- - Friday, January 24, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Instead of heralding popularity for President Obama’s unworkable health care law, 2013 chronicled its unraveling month by month.

It was a year when our national debt grew larger than the size of our economy. Unemployment continued to be pervasive: More workers were forced into part-time jobs, and millions more gave up looking for work. Our nation was tested around the world by our enemies, and our allies were often undercut or uncertain of our policies.

As we went from crisis to crisis, Washington has been unable to adequately address our mounting problems. Americans deserve more. We deserve better leadership.

This year provides a great opportunity to renew America and get Washington back on track. That is why I’m offering an American Renewal Initiative of six legislative and policy priorities designed to serve as a unifying vision not only for Republicans of all stripes, but also the large majority of Americans. It provides a legislative path for Congress by which we can leave a better future for our children and grandchildren.

The six planks are restoring national security with peace through strength; boosting private-sector job creation; reducing our national debt; achieving energy independence; enabling work over welfare; and simplifying the tax code.

The first priority, ensuring that our armed forces are second to none, should not be a controversial issue. As a member of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, I will continue to offer legislation and ideas to provide adequate funding for military training, needed equipment and research for technological superiority — even as we aggressively cut overall federal spending. This is a renewal of the “peace through strength” policy undermined by the Obama administration.

Instead of expanding the federal government’s doles, we should put America back to work by fostering an environment that promotes business stability and private-sector job creation. We should roll back costly and unnecessary federal business regulations.

That is why I have sponsored legislation to reduce this burden by mandating a more rigorous regulatory cost-benefit assessment before the implementation of any federal rules and regular look-back reviews to ensure that older regulations are still needed and cost-effective.

At the same time, Obamacare is emerging as a huge and growing burden on individuals and businesses. This law is not only forcing millions of Americans off of their chosen insurance policies and away from their doctors, it is also killing jobs and stifling innovation through its embedded taxes, such as the one on manufacturers of medical devices.

This is why polls indicate a growing majority want Obamacare repealed and replaced. The damage caused by these policies is unacceptable, and we must repeal the law.

The third plank addresses our unsustainable $17 trillion national debt. For every dollar the federal government spends, 42 cents is borrowed. The federal government cannot keep spending while Americans cut back their family budgets.

I have proposed limiting spending through hard caps based on our country’s economic health to bring our budget quickly into balance. My legislation would also tie congressional pay to deficit reduction, requiring pay cuts if deficits aren’t reduced.

The next priority is to achieve energy independence. New technology and discoveries have opened up vast energy resources, and we must safely develop them. Construction of the Keystone XL oil-pipeline project, which will boost job creation, is a necessity.

In order to bypass delays by the Obama administration, I’m sponsoring legislation stipulating that all required federal agencies approve the Keystone assessment or face a 25 percent reduction in senior staff pay. The delay is only hurting our economy.

The fifth plank re-emphasizes the traditional American work ethic. Too many government policies are teaching the next generation that you don’t have to work for a living. We must turn this around, and we can begin with returning the reins of education to the states to better foster a reliable, work-ready workforce.

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