In Light of the Purge, House Conservatives Must Unite

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Issues

Well, that was quick.  After denying that conservatives were thrown off committee spots for ideological purposes, Boehner now admitted it in front of his conference, according to The Hill:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned his conference on Wednesday that leaders are “watching” how the rank-and-file vote to determine committee assignments, according to sources in the closed-door meeting.

Boehner addressed the firestorm over the removal of four lawmakers from plum committee assignments at the weekly GOP conference meeting.

According to Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), one of the lawmakers denied a spot on his current committee in the next Congress, Boehner did note “that we [leadership] have punished four members, he claimed that it had nothing to do with their conservative ideology, but had to do with their voting patterns.”

Also removed from committee spots were Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and David Schweikert (Ariz.).

Huelskamp added that Boehner warned GOP lawmakers that “there may be more folks that will be targeted … ‘we’re watching all your votes.”

Oh, so it’s not about ideology; it’s about voting patterns.  Hmmmm That’s a funny distinction.  So there’s not problem with conservative ideology, as long as you vote to raise the debt ceiling – the very piece of legislation that has gotten up into this mess in the first place.  Actually, there is a clever purpose in making this absurd distinction.  The Hill continues:

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The Members Behind the Purge of Conservatives

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Issues

Yesterday, we noted that not only did House leadership select moderates to fill vacant spots on the top congressional committees, they made the unprecedented decision to banish conservatives already sitting on some important committees.  All of the decisions related to committee assignments are decided by a Steering Committee.  At present, the Steering Committee is comprised of 31 members, most of who are either members of leadership or pushed onto the committee by leadership.  These are the men and women behind the decision to throw conservatives under the bus.

It’s important to note that Boehner gave himself 5 votes and Cantor 2 votes on the committee, so there are actually a total of 36 votes on each committee assignment decision.  Here is the list of the committee members:

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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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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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Yes, Many Republicans Supported Obamacare All Along

Thursday, May 17th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare

Many of us have taken it for granted that all Republicans would work for full repeal of Obamacare.  After all, not a single Republican voted for it.  However, it is always important to understand the reasons why politicians support or oppose a piece of legislation.

When you listen to many prominent Republicans voicing their disdain for Obamacare, you generally hear the following complaints: it raises taxes, it cuts Medicare, it contains death panels, it is 2,700 pages long – and most notably – the individual mandate.

The problem is that these are all ancillary to the crux of what is so offensive about Obamacare.  The overarching concern about Obamacare is that it harnesses the factors that have already driven up the cost of healthcare and health insurance, most prominently, the mandates and subsidies, and multiplies them to the nth degree.  The tax increases, Medicare cuts, and individual mandate are merely tools to fund those interventions.  Many Republicans never had a problem with them.  This is why they were never repulsed by Romneycare, which doesn’t contain tax hikes and Medicare cuts.  As for the individual mandate of MassCare, they contend that there is nothing wrong with a state mandate.

As such, it comes as no surprise to read these tidbits in Politico:

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Vote Down the Export-Import Bank

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012 and is filed under Blog

We had an opportunity to draw a sharp contrast with Democrats over the all important issues of crony capitalism and market distortions simply by doing nothing.  How so?  Well, the Export-Import Bank reauthorization deadline is May 31.  By simply abstaining from the reauthorization – something that can be done with control of just one-half of one-third of government – this bastion of corporate welfare would be relegated to the ash heap of history.

Unfortunately, Eric Cantor decided to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and agree to reauthorize the bank.  Worse, the bank’s lending cap will be expanded.  The funny thing is that they are calling it a compromise.  The compromise went something like this: Originally, Democrats wanted the loan cap raised from $100 billion to $140 billion.  Cantor, instead of opposing the underlying reauthorization, agreed to raise the cap to $113 billion.  So they came to an agreement to gradually raise the loan cap to $140 billion by 2014!

In a preposterous effort aimed at improving transparency, the bill contains a provision that would require the bank to solicit public comment on any transaction more than $100 million.  This will ostensibly give companies an opportunity to voice opposition to loans granted to their competitors, while supporting those that benefit their needs.  This is what happens when government is used as a tool to manipulate private enterprise.

