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Republicans Help Grow HUD and Big Government

Friday, June 29th, 2012 and is filed under Uncategorized

The House just completed work on another FY 2013 spending bill; the Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill.  This is a unique appropriations bill because most of the underlying content is an anathema to conservatives.  A good part of transportation (highway spending) should be within the purview of state governments; mass transit spending should be eliminated; HUD should be abolished altogether.  As you can imagine, the open floor process offered Republicans many opportunities to cut spending, and more importantly, to limit the power of the federal government in areas that it shouldn’t be involved with in the first place.

The Transportation-HUD bill is a classic example of the pitfalls in focusing exclusively on the dollar figure of a bill, instead of whether the legislation actually limits government.  On paper, this bill represents a spending cut from last year.  The bill provides a net total spending level of $51.6 billion, which is $3.9 billion less than last year.  The problem is that it actually grows government and increases funding for wasteful and unconstitutional programs by a few billion.  The bottom line figure shows a net decrease in spending because of the projected increase in offsetting revenues from FHA lending fees.  So while total outlays will go down, government will continue to grow.  The bill actually increases spending on Amtrak, the DC metro, Essential Air Service, “community development” and “neighborhood reinvestment” programs.

Once again, conservatives offered a slew of amendments to enact some modest cuts just to keep spending levels in line with last year’s appropriations, but they were voted down.  Many of these amendments merely limited spending to FY 2012 levels.  Special thanks to Reps. Flake, McClintock, and Broun for once again leading the charge.

The underlying bill passed 261-163, with only 55 Republicans voting no.

You can view a color-coded spreadsheet of the members’ performance on some major amendments at The Madison Performance Index [click here].  You can view the roll call on final passage sorted by Cook PVI (most Republican to least) here.  As you can see, we’ve got serious problems in all parts of the country. 

Here is a brief synopsis of those amendments:

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Why We Need More Conservatives

Friday, June 29th, 2012 and is filed under Uncategorized

Every Republican swears up and down that he/she supports limited government, a balanced budget, and free markets.  Yet, once again, only a fraction of Republicans in Washington were able to stand for those ideals.  The House and Senate passed the Obama highway bill/student loan stimulus with overwhelming majorities. 

Just 52 Republicans, 21% of the conference, voted against this budget buster that violated several tenets of the GOP Pledge to America.  Only 19 Republicans in the Senate voted no.   

Here’s a color-coded spreadsheet of the House vote sorted by Cook PVI.  We’ve got a lot of red state Republicans who have no interest in balancing the budget, limiting government, or restoring free markets.  It’s votes like this that separate the men from the boys.

After the Supreme Court failed to uphold our Constitution, we must focus our attention on Congress.  We applaud the 52 GOP House members and 19 senators for supporting limited government.

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The Simple Lesson of John Sullivan’s Defeat in OK-1

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 and is filed under Uncategorized

In what was supposed to be a snoozer election night, a little known conservative candidate, Jim Bridenstine, came out of nowhere to unseat 10-year veteran John Sullivan in conservative Oklahoma District 1.  He did so by a 7-point margin, even though he was outspent 4-1 and nobody gave him any hope of succeeding.

Even among many politicos who woke up to read about this astonishing sleeper upset, there were murmurs of “John Who?”  Well, there is a poignant lesson in John Sullivan’s loss that will go unnoticed in the media and political commentariat. 

Last week, as part of a revolutionary project of the Madison Project, I helped develop the Madison Performance Index.  We wanted to shed light on just how many members of solid Republican districts are supporters of big government.  The biggest criticism we received went something like this:

“Yes, many of these members might represent strong Republican districts, but do you think their constituents really oppose their efforts to secure subsidies for rural special interests?  These guys are actually good fits for their districts.” 

The answer is very simple.  Of course, any constituency that is acclimated to the allure of government subsidies for decades will not voice strong opposition to the pork chops they receive.  But that cuts to the core of our problem with the Republican Party.  We will never elect limited government conservatives from blue urban America.  If we are going to co-opt the rural red districts – districts that are naturally suspicious of the federal government – with special interest dependency favors, we will never elect limited government conservativeanywhere.  The reality is that we need members to speak honestly to these constituencies – that we will not over-tax and overregulate you, but we will not subsidize you either. 

That is exactly what Jim Bridenstine did in Oklahoma District 1 (R-16) this year. 

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Farm/Food Stamp Bill Vote Tally

Thursday, June 21st, 2012 and is filed under Uncategorized

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.

Farm Bill

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 Farm 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 Uncategorized

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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Madison Project Launches New Performance Index Site

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 and is filed under Uncategorized

We’ve been working on a revolutionary project for quite some time and it is finally completed.  The Madison Project has announced the creation of the Madison Performance Index, a one-stop site to hold Republican House members accountable for their voting record.  Have you ever wondered how your member’s voting record stacks up against the political orientation of his/her district?  To answer that question, we’ve created the Madison Performance Index (MPI), a simple yet novel tool that compares the voting record to the ideological bent of the district.  Come and check out the site!

Are Conservative Districts Really Electing Conservative Representatives?

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 and is filed under Uncategorized

We are constantly subjected to the antiquated bromide from establishment figures in the party that “we need to elect moderates in order to win a majority in Congress.”  “We can’t elect members like Jim DeMint everywhere,” they say. 

This line of thought fails to address the reality on the ground in Congress.  While one can debate the veracity of such an assumption regarding swing or Democrat-leaning districts, there is certainly no debate about conservative districts.  Jim DeMint represents South Carolina at large, which is rated R+8 on the Cook PVI scale.  Well, there are 136 House districts rated R+8 or above.  Putting aside the debate in swing districts, where are our 136 Jim DeMints from the conservative districts in the House?

Sadly, they don’t exist.

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Only 16% from Solid Conservative Districts Scored an A

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 and is filed under Uncategorized

Imagine if we elected consistent conservatives just in the 122 most Republican districts in the country?  We would have a majority within the House Republican Conference. 

We ran the numbers on the 122 most Republican districts (the ones that have elected Republicans; a few of them are represented by blue dogs) under the Cook PVI system, and the results are not pretty.  Here is a breakdown of how many of those members score within specific ranges:

Conservative Rankings 


Number of Members


A > 90



B > 80



C > 70



D >60



F <60




As you can see, there were more members from these conservative districts who got failing grades (26) than A scores (20).  60% of them scored a C or worse

What about the “Tea Party Freshman class?”

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