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The Majority Matters When It Comes to Earmarks

Ending Spending and its community of supporters and activists worked hard in 2010 to convince Congress finally to abandon the wasteful practice of earmarking. When Republicans took control of the House in 2011, they promised to rein in out-of-control federal spending and change the way Congress spends taxpayer money.  One important step in that process was banning earmarks.

Now that Congress is finally passing an appropriations bill, we can see the results. In March 2009, in one of his first acts in office, President Obama signed omnibus appropriations legislation that included approximately 9,000 earmarks. In January 2014, House and Senate negotiators reach agreement on omnibus appropriations legislation that includes NO earmarks.

What a difference a few years — and our collective efforts — have made.


Brown gets more encouragement to launch Senate bid in N.H.

(CNN) – An advocacy group that is encouraging former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts to launch a Republican challenge next year in neighboring New Hampshire against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is going up with a new TV commercial criticizing the Democrat for her support of the federal healthcare law.

Ending Spending tells CNN that its TV spot will start running Tuesday in the Granite State. The group says it’s spending in the low six figures to run it for a week.

The commercial starts with the narrator saying: “On health care, Jean Shaheen didn’t tell the truth.” That’s followed by a clip of Shaheen from a Senate floor speech in 2009 in support of the Affordable Care Act that cleared Congress the next year with only Democratic support.

“You can keep your insurance if you like it. It will increase choices for families. It will promote competition,” says Shaheen in the clip.

Those comments, first made a number of times by President Barack Obama as he pushed for passage of the sweeping health care measure, came back to haunt him this fall as some Americans were informed they wouldn’t be able to keep their coverage because their plans didn’t meet standards mandated by Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Read more here.

Ending Spending Supports House Bill To Let Americans Keep Their Healthcare Plan

President Obama famously promised: “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

In reality, millions on Americans learned the hard way that under Obamacare, the President’s statement simply wasn’t true and MILLIONS OF AMERICANS HAVE RECEIVED THE BAD NEWS — they are losing their insurance.

Now, Ending Spending has signed on with other conservative and free market groups to support H.R. 3350, introduced in the House by Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and over two dozen Republicans. The bill would allow Americans to keep their health care plans if they like them – fulfilling President Obama’s “promise” made time and time again.

To learn more about the bill, read our letter to Congressman Upton here.

Let’s get rid of (the term) entitlements

By Robert J. Samuelson
The Washington Post

Let’s drop the whole notion of “entitlement.” Just eliminate it. Politicians, pundits and academics who talk about entitlements would then have to name the actual programs and argue their merits and demerits. This would encourage clarity and candor. Of course, that’s why it won’t happen. Generally, Americans don’t want clarity and candor in their fiscal debates. We blame our leaders for budget brawls — this latest was a doozy — but forget that our leaders are largely governed by public opinion, which is awash in contradictions.

So the government is “open” and the immediate threat of default has lifted. Great. But the political stalemate remains. Americans oppose excessive government spending and persistent deficits. Yet they also support the individual benefit programs (a.k.a. “entitlements”), led by Social Security, that drive spending and deficits.

Until the 1980s, entitlement wasn’t part of everyday language. Ronald Reagan was apparently the first president to use the term extensively. He may have “tired of getting beaten up every time he mentioned Social Security, and wanted a broader and more neutral term,” political scientist Norman Ornstein has suggested. Entitlement is a bland label. To say there’s an “entitlement problem” shrewdly avoids connecting it explicitly with popular programs. President Obama evasively speaks of entitlements in this way; so do most Republicans. Their veiled references cover Medicare and Medicaid as well as Social Security.

Read more here.

Do as I say, not as I do – Members of Congress exempt themselves from Obamacare

“Obamacare is good enough for you, but not for us.”

That’s the message Senate Democrats sent to America when they voted to exempt themselves from Obamacare.

