GOP 2010 Campaign ‘Pledge to America’ Broken: ‘We Will Fight Efforts to Use a National Crisis for Political Gain’

screen-gop-pledge-to-americaBy threatening to crash the U.S. economy if they do not get their way in negotiations on economic policy, House Republicans, led by their tea party cohort, have rightly been accused of holding the economy hostage.

Only time will tell if this completely made-up crisis, with its dire ramifications for the financial well-being of every American family, is, as it appears to be, a classic Republican overreach. But two things are certain now: They created this debt ceiling “crisis” solely for the purpose of extorting the Senate and administration into enacting laws that benefit the Republicans’ wealthy corporate sponsors to the detriment of the middle class and wage earners.

And, by creating a national crisis for no other purpose than political gain, they have rendered quaint a key promise they made to independent voters in their 2010 campaign “Pledge to America.”

David Weigel revisited the House GOP’s campaign Pledge yesterday and found this gem:

How did we get to this point in the debt crisis? How’d we get to a “debt crisis” at all? Just for fun, I went back to the pledges that Republicans agreed to before the 2010 elections. The Norquist “no tax hike” pledge has been pretty well explained. The “Pledge to America” has been pretty well ignored. There’s a good reason: the Pledge said nothing about the debt limit and nothing about a balanced budget amendment.

These were the Pledge’s commitments on spending: Cutting Congress’s budget, weekly spending cut votes, refunding unused stimulus money, spending caps, and ending TARP…

Reading through this there’s no indication that Republicans ran on fundamental reform. There was no hint about the looming debt limit vote. In fact:

We will fight efforts to use a national crisis for political gain.

Ahem. Moving on…

So much for that campaign gimmick. For the good of the country, let’s just hope that independent voters in swing districts — the voters Republicans duped into voting for them with gimmicks like this — are paying closer attention this time around.

The complete text of the “Pledge” follows:

A Pledge to America: Following Through on Our Promises

Delivering Reform to Congress

Restoring Americans’ trust in the People’s House

Our founders built a system of checks and balances to slow the growth of government and prevent the tyranny of the majority. The ultimate power in this system of government is held by the people, who were given the tools by our Founders to hold those they elect as their representatives accountable for their actions. Government exists to be the servant of the people, not their master.

Unfortunately, the metrics used to hold Congress accountable are often flawed. Rather than using the scale of how well elected representatives represent the views of the people, the scale is often currently measured in bills passed, dollars spent, and programs created. This must change.

We will stand committed to our principles and fight to renew the drive for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government. We will promote and advance solutions that get people working again, stop out-of-control spending, repeal and replace the government takeover of health care, make Congress more open and transparent, and keep our nation secure at home and abroad.
We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives. No more hiding legislative language from the minority party, opponents, and the public. Legislation should be understood by all interested parties before it is voted on.

Other Legislative Reforms

Adhere to the Constitution
For too long, Congress has ignored the proper limits imposed by the Constitution on the federal government. Further, it has too often drafted unclear and muddled laws, leaving to an unelected judiciary the power to interpret what the law means and by what authority the law stands. This lack of respect for the clear Constitutional limits and authorities has allowed Congress to create ineffective and costly programs that add to the massive deficit year after year. We will require each bill moving through Congress to include a clause citing the specific constitutional authority upon which the bill is justified.

Make It Easier to Cut Spending
By forbidding amendments on spending bills, Democrats denied lawmakers the opportunity to tighten Washington’s belt and slash wasteful and duplicative programs. Structure dictates behavior, so we will let any lawmaker — Democrat or Republican — offer amendments to reduce spending.

Advance Legislative Issues One at a Time
We will end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with “must-pass” legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time.

Fighting for Transparency

At the same time, we will serve as a check and a balance against any schemes that are inconsistent with the priorities and rights of the American people:
We will fight to ensure transparency and accountability in Congress and throughout government.

We will fight the growth of government and oppose new stimulus spending that only puts our nation further in debt.

We will fight efforts to fund the costly new health care law.

We will fight to increase access to domestic energy sources and oppose attempts to impose a national “cap and trade” energy tax.

We will fight for the rights of workers and oppose “card check” schemes that put Washington union bosses before individuals’ right to a secret ballot.

We will fight efforts to use a national crisis for political gain.

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