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  • Tea Party Already Changing Spending Culture in Washington

    The 112th Congress has not yet been sworn in, but the Tea Party’s anti-business-as-usual mandate is already being felt on Capitol Hill. National Journal‘s Major Garrett reports:

    About two weeks ago, Speaker-to-be John Boehner found himself in an odd conversation with a young Republican House member. Their talk may rank as the most compelling example yet that the huge midterm GOP victory will produce real change in Washington—not just change in the familiar political sense, but down-the-rabbit-hole change, in which the world as we understand it seems to disappear.

    Boehner was trying to “lure” Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah onto the Appropriations Committee. Yes, lure. The 43-year-old, first-term lawmaker was hesitating over appointment to the vaunted panel, long regarded as one of the best perches in all of Washington. For most House members, Appropriations is the summa of committee assignments. A seat on the panel brings power, prestige, and lobbyists’ cash. It’s earmark heaven, too. Chaffetz said no.

    And Chaffetz is not the only conservative lawmaker deciding to turn down the earmarking-factory that is the Appropriations Committee. More Garrett:

    Republican Rep. Jim Jordan stopped his fellow Ohioan, Boehner, from even offering him a slot on Appropriations because he also wants to stay with Rep. Darrell Issa of California, who will chair Reform and Oversight, as well as to sit on the Budget Committee.

    Michael Franc, a congressional scholar at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told National Journal that at two separate orientation conferences—one at Harvard University and the other at Heritage—informal surveys of 49 of the 85 incoming GOP freshmen revealed not one who identified Appropriations as his or her No. 1 committee choice. “They all saw it as a foreign entity,” Franc said.

    Jordan says that the leadership is having trouble finding freshmen willing to serve on Appropriations, an unheard-of circumstance that suggests, at least for the time being, that spending and the perks that historically have come with it are radioactive.

    “It’s a testament to what I hope and believe is a culture shift,” said Jordan, who admitted that he steered clear of Appropriations in part to solidify his bid to lead the conservative Republican Study Committee—a hotbed of GOP antagonism toward appropriators.

    MSNBC’s Chuck Todd saw this coming months ago:

    I think the most striking thing about the minority party today is that a Republican can’t go home, and it is mostly because of this Tea Party crowd, can not go home and sell a piece a pork that they got from Washington. It is now … when you bring home something, saying “Hey I brought federal dollars home to this,” you are on the defensive.”

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    28 Responses to Tea Party Already Changing Spending Culture in Washington

    1. Bobbie says:

      "I think the most striking thing about the minority party today is that a Republican can’t go home, and it is mostly because of this Tea Party crowd, can not go home and sell a piece a pork that they got from Washington. It is now … when you bring home something, saying “Hey I brought federal dollars home to this,” you are on the defensive.”

      boy can this person be a little more comprehensive? WE DON'T WANT WASTE! and we don't want government creating the jobs they've taken from us or coming up with waste work that amounts to government excessive costs that generates zero revenue.

    2. LibertyAtStake, Alex says:

      And What did the survey analysis say about Chairman Issa' s Oversight Committee? Any sharp prosecutors in the freshman GOP class?

      "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

    3. joated says:

      I would think someone might want to be on the Appropriations Committee so as to be able to wield the shears necessary to rein in wasteful spending.

    4. Andrew, VA says:

      Great! If enough members refuse, pehaps the committee can go the way of the dodo?

    5. Mike K California says:

      The lefties at the Washington Post comments sections are going nuts about Issa, which is a good sign. He may not have to do much to scare a few whistle blowers out of the agencies.

    6. Sophie NYC says:

      The dilemma for remaining pure is that you let the impure continue to have power in the areas they already control. If none of these austere legislators will volunteer for Appropriation, who will do it instead? The porkers will all congregate there and Appropriations will be worse than before.

    7. LarryD says:

      Do Powerful Politicians Cause Coporate Downsizing:

      Recent research at Harvard Business School began with the premise that as a state's congressional delegation grew in stature and power in Washington, D.C., local businesses would benefit from the increased federal spending sure to come their way.

      It turned out quite the opposite. In fact, professors Lauren Cohen, Joshua Coval, and Christopher Malloy discovered to their surprise that companies experienced lower sales and retrenched by cutting payroll, R&D, and other expenses. Indeed, in the years that followed a congressman's ascendancy to the chairmanship of a powerful committee, the average firm in his state cut back capital expenditures by roughly 15 percent,

      Pork spending isn't even good for the home district. Pork barrelers should be defensive.

    8. Marie, Orange County says:

      I get that Appropriations is seen as toxic, but isn't this the very committee that needs strong Republican leaders to change what and how much we are spending? Seems like it would be a real opportunity to shine for someone strong enough to stand up to the special interests.

    9. Patrick Martin, Bato says:

      What I take from this is that the hard-core fiscal conservatives are unwilling to actually participate in the appropriations process, which will require very difficult choices regarding which spending cuts to actually make. They want to stand outside and take credit for the overall cuts, without any responsibility for the specific decisions being made during the process.

      Rather than patting them on the back, I say shame on them. If they think that appropriations is part of the problem (and I agree that it is), then they have a moral obligation to serve on the appropriations committee to fight in favor of their principles.

      There's no rule that says that if you're a member of the appropriations committee you HAVE to favor pork and accept favors from lobbyists. All these guys are doing with their refusal to serve is leaving the foxes guarding the hen house. Shame on them, I say.