GOP proponents of the bank claim that the interest on the loans could bring in profits to taxpayers.  But the problem is that they are using the same illusory accounting methods that have been employed to ameliorate the costs of the bailouts to Freddie/Fannie and TARP.  In fact, just three months ago House Republicans passed a law to subject all Freddie/Fannie loan guarantees to the “fair value” accounting method that is used in the private sector.  Under current law, Congress only factors in the cost of the loan itself when formulating the annual budget.  Perforce, if the money is paid back with interest, there is no cost to the government.  However, as we have learned so painfully, the loans are, all too often, never paid back.  Taxpayers have been called on to bailout a modicum of failed loan guarantees.  In the private sector, they use “fair value” accounting in calculating the costs of credit programs.  Fair value accounts for the costs of the market risk the lender incurs by issuing a loan, in addition to the actual borrowing costs.

So why are these same people supporting deceptive accounting methods for the Export-Import Bank?

GOP leaders are so confident that this travesty will pass the Republican House that they plan to fast-track it and bring up the reauthorization bill (H.R. 2072) under suspension later this afternoon.  A suspension vote needs a 2/3ds majority to pass (290 votes, instead of 218).

This will be a seminal vote that will separate out those members who support the free-market vs. those who support government-run commerce.  The entire purpose of this “bank” is to use taxpayer funds to subsidize businesses that sell products to foreign markets.  These are businesses that are too weak to obtain loans in the private market, and require taxpayer bailout funds to make them competitive.  To the extent that the bank helps create jobs, it merely moves them from one sector to another.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, government should not be in the business of picking winners and loser in the market.  The Heritage Foundation has aptly branded the bank as “the Fannie Mae for exporters.”  For a full summary of the anti-free-market policies that are inherent in the Ex-Im Bank, please read more from Brian Darling here.

Call your members of the House and request that they vote no on HR 2072.  Instead of winding down the “bank,” as even its supporters have promised, this bill will expand its reach.  We only need 146 no votes to defeat this bill.  Find out if your member is part of the Solyndra economy or the open economy.

Young Guns Attacks Mourdock for Not Supporting Ethanol!

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 and is filed under Blog

As you wake up this morning, we are on the cusp of a historic upset.  Richard Mourdock, who has been endorsed by the Madison Project, waged an uphill battle against a 35-year, old-bull liberal Republican in Indiana.  Most pundits didn’t give him a chance.  Yet, he is heading into today’s voting the favorite to unseat Richard Lugar.  This is no small feat.

Assuming that Mourdock pulls off the victory over Lugar, there is one person who might be forgotten amidst the media circus following the aftermath of the election.  That man is Eric Cantor.  Cantor’s Youn Guns PAC is sending out mailers urging Democrats to switch over and vote for Lugar.  This alone is treasonous, but it get’s better.  They are accusing Mourdock of being an extremist because he opposes subsidies and mandates for ethanol!  Yes, the subsidies that have radically altered the market, driving up the cost of food and fuel on all Americans.

Here is the mailer, courtesy of Big Government.com:

This comes just one week after the same PAC sent out similar mailers telling Democrats that Mourdock was extreme for opposing the Department of Education!

At some point, we must ask why nobody is holding him accountable for the dastardly acts of his PAC.  Some people can’t understand why we are constantly challenging GOP leaders.  They think we should save our energy to fight the Democrats.  But the problem is that we first need a Republican Party to fight the Democrats with.  How can we ignore the fact that the leader of House Republicans is telling Democrats to vote against a conservative because he holds views that are fundamental to Republican values?!!

We are hoping that Mourdock will blow this one out and send a clear message to Cantor and the establishment boys: the Tea Party isn’t going anywhere; we’re just getting started.

