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Rep. Jeff Duncan: House Must Select A Conservative Speaker

In the wake of Speaker John Boehner’s resignation, the House Republican Conference will begin the selection process for a new Speaker. We should know what we are getting.

The House Republican Conference should ensure that our next Speaker isn’t just masquerading as a conservative. We need to determine the facts for ourselves, and closely inspect positions, past statements and votes. We need to know where our leadership candidates stand before they’re elected.

That is why it is imperative that we take things in a slow, deliberative fashion as we consider the next Speaker of the House and possibly other leadership posts.

Our nation is in debt to the tune of just over $18 trillion. We have maxed out the nation’s credit limit, necessitating an increase in borrowing ability. We continue to have deficit spending, and we continue to see the sequester cuts hamper our nation’s military. In addition, we continue to see the tax dollars of hardworking Americans fund an organization which systematically harvests the parts of babies during abortion procedures to be sold for profit.

America is frustrated with business as usual in Washington. Republicans asked for control of the House of Representatives and America gave it to them. After four years of Harry Reid stopping Republican initiatives, the GOP asked for control of the United States Senate. Again, the American people gave it to us.

So why does America’s frustration with Washington continue? In my opinion it is because of the lack of a willingness to fight. America understands that Republicans will not win every battle, but instead of hiding behind the apron strings of Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell, Republican leadership in the House should pass legislation which reflects the values and principles of the Republican base.

An example is the defunding of Planned Parenthood. House Leadership has said time and time again that we cannot pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) which defunds Planned Parenthood because it won’t make it past a Senate Democrat filibuster and the President has vowed to veto it.

But that is not OUR (the House of Representatives’) problem. Nor is it something we in the House can change. Change will come from the American people if we stop insulating the Senate Republicans from facing these kinds of votes.

Passage of a continuing resolution, or any bill for that matter, from the House that reflects Republican principles puts the spotlight on Senate Republican leadership to get something done. If the Senate doesn’t like what the House has passed, that’s okay. They can change it or pass their own version and send it back! Regular order of the legislative process works in the state legislatures every year and – up until recent years – has worked in the U.S. Congress.

One problem with the “regular order” scenario is that House leadership fails to act in a timely manner, creating a deadline or crisis situation and using terms like “shutdown” and “default” to scare Members of Congress and the American people.

We have known that government funding expires on September 30 from the time the that Congress passed the CROmnibus on December 11, 2014. We also have known that the debt ceiling was reached on March 15, when we were informed by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

The American people want to see what Republican governance looks like. They entrusted Republicans with control of Congress to stop the Obama Administration’s fundamental transformation of America. What they have seen is more government (Obamacare is still in effect), more spending (the mandatory spending which is causing deficits and borrowing has not been touched); a higher debt ($18+ trillion); tax increases (the fiscal cliff tax increase was the largest in American history); a sequester which, while cutting spending, used a chainsaw instead of a scalpel that continues to hurt our nation’s defense; and a supposed nuclear deal with Iran, which empowers our enemies while hurting our historic ally Israel.

It is time for conservative Republican principles to be asserted by the House of Representatives. The next Speaker and, possibly, a Majority Leader, need to recognize that, since the founding of the party, Republican wins come from standing strong on our values, morals and convictions. Capitulation, before the fight has even begun, is a losing strategy. As John Adams once stated: “The middle way, which some gentlemen in this chamber are seeking, is no way at all.”

As these men and women campaign within our Conference for our top Leadership posts, they will need to open the box and reveal what they are really made of. Like with the Texas teenager’s clock, off-the-shelf components reconfigured to fool others will not win my support. The Presidential polls which show Washington outsiders garnering a combined 65 percent of the vote should be a wake-up call that America is looking for something different from Washington.

Rep. Jeff Duncan represents South Carolina’s third congressional district

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