- - Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Now that the dust has settled from the Nov. 8 elections, it’s time for Washington to effectively govern.

While pundits, pollsters, data experts and many others may have had a differing opinion on the election outcome, House leadership has been actively preparing for a Republican victory. This year, House Republicans began unveiling our “better way” agenda, essentially a blueprint for what Congress and a potential Trump White House could set out to achieve.

Since taking over, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has made it clear to Republican Conference members that they would be responsible for crafting well-thought-out policy solutions to address many of the challenges facing our nation. Working side-by-side with committee chairmen and other issue experts, we developed our plan to grow the economy, fix the broken tax code, and put an end to Washington’s one-size-fits-all approach to governing.

For our part, the House Committee on Financial Services was tasked with finding a legislative alternative to move away from the overregulation of Dodd-Frank and its decimation of smaller banks and the crippling effect that has had on access to credit for many hardworking Americans. The Financial Choice Act, which was introduced by Chairman Jeb Hensarling this year, will end the failures of Dodd-Frank and “right sizes” financial oversight that actually allows our economy to grow, ends too-big-to-fail, and provides consumers with necessary protections and affordable access to credit.

Outside of the spin room in the Obama White House, the last eight years have not yielded the economic success the American people expect.

If you look just at the congressional district I represent, Arkansas’ Second, which is made up of seven counties in Central Arkansas, the unemployment rate — the number the Obama administration likes to tout as evidence for its “success” in growing the economy — has declined from 5.4 percent to 3.8 percent since July 2007, despite only adding 8,000 jobs over that same period. According to the National Association of Counties, 93 percent of U.S. counties have not fully recovered from the Great Recession.

The paltry job growth is a much better indicator of what the economy has done during the Obama years, and when you couple that with national trends of stagnant wages, low capital formation, business formation at Carter-era lows, and gross domestic product growing at the pace of a turtle suffering from a broken leg, it becomes increasingly obvious why the American people voted for Republicans over a third term of the bad economic policies of the Obama administration.

Winning elections is irrelevant if you can’t put in place the policies that will improve the lives of the people you represent. While this will be a tough task, there is a great opportunity for the 115th Congress to work with the new administration in the coming months on policies to create a stronger foundation to grow the economy.

In addition to working with Congress on broad reform efforts, such as tax, health care and housing finance reform, there are several items the administration can begin addressing on Day One to help spur economic growth:

• Host a state of the economy summit with the collaboration and participation from the 12 Federal Reserve district banks, which can provide valuable input that reflects on the insights and challenges of the local economies each district bank serves.

• Stop the economically harmful rules like the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule and Overtime Rule from taking effect, and evaluate the economic impact of rules currently on the books.

• Call on Congress to host a monetary reform commission with the purpose of examining U.S. monetary policy, evaluating alternative monetary regimes, and recommending a course for monetary policy going forward.

• End the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), auctioning and liquidating all remaining TARP holdings to end it for good and close the chapter on the financial crisis.

• Propose long-term restructuring plan to lower the trajectory of the national debt, including reforms to mandatory spending programs.

• Halt automatic implementation of regulatory policies originating with international bodies like the Financial Stability Board and Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and institute reforms at the Financial Stability Oversight Council to make its designation and deliberation process more accountable and transparent.

• Encourage creation of regulatory “innovation sandboxes.”

If we can accomplish these goals and advance the ideas of House Republicans’ “better way” agenda, then we will signal to the American people they made the right decision when they went into the voting booth last November.

• French Hill is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Arkansas.

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