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127 Congressmen Sign Letter Pledging to Defund Obamacare

Thursday, July 19th, 2012 and is filed under Uncategorized

Since the Supreme Court ignored the Constitution by upholding Obamacare, we have no choice but to use every legislative and executive tool at our disposal to kill this socialist monstrosity.  One opportunity we will have to disrupt and impede its implementation will be through the appropriations process.

Last December, we incurred the ‘great spending betrayal’ under Republican leadership in the House. Sixty percent of House Republicans and 34% of Senate Republicans voted for a 1,200-page omnibus bill to fund the government for fiscal year 2012.  Despite the pledge to cut spending, the omnibus actually appropriated $10 billion more than the previous year.  The bill also violated the GOP pledge against bundled appropriations bills and the rule that all legislation be posted 72 hours before the vote.  Moreover, the bill contained funding for all the unsavory things they pledged to defund; most prominently, Obamacare.

Back in 2011, many members figured that the Obamacare problem would easily disappear once the Supreme Court gets involved.  Now with John Roberts’s betrayal behind us, we must take a more aggressive posture against funding Obamacare.  Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and Tea Party Caucus Chairman Michele Bachmann took up the call and spearheaded a letter to John Boehner and Eric Cantor urging them not to bring any spending bill to the floor that funds Obamacare.

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee approved an appropriations bill for HHS that defunds Obamacare.  Now we have 127 commitments, a majority of the GOP Conference, to hold them to their word and preclude the mistakes from last year.  Last year, only 86 members opposed the omnibus.  We would hope that the additional 41 members are serious about their commitment to vote against any omnibus that fails to defund Obamacare.

Here is a breakdown of the members who signed the letter (download here).  The full copy of the letter can be viewed here .

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Agriculture Committee Voting Report on Farm Bill

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 and is filed under Uncategorized

Last week, the House Agriculture Committee marked up the preposterous $957 billion farm/food stamp bill (H.R. 6083).  Despite the media reports about severe cuts to the food stamp program, this bill actually locks in the appalling levels of spending established in the Obama-era.  In many respects, the committee votes from last week shed light on the problem we have with many red state statists within the Republican Party. 

Once again, we put together a voting record spreadsheet of the major committee votes on the bill at ConservativeVoting Records.com (download spread sheet here).  This will become a regular feature for major committee markups.  Here are the amendments we scored:

  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte amendment to phase out sugar price supports and import restrictions, which increase the cost of most food products while enriching a few special interests.  It was defeated 10-36. 
  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte amendment to strike a New Deal-style program that limits dairy production when prices drop below a specific level.  Even John Boehner called this a “Soviet style” price support program.  It was defeated 17-29. 
  • Rep. Tim Huelskamp amendment to cut an additional $35 billion from food stamps.  These cuts were actually already approved by the committee in the spring as part of the House GOP effort to replace the sequester, pursuant to the reconciliation instructions prescribed in the Ryan budget.  Nevertheless, this effort was defeated 13-33.
  • Rep. Martha Roby amendment that would require food stamp beneficiaries to provide proof of payment of utility bills in order to be eligible for the income deduction that lowers the threshold of income to be eligible for food stamps.  At present, many states mail out small cash assistance payments for utilities in order to lower the income of those recipients and sign up more people for food stamps.  This is a no brainer provision that Senator Sessions tried to slip in the Senate bill, but was rebuffed by Democrats.  One would expect that with a 26-20 Republican majority on the committee, commonsense would prevail.  But 7 Republicans joined with Democrats to defeat it 17-27.

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Scoring the Performance of Congressional Committees

Friday, July 13th, 2012 and is filed under Uncategorized

Much of the dirty work performed in Washington is orchestrated on a congressional committee level.  For all the talk of partisan bickering between the two parties, there is actually a bipartisan love fest taking place on a committee level.  Most Republican House committee chairmen are big government types and have cordial relationships with their Democrat counterparts.  They work hand in glove with them to grow government.

Unfortunately, once bill clear committee with the blessing of party leadership, the committee chairman, and the committee ranking minority member, they are destined to pass.  That’s why we feel it is important to show the conservative performance of the House committees in an effort to focus attention on these panels that are largely unknown outside the corridors of the Capitol.

Following our formulas for individual members, we gathered together the members of each committee and averaged out their legislative scores from Heritage Action and the Club for Growth.  We then tallied up the scores of those members and gave an average committee score for all standing committees.  We also show the chairman’s score for each committee.  You can view the spreadsheet here.    

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