You’ve endured a long hard campaign season, weathered vicious attacks from your opponent, on Election Night, you triumphed, and now you will take your seat in the 112th Congress. Now the real work begins.
While much of your time from now through your swearing in will be filled with thanking supporters, hiring staff, and retiring campaign debt, it is imperative that you devote some time to reflect on what is that brought you to this point. Why did the voters select you on Election Day; what do they expect from you; and how will you make good on your promises to the American public?
Republicans gained over 60 seats in the House of Representatives this Election Day. This electoral tsunami is a reflection of how the American public is feeling. They are tired of President Obama, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and their failed liberal agenda. From Obamacare, to flawed economic stimulus packages, to cap and trade, they’ve had enough.
The voters embraced your candidacies and ultimately cast their ballots for you because they want a real change. They want principled conservatives who will come to Washington and stand firm on their promise to cut spending, restore fiscal discipline, and actually create an environment that fosters economic growth and job creation. There are a few bold ideas that Americans endorsed by electing you on November 2nd, which if accomplished will help correct the course of our great nation.
Make the Bush Tax Cuts Permanent
The current Congress has shown an unwillingness to make the Bush era tax cuts permanent. Because the Democrat majority has focused on class warfare rather than leadership, our nation stands ready for one of the largest tax increases in its history. The Bush tax cuts doubled the child tax credit, lowered capital gains tax rates, eliminated the marriage penalty, and lowered all tax brackets. In these troubled economic times, allowing these tax cuts to expire will have disastrous consequences.
On March 21, 2010 the House of Representatives passed the unconstitutional Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The hastily crafted legislation was written behind closed doors and did not afford Members of Congress the opportunity to read, much less understand the legislation before voting on it. Contained within the bill is an unprecedented mandate that individuals purchase private insurance. This affront to Federalism requires that Americans purchase a government-approved product, or face a substantial fine. The government can’t tell you what kind of car to purchase, how can it tell you what kind of health care is acceptable? Repeal this unconstitutional legislation.
Change the Way Washington Works
While the policy agenda is important, so too is the business of how our government operates. As we saw in the last Congress, neither Members nor their staff had sufficient time to read voluminous legislation before being forced to cast their votes. During the healthcare debate, Republican Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) cautioned:
“And look at how this bill was written. Can you say it was done openly, with transparency and accountability? Without backroom deals, and struck behind closed doors, hidden from the people? Hell no, you can’t!
Have you read the bill? Have you read the reconciliation bill? Have you read the manager’s amendment? Hell no, you haven’t!”
Learn from this legislative debacle. Support efforts to place every bill online for at least 3 days before voting on it.
Another important legislative guideline – say no to earmarks! The American people are tired of legislation being crafted in backroom deals based on personal interests. There should be no more “Cornhusker Compromises,” “Louisiana Purchases,” or “Bridges to Nowhere.” If the Congress is to enact legislation it should be for the good of all Americans, not the special interests of the few.
We’ve already seen members of the political establishment express a need to “co-opt” the incoming freshman members who are proud Tea Party conservatives. I’ve seen far too many Members of Congress come to town and forget the principles and values that their constituents embraced when sending them to Washington.
Stay true to your values, stay true to your principles, and as Jefferson Smith exhorted in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington:
“Just get up off the ground, that’s all I ask. Get up there with that lady that’s up on top of this Capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won’t just see scenery; you’ll see the whole parade of what Man’s carved out for himself, after centuries of fighting. Fighting for something better than just jungle law, fighting so he can stand on his own two feet, free and decent, like he was created, no matter what his race, color, or creed. That’s what you’d see. There’s no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties…
Great principles don’t get lost once they come to light. They’re right here; you just have to see them again!”