SEN. JOHN SUNUNU has stood up for New Hampshire values and fiscal responsibility in Washington. He has been an independent voice for New Hampshire when it comes to reining in wasteful Washington spending.
John is a true fiscal conservative who understands that we have a budget deficit because of overspending, whereas some politicians think we should keep on spending and just raise taxes on hard-working families and small businesses in order to close the budget gap.
This week the Democrats in Washington proposed doing exactly that in their Fiscal Year 2009 budget, which included the largest tax increase in American history and would increase spending to record levels.
John's commitment and sustained efforts to stand up for New Hampshire and fight against fiscal irresponsibility are highlighted below:
-- In his first year in the U.S. Senate, John Sununu led the successful effort to defeat the bloated $31 billion 2003 GOP energy bill. It was loaded with unnecessary tax subsidies to oil companies and budget-busting spending that failed to provide the fairness, equity and efficiency in the energy markets we sorely need.
-- In 2005 John stood up and opposed yet another bloated energy bill supported by the Bush administration that was full of unnecessary tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies.
-- In 2003 and 2005 when the administration and some in Congress tried to ram a budget- busting highway bill through, John Sununu said no to the excessive pork-barrel spending.
-- We all remember the "Bridge to Nowhere," perhaps the most egregious example of bad politics in Washington. John Sununu was one of only 15 senators to vote against it.
-- In March 2008, John Sununu voted for enacting a one-year moratorium on earmarks that would have prohibited Congress from trying to fund more "Bridges to Nowhere." Additionally, John co-sponsored the 2006 Pork Barrel Reduction Act along with Sen. John McCain. It would have brought transparency to the appropriations process and help rein in wasteful spending. In 2007 he supported the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, an additional effort to reduce wasteful spending.
-- Fiscal watchdog organizations have recognized John Sununu for his tireless work and commitment to rein in unruly spending. Notably, John received the 2006 Taxpayer Hero award from the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste for his opposition to pork-barrel spending and wasteful government programs. The organization gave Sununu a 95 percent score and cited his votes on earmark reform, cuts to budget-busting subsidies and his opposition to Alaska's "Bridge to Nowhere."
-- Recently Congress passed a $300 billion farm bill with outrageous pork-barrel spending and special interest provisions that would have increased food prices even higher, putting more pressure on family budgets. It was John Sununu who once again stood up and said no to unfairly increasing the burden on families in the Granite State in order to pad the wallets of wealthy sugar barons and large corporate farms.
-- The failure of politicians to effectively reform entitlement programs is contributing to the deficit and bloated Washington budgets. John Sununu has provided real and thoughtful leadership on entitlements -- the largest part of the budget. He wrote legislation that would modernize and strengthen the solvency of Social Security for generations to come.
-- Just this week John Sununu voted against the largest tax increase in American history put forward by the Democrats in their FY2009 budget, which would also increase spending to record levels.
Effective leadership requires leaders who are willing to take a stand against what might be politically popular at the time but the wrong direction for our country. It also requires leaders who are willing to communicate the truth about the challenges we face and work to honestly address them.
The choice for New Hampshire this November could not be clearer. John's opponent, former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, has given lip service to the fiscal challenges our nation faces and instead has chosen to distort his record. I am not surprised, given Jeanne Shaheen's efforts to raise taxes and significantly increase spending during her tenure as governor. New Hampshire deserves better and deserves to have John Sununu's fiscal leadership for another term in the U.S. Senate.
Warren Rudman is a former Republican U.S. senator from New Hampshire. He also is a co-chairman of the U.S. Commission on National Security and co-founder of the Concord Coalition.