balanced budget

The Contract from America

We, the citizens of the United States of America, call upon those seeking to represent us in public office to sign the Contract from America and by doing so commit to support each of its agenda items and advocate on behalf of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.

  1. Protect the Constitution
  2. Reject Cap & Trade
  3. Demand a Balanced Budget
  4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
  5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government
  6. End Runaway Government Spending
  7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
  8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
  9. Stop the Pork
  10. Stop the Tax Hikes

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Click here for the full text version.

WSJ: “Tea-Party Activists Stage Tax-Day Rallies”

Filing Deadline Brings Out Protesters Against Big Government, Administration Policies; ‘Tsunami of Conservatism’

By Neil King Jr., Douglas Belkin, and Louise Radnofsky

Tea-party activists held rallies across the country Thursday, the deadline for filing federal tax returns, to highlight what they said were onerous taxes and a bloated federal government.

The activists protested Democratic policies and displayed varying attitudes toward prominent Republicans. Some groups invited marquee conservatives, such as former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who addressed around 500 people in Austin, Texas.

Other organizers refused to invite politicians of any stripe, reflecting the deep distrust many in the movement feel toward elected officials.

In Wisconsin, several tea-party groups protested a decision to let former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson address a rally in Madison. Saying it was “time for new voices and new faces,” Mr. Thompson used his speech to announce that he would not challenge Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold in his bid for re-election.

The rallies in town squares and hotel ballrooms from Philadelphia to San Diego came a year after a similar spate of April 15 protests put the small-government, anti-tax movement on the national map.

Organizers said Thursday’s rallies were more numerous and generally larger than last year’s. But the gatherings also illustrated the conflicting aims and strategies that have sprung up within the movement, which is now made up of hundreds of local groups working under a dizzying array of names.

The Tea Party Express, a group organized by a California political-consulting company, concluded a nationwide bus tour with a rally in Washington, D.C., that prominently featured—and endorsed—an array of Republican candidates in the midterm elections. Most other groups have spurned such endorsements.

One candidate endorsed by the group was Sharron Angle, a former member of the Nevada State Assembly, who is among a dozen Republicans vying to challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat. The Tea Party Express made her one of its 14 “heroes” in the November election.

“Good morning, American patriots,” Ms. Angle said in her speech to about 200 activists. “You have brought a tsunami of conservatism across this country.”

Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal

LARRY KUDLOW: “America’s Constitutionalist Revolt”

By Larry Kudlow

So much is being written in the mainstream media about who the tea partiers are, but very little is being recorded about what these folks are actually saying.

We know that this is a decentralized grassroots movement, with many different voices hailing from many different towns across the country. But the tea-party message comes together in the “Contract from America,” the product of an online vote orchestrated by Ryan Hecker, a Houston tea-party activist and national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots.

With nearly 500,000 votes recorded in less than two months, this Contract forms a blueprint of tea-party policy goals and beliefs.

Of the top-ten planks in the Contract, the number-one issue is protect the Constitution. That’s followed by reject cap-and-trade, demand a balanced budget, and enact fundamental tax reform. And then comes number five: Restore fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government in Washington.

Note that two of the top-five priorities of the tea partiers mention the Constitution.

Filling out the Contract, the bottom-five planks are end runaway government spending; defund, repeal, and replace government-run health care; pass an all-of-the-above energy policy; stop the pork; and stop the tax hikes.

What’s so significant to me about this tea-party Contract from America is the strong emphasis on constitutional limits and restraints on legislation, spending, taxing, and government control of the economy. Undoubtedly, the emphasis is there because no one trusts Washington.

As I read this Contract, tea partiers are reminding all of us of the need for the Constitution to protect our freedoms. They’re calling for a renewal of constitutional values, including — first and foremost — a return to constitutional limits on government. The tea partiers who responded to this poll are demanding a rebirth of the consent of the governed. The government works for us, we don’t work for it.

Continue reading at National Review Online

POLITICO: GOP Praises Tea Party ‘Contract from America’

By Jake Sherman

House Republicans are showering praise on the tea party’s “Contract from America,” a document that lays out some of the movement’s priorities.

As the tea partiers gathered on the National Mall for a tax day protest, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the document “captures the American people’s frustration with a government that has grown too big, too costly, and too arrogant.”

The tea party contract calls for a balanced budget, repeal of the health care law, tax reform, an end to earmarks and a rejection of a cap and trade energy plan.

