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Paul Hodes on Government Reform

Democrat


$122M in earmarks while in House; pledges none in Senate

In his three terms in the Senate, Judd Gregg has helped bring home millions through earmarks, a process that has fallen so much out of political favor Ayotte and Hodes have taken pledges against it.

Hodes, who represents the 2nd Congressional District, put in his share of special spending requests during his two terms in the U.S. House, but swore off earmarks after he decided to run for Gregg's seat. Hodes requested $122 million in earmarks by himself or with others before taking his anti-earmark pledg in January. Among them was $475,000 last year to support homeless veterans in Nashua. Former Republican Sen. John Sununu and Gregg joined him in the request. He also teamed up with others--including Gregg--over the last three years to get $1.5 million to treat uninsured patients at community health centers.

Hodes and Ayotte accuse each other of adopting the anti-earmark position as a matter of political convenience.

Source: Boston Globe coverage of 2010 N.H. Senate debate Oct 7, 2010

No pay-to-play: earmarks without campaign contributions ok

Ayotte accuses Hodes of adopting the anti-earmark pledge as a matter of political convenience. "Congressman Hodes is having an election-year conversion on earmarks. He requested over 60 earmarks last year. He's voted for 9,000 earmarks just in 2009 alone," Ayotte said.

Hodes insisted the problem rests with those who request earmarks for groups that later funnel money to their campaigns, called "pay for play." Hodes said it was more important to be independent and not necessarily do what was politically popular. "Some people have criticized me for not bringing home pork, not bringing home the bacon," he said. "When I asked for the earmarks I maintained a policy that I would not ask for contributions from anybody on whose behalf I asked for an earmark because I did not want it to be pay for play."

Source: Boston Globe coverage of 2010 N.H. Senate debate Oct 7, 2010

Cut Congressional pay by 10% during recession

To empathize with the struggle working families have had through this recession, Hodes supports cutting the pay of Congress and the president by 10 percent.

Ayotte said congressional pay should be "performance-based" and predicted Hodes would not fare well under such a system given his votes on taxes and spending. "I think that he owes the taxpayers of New Hampshire a refund," Ayotte concluded.

Source: Nashua Telegraph coverage of 2010 N.H. Senate debate Sep 23, 2010

Ban earmarks associated with campaign contributions

While in Congress, Paul has passed legislation to spur economic development in the North Country, to ensure college students are able to keep their health coverage when stricken by a major illness, and to institute a watchdog office within the Department of Veterans Affairs to serve as independent advocates for our veterans. He fought for tough new ethics laws, including banning lawmakers from taking campaign contributions from entities on whose behalf they request earmarks.
Source: Democracy For America 2010 endorsements Aug 12, 2010

Increase individual campaign donation limits

Source: 2004 Congressional National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2004

Voted YES on Senate pay raise.

Congressional Summary:
    Makes appropriations to the Senate for FY2010 for:
  1. expense allowances;
  2. representation allowances for the Majority and Minority Leaders;
  3. salaries of specified officers, employees, and committees (including the Committee on Appropriations);
  4. agency contributions for employee benefits;
  5. inquiries and investigations;
  6. the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control;
  7. the Offices of the Secretary and of the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate;
  8. miscellaneous items;
  9. the Senators' Official Personnel and Office Expense Account; and
  10. official mail costs.
Amends the Legislative Branch Appropriation Act of 1968 to increase by $50,000 the gross compensation paid all employees in the office of a Senator. Increases by $96,000 per year the aggregate amount authorized for the offices of the Majority and Minority Whip.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D, FL-20): We, as Members of Congress, have responsibility not just for the institution, but for the staff that work for this institution, and to preserve the facilities that help support this institution. We have endeavored to do that responsibly, and I believe we have accomplished that goal.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. SCALISE (R, LA-1): It's a sad day when someone attempts to cut spending in a bill that grows government by the size of 7%, and it's not allowed to be debated on this House floor. Some of their Members actually used the term "nonsense" and "foolishness" when describing our amendments to cut spending; they call that a delaying tactic. Well, I think Americans all across this country want more of those types of delaying tactics to slow down this runaway train of massive Federal spending. Every dollar we spend from today all the way through the end of this year is borrowed money. We don't have that money. We need to control what we're spending.

Reference: Legislative Branch Appropriations Act; Bill HR2918&S1294 ; vote number 2009-H413 on Jun 19, 2009

Voted YES on requiring lobbyist disclosure of bundled donations.

Amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to require a registered lobbyist who bundles contributions totaling over $5,000 to one covered recipient in one quarter to:
  1. file a quarterly report with Congress; and
  2. notify the recipient.
"Covered recipient" includes federal candidates, political party committees, or leadership PACs [but not regular PACs].

