has announced that there will be no cloture vote at all: (Politico)
The Senate will begin considering the landmark immigration reform bill next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday morning.
“Even if we we’ve not completed action on the farm bill or the student loans proposals, we’re going to bring immigration to the floor next week. Immigration is broken, it needs to be fixed,” Reid said in his opening remarks on Tuesday.
Reid said it’s his understanding that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will allow the bill to come to the floor without having to clear a procedural vote, and Reid said he is “grateful” to his Republican colleague for not pushing for cloture.
In his opening remarks, McConnell did not mention the immigration bill.
So McConnell plans to allow the bill to proceed by unanimous consent. It is precisely this cloddish leadership from McConnell that has rendered our filibuster-breaking minority worthless.
Monday, June 3rd, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections, News
The Madison Project is proud to announce our first endorsement of the 2014 election cycle.
Are you sick of being disenfranchised by the politicians in Washington? Are you tired of Republicans rolling over on issues like the debt ceiling, Obamacare, farm subsidies, and amnesty? Do you want Republicans in the House to start performing as the majority? Well, nothing will change unless we rid ourselves of the dead wood within the current political class. If we plan to restore our republican form of government, we must begin by electing citizen legislators like Captain Art Halvorson and retiring career politicians like Bill Shuster.
Pennsylvanian’s ninth congressional district, which encompasses most of southwest Pennsylvania, is the most conservative district in the state. Mitt Romney carried it by 27 points. Yet this district has been represented by big government parochialism since 1972, in the form of the Shuster father-son dynasty.
After 19 years of porking and cutting backroom deals on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Bud Shuster retired from Congress in January 2001, immediately after being sworn in for a 15th term. This subterfuge forced a special election with party leaders choosing his son, Bill, as the party nominee. Bill Shuster immediately took his father’s seat on the committee, and became chairman of T & I this year.
Shuster is the embodiment of the big government tendencies within the party. In the past, he has voted for Cash for Clunkers, credit card regulations, and TARP. He was one of the biggest supporters of No Child Left Behind until it became very unpopular. Throughout his career on T & I, Shuster has been a leading proponent of the current statist federal transportation policy that wastes money on mass transit and blocks devolution of transportation authority to the states. He is a big porker and advocate for high-speed rail. He scores a -31 on the Madison Performance Index for last session, the lowest of the entire state delegation. He is a true red-district statist.
If we ever hope to change the direction of the Republican Party to one that provides us with a bold contrast, we need to defeat the career politicians. Art Halvorson is the antithesis of a career statist. After graduating from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1977, Art served 29 years in the Coast Guard as a rescue helicopter pilot, flight instructor, test pilot, commanding officer, and eventually as a senior advisor at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington. After retiring from the Coast Guard in 2006, Art went into real estate investment and now runs four companies that own and manage real estate around the country. Art has been married for 34 years, has 6 children, and is a devout Christian.
When interviewing Republican candidates for Congress, it’s not hard to find people who will inveigh against government spending in the abstract. Yet few of them are truly committed to downsizing government by closing entire departments, devolving some programs to the states, and eliminating many others. Art didn’t need any coaching. He plans to run on a platform of state-run highway and infrastructure spending and is committed to opposing Shuster’s plan to raise the gasoline tax in a failed effort to perpetuate the statist federal highway policy.
Monday, June 3rd, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News
In June 2011, Obama announced that he would suspend our immigration laws and grant administrative amnesty to those who qualify for the DREAM Act – a bill that never passed Congress. This was just one of the many egregious steps taken by the administration to subvert the rule of law and threaten our sovereignty. Yet, unlike with the IRS scandal, Republicans were largely silent. Obama punched us in the stomach and challenged us to hit back, yet all we did was scamper away like a bunch of cowards.
The GOP insouciance towards Obama’s “deferred action” program is particularly jarring in the context of the debate over the Schumer/Rubio/Obama amnesty bill. The entire premise of the bill is predicated on overlooking how Obama has already dealt with his illegal amnesty. From ‘legalization before enforcement’ and major restrictions on future deportations to wide discretion granted to DHS, we don’t need a crystal ball to ascertain the results of the bill. Obama’s DACA program has served as a test run for the mass amnesty.
An astounding 99.5% of all those who applied for the amnesty were approved by the administration. Yup, obviously none of them said they planned to start a conservative organization when they filled out the application. Moreover, as ICE agent Chris Crane has repeatedly noted, it is virtually impossible for ICE to detain and deport anyone because almost any detainee could potentially be eligible for this illegal amnesty. So now we have millions of young impoverished illegals who are on a fast track to receiving benefits on behalf of their families. We have now raised the specter of anchor babies to include ‘anchor young adults.’ As long as you come here with at least one child under age, you are here to stay.
The idea that we will ever be able to deport anyone after this bill passes is simply absurd, in light of what we’re seeing from DACA. Almost anyone could potentially be eligible for the multiple eligibility status loopholes, and the bill forces all law enforcement to provide them with a reasonable opportunity to come forward. Even an administration that is committed to the rule of law would find it nearly impossible to resume deportations after the amnesty, much less an administration that has already promised never to enforce the law.
