Club Announces New Congressional Scorecard

Andrew Roth - July 12th, 2005

WASHINGTON (07/12/05) – The nation’s leading advocacy organization for free-market, pro-growth economic policies announced that it is implementing a new key vote scoring system to hold members of Congress accountable for their actions once elected to office. The first votes scored will be votes on spending provisions and the CAFTA-DR agreement.”Clearly it’s not enough to elect candidates to Congress who talk a good game about pro-growth policy,” said Pat Toomey, President of the Club for Growth. “We have to hold them accountable for their votes once in office and this key voting system will help us do that.”To provide accountability, for the first time in its history the Club for Growth will designate key votes on economic issues that maximize growth like expanding trade, reducing government spending, lowering taxes and reforming Social Security. Members of Congress will be given a score based on their actions and votes on whether they favored policies that would boost economic growth and opposed policies that would hurt growth. Those scores will help in understanding the true policies of members of Congress and will guide selection of congressional candidates to receive support from the Club for Growth PAC’s massive resources. Equally important, the scorecard will help determine which incumbents could face Club for Growth PAC endorsed challengers in a primary or general election.”Too many politicians campaign as pro-growth candidates and then vote for higher spending, higher taxes, corporate welfare and protectionism once in office,” continued Toomey. “With the vote on CAFTA coming up, we’re saying to members that we’re keeping track of the important votes and there will be consequences to campaigning one way and voting another.”During the last election cycle, the Club for Growth members and the Club’s PAC raised $9 million for candidates. The Club for Growth PAC will also be putting that power to work earlier this cycle than ever before to help candidates with a demonstrated commitment to pro-growth policies gather the support and resources they need to win primaries and ultimately general elections.The first key vote identified was the Blumenauer/Flake amendment on the Agriculture appropriations bill in the House. The Club for Growth supported a “yea” vote on the amendment. The next anticipated key vote will be on CAFTA-DR in the House.

Pat Issues Statement on CAFTA

Andrew Roth - June 30th, 2005

Club For Growth President: CAFTA Passage In Senate An Excellent Step Forward; Reports Suggest Americans Still Saddled With Unfair Sugar Tax
“The Senate’s passage of CAFTA takes us one big step closer to lower trade barriers, higher American exports and accelerating economic growth.”Unfortunately, news reports suggest that the Bush Administration may have made major concessions to get the votes of certain sugar protectionists, like Norm Coleman. Any side agreements which undermine CAFTA’s tiny opening of the sugar market will continue to saddle American consumers with an unfair sugar tax we are all currently forced to pay.”Nevertheless, the vote on CAFTA itself generally distinguishes which senators vote for free trade and economic growth and which prefer protectionism and economic stagnation. The Club for Growth will publish its first-ever scorecard on congressional actions, and today’s Senate vote and the upcoming House vote on CAFTA will be strong key votes in the new rating.”If those in office today won’t support the free-market policies we need to generate prosperity and economic growth, the Club for Growth PAC and Club members will look for others who will.”

Press Release on CAFTA

Andrew Roth - June 14th, 2005

We issued the following press release today:bq.

Statement by Club for Growth President Pat Toomey About the Senate Finance Committee’s Approval of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)
bq. “The Senate Finance Committee approval of CAFTA today was sour medicine for the protectionist and corporate welfare partners of the big sugar lobby but it was just what the doctor ordered to help grow our “There are still many votes to cast until CAFTA is approved and lobbying against the agreement will get more intense as the process moves forward. Pro-growth advocates will be watching closely to see which members of Congress match their free trade rhetoric with a vote for CAFTA and which ones vote for protectionism rather than for their constituents and the U.S. economy.”bq. The Club for Growth recently ran ads in newspapers in Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Wyoming to highlight the expected economic benefits that CAFTA will bring to vital sectors of the economy and the threat that the protectionist big sugar lobby is making to the agreement. The ads urged Sens. Baucus, Bingaman, Wyden and Thomas to vote for CAFTA. Sens. Thomas and Wyden both voted for CAFTA in the Senate Finance Committee today.

New Press Release

Andrew Roth - June 13th, 2005

Together with our full-page newspaper ads, we issued the following press release over the weekend (along with similar other versions):bq.

bq. WASHINGTON – The Club for Growth, the nation’s leading pro-growth advocacy group, today began an ad campaign to urge Senator Ron Wyden to support the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which would open foreign markets to U.S. products, producing jobs for American workers and growing the economy in Oregon and across the “Senator Wyden’s support for CAFTA is vital if we are to take advantage of the enormous opportunity it represents to ensure that U.S. companies have greater access to a market of 44 million consumers,” said Pat Toomey, President of the Club For Growth. “This ad campaign is designed to remind him – and the voters of Oregon – that his support could be the deciding factor in whether we have this important tool to help create jobs and grow our economy.”bq. The ads, which will run in Portland starting today, highlight the expected economic benefits that CAFTA will bring to vital sectors of the economy like agriculture. As the largest free trade agreement since NAFTA, the benefits are expected to include:bq.
  • $1.5 billion annually in expanded U.S. farm exports (The AmericanFarm Bureau);
  • $1 billion a year in additional good exports (National Associationof Manufacturers);
  • $756 million reduced from the U.S. trade deficit (U.S. InternationalTrade Commission);

“CAFTA is a better deal for U.S. farmers and ranchers than the protectionist tariffs that currently get added to their products in these markets,” added Toomey. “These ads make clear to Senator Wyden that supporting CAFTA when it comes before the U.S. Senate would provide an enormous economic boost for Oregon and the entire country.”

Club for Growth Issues Press Release

Andrew Roth - May 17th, 2005

Club for Growth President Pat Toomey Says Senate Transportation Bill “A Fiscal Monstrosity” “The transportation bill passed by the Senate today exceeds even the House version as a fiscal monstrosity,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “It runs totally counter to the lower taxes, responsible spending lip service paid by Republicans and moderate Democrats at election time.” President Bush originally proposed $256 billion for a six-year surface transportation bill – a whopping 21% increase over the last six-year bill. After Congress last year found it impossible to spend within the confines of that double-digit increase, the President unfortunately upped his offer to $284 billion in his FY06 budget. The House then passed a bill spending $284 billion, but with a provision to allow additional spending during the 6-year window. Not to be outdone when it comes to wasting the taxpayers’ money, the Senate has passed a bill to spend $295 billion. Transportation funding is among the worst examples of misspending and pork barrel politics. Congress earmarks thousands of individual projects, many of which have nothing to do with transportation. In the House bill alone there are more than 4000 such projects. Examples include:

  • $3 million to renovate and expand the National Packard Museum and adjacent historic Packard facilities in Ohio;
  • $500,000 to improve sidewalks, upgrade lighting, and add landscaping in downtown Glennville, Georgia;
  • $4 million to plan and construct bike/pedestrian crossings of the Washington-Palmetto Canal in the vicinity of Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana; and
  • $1.3 million to construct a recreational visitor center on the Mesabi Trail in the City of Virginia, Minnesota.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan vetoed a transportation bill because it had excessive earmarks. The bill contained less than 200 overall. “If a conference committee does not significantly pare back this bloated bill, we will urge a “NO” vote in both chambers on the conference report,” concluded Toomey. “And if the conference report nevertheless passes, we will urge the President to give this bill the veto it rightly deserves.”