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Lean Pork: A new way to run Congress

Almost everyone agrees that pork barrel legislation is bad for the taxpayer. Here's a way to cut back on it.

Ask your Congressman and Senator to enable these House and Senate rules on legislation:

If any 20 members of Congress or any five Senators assert that a particular line item in a spending bill is inconsistent with the main purpose of the bill, say an appropriation for a violin museum in an agriculture or military spending bill, that line item must be brought to an immediate vote for or against inclusion in the omnibus bill.

The vote to include the line item must pass by a two-thirds majority of the entire body. Otherwise it must be stricken from the bill.

It would not take long for our Congress critters to realize that they can't get away with including pork in unrelated bills. If they want to introduce the line item as specific legislation that's fine, but doing so opens them up to a lot of perhaps unfortunate public scrutiny.

Let's call this the beatback rule. Ask candidates for office whether they will vote to include this in House and Senate procedural rules.

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  • Aug 3 2013: Require of your candidates a pledge to support the rules change. There is a very interesting chap in American history, one of the most important people of the 20th century that no one ever heard of. Wayne B. Wheeler was the "lobbyist" who almost single-handedly brought about the election of politicians who would vote in favor of prohibition, both at the Congress level and the state level.

    Under Wheeler's leadership, the Anti-Saloon League focused entirely on the goal of achieving Prohibition. It organized at the grass-roots level and worked extensively through churches. It supported or opposed candidates based entirely on their position regarding prohibition, completely disregarding political party affiliation or other issues. Unlike other temperance groups, the Anti-Saloon League worked with the two major parties rather than backing the smaller Prohibition Party. Wheeler developed what is now known as pressure politics, which is sometimes also called Wheelerism.

    Excellent biography: Wayne Wheeler, Dry Boss, by Justin Steuart.

    One quote from the book:

    "Wayne B. Wheeler controlled six congresses, dictated to two presidents of the United States, directed legislation in most of the States of the Union, picked the candidates for the more important elective state and federal offices, held the balance of power in both Republican and Democratic parties, distributed more patronage than any dozen other men, supervised a federal bureau from outside without official authority, and was recognized by friend and foe alike as the most masterful and powerful single individual in the United States."

    AND no one today ever heard of him! If one man can do that for prohibition, what can a movement of thousands of citizens do for changing a couple of rules in the Congress?

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