Howard Rich

At long last there are finally signs that the American Republic’s breakneck descent into full-blown socialist madness – which was fast approaching terminal velocity prior to November’s elections – could be leveling out.

Does this mean our newly-elected leaders can pull America out of its precipitous fiscal nose dive before it’s too late? That remains to be seen – but last week’s lame duck developments in our nation’s capital do offer a small measure of hope.

Backed by an aggressive push from the Tea Party movement, a handful of fiscally conservative U.S. Senators staged a successful revolt against a $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill. This 1,924-page monstrosity contained more than 6,700 earmarks – or pork barrel spending items inserted by lawmakers.

Supported by Republicans and Democrats alike, this massive spending bill represented everything that America’s voters overwhelmingly rejected last month. Not only was its price tag irresponsibly reckless, but the back-slapping breadth of its unnecessary add-ons and the sheer arrogance associated with its presumed passage was the very definition of “business as usual” in Congress. Like dozens of omnibus bills before it, this lavish spending legislation was an unholy amalgamation of unnecessary special interest-driven pork. It was also something that everyone was going to vote for – because everyone had something in it.

Fortunately, the same network of limited government advocates that helped mobilize a taxpayer revolution at the polls last month joined together to rally voters once again. And these voters – leveraging the power of talk radio, the internet and good old fashioned shoe leather in the halls of Congress – made their voices heard.

“The resulting protests convinced GOPers –even the big spenders from the Appropriations Committee – that they could no longer play the old game of swapping earmarks for campaign cash,” wrote Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at The Cato Institute. “This is a remarkable development and a huge victory for the Tea Party movement.”[1] U.S. Senate leader Harry Reid was forced to withdraw this massive spending bill without a vote – choosing instead to offer up a continuing resolution that funds the federal government at existing levels.

Howard Rich

Howard Rich is the Chairman of Americans for Limited Government.