U.S. Chamber Honors Pro-Business Members of Congress

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently honored members of Congress (252 in the House; 48 Senators) for their pro-jobs, pro-growth stances with the annual Spirit of Enterprise Award.

“In the face of high-stakes politics and difficult choices, legislators from both parties provided America’s job creators with a strong voice in Congress,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. “This award recognizes these men and women for consistently demonstrating their support for pro-growth policies.”

The Chamber’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Award, in its 25th year, is given annually to members of Congress based on key business issues outlined in the Chamber publication How They Voted. Members who support the Chamber’s position on at least 70% of those votes qualify to receive the award.

The Chamber scored Congress on 8 Senate and 12 House votes in 2012, including reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the establishment of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia, and the reauthorization of surface transportation legislation. Also scored were votes to repeal onerous provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, improve the process by which regulations are promulgated, and better secure the United States from cyber threats.

To view a complete list of the 2012 Spirit of Enterprise recipients, please visit www.uschamber.com/soe.

Those from Indiana are:

Sen. Dan Coats
Sen. Richard G. Lugar
Rep. Joseph Donnelly (IN-2)
Rep. Marlin A. Stutzman (IN-3)
Rep. Todd Rokita (IN-4)
Rep. Dan Burton (IN-5)
Rep. Mike Pence (IN-6)
Rep. Larry Bucshon (IN -8)
Rep. Todd Young (IN-9)

Rep. Stutzman Shares Your Frustration

If you’re one of the many who is seemingly highly frustrated by the lack of positive activity in Washington, you’re joined by Indiana Congressman Marlin Stutzman. The special guest during Friday’s monthly Indiana Chamber Policy Call, Stutzman expressed the following at different times about his first 10-plus months on the job in D.C.

  • "What bothers me is there is no sense of urgency."
  • "The federal government is so large, so bureaucratic, so over-reaching. It’s the blanket that is suffocating the economy right now."
  • "The government is in the way, and we can’t get it out of the way fast enough."

Stutzman described the competing philosophies of government creating jobs by spending money with the preferred approach for him (and many others) of providing the climate to allow the private sector to be the job creator. He also noted the regulatory hurdles, with more than 3,200 rules passed by "unelected bureaucrats" in 2010 and that number already above 4,000 for this year.

On a more positive note, Stutzman did cite recent legislation that increases the tax credit for hiring veterans and a farm bill proposal (in which he teamed with Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar) that delivers a potential $40 billion in savings over 10 years while still protecting those in the agriculture industry.

Like others, Stutzman hopes for some progress out of the "super committee" dealing with debt and deficit recommendations. He notes that tax reform and simplication is generating interest, but will still be difficult to pass in the partisan environment in Washington.

Check out more about Stutzman and his work. The next Policy Call for Chamber members will be Friday, December 9, with the topic being right-to-work.

Dealing With Debt One Cent or Percent at a Time

The intentions are in the right place, but you can’t help but leave people a little confused when your press release says: "The One Cent Solution Endorses … One Percent Spending Reduction Act."

To partially explain, The One Cent Solution is an effort to balance the U.S. budget and reduce the national debt. The One Percent Act, introduced by Congressman Connie Mack (R-Florida), would cut overall spending by 1% per year for the next six years.

I give up. I’ll let them try to explain:

Bruce Cook, chairman and CEO of the One Cent Solution, endorsed historic legislation introduced by Congressman Connie Mack (R-Fla.) that would end the nation’s debt binge and finally put the federal budget on a path to balance.    

Congressman Mack’s One Percent Spending Reduction Act of 2011 would move the government’s books into balance by 2019. The bill will reduce total government spending by $7.5 trillion for the next ten years, starting in fiscal year 2012. 
“Congressman Mack’s legislation embraces the broad parameters of the One Cent Solution,” said Cook. “The congressman is showing great leadership on the most important domestic issue of our time, and we are asking all of our supporters to tell their representatives in Washington to sponsor — and vote for — the One Percent Spending Reduction Act of 2011.” 
Co-sponsors of the bill thus far include John Campbell (California), Jeff Miller (Florida), Dennis Ross (Florida), Allen West (Florida), Steve King (Iowa), Marlin Stutzman (Indiana), Roscoe Bartlett (Maryland), John Duncan, Jr. (Tennessee), Reid Ribble (Wisconsin), Scott Garrett (New Jersey) and Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming).

Stutzman will be a special guest on the Indiana Chamber’s Policy Issue Conference Call on June 10.

Bayh Pulls In the Big Bucks

Indiana State Sen. Marlin Stutzman (R-Howe) has admitted he is at least considering a 2010 congressional challenge to Sen. Evan Bayh.

If so, he will have some long financial odds to overcome. In the first quarter of this year, and without a confirmed challenger, Bayh raised $600,000. The even more impressive total, according to the National Journal, is that this gives the Democrat junior senator about $11 million in the bank.

What does that mean? Two things: Like a Boy Scout, Bayh is always prepared. Two, that preparation may keep Stutzman and/or others on the sidelines. It will be interesting to see what takes place.