- The Washington Times - Monday, November 17, 2008




In talking with President-elect Barack Obama after his historic election, I shared with him my sincere hope that we can work together in the months and years ahead toward solutions that address the significant challenges facing our nation. The most pressing challenge is the state of our economy and its impact on American workers and their families.

Both parties have promised to look for common ground in the effort to find solutions to our economic troubles. We should start that search by listening to the American people. Public opinion polls show the American people believe cutting taxes for families and small businesses is more likely to “stimulate” the economy than increasing government spending, and they’ve got it right.

House Republicans stand ready to work with the president-elect and our Democratic counterparts in Congress to enact an economic recovery bill that focuses on tax relief for working families and businesses, rather than increased spending on government programs and higher taxes.

Republicans have put forward a pro-economic-growth plan based on tax relief for families and small businesses, as well as a jobs-creating energy plan that will increase production of American oil and gas and promote the alternative and renewable sources that represent our energy future. Our rapid-recovery plan represents a clear departure from the recycled economic blueprints promoted by the Democrats who run Congress - schemes that predictably rely on more and more government spending.

Not too long ago, for example, Washington spending package of up to $300 billion may be considered by Congress before the end of the year - under the guise of “economic stimulus.” The centerpiece of the package was more spending on a variety of Washington programs, including a full slate of new highway construction programs. This is spending that non-partisan studies and noted economists have exposed as unlikely to create a substantial number of new, permanent jobs or boost the economy in a timely or meaningful way.

Our economic plan would do what Americans are asking Washington to do: Help get the economy back on track through pro-growth policies such as doubling the child tax credit; temporarily eliminate the capital-gains tax to help spur investment and rebuild 401(k)s; reduce the corporate tax rate to keep jobs here at home; and give small businesses more tax relief to purchase new equipment and hire more workers.

My plan also implements an “all of the above” energy strategy, including increased drilling, accelerated development and use of alternative and renewable fuels, and greater conservation and efficiency. These energy reforms would create up to one million new jobs and provide a real shot in the arm for our economy, including the auto industry, which has been pummeled along with the rest of the country by high energy prices.

Support for this plan continues to grow. Heritage Foundation noted that the plan promises “short-term stimulus and long-term growth.”

As Congress prepares to return to town this week, I look forward to talking with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle about our plan - and how it fits into our efforts to strengthen the economy and create new jobs.

Mr. Obama has expressed a desire to govern from the center, and I believe he is sincere about that. In that spirit, I hope he will give this rapid economic-recovery plan his full consideration. Likewise, I hope his Democratic colleagues who run Congress demonstrate a willingness to work across party lines on the economy as well. The time for endless and aimless Washington spending has passed. The time has come to commit to a real pro-growth economic plan based on tax relief, comprehensive energy reform and more job creation.

Ohio Republican.

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