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    11. Dennis Howell, Archb says:

      One of the first targets (along with the Health Scare program) for the new House should be the earmarks known as subsidies. Windmills, solar, ethanol, all farm subsidies – down the circular file. If it can't stand on its own, it ain't ready for prime time. Gubmint should get out of picking winners and losers.

    12. Twisted Sister says:

      Republicans MUST:

      - repeal Obamacare

      - enact massive tax cuts

      - enact massive spending cuts

      - send troops/wall/drones/cameras to the Mexican border

      - defund PBS, FCC

    13. stephen WV says:

      The "old Republican Party" (since the 60's) joined the Democrats in growing government thus growing their personal power, (the #2 item on all their personal agendas) and over spending, including pork for campaign contributions and votes for reelection, (the #1 item on all their personal agendas).

      The Tea Party is demanding a new Republican Party that actually abandons their old agenda for the People's agenda (advocated by our Founding Fathers), actually doing what was best for the People and the Nation. This includes the agenda of the "really Old Republican Party" of pre 1960, of a smaller government, less taxes, a balanced budget and actually enforcing the Laws of the United States. (Like the immigration laws. Hello?)

      We have moved to the far left near "all government control" (with tyranny on the left and and anarchy on the right). The Tea Party wants the Nation to move back to the middle where the Founding Fathers established the Constitution. Not too much government. Not too little government. The middle with the Constitution is what is best for the People and the Nation.

    14. dave in dallas says:

      Rather than "Federal Dollars", there ought to be some new appellative.. perhaps an acronym.. "Hard Earned Money Taken from People Working their Butts Off Just to Get By" or something like that. "Money from suckers in the other 49 states".

      There is no such thing as a federal dollar. Washington makes NO money. To spend, it must first take. THEN it must skim off whatever it costs for its own expenses. THEN it spends, but only after passing through the filter of who gets the money for what backroom political reason.

      I would rather see money stay in people's pockets and be spent by them in the random, self-directed way of free markets and free people. At least the dollar stays a dollar, instead of turning into a politically directed 33 cents after Washington gets through with it.

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    16. richard40 says:

      I like the change in culture. Although I do wish some of these fiscally conservative freshmen would go to appropriations, if only to have some people on the committee that really want to appropriate less, and also oppose any earmarks.

    17. Joan Varga, SC says:

      Yes, the evil little toads in Appropriations would love nothing more than to rope the new calfs and brand them before they know what's happening; pull them into the cadre and flatter them or flat-out bedazzle them with money and power. A hazing of the will and fortitude of the newbies, if they can manage it, will keep the old toads in power.

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    20. Bill Voorhees, Estac says:

      Hooray for Chaffetz and Jordan and all their like minded first termers. It is encouraging to see new members of Congress turning away from the enticements of the establishment. They know their future depends on keeping the promises they made during the election.

      Let's hope the rest of the freshman class hold to the line and those that accept the plush appointments remember who sent them there as employees of the electorate, and act accordingly.

    21. Wild Bill, Central O says:

      Not exactly a freshman, but our 2nd term Congressman, Steve Austria (R-OH, 7th district) has accepted an appointment to this committee. He's a good conservative and should be a big asset to the committee.

    22. Evan, Anchorage says:

      Earmarks always favor the incumbent on election day. Banning earmarks is a great step towards ending the "senator for life" routine.

    23. Tim AZ says:

      I think the freshman are smarter than the old toads, who's intentions are to corrupt the freshman with power and money through the appropriations committee allowing the old toads to escape responsibility for more spending in the next election cycle. The freshman may just be branding the old toads so the American citizenry knows exactly who needs to be culled in the next election cycle. Seems the freshman are forcing the old toads to show themselves for who they really are. Spending cuts will happen during the final vote on any given bill in congress not during the larding of the bill.

    24. Jeffrey Hallford, Fr says:

      If you've been running a business in the last 2 years, you've more than likely been making painful decisions in reducing costs, streamlining processes, and cutting back your workforce to accomodate the declining demand for your product or service. We've already been in pain. What I want to see is that pain for congress, so that they'll realize that their actions have real economic consequences for us, and for them. Our leaders have been so insulated from this pain that it inhibits the learning process by learning from mistakes. Who ever learns from mistakes when there's never a consequence?

    25. Henry In Texas says:

      When My President was running for office he promised us he would veto every bill that had one ounce of pork or a single earmark. Now is the time to hold him to that promise. If we are serious about cutting spending we absolutely have to eliminate the pork and the earmarks from the budget process. .

    26. Ray Boylan, Richmond says:

      My wife and I belong a number of survey groups. One of them asked the question: What was your best memory of 2010? As I am a Tea Party member, my immediate response was "Nov. 2nd." Sure looking forward to the new year starting tomorrow! Ray…

    27. Angeline,Richland Co says:

      - I agree with Jim Jordan on thoughts about the Appropriations Committee

      - I am so thankful that the Tea Party new people in Congress seem to be taking a strong stand, so we can take our country back

      - I am afraid John Boehner may be weak and give in to the liberals. He needs to be strong and take leadership seriously, and not be fooled by news anchors who want to interview him and get him off track. Maybe he should not do interviews with the Liberal Press.

      - We need more conservatives in the House and Senate.

      - Repeal Obamacare, stop spending, give more tax cuts so business can provide jobs,send troops or whatever is need to the Mexican border to stop illegals, defund PBS, FCC

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