John Ashcroft on Government Reform

Make government smaller; cut corporate welfare

We need to do more than merely streamline government, or make it more efficient. We need to make the government smaller. This means “right-sizing” the federal workforce, and doing the work with many fewer employees. It means cutting corporate welfare by at least 90 percent. We also should limit overall discretionary spending, rein in entitlements, and reduce unnecessary and wasteful inventories. Ideas like these will save the American taxpayer more than $1 trillion over five years.
Source: Lincoln Institute Journal (Fall 1998) Oct 9, 1998

Govt exists to help people prosper, not to grow govt

Q: Do you have a framework about the proper role of the federal government?

A: Government exists to help maintain an environment in which people prosper, in which people grow, in which their enterprises grow, but not in which government grows. And we ought to ask ourselves, what does this do in a framework of freedom that will provide an opportunity for the growth of individuals, their institutions, for citizens, their do they succeed? That ought to be the test of government.

Source: Interview with “Democracy In Action,” Cedar Rapids Jun 12, 1998

Judicial activism means failing to defend the Constitution

Q: What are your feelings about the ‘Hatch Pledge’ that the Free Congress Foundation is asking all Senators to sign saying they won’t vote for judicial activists?

A: It is regrettable that conservatives feel that such a pledge is necessary when every senator has pledged in his oath of office to defend and protect the Constitution. After all, activism is nothing more than failing to defend the Constitution.

Source:, Online Chat Session Mar 6, 1997

Voted NO on limiting funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

This table motion would end debate on an amendment aimed at funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Support for the motion to table is a vote against NEA funding. [YES to table means defunding; NO means supporting the NEA].
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)80; N)16; NV)4
Reference: Motion to table Smith Amdt #1569; Bill H.R. 2466 ; vote number 1999-260 on Aug 5, 1999

Voted NO on ending some agricultural subsidies.

Senator Inhofe (R-OK) offered an amendment to the 1999 Agriculture Appropriations bill to end government funding for agricultural market access and market promotion.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)48; N)45; NV)7
Reference: Inhofe Amdt #2981; Bill S. 2057 ; vote number 1998-174 on Jun 25, 1998

Voted NO on cloture of 1998 McCain-Feingold overhaul of campaign finance.

Failure to reach cloture ended debate on the McCain-Feingold plan to overhaul campaign finance laws. [Voting FOR cloture (a YES vote) is voting AGAINST campaign finance reform.]
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)51; N)48; NV)1
Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on the McCain Amendment #1646; Bill S. 1663 ; vote number 1998-16 on Feb 26, 1998

Voted NO on favoring 1997 McCain-Feingold overhaul of campaign finance.

Support of the campaign finance bill proposed by Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Feingold (D-WI).
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)53; N)47
Reference: Campaign Finance Reform Bill; Bill S. 25 ; vote number 1997-267 on Oct 7, 1997

Voted YES on Approving the presidential line-item veto.

Approval of the presidential line-item veto authority.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)69; N)31
Reference: Conference Report on S. 4; Bill S. 4 ; vote number 1996-56 on Mar 27, 1996

Voted YES on replacing farm price supports.

Replaces farm price supports with seven years of annual fixed payments.
Status: Bill Passed Y)64; N)32; NV)4
Reference: Agriculture Market Transition Act of 1996; Bill S. 1541 ; vote number 1996-19 on Feb 7, 1996

Voted YES on banning more types of Congressional gifts.

To exclude certain items from the Congressional Gift Ban.
Status: Amdt Failed Y)39; N)60; NV)1
Reference: Murkowski Amdt to S. 1061; Bill S. 1061 ; vote number 1995-339 on Jul 28, 1995

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