Ralph Moody Hall on Government Reform
Republican Representative (TX-4)
Voted NO on Senate pay raise.
Makes appropriations to the Senate for FY2010 for:Amends the Legislative Branch Appropriation Act of 1968 to increase by $50,000 the gross compensation paid all employees in the office of a Senator. Increases by $96,000 per year the aggregate amount authorized for the offices of the Majority and Minority Whip.
- expense allowances;
- representation allowances for the Majority and Minority Leaders;
- salaries of specified officers, employees, and committees (including the Committee on Appropriations);
- agency contributions for employee benefits;
- inquiries and investigations;
- the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control;
- the Offices of the Secretary and of the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate;
- miscellaneous items;
- the Senators' Official Personnel and Office Expense Account; and
- official mail costs.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D, FL-20): We, as Members of
Congress, have responsibility not just for the institution, but for the staff that work for this institution, and to preserve the facilities that help support this institution. We have endeavored to do that responsibly, and I believe we have accomplished that goal.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. SCALISE (R, LA-1): It's a sad day when someone attempts to cut spending in a bill that grows government by the size of 7%, and it's not allowed to be debated on this House floor. Some of their Members actually used the term "nonsense" and "foolishness" when describing our amendments to cut spending; they call that a delaying tactic. Well, I think Americans all across this country want more of those types of delaying tactics to slow down this runaway train of massive Federal spending. Every dollar we spend from today all the way through the end of this year is borrowed money. We don't have that money. We need to control what we're spending.
Reference: Legislative Branch Appropriations Act;
; vote number 2009-H413
on Jun 19, 2009
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:
"Covered recipient" includes federal candidates, political party committees, or leadership PACs [but not regular PACs].
- file a quarterly report with Congress; and
- notify the recipient.
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:
Reference: Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act;
Bill H R 985
; vote number 2007-153
on Mar 14, 2007
- 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.
- 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.
- This bill would make every claim of a self-described whistleblower, whether meritorious or not, subject to extended and protracted litigation.
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
- Prohibit such lawsuits in this act in federal or state courts
- Dismiss any pending lawsuits upon this bill's enactment
- Maintain an individual's right to bring a lawsuit to court for false marketing, advertising or labeling of food when such information led to injury, obesity or weight gain
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:
Reference: Bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA];
; vote number 2005-038
on Feb 17, 2005
- a proposed coupon settlement absent a finding that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate;
- 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
- a proposed settlement that provides greater sums to some class members solely because they are closer geographically to the court.
Voted YES on restricting frivolous lawsuits.
Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004: Amends the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to:
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Lamar Smith [R, TX-21];
; vote number 2004-450
on Sep 14, 2004
- require courts to impose sanctions on attorneys, law firms, or parties who file frivolous lawsuits (currently, sanctions are discretionary);
- disallow the withdrawal or correction of pleadings to avoid sanctions;
- require courts to award parties prevailing on motions reasonable expenses and attorney's fees, if warranted;
- authorize courts to impose sanctions that include reimbursement of a party's reasonable litigation costs in connection with frivolous lawsuits; and
- make the discovery phase of litigation subject to sanctions.
Voted NO on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions.
Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance Overhaul: Vote to pass a bill that would ban soft money contributions to national political parties but permit up to $10,000 in soft money contributions to state and local parties to help with voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. The bill would stop issue ads from targeting specific candidates within 30 days of the primary or 60 days of the general election. Additionally, the bill would raise the individual contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 per election for House and Senate candidates, both of which would be indexed for inflation.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Shays, R-CT, and Meehan D-MA;
Bill HR 2356
; vote number 2002-34
on Feb 14, 2002
Voted NO on banning soft money donations to national political parties.
Support a ban on soft money donations to national political parties but allow up to $10,000 in soft-money donations to state and local parties for voter registration and get-out-the vote activity.
Bill HR 2356
; vote number 2001-228
on Jul 12, 2001
Voted NO on banning soft money and issue ads.
Campaign Finance Reform Act to ban "soft money" and impose restrictions on issue advocacy campaigning.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Shays, R-CT;
Bill HR 417
; vote number 1999-422
on Sep 14, 1999
Supports Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance Reform.
