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House GOP Establishment Didn’t Get The Message Of John Mica’s Defeat

Whether Democrats got the message voters sent in the recent presidential election is still an open question. 

Speaker Paul Ryan and his establishment Republican allies in the House are by nature politically tone-deaf, but they all want to be reelected and the defeat of Florida Republican Congressman John Mica is a message even they ought to be able to hear. 

EarmarksHowever, with the announcement that they plan to bring back the corrupt practice of “earmarking” appropriations, it seems certain that the Republican establishment in the Paul Ryan-led House of Representatives heard the message, but are choosing to not just ignore it, but actively oppose it. 

For those with a short memory or who are new to congressional politics, earmarks are a form of legalized bribery where congressional leaders allow funds to be directed legislatively to benefit a particular special interest or Member of Congress. They were done away with after the Tea Party wave brought Republicans back to the House majority in the 2010 election. 

This legalized bribery was used by congressional leaders to enforce party discipline and to reward political supporters by corruptly wasting the taxpayers’ money on unnecessary spending, granting favorable tax treatment to special interests, naming projects after their congressional sponsors and directing the Executive Branch to buy or build with a specific vendor. 

One of the few Congressional Republicans to be defeated in this year’s election was 11-term Representative John Mica of Florida. Mica was a prime example of Washington’s corrupt old order, and a vocal proponent of the legalized bribery of earmarks. 

A self-proclaimed “Old Bull,” after 22-years in Congress, Mica was openly contemptuous of the Tea Party and small government constitutional conservatives.   

A proud advocate of earmarks and pork-barrel spending, Mica was named porker of the month by citizens Against Government Waste and was thought of as “Earmarker in Chief” of the 112th Congress for his outspoken advocacy of a return to the practice of putting special interest spending into bills in the dead of the night. 

Mica and other advocates of earmarks argued that they represent a small portion of the federal budget – however, their gross dollar contribution to the deficit is not the point – it is the damage to our political culture that earmarks do that makes them so pernicious. 

After he defeated Sandy Adams, a vocal anti-earmark Tea Party Republican Member of Congress in a redistricted primary, Mica was assumed to be invulnerable. 

Yet, in this year’s election he was defeated by Democratic political newcomer Stephanie Murphy.  

The race was one of the closest and most expensive House contests in the country and the Democrats tried to make it a referendum on Donald Trump. However, Trump carried every county in the District, one by almost two to one, while big spending Republican John Mica was defeated. 

Mica’s response to every challenge from Murphy was to spend more money, which he as an “Old Bull” would deliver – it didn’t work because voters were fed-up with that kind of insider government. 

We cannot begin to address our nation’s debt and deficit problems until we get a handle on Congress’ runaway spending.  Special interest earmarks are nothing less than a legal bribe to get Members of Congress to vote for bad policy and more spending, and the defeat of John Mica conclusively rebuts the argument that they are good politics. 

The House Switchboard is 1-866-220-0044, we urge you to call Speaker Ryan and your Member of Congress and tell them to oppose a return to the legalized bribery of earmarks.

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