OPINION: Kansas Federal Lawmakers Disappoint on Spending Votes

March 20, 2014

The following column was written by Jeff Glendening, state director for the Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity, and Christine Harbin Hanson, federal issues campaign manager for Americans for Prosperity: 

These past few months were a critical time for conservative members of Congress to stand firm behind their promises to get runaway government spending under control. Congress considered two of the biggest spending bills of the year, the Ryan-Murray budget deal and the Farm Bill conference report.

The first disappointing vote was on the budget resolution in October. Crafted by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray, the deal boosted discretionary spending to a whopping $1 trillion a year for each of the next two years. Worse, the plan shattered previously agreed-upon spending caps for fiscal year 2014 by $45 billion — an alarming increase and a broken promise. The deal also further nickel-and-dimed American families by hiking airline ticket taxes and making changes to military pensions.

Most alarming is the fact that Ryan-Murray deal traded higher spending now in exchange for the promise of $28 billion in cuts in 2022 and 2023. American taxpayers deserve spending cuts now, not promises to cut spending in the future, when they will probably never be realized.

The second vote was the Farm Bill conference report in February. This legislation authorized $1 trillion in spending over the next decade. Passed under the false guise of helping small farmers, this deal included hardly any of the free market reforms that AFP has called for over the past two years. It expanded a number of other corporate welfare programs such as crop insurance, massive taxpayer subsidies and revenue guarantees for politically-connected farmers. It also neglected to make any meaningful reforms to ballooning food stamp spending, which has more than doubled since President Obama took office and is ripe with fraud and abuse.

Americans for Prosperity urged lawmakers to vote no on both bills, and we will include both of these votes in our congressional scorecard.

Thankfully, a number of federal lawmakers stood up for American taxpayers and voted against both of these bloated bills. On the House side, Representatives that voted the right way included Huelskamp and Pompeo. On the Senate side, so did Senator Roberts.

A number of Democratic legislators voted against the bills, too, but for much different reasons. Democrats overwhelmingly felt that the budget resolution and the Farm Bill conference report didn’t spend enough.

Thankfully no Kansas Republicans cast a yes vote for both the Ryan-Murray Budget deal and the Farm Bill. For the most part, they stood firm on their principles of lower spending and lower deficits.

Over 45,000 Americans for Prosperity activists call the Sunflower State home, and they are committed to reining in Washington spending. They didn’t send their elected officials to Washington to rubber-stamp out-of-control levels of federal spending, but that’s precisely how many of them are voting.

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