During the fall campaign, President Obama mentioned Slurpees 26 times. They were a standard applause line in his stump speeches and he usually said “We’re slipping and sliding and sweating, and the other side, the Republicans, they’re standing there with their Slurpees watching us.” In his conciliatory press conference after the election, the President suggested holding a “Slurpee Summit” with the new Republican leadership.
As we are now seeing in Hawaii, the person who is into Slurpees is Obama. He is also the one who had no interest in working with the GOP to help revive the American economy. A poor economy would benefit the GOP in 2012, but that is not our goal. We are Americans first and Republicans second. We want the economy to improve as soon as possible.
For two years we have said the economy can not recover with a giant energy tax, a massive health care tax, continued deficits and the end of the Bush tax cuts. The voters agreed with us, and the tax cuts were extended and cap and trade was ended. Another GOP theme was “Repeal and Replace.” ObamaCare impacts 20% of the American economy, but Republicans were shut out of the 111th Congress. Nothing occurred on the floor of the House and Senate while the real action was in the back room.
Every piece of legislation came to the House floor with a closed rule and no amendments were allowed. The Senate was run by a series of cloture motions to end debate. We are not going to do that to the Democrats. Debate will return to the U.S. Congress with open rules and we have a lot to talk about. The Democrats still control the Senate and the White House, and now we want the discussions which never took place on Capitol Hill.
We want to talk to them about tort reform, portability and malpractice rules. Litigation reform is needed to protect every doctor in America from inappropriate and unnecessary defensive medicine. We want individuals and small businesses to be able to group together to be able to buy health insurance across state lines at lower costs with no government involvement.
The GOP will compromise on the means testing of entitlement benefits, and other Social Security reforms. If the Democrats accept significant reforms, the GOP will agree to increasing the age of eligibility and changing the formula used to calculate the annual cost of living adjustment.
The Democrats have never been willing to do this before. Their demagoguery on Social Security let the deficit explode, but it did give them a Democratic Congress in 2006. Their past solution was always to kick the can down the road.
The Obama deficit reduction commission has submitted commendable spending reforms and they should be enacted. The President should incorporate them into his new budget. We want to talk about controlled spending and a roadmap to a balanced Federal budget. We will continue to support the President’s Afghan surge. He is our Commander-in-Chief and we are not going to undercut his policies in Afghanistan or Iraq. If he believes our nation must act regarding North Korea, Iran or terrorism, he will have our full support.
Elections have consequences. The biggest protectionist on Capitol Hill, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), has been replaced by a free trader. Now it is time to move forward on free trade agreements. The U.S./Korea Free Trade Agreement was signed in June of 2007, and it needs to be passed along with other agreements. The free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia was addressed by the Washington Post:
Since there is no economic argument against free trade with Colombia, opponents have had to come up with a political one — namely, that the FTA would reward a government with a poor human rights record. In truth, Colombia has made vast progress since the bloody days of its past. . . Are opponents of the FTA clinging to their arguments despite overwhelming contrary evidence? Is free trade with Colombia in the U.S. interest? And has the president indulged protectionists in Congress long enough? To all three questions, the answer is: ‘Absolutely.’
The President’s rhetoric in support of nuclear power has been wonderful. Now lets move forward together to reduce our dependence on foreign oil through new nuclear power plants.
Lets move forward with five specific tax cuts for small businesses and lets cut their regulatory burden. Small businesses should be focusing on creating jobs, not filling out Federal paperwork. Republicans are the party of yes when it comes to ending Congressional spending earmarks. We hope Democrats will join us in this effort, and together we can finally end the Capitol Hill favor factory.
Republicans are the party of yes, and we are ready for the Slurpee Summit. The President has our reform proposals but they are not popular with the left wing of his party. We want a dialogue and the major decision is up to him. There can be gridlock between a GOP House and a Democratic Senate, or there can be economic growth and reduced unemployment. This is the change we can believe in.