Posts Tagged ‘jeb hensarling’

Millions in campaign cash being raised for Republican primary fights in Texas

Posted on: March 6th, 2012 by Teddy Wilson 2 Comments

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Thomas Hawk, Rob Shenk)

As political campaigns in Texas shift into high gear after a court ruling finally set the date of the Texas primaries, candidates will continue to raise millions of dollars in campaign cash to add to the millions that have already been raised. However, much of the campaign cash is going into campaigns that will face either little or no opposition on the ballot in November.

According to an analysis of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, as of January 31 Texas candidates for house and senate have raised a total of $40.3 million for the 2012 election cycle. During the entire 2010 election cycle Texas candidates raised $47.2 million, and the 2008 election cycle saw $73.7 million raised by Texas candidates. With outside expenditure groups also spending money on the campaigns, millions more will be raised and spent in Texas elections.

The vast majority of the campaign cash raised so far has gone to Republican candidates, as they have out-raised their Democratic counterparts by more than $28.4 million. In the senate campaign, more than $16 million has already been raised by four Republican primary candidates. In the house campaigns, Republicans have raised $18 million compared to $5.9 million raised by Democrats.

The senate Republican primary campaign has so far been among the most expensive campaigns in the nation. The $19.5 million raised so far in the senate campaign in Texas is second only to the $22.7 million raised in the senate campaign in Massachusetts. The $8.6 million already spent in Texas is also second to the $10.6 million spent in Massachusetts.

Both Republican senate candidate Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert are among the top ten candidates nationally in campaign funds raised. Each has raised $6 million, while Tea Party favorite former Texas Solicitor Gen. Ted Cruz has raised nearly $4 million.

While the campaign for the senate seat in Texas will essentially be over after the Republican primary, the Massachusetts campaign between Republican Senator Scott Brown and likely Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren will continue into November.

Mark Jones, professor and chair of the political science department at Rice University, told the Texas Independent fundraising is important in two respects for the Republican primary, where there are two distinct electoral contests taking place.

“Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst clearly has the personal wealth and donor support to allow him to outspend all of his opponents combined by a good margin,” said Jones. “Dewhurst will use his copious funds in an attempt to win the primary in the first round, obviating the need to face one of his rivals, Ted Cruz in particular, in a low turnout runoff in the dead of summer.”

Jones says that while Dewhurst will clearly have more than enough funds to be on television statewide during the crucial final four to six weeks of the primary campaign as well as to engage in other forms of contact with primary voters such as direct mail, Ted Cruz, Craig James, and Tom Leppert are in a battle to finish second on May 29, while simultaneously forcing Dewhurst into a runoff.

“At this stage fundraising is crucial for them, not compared to Dewhurst, but compared to each other,” said Jones. “While none will have the resources to match Dewhurst’s presence on television, their goal is to raise enough money to support targeted television buys, direct mail campaigns, and conduct get out the vote drives focused on their core supporters.”

Among the three candidates challenging Dewhurst, Leppert may well be able to match Dewhurst’s ability to self finance a campaign. Leppert’s $3.1 million of self financing so far is more than $1 million more than Dewhurst has self financed. Leppert and Dewhurst are third and fourth nationally in self financing.

There is no parallel among the campaigns for the house in Texas, as the candidates who are raising the most campaign funds have either token or no opposition at all. The $1.6 million raised by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX-5) is the most of any house candidate in Texas, and he has no primary opponent and will face a Democrat in November who has not reported any campaign fundraising. Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17) and Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21) have raised $1 million and $972,000, but neither candidate faces a primary or general election opponent.

“The best way to ensure that a candidate has no primary or general election opposition is to have such a large campaign war chest that all serious challengers consider any attempt to defeat you to be futile,” said Jones. “PACS and wealthy donors tend to give to the most influential members of congress, who also happen to normally reside in safe Republican or Democratic districts and are normally well respected in their party.”

It isn’t unexpected, says Jones, that incumbent members of congress raise such significant amounts of campaign funds with little or no opposition. “It is unsurprising that representatives such as Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Republican Conference, and Pete Sessions, chairman of the NRCC, are among the top fundraisers in spite of the fact that both will be re-elected regardless of whether they spend five thousand or five million on their reelection campaigns.” Session has raised $932,000 and is not facing a primary or general election opponent.