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) offered an amendment to make members of Congress subject to the Obamacare regulations that every other citizen is subject to. Vitter’s amendment was rejected on a 54-46 vote. Every Senate Democrat voted against the amendment and exempted themselves from Obamacare.

On the other hand, all Republican Senators voted to hold members of Congress to the same standards as the rest of Americans. These Senators, including Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, have consistently stood up against out of control spending and fought Obamacare at every turn.

The 54 Senate Democrats who voted against Vitter voted to shut down the government just to keep their special privileges. PERIOD. They also made it clear they want to force you into Obamacare whether you like it or not, but they don’t want to abide by the very same law they worked so hard to pass.

Ending Spending President Brian Baker recently attended and spoke at a press conference with Senators Vitter, Johnson and Enzi to push to end the special Obamacare exemption for Members of Congress. Watch below:

Paul Ryan: Here’s How We Can End This Stalemate

The Wall Street Journal
October 10, 2013

Both Reagan and Clinton negotiated debt-ceiling deals with their opponents. We’re ready to negotiate.

The president is giving Congress the silent treatment. He’s refusing to talk, even though the federal government is about to hit the debt ceiling. That’s a shame—because this doesn’t have to be another crisis. It could be a breakthrough. We have an opportunity here to pay down the national debt and jump-start the economy, if we start talking, and talking specifics, now. To break the deadlock, both sides should agree to common-sense reforms of the country’s entitlement programs and tax code.

First, let’s clear something up. The president says he “will not negotiate” on the debt ceiling. He claims that such negotiations would be unprecedented. But many presidents have negotiated on the debt ceiling—including him. In 1985, Ronald Reagan signed a debt-ceiling deal with congressional Democrats that set deficit caps. In 1997, Bill Clinton hammered out an agreement with congressional Republicans to raise the debt ceiling, reform Medicare and cut capital-gains taxes. Two years ago, Mr. Obama signed the Budget Control Act, which swapped spending cuts for a debt-ceiling hike.

So the president has negotiated before, and he can do so now. In 2011, Oregon’s Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and I offered ideas to reform Medicare. We had different perspectives, but we also had mutual trust. Neither of us had to betray his principles; all we had to do was put prudence ahead of pride.

If Mr. Obama decides to talk, he’ll find that we actually agree on some things. For example, most of us agree that gradual, structural reforms are better than sudden, arbitrary cuts. For my Democratic colleagues, the discretionary spending levels in the Budget Control Act are a major concern. And the truth is, there’s a better way to cut spending. We could provide relief from the discretionary spending levels in the Budget Control Act in exchange for structural reforms to entitlement programs.

Read more here.

Ending Spending Signs Joint Letter in Support of ‘No Washington Excemption Act’

Ending Spending recently signed a joint letter in support of S.1497, Senator David Vitter’s “The No Washington Exemption Act” legislation that would make Congress subject to Obamacare just like millions of Americans. You can read the letter here.

Ending Spending Praises House For Delaying of Obamacare

Congress Must Remove its Own Exemption from Obamacare

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Ending Spending today announced its support for the bill the House of Representatives passed to fund the U.S. government and delays the individual mandate of Obamacare.

“We are pleased the House of Representatives followed this course of action, which we have long supported,” said Brian Baker, President and General Counsel of Ending Spending Action Fund. “Our polling data has shown that the American people favor this and the House is clearly more attuned to the will of the people than the Senate. We call on the Senate Democrats and the President to endorse this bill. If they do not, the blame for a government shutdown will be theirs alone. The Vitter Amendment, which would eliminate Congress’ exemption from Obamacare, is essential to making the bill stronger.

“The President has flatly said he will not negotiate. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) has resorted to name calling instead of offering any compromise. According to our polling data , the American people want both sides to work this out but it won’t happen if some in the process refuse to discuss options. Refusal to listen to the people, while exempting itself from Obamacare shows everything that is wrong with Washington.