Meanwhile, in a bid to inveigle other GOP senators into supporting the bill, Rubio said that he plans to announce his own border security plan. But as we’ve seen from DACA, you can come up with any plan you’d like; it’s only Obama’s plan that counts. This has been, and always will be, an executive branch problem, not a legislative problem. It’s real simple: the only way any amnesty would ever work is if Obama begins to demonstrate enforcement of existing laws first. Everything else is just window dressing used to entice other Republicans into kicking Charlie Brown’s football.
The uncanny irony is that a federal district judge is prepared to vitiate Obama’s deferred action, yet Republicans won’t take yes for an answer. Aside for the few border hawks, none of them will even issue a press release making notice of this expected victory for the rule of law.
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections, News
As conservatives, we are constantly lamenting the dearth of leadership in the Republican Party. We are flummoxed by the lack of fortitude on the part of elected Republicans to serve as a counterbalance to the indefatigable forces of statism on the left. But when provided with the opportunity to actually affect change and elect conservatives, how many of us heed the call?
We must remind ourselves that this is our party; that our involvements in congressional primaries will make all the difference between electing another rudderless GOP majority leader and Speaker and new conservative leadership. We have home-field advantage in the primaries. How many rinos do you know who go out and vote in every primary? It’s for this reason that the establishment hacks run all the way to the right during primaries.
Although we are all suffering electoral fatigue from this past election, which never seemed to end, we must realize that some of the congressional primaries will begin in 10-11 months from now. If we plan to mount a serious challenge to any incumbent, recruitment must commence now. And at the Madison Project, we are committed to leaving no stone unturned in finding as many viable committed conservatives to challenge flaccid incumbent members in both the House and the Senate. We have some good prospects, and are prepared to make our first endorsement very soon.
So many of these congressional primaries, especially during off-year elections, are low-turnout events. With some decent fundraising and ground game, we have the ability to put many of these incumbent seats in play. Once these career politicians begin to realize that they are not tenured professors, and that they will need to stand before their constituents every two years in a legitimate race, their attitudes will change very quickly.
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
If we are ever going to obtain a conservative majority within the House GOP Conference, we must utilize our most conservative districts. While it would be nice to knock off the red district statists in primaries, the easiest way to pick up a seat is through a vacancy. Today, Jo Bonner just gave us such an opportunity by announcing his plan to resign from this conservative Alabama seat based in Mobile.
During the past Congress, Bonner scored a -38.5 on our index, the seventh lowest score in the party. Here is what I wrote last year on Bonner in a piece advocating for the replacement of the entire state House delegation sans Mo Brooks:
He was elected to the House in 2002 during a good Republican year, and has held his seat for five terms.
While conservatives cheered on the effort to keep the GOP pledge by cutting $100 billion from the 2011 budget, this member deemed it “misguided.”
This member is one of those who used his membership with the Republican Study Committee as a means of concealing his affinity for big-government from his conservative constituents. After years of voting against every single RSC proposal, and after realizing that the group would not roll over and genuflect before leadership, he summarily terminated his membership.
Throughout his career, he has been a reliable vote for CAFE standards, ethanol, and all sort of subsidies.
No – he doesn’t represent a Democrat-leaning district in the northeast, even though he scored a dismal 54% on the Heritage Action Scorecard. He represents an R+14 district in this staunch conservative state. In fact, it is such a conservative district that he faced no Democrat opponent in 2010. His nearest competition was from the Constitution Party.
Well, one down, four more to go.
We look forward to finding a comprehensive conservative to fill this red seat – one who is committed to challenging the current direction of the party leadership.
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy, News
Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 15-3 to arm the Syrian “rebels” in their civil war against the Assad regime. Rand Paul was the only Republican to vote no. James E. Risch, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Jeff Flake, John McCain, and John Barrasso all voted to arm the same people who will turn on us with our own weapons one day.
For far too long, the debate over foreign policy has been expressed though the prism of the false choice between interventionists and isolationists. Those of us who oppose the interventions on behalf of the “Arab Spring” islamists are called isolationists. The reality is that we are Reagan conservatives who believe in a robust effort to repel Islamic terrorism. We don’t oppose interventions that are in America’s best interests. Quite the contrary, we want to kill as many Islamists before they kill us. But in the case of Libya, Syria, and Egypt, we are actually intervening on behalf of our enemies.
Granted that Syria is more complicated than the other two examples. Bashar Assad is a sworn enemy of the United States, the closest ally of Iran, and a prolific exporter of terror. In a perfect world, it would be great to overthrow him and stick it to Iran. But the reality is that the strongest elements of the insurgency are saturated with Al-Qaeda affiliated extremists, much like the insurgencies in other countries. Why place American money and weapons in the hands of people who will be just as adversarial to our interests as the current regime?