The Unprincipled “Conservative” – Part 2

At this late stage of the 2012 GOP primary there can be no question that Leonard Lance – the incumbent who represents Congressional District 7 in New Jersey – is resolved to present himself to the electorate as the “Principled Conservative” in this race. If his campaign literature and website rhetoric are to be believed, Mr. Lance is a rock-ribbed Reaganite – a stand-up conservative who doesn’t refrain from doing the right thing when duty calls in the House of Representatives.

But facts are stubborn things and if the facts regarding Mr. Lance’s legislative record are any indication, he’s done the wrong thing more often than the right thing – a fact reiterated in a recent American Conservative Union press release announcing ACU’s endorsement of David Larsen, the Movement Conservative who is challenging Lance for the GOP nomination:

The incumbent, Leonard Lance received one of the lowest ratings for a Republican in the entire congress in 2011, 44 out of 100, showing that he is clearly out of the mainstream for conservatives,” said ACU Al Cardenas, “The ACU PAC urges all conservatives in New Jersey’s 7th District to support David Larsen in the Republican Primary June 5th.”

OUCH. When the ACU says you are “clearly out of the mainstream for conservatives,” that pretty much puts the kibosh on calling yourself a “principled conservative” and still keeping a straight face.

But do the facts support this conclusion? In this series we’ll examine the the 25 votes considered by the ACU to be crucial to the conservative agenda in 2011 together with the ACU scorecard for Senators and Representatives – with a eye focused on how Leonard Lance voted on each of these pieces of legislation.

In Part 1 we scrutinized the first five votes. In this part we will examine the next ten votes cast by Mr. Lance in an effort to see just how principled a conservative he really is.

6. Federal Pay Freeze. HR 1 (Roll Call 133)
The House defeated an amendment to include federal pay step increases given for seniority. They have been exempt from the current federal pay freeze as have pay increases given for living or working in high cost cities, such as Washington, DC. ACU supports a pay freeze that actually freezes federal pay and supports this amendment. The amendment failed on February 19, 2011 by a vote of 191-230.

“Principled Conservative” Leonard Lance apparently doesn’t believe in freezing federal wages in spite of a federal budget deficit that threatens to turn the United States of America into the Unfit States of Greece.

7. Davis-Bacon Wage Rate Requirements. HR 1 (Roll Call 144)
The House defeated an amendment to the 2011 appropriations bill barring the use of funds to enforce the Davis-Bacon Act. This requires federal projects to pay workers the “prevailing” wage, usually union wage rates which are often well above the local market rate. This adds billions of dollars in cost to federal programs and adds to the deficit. ACU opposes this federal mandate and supports this amendment. The amendment failed on February 19, 2011 by a vote of 189-233.

“Principled Conservative” Leonard Lance’s fealty to his trade union donors and supporters outweighs his belief in the power of the free market. His vote ensures that private contractors working on federally funded projects in right-to-work states will be forced to pay  laborers and tradesmen union-scale wages, thereby driving up the cost of the project.

8. D.C. School Voucher Program. HR 471 (Roll Call 204)
Passage of a bill that revives the District of Columbia’s school voucher program which had been defunded by the Obama Administration. ACU supports school choice and supports this bill. The bill passed the House on March 30, 2011 by a vote of 225-195.

The DC School Voucher Program was a hot topic on talk radio at the time the bill was being debated and so it comes as no surprise that Mr. Lance cast his vote in support of it.

9. Union Elections. HR 658 (Roll Call 217)
The House defeated an amendment that would have eliminated from the Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill a provision restoring majority rule in union organizing elections. Obama Administration appointees to the National Mediation Board overturned a 75 year old rule requiring a majority of the workers affected to approve union representation. The new rule only requires a majority of those voting. ACU opposes this change and opposes this amendment.  The amendment failed on April 1, 2011 by a vote of 206-220.

I’m surprised Mr. Lance did the right thing and voted for this amendment, given his cozy relationship with trade unions.