Because of the uncompetitive nature of the general election campaigns in Texas, Jones says that the campaign cash is likely to have more of an impact in a select number of primaries than in the November election. “Of the 36 Texas seats, 33 are either safe Republican or safe Democrat, and only one, District 23, falls into the category of being truly competitive,” said Jones. “As a result, fundraising will only have a significant impact on the outcome of at most 3 of 36 seats in November.”

With the primary date finally set, it appears that the most heated campaign battles for congress in Texas will be waged in the spring rather than the fall. “In the May primaries, there are approximately a half dozen races on both sides of the aisle where fundraising will play a major role in determining which Republican or Democrat will be the party’s nominee in the fall,” said Jones. “In most cases the races are for safe Republican or Democratic seats, signifying that a victory in the primary virtually ensures victory in the Fall.”

‘Supercommittee’ members’ states: How many residents depend on entitlements?

Posted on: November 16th, 2011 by Sofia Resnick No Comments

Women are used to being under-represented in Congress: There are only 17 women in the U.S. Senate (out of 100) and 76 women in the U.S. House of Representatives (out of 435). Unsurprisingly, only one woman — Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), also a co-chair, sits on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or “super committee,” which has been assigned to trim at least $1.2 trillion from the deficit over the next 10 years. (more…)

What women want … from the ‘super committee’

Posted on: November 15th, 2011 by Sofia Resnick 1 Comment

The subject of a recent episode of the NBC comedy series “The Office” was about a doomsday device created by devious employee Dwight K. Schrute (played by Rainn Wilson). If his fellow co-workers committed five errors in a single workday, the device was wired to send an email to their CEO with information likely to result in the staff’s firing.

In the case of today’s long-term deficit-reduction negotiations in Congress –- currently being deliberated by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or “super committee” –- Congress is Dwight, Nov. 23 is Dwight’s 5 p.m. (the sequester deadline, i.e., the trigger mechanism that would make $1.2 trillion across-the-board cuts), and both scenarios can be nipped in the bud by their respective creators.

Time is running out for the super committee, appointed to cut at least $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade, and if — as many news outlets are predicting — they fail to come up with a solid plan within the next nine days, Congress will plan to slash $600 billion from defense spending and $600 billion from domestic programs excluding Social Security and Medicaid, including cuts to Medicare payments to hospitals and other providers, come the 2013 budget.

The American Independent recently reported on how certain GOP presidential candidates’ proposed tax-policy plans would disproportionately affect women, who tend to earn lower wages and depend more on entitlement programs than men. This week, TAI takes a look at how the super committee’s proposal could disproportionately impact women.

What’s on the table?

Reporting that has emerged from the closed-door super committee meetings reveals the six Democrats on the panel are generally insistent on raising revenues from tax increases; wish to end the Bush-era tax cuts; and preserve Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The six Republicans, meanwhile, have slowly begun to discuss revenues but are opposed to achieving them through tax cuts; want to make permanent the Bush-era tax cuts; and are pushing to restructure how Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are paid for in the future.

Roll Call details the latest in negotiations: Last week panel member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) proposed a $1.2 trillion plan comprising $700 billion in cuts and $500 billion in revenues (half of the revenues would come from $250 billion in “tax code reform’). The most recent Democratic offer is a $2.3 trillion reduction plan over 10 years involving $1 trillion in revenues (including tax hikes) and $400 billion in “entitlement reform.”

Still they remain at an impasse.

But as Politico recently reported, despite having the power to dismantle the doomsday device, the president won’t take it. According to a White House statement, on Friday Obama called super committee co-chairs Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb. Hensarling (R-Texas) to tell them he will refuse attempts to override the automatic cuts if the panel can’t complete the task. (In the “Office” episode, Dwight makes the same promise after the staff does fail, but he caves at the 11th hour.)

“The sequester was agreed to by both parties to ensure there was a meaningful enforcement mechanism to force a result from the Committee,” Obama said in the statement. “Congress must not shirk its responsibilities.”

Lobbying ladies

One prediction if the super committee fails is that industries and special-interest groups will spend a year before the trigger takes effect lobbying Congress to reconsider cuts to specific programs. The Hill forecasts heavy lobbying from the Pentagon, defense contractors, liberal activists and labor unions.

Women’s advocacy groups have already begun voicing suggestions as to how to trim spending without devastating the neediest Americans, many of whom happen to be single women with children.

