GOP Whip announces bid for Majority Leader in welcome letter to new class.
Plus: Pence to step down as chairman of the House Republican Conference.
November 3, 2010
Dear Republican Colleague:
Congratulations on your election and for being a major part of a new Republican resurgence. For the past two years, Democrats have refused to listen. Now that we have been given a trust – we will not make that mistake.
I have long believed that success for the Republican Party is tied to success for America. Thomas Jefferson once remarked that “governments are republican only in proportion as they embody the will of the people, and execute it.”
To that end, we must govern differently. Not just differently than the Democrats, but differently from our previous majority. And job number one is to focus on more jobs for more Americans and to shift the economy from stall to forward. It’s time to produce results. Americans are asking for the opportunity to assume responsibility and get back to earning success. I also believe we need to change the culture of Washington. I believe that we must change the culture of spending that has prevailed for far too long. And I believe we need to change our expectations of the Congress, the Leadership, the committees, and of each of us.
I have announced my intention to stand for election as Majority Leader because I am results oriented and I want to help lead that effort and bring about these changes. I write not only to ask for your support, but also to outline some thoughts as to how we can seize the opportunity and make these changes.
Let us be under no illusion – many of those who cast their vote for Republicans yesterday have their share of doubts about whether we are up to the task of governing; about whether congressional Republicans have learned our lesson.
I harbor no such doubts.
For the past two years, House Republicans dedicated ourselves to developing alternative solutions grounded in the time-tested principles of fiscal responsibility and small-government. On the stimulus, instead of pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into non-stimulative government programs, we proposed to give private-sector job creators an incentive to hire by exempting small businesses from 20 percent of their tax liability.
On health care, instead of the government takeover known as ObamaCare, we provided solutions such as medical liability reform and allowing the purchase of health care coverage across state lines which would lower costs while enabling families and patients to keep the care they have if they choose.
To create real jobs, we offered a “no cost jobs plan” that would cut unemployment by, among other things, halting the deluge of President Obama’s tax increases and approving negotiated free-trade agreements.
And on the budget, we challenged President Obama to freeze spending at 2008 levels, offered hundreds of billions of dollars in spending cuts, and enacted an earmark moratorium within the House Republican Conference.
Our efforts culminated with the release of the “Pledge to America,” in September.
Faced with an administration and a Pelosi-led Congress intent on reorienting the role of government in America, time and again we stood up against them. Now it is our responsibility to lead with the same conviction, vigor, and fight. Joined by our new Members, I know that we are ready for that challenge.
Having crisscrossed the country over the past year, I have consistently heard Republican candidates speak passionately about jobs and getting people back to work. They have inspired by articulating the case for constitutionally limited government that empowers individuals, families, local communities, entrepreneurs, and small business people. Our candidates have stood proudly for traditional values and have fought to ensure that we do not sacrifice our national security to political correctness or to a desire to win the approval of foreign elites.
We now have the opportunity to turn our words into action and produce real results. Like you, I am anxious to get started.
Most of us ran for Congress because we wanted to tackle the big problems facing our nation. We came to Washington to eliminate the deficit, to tear down barriers to job creation, and to reform a government that has grown out of touch with the governed.
I don’t think any of us ran for Congress with the idea that we could finally provide a subsidy to this industry or that, or to this community or that. Or that we would vote to continue the same federal programs and agencies that are failing our citizens and bankrupting our children and grandchildren. And I know none of us ran with the idea that we should go to Washington to congratulate a collegiate basketball team for having a good season – or feel obligated that we needed to do so – even if we happened to be a fan.
Yet that is what we have been doing under the recent Democrat majority and even all too often under the previous Republican majority. Our problems have grown too immense to waste any more time. America stands at a crossroads, and the decisions we make at this very moment will determine the type of country that our children will live in.
That is why we will drain the swamp rather than learning to swim with the alligators. How?
We start by rethinking how time is spent and about the types of legislation that will be considered on the House floor. We start by identifying our top policy goals and committing to take concrete steps every single week to advance those goals. And we hold each other accountable with this simple question: are the actions of the House, our committees, and our Conference consistent with our principles and do they advance the nation’s priorities?
We will not be able to roll back the leviathan overnight or balance the budget tomorrow or defeat terrorism once and for all next week, and people realize that. They understand how big the problems facing our country are, the obstacles that stand in our way, and the old, ingrained powers of Washington that will fight us every step of the way. Yet, people expect that we will fight each and every day to address these problems and make progress in every battle. We must not fall prey to the culture of Washington that exacerbates and creates problems. To put it simply, we must do the job we said we would do. We’ve talked the talk, now it is time to walk the walk.
I know we are ready.
In the attached document, Delivering on Our Commitment: A Majority to Limit Government and Create Jobs, I outline some thoughts on how we can begin that effort. Included is a particular focus on a sustained effort on jobs, reducing government spending, putting in place a new standard for prioritizing legislation, and how we strengthen oversight.
In thinking about and preparing this plan, I found myself guided by one simple proposition which I believe will be instructive for our efforts over the next two years: “Are my efforts addressing job creation and the economy; are they reducing spending; and are they shrinking the size of the Federal Government while increasing and protecting liberty? If not, why am I doing it? Why are WE doing it?”
I would greatly appreciate any thoughts, feedback, or suggestions you may have. I know that by changing the culture and focusing on our priorities, ours will be a lasting and worthwhile legacy: that we will achieve what we said we came to accomplish, and in so doing, deliver on the type of conservative governance that has been promised.