10. Net Neutrality. HJ Res 37 (Roll Call 252)
The House passed a joint resolution that would nullify the Federal Communications Commission “net neutrality” rule which puts the federal government in charge of managing traffic on the Internet. ACU has long opposed this federal intervention in the free market and supported this resolution of disapproval. The resolution passed the House on April 8, 2011 by a vote of 240-179.

Thankfully, the outcry in the alternate news media and the blogosphere was sufficiently cacophonous to remind Mr. Lance that he represented a largely conservative district.

11. Conservative Budget. H Con Res 34 (Roll Call 275)
The House defeated a conservative alternative to the budget that would freeze total discretionary spending at 2008 levels beginning in 2013 and balanced the budget within ten years. The bill cut mandatory spending by $1.9 trillion over 10 years. The bill assumed the repeal of the Obama health care bill and a gradual increase in the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare. ACU supports this alternative as a reasonable attempt to eliminate our annual deficits. The amendment failed on April 15, 2011 by a vote of 119-136. 172 Democrats voted “Present” even though they opposed the bill and their votes are rated in opposition.

Yet again, Der Lancemeister lunges into the breach and actually does the right thing by voting for the amendment.

12. Offshore Drilling Expansion. HR 1229 (Roll Call 320)
The House passed a bill requiring the Interior Department to expand the area of the outer continental shelf available for oil and natural gas drilling. ACU opposes the Obama Administration’s efforts to reduce domestic energy production and supports this bill. The bill passed the House on May 12, 2011 by a vote of 243-179.

Old habits, beliefs and alliances die hard, I guess. “Principled Conservative” Leonard Lance opposed this bill and voted against it, thereby placing himself squarely on the side of the Obama Administration and its opposition to American energy independence.

13. Medical Training for Abortions. HR 1216 (Roll Call 338)
The House passed an amendment to a bill affecting graduate medical education funding to bar funds for training in abortion procedures. It would also bar funds to support institutions that discriminate against health care providers that refuse to provide abortions. ACU opposes federal funding of abortions and supported this amendment. The amendment passed on May 25, 2011 by a vote of 234-182.

Of course Leonard Lance voted in favor of the amendment: having previously established his pro-choice bona fides over the course of more than a decade, he’s doing the political backstroke faster than an Olympic swimmer.

14. Terrorist Trials. HR 1540 (Roll Call 357)
The House passed an amendment to the Defense Policy Bill that would require all foreign terror suspects accused of attacking the United States or its personnel to be tried by a military commission. ACU opposes treating foreign terror suspects as common criminals and supported this amendment. The House passed this amendment on May 26, 2011 by a vote of 246-173.

The split on this vote was almost perfectly along partisan lines. Lance would have been an idiot to join the Democrats.

15. Insourcing. HR 2917 (Roll Call 390)
The House passed an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that removes a section barring the use of private contractors for certain positions. This would affect the Obama Administration’s efforts throughout the federal government to reduce the number of contracts available to private enterprise and greatly increase the federal workforce, a process known as “insourcing.” ACU opposes “insourcing” and supported this amendment. The amendment passed on June 2, 2011 by a vote of 218-204.

What’s not to love about excluding the private sector and hiring yet MORE federal workers? The answer – if you are a conservative or even have sense enough to grasp the budget-busting stupidity of this proposition – is everything. Unfortunately, “Principled Conservative” Leonard Lance disagreed with both conservatives and common sense when he voted against this amendment. No small wonder. As we noted earlier, Leonard Lance believes that private sector companies awarded government contracts should be forced to accommodate union demands. In this case it would have been the demands of public sector unions – which also have contributed to the Lance campaign. Very interesting.

So how does Mr. Lance rate with the ACU for these ten votes? Once again we see that on high profile issues he cast conservative votes while siding with RINOS and Democrats on obscure or lesser known issues.This go-around, he scored higher than fellow RINOs Smith and LoBiondo.

The vetting of “Principled Conservative” Lance will continue in Part 3 as we parse the final ten votes he cast in 2011.

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