Senator Jim DeMint

Collapse of the omnibus spending bill: rise of the ‘tea party Congress’?

On the anniversary of the actual Boston tea party some 237 years ago – when pesky colonists dressed up as Indians and threw the King’s tea into Boston Harbor – the modern invocation of that revolutionary spirit tossed another expensive package overboard Thursday: a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill.

After leading a Republican charge into the House in the Nov. 2 midterm elections, the anti-debt, anti-federalist tea party movement notched its first major legislative victory Thursday by standing up to big-spending Democrats and Republicans and forcing Republican leadership to revoke its support of a bill laden with $8.3 billion worth of legislative earmarks – lawmakers’ pet projects known as pork-barrel spending.

Among other spending priorities, the bill included a total of $1 billion to kickstart the first phase of the federal health-care reform law passed in April, meaning that its defeat likely lays the groundwork for Republicans to follow through on their promise to gut funding for the landmark legislation – per the tea party’s wishes, by the way.

Beer museum? Five famous ‘pork barrel’ projects

The failure of the omnibus bill “is a reminder for Democrats that their ‘historic’ legislation may be short-lived,” writes Washington Post conservative commentator Jennifer Rubin.

Sen. Harry Reid, who had to shelve the bill when Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, under grassroots pressure, swayed nine critical Republican lawmakers to resist it, complained that its failure indicated that Republican leadership has become “a wholly-owned subsidiary of the tea party.”

Faint praise, perhaps, but tea party activists across the country clearly took the repudiation of the pork-laden spending bill as its first major legislative victory and a sign that the grassroots movement will be able to wield influence over the Republican agenda.

“The sun rises tomorrow on a new political landscape” said commenter “reheiler” on National Review, in response to the failure of the omnibus bill. “I grew up on a horse farm. They behave differently after they’ve been broken.”

“The Republicans recognized the lesson from the election: that the grass roots, the tea party, does not want unnecessary federal spending, and they realized that they ignore that sentiment at their own peril,” adds Wendy Schiller, a political scientist at Brown University in Providence, R.I. The Democrats, meanwhile, “miscalculated the internal pressure that fiscal conservatives are putting on Republicans – they didn’t think that some of these Republicans … would be willing to walk away from these earmarks,” she says.

Earlier this week, Reid apparently believed he had locked in nine key Republican votes that would have ensured passage of a bipartisan spending package before the government officially runs out of money on Saturday.

Continue reading at the Christian Science Monitor

GA Cong. Candidate Tom Graves

Georgia Congressional Candidate Tom Graves Signs Contract from America

(Cumming, GA) – Tomorrow, Tom Graves, congressional candidate for a May 11 special election in Georgia’s 9th Congressional District, will join hundreds of local Tea Party and limited government groups around the country by signing 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, including Tom Graves, 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.

Tom Graves is 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.

U.S. Senate Candidate Mike Lee

U.S. Senate Candidate Mike Lee Signs “Contract From America”

Salt Lake City, UT — U.S. Senate candidate Mike Lee today signed the “Contract From America,” an innovative policy agenda promoting free enterprise, individual liberty, and limited government. Lee said:

“I am pleased to join Senator Jim DeMint in signing this contract and agenda which reflects and captures a nationwide movement demanding that Congress restore America’s constitutional principles. Developed by a consensus of almost a half-million patriots across the country, I believe that this contract articulates the principles that I and other true conservatives are fighting for.”

Lee concluded by saying, “This initiative comes in the tradition of 1994’s ‘Contract With America,’ which spurred a tidal wave of Republican victories that ended decades of Democratic stranglehold on Congress and helped put the brakes on the Clinton Administration. I’m inspired that so many Americans are behind a restoration of those values, and I look forward to working with Senator DeMint and others to implement them.”

U.S. Senator Jim DeMint

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2010
OFFICE OF U.S. SENATOR JIM DeMINT (R-South Carolina)
CONTACT: Wesley Denton, (202) 228-5079

U.S. Senator Jim DeMint Signs “Contract from America”

WASHINGTON, DC– Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) today signed the “Contract from America,” and issued the following statement:

“I am proud to stand with millions of Americans across the nation that are demanding real reform in Washington. They want an end to the deficit spending, high taxes, and bailouts that have dragged our economy down and threaten the future for our children and grandchildren. This contract was created by the people and outlines a commonsense, constitutional approach to set our country back on the road to prosperity.

“This is a grassroots-generated positive agenda for reform that all Republicans, Democrats, and Independents should be able to support.”


Continue reading here

NEWSMAX: Contract From America Rose from Obscurity

By Ronald Kessler

Ryan Hecker got the idea while he was shaving: Why not hold politicians accountable to conservative principles with a “Contract from America”?

Bookish and intense, Hecker, 29, is hardly the sort of person you would expect to galvanize a political movement. But as a Harvard Law School graduate and a lawyer with Vinson and Elkins in Houston, Hecker has impressive credentials.

He has another thing going for him: Outrage.

