By Tony Perkins, Family Research Council
Following the rules may not matter to the President’s party–but writing them certainly does. Why? Because, as Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) explains, that’s where the real legislating is done. “If you let me write the procedure and I let you write the substance,” said Democratic Congressman John Dingell (D-Mich.), “I’ll [beat] you every time.” Congressman Salmon harkened back to that quote in a bold new op-ed for the Washington Times, where he challenges the conservatives to rise up and “dare to be fiscally responsible.”
Salmon, who returned to Congress this year after serving three terms in the mid-90s, says he was driven back to Washington by America’s shocking financial situation. A situation, he points out, that is more dysfunctional than ever. Back in the day, Rep. Salmon explains, conservatives were willing to challenge the GOP leadership when they got “off track.” The strategy was simple. “One tactic we used was to vote against House rules on specific bills that did not uphold conservative principles.”
Essentially, the rules–like the one governing whether members could add amendments to the government’s short-term funding bill–decide how long the bill’s debate is and how many attachments will be allowed. For reasons unknown to most voters, members will support a rule to a bad bill and then vote against the actual legislation. Congressman Salmon wants to know why “a self-described fiscal conservative would enable the passage of the bad bill by supporting the rule?”
From now on, he writes, “I will vote against the rule for bills that increase spending without offsetting spending cuts and encourage my other conservative colleagues to do the same. Similarly, if House leadership brings any more bills to the floor without first securing the support from the majority of the GOP conference, I will take the same action. If enough of my conservative colleagues in the House join me, we can unilaterally put an end to the growth of government…”
Republicans need to start a revolution, Salmon says–and we agree. This is one of the most conservative Houses of Congress ever–but its power is being squandered by GOP leaders who are unwilling to take the necessary risks to limit government and save America. More members need to rise up–as Rep. Salmon and 15 others did in the CR debate–and challenge a GOP leadership that is more focused on preserving the majority than using it to get America back on track. Voters have had enough of Republicans babysitting the nation’s decline. It’s time to move from a party who’s scared to a party who dared.