Congress

Following Europe Will Lead To Collapse

In the Eurozone Spain is bracing for yet another round of painful austerity as a result of its unsustainable debt. These cuts will cripple entitlement programs that people built lives around, they will cause a spike in unemployment, and put the national security of its people at risk. This is the path big government takes you down; ballooning debt, then a crash where the bottom is not discernable.

Then why does this administration feel that the best way to fix our problems at home is to follow the same path that Europe has? Our budget deficit continues to balloon with no signs of stopping or slowing down. Historically when a nation’s debt reaches 90% as a share of GDP, economies will stagnate. Currently we are at 70% and will hit 90% in under 10 years.

This is unacceptable and can be avoided by adopting the Contract for America’s terms to pass a balanced budget amendment. This amendment will ensure spending does not accelerate at the rate it currently is and spending growth will be capped as a percentage of GDP.

Until this amendment is passed, politicians will continue to tax and spend faster and faster. When money is not coming physically out of their pockets they see no reason they can’t spend it. American government deficit spending needs to stop immediately.

POLITICO: Debt Ceiling Talks have Tea Party Ready for Disappointment – and Retribution

By Kenneth P. Vogel and Marin Cogan

Tea party activists braced for disappointment as negotiations on the debt ceiling finally resulted in a deal Sunday, but sent a clear signal to congressional Republicans that they are in no mood to tolerate compromise and will seek retribution against anyone who has not fully supported their agenda.

They are focused in particular on the fate of the concession they extracted from House Speaker John Boehner in order to get his debt ceiling bill through the House last week – a provision making a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution a prerequisite for raising the debt ceiling again that they regarded as a huge victory.

“If the final bill is passed by establishment Republicans and House Democrats and does not include a balanced budget amendment as a requirement, it will be completely unacceptable and will be seen as a violation of the mandate that the tea party and like-minded people gave Republicans in 2010,” said Ryan Hecker, the leader of a crowd-sourced tea party effort called the Contract from America.

“The tea party didn’t help elect Republicans because they liked Republicans. They elected Republicans to give them a second chance. And if they go moderate on this, then they have ruined their second chance, and there will be a real effort to replace them with those who will stand up for economic conservative values,” said Hecker, who helped conservative House Republicans rally support for the amendment.

Continue reading at Politico.com

FOX NEWS: Is GOP “Pledge” A Direct Descendant Of Tea Party “Contract from America”

STERLING, Va. — House Republicans came to TART Lumber in suburban Washington, D.C. Thursday to unveil their “Pledge to America,” a sweeping conservative agenda that calls for reigning in federal spending, permanently extending all of the Bush tax cuts and repealing President Obama’s democratically passed health care reform law.

Republicans are hoping the document serves as a rallying call for conservatives to get out the vote this fall and propel them back into the majority in the House of Representatives. “The Pledge” also gives us a preview of the issues Republicans would push should they succeed in their efforts.

Although they won’t admit to it publicly, “The Pledge To America” bears some striking similarities to a Tea Party backed document called “The Contract From America.”

“There are a number of ideas in their document that come straight from ‘The Contract From America,’ said Tea Party Society Member and the “Contract From America” organizer Ryan Hecker. “Their ‘Pledge to America’ includes many of our Contract’s planks, including the top-voted idea to ‘Protect the Constitution’ by requiring every bill to cite Constitutional authority, rejection of Cap and Trade, the imposition of meaningful spending limits, repeal of government-run health care, and extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.”

When asked about any connection between the two documents during Thursdays event, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, downplayed any link. “We listened to all Americans as we put this together,” Boehner said. “Our members over the last four months have done thousands of town hall meetings, public forums, private meetings to listen to the American people and bring their ideas back to Washington.”

However, after the event a senior member of the Republican House leadership told Fox News, “That document had a lot of influence on ours. No question about it.”

Continue reading at Fox News online

Statement on the Republican “Pledge To America”

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A HARDCOPY OF THIS STATEMENT

The Contract from America Foundation made the following announcement today regarding the newly released Republican “Pledge to America”:

We are pleased that the Republicans were so heavily influenced by the message of the grassroots Contract from America that their “Pledge to America” includes many of our Contract’s planks, including the top-voted idea to “Protect the Constitution” by requiring every bill to cite Constitutional authority, rejection of Cap and Trade, the imposition of meaningful spending limits, repeal of government-run health care, and extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. We are also pleased that they so admired the Contract’s model of allowing for real citizen input that they created their own website, America Speaking Out, to approximate the same function. This is evidence that Republicans are beginning to listen to the millions of ordinary Americans that are fed up with Washington’s ways.

Republican Congressmen, Senators, and candidates should still sign the Contract from America, which boldly tackles the challenges of fundamental tax reform, passage of a balanced budget amendment with a supermajority requirement for any tax hike, and real earmark reform.

The Contract from America is 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 is a blueprint that reflects what the people want for their future. If Republicans sign the Contract, they will prove that they are listening to the will of millions of grassroots activists that have protested the unconscionable expansion of government.