Early this month, National Organization for Women (NOW) President Terry O’Neill blasted the super committee’s “irresponsible proposals,” referring to assumptions the Republican members on the committee are pushing for Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan-style changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while, at the same time, opposing tax increases on corporations and millionaires. O’Neill similarly censured proposals she had heard from the Democratic side:

[I]t’s beyond distressing to see some Democrats knuckling under and now embracing plans that would cause great hardship on retirees — mainly women, particularly women of color, as well as people with severe disabilities and our oldest seniors. The Democrats’ proposal would change the [Social Security Cost-of-Living adjustment] (COLA) so that monthly benefits are dramatically reduced, further impoverishing the millions of seniors who depend exclusively on their Social Security check. Medicare would be cut by $400 billion (on top of the $500 billion savings adopted in the Affordable Care Act), and Medicaid would be cut by $75 billion. … There’s not much worse than taking from the most vulnerable in society to pay for a deficit caused by a failure to tax millionaires and billionaires and waging two unfunded wars.

So what does NOW want the super committee to do?

  • Preserve COLA and minimize cuts to programs that disproportionately serve and employ women, among them Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps; college-tuition-assistance programs, child care; and family planning programs.
  • End Bush-era tax cuts.
  • Eliminate the payroll tax cap, which would raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), a think thank that focuses on women’s domestic issues, has ideas of how to improve women’s economic standing in this country — ideas that likely contradict proposals the super committee members have been tossing around. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, although men have regained nearly 30 percent of the jobs they lost during the recession, women have regained only 10 percent of the jobs they lost. In July, men earned 136,000 jobs; women lost 19,000.

Among IWPR proposals, as laid out in a September 2011 report titled “Recommendations for Improving Women’s Employment in the Recovery”:

  • Make federal transfers available to state and local governments to replace lost revenues and allow them to hire back the teachers, case workers, nurses and others they have laid off.
  • Expand the length of the school day and school year.
  • Create an “Urban Conservation Corps” — programs partnering labor unions with inner-city youth with the goal of bring skills and employment opportunities to young women and men.
  • Fund child care.
  • Adopt tax incentives for businesses that offer their employees “work-life balance.”
  • Expand unemployment insurance benefits for workers with reduced working hours.
  • Expand employment for women in male-dominated fields, such as construction, transportation and green energy
  • Increase funding for jobs that provide direct care to children, disabled adults and the elderly. (According to the Economic Policy Institute (PDF), investments in physical infrastructure and human capital, such as early childhood development, education, health care, job training, would create jobs for women and men and contribute to long-term economic growth.)

Over at the National Women’s Law Center, the general position on the super committee proceedings is that the panel should promote job growth and strengthen the economy while simultaneously protecting programs that women and their families depend on now and in old age — women in general depend on Medicare and Medicaid at higher rates than men, and two-thirds of SNAP recipients are female, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (PDF).

Specifically the NWLC wants:

  • Reduced tax breaks for oil and gas industries and corporations that move jobs and profits overseas.
  • New tax brackets for annual income starting above $1 million and taxing income from capital gains and dividends at the same rate as income from work for taxpayers with income above $1 million.
  • A small tax on financial transactions such as stock trades — to raise revenue but also to discourage short-term speculation. According to the Economic Policy Institute and the Century Foundation, a 0.5 percent tax on stock transactions would raise about $77 billion per year; a 0.5 percent tax on all financial transactions (options, futures, swap transactions) would raise approximately $150 billion per year.
  • An extension on federal emergency unemployment benefits.

But for now, what women want — what all Americans want, and they all want different things — is in the hands of 12 under-pressure representatives and senators. And the clock is ticking.

Photo: Flickr/AMagill

As supercommittee deadline nears, doubts and speculation about backdoor options rise

Posted on: November 14th, 2011 by Sam Petulla No Comments

With just 10 days to go before the deadline for the “supercommittee” to make a deal, news outlets are reporting more reasons to worry that the talks will fall apart — and that Congress may try other maneuvers to address the deficit. (more…)

Bachmann to give her own rebuttal to SOTU through Tea Party Express

Posted on: January 21st, 2011 by Luke Johnson No Comments

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) will give her own rebuttal to President Obama’s State of The Union Tuesday, broadcast by the Tea Party Express.

