RSC Takes up Our Call to Defund Obamacare

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare

Update: We’ll be updating this post as more members sign the letter.  There are now 90 signatures!

Immediately following the Supreme Court’s perverted ruling, we issued a call for conservatives to pressure their House members to defund Obamacare.  While we need control over all levers of government to repeal Obamacare, we are able to defund Obamacare with control over just the House.  All we have to do is stick with the House budget that doesn’t fund Obamacare, and refuse to negotiate with Democrats until they strip Obamacare funding out of the bill.

Thankfully, RSC Chairman Jim Jordan and Michele Bachmann have taken up the call to defund.  They are circulating a letter to leadership asking them to refuse any funding in the appropriations bills that will help implement Obamacare.  At present, there are 55 members signed onto the letter.  Please ask your member to sign on.

Below the fold is a copy of the letter and those members who signed onto it:

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Young Guns: Cantor’s PAC of Loose Cannons

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections

One of the most perplexing organizations on the political scene this election cycle is the Young Guns Action Fund, started by two former aids to Eric Cantor.  It was started last fall in an effort to support “conservative candidates for elected office who hold true to the Young Guns movement.” One would expect a PAC affiliated with the House Majority Leader to get involved in numerous general election races to help preserve and grow the Republican majority.  Yet, this committee has only run independent expenditures in primaries, not in general elections.

Well, you might be thinking that there is a good reason to get involved in primaries.  After all, we need to ensure that the Republican nominee is a “conservative candidate.”  To that end, Young Guns has made the most bizarre choices of any political committee this cycle.

The affiliated-YG Network began the election cycle by putting out some independent expenditures for moderate Adam Kinzinger against the more conservative Don Manzullo in IL-16.  Then, they sent out mailers attacking Richard Mourdock and telling Democrats to vote for Dick Lugar.  Lugar was neither young, conservative, or a member of the House.  Following the Lugar folly, they have been involved in just one random race in North Carolina over the past few months.  Take a look at their FEC filings:

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The Next Epic Battle: Scott Keadle Vs Richard Hudson in NC-8

Monday, July 9th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections

With the Wisconsin recall behind us and the Texas Senate race scheduled for the end of the month, we must remember that there is an important battle taking place in North Carolina next Tuesday.

Conservative Scott Keadle – who has been endorsed by Red State, the Club for Growth, Citizens United, and the Madison Project – will be facing off against establishment-hack Richard Hudson in a runoff-election to face faux blue dog Democrat Larry Kissell in North Carolina District 8.  This is a conservative district and is ripe for picking this November; however, we must pick off the seat with the right Republican.

Throughout this election season, we have seen a number of candidates run to the right during primaries in the hope that voters will fail to look into their souls.  Most House candidates are successful at this endeavor, especially those without a record in public office.  After all, they can tell voters anything, and there’s not much information to refute their claims.

One such creature is Richard Hudson.  Hudson talks the talk of an intrepid conservative, yet there are clear warning signs to the contrary for anyone who understands the political dynamic of establishment Republicans.

Hudson has served as a Chief of Staff to establishment Republicans on the Hill for years.  He served as the top aid to a member who voted for the debt ceiling deal and the omnibus bill in 2011 – the two worst pieces of legislation to come out of Congress that year.  Somehow he just wasn’t strong enough to convince his boss to vote the right way, assuming he tried at all.

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The Pale-Pastel Republican Farm Bill

Monday, July 9th, 2012 and is filed under Blog

In 1975, Ronald Reagan declared that we need a Republican Party that will raise “a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people.”  Almost 40 years later, we’re still struggling to provide that bold contrast.

Case in point: the Farm Bill (S. 3240).  Several weeks ago, Senate Democrats, with the help of 16 Republicans, passed a farm/food stamp bill that will cost $969 billion extrapolated over 10 years.  The bill authorizes $772 billion for food stamps and about $223 billion for various agriculture-related programs.  Proponents of the bill actually sold this as a $23 billion baseline cut, even though it permanently enshrines Obama’s massive food stamp expansion and creates a new shallow loss crop insurance program, which guarantees farmers 90% of their annual revenue.  The bill also continues authorizing the egregious sugar subsidies, which benefit a few rich sugar cane farmers at the expense of consumers.  The end result is that food will continue to cost more as a consequence of government intervention, while both rural and urban constituents will remain dependent on government indefinitely.

One ancillary benefit of the Senate bill is that direct subsidies for farmers whose crops dip below certain target prices were eliminated.  Of course, the cost and the market distortion of the new shallow loss program will overshadow the benefits from the subsidy cuts.  Even still, this was too much for the southern Republicans, who claim that peanut and rice farmers wouldn’t get as much out of the shallow loss trough as corn and soybean farmers because the latter commodities are at record highs.  It is for this reason why many southern Republicans voted against the bill; it failed to subsidize enough for their liking.

