Rangel Admits to Buying Off Congressmen

Andrew Roth - April 02nd, 2007

Rangel Admits to Buying Off Congressmen
in Iraq War Supplemental

WASHINGTON – On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Representative Charlie Rangel admitted to deliberately stuffing the Iraq war supplemental bill with pork projects to buy off Congressmen opposed to the bill’s Iraq timetable. Consider the following exchange:

Tim Russert: The House voted for funding for the war with a date certain, March of ’08, to begin a withdrawal of U.S. troops. But in that bill was $20 billion of so-called pork: money for cricket infestation, tours of the capitol, security at the national convention, peanut crops. Why would the Democrats put that kind of money in such a serious bill?

Rep. Charlie Rangel: Because they needed the votes. That bill, we lost so many Democrats, one, because people thought we went too far and others because we didn’t go far enough. So a lot of things had to go into a bill that certainly those of us who respect great legislation did not want in there . . . And I didn’t care what was in that bill if there was anything to slow down, to say what the American people said in the last election, “get out of Iraq.”

“Reasonable people can disagree about the appropriate course to take in Iraq,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey, “but the American people overwhelmingly reject the spineless bartering of principles for petty pork. By Charlie Rangel’s own admission, Democratic members of Congress were willing to abandon their convictions on a vital matter of national security&mdashon a question of war or peace&mdashin exchange for a basketful of bacon. Only three months into a Democratic majority, principles are being bought and sold for the price of peanut storage and spinach. So much for ”the most ethical Congress in history.’”

Club Applauds Alternative House Budget

Andrew Roth - March 29th, 2007

Club for Growth Hails House Republican Budget Proposal

Washington – The Club for Growth applauded the House Republican substitute budget proposal for its commitment to protecting American taxpayers and limiting wasteful government spending. Unveiled yesterday, the proposal contains several key pro-growth provisions. These include:

  • Extends the pro-growth Bush tax cuts
  • Freezes non-defense discretionary spending
  • Major entitlement reform, saving taxpayers $279 billion over five years
  • Balances the budget by 2012 without raising taxes
  • Ends the raid on Social Security
  • Adopts a legislative line item veto
  • Earmark transparency
  • Establishes discretionary spending limits in the House through 2010

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for a number of other House budget proposals. The Progressive Caucus budget will raise taxes by $943.3 billion over five years; the Congressional Black Caucus by $711.9 billion; the Democratic leadership by $392.5 billion; and the Blue Dog Coalition by $197.8 billion. If there was an award for the most shameful budget, the Progressive Caucus would win hands down. Unfortunately, American taxpayers lose under all four of these proposals.

“The Republican budget proposal is the only budget that will restrict congressional gluttony and keep the economy growing strong,” Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said. “While other groups are falling over themselves to raise America’s taxes, it is reassuring to know that there is at least one budget proposal out of five interested in protecting American taxpayers and encouraging continued economic expansion.”

The Pork-Laden Iraq War Supplemental

Andrew Roth - March 28th, 2007

Groups Urge Senate Not to Pass a Pork-Laden
Iraq War Supplemental

Washington – The Club for Growth, the Republican Main Street Partnership, and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste urge the Democratic majority in the Senate not to play politics with taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars and called upon the Senate to reject a pork-laden emergency Iraq War Supplemental. These earmarks do not qualify as emergency or high-priority items, and therefore don’t belong in this bill.

“One has to wonder how the Democratic campaign pledges of fiscal responsibility translate into federal funds for political conventions and sugar canes,” Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said. “The answer, of course, is, they don’t. Rather, it is becoming abundantly clear from the Senate Iraq supplemental bill that many congressional members care more about their special interest buddies than the taxpayers they are supposed to represent.”

“Christmas trees, political conventions, and sugar beets have no business being tied to providing our troops the emergency resources to keep them well supplied and capable of responding to the conditions on the ground no matter how one might feel about a withdrawal timeline,” said current President and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership and former U.S. Representative Charles F. Bass (R-NH). “The Iraq War Supplemental bill is too important to be stuffed with billions of dollars in special interest-driven pork barrel spending that are being used to buy support for a flawed policy of micro-management and publicly announcing our military plans.”

“It’s Christmas time for Congress as visions of sugar beets dance in their heads,” CCAGW President Tom Schatz said. “Once again the Senate has demonstrated their insatiable appetite for pork at the expense of real priorities like protecting our troops in the field.”

The groups urge Democratic Leadership in the Senate to show restraint in using the spending bill as a political gimmick and down-payment on promises made to their special interests. The Club for Growth, the Republican Main Street Partnership, and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste urge Senators to reject the current pork-laden bill and applaud efforts to strip unnecessary funding from this critical piece of legislation.

McCain-Feingold is Still a Failure

Andrew Roth - March 27th, 2007

McCain-Feingold Still a Failure, Five Years and Counting

Washington – McCain-Feingold turned five years old today, and the political process is not one iota better than it was before John McCain launched his crusade on the political stage. In honor of its five-year anniversary, the Club for Growth denounced the McCain-Feingold legislation as an unconscionable abridgement of the First Amendment right to political free speech, conjuring up the likes of the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

John McCain has defended his trampling of the First Amendment as a small price to pay for cleaning up the political process and restoring America’s faith in government. This defense is as frightening today as it was five years ago. It is also patently wrong.

“If the past five years were an experiment in government regulation of political speech, we can clearly say now that the experiment has been a dismal failure,” Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said. “Five years after President Bush signed the McCain-Feingold legislation, the political process is neither less corrupt nor more democratic. The only definitive results of McCain Feingold are that incumbent politicians sleep a little more soundly at night and citizen participation in the political process is even further restricted. Neither or these developments are something to boast about.”

“It is our sincere hope that in five years time, McCain-Feingold will be nothing more than a blemish on the history books,” Mr. Toomey continued. “Already, several declared and potential presidential candidates have come forward to express either their strong opposition to McCain-Feingold or their support for its repeal. These are former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. We strongly encourage Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Fred Thompson, all other Republican candidates, and the entire slate of Democratic candidates to come forward soon with similar proclamations.”

Club Blasts Lou Dobb's Protectionism

Andrew Roth - March 27th, 2007

Club for Growth Urges Congress to Ignore Lou Dobbs and Renew Fast Track Authority

Washington – In what guarantees to be a political circus, Lou Dobbs of CNN will testify tomorrow before the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade against America’s free trade policies and against renewing the President’s fast track authority. He will be joined and no doubt parroted by fellow protectionists from the AFL-CIO, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the Alliance for American Manufacturing. The lone defender of pro-trade policies will be former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills.

Much like Al Gore’s one-man show last week, Dobbs’ testimony promises to be long on showmanship and short on economic facts. While Dobbs claims that free trade hurts lower- and middle-class Americans, these are the same Americans who suffer the higher prices and fewer jobs that result from protectionist policies and an economy stalled by inefficiency and reduced competition. Dobbs’ economic errors are surpassed only by his audacity, awarding himself the right to dictate to the American people where to buy and sell their goods and services.

“America is an economic superpower in no small part because of its open trade policies and its participation in the global economy,” Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said. “Since this country’s inception, we have witnessed the resounding success of a trade policy that breaks down barriers and fosters the free flow of business across borders. It is no coincidence that the period of our country’s strongest prosperity coincided with a period in which we experienced the freest trade.”

“While Lou Dobbs and his doomsday compatriots whine about the end of the world as we know it,” Toomey continued, “we hope Congress will put the economic growth of this country ahead of its special interest buddies. Renewing the President’s fast track authority would be a significant first step in the right direction. Sending Lou Dobbs back to CNN would be a second.”