“While this is a positive development, both houses of Congress must end the exemption for Members of Congress and their staffs. The delay is only fair if it applies to everyone equally. This flawed plan is causing companies to eliminate benefits or cut employee hours. If the American people have to live with the effects of this law, so should Congress,” said Mr. Baker.

Republican Leaders and Americans Look to Reforms on the Debt Ceiling

Republican leaders are slowly convincing the GOP conference to move toward a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded and the Capitol’s lights on before the Monday deadline, but leadership’s best shot may be to pivot toward the debt ceiling.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, met with his rank and file members Thursday to announce a plan to punt a list of demands including a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act and tax reform to the debt ceiling.

While Americans were weary of a government shutdown that could result if the Senate, House and White House cannot come to an agreement on the continuing resolution, a host of polls out Thursday show that Americans want Congress and the president to play ball on the debt ceiling.

An Ending Spending and American Action Forum poll showed that 65 percent of Americans were opposed to raising the debt ceiling without reforming the country’s spending practices.

“Speaker John Boehner and the House Republicans have the opportunity, in the wake of the Obamacare debate, to demand some serious cuts in the budget before any discussions of a debt limit increase,” said Brian Baker, the president of Ending Spending.

The center-right group’s poll also showed 54 percent of Americans would support raising the debt ceiling if the White House agreed to delay the full implementation of Obamacare for one year. And 73 percent of Americans want to see the president approve the Keystone XL pipeline as part of the debt ceiling debate.

New Poll: Time To Negotiate On Debt Ceiling

New Survey Shows Majority of Americans Believe Chief Executive Not Listening to the American People, Lacks Negotiation Skills to Govern the Country

Today, Ending Spending and American Action Forum released a new poll that found a strong majority of voters want President Obama to negotiate with Members of Congress over the debt limit.

Read the key findings memo here.

“The American people are understandably frustrated with Washington, but more so they are disappointed in President Obama’s inability to govern or even debate key issues of legislation,” said Brian Baker, President of Ending Spending.

In a survey conducted by TargetPoint Consulting, a majority of Americans (52%) called on the President to negotiate with Congress and are intensely opposed to the President raising the debt ceiling “cleanly” without spending reforms. A hefty majority – 65% – nearly two thirds of registered voters – oppose increasing the debt ceiling in this manner.

“Speaker John Boehner and the House Republicans have the opportunity, in the wake of the Obamacare debate, to demand some serious cuts in the budget before any discussions of a debt limit increase,” said Baker. “The President may get his way on Obamacare, with the help allies in media and in Congress, but the American people are looking for meaningful tradeoffs in exchange for raising the debt ceiling and want President Obama to negotiate with Congress in order to find a path forward on the national debt.”

Some of the tradeoffs a majority of Americans would approve in exchange for raising the debt ceiling include: (1) delaying the implementation of Obamacare by at least one year (54%); (2) easing America’s dependence upon Mideast oil by enacting a pro-growth energy policy (including building the Keystone Oil Pipeline) (73%); (3) eliminating certain tax breaks for people and businesses as part of tax code reform (57%), and (4) reforming certain entitlement and other support programs.

“Spending reforms and policy tradeoffs are essential in a debt limit bill otherwise we simply kick the can down the road by buying time before the debt limit is approached again,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American Action Forum. “While the president has been missing in action from the policy debates on funding the government and raising the debt limit, the important question is whether the president will step up to the plate and negotiate in a meaningful way to provide a long-term solution.”

The national survey was conducted with 800 registered voters September 13-18, 2013 on attitudes towards the upcoming legislative debates over the continuing resolution and the debt ceiling. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.5%. The survey was conducted on behalf of Ending Spending ( and American Action Forum (

Read the key findings memo here.

Taxpayers Connected:

Our national debt is  
$ 00 00 , 000 000 , 000 000 , 000 000 , 000 000
and each American Taxpayer owes $119,236 of it.