Over 300 candidates have signed the Contract from America, including Senators DeMint and Coburn, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Representative Michele Bachmann, and Senate candidates Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Jerry Moran, Dino Rossi, Ron Johnson, John Boozman, Kelly Ayotte, and John Raese.

CBS NEWS: “Pledge to America” Unveiled by Republicans (Full Text)

By Brian Montopoli, Jill Jackson

CBS News has obtained a final draft of House Republicans’ legislative agenda for the next Congress, a 21-page “Pledge to America” that they will formally unveil Thursday morning at a Virginia hardware store.

“The need for urgent action to repair our economy and reclaim our government for the people cannot be overstated,” the introduction says.

It continues: “With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people. This is our Pledge to America.”

Highlights include:

Jobs:

  • Stop job-killing tax hikes
  • Allow small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income
  • Require congressional approval for any new federal regulation that would add to the deficit
  • Repeal small business mandates in the new health care law.

Cutting Spending:

  • Repeal and Replace health care
  • Roll back non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels before TARP and stimulus (will save $100 billion in first year alone)
  • Establish strict budget caps to limit federal spending going forward
  • Cancel all future TARP payments and reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Reforming Congress:

  • Will require that every bill have a citation of constitutional authority
  • Give members at least 3 days to read bills before a vote

Defense:

  • Provide resources to troops
  • Fund missile defense
  • Enforce sanctions in Iran

To continue reading the complete text of the document, please visit CBS News

Tea Party Movement Celebrates Colorado Triumph

By Anna Fifield, Financial Times

America’s rambunctious “tea party patriots” were in celebration mode on Wednesday, after their man Ken Buck beat the Republican establishment candidate for the party’s Senate nomination in Colorado, handing the movement its fourth victory of the primary season.

Mr Buck, a gaffe-prone county district attorney, narrowly beat Jane Norton, the former lieutenant-governor backed by the Republican party, who had out­fundraised Mr Buck by more than $2m.

“Get a good night’s sleep, because for the next 83 days we are going to unite the Republican party,” Mr Buck told supporters on Tuesday night, referring to the time left until November’s midterm congressional elections. Reunite it under the tea party banner, that is.

“Tea party patriots” – a burgeoning movement pressing for limited government and lower taxes, with Sarah Palin as their poster girl – are having a profound impact on the face of the Republican party.

In addition to Mr Buck, they have propelled their candidates to win primaries in Utah, Kentucky and Nevada, as well as in Florida – by default when the presumptive Republican nominee pulled out.

“We’re trying to take back the parties and put responsible people in control of them,” says Stephen Sabolich, a conservative activist from Cleveland, Ohio, who this week attended a tea party boot camp organised by FreedomWorks, a conservative group promoting “grassroots” opposition to the Obama administration.

“We’re taking over the parties. We’ve been very successful with the Republican party so far, but it’s a little more difficult with the Democrats,” says Mr Sabolich, 66.

In one of the training rooms was a board with a quote by Samuel Adams, one of the founding fathers: “It does not require a majority to prevail but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people’s minds.”

Last August, tea party activists dominated the political news agenda, organising rowdy protests round the country and taking over the “town hall” meetings that lawmakers hold in their home districts during the summer recess.

Although healthcare, a lightning rod issue, is not at the top of the agenda this year, the looming midterms mean tea parties will be a potent political force in the next three months.

The activists are drawing up scorecards in electorates, knocking on doors and setting up phone banks to spur voters to support candidates who have vowed to uphold tea party principles.

They ask candidates to sign their “Contract from America”, a tea party manifesto designed to hold politicians responsible, formulated in response to the top-down “Contract with America” written by the Republican leadership when they took over Congress in 1994.

Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, is optimistic that conservatives can win the House, and perhaps the Senate, in November.

“Politically the elections will be a repeat of 1994 but it will be fundamentally different because these [tea party] folks are organised and are in all 50 states so it’s sustainable after the election,” he says.

The activists say they are aiming not just to install their preferred candidates on Republican tickets but to “shift the centre of gravity” within the party.

Continue reading the article at the Financial Times

NEWSMAX: Rubio Backs Contract From America

y David A. Patten, Thursday, July 8, 2010 01:25 PM

Newsmax has learned that conservative Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio has pledged to support the pro-liberty, anti-tax agenda known as Contract From America, which appears to be emerging as a major political force in the midterm elections.

In an e-mail response to Newsmax, Rubio, a Republican, confirmed that he has signed the contract, which presents 10 key platform planks that promote “individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.”

“I’m proud to sign the Contract From America, which is a restatement of the principles and values that have made America exceptional for centuries and that are needed in Washington today,” Rubio’s e-mail stated Thursday. “At a time when Washington is spending money that we don’t even have to expand government, the Contract From America is a reminder that America deserves leaders who will be a check and balance on the direction this president and Congress are pursuing.”

