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Lynn Westmoreland on Government Reform

Republican Representative (GA-8)


Voted NO 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 NO on protecting whistleblowers from employer recrimination.

Expands the types of whistleblower disclosures protected from personnel reprisals for federal employees, particularly 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

Voted YES on requiring photo ID for voting in federal elections.

Requires that to vote in federal elections, an individual present a government-issued, current, and valid photo identification. After 2010, that ID must require providing proof of US citizenship as a condition for issuance. An individual who does not present such an ID is permitted to cast a provisional ballot, and then present the required ID within 48 hours. Exempts from this requirement the absentee ballot of any eligible overseas military voter on active duty overseas.

Proponents support voting YES because:

The election system is the bedrock that our Republic is built on and its security and oversight is of paramount concern. Only US citizens have the right to vote in Federal elections, but our current system does not give State election officials the tools they need to ensure that this requirement is being met.

This bill is designed to increase participation by ensuring that each legitimate vote will be counted and not be diluted by fraud. There are many elections in this country every cycle that are decided by just a handful of votes. How can we be certain that these elections, without measures to certify the identity of voters, are not being decided by fraudulent votes?

Opponents support voting NO because:

There is something we can all agree on: only Americans get to vote, and they only get to vote once. But what we are talking about in this bill is disenfranchising many of those Americans. It is already a felony for a non-American to vote. We had hearings and what we found out was that the issue of illegal aliens voting basically does not occur.

The impact of this will disproportionately affect poor people and African Americans, because many are too poor to have a car and they do not have a license. We have no evidence there is a problem. We have ample evidence that this will disenfranchise many Americans. This is the measure to disenfranchise African Americans, Native Americans. It is wrong and we will not stand for it.

Reference: Federal Election Integrity Act; Bill H R 4844 ; vote number 2006-459 on Sep 20, 2006

Voted NO on restricting independent grassroots political committees.

A "527 organization" is a political committee which spends money raised independently of any candidate's campaign committee, in support or opposition of a candidate or in support or opposition of an issue. Well-known examples include MoveOn.org (anti-Bush) and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (anti-Kerry). Voting YES would regulate 527s as normal political committees, which would greatly restrict their funding, and hence would shift power to candidate committees and party committees. The bill's opponents say:
  • This legislation singles out 527 organizations in an effort to undermine their fundraising and is a direct assault on free speech.
  • This bill would obstruct the efforts of grassroots organizations while doing nothing to address the culture of corruption in Congress.
  • H.R. 513 is an unbalanced measure that favors corporate trade associations over independent advocates. Corporate interests could continue spending unlimited and undisclosed dollars for political purposes while independent organizations would be subject to contribution limits and source restrictions.
  • H.R. 513 also removes all limits on national and state party spending for Congressional candidates in primary or general elections--an unmasked attack on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and clear evidence that the true intention in advancing H.R. 513 is not reform, but partisan advantage in political fundraising.
    Reference: Federal Election Campaign Act amendment "527 Reform Act"; Bill H.R.513 ; vote number 2006-088 on Apr 5, 2006

    Voted YES on prohibiting lawsuits about obesity against food providers.

    The Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act ("The Cheesburger Bill") would prevent civil liability actions against food manufacturers, marketers, distributors, advertisers, sellers, and trade associations for claims relating to a person's weight gain, obesity, or any health condition associated with weight gain or obesity. A YES vote would:
    Reference: The Cheesburger Bill; Bill HR 554 ; vote number 2005-533 on Oct 19, 2005

    Voted YES on limiting attorney's fees in class action lawsuits.

    Class Action Fairness Act of 2005: Amends the Federal judicial code to specify the calculation of contingent and other attorney's fees in proposed class action settlements that provide for the award of coupons to class members. Allows class members to refuse compliance with settlement agreements or consent decrees absent notice. Prohibits a Federal district court from approving:
    1. a proposed coupon settlement absent a finding that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate;
    2. a proposed settlement involving payments to class counsel that would result in a net monetary loss to class members, absent a finding that the loss is substantially outweighed by nonmonetary benefits; or
    3. a proposed settlement that provides greater sums to some class members solely because they are closer geographically to the court.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA]; Bill S.5 ; vote number 2005-038 on Feb 17, 2005

    Prohibit non-legislated earmarks.

    Westmoreland co-sponsored prohibiting non-legislated earmarks

    OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to prohibit Federal agencies from obligating funds for appropriations earmarks included only in congressional reports.

    SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. McCAIN: This bill would prohibit Federal agencies from obligating funds which have been earmarked only in congressional reports. This legislation is designed to help reign in unauthorized, unrequested, run-of-the-mill pork barrel projects.

    Report language does not have the force of law. That fact has been lost when it comes to appropriations bills and reports. It has become a standard practice to load up committee reports with literally billions of dollars in unrequested, unauthorized, and wasteful pork barrel projects.

    We simply must start making some very tough decisions around here if we are serious about improving our fiscal future. It is simply not fiscally responsible for us to continue to load up appropriations bills with wasteful and unnecessary spending, and good deals for special interests and their lobbyists. We have had ample opportunities to tighten our belts in this town in recent years, and we have taken a pass each and every time. We can't put off the inevitable any longer.

    LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management & Government Information; hearings held; never came to a vote.

    Source: Obligation of Funds Transparency Act (S.1495/H.R.1642) 05-S1495 on Jul 26, 2005

    Sunset Act: review every federal agency every 12 years.

    Westmoreland signed H.R. 393

      Establishes the Federal Agency Sunset Commission to:
    1. submit to Congress a schedule for review by the Commission, at least once every 12 years, of the abolishment or reorganization of each agency;
    2. review and evaluate the efficiency and public need for each agency using specified criteria;
    3. recommend whether each agency should be abolished or reorganized; and
    4. report to Congress on all legislation introduced that would establish a new agency or a new program to be carried out by an existing agency.
    5. Terminates the Commission on December 31, 2033.
    Requires the abolishment of any agency within one year of the Commission's review, unless the agency is reauthorized by Congress. Authorizes the deadline for abolishing an agency to be extended for an additional two years by legislation enacted by a super majority of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    Source: Federal Sunset Act 09-HR393 on Jan 9, 2009

    Identify constitutionality in every new congressional bill.

    Westmoreland signed the Contract From America

    The Contract from America, clause 1. Protect the Constitution:

    Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does.

    Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA01 on Jul 8, 2010

    Audit federal agencies, to reform or eliminate them.

    Westmoreland signed the Contract From America

    The Contract from America, clause 5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington:

    Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality,

    Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA05 on Jul 8, 2010

    Moratorium on all earmarks until budget is balanced.

    Westmoreland signed the Contract From America

    The Contract from America, clause 9. Stop the Pork:

    Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark.

    Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA09 on Jul 8, 2010

    Require defining constitutional authority for every new law.

    Westmoreland co-sponsored Enumerated Powers Act

    Congressional Summary: Requires each Act of Congress to contain a concise and definite statement of the constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act. Declares that failure to comply with this requirement shall give rise to a point of order in either chamber of Congress.

    Constitutional Authority for This Act- This Act is enacted pursuant to the power granted Congress under article I, section 8, clause 18, of the United States Constitution and the power granted to each House of Congress under article I, section 5, clause 2, of the United States Constitution.

    Source: H.R.125 11-HR125 on Jan 5, 2011

    No recess appointments without Congressional approval.

    Westmoreland co-sponsored Resolution against Presidential appointments

    Congressional Summary: Resolution Disapproving of the President's appointment of four officers during a period when no recess of the Congress for a period of more than three days and expressing that those appointments were made in violation of the Constitution.

    Text of Resolution:

    OnTheIssues Notes:Pres. Obama attempted to appoint Elizabeth Warren to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in May 2011; House Republicans disapproved of Ms. Warren. House Speaker John Boehner disallowed the Senate's adjournment resolution, which meant the Senate was legally not adjourned and Pres. Obama could not make a "recess appointment" which would otherwise be allowed. This Resolution brings the issue to the fore again, for another set of Obama appointments for which House Republicans disapprove.

    Source: H.RES.509 12-HR509 on Jan 10, 2012

    Require all laws to cite Constitutional authorization.

    Westmoreland signed Enumerated Powers Act

    A bill to require Congress to specify the source of authority under the United States Constitution for the enactment of laws.

    Each Act of Congress shall contain a concise explanation of the specific constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act. The failure to comply with this section shall give rise to a point of order in either House of Congress. The availability of this point of order does not affect any other available relief.

    Constitutional Authority for This Act: This Act proposes to establish new procedures by which legislation shall be considered by Congress and is enacted pursuant to the power granted Congress under article I, section 5, clause 2, of the United States Constitution establishing that each House may determine the rules of its proceedings.

