Archive for October 8th, 2009

Analysis — Jerry Moran votes for $400 million slush fund for tourism industry, ignoring Club for Growth and Sen. Jim DeMint

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

US Senate 2010 — Congressman Moran votes for massive pork legislation; Congressman Tiahrt one of only 66 votes against amendment

A recent vote in the US House raises questions about First District Congressman Jerry Moran’s claim that he is more more fiscally conservative than his opponent in the 2010 Republican primary for the US Senate, Fourth District Congressman Todd Tiahrt.

Yesterday, the House voted on an amendment that proponents called the “Travel Promotion Act of 2009.”  But the Club for Growth called it “a $400 million slush fund controlled by the tourism industry.”  South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint wrote a Washington Post op-ed where he called the legislation “Fannie Travel” and “a $400 million corporate welfare boondoggle.”

The final vote results show that Jerry Moran voted for this travel industry bailout, while Todd Tiahrt was one of only 66 votes (all Republicans) against it.  For reasons unknown, Sen. DeMint endorsed Moran over Tiahrt for the Kansas Senate race.

This is what Club for Growth wrote in yesterday’s “Key Vote Alert”:

KEY VOTE ALERT
“NO” ON TRAVEL PROMOTION ACT OF 2009 (HR 2935, S 1023)

The proposal would set up a new $400 million slush fund called the “Travel Promotion Fund” that would be run by the tourism industry itself to promote tourism. This inefficient allocation of money would prevent tourists from spending that same money on shopping, food, and other expenses. This fund would also put into place yet another private-public spending program that can be expanded and abused using tax dollars, much like what happened with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Furthermore, foreign governments will likely retaliate with similar protectionist taxes on American tourists, making this even more senseless. A far better alternative would be to cut corporate taxes so that the tourism industry has additional resources to promote their own services.

The Club for Growth urges all members of Congress to vote “NO” on the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (HR 2935/S 1023). The bill is expected to be considered as early as this week in both chambers. This vote will be included in the Club for Growth’s 2009 Congressional Scorecard.

This bill would “promote leisure, business, and scholarly” travel to the United States by taxing these same travelers.

In August 2009, the Club for Growth released its “2009 House RePORK Card,” which measured the votes of all 435 House members on 68 amendments.  Moran touted his 96% rating from Club for Growth, earned by voting for 65 of the 68 amendments.  Tiahrt scored a 29%, voting for 20 of the 68 amendments.

But Moran’s 96% rating in 2009 cannot be viewed by Kansas voters as reliable evidence of his future voting record as a Senator.  In the previous rating by Club for Growth in the group’s 2007 RePORK Card, Congressman Moran scored only a 4% by voting for just 2 of the 50 amendments looked at by Club for Growth.  Tiahrt voted for none of the amendments that year and scored a 0%.

A separate measurement by Club for Growth is through the group’s annual “scorecards,” which both score Congressmen on a scale of 1 to 100 (with 100 being the best) and also rank Congressmen from 1 to 435 (with number 1 being the best, 435 the worst).  In 2008, Club for Growth scored Moran at 76/100 and Tiahrt at 74/100.  In 2007, Moran only scored a 45/100 and Tiahrt earned an 80/100.