Several high-profile Republicans have joined Rubio in signing the contract during the past 48 hours, including Senate candidate Dan Coats of Indiana, Rep. Tom Rooney of Florida, and Senate candidate Ken Buck of Colorado.

“Due to your efforts, these candidates have chosen to be champions of Main Street values and have joined with you in signing the Contract From America,” declared a post on the group’s Web site, TheContract.org.

But Rubio’s commitment lends the contract perhaps its highest-profile supporter among those running in November.

“We’re very pleased,” tea party activist and Houston attorney Ryan Hecker, who originally came up with the Contract concept, tells Newsmax. “By signing the Contract From America, Marco Rubio is saying he’s listening, he’s really adopted this very Main Street agenda. He’s saying this is a powerful grassroots document, that is very much a mainstream document, that should be adopted for everyone. It should be helpful to him in the general election race, but beyond that it represents the values of a majority of Americans.”

FreedomWorks, the D.C.-based facilitator of the conservative grass-roots movement sweeping the nation, also heralded Rubio’s decision to sign onto the contract.

“This just confirms the grass-roots instincts in backing Rubio” over Gov. Charlie Crist, FreedomWorks spokesman Adam Brandon tells Newsmax. “It shows that he’s dead serious about policy. If he’s elected to the Senate, you can bet he’ll be a policy innovator, and that’s just what this country needs. In the coming budget battle, it’s not going to be policy for the timid, and he’s shown that he’s a leader.”

A Rasmussen Reports poll on Thursday showed that Rubio has taken a 36 percent-to-34 percent lead over Christ, who left the Republican Party to become an independent after it became clear that his chances of defeating Rubio in a GOP primary were slim. Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek is running a distant third with 15 percent, according to Rasmussen.

Rubio’s commitment means that more than 130 candidates have now signed onto the list of 10 key principles, which are designed to reduce the pervasive influence of the federal government in the lives of everyday citizens — rapid progress, considering the fact that the contract was unveiled only on April 15.

“We’re more getting candidates every day,” Ryan Hecker, the tea party activist who came up with the contract concept, tells Newsmax.

The contract urges members of Congress to cite the specific clause in the Constitution that gives them authority to pass any new legislation. It rejects cap and trade, which it says will hurt the nation’s economy and global competitiveness. It aims for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, and would require a two-thirds majority to pass any tax hike.


Continue reading this article at Newsmax.com

“Contract from America” Applauds GOP’s Initiative to Listen to the American People During Pivotal Election Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 24, 2010

Tomorrow, House Republicans are launching a new initiative to “engage Americans across the country and give them a voice in creating a new agenda for Congress.” Called, “America Speaking Out,” the effort is led by Chief Deputy Whip, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Following the lead of the Contract from America, the GOP’s initiative seems to acknowledge the fundamental relationship between the American people and their representatives; a relationship founded on the notion that representatives are elected by the American people to advance the people’s priorities, not their own. In launching America Speaking Out, the GOP will retrace the steps made by the Contract from America during the last eight months in asking the American people for their input in developing a new policy agenda.

Ryan Hecker, founder of the Contract from America initiative said, “I think it is great that House Republicans are listening to the people and borrowing from the tea party movement and the Contract from America project”

During this pivotal 2010 election cycle, millions of grassroots Tea Party activists will be closely watching this initiative. To gain the support of grassroots activists, the Tea Party movement, and the American public, the GOP needs to embrace a genuine effort to listen to the American people and advance those priorities over the destructive and self-serving tendencies of Washington insiders.

“The Contract from America is not an exclusive set of public policy proposals, and I hope that Republican members of Congress express their willingness to listen to the people and sign the Contract from America, which was created and vetted by nearly one half-million people,” Hecker noted.

The Contract from America is proud to join with Tea Party activists across the country to continue a constructive dialogue with leaders who promise to listen and support the principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally-limited government, and free markets.

More information about each plank, including its full description and the name of the activist who first proposed it, is available at the Contract from America’s website, contract.thelibertylab.com.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Ryan Hecker, (215) 880-2430

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Download a hardcopy of this press release here.

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

“All of the Above” Energy Policy

Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs.

SUMMARY

Energy is the stuff of life. With it, we can accomplish practically anything; we grow food, make necessities, provide warmth and shelter and comfort, education and entertainment. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates U.S. supplies at 117 billion barrels of oil and 651 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, on shore and off. This is enough oil to replace entirely our OPEC imports for more than 50 years, and enough natural gas to supply all U.S. needs for more than 30 years. That’s not counting our even more vast supplies of coal, counting in the centuries. We must no longer deny ourselves access to our most productive and affordable energy types.

The BLM found that 60 percent of the onshore federal lands with potentially significant domestic amounts of natural gas and crude are politically inaccessible. We as a nation are sitting on vast deposits of oil and natural gas that we could be using to reduce our imports. Increasingly, our coal reserves are subject to similar political constraints, even as we pour billions into clean coal technologies.

~ Tom Tanton, Pacific Research Institute