Lessons Learned: Republicans Returning to Our Core Principles

John Boehner

7/26/2007 7:54:44 AM - John Boehner

In January I wrote in The Hill that after our losses last November, House Republicans "must recommit to the principles of limited and accountable government." Here we are, seven months into the 110th Congress, and I'm pleased to report we're doing just that.

Republicans are working together to earn back the majority by first earning back the trust of the American people. And while Democrats are divided and breaking their promises on issue after issue, House Republicans have repeatedly spoken with one voice.

Whether it has been opposing tax hikes on middle class families, protecting the rights of workers, demanding more transparency and accountability in federal spending, or exposing flaws in Democratic legislation by passing 14 GOP motions-to-recommit in just seven months, House Republicans have stood unified.

Republicans stood united against the Democrats' planned $392 billion dollar tax hike - the largest in American history - on middle class families and small businesses. Instead, we rallied around a proposal to balance the federal budget within five years without raising taxes. And while the majority has completely ignored the coming tsunami in entitlement spending - demonstrated again recently on a vote to create nine new costly entitlements - Republicans offered a real proposal to stop the raid on the Social Security surplus.

Republicans were united in opposing a Democratic ploy to forcefully boost Big Labor's numbers at the expense of the workers they claim to represent. American workers have the right to decide for themselves whether to unionize; they shouldn't have the decision forced on them by overzealous union bosses and their well-heeled friends in the Democratic Party. The American people fundamentally believe in the secret ballot, and that's why this payoff to Big Labor will not become law. A united Republican conference also forced Democratic leaders to abandon a plan to load billions of taxpayer dollars into slush funds for secret earmarks. By standing up for taxpayers who deserve to know where Washington is spending their hard-earned dollars, we succeeded in restoring the 2006 Republican earmark reforms to appropriations bills. But Democratic leaders will continue to face a united Republican conference; we won't stop until those rules are applied to authorization and tax bills as well.

The real and considerable threats posed by al Qaeda and other terrorists are not going away. Do we aggressively confront these threats in Iraq and elsewhere, or retreat from the fight? Republicans fundamentally understand that retreat is not a "new way forward" when the safety and security of future generations of Americans are at stake. During each of the Democratic attempts to choke off funding for American troops or tie the hands of our generals, Republicans stood united in support of our soldiers and victory over radical jihadists. Just weeks ago we approved the resources requested by Gen. David Petraeus; Republicans want to give him time for his strategy to succeed because the consequences of failure in Iraq are ominous.

When you look back at the last several months, it's clear the Democratic majority hasn't gotten much done. They've named some post offices and some roads, protected one of their own from being reprimanded and impeded an investigation of another for violating House rules, plotted to hide billions in spending from public view, spent a whole week on a single nonbinding resolution, and failed to meet their own "Energy Independence Day" deadline for dramatic energy legislation.

Granted, one major piece of legislation has been signed into law: a troop funding bill that passed only because of Republican support. House Republicans recently released a report, "The Top 100 Broken Promises by Democrats," which chronicles the astounding divide between what Democrats promised and what they've delivered. After some 200 days in office, American families are still waiting for Democrats to deliver on their promises.

Republicans have a long way to go in our effort to earn back the majority, but the last several months have shown we are united and proving our commitment to delivering a federal government that will guarantee the freedom and security Americans expect; a government that is smaller, less costly and more accountable - one that will secure our borders and protect Americans from attack by radical jihadists.

The American people sent Republicans a message last fall. We've listened. Seven months into the 110th Congress, Republicans are keeping their promises to the American people; it's fair to say the majority can't say the same.