    Source: S.1319&HR450 2009-S1319 on Jun 22, 2009

    2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Government Reform: Lynn Westmoreland on other issues:
    GA Gubernatorial:
    Nathan Deal
    GA Senatorial:
    Jack Kingston
    Johnny Isakson
    Karen Handel
    Paul Broun
    Phil Gingrey



    Lame-duck session 2012:
    KY-4: Thomas Massie(R)
    MI-11:Dave Curson(D)
    NJ-9: Donald Payne Jr.(D)
    WA-1: Suzan DelBene(D)

    Re-seated Former Reps:
    AZ-1: Ann Kirkpatrick(D)
    AZ-5: Matt Salmon(R)
    FL-8: Alan Grayson(D)
    IL-11:Bill Foster(D)
    NH-1: Carol Shea-Porter(D)
    NV-3: Dina Titus(D)
    NY-24:Dan Maffei(D)
    TX-36:Steve Stockman(R)

    2013 Resignations and Replacements:
    AL-1:Jo Bonner(R,resigned)
    IL-2:Jesse Louis Jackson(D,resigned)
    IL-2:Robin Kelly(D)
    MA-5:Ed Markey(D,to Senate)
    MA-8:Stephen Lynch(D)
    MO-8:Jo Ann Emerson(R,resigned)
    MO-8:Jason Smith(R,elected June 2013)
    SC-1:Tim Scott(R,resigned)
    SC-1:Mark Sanford(R)
    SC-1:Elizabeth Colbert-Busch(D)
    Newly-elected Democrats:
    AZ-9: Kyrsten Sinema
    CA-2: Jared Huffman
    CA-7: Ami Bera
    CA-15:Eric Swalwell
    CA-24:Julia Brownley
    CA-29:Tony Cardenas
    CA-35:Gloria Negrete McLeod
    CA-36:Raul Ruiz
    CA-41:Mark Takano
    CA-47:Alan Lowenthal
    CA-51:Juan Vargas
    CA-52:Scott Peters
    CT-5: Elizabeth Esty
    FL-18:Patrick Murphy
    FL-22:Lois Frankel
    FL-26:Joe Garcia
    HI-2: Tulsi Gabbard
    IL-8: Tammy Duckworth
    IL-10:Brad Schneider
    IL-12:Bill Enyart
    IL-17:Cheri Bustos
    MD-6: John Delaney
    MA-4: Joe Kennedy III
    MI-5: Dan Kildee
    MN-8: Rick Nolan
    NV-4: Steven Horsford
    NH-2: Annie Kuster
    NM-1: Michelle Lujan-Grisham
    NY-5: Grace Meng
    NY-10:Hakeem Jeffries
    NY-18:Sean Maloney
    OH-10:Joyce Beatty
    PA-17:Matt Cartwright
    TX-16:Beto O`Rourke
    TX-20:Joaquin Castro
    TX-23:Pete Gallego
    TX-33:Marc Veasey
    TX-34:Filemon Vela
    WA-6: Derek Kilmer
    WA-10:Denny Heck
    WI-2: Mark Pocan
    Newly-elected Republicans:
    AR-4: Tom Cotton
    CA-1: Doug LaMalfa
    CA-21:David Valadao
    CA-41:Paul Cook
    FL-3: Ted Yoho
    FL-6: Ron DeSantis
    FL-19:Trey Radel
    GA-9: Doug Collins
    IL-15:Rodney Davis
    IN-2: Jackie Walorski
    IN-5: Susan Brooks
    IN-6: Luke Messer
    KY-6: Andy Barr
    MI-11:Kerry Bentivolio
    MO-2: Ann Wagner
    MT-0: Steve Daines
    NY-26:Chris Collins
    NC-8: Richard Hudson
    NC-9: Robert Pittenger
    NC-11:Mark Meadows
    NC-13:George Holding
    ND-0: Kevin Cramer
    OH-2: Brad Wenstrup
    OH-14:Dave Joyce
    OK-1: Jim Bridenstine
    OK-2: Markwayne Mullin
    PA-4: Scott Perry
    PA-12:Keith Rothfus
    SC-7: Tom Rice
    TX-14:Randy Weber
    TX-25:Roger Williams
    UT-2: Chris Stewart
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    Page last updated: Jun 23, 2013