Outrage was what he was feeling about the Bush administration’s plan to bail out banks when he thought up the Contract from America in December 2008. In contrast to Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America, the new contract would bubble up from the grass roots, setting forth principles that politicians would be asked to embrace.

Now, tens of thousands of activists have voted on what they consider the top 10 principles.

At a press conference at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week, Hecker and other Tea Party Patriots, FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey, Sen. Jim DeMint, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, the National Taxpayers Union, Liberty Central, and Regular Folks United announced plans to unveil the final document on April 15.

Despite the growing power of his concept, until now, no one in the media has interviewed Hecker about his background and how he arrived at the idea for the contract.

Hecker tells Newsmax he grew up in a liberal family in Manalapan, N.J. His father taught math at a middle school and at the College of Staten Island, where his mother also taught math. Hecker’s uncle, Democrat Marty Markowitz, is Brooklyn’s borough president.

When Hecker was 16, Hecker’s congressman, Republican Michael J. Pappas, got him a page job, which exposed him to the arguments of Republicans on the Hill.

“A lot of the pages were running around delivering packages all day, but my job was to sit in the cloakroom and wait for phone calls and go on the floor,” Hecker says. “So I witnessed a lot of debates.”

While attending New York University, Hecker joined a debate team and was impressed by the arguments of conservatives who leaned toward being libertarian.

“The strongest arguments, especially on economic and individual rights issues, were for me always the conservative position,” Hecker recalls.

Hecker was not shy about letting his parents know that he had become a Republican.

“My mom still thinks like, Oh, you’re doing what you’re doing, and it’s not what I agree with, but I’m proud of you,” Hecker says.

Hecker had no problem breaking the news to his future wife, Niru. Born in the U.S. of parents from India, she is a conservative who met Hecker when she was attending Bryn Mawr and debated him.

In 2005, Hecker graduated cum laude from Harvard and was hired by Sullivan and Cromwell in New York. After two years, he left the law firm to join the presidential campaign of Rudy Giuliani as an opposition researcher.

When the campaign was over, Hecker joined the law firm of Vinson and Elkins in Houston, where his wife had begun a residency in neurosurgery.

Last Feb. 27, Hecker was on his way to lunch and ran into a rally of conservatives. He joined them and helped organize a rally on April 15 by the Houston Tea Party Society, where he became an executive board member. Hecker later became a board member of the Tea Party Patriots, one of the leading tea party groups in the country.

In September 2009, Hecker launched the ContractfromAmerica.com Web site. The idea is to enlist candidates from both parties to subscribe to such goals as “Stop the Tax Hikes,” “Stop the Pork,” and “End Runaway Government Spending.”

“The Contract from America is based on the principles of individual liberty, free markets, and constitutionally limited government,” Hecker says. “The goal is to really create a grass-roots feeling that we can make a difference, that individuals can make a difference, and that it’s time for the Republicans and the Democrats and politicians in general to listen to the people.

Continue reading on Newsmax…

FREEDOMWORKS: The Contract FROM America Ready to Launch at CPAC

While 2009 was known as the year of the first Taxpayer March on Washington, 2010 is shaping up to be the year of the Contract FROM America.

On Thursday, limited government activists will take the next step in their quest to take America back as the Contract’s top twenty agenda items are unveiled. The Contract was launched in September, 2009 by Ryan Hecker of the Houston Tea Party with the goal of creating a bottom-up document for limited government activists to carry in 2010.

For the last several months, tens of thousands of activists have submitted and debated ideas online. At tea parties across the nation on April 15, the final ten pillars will be announced as the Contract FROM America.

The list has now been narrowed down to the top twenty policy ideas, and the voting process will begin to select the final ten. This next step will be unveiled at a press conference at noon on Thursday February, 18th, 2010, in the Tyler Room of the Washington Marriott Wardman Park at the annual CPAC convention.

FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey will join grassroots activists, Tea Party Patriots, Senator Jim DeMint, Americans for Tax Reform, National Taxpayers’ Union, Liberty Central, American Solutions, and Regular Folks United as the contract is formally announced.

Ryan Hecker, the creator of the Contract FROM America, commented, “This is a document made by the people for the people; a true bottom up effort. Last year the tea party movement used social networking tools to build communities to support limited government principles and oppose the encroachment of big government. Now these same communities have come together to build a document to carry into November 2010.”

FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey is an enthusiastic supporter of the Contract. “The grassroots-driven Contract represents the good polices that will be critical in bringing fiscal order to Washington. The strength of the movement is how it is united behind common-sense fiscal conservatism. After all, no one spends someone else’s money as wisely as he spends his own. Now when a politician seeks the support of a local tea party group, activists can point to the Contract to see how serious they are.”

Please visit www.contractfromamerica.com : cts.businesswire.com/ct/CT?id=smartlink&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww .. to view the list and vote on the top ten.

FreedomWorksAdam Brandon, 202-379-6584 abrandon@freedomworks.org : mailto:abrandon@freedomworks.org