Earlier today, Congressman Matt Salmon wrote an op-ed in the Washington Times echoing Erick’s call for conservatives to vote against the rule on bad legislation brought to the floor by leadership. The underlying rationale is as follows: if leadership is bent on bringing legislation to the floor that needs Democrat votes to pass, the only way to fight back is by voting against the rule to consider the bill. The minority party usually votes against the rule for a bill backed by the majority. This will enable conservatives to block such legislation and preempt GOP leaders from passing bills opposed by the majority of Republicans.
Congressman David Schweikert is now circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter requesting fellow members to sign onto the framework laid out by his fellow Arizona representative, Matt Salmon. He is calling upon fellow Republicans to commit to voting against any rule that provides consideration of a bill that A) adds new spending without fully offsetting the cost or B) is opposed by the majority of the House Republican Conference (the Hastert Rule).
I would just add that conservatives must make sure that all new spending is offset within the time period it is appropriated. A one year extension of doc fix and long-term UI benefits should no be offset over 10 years.
Republican leaders have already violated the “Hastert Rule” several times this year – with passage of the Obama/McConnell tax hike/stimulus bill, Hurricane Sandy pork bill, and the Violence Against Women Act. With the threat of amnesty, gun control, a farm bill, and debt ceiling vote, this has got to stop. A committed group of conservatives can stop it by pledging to take down the rule. Find out if your Republican member supports this initiative.
There’s another important reason to vote against the rule. There are a number of members from conservative districts who have no desire to fight for limited government. Nonetheless, they know that they must vote against certain bills in order to hold their seats. Once the rule on a bill passes, and leadership knows that they have most or every Democrat vote on final passage, they hand out hall passes to these Republicans so they can “vote their district.” The end result is that the bad bill passes, but they get no blame. The new Salmon/Schweikert rule will force them to get off the fence.
For my part, when I help interview and recruit candidates at The Madison Project PAC, I will make sure all our candidates support the new Salmon/Schweikert rule. The time for equivocating is over. We must take back control of the House.
Here is a text of the letter:
March 11, 2013
In Monday’s Washington Times, my Arizona colleague, Congressman Matt Salmon, announced that going forward he will vote against the rule for bills that violate PAYGO by increasing spending without offsetting spending cuts.
Congressman Salmon also indicated that he will vote against the rule for bills which violate the so-called “Hastert Rule” that requires support of a majority of the Republican Conference.
I have never voted against a rule and I hope I never have to. However, the criteria laid out by Matt Salmon represent a benchmark of how I would make my decision were I to vote against a rule.
For the sake of the future of our Conference, and I would argue by extension, the Republican Party, we need to be steadfast in our commitment to stopping bad bills that grow government and saddle future generations with an unsustainable debt.
Right now, House Republicans are united against President Obama’s scare tactics on sequestration, the debt limit, and taxes. We can continue this trend only if we honor the Hastert Rule and bring bills to the floor that enjoy majority support within our Conference.
Similarly, we must commit to fiscal sanity by requiring that pay as-you-go rules are enforced and actually reduce government spending.
Speaker Boehner has insisted on dollar-for-dollar cuts along with any increase to the debt ceiling. With President Obama’s recent realization that he must reach out to the House Republican Conference, we need to stand firm on this principle. Our $16 trillion debt and a deficit that approaches a trillion dollars annually require Republicans in the House to use every tool at our disposal to push for fiscally responsible policies. The future of our country relies on it.
Member of Congress