Mike Pence

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

NYT: Tea Partiers Bring Cause to Washington

By KATE ZERNIKE

WASHINGTON — Thousands of Tea Party supporters marched to the foot of Capitol Hill on Sunday, declaring their determination to topple the Democratic majority in Congress on Election Day.

“If we do not succeed in November, all that once was good and great about this country could someday be gone,” warned Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, the chairman of the House Republican Conference. He added, “Let’s give them a November that they never forget.”

The event, organized by FreedomWorks, a libertarian advocacy group that has helped the Tea Party grow, was a repeat of a march on Washington that was a defining moment for the nascent movement a year ago. And it was intended as a political bookend to the religious revival that Glenn Beck called for at the Lincoln Memorial two weeks ago, drawing many of the same people.

This crowd was not nearly as large as the one that marched last year, or the one at Mr. Beck’s rally. Ending up on the western slope of the Capitol, it stretched back, stopping just short of the National Mall. But in many ways the crowd was louder than the one that had amassed for Mr. Beck. He had asked people to leave signs at home; FreedomWorks encouraged people to bring their signs, and to get loud.

The crowd cheered wildly as speakers celebrated the victories of Tea Party candidates who have upset establishment candidates in Republican primaries, and proclaimed that the Tea Party would now turn its ire against the Democrats.

“I believe we’ve got the Republican Party’s attention — we’ve been beating the establishment all over the country,” said Dick Armey, the former Republican House majority leader and the chairman of FreedomWorks, to a burst of cheering. “It’s time we give the same lesson to the other party.”

Mr. Pence taunted the Democratic leadership: “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose your job. A recovery is when Nancy Pelosi loses her job.”

As the crowd cheered, he gave a taste of what a Republican-led Congress might look like, calling for a repeal of the health care overhaul legislation “lock, stock and barrel,” and an end to “bailouts, once and for all.”

Speakers talked about the 10 points in the so-called Contract From America, a Tea Party manifesto that was created online as people proposed and then voted on what they wanted Congress to do. The provisions include a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget and requiring all legislation to state the exact provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to enact such a law.

“We run things,” Ryan Hecker, a young Tea Party activist from Houston who conceived of the contract, told the crowd. “Not only should we be listened to, we should be shown deference.”

Continue reading at the New York Times

Congratulations to Last Night’s Big Winners Who Signed the Contract

Last night was a big night across the country for some key races, some of which went quietly into the blogosphere and others that caused reverberations that will leave both Democrats and Republicans feeling the pressure that November is bringing…and with it, fall winds of change. Real change.

Signers of the Contract from America won key elections in three states and four races:

NORTH CAROLINA: Bill Randall won the District 13 runoff against Bernie Reeves with almost 60% of the vote. We intend to keep an eye on his campaign as Randall attempts to unseat incumbent Brad Miller.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Tim Scott, running in District 01 against Paul Thurmond, son of Strom Thurmond, walked off with 68% of the vote in this mandatory primary runoff.

Also taking home a big win in SC was Jeff Duncan out of District 03. Jeff faced primary challenger Richard Cash and came away with nearly 52% of the vote.

UTAH: With all eyes of the nation on the dirty politics that seemed to permeate this election, Mike Lee trumped Tim Bridgewater’s run at the Utah Senate with 51% of the vote in what turned out to be a nail-biter of an election night.

Everyone associated with the Contract from America would like to congratulate all of these candidates on running clean campaigns and sticking with the principals of the Contract. Keep up the great work and we’re behind you!

Also, a special “Thank You!” to everyone involved the the grassroots Twitter initiative, @TheTwisters. Follow them at hashtag #twisters.

November’s so bright, we’re all gonna have to wear shades!

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

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