Open Letter: No More Short-Term CRs

Mar 13, 2011

There is a growing conservative rebellion against additional short-term funding measures. Today, Heritage Action's CEO Michael Needham sent a letter to Congress outlining our opposition. The text of the letter is below:

March 14, 2011

Dear Congressman,

As you know, last week Heritage Action for America announced - in conjunction with our allies at FRC Action and Club for Growth - we would be key voting against a new short-term continuing resolution. We believe there are substantial policy concerns with an additional short-term CR. This letter aims to explain those concerns.

A three-week CR would expire on April 8, 2011, just as the House of Representatives is passing the FY2012 budget out of committee and sending it to the floor. This has always been Senator Reid's endgame strategy: continually pushing short-term CRs to move this fight back far enough that it starts to overlap with conservative attempts to use the FY2012 budget debate and debt-ceiling debate as opportunities to get our nation's fiscal house in order.

Senator Reid's strategy is intended to blur the lines, confuse the public and substantially weaken conservatives' negotiating hand on both the FY2012 budget and the debt-limit increase. Therefore, we believe conservatives must prevent him from executing this strategy if we are start moving our country back towards fiscal responsibility.

Liberal Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein recently summarized the Democrats' key challenge: "Democrats need to bring them [the FY2011, the debt-limit, and the FY2012 debates] together, which is part of why they're trying to slide the 2011 spending bill into a larger deficit-reduction conversation that can also include a rise in the debt limit. At the moment, this - and not specific spending bills - is the key fight in deciding what the next year's fiscal policy will look like."

If conservatives want to win the fiscal policy debate, we must keep all of these debates separate. To do that, we must stop Sen. Reid's short-term CR strategy.

The strategy of short-term CRs also makes it less likely we will ultimately see all $61 billion in cuts that are a necessary trust-building measure between Washington and the American people. Each short-term CR increases the ability of those who want to preserve the status quo of out-of-control Washington spending to claim they have cut spending and demagogue conservative attempts to achieve the full $61 billion. Why do we want to cede to our opponents the opportunity to choose the timing of the debate on how much to ultimately cut from the FY2011 budget?

Furthermore, a strategy of short-term CRs is terrible defense policy. It is irresponsible to fund defense two or three weeks at a time. When schedules slip, costs grow. When costs grow, the overall buy is cut. This destructive cycle costs more in the long run. Congress continually attacks defense spending, but by passing more short-term CRs Congress can only point the finger at itself in this insistence. Ending the Democrats' short-term CR strategy is good defense policy.

Finally, as you well know, the short-term CR strategy puts at risk all of the important policy riders that conservatives have fought for in recent months. Every short-term CR that passes funds Obamacare, funds Planned Parenthood, and funds the EPA's global warming regulations. This is a further vital reason for refusing to do any further CRs.

It has been inspiring to watch the House of Representatives and minority in the Senate take bold steps to repeal Obamacare and cut federal spending. Everyone who has joined in this fight deserves praise and the gratitude of our nation. However, these early victories have only been small battles in the longer war to get our nation back on track. We cannot lose our resolve to fight and win this war.


Michael A. Needham
Chief Executive Officer

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