The American Conservative Union, one of the oldest conservative organizations in the country, is pushing a new program, American Strength, to defend federal spending on defense and infrastructure. A draft proposal of the program was recently circulated among executives in the defense and transportation sectors, according to The New York Times. In the document, ACU argues that defense and infrastructure are core constitutional functions and, as such, should be treated differently than other government spending.
The American Road and Transportation Builders Association has taken a lead role in urging transportation and defense lobbyists and executives to support ACU’s new program.
“As you know, in recent times, we have often had trouble convincing our conservative friends that transportation infrastructure is a valuable investment and should not be subject to the spending cuts being discussed,” wrote Richard Juliano, the association’s senior vice president for strategic initiatives, in an e-mail to colleagues this month. “We would appreciate your considering a major contribution to this program in support of the A.C.U. effort and encouraging others to do so.”
ACU’s American Strength program would tap the organization’s network of grass-roots activists and allied organizations to promote defense and infrastructure spending. It also offers to use its landmark conference, CPAC, to educate conservatives on the importance of federal spending in these two areas.
In addition, the proposal envisions adding votes on defense and transportation to ACU’s legislative “scorecard.” ACU’s scorecard is a key rating for lawmakers, used by voters to evaluate how closely a lawmaker adheres to conservative principles.
Theoretically, if ACU does incorporate its position into its vote rankings, a lawmaker who votes for across-the-board spending cuts could be judged as less conservative than one who votes against the cuts.