Proponents support voting YES because:

This measure will more effectively regulate, but does not ban, the practice of registered lobbyists bundling together large numbers of campaign contributions. This is a practice that has already taken root in Presidential campaigns. "Bundling" contributions which the lobbyist physically receives and forwards to the candidate, or which are credited to the lobbyist through a specific tracking system put in place by the candidate. This bill requires quarterly reporting on bundled contributions.

We ultimately need to move to assist the public financing of campaigns, as soon as we can. But until we do, the legislation today represents an extremely important step forward.

Opponents support voting NO because:

This legislation does not require that bundled contributions to political action committees, often referred to as PACs, be disclosed. Why are PACs omitted from the disclosure requirements in this legislation?

If we are requiring the disclosure of bundled contributions to political party committees, those same disclosure rules should also apply to contributions to PACs. Party committees represent all members of that party affiliation. PACs, on the other hand, represent more narrow, special interests. Why should the former be exposed to more sunshine, but not the latter?

The fact that PACs give more money to Democrats is not the only answer. Time and again the majority party picks favorites, when what the American people want is more honesty and more accountability.

Reference: Honest Leadership and Open Government Act; Bill H R 2316 ; vote number 2007-423 on May 24, 2007

Voted YES on granting Washington DC an Electoral vote & vote in Congress.

Bill to provide for the treatment of the District of Columbia as a Congressional district for representation in the House of Representatives, and in the Electoral College. Increases membership of the House from 435 to 437 Members beginning with the 110th Congress. [Political note: D.C. currently has a non-voting delegate to the US House. Residents of D.C. overwhelmingly vote Democratic, so the result of this bill would be an additional Democratic vote in the House and for President].

Proponents support voting YES because:

This bill corrects a 200-year-old oversight by restoring to the citizens of the District of Columbia the right to elect a Member of the House of Representatives who has the same voting rights as all other Members.

Residents of D.C. serve in the military. They pay Federal taxes each year. Yet they are denied the basic right of full representation in the House of Representatives.

The District of Columbia was created to prevent any State from unduly influencing the operations of the Federal Government. However, there is simply no evidence that the Framers of the Constitution thought it was necessary to keep D.C. residents from being represented in the House by a voting Member.

Opponents support voting NO because:

The proponents of this bill in 1978 believed that the way to allow D.C. representation was to ratify a constitutional amendment. The Founders of the country had the debate at that time: Should we give D.C. a Representative? They said no. So if you want to fix it, you do it by making a constitutional amendment.

Alternatively, we simply could have solved the D.C. representation problem by retroceding, by giving back part of D.C. to Maryland. There is precedent for this. In 1846, Congress took that perfectly legal step of returning present-day Arlington to the State of Virginia.

Reference: District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act; Bill H R 1905 ; vote number 2007-231 on Apr 19, 2007

Voted YES on protecting whistleblowers from employer recrimination.

Expands the types of whistleblower disclosures protected from personnel reprisals for federal employees, particulary on national security issues.

Proponents support voting YES because:

This bill would strengthen one of our most important weapons against waste, fraud and abuse, and that is Federal whistleblower protections. Federal employees are on the inside and offer accountability. They can see where there is waste going on or if there is corruption going on.

One of the most important provisions protects national security whistleblowers. There are a lot of Federal officials who knew the intelligence on Iraq was wrong. But none of these officials could come forward. If they did, they could have been stripped of their security clearances, or they could have been fired. Nobody blew the whistle on the phony intelligence that got us into the Iraq war.

Opponents support voting NO because:

It is important that personnel within the intelligence community have appropriate opportunities to bring matters to Congress so long as the mechanisms to do so safeguard highly sensitive classified information and programs. The bill before us suffers from a number of problems:

  1. The bill would conflict with the provisions of the existing Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998, which protecting sensitive national security information from unauthorized disclosure to persons not entitled to receive it.
  2. The bill violates the rules of the House by encouraging intelligence community personnel to report highly sensitive intelligence matters to committees other than the Intelligence Committees. The real issue is one of protecting highly classified intelligence programs and ensuring that any oversight is conducted by Members with the appropriate experiences, expertise, and clearances.
  3. This bill would make every claim of a self-described whistleblower, whether meritorious or not, subject to extended and protracted litigation.
Reference: Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act; Bill H R 985 ; vote number 2007-153 on Mar 14, 2007

Repeal automatic Congressional pay raises.

Hodes signed Stop the Congressional Pay Raise Act

A bill to prevent Members of Congress from receiving any automatic pay adjustment in 2010.

For purposes of the provision of law amended by section 704(a)(2)(B) of the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 (5 U.S.C. 5318 note), no adjustment under section 5303 of title 5, United States Code, shall be considered to have taken effect in fiscal year 2010 in the rates of pay under the General Schedule.

Source: S.542&HR.156 2009-S542 on Jan 6, 2009

Other candidates on Government Reform: Paul Hodes on other issues:
NH Gubernatorial:
John Lynch
NH Senatorial:
Jeanne Shaheen
Kelly Ayotte

Retiring as of Jan. 2011:
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Page last updated: Nov 27, 2010