During the 2014 Republican primary for the U. S. Senate seat in Georgia, David Perdue signed a pledge committing not to just passively support the FairTax if elected, but to become a vocal advocate of the FairTax. Serving as the bill’s primary sponsor was not part of the written pledge, but in the pledge Perdue did agree to make sure the bill was reintroduced in the Senate each session until it was passed into law or Perdue left the Senate.
That particular point required some delicate wording, since it was crafted at a time when we had no way of knowing if any other more senior members of the Senate would be interested in serving as the sponsor. In effect, Mr. Perdue pledged that he would not stand by and watch the FairTax be “orphaned” in the Senate, but would (at the very least) step in and sponsor the bill if no other members would.
After he won a highly competitive primary against House member Jack Kingston, Mr. Perdue committed publicly to sponsoring the bill in the Senate. After winning by a solid margin against Democrat Michelle Nunn in early November, his staff began efforts to coordinate with Rep. Rob Woodall’s staff to ensure that the FairTax House and Senate bills were “dropped” in both bodies in early January. The prior Senate FairTax sponsor, Saxby Chambliss, also publically stated that he was passing the FairTax torch to Senator-elect Perdue. So, it appeared that David Perdue would be the Senate sponsor of the FairTax bill.
On December 28, GFFT leadership (Phil Hinson) received a call from Kansas FairTax leadership (John Collet). Both leaders are board members of Americans for Fair Taxation (AFFT) and have worked together on the FairTax for more than ten years. While GFFT leadership was looking at David Perdue to sponsor the Senate FairTax bill, Kansas leadership was looking at Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) to sponsor the bill. Senator Moran was eager to do so. He felt that “the timing might be right” to move this bill forward.
It is also important to note that Senator Moran had just completed a very successful term as chairman of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee. His job in that position was to help as many Republicans as possible get elected to the Senate. As chairman, he had control of a fund that allocated campaign funds to Republican Senate candidates around the country. He had helped quite a few Republican Senate challengers get elected, including David Perdue. As a result, his stature within the Senate had been elevated.
Kansas leadership suggested that Senator Moran might be able to move the FairTax bill forward in ways that a freshman Senator could not. Senator-elect Perdue had no Senate seniority at this time. They also thought that it might be helpful to have a primary sponsor outside of Georgia for the first time ever, giving the bill a more national backing. We were assured that Senator Moran would actively promote the bill and use his “bully pulpit” to educate his colleagues, constituents, and the public about the benefits of the FairTax. With both State FairTax groups in agreement, it was left to the two Senators to negotiate how the bill would be introduced in the Senate.
The two Senators agreed that Senator Moran would serve as the primary sponsor and that Senator Perdue would be an “original co-sponsor.”
The FairTax bill was entered into the 114th session of Congress on January 13, 2015. Georgia Senators Perdue and Isakson are listed as first day co-sponsors. Senators Moran and Perdue have agreed to work together to move the FairTax to the forefront of the tax reform debate. When AFFT Chairman Steve Hayes and Executive Director Cindy Canevaro visited Senator Perdue’s office in early January, he expressed interest in getting additional training in handling the attacks that he understands will be coming our way. We anticipate trips to Washington to help our elected leaders make the strongest case possible on behalf of the bill.
This is ground-breaking progress for the FairTax. We have a senior Senator who is committed to moving the proposal forward and another Senator who quite possibly has more business experience than his 99 colleagues combined. The war is not over yet, but this is clearly a major step forward, and all FairTaxers should be thankful to both Senators for being willing to spend substantial political capital to make a real difference for the future of this nation.