by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner uses a new Daily Caller column to tout the role the Republican Study Committee plays in pushing Congress toward more conservative policy decisions. Feulner has a history with the study group. He was its first full-time executive director in the 1970s.
Let’s look at what the RSC has done this year. It introduced and ultimately won passage of the Cut, Cap and Balance Act. It pushed for H.R. 1 to cut spending deeper than originally proposed. Its leaders have pressed for passage of important free trade agreements while expressing deep reservations about renewing Trade Adjustment Assistance. Beyond doubt, the RSC has had tremendous influence on this year’s legislative agenda — pushing Congress outside the safe confines of conventional Beltway wisdom. …
… Over the last 40 years, the RSC has fought many policy battles. Sometimes it worked alongside Republican leaders — to pass the Kemp-Roth tax cuts in the 1980s and welfare reform in the 1990s, for example. On other issues — such as the 1990 Andrews Air Force Base tax hike deal and the Medicare Part D battle of 2003 — the group has bucked party leadership.
These disagreements don’t portend irreconcilable differences between conservatives and the Republican leadership. Conservatives recognize our objectives can only be achieved through the traditional political process. But these stories highlight the important distinction between a belief in conservative principles and membership in the Republican caucus.