Hall adopted the Blue Dog Coalition press release:
In a press conference today the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 32 moderate to conservative Democrats, announced their continued support for the Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance Reform bill (H.R. 2356), which is being debated on the House floor today. The Coalition was joined by the lead sponsors of the Senate Campaign Finance Reform bill. “I believe that we need to end the influence of ‘soft money’ generated from undisclosed sources. And I believe that we need to rein in illegal foreign contributions,” said Rep. Ken Lucas (KY), Blue Dog Campaign Finance Reform Task Force Co-Chairman. “True campaign finance reform will restore to the American people their voice in the legislative process--a voice that has been drowned out in recent years by big-money donors.”
The Blue Dog Coalition endorsed the Shays-Meehan bill in March of this year. An official Blue Dog endorsement comes with the approval of no less than two-thirds of the Coalition’s 32 members. “My own campaign experience
has demonstrated to me the need for strong campaign finance reform measures,” said freshman Blue Dog Rep. Adam Schiff (CA), whose victory last November was the most expensive House race to date – combined, both candidates spent $11 million. “In order to protect the integrity of our democratic electoral process, we must reduce the corrosive influence of unregulated soft money donations.”
“I have been a strong supporter of Shays-Meehan and urge my colleagues to join with us so we can restore the faith of the American people in our elections,” said Rep. Dennis Moore (KS), a member of the Blue Dog Campaign Finance Reform Task Force. “I’ve worked with Sen. McCain on reform legislation before and I know that by working in a bipartisan manner, we can get big money out of politics.”
Source: Blue Dog Coalition press release 01-BDC4 on Jul 12, 2001
Sunset Act: review every federal agency every 12 years.
Hall signed H.R. 393
Establishes the Federal Agency Sunset Commission to: 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.
- submit to Congress a schedule for review by the Commission, at least once every 12 years, of the abolishment or reorganization of each agency;
- review and evaluate the efficiency and public need for each agency using specified criteria;
- recommend whether each agency should be abolished or reorganized; and
- 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.
- Terminates the Commission on December 31, 2033.
Source: Federal Sunset Act 09-HR393 on Jan 9, 2009
Identify constitutionality in every new congressional bill.
Hall 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.
Hall 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.
Hall 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 Congressional certification of president's "Czars".
Hall co-sponsored Sunset All Czars Act
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION To define advisors often characterized as Czars and to provide that appropriated funds may not be used to pay for any salaries and expenses associated with such advisors.
- Whereas Congress recognizes the importance of coordinating executive agencies, and recognizes that Presidents often appoint special assistants, commonly referred to as 'czars', to manage this coordination with regard to important areas of national policy, and to advise the President;
- Whereas at least 36 czars have been appointed in 2009, raising concerns about the Federal government's provision of adequate transparency and accountability to the public; and
- Whereas members of Congress are concerned that the appointment of these czars and their actions may subvert the legislative and oversight authority of Congress under article I of the Constitution:
- Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of Congress that the
- issue a report to Congress clearly outlining the responsibilities, qualifications, and authorities of the special assistants to the President, commonly referred to as 'czars', that he has appointed; and
- certify to Congress that such czars have not asserted and will not in the future assert any powers other than those granted by statute to a commissioned officer on the President's staff; and
- Congress should hold hearings on such report and such certification within 30 days after the date of their receipt.
- [HR59 adds the additional stricter clause]: Appropriated funds may not be used to pay for any salaries or expenses of any task force, council, policy office within the Executive Office of the President, or similar office that is established by the direction of the President; and the head of which is a Czar.
Source: HCR3&HR59 11-HR059 on Jan 5, 2011
No recess appointments without Congressional approval.
Hall 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:
- Whereas the Constitution states, 'Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days';
- Whereas, on January 4, 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Richard Cordray to be the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and appointed Sharon Block, Terence Flynn, and Richard Griffin to the National Labor Relations Board; and
- Whereas these appointments broke the long-established precedent of Congress being in recess for more than three days before the President can make a recess appointment:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives disapproves of the President's appointment of four officers when no recess of the Congress for a period of more than three days was authorized.
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
Prohibit IRS audits targeting Tea Party political groups.
Hall co-sponsored Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act
Congressional summary:: Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act: Requires the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards and definitions in effect on January 1, 2010, for determining whether an organization qualifies for tax-exempt status as an organization operated exclusively for social welfare to apply to such determinations after enactment of this Act. Prohibits any regulation, or other ruling, not limited to a particular taxpayer relating to such standards and definitions.
Proponent's argument in favor (Heritage Action, Feb. 26, 2014): H.R. 3865 comes in the wake of an attack on the Tea Party and other conservative organizations. The current IRS regulation is so broad and ill-defined that the IRS applies a "facts and circumstances" test to determine what constitutes "political activity" by an organization. This test can vary greatly depending on the subjective views of the particular IRS bureaucrat applying the test.