House Republican Conference Chair Mike Pence of Indiana said it’s a “good start toward the essential goals of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.”

“I hope that many conservative leaders will join with this bold initiative that’s marked by powerful ideas to get our government’s fiscal house in order,” Pence wrote in an emailed statement. “As Republicans move forward developing our agenda for the 112th Congress, efforts like this will be invaluable.”

Continue reading at the Politico

Grassroots Activists Help Launch Historic “Contract from America”

Download a hardcopy of the official press release here.

On April 15th, hundreds of local Tea Party and limited government groups around the country will join together to announce the launch of the “Contract from America,” a grassroots legislative blueprint for 2010 and beyond. Originally proposed by Ryan Hecker, a Houston Tea Party activist and National Coordinator for the initiative’s chief organizing group Tea Party Patriots, this project is intended to present a different kind of agenda for our federal lawmakers: unlike the Contract with America introduced in the 1990s, everyday citizens proposed and voted on every plank of the Contract from America.

Grassroots activists from across the country visited the website to choose their top ten priorities from a list of 21 action items that committed Americans from all walks of life proposed. The top ten issues comprise the final Contract. By asking website visitors to propose and vote on the agenda, the result is not a list handed down from on high by old-bull politicians, but one handed up from the true grassroots in this country. After garnering nearly half a million votes in less than two months, the Contract from America has now been finalized into a blueprint that will serve notice to public officials about what the people want for their future.

And the top ten are…

1. Protect the Constitution
2. Reject Cap & Trade
3. Demand a Balanced Budget
4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington
6. End Runaway Government Spending
7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
9. Stop the Pork
10. Stop the Tax Hikes

We are proud to join with millions of Tea Party activists across the country to announce the arrival of the Contract from America and the exit of elected officials who continue to ignore calls for fiscal responsibility, constitutionally-limited government, and free markets.

FOX NEWS: Tea Partiers Draft ‘Contract From America’ to Tackle Country’s Problems

Echoing the Republican Revolution of 1994, Tea Party activists are crafting a document that expresses the beliefs, values and ideas on how to solve the country’s biggest problems.

Tea Party activists, echoing the Republicans who took control of Congress in 1994, are crafting a document that expresses their beliefs, values and ideas on how to solve the country’s biggest problems.

The Tea Party Movement will unveil the full “Contract from America” on April 15, Tax Day. But on Thursday, Tea Partiers released the top three planks of the platform, which were determined by an online vote.

The top priority, chosen by 80.7 percent of respondents, is to protect the Constitution. This would require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does.

The second priority, selected by 70.8 percent, is to reject President Obama’s climate change legislation, otherwise known as “cap and trade.”

The third priority is demand a balanced budget – chosen by 69.9 percent. This calls for starting a constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike.

The priorities were chosen from a list of 21 issues that included “stop the tax hikes,” “commit to real government transparency,” “no more bailouts,” and “stop the pork.”

Continue reading on Fox News

Free-Market Groups Join Together to Announce “Contract from America”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Ryan Hecker, 215-880-2430

(Alexandria, VA) – The Tea Party Patriots, a national umbrella organization for hundreds of local tea party groups around the country, joined today with the National Taxpayers Union, FreedomWorks, and Americans for Tax Reform, three of the nation’s most prominent free-market advocacy groups, to announce the upcoming April 15 launch of the “Contract from America,” a grassroots legislative agenda for 2010 and beyond. Originally proposed by Ryan Hecker, a Houston Tea Party activist and National Coordinator for the project’s chief organizing group Tea Party Patriots, the Contract is a different kind of agenda for our federal lawmakers: unlike the Contract with America from the 1990s, every plank of the Contract from America was proposed and voted on by everyday citizens.

After a fight that seemed to last forever, Congressional leaders were finally successful in ramming through a controversial $2.5 trillion health care plan. They did it despite poll results showing that the bill was deeply unpopular, and despite efforts from of millions of taxpayers who contacted Congress, came to townhall meetings, and attended protests to speak out against the proposal. Now those taxpayers can use their frustration to do more than just protest – they can change the direction of our country.

Right now, concerned citizens can visit the Contract FROM America website (contract.thelibertylab.com) and choose their top ten priorities from a list of 21 planks proposed by committed Americans from all walks of life. By asking website visitors to propose and vote on the agenda, the result will be not a list handed down from on high by old-bull politicians, but one handed up from the true grassroots in this country. Once voting is complete on Monday, April 5, 2010, the Contract will be finalized into a blueprint that will serve notice to public officials about what the people want for their future.

