Our first battle with the newly empowered GOP
For two years we have told the media and the rest of the country that we are nonpartisan and that we intend to hold all lawmakers to a higher standard, and now is our first chance to hold accountable the newly empowered Republican Party.
Next week, Senate Republicans will meet privately to elect their leaders and to consider changes to their conference rules. This is incredibly important and could determine whether or not they were serious about their campaign promises to reduce spending and the size of government.
Earmark ban being introduced
Senator Jim DeMint is introducing an amendment to ban all Republican earmarks in the Senate for the 112th Congress in their closed-door caucus meetings next week. Representative Boehner will be introducing a similar amendment in the House. Senator DeMint and Senator Cornyn will also submit an amendment making it the policy for the Republican conference to support an amendment that forces Congress to balance the budget without raising taxes.
The Senate earmark ban has been co-sponsored by Senators Tom Coburn (OK), John Ensign (NV), Mike Enzi (WY), and John Cornyn (TX) along with Senators-elect Pat Toomey (PA), Marco Rubio (FL), Rand Paul (KY), Mike Lee (UT), Ron Johnson (WI), and Kelly Ayotte (NH).
Senator DeMint states, "If adopted, the GOP earmark ban will represent a very important step toward getting our fiscal house in order. While the cost of earmarks is not large compared to the entire budget, they are used to pressure senators into supporting budget-busting spending bills that have buried our nation under a mountain of debt. As you know, many Republicans are still addicted to earmarks and won't give them up without a fight. I know it's difficult to quit this habit because I used to request earmarks too. But once senators give them up, they're free to fight against excessive spending without fear of retaliation. It's time for Republicans to lead by example on this issue so we can effectively stand together as a party against excessive spending."
Some Republicans trying to fight the ban
Here is the bad news – there are already a group of Republican lawmakers that are trying to fight against this ban. To read the Politico article about it, click the following link: http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=317CEEC0-DC88-C8A7-61499B727950D540.
The Senators that plan to vote against Senator DeMint's amendment need to be reminded about the message that was sent to them on November 2nd. Americans are tired of these games, including earmarks that breed corruption and favor-trading.
Take action now
We need to call these Senators that are thinking of voting no on Senator DeMint's amendment. Their numbers are listed below. Let’s melt their phone lines, and let them know that the Tea Party Patriots didn't disappear just because the elections are over.
We ask that you call Ohio Sen. George Voinovich first to find out how he is voting and then call the rest of the senators. Be polite, but firm. Some of these senators have been with us on other issues, but on this issue we need to remind them that they work for the people, and the people spoke last Tuesday – no more wasteful spending.
List of Senators to call
Sen. George Voinovich (OH)
DC Phone: (202) 224-3353
Cleveland Phone: (216) 522-7095
Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY)
DC Phone: (202) 224-2541
Jim Inhofe (OK)
DC Phone: (202) 224-4721
Lindsey Graham (SC)
DC Phone: (202) 224-5972
Lamar Alexander (TN)
DC Phone: (202) 224-4944
Jon Kyl (AZ)
DC Phone: (202) 224-4521
John Barrasso (WY)
DC Phone: (202) 224-6441
John Thune (SD)
DC Phone: (202) 224-2321
Important note: The reason that these Senators are saying they will vote no on the amendment is because earmarks are such a tiny portion of federal spending that the effort to ban them is meaningless, especially when compared to reforming entitlements and cutting spending for other federal programs. This is true in the sense that compared to all the other trillions of dollars that politicians are spending, earmarks seem inconsequential. However, make sure you let them know you fully understand the numbers, but that regardless of the comparative size, it is still important. It shows that they were serious and honest in their campaign promises. As Marco Rubio said, the Republicans were given a second chance and this is their first test. (H/T Medina Tea Party Patriots)