Eric Cantor Tries to Stop Stalwart Scott Keadle in NC-8

Friday, April 27th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections

This has been a tough week for conservatives in Washington.  Republicans in both houses are caving on the postal bailout, highway bill, appropriations, Ex-Im Bank, Violence Against Women Act, and the student loan bailout.  It’s not going to get easier when they come back from recess in May.  This is why we need game-changers like Scott Keadle in Congress.  Keadle is running in NC-8, the seat currently held by born-again blue dog Larry Kissell.

As I search out conservative candidates throughout the country on behalf of the Madison Project PAC, I’m struck by how few candidates truly grasp the problems at hand within the Republican conference.  Sure – they all talk about repealing Obamacare, a balanced budget, and out-of- control spending.  But it is some of the aforementioned issues that separate the real supporters of free-markets from those who merely offer a pale-pastel contrast from the Democrats.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Scott Keadle, and have come to realize that he is one of the biggest super stars of this election cycle.  This is a guy who will get it right on every issue.  And he truly understands the problems inherent with our current leadership.  Perforce, it comes as no surprise that Eric Cantor and his “Young Guns” are taking their show on the road to NC-8.  This, from Hotline:

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Sign Letter for Open Appropriations Process in the House

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Debt

Every elected Republican came to Washington promising to slash spending and balance the budget.  Yet, when it comes time for the most direct way to enact those spending cuts; namely, the annual appropriations bills, most of them are missing in action.

In an ideal world, Republicans should hold the upper hand in negotiations over spending bills. They enjoy complete control over the House, while Harry Reid only has a tenuous hold on the Senate at just 53 seats.  Unfortunately, as we chronicled extensively here at Red State, House and Senate GOP leaders agreed to jettison the Ryan budget halfway through the process in favor of Harry Reid’s minibus and omnibus bills, which vitiated every worthy goal of that budget.

There were two consequences of that betrayal.  First, House Republicans were denied the opportunity to vote on all 12 appropriations bills individually.  Second, because the bills were shunted off to conference straight from the Senate, House conservatives were denied an open floor process to offer conservative amendments cutting more spending or eliminating harmful and wasteful programs.  It is these bills that offer us the opportunity to truly cut spending, at least on the discretionary side, yet that opportunity was completed surrendered to Harry Reid.  The net effect was that not a single penny of discretionary spending was cut from the previous year’s budget and not a single program was eliminated.

As we noted earlier this week, Republicans are on track for more of the same this year.  Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans already disregarded the House budget in favor of Obama’s spending levels, while statist House appropriators are signaling they wish to do the same.  In order to preempt a repeat of last year’s insanity, Tom McClintock has drafted a letter to House leadership requesting adherence to their promise of an open amendment process on all 12 bills individually:

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Question for GOP Leaders: How long halt ye between two opinions?

Thursday, April 12th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Economy

As Republicans, we have ridiculed Obama’s stimulus, bailouts, picking winners and losers, crony capitalism, Keynesian economics, European-style socialism, and Solyndra-style loans.  Yet, there might only be 50 Republicans in the House who are willing to block a GOP effort to reauthorize a New-Deal policy that represents all of the aforementioned vices.

Roll Call is reporting that Eric Cantor is negotiating with Steny Hoyer in an effort to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which is set to expire May 31.  What’s worse is that GOP leadership is seeking Democrat support for a “compromise” to circumvent the lonely 50-70 Republicans who might block the reauthorization:

The finely calibrated deal under discussion, as described by lobbyists and aides working on the issue, would grab enough Democratic votes to overcome a bloc of 50 to 70 Republicans who strongly oppose reauthorizing the bank’s lending authority. Such a result would signal at least an appearance of centrism.

“We are working to formulate a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank that includes needed reforms and accountability measures,” Cantor spokeswoman Laena Fallon said.

One would expect all of the 160+ RSC members to stick together and oppose an institution that subsidizes specific exporters to sell products to foreign consumers as opposed to domestic ones.  Yet, once again, we will be left with only a small group opposing this anti-free-market reauthorization.

However, there were some cracks forming among the conservative opposition. A GOP aide said a group of RSC members is preparing a letter supporting the bank’s reauthorization.

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