When House Republicans penned their Pledge to America in 2010, they convinced American voters they would advance a conservative agenda if they regained control of the House that year. Four years later, what promises have they actually delivered?
ObamaCare is still intact, our national debt has grown by $3 trillion, and Republicans have capitulated to Democrats on every issue from the debt ceiling to the budget. Republican leaders in both the House and the Senate have failed conservatives and have failed to keep their Pledge to America.
Let’s examine how the GOP pledge has fallen flat.
Repeal the Costly Health Care Takeover of 2010 – Despite countless meaningless votes to repeal ObamaCare, Republican leaders had an actual chance to undo the disastrous healthcare law in 2013 by refusing to fund ObamaCare. Instead of putting their words into action, GOP Leaders in the House and Senate caved to Democrats, refused to fight, and allowed funding for ObamaCare to pass.
Rein in the Red Tape Factory; Rein in Government Waste and Duplication – In 2013, a Congressional Research Service report showed the number of federal rules actually increased the year after the House GOP made their Pledge to America. In 2012, $23.5 billion in new regulatory costs were caused by 25 new rulemakings. I’d call that the opposite of reining in red tape and weeding out waste.
Act Immediately to Reduce Spending; Make it Easier to Cut Spending; Cut Congress’ Budget; Cut Government Spending to Pre-Stimulus, Pre-Bailout Levels – Republican leaders can play all the games they want with spending cuts, like voting for cuts they know will never be enacted, but they can’t argue they kept these promises when our national debt skyrocketed from $14 trillion in January 2011 when the GOP regained the House to over $17 trillion now.
Reform the Budget Process – When both chambers of Congress haven’t agreed on a budget since before the iPad existed (as pointed out by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy himself) and our government has been operating off of continuing resolutions, the only reform that’s happening is for the worst. Even the newest budget from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is an utter disaster – increasing spending and caving on critical issues. Republicans even failed to publish the bad budget deal online at least three days before voting on it despite their pledge to do so.
The list of broken pledges goes on and on.
There was the promise to give small business a tax deduction, which the House passed but Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell killed in a fiscal cliff deal with Democrats.
Despite voting to repeal ObamaCare and the employer mandate 50 times, the GOP never put any serious weight behind their promise to “repeal job-killing small business mandates.”
Republicans have failed to limit legislation to single issues, failed to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and have repeatedly caved to Democrats on raising the debt ceiling.
Their pledge to “end TARP once and for all” was a moot point, as PolitiFact points out since all of the money that could have been loaned under the program was already gone by the time the House acted on repealing it.
And despite pledging to “permanently prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion,” they did not stop federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
While the Pledge to America may have originated in the House, its broken promises are indicative of the broader culture of lies and deception in Washington and the failure by both the House and Senate GOP leadership to keep the very promises that got them elected.
In 2010, the GOP also picked up six seats from Democrats in the Senate. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell described the Republican Senate victories as Americans having “buyers’ remorse” over the state of affairs in Washington. Fast forward four years and it appears Senator McConnell was foreshadowing the remorse Americans would have for him.
McConnell once promised to repeal ObamaCare, rein in government, and stand up to Obama’s assault on our economy. Now the only thing he’s promising to do is “crush” conservative grassroots. We should have known all along he would sell out when it came time to fight.
This cycle of saying one thing to voters at home and then doing the opposite in Washington must end. Republican leaders in both chambers of Congress are failing us.
Here’s a pledge Americans can count on – we can have the leaders we deserve in Congress. We just have to dump the current ones. They failed to keep their Pledge to America and now it’s time for them to go.
David Bozell is executive director of ForAmerica, the largest active online conservative network with 5 million supporters.