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Porter Goss on Government Reform

Former Republican Representative (FL-14)


We are a nation at war and our enemies are listening

Our work is not done in the public with klieg lights all the time. But it is misleading to suggest, as some have, that a committee product is less worthy because we safeguard properly classified material by using closed sessions. That has been the practice for all the recent Congresses that I have been on the committee.

We must also be mindful that our enemies watch & hear what we say. Our audience is the American people primarily. Those are the people to whom we are accountable & responsible & proud of the work we do, and are pleased to share it with them. But, unfortunately, our enemies are listening too, and we are a Nation at war. Sometimes the enemy is able to gauge their conduct on how Congress acts. They are able to use psychological warfare to drive wedges. They also could gain an enormous advantage if we do not take the appropriate opportunities to keep from public discourse our committee discussion on the sensitive intelligence matters that we are charged with overseeing.

Source: Remarks for Intelligence Authorization Bill on House floor , Jun 23, 2004

Voted YES on restricting frivolous lawsuits.

Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004: Amends the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to:
  1. require courts to impose sanctions on attorneys, law firms, or parties who file frivolous lawsuits (currently, sanctions are discretionary);
  2. disallow the withdrawal or correction of pleadings to avoid sanctions;
  3. require courts to award parties prevailing on motions reasonable expenses and attorney's fees, if warranted;
  4. authorize courts to impose sanctions that include reimbursement of a party's reasonable litigation costs in connection with frivolous lawsuits; and
  5. make the discovery phase of litigation subject to sanctions.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Lamar Smith [R, TX-21]; Bill H.R.4571 ; vote number 2004-450 on Sep 14, 2004

Voted NO on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions.

Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance Overhaul: Vote to pass a bill that would ban soft money contributions to national political parties but permit up to $10,000 in soft money contributions to state and local parties to help with voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. The bill would stop issue ads from targeting specific candidates within 30 days of the primary or 60 days of the general election. Additionally, the bill would raise the individual contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 per election for House and Senate candidates, both of which would be indexed for inflation.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Shays, R-CT, and Meehan D-MA; Bill HR 2356 ; vote number 2002-34 on Feb 14, 2002

Voted YES on banning soft money donations to national political parties.

Support a ban on soft money donations to national political parties but allow up to $10,000 in soft-money donations to state and local parties for voter registration and get-out-the vote activity.
Bill HR 2356 ; vote number 2001-228 on Jul 12, 2001

Voted NO on banning soft money and issue ads.

Campaign Finance Reform Act to ban "soft money" and impose restrictions on issue advocacy campaigning.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Shays, R-CT; Bill HR 417 ; vote number 1999-422 on Sep 14, 1999

Restrict campaign donations from foreigners or 3rd parties.

Goss co-sponsored restricting campaign donations from foreigners or 3rd party

To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to increase the penalties imposed for making or accepting contributions in the name of another and to prohibit foreign nationals from making any campaign-related disbursements.

Source: Conduit Contribution Prevention Act (H.R.1747) 1999-H1747 on May 11, 1999

Limit punitive damages; term limits on Congress.

Goss signed the Contract with America:

[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bills]:

The Common Sense Legal Reforms Act:
“Loser pays” laws, reasonable limits on punitive damages, and reform of product liability laws to stem the endless tide of litigation.
The Citizen Legislature Act:A first-ever vote on term limits to replace career politicians with citizen legislators.
Source: Contract with America 93-CWA11 on Sep 27, 1994

Government is too big, too intrusive, too easy with money.

Goss signed the Contract with America:

This year’s election offers the chance, after four decades of one-party control, to bring to the House a new majority that will transform the way Congress works. That historic change would be the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public’s money. It can be the beginning of a Congress that respects the values and shares the faith of the American family.

Like Lincoln, our first Republican president, we intend to act “with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right.” To restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace. To make us all proud again of the way free people govern themselves.

    On the first day of the 104th Congress, the new Republican majority will immediately pass the following major reforms, aimed at restoring the faith and trust of the American people in their government:
  1. Require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress;
  2. Select a major independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud, and abuse;
  3. Cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
  4. Limit the terms of all committee chairs;
  5. Ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
  6. Require committee meetings to be open to the public;
  7. Require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase
  8. Guarantee an honest accounting of our federal budget by implementing zero baseline budgeting.
Source: Contract with America 93-CWA2 on Sep 27, 1994

Reduce federal government size & scope, including military.

Goss adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership issue stance:

The federal government must reduce its size and scope, and cede certain federally operated policies and services to the states and private sector that are better equipped to handle them. One way to accomplish this would be to limit growth of government spending at or even below the inflation rate. Long-term economic growth is dependent upon sustained federal discipline. We believe this is the time to carefully assess both our domestic discretionary and our military commitments. In both areas, we face a potential fiscal imbalance between our program commitments and our available resources. Perhaps neither the Congress nor the American people fully appreciate the impact of budget decisions in these areas. We owe it to the nation and its future to undertake an honest dialogue regarding the implications of these decisions on the state, local and private sectors.

Source: Republican Main St. Partnership Issue Paper: Fiscal Policy 98-RMSP4 on Sep 9, 1998

2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Government Reform: Porter Goss on other issues:
FL Gubernatorial:
Rick Scott
FL Senatorial:
Bill Nelson
Marco Rubio

Retiring to run for other office:

Running for Mayor:
CA-51:Bob Filner(D)

Running for Governor:
IN-6:Mike Pence(R)
WA-1:Jay Inslee(D)

Running for Senate:
AZ-6:Jeff Flake(R)
CT-5:Chris Murphy(R)
FL-14:Connie Mack(R)
HI-2:Mazie Hirono(D)
IN-2:Joe Donnelly(D)
MO-2:Todd Akin(R)
MT-0:Dennis Rehberg(R)
ND-0:Rick Berg(D)
NM-1:Martin Heinrich(D)
NV-1:Shelley Berkley(D)
WI-2:Tammy Baldwin(D)
2011-2012 Special Elections:
AZ-8:Gabby Giffords(D)
CA-36:Jane Harman(D)
CA-36:Janice Hahn(D)
NV-2:Dean Heller(R)
NV-2:Mark Amodei(R)
NY-9:Anthony Weiner(D)
NY-9:Bob Turner(R)
NY-26:Chris Lee(R)
NY-26:Kathleen Hochul(D)
OR-1:David Wu(D)
OR-1:Suzanne Bonamici(D)

Retiring 2012:
AR-4:Mike Ross(D)
AZ-8:Gabby Giffords(D)
CA-2:Wally Herger(R)
CA-6:Lynn Woolsey(D)
CA-18:Elton Gallegly(R)
CA-24:Dennis Cardoza(D)
CA-41:Jerry Lewis(R)
IL-12:Jerry Costello(D)
IN-5:Dan Burton(R)
KY-4:Geoff Davis(R)
MA-1:John Olver(D)
MA-4:Barney Frank(D)
MI-5:Dale Kildee(D)
NC-11:Heath Shuler(D)
NC-13:Brad Miller(D)
NY-22:Maurice Hinchey(D)
OH-7:Steve Austria(R)
OK-2:Dan Boren(D)
PA-19:Todd Platts(R)
TX-14:Ron Paul(R)
TX-20:Charles Gonzalez(D)
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Page last updated: Mar 15, 2012