Thursday, March 7, 2013

For GOP, a Clean Bill of Stealth

Tony Perkins

Family Research Council

The snowquester was a good backdrop to yet another snow job on conservatives. For the last month, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has warned conservative groups that to successfully negotiate the government's short-term funding measure (or continuing resolution) with Senate Democrats, the House would have to forgo any additional attachments. According to House leadership, both sides had agreed to a "clean" CR, meaning no controversial add-ons or amendments would be considered before the March 27 deadline.

As usual, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) couldn't help himself and hinted that his chamber would be expanding the scope of the bill beyond the original conditions. Now multiple news reports are saying that Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) has been cobbling together a much bigger package that loads down the bill with more spending than the House's version. And although GOP leaders knew that heading into yesterday's vote--they still refused to broaden their own bill with critical attachments like conscience.

To conservatives, who had begrudgingly gone along with the Speaker's plan to block amendments, the decision was galling. While governing by CR is far from responsible leadership, it has been--for the last two years--the means by which key provisions have been sent from the House to the Senate and on to the President. No issue should be a higher priority than protecting our First Freedom, which is being directly assaulted by the ObamaCare mandate. The refusal to unlock the CR to a broader debate violated a core promise that the amendment process would be more open under the GOP. Plenty of members had measures that merited consideration--from enacting conscience rights to defunding ObamaCare and even blocking the President from playing taxpayer-funded golf. They all deserved an up-or-down vote--and it's shocking to many that their own party wouldn't give them one!

At least 14 Republicans were angry enough that they voted against the entire resolution, including Congressmen Amash, Bridenstine, Broun, DeSantis, DesJarlais, Duncan, Gingrey, Gohmert, Kingston, Massie, McClintock, Posey, Salmon, and Stockman. Let them know you appreciate their stand for the real priorities of the conservative base! Not only will that encourage these frustrated leaders, but it will also help bolster Senate Republicans like Ted Cruz, who are vowing to fill the leadership void on the CR and fight for the base's agenda.