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Bobby Jindal on Government Reform

Republican Governor; previously Representative (LA-1)


If it's worth doing, then block-grant it to the states

Jindal hinted that his growth strategy might involve shifting Republican political efforts back to state governments instead of Washington, to build the prosperity he spoke of one community at a time. This would build the political capital and general popularity necessary to take another shot at winning Washington, coupled with a realistic chance of building a sustainable federal government after electoral victory.

He spoke strongly in favor of returning power and money from D.C. to state capitals. "If it's worth doing, then block-grant it to the states," said Jindal. "And if the states can't be trusted to do it, then, well, maybe Washington shouldn't be doing it at all."

Source: 2013 Conservative Political Action Conf. in "Human Events" , Mar 16, 2013

Federal government has become too expensive & too expansive

Government has become too big. By too big I mean not only too expensive, but also our federal government has become too expansive and strayed too far from what should be its core competency. Today we have the federal government in Washington trying to run car companies, banks, and our entire health care system--rather than sticking to its core job of protecting America from all enemies foreign and domestic. What we really need is for the federal government to do those things it should be doing with excellence, and stop trying to take over the pieces of the private sector that it has no business in and no reasonable chance of running well.

The federal government's response to the oil spill would not adjust to respond adequately to a crisis of this magnitude. We ended up writing our own plans. And some of the federal plans were, how can I say it? Crazy. If oil entered the marshes, the plan was to... burn the marshes! What? How about some Napalm?

Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p. 4-5 , Nov 15, 2010

Make being a Congressman a part-time job

First step to remaking Congress: make being a congressman a part-time job. When Congress meets, a lot of bad things happen. Elected officials inevitably feel the need to do something, and they crave the media coverage that accompanies big proposals, no matter how wasteful or destructive. Making Congress a part-time job would fundamentally change Washington, forcing congressmen to spend much more time back in their districts interacting with regular people. It would also encourage greater independence by young members of Congress. Most crucially, under a part-time Congress, congressmen would no longer regard politics as their career.

Why not pay members of Congress to stay out of Washington? For decades we have paid farmers not to grow crops. We should pay congressmen a decent salary and then deduct money for every day Congress meets in session. This would certainly be cheaper to the taxpayer than the cost of the schemes Congress concocts in Washington.

Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p.102-103 , Nov 15, 2010

Full financial disclosure for both legislators & lobbyists

    During my 2007 campaign, I introduced a detailed plan for ethics reform based on five pillars:
  1. You cannot be both a lobbyist and a legislator. In my view, this was an inherent conflict of interest that cost us business and hurt our reputation.
  2. Legislators should be required to submit to financial disclosure. The best way to prevent corruption is to mandate transparency.
  3. You cannot serve in government and do business with the government at the same time. You are elected to serve the public, not yourself.
  4. Lobbyists must fully disclose all their actions. The public has a right to know who is lobbying whom and for what.
  5. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. When the penalty for breaking ethics laws is a small fine or a slap on the wrist, the whole system becomes a joke. Severe offenses must be punished by expulsion and/or criminal charges.
The Center for Public Integrity says we have gone from 44th to 1st in the country in terms of legislative disclosure laws.
Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p.148-150 , Nov 15, 2010

Line-item veto & single-item legislation

The Republican Party needs to commit itself to something I call the Grandchildren Debt Relief Package, but what you could just as well call A Promise to the American People. That promise would be that every Republican elected to Congress would work to restore America's future with a 7-step recovery program. Here it is:
  1. INSTITUTE TERM LIMITS, to force members of Congress to think of our nation's future rather than their own reelection.
  2. MAKE CONGRESS A PART-TIME LEGISLATURE. Congress does less harm when it's not in session, so it should be out of session more often.
  3. PASS A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION.
  4. GIVE THE PRESIDENT A LINE-ITEM VETO, to prevent sneaking in pork barrel projects. Most governors have it, so should the president.
  5. FORCE CONGRESS TO HAVE SIMPLE UP OR DOWN VOTES ON SINGLE-ITEM LEGISLATION, to prevent Congress from hiding bad policy in "must pass" legislation.
  6. LEGISLATE PAY-AS-YOU-GO BUDGETING.
  7. REQUIRE A SUPER MAJORITY TO RAISE TAXES.
Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p.278-279 , Nov 15, 2010

Fighting big government is conservative missionary work

To fight big government, I do not believe conservatives should roundly condemn the very concept of government service, as is often the case today. We should consider the possibility that government service might in fact be a noble calling. It shouldn't be viewed as a way to get rich or to make a comfortable life-long career with great employment benefits. We need conservatives in government positions who are devoted to changing government without letting government change them. We need people of strong resolve who will resist the temptation to go native in Washington, DC. You don't have to do it as a career, but you might consider giving some time to it. Consider it missionary work.

I want you to get in the game. We will not take our government back by sitting on the sidelines. Do it now--your country needs you.

Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p.280-283 , Nov 15, 2010

Strength of America is not in government but in our citizens

Let me tell you a story. During Katrina, I visited Sheriff Harry Lee, a Democrat and a good friend of mine. He was yelling into the phone: "Well, I'm the Sheriff and if you don't like it you can come and arrest me!" He told me that he had put out a call for volunteers to come with their boats to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters. The boats were all lined up ready to go, when some bureaucrat showed up and told them they couldn't go out on the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration. I told him, "Sheriff, that's ridiculous." And before I knew it, he was yelling into the phone: "Congressman Jindal is here, and he says you can come and arrest him too!" Harry just told the boaters to ignore the bureaucrats and go start rescuing people.

There is a lesson in this experience: The strength of America is not found in our government. It is found in the compassionate hearts and the enterprising spirit of our citizens.

Source: GOP response to the 2009 State of the Union address , Feb 24, 2009

Legislator salary increase should be smaller & post-election

Q: You have said that you will not stand in the way of a doubling of Louisiana legislatorsí pay. Allowing legislators to double their pay, how does that jibe with your role as a conservative?

A: Well, I still think the pay is excessive.

Q: But why wouldnít you block it, then, if you think itís excessive?

A: Weíre actually working with legislators to show them that this is wrong. There is still time to make sure this doesnít happen. They can still sign affidavits to turn down this pay raise. I do think itís excessive. I think itís wrong. I donít think any pay raise should go into effect until after the next election.

Q: But you could stop them, couldnít you? You could veto this.

A: Well, there is still time to stop them. We still have a week. And we still have many options to make sure that we donít see legislators take a pay raise that would be more than double what they currently make. I donít think any pay raise should go into effect until after the next election.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jun 29, 2008

Voted YES on requiring lobbyist disclosure of bundled donations.

Amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to require a registered lobbyist who bundles contributions totaling over $5,000 to one covered recipient in one quarter to:
  1. file a quarterly report with Congress; and
  2. notify the recipient.
"Covered recipient" includes federal candidates, political party committees, or leadership PACs [but not regular PACs].

Proponents support voting YES because:

This measure will more effectively regulate, but does not ban, the practice of registered lobbyists bundling together large numbers of campaign contributions. This is a practice that has already taken root in Presidential campaigns. "Bundling" contributions which the lobbyist physically receives and forwards to the candidate, or which are credited to the lobbyist through a specific tracking system put in place by the candidate. This bill requires quarterly reporting on bundled contributions.

We ultimately need to move to assist the public financing of campaigns, as soon as we can. But until we do, the legislation today represents an extremely important step forward.

Opponents support voting NO because:

This legislation does not require that bundled contributions to political action committees, often referred to as PACs, be disclosed. Why are PACs omitted from the disclosure requirements in this legislation?

If we are requiring the disclosure of bundled contributions to political party committees, those same disclosure rules should also apply to contributions to PACs. Party committees represent all members of that party affiliation. PACs, on the other hand, represent more narrow, special interests. Why should the former be exposed to more sunshine, but not the latter?

The fact that PACs give more money to Democrats is not the only answer. Time and again the majority party picks favorites, when what the American people want is more honesty and more accountability.

Reference: Honest Leadership and Open Government Act; Bill H R 2316 ; vote number 2007-423 on May 24, 2007

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 YES 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 YES 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

    Other governors on Government Reform: Bobby Jindal on other issues:

    LA Senatorial:
    Bill Cassidy
    David Vitter
    Mary Landrieu

    Newly seated 2013:
    IN: Mike Pence (R)
    NC: Pat McCrory (R)
    NH: Maggie Hassan (D)
    MT: Steve Bullock (D)
    WA: Jay Inslee (D)

    Re-elected 2012:
    DE: Jack Markell (D)
    MO: Jay Nixon (D)
    ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
    UT: Gary Herbert (R)
    VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
    WI: Scott Walker (R)
    WV: Earl Ray Tomblin (D)

    Up for election 2013:
    NJ-R: Chris Christie
    NJ-D: Barbara Buono
    VA: Bob McDonnell(Retiring)
    VA-R: Ken Cuccinelli
    VA-D: Terry McAuliffe
    Up for re-election 2014:
    AK: Sean Parnell
    AL: Robert Bentley
    AR: Mike Beebe
    AZ: Jan Brewer
    CA: Jerry Brown
    CO: John Hickenlooper
    CT: Dan Malloy
    FL: Rick Scott
    GA: Nathan Deal
    HI: Neil Abercrombie
    IA: Terry Branstad
    ID: Butch Otter
    IL: Pat Quinn
    KS: Sam Brownback
    MA: Deval Patrick
    MD: Martin O'Malley
    ME: Paul LePage
    MI: Rick Snyder
    MN: Mark Dayton
    NH: Maggie Hassan
    NM: Susana Martinez
    NV: Brian Sandoval
    NY: Andrew Cuomo
    OH: John Kasich
    OK: Mary Fallin
    OR: John Kitzhaber
    PA: Tom Corbett
    RI: Linc Chafee
    SC: Nikki Haley
    SD: Dennis Daugaard
    TN: Bill Haslam
    TX: Rick Perry
    VT: Peter Shumlin
    WI: Scott Walker
    WY: Matt Mead
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    Page last updated: Jul 01, 2013