Club for Growth – Leftover Turkey, Lame Duck

Whether we’re still indulging in a turkey-gravy-pie induced semi-coma, or alert in a feral hunt for holiday shopping deals, five words can still terrify any Club for Growth member back to reality: “Congress is back in session.”

Sure, in a few weeks, the House of Representatives will be run by the GOP again. But for now, it’s still the House that Nancy Built. On the agenda for the lame duck session: tax cuts, earmarks, completing the budget, and organizing for the upcoming 112th Congress.

So as John Boehner measures for the drapes in the Speaker’s office, and as pork-barrel spenders scramble to lard up the last bills they can for a while, here is your Club for Growth Washington update:

1. “Bush Tax Cuts” vs. “Obama Tax Hikes”

President Obama and congressional Republicans met this week to discuss the agenda for the new Congress. But overshadowing any talk of new business is the giant elephant in the room: the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts on January 1st.

The president, apparently unaware of last month’s elections, has not agreed to extend the tax rates for high-income Americans. Republicans, on the other hand, are insisting on extending the tax cuts for everyone.

So far, Republican leaders deserve credit for resisting their instinctive urge to compromise, recognizing that they hold the political high ground here. Senate Republicans have even promised to filibuster any piece of additional legislation until taxes are dealt with.

Such grit is usually temporary and selective. But with the clock ticking down on the Democrats’ leverage in the House, a pro-growth victory is still very much possible.

2. Senate Republicans Back[track on] Earmark Ban

Only a matter of days after Senate Republican Mitch McConnell backed Sens. Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn’s earmark moratorium, the full Senate rejected making the idea a permanent rule of the Senate.

The ban went down 39-56, with eight Senate Republicans voting against the ban: Sens. James Inhofe (OK), Bob Bennett (UT), Susan Collins (ME) Thad Cochran (MS), Richard Shelby (AL), Lisa Murkowsi (AK), George Voinovich (OH) and Dick Lugar (IN). Seven Democrats supported the ban. They were Sens. Evan Bayh (IN), Mike Bennet (CO), Russ Feingold (WI), Claire McCaskill (MO), Bill Nelson (FL), Mark Udall (CO), and Mark Warner (VA).

3. Deficit Commission

This week, the bipartisan deficit reduction commission released its final report, calling for a hodge podge of tax increases, spending cuts, and some changes to entitlement programs.

The commission’s proposal is not nearly as bad as we once feared – no value added tax, thank goodness – but it is not a pro-growth recommendation, either. Trying to get a handle on the yawning deficit is crucial, but the most important ingredient of any true fiscal reform is robust economic growth. That means lower tax rates, especially on job-creators. It means comprehensive regulatory reform, a rejection of ObamaCare and other big government schemes, and an overdue bipartisan embrace of the free market.

The final vote on the commission’s report is due today, but due to anti-spending-cuts Democrats and anti-tax-hike Republicans, it is unlikely there will be the necessary 14 votes supporting it to trigger congressional attention.

One thread running through all of these stories has been the public and less-than-public work of the Club for Growth, reminding relevant members of Congress that the path to economic renewal and political success is lower tax rates, spending restraint, and limited government. In the House, Senate, and on the deficit commission, our work is being rewarded with stronger and clearer economic conservatism from congressional leaders than we have seen in years.

The fight for economic freedom doesn’t end on Election Day, and it cannot be won without you. Your contributions to the Club make that fight – and winning it – possible.

Please consider making a donation today.

Thank you, again, as always.

Best regards,
Chris

________________________________________
Chris Chocola
President, Club for Growth
2001 L Street, NW, Ste 600
Washington, DC 20036
PH: 202-955-5500

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