Congressional Republicans

Gala Update: Grammy And Dove Award Nominee Wayburn Dean To Perform!

The Family Foundation's 25th Anniversary Gala is Saturday, October 9, and the date is rapidly approaching. We hope you have your tickets or are at least planning on ordering them very soon. As this update details, it's becoming one of the hottest tickets this political season. Click here or call 804-343-0010 or e-mail to Gala@familyfoundation.org to place 0rders for single tickets, couples tickets, VIP reception and/or sponsorships. But please don't wait — we have more than 1,000 confirmed guests and space is filling up fast as we approach last year's record attendance. Congressman Mike Pence, winner of the recent 2012 Values Voter Summit presidential straw poll, held by Family Research Council Action, is the keynote speaker. One leading conservative credits Pence for single-handedly insisting that the Congressional Republicans' new "Pledge to America" included life, marriage and family issues.

The deadline to reserve a room at the Hilton Garden Inn Richmond Downtown (501 East Broad Street) at a reduced rate also is approaching quickly. The Family Foundation room block will be held until Thursday, September 30. If you or your guests are planning to stay overnight, please call 1-877-782-9444 to make your reservation today and mention "The Family Foundation Gala" or click here.

Congressman Pence won't be our only special guest: Wayburn Dean, a member of the Gospel quartet Acappella during its rise to prominence, where he received both Grammy and Dove Award nominations, and who now performs as a solo artist, will perform "America the Beautiful" and two of his hit singles. His song "What Will Be Your Legacy?" (which he will peform for us) was selected as the Number 5 inspirational single for 2009 by Christian Music Weekly.

While Digging For New Roads Apparently VDOT Buried The Money

All these years General Assembly tax and spenders tried to out bid each other for the highest tax increase possible to pay to improve Virginia's transportation system. The most partisan governor in recent years, Tim Kaine, even closed down rest areas to make it seem as if we couldn't even perform basic highway functions, just to prove his tax-increasing point. Well, now. A just completed private audit of VDOT, the results of which were released this afternoon (Washington Post), shows that while Mr. Kaine was robo-calling into House of Delegate districts to bludgeon Republicans who wouldn't support a tax increase — many of whom called for this very audit first before any new taxpayer money was thrown at VDOT — his administration wasn't even spending the money it had! As in about $500 million in money laying around.

This story already is making national headlines as a perfect example of government inefficiency (Business Week). Unfortunately, it proves too many people's suspicions and confirms much of the reputation VDOT has curiously earned over the years. To be sure, there are many angles to this story, and just taking this money and putting it to work isn't as easy as it appears. It also may put the clamps on real government and VDOT reform (we have the cash, now, no longer a need to change things) as Norm Leahy explains at Tertium Quids. Mind you, this wasn't a performance audit, as to whether the state has planned wisely and where roads and systems should go, but a spending audit. But the McDonnell adminstrationgets kudos for at least finding these dead bodies. For his part, the DNC chairman took time out from slamming Congressional Republicans to claim his "reforms" led to the "saved" cash. Un-huh.

There will be more about this story and hopefully it will lead to some good somewhere down the road. At the very least, it may be the most significant evidence yet that discredits the idea that massive (unchecked) spending by the government works, that the government knows what it is doing, and that the answer to every ill is a knee-jerk reaction to siphon off families' hard earned money for centrally planned, government-run schemes. Somehow, we think, they'll still come back for more next year, having either still not learned their lesson, or displaying about $500 million worth of chutzpah.

Deja Vu All Over Again Twice In One Day

Four years ago, only a few weeks after taking office and proposing (against his campaign promise) the largest tax increase in Virginia history, Congressional Democrats chose then-Governor Tim Kaine to deliver their party's response to then-President George W. Bush's State of the Union Address. Yesterday, it was reported (see Washington Post), that Congressional Republicans have chosen newly sworn-in Governor Bob McDonnell to give the GOP response to President Barack Obama's January 27 State of the Union. How about that for asymmetrical karma? But there's more.

Yesterday, House Republicans brought to the floor Delegate Bob Brink's (D-48, Arlington) HB 1155, legislation that would enact former Governor Tim Kaine's proposed income tax increase (see Richmond Times-Dispatch). The bill was referred to the House Rules Committee, which alone has the authority to report bills to the floor without recommendation. Thus it did with HB 1155 in order to put Democrats on the spot — vote against their friend and national party chairman or be on record for higher taxes in a recession. Delegate Brink requested that the bill be pulled, normally a pro forma request that's granted at the will of the patron. Not yesterday!

Instead, it was put to a vote while Democrats vehemently protested. As if they couldn't have anticipated it. Remember, last year Republicans did the same thing on a bill that would have repealed Virginia's Right To Work Law (see post here and video here). They forced a vote by bringing that equally controversial bill through a no recommendation vote on the Rules Committee. The Democrats reacted by abstaining, but through a parliamentary procedure that says if a member is in his seat but not voting, and another member points that out, the vote must be recorded in the negative. Thus, Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R-8, Salem) forcibly recorded no votes against the bill which put Democrats at odds with their Big Labor allies.

With this as background, certainly they knew something was coming with a monstrous tax increase bill, and they knew they couldn't abstain. On the first day of session, when the rules package is adopted, Minority Leader Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville) said as much when he objected to the Rules Committee exception. As it turned out, it was a unanimous blowout, with the House voting 97-0 (with Delegate Brink abstaining) to reject one last Tim Kaine tax increase, sending it down with all his others, this one posthumously, in the political sense.

So, the question is, why file the tax increase bill to begin with? Only Delegate Brink knows for sure, but we suspect some members of the General Assembly like to give a peek of their colors to satisfy certain constituencies, but seek to conceal them altogether from the greater electorate. Increasingly, however, these lawmakers get found out.