IRS employees took advantage of this vague and subjective standard to unfairly delay granting tax-exempt status to Tea Party organizations and subject them to unreasonable scrutiny.
Text of sample IRS letter to Tea Party organizations:We need more information before we can complete our consideration of your application for exemption. Please provide the information requested on the enclosed Information Request by the response due date. Your response must be signed by an authorized person or officer whose name is listed on your application.
Source: H.R.3865 & S.2011 14-H3865 on Jan 14, 2014
- Have you conducted or will you conduct candidate forums or other events at which candidates running for public offices are invited to speak?
- Have you attempted or will you attempt to influence the outcome of specific legislation?
- Do you directly or indirectly communicate with members of legislative bodies?
- Do you have a close relationship with any candidate for public office or political party?
Restrict campaign donations from foreigners or 3rd parties.
Hall co-sponsored restricting campaign donations from foreigners or 3rd party
To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to increase the penalties imposed for making or accepting contributions in the name of another and to prohibit foreign nationals from making any campaign-related disbursements.
Source: Conduit Contribution Prevention Act (H.R.1747) 1999-H1747 on May 11, 1999
- Increase civil & criminal penalties for knowing and willful violations of the prohibition against making or accepting contributions in the name of another.
- Sets both civil and criminal fines at not less than 300% of the amount involved in the violation and not more than the greater of $50,000 or 1,000% of such amount.
Mandates a criminal fine or two years' imprisonment, or both.
- Limits criminal penalties to violations involving an amount aggregating $1,000 or more during a calendar year.
- Changes from discretionary to mandatory the authority of the Federal Election Commission to refer to the Attorney General any instance of probable cause that a violation of such prohibition has occurred.
- Revises the current ban on contributions by foreign nationals to encompass all disbursements by foreign nationals, including any disbursement to a political committee of a political party and any disbursement for an independent expenditure.
2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Government Reform:
Ralph Moody Hall on other issues:
Left 113th Congress, 2013-2014:
AL-1: Jo Bonner(R,resigned)
IL-2: Jesse L. Jackson(D,convicted)
LA-5: Rodney Alexander(R,resigned)
MA-5: Ed Markey(D,elected)
MO-8: Jo Ann Emerson(R,resigned)
NJ-1: Rob Andrews(D,investigated)
SC-1: Tim Scott(R,appointed)
Newly-elected special elections 2013-2014:
AL-1: Bradley Byrne(R)
IL-2: Robin Kelly(D)
LA-5: Vance McAllister(R)
MA-5: Katherine Clark(D)
MO-8: Jason Smith(R)
NC-12: Pending Jul.15
NJ-1: Pending Nov.4
SC-1: Mark Sanford(R)
Won primary 2014:
TX-4: John Ratcliffe(R)
VA-7: Dave Brat(R)
Retiring to run for Senate in 2014:
AR-4: Tom Cotton(R)
CO-4: Cory Gardner(R)
GA-1: Jack Kingston(R)
HI-1: Colleen Hanabusa(D)
IA-1: Bruce Braley(D)
LA-6: Bill Cassidy(R)
MT-0: Steve Daines(R)
OK-5: James Lankford(R)
WV-2: Shelley Moore Capito(R)
Former Reps running for House in 2014:
AL-5: Parker Griffith(R)
CA-3: Doug Ose(R)
MS-4: Gene Taylor(D)
MT-0: Denny Rehberg(R)
NH-1: Frank Guinta(R)
OH-7: John Boccieri(D)
Lost primary 2014:
TX-4: Ralph Hall(R)
VA-7: Eric Cantor(R)
Retiring to run for State Office in 2014:
AR-2: Tim Griffin(R)
ME-2: Mike Michaud(D)
VI-0: Donna Christensen(D)
Retiring effective Jan. 2015:
AL-6: Spencer Bachus(R)
AZ-7: Ed Pastor(D)
IA-3: Tom Latham(R)
MI-4: Dave Camp(R)
MI-6: Tom Petri(R)
MN-6: Michele Bachmann(R)
NC-6: Howard Coble(R)
NC-7: Mike McIntyre(D)
NJ-3: Jon Runyan(R)
NY-4: Carolyn McCarthy(D)
PA-6: Jim Gerlach(R)
UT-4: Jim Matheson(D)
VA-8: James Moran(D)
WA-4: Doc Hastings(R)
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Page last updated: Jul 25, 2014