Thursday, August 29, 2013

House Conservatives Turn on Heritage Foundation

Tim Alberta at the The National Journal has a great rundown on the fiasco created this summer by Heritage Action ending with House Conservatives turning on them.

This article offers some great insight into the dysfunctional House and is well worth your time.
In June, as the House prepared to vote on an extension of the farm bill—an enormous legislative package that governs everything from crop subsidies to food-stamp policy—conservative lawmakers and outside groups rallied in opposition. Heritage Action, the lobbying arm of the right-wing think tank, called for the bill to be split into two pieces—one dealing specifically with agriculture policy (called a "farm-only bill") and another legislating the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the food-stamp program known as SNAP.

Members of the RSC agreed. In fact, Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana sponsored an amendment that would accomplish exactly what Heritage Action and other outside groups were advocating: splitting the farm bill. Stutzman's amendment failed, however, and Heritage Action issued a key vote alert warning lawmakers to vote "no" on the farm bill. (If they voted "yes," members faced consequences, anything from a demerit on their Heritage Action "scorecard" to a 30-second radio ad launched back in their districts.)
The result was that the Farm Bill failed and Boehner capitulated to Heritage Action and their conservative backers and split the bill exactly has they had demanded. 3 weeks later the farm only bill came to the floor and passed by a narrow margin.
The new farm bill had passed over the objections of Heritage Action, which, to the astonishment of some RSC members, had issued another alert, telling conservatives to vote against the split bill—despite having spent years agitating for exactly that. In its warning, Heritage Action said the revised legislation "would make permanent farm policies—like the sugar program—that harm consumers and taxpayers alike."

To some conservative members, this was Heritage Action moving the goalposts, plain and simple. And they were furious about it....That's when Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., decided to do something about it. An ambitious conservative elected in the tea-party wave of 2010, Mulvaney was perfectly positioned to spearhead an offensive aimed at undermining the influence of these outside groups. At the beginning of the 113th Congress, Heritage Action named Mulvaney one of its "sentinels" for his ultraconservative voting record, which had earned him a 95 percent rating on the organization's scorecard for the 112th Congress.
There's much more. It really is a fascinating read on the inner-workings of the most dysfunctional House in 150 years.

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