Accountability: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Broken and false promises are routine in Washington.  In fact, it is hard to find examples where those that govern actually stick to their promises.  However, after nearly a month in office, House Republicans continue to find ways to make good on their promise to cut spending.  The latest effort will be on a bill to eliminate taxpayer financing of presidential election campaigns and party conventions.

A long time staple of the political apparatus, this little known budget item was originally created in 1971 and now accounts for nearly $42 million a year.  Most taxpayers assume that this money is to help those candidates without a lot of support, but it is not.  In 2008 alone, each major party received $16.3 million in taxpayer funds for their party conventions.

The legislation is an outgrowth of the popular You Cut program that then Minority Leader Cantor kicked off in 2010.  Under You Cut, three government programs were submitted weekly for public review and the one that received the most votes was brought to the floor for consideration.  However, when they were in the minority, the options for actually getting such legislation to the floor were quite limited.  Now that the Republicans can control the floor time, we expect to see many of the big winners from the You Cut sweepstakes making their way into legislation and up for a real up or down vote.

This bill being voted on today would save the taxpayers up to $520 million over 10 years, get Presidential candidates and political parties off the public dole, and make them go find the money for their own campaigns.  It’s good to see promises continuing to be kept.

Danielle Doane is the director of government relations at Heritage Action for America.

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