As of April 1, over 360,000 votes had been cast on the Contract website. The three most popular planks were: (1) beginning the process of enacting a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution, (2) requiring legislation to cite the Constitutional provision under which it is authorized, and (3) rejecting “cap-and-trade” national energy tax proposals.

Tea Party Patriots (www.teapartypatriots.org), National Taxpayers Union (www.ntu.org), FreedomWorks (www.freedomworks.org), and Americans for Tax Reform (www.atr.org) are nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organizations working for lower taxes and smaller government.

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DOWNLOAD A HARDCOPY OF THIS PRESS RELEASE HERE.

AMERICAN THINKER: Giving People a Voice in Congress

By Daniel P. Crandall

In 1994, Newt Gingrich presented the “Contract with America.” It was a “contract” from Republican politicians to voters concerning what legislative action the new majority would take in its first hundred days. In 2010, the People are preparing a “Contract from America,” which establishes what the voters expect from their legislative representatives. The “Contract from America” is what the “Contract with America” should have been but wasn’t.

The “Contract from America” (CFA) is a grassroots, bottom-up document created by hundreds of thousands of people who are part of the Tea Party protests and Glenn Beck’s 912 Project. It began in September 2009 with TheContract.org, where individuals provided and debated thousands of ideas for this new “contract.”

I had the opportunity to speak with Ryan Hecker, a Houston area Tea Party activist, full-time attorney, and father behind the Contract from America.

Hecker stated that the CFA “has been an idea I’ve had since the November 2008 elections.” He felt that our elected representatives, especially among Republicans, “lost their legitimacy” as fiscal conservatives and proponents of limited government. Hecker believes that this document will be a strong step forward in obtaining “real economic conservative and good governance reform in Congress.”

Hecker noted that what drives the people involved in putting the CFA together is “a desire to push and demand accountability” from our elected representatives.

CFA, at this point, is a work in progress. Online activists pared thousands of ideas down to twenty-one. I asked Hecker about the process by which the CFA came to be. “After narrowing the document down to twenty-one items, through a series of tedious surveys filled out by thousands of mostly tea party local coordinators and grassroots activists, the Tea Party Patriots enlisted sixteen scholars to write two-hundred-word statements in support of one of the twenty-one ideas.” Hecker’s fellow activists “are in the process of posting these statements on the website.”

Currently, visitors to the CFA’s website can debate and vote on these twenty-one ideas. Those behind the CFA are hard at work building a list of solid positions that activists can present at upcoming Tax Day Tea Party rallies across America.

Those familiar with Gingrich’s “Contract with America” will note a significant difference between that document and the Tea Party Patriots’ “Contract from America.” Gingrich’s document listed specific reforms intended to pass “on the first day of the 104th Congress.” In addition, it listed several acts that Republicans brought to the House Floor “within the first 100 days.”

The CFA does not list specific legislative acts, which follows from its grassroots nature. Instead, it is more akin to a list from voters telling their representatives and senators, as Hecker noted in our conversation, that “this is what we expect from you.” Hecker added, however, that it would not be difficult to translate the “Contract from America” into specific legislation. Some, in fact, already exists.

Hecker noted that the first item in the CFA is a call to “begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike.” Senator Jim DeMint and several others issued a statement on February 4, 2010 calling “on their colleagues to support a one-year earmark moratorium and a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment.”

Hecker also pointed out that Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has endorsed a Spending Limit Amendment to the Constitution. This corresponds with the CFA’s call for “a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending.”

Some of the items listed in the CFA echo elements in Gingrich’s ’94 contract. The “Contract with America,” for example, lists the “Citizen Legislature Act,” which called for term limits, and the “Fiscal Responsibility Act,” which called for a balanced budget amendment and line-item veto. The House of Representatives rejected the former, and the latter got through the Senate only with substantial changes, which were subsequently declared unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York. The CFA includes items calling for term limits and a balanced budget amendment. Should these make it through the CFA vetting process, what is gained by asking federal representatives and senators to sign on to these items today?

“This document,” Hecker stated, “will give representatives and senators a legislative agenda and core set of priorities to follow in 2010. As it’s grassroots-generated and bottom-up, I believe that this time around elected officials will be held to their promises. If they don’t follow through, there will be many unhappy grassroots leaders ready to protest.”

Continue reading at American Thinker