Two weeks ago, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about the soon-to-be released "Pledge to America" document from Congressional Republicans. As one of the most conservative Republicans in Congress, my concern was that the document would not be bold enough to address the economic and moral challenges facing America.
Having now read the document, I can tell you that I am pleasantly surprised!
It lays out a series of principles (low taxes, limited spending, strong national defense, and traditional American values) that I believe are necessary to get America back on the right track.
It appropriately focuses on job creation, but does not rely on more of the big new spending programs that have failed to create jobs over the past two years. Nor does it seek to help the economy recover by creating more public sector (government) jobs. Rather, it calls for reducing non-defense federal spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, so we can begin to work towards balancing the budget and paying down the national debt.
It also details legislation to give small business owners and private sector job creators what they desire most right now: certainty. Job creators will tell you the biggest factor that is holding back private sector economic growth is that, simply put, they don't know what the federal government is going to do next. Here are some quick examples of what I mean:
The tax cuts of 2001 are set to expire at the end of this year. Will Congress extend them or allow them to expire? That decision will affect the bottom line of most small business owners for years, and they need to know Congress' answer before they decide if they can hire people back or not.
Will Congress pass the cap-and-trade bill during the post-election "lame duck" session? If they do, energy prices in Ohio will likely double, dramatically increasing the cost of doing business and hurting their ability to hire new workers.
Though the health care takeover bill has already passed, most small business owners are still trying to figure out exactly how much more the new mandates in the bill will cost them, from higher health care costs to new requirements like the one that forces businesses to report to the IRS (on Form 1099) everyone they do more than $600 dollars worth of business with during the year.
There are other seemingly minor, but significant changes included, such as the pledge to cut the budgets of Congressional offices - an idea that is long overdue! This will force Members of Congress to be first in line in accepting the "sacrifice" of government spending cuts.
Perhaps most importantly, the document also specifically lays out the value of promoting a Pro-Life agenda in Congress, beginning with repealing the Obama-Pelosi language in the health care law that allows for taxpayer funding of abortion, and never allowing taxpayer money to take the life of an unborn child again.
Other parts of the document speak for itself, like the following quote from the preamble "...we pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values."
I often say that of the three big challenges facing America today (economic uncertainty, the terrorist threat, and the battle for the culture), that we need to win the "battle for the culture" if we are going to have the resiliency to beat back the other two challenges!
Do I think this is a perfect document? Of course not! But I do think it is a dramatic step in the right direction.
I have been critical of both Republicans and Democrats when they promote policies that tax too much, spend too much, fail to prioritize the security of our nation, and fail to promote the traditional American values that made our country great.
Despite the overspending of Congressional Republicans in the past, President Obama and Speaker Pelosi have charted our country on a disastrous course that we must change.
Congress is spending like there is no tomorrow, piling up an insurmountable debt that must be repaid by our children and grandchildren. They are expanding the federal government into our personal lives in unprecedented ways. Even worse, they are trying to change the culture to diminish the principles and values that make America the greatest nation in history.
I encourage you to read the document for yourself, and feel free to send me feedback about what you think. Moving forward, if Republicans do indeed take the majority back in Congress, it will be important for you to lend your voice and hold them accountable, to make sure that they do what they said they would do.