“There are two very exciting developments I wanted to share with you today, friends,” reads the fundraising e-mail sent out by the Tea Party Express Friday morning. “Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has confirmed with us that she will broadcast her response to Barack Obama’s State Of The Union address this Tuesday.”

The rebuttal — separate from her colleague, Paul Ryan‘s — seems to be one more way Bachmann alienates House GOP leadership: She tried to jump in front of Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) for the House GOP conference chair only to withdraw, she voted against the popular tax cut deal along with 35 other Republicans and Bachmann has been vocal about opposing a raise to the debt ceiling.

MN: Bachmann drops power bid in GOP conference

Posted on: November 11th, 2010 by Ned Barnett No Comments

Rep. Michele Bachmann dropped her campaign to become the fourth most powerful Republican in the House on Wednesday evening, throwing her support behind Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling for GOP Conference Chair. “Jeb Hensarling has my enthusiastic support for his candidacy to become Republican House Conference Chair,” Bachmann said in a statement. “Jeb has demonstrated his commitment to limited government, reduced spending and lower taxes and he will be a strong voice for the Tea Party’s call for these values.”

Bachmann has hoped to capitalize on her tea party cred to land a leadership position in the upcoming Republican-controlled House, but GOP leadership had lined up behind Hensarling. Bachmann campaigned hard by running to conservative media outlets this week.

Bachmann said she will continue her work with the tea party.

“I look forward to continuing my consistent support of the Tea Party. I plan to advance the Tea Party ideals through their listening arm, the Tea Party Caucus. It is my wish to bring new faces to the caucus, including freshmen members,” she said.

She noted that part of her decision to drop her campaign was a conversation with Rep. John Boehner, who is in line to become the next Speaker of the House.

“The new Congress will have great opportunities to lead our country into the direction our founders intended. I spoke with Mr. Boehner and other members of leadership and I am convinced they will wholeheartedly work towards the issues the American people are calling for such as fiscal responsibility, ending the bailouts and repealing Obamacare.”

Hensarling sent a statement on Wednesday night praising Bachmann.

“Michele Bachmann is a committed movement conservative whose effective voice played an important role in America’s decision to trust House Republicans once again,” Hensarling said. “She is a dear friend, and I am humbled to earn her support. I look forward to her energetic leadership in a united House Republican Conference during the 112th Congress.”

(Photo: Patrick Caldwell)

MN: Hitting conservative media outlets, Bachmann ramps up power bid

Posted on: November 9th, 2010 by The American Independent No Comments

Rep. Michele Bachmann stepped up her campaign for Republican Conference Chair on Monday by hitting a series of right-wing media outlets and sending a letter to her Republican colleagues urging their support. Bachmann touted her Facebook skills, her frequent media appearances and her association with the tea party as reasons for the GOP to pick her for the position. She faces a stiff challenge from Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who has picked up the support of much of the GOP leadership. (more…)

DC: Tea Party largely frozen out of GOP transition team

Posted on: November 8th, 2010 by Ned Barnett No Comments

The plot lines in the battle for control of the soul of the Republican Party just got thicker today with the announcement by transition chair Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) of the members of his transition team. Not only did Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) not make the cut while her competitor for GOP conference chair, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), did, but the team as a whole is looking fairly un-Tea Party-friendly:

According to the AP, two of the four incoming members ([Adam] Kinzinger and [Tim] Scott) are Tea Party favorites, but they were most likely chosen for their previous legislative experience, which many of their fellow representatives-elect lack. Of the 18 current House members on the transition team, only two—Rob Bishop and Pete Sessions—are part of the Tea Party caucus. And Sessions is already more closely associated with the old guard, having served as NRCC chair.

Well-known Tea Partiers such as Michele Bachmann, Steve King, and Joe Wilson have been left out, and the transition team includes Jeb Hensarling, whom Eric Cantor and others are backing against Bachmann. Finally, transition chairman Greg Walden (who called the team “a nice cross-section of our Republican conference”) is himself relatively moderate; he even refused to say he would include a Tea Party member in the leadership when interviewed on MSNBC.

It’s pretty clear at this point that the Republican leadership is trying to keep its rowdier, Tea Party brethren at arms length. Whether new Tea Party members of Congress defer to the established pecking order or openly challenge such an affront remains to be seen.

(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/House GOP Leader)