Heritage Action Week in Review 2-17-12

Transportation and the payroll tax cut extension gained widespread press coverage this week. On Monday, we released a statement supporting the idea of extending the payroll tax cut without paying for it because, well, allowing people to keep more of their own money does not cost the government. On Tuesday, our CEO Michael A. Needham penned an op-ed for The Daily Caller about the extension:

“Yesterday, House Republican leaders wisely decided it was time to turn the tables. Instead of allowing an extension of the payroll tax cut to languish in a conference committee infested with obstinate Democrats who are demanding job-destroying tax hikes as a ‘pay for,’ they decided to bring forward a clean extension that will run for the remainder of the year.”

In addition to The Daily Caller, our payroll position was picked up across the country:

The Hill: But Boehner got political cover on his right flank on Monday, as the conservative group Heritage Action applauded the stand-alone payroll tax proposal and argued it would “deny obstinate Senate Democrats the ability to play partisan games.” Heritage has opposed several leadership bills over the last year, helping to siphon off conservative votes.

Roll Call: Still, Republican aides said, the Conference will probably back the plan. Giving GOP lawmakers cover, Heritage Action for America released a statement Monday stating that “it is past time to move beyond this issue” and that this move would “deny obstinate Senate Democrats the ability to play partisan games.”

CQ (sub. req’d): Congressman Heyworth: Well, I think they deserve to have our respect, and they, of course, are prominent voices as we go forward. It’s my understanding that Heritage Action has endorsed that alternative approach with extension of that payroll tax holiday for another 10 months…

The Bellingham Herald: In dealing with the GOP rank-and-file, at least, Republican leaders got some help Monday from Heritage Action, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation, which appeared to provide cover to conservative lawmakers as they return to Washington this week to be briefed on the issue.

And MSNBC’s Luke Russert mentioned us on News Nation with Tamron Hall:

We also received a lot of press for our continued opposition to the current transportation bill:

The Hill: Heritage Action, the political arm for the conservative Heritage Foundation, pointed out that the original proposal from Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) limited spending to the $40 billion brought in each year by the federal gas tax.

The Hill: Right-leaning groups such as Heritage Action and the Club for Growth oppose the bill. And it’s not an easy “yes” vote for Republicans facing contested primaries.

Politico: KEYING UP THE HOUSE BILL: Heritage Action for America told members to vote no on the House bill, just days after the Club for Growth did the same. The group issued a key vote alert late Monday and said, “Passing this bill as the first major piece of legislation in 2012 sends the absolute wrong message about the spending priorities of House Republicans.”

Politico: STUCK BETWEEN A HERITAGE AND A HARD PLACE — A floor vote on the bill will force GOP rank and file to choose between their leadership and conservative Heritage Action for America. The group is opposing the bill on spending grounds and issued a release Monday saying a “yes” vote would hurt House members’ scores on the group’s conservative ranking scale.

Politico: The Club for Growth has called on lawmakers to oppose the measure. A spokesman for Heritage Action for America says splitting up the bill doesn’t change the group’s opposition.

ABC: The Club for Growth, a free-market, anti-tax group influential with fiscal conservatives, and the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation have objected to both the House and the Senate bills.

L.A. Times: Heritage Action for America, a conservative group, has expressed concern about the bill’s level of spending. It also said the bill “seeks to find additional sources of revenue, most of which have no relationship to road usage, thus breaking the user pays principle.”

RedState: There is a reason the Heritage Action for America, Club for Growth, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and other conservative organizations are opposed to this spending spree. It is not conservative. It should not be Republican. It is Barack Obama style spending.

Huffington Post: To make sure Republicans don’t slip, Heritage Action has made voting for the transportation segment of the bill a punishable offense on its scorecard, which grades members of Congress on their conservatism.

NRDC Switchboard: For example, Heritage Action has written and alerted conservative activists about it repeatedly, as has the Center for American Progress. Both the Club for Growth and the League of Conservation Voters are threatening to score the vote as part of their influential Congressional report cards.

Torque News: Yesterday the Transportation Bill was seen as a disaster, with some Conservatives claiming it’s an unaffordable boondoggle, with Democratic Party lawmakers in complete opposition to the bill, it appeared doomed to defeat. Both the Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America oppose the bill. In a desperation move the House Rules Committee additionally split the bill into three parts, so that each part can be debated and voted on separately.

Dēmos: Last week, the House GOP introduced their version of a transportation bill and it seems they managed to appall everyone with how bad it was, including their own base. The conservative Club for Growth urged members to vote no on the bill, as did Heritage Action for America.

In addition to these issues, our scorecard continues to be used in the race for Illinois’ 16th Congressional District, with a mention in the Chicago Sun-Times.

And a blog by our Director of Senate Relations, Tripp Baird, was picked up by RedState:

“As Tripp Baird of Heritage Action notes, Kyl’s negotiation with Obama regarding weapons modernization helped secure the support of Republicans like Lamar Alexander.  While Kyl personally voted against ratification of START, 13 Republicans supported it, granting Obama more than enough votes to ratify the treaty.”

Knowing that we’re helping to influence the political conversation as well as the continued use of our scorecard as the measure of conservatism is a huge win, and it’s all thanks to supporters like you who work to hold Congress accountable.

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