Pledge to America

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.

NATIONAL REVIEW: Gingrich Weighs in on GOP ‘Pledge to America”

The former speaker comments on the Pledge:

Like with the Contract with America in 1994, a new generation of reform Republicans is offering the American people a clear choice about America’s future. Reconnecting Congress to the Constitution and based on listening to citizens in every part of the country — especially the 2010 Contract FROM America — the reform Republicans offer a choice between the job killing, big government, high tax agenda of the Democratic Party and a Republican Party agenda to reverse out-of-control spending, restore fiscal accountability leading to a balanced budget, create confidence in the private sector to spur new job creation, and strengthen the family.

Be sure to visit the National Review’s ‘The Corner’ for frequent updates on Washington politics.

POLITICS DAILY: Republicans Officially Unveil ‘Pledge to America’

By Patricia Murphy

STERLING, Va.– Far from the steps of the U.S. Capitol, 13 Republican members of Congress gathered Thursday at Tart Lumber Co. to unveil “Pledge to America,” a 45-page booklet they promise will guide their efforts to reform the government Americans say they no longer trust.

House Minority Leader John Boehner stood in shirt-sleeves between rows of raw lumber to explain that the pledge was drafted by listening to the American people and reflected their number one priority — jump-starting the American economy.

“Our pledge to America is that Republicans stand ready to get it done, beginning today,” Boehner said.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Cali.), the man who led the effort to draft the Pledge, said he blamed the Obama administration’s “disastrous policies” for the country’s current economic struggles.

Pledge to America”The land of opportunity has become the land of shrinking prosperity,” he said. “From the bill to bailout the banks to the stimulus that failed to stimulate anything but the deficit to the government takeover over health care, [the American people] said stop. Well, we heard you, we heard you loud and clear.”

Unlike Republicans’ 1994 Contract With America, no candidates or members of Congress will sign the Pledge and no group will march up the Capitol steps to support it. And while the 1994 Contract aggressively promised to enact term limits, amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget and cut off welfare payments to teen moms, the 2010 document softens the tone and broadens the focus to include familiar GOP proposals on health care, national security and shrinking the size of federal government.

Boehner explained that the Pledge covered five areas — jobs and the economy, lowering government spending and reducing the size of government, repealing the recently passed health care law, reforming Congress, and strengthening national security.

Continue reading at Politic Daily

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

UK’s MAIL ONLINE: ‘Tea Party’ Rebels Score Stunning Poll Victories

By Tom Leonard

They want to purify their party and their country, returning America to the honest, founding traditions of thrift, small government and self-reliance from which, they say, it has strayed.

And, like the protesters from whom they take their name (the Bostonians who demonstrated against British taxation by dumping tea into the city’s harbour in 1773), the Tea Party rebels are – by their own account – as ‘mad as hell’.

But whether they are a bunch of dotty extremists or not, the Tea Party phenomenon suddenly poses a serious threat.

On Tuesday night, the upsurge in anger among grassroots American conservatives, with both Barack Obama and the Republican Party, made itself spectacularly felt in the tiny, affluent state of Delaware.

In one of the least expected results of the primary season – in which candidates are chosen for November’s mid-term elections – Christine O’Donnell, a Tea Party-backed dissident Republican, beat a moderate and establishment favourite to win the party’s nomination for vice-president Joe Biden’s old seat in the U.S. Senate.

O’Donnell is a perennial candidate and former abstinence counsellor, who promotes complete celibacy before marriage and has a fierce stance on guns (pro), government spending (anti), abortion (anti) and masturbation (anti – it’s a sin, she says).

Her strong beliefs had prompted many – especially local Republican leaders – to write her off as unelectable.

But then Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate and a poster girl of the Tea Party movement, endorsed O’Donnell.

In a move that has proved electorally successful across the U.S., Mrs Palin described her as one of her ‘mama grizzlies’ – a term she has coined to describe her uncompromising conservative allies.

