Will Politicians Keep Their New Year’s Resolutions?

By: Brent Regan

With all eyes on the new Congress and a deflated Obama Administration, we’ve listed a select group of elected officials who either rode or survived the wave in November. We will be watching to see if their votes in 2011 match their campaign rhetoric from last year.

Heath Shuler (D-NC)

Shuler is one of the few blue dogs who survived reelection. He ran away from Pelosi during his campaign and challenged her for the Minority Leader position. “We have to be more of a centrist caucus,” he told the Associated Press. “We can’t just have a platform that’s to the left.”

Shuler voted against the health care reform bill, saying “This bill fails to address the way that we provide health care in this country; it merely adds more people to a broken, inefficient, and wasteful system.” Shuler has yet to sign onto any pledge for its repeal.

Hal Rogers (R-KY)

Called the “Prince of Pork,” Rogers will now chair the House Appropriations Committee. In the past two years Rogers requested $246 million in earmarks, including money for the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Africa (his daughter works for the nonprofit organization).

Rogers has now pledged “No more earmarks. I’ll be the enforcer of the moratorium.”

Mark Kirk (R-IL)

Named as a Top Ten Republican in Name Only (RINO) in 2009 by Human Events and given a 100 percent rating from NARAL and an F from the NRA, Kirk was elected to fill Obama’s senate seat. Kirk voted for Cap and Trade as a representative but reversed his position while campaigning for the senate.

"Let me say briefly about cap and trade. I voted for it because it was in the narrow interest of my Congressional district. But as your representative," Kirk told a booing crowd. "As your representative, representing the entire state of Illinois, I would vote no on that bill coming up."

Lisa Murkowski (R-AL)

Winner of a successful write-in campaign after being defeated in the Republican primary by Tea Party favorite Joe Miller, Murkowski told the Associated Press that she would not be a “reliable vote” for the Obama Administration.

Murkowski voted for four of Obama’s major items in the lame duck Congress: cloture for the DREAM Act, repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Bush tax cut compromise, and the START Treaty.

Joe Manchin (D-WV)

The popular Governor of West Virginia was elected to fill the late Robert Byrd’s senate seat. Manchin made headlines when his campaign featured the candidate shooting a bullet through a copy of the Cap and Trade bill.

RealClearPolitics reported last fall, “Manchin endorsed President Obama’s efforts on landmark health care reform and voiced support for the bill before and after its passage in March. Now, just five weeks away from a tougher Senate race than he expected against Republican John Raese, the governor said in an interview with RealClearPolitics that he supports many basic components of the law but volunteered that some of it needs to be repealed.”

Roy Blunt (R-MO)

Blunt’s votes on TARP and Cash for Clunkers as a representative haunted him during the campaign. Twenty-eight Missouri Tea Party groups refused to endorse his candidacy for the senate.

In a press release last fall Blunt spokesperson Rich Chrismer criticized Blunt’s opponent for lobbyist ties stating, “Robin Carnahan has taken over a million dollars from lobbyists and special interests, she has taken money from the top three recipients of lobbyist contributions and she continues to raise money from Washington lobbyists. Missourians cannot trust Robin Carnahan to tell the truth and this is yet another example of her hypocrisy and untruthfulness.”

Blunt was the number one individual beneficiary of Washington lobbyist bundling in 2009.

Joe Donnelly (D-IN)

Despite voting for TARP and the health care reform bill, Donnelly distanced himself from Pelosi and his party during the campaign, running ads critical of the Democrat party and calling himself “Indiana’s most independent Congressman” who “voted against Nancy Pelosi’s energy tax on Hoosier families.”

As a representative, Donnelly voted 79 percent of the time with Pelosi and 88.4 percent with Democrats.

John Boehner (R-OH)

The new Speaker of the House has promised to post every bill online for at least 3 days before a floor vote, televise House Rules Committee sessions and target spending cut measures each week. Boehner acknowledged a less than stellar record under a Republican watch. “I think Republicans learned their lesson. They understood that we were spending too much, government was growing too much."

President Barack Obama

Although Obama was not up for reelection last November, he conceded his party took a “shellacking.” A large part of the backlash against Washington was out of control spending.

During a presidential debate in 2008, Obama said "We need earmark reform. And when I'm president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.”

The very first spending bill Obama signed contained 9,000 earmarks. Over 9,400 earmarks totaling $15.9 billion were included in annual appropriation bills for fiscal year 2010.

Question: Do you think 112th Congress will adhere to the will of the people in 2011?  Please go here to cast your vote to be forwarded to your representative: http://voxverus.com/