This is where House Republicans come into the picture.  Throughout the week, the House Agriculture Committee will mark up Chairman Frank Lucas’s 557-page draft bill.  The media will focus on the small disagreement between the parties and the two chambers over $16 billion in extra food stamp spending (a mere 2% of the total outlays), in an effort to make the House bill appear conservative.  In reality, the House bill is nothing but a pale-pastel reflection of the Senate bill.

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Farm/Food Stamp Bill Vote Tally

Thursday, June 21st, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Issues

The Madison Performance Index (MPI) is the centerpiece of our new website, but it’s not all we have to offer.  In addition to the index, we will also provide background information and commentary for each Republican House member to offer a full picture of their performance in Congress. We will post continuous updates of voting tallies on individual pieces of legislation in both the House and the Senate.  That way you can easily track how your member voted on every consequential bill or amendment.

Our first release is the Farm Bill.  Nothing embodies the “red state statist” problem more than farm and energy subsidies.  Many of these members work together with local special interests to ensure that red states remain dependent on government in anticipation of a constant flow of government subsidies.  This bill represents the motherload of dependency for both urban and rural interest.  The $970 billion leviathan permanently enshrines the Obama-levels of spending for Food Stamps, perpetuates market-distorting favors for special interests and rich farmers, and creates a new farm program that guarantees farmers 90% of average annual income for many farmers.  If the blue state members protect their special interests and if red state members follow suit with regard to their parochial interests, we will never shrink government, restore the free market, or balance the budget.

The bill passed 64-35.  Republicans opposed it 30-16; Democrats supported it 48-5.  I would note that a number of the southern Republicans opposed the bill because it didn’t provide enough subsidies for southern crops, not because it proposed too much spending.  Thankfully, the House has agreed to scuttle the bill until July out of concern for conservative objections to the bill.  We need to continue fighting this thing.  It’s legislation like the farm bill that will ensure the budget never balances.

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Time to Hold Conservatives Accountable

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues

In honor of our launching ConservativeVotingRecords, Madison Project Chairman Jim Ryun wrote an op-ed in the Daily Caller to explain the preamble behind our new project.

Time to hold conservatives accountable

By   4:45 PM 06/20/2012

During primary elections, conservatives are often scolded by those who view themselves as guardians of the Republican Party for their efforts to ensure our candidates represent certain core values. They contend, “A Jim DeMint-style Republican can’t win everywhere.”

These political wizards might be correct that we cannot elect full-spectrum conservatives everywhere in the country. But we can and must elect unvarnished conservatives from the numerous conservative districts and states that exist. It’s time we start utilizing the electoral map to our advantage.

During every election cycle, there are an infinite number of politicians who promote conservative values on the campaign trail. After all, we are a center-right country where most people identify themselves as fiscal conservatives. Yet, upon assumption of power, these elected officials lead a double life of talking the conservative talk at home and walking the statist walk in D.C. Ultimately, only a small cadre of elected conservatives remains from the army of conservative candidates.

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60% of House Republicans Vote Against Motion to Balance Highway Trust Fund

Friday, June 8th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Taxes

For all the talk about a balanced budget, Republicans seem to vote against any opportunity to balance even part of the budget.  As we noted yesterday, Congressman Paul Broun introduced a motion to instruct the conferees on the highway bill to spend only as much as the gas tax revenue purveys in 2013.  The gas tax revenue is projected to be $37.5 billion, but Democrats and Republicans on the conference committee want to spend as much as $50 billion to fund their mass transit projects and union level wages.  This motion would have demanded from conferees that they keep spending levels to $37.5 billion.

Unfortunately, only 82 Republicans supported it while 145 voted against it.  Of course, not a single Democrat voted for it.  This is a sad testament to the current status of the Republican Party.

You can find the full roll call results below the fold:

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Cantor Endorses Moderate Bolling Over Cuccinelli for VA Gov

Friday, June 8th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections

In yet another example of Eric Cantor’s willingness to fall on his sword for insipid moderate Republicans, Cantor plans to endorse Lt. Governor Bill Bolling over conservative rock star Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the race for Governor in 2013.  This, from the Washington Post:

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) will endorse Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling over Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the primary contest for the GOP nomination for governor next year, according to several people with knowledge of the plan who were not allowed to speak publicly.

Cantor is headlining a fundraiser for Bolling next Thursday at former congressman Tom Davis’s Northern Virginia home (though Davis previously hosted a fundraiser for Cuccinelli and will not be endorsing anyone anytime soon, he says).

