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Key Vote

Key Vote YES on Motion to Reduce Spending in the Transportation Bill

Dear FreedomWorks member,

As one of our million-plus FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to contact your representative and urge him or her to vote YES on a procedural motion offered by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA). The motion would instruct conferees committee members to insist on capping spending for the new federal highway bill at $37.5 billion. This would cut transportation spending by approximately one-third to roughly equal the amount of money brought in by the federal gas tax. This motion would ensure that we live within our means and no longer use general funds for transportation programs.

The current level of spending in the transportation bill is outrageously high. Spending on highway and transit programs continue to outpace revenue coming into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). It is inexcusable that taxpayers have been forced to bailout the HTF multiple times since 2009. By making funding levels consistent with the amount of revenue being collected, this will prevent future taxpayer funded bailouts of the HTF.

We cannot afford to spend money that we do not have. Limiting spending to revenue is a common sense proposal that will cut wasteful spending and protect taxpayers. This motion would help restore fiscal sanity by cutting out billions of dollars out of the bloated Transportation Bill.

I urge you to call your representatives and ask them to vote YES on the procedural motion offered by Rep. Paul Broun to limit spending in the Transportation Bill. We will count their vote as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2012. The Economic Freedom Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.


Matt Kibbe
President and CEO
[Click here for a PDF version of this key vote notice.] 
Frank Livingston

It is hard to believe we must ask our national government to move closer to the Constitution Article 1, Section 8, and Clauses 1-18 which limits our national governments’ involvement in our lives and their spending of our tax dollars. Right now we have a national debt of $15.764 Trillion which is mostly unconstitutional because our politicians for over 100-years now have decided to move us towards socialism and Marxism and our voters have not stopped them. How soon our politicians forget the Constitution in which they swore to uphold. How did we move away from the Constitution?
I would like to bring your attention to an article by Dr. Walter Williams, a John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and syndicated columnist and author. Please read Dr. Williams January 12, 2011 article titled, What Our Constitution Permits. This is a quote from his article:

Here's the House of Representatives new rule: "A bill or joint resolution may not be introduced unless the sponsor has submitted for printing in the Congressional Record a statement citing as specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the bill or joint resolution." Unless a congressional bill or resolution meets this requirement, it cannot be introduced.

If the House of Representatives had the courage to follow through on this rule, their ability to spend and confer legislative favors would be virtually eliminated. Also, if the rule were to be applied to existing law, they'd wind up repealing at least two-thirds to three-quarters of congressional spending.

You might think, for example, that there's constitutional authority for Congress to spend for highway construction and bridges. President James Madison on March 3, 1817 vetoed a public works bill saying: "Having considered the bill this day presented to me entitled 'An act to set apart and pledge certain funds for internal improvements,' and which sets apart and pledges funds 'for constructing roads and canals, and improving the navigation of water courses, in order to facilitate, promote, and give security to internal commerce among the several States, and to render more easy and less expensive the means and provisions for the common defense,' I am constrained by the insuperable difficulty I feel in reconciling the bill with the Constitution of the United States and to return it with that objection to the House of Representatives, in which it originated."

Madison, who is sometimes referred to as the father of our Constitution, added to his veto statement, "The legislative powers vested in Congress are specified and enumerated in the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, and it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised by the bill is among the enumerated powers."

Here's my question to any member of the House who might vote for funds for "constructing roads and canals, and improving the navigation of water courses": Was Madison just plain constitutionally ignorant or has the Constitution been amended to permit such spending?
What happened America?