Jackie Gingrich Cushman

1) Remind the American people why we are in this mess -- the Democratic Party did not do its job. Also, remind them that you are thrilled to have been elected and are looking forward to making the hard and tough decisions the Democratic leaders avoided making last year to ensure we are a prosperous nation.

2) Reconcile the House and Senate versions stipulating that members of Congress will not get paid during a government shutdown. If the Democratic-controlled Senate stalls, or the Democratic president vetoes, then make sure the American people know about it.

3) Hold firm to ensure that the next budget contains serious expense reductions and tax reductions that will lead to growth in the private sector. This would be a real recovery, not the false recovery that results from government spending.

4) Continue to approve 2011 budget bills even if the Senate stalls or the president vetoes. Keep the pressure on the Senate and the president. Make sure the American people know that the House passed a budget that reflects the will of the people based on the most recent election results and that the Senate and president refuse to listen.

Here's the way it's supposed to work: The House passes the budget bill, the Senate approves (and often reconciles with the House), and then the bill gets sent to the president for approval. Since the House is the closest to the American people, it would be wise for the Senate and the president to open their ears and listen to the will of the American people.

Based on where we are on the 2011 budget, either the Democratic Party is critically inept or strategically brilliant while being duplicitous.

You decide.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.