The event comes just before a showdown between Bolling and Cuccinelli supporters as the party’s governing board revisits whether to hold a primary or convention next year.

We all understand that Bolling feels humiliated.  After all, he has been Lt. Gov. since 2006, yet he has been stymied time and again in his attempt to ascend to the number one spot from the most logical launching point.  In 2008, he was passed up by conservative activists in favor of then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell for the gubernatorial nomination.  He took it with grace and stepped aside for the sake of the party.  At the time, he was thought to be the no-brainer choice for governor in 2013.  He waited longer than his turn, didn’t he?

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An Earmark by Any Other Name

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Economy, Taxes

There’s an enduring rule in all aspects of life that is very applicable to conservatives in politics.  Whenever you achieve a rare, hard-fought victory, you do everything possible to ensure that the victory stays intact.  The House-adopted earmark ban is one of our biggest achievements over the past decade.  As such, we must not reinstate the practice of passing Miscellaneous Tariff Bills (MTBs), which are earmarks by any other name.

On the surface, MTBs sound very innocuous, but in fact, they are part of a meretricious effort to reinstate special-interest favors that will ultimately countermand the entire ban on earmarks.  Miscellaneous tariff bills are targeted pieces of legislation that temporarily suspend tariffs on imports of raw materials used by domestic manufactures.  While we all support lower tariffs, these bills are often driven by special interest requests at the behest of lobbyists.  They are used as another tool to advance parochial interests – an anathema to the conservative view that everyone is equal under the law.

Remember that not all earmarks are as nefarious and wasteful as the Bridge to Nowhere; nonetheless, they represent carve-outs for special interests and are used to grease the skids on bad legislation.  Worse, they help perpetuate the “survival of the fittest lobbyist” culture that is so endemic in Washington.  To that end, when House Republicans adopted the earmark ban at the beginning of the 112th Congress, they included “limited tariff benefits.”  The language of the ban defines a limited tariff benefit as a “provision modifying the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States in a manner that benefits 10 or fewer entities.”  The last tariff bill, with 600 targeted benefits, expires at the end of the year.

Unfortunately, 65 Republican freshmen, led by Rep. Tom Reed (R., N.Y.), are spearheading an effort to reinstate MTBs – even those that benefit fewer than 10 companies.  In fact, almost all of the 1300 outstanding requests would affect fewer than 10 entities, in violation of the House earmark ban.  Some of the supporters are using this as a vehicle to attenuate the respect for the earmarks ban in an effort to bring back blatant earmarking.  Others, including some good conservatives, are supporting limited tariff benefits under the guise of pro-growth tax policy.  We must not fall into a trap that will vitiate one of our few political victories against special interests politics.

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“I’m Moderate David Dewhurst, and I Approve this Message”

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections

It’s game time for the conservative movement.  With the Wisconsin recall fizzling out by the day, it appears that the runoff between Dewhurst and Cruz will be the most important battle for conservatives this year.  We must not sit this one out!

Last night Dewhurst won by just 10.4 points, despite enjoying a bigger lead in the polls throughout the entire duration of the campaign.  He garnered 44.6% to Cruz’s 34.2%.  There will be a runoff July 31, which gives us plenty of time to make up the margin.

I noticed that many supporters and detractors of Cruz expressed their surprise over the fact that Dewhurst still won by 10 points.  After all, they contended, if Cruz is such an attractive candidate, why didn’t he come out on top?  How is he going to make up the margin in the runoff?

There are a few points to consider.  First, although Cruz is a household name among conservative activists, he was an unknown quantity to most voters, even Republican primary voters.  That’s why he was polling in the single digits for a long time.  Dewhurst, on the other hand, is the sitting Lt. Governor for a decade who has full name recognition and the backing of the entire establishment, not to mention Rick Perry.  He has unlimited personal wealth to go up on the air and distort his record and the record of his opponent.  Ted Cruz has made steady progress throughout the campaign, and last night’s results reflect that upward trajectory.  The votes cast on election day itself split  41.4% for Dewhurst and 38.1% for Cruz.

More importantly, we must remember that moderate Republicans never run as moderates anymore, at least not in the primaries.  While it is patently obvious to those of us in the field that Cruz is a conservative star and that Dewhurst helped grow government in the Texas legislature, that is not necessarily the narrative that is communicated to the majority of voters.  In fact, Dewhurst has used all his money to evince a conservative image while painting Cruz as a pro-amnesty China-loving pinko liberal!  Fred Upton is doing the same in Michigan, as he sends out think mailers every week painting his conservative challenger as a tax and spend liberal.

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