Wednesday, October 06, 2010

EDITORIAL: "Listening to You to Set an Agenda to Move America Forward" by Rep. Jean Schmidt

The House Republican Conference recently released its “Pledge to America .” This pledge is blueprint of our agenda to set this nation back on the path to a government that makes sense.

After nearly two years of controlling the executive and four years in charge of the legislative branch of government, the current majority has used its large majorities in Congress to turn your government into a portrait of themselves. Whether Congress was considering the so-called stimulus bill, cap-and-trade legislation, or the bill to overhaul healthcare, or increasing the size of government and federal spending, the majority failed to listen to the voices of the American people. So in each of these circumstances, the Democrats have substituted their priorities for the concerns expressed by the American people. This failure to listen has led to the feelings of frustration and cynicism that many Americans share.

Realizing that backroom deals and important decisions being made by only a small handful of people have led us to this point, the House Republican Conference embarked upon an ambitious endeavor. We want to make sure we are doing the work that the American people want us to do, so we set out to hear their priorities and ideas.

During the Spring and Summer, I held meetings and listening sessions throughout the Second Congressional District as part of this effort. My colleagues did the same things in their districts. The message I heard was no different than what other Members of Congress heard. Grow the economy without massive government spending programs. Cut spending and reduce the deficit. Pass real healthcare reform that actually lowers costs and allows you to keep your plan if you like it. And, reform the way Congress does its business.

The “Pledge to America ” is the result of listening to the American people. It reflects the priorities that I have heard in conversations all across the Second Congressional District. The Pledge will help to get the economy moving again by ending the economic uncertainty emanating from Washington , DC ; immediately reduce both federal spending and size of the federal government; repeal and replace the recently enacted healthcare law; and, it will change the way Congress conducts the business of the American people. It will require that all legislation be publicly available for at least 3 days prior to a vote and it will actually ensure open debates on the spending bills that Congress considers each year.

A lot has changed over the last two years and one of the most egregious changes has been Washington ’s unwillingness to listen to the priorities and ideas of the American people. The “Pledge to America ” offers a way forward consistent with the priorities of the American people