Grizzly bears may be common in the rough and ready Palin home state of Alaska, but in the more sophisticated environs of Delaware they are unheard of outside the zoo.

As the significance of O’Donnell’s victory (accompanied by similar Tea Party success in New York, where its multi-millionaire candidate, Carl Paladino, won a Republican primary for state governor) sank in yesterday, there was a feeling across America that if it can happen in Delaware, it can happen anywhere.

O’Donnell trilled from the podium to huge cheers: ‘Don’t ever underestimate the power of we the people.’ There is fat chance of that now.

Carl Paladino has won a Republican primary for state governor in New York

‘Nightmare’ was a common verdict among political commentators — not for Mr Obama’s Democrats, who are chuckling at the idea of a divided opposition, but for the Republican Party.

It sees its hopes of grabbing power in Congress and crushing key Obama immigration and global warming legislation dashed by the election of Tea Partiers who have little hope of attracting the crucial independent floating voters when it comes to the election in November.

That is why the Tea Party movement is such a mixed blessing for the Republicans.

Yes, its energy has galvanised the party as Obamania once electrified the Democrats. But it also has the potential to frighten away moderate, mainstream voters, disillusioned with the Obama regime.

Republicans shouted themselves hoarse insisting that O’Donnell, who has a history of financial problems and dubious claims about her education, would be unelectable in November — but the Tea Partiers still backed her.

For them, keeping the Democrats out of power matters less than ideological purity.

But then commentators admit to being baffled by the Tea Party movement. Much of the problem is that it is hardly a party at all — in fact, it is more a network of like-minds than an organisation.

Completely decentralised, true to its libertarian principles, it has no real leader (every Tea Partier is his or her own spokesman) and no formal membership structure.

If you call yourself a Tea Partier, then, hey, you are one.

More than 200 leaders of local tea parties, in an umbrella group called Tea Party Patriots, discuss developments every week in a conference call, but that is as far as any party hierarchy goes.

Jonathan Rauch, an academic who has studied the movement, describes the average member as ‘white, bright and right’ – a well-educated conservative who is now an independent, even if he or she generally supports Republican policies.

Accusations of racial exclusivity have dogged the movement, but Rauch says members are largely white as few blacks and Hispanics are conservatives.

Membership numbers are vague, but there are estimated to be tens of thousands of activists.

The movement itself claims to have 17million supporters, but that could include anyone who has ever expressed sympathy with the Tea Party philosophy.

As for that philosophy, congressional candidates are expected to follow a ten-point Contract From America agenda aimed at making Washington more accountable.

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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

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

AOL NEWS: Will Populist Backlash Stand Up in Court?

WASHINGTON (Aug. 4) — Voters in Missouri show Congress what they think of a federal mandate to purchase health insurance. Lawmakers in Arizona take immigration enforcement into their own hands. And senators in Washington talk about amending the U.S. Constitution to block children born to those here illegally from automatic citizenship.

“We’re looking at the greatest showdown on states’ rights that we’ve had in a couple of generations,” said Richard Reuben, a University of Missouri law professor. “This is a historic time.”

Arizona conservatives sing the national anthem at a rally against illegal immigration Sunday in Phoenix.

Republicans have issued a tea party-friendly Contract From America based on “individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.” Democrats have countered with a parody whose No. 1 priority is to repeal health insurance reform, their No. 1 achievement.

Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, said the current revolt encompasses the tea party but is broader than that. He sees the prevailing public mood as the latest in a series of American populist movements. But unlike, say, the prairie populism of the 1890s that gave rise to the progressive movement, today there are more ways to express discontent, whether at the ballot box or on the Internet.

This time the growing number of lawsuits, ballot initiatives and legislation is part of a grassroots conservative movement that disapproves of the liberal political establishment in Washington. Said Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor and founder of The Volokh Conspiracy blog: “They are trying to have their voice heard — to mixed results.”

Continue reading at AOL News