In November, House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, triumphantly declared that “Democrats are prepared to govern and ready to lead.” She said Democrats would make the 110th Congress “the most honest, ethical and open Congress in history.” That was then.
It’s already June and those promises remain completely unfulfilled. In fact, the biggest problem facing House Democrats is their fondness for making promises — promises they can’t make good on or never had any intention of keeping.
Sure, you say, politicians make a lot of promises — but they usually keep at least a few of them. A report released last week by House Republicans — titled “The Top 100 Broken Promises by Democrats” — chronicles the astonishing divide between what congressional Democrats promised and what they’ve actually delivered. The leaders of the current majority promised they would run the “most honest, open, and ethical Congress in history.” What they’ve delivered is a more closed, intellectually dishonest and ethically ambivalent legislature — precisely the opposite of what the American people thought they were getting.
The Democrats have been entirely unable to govern and their string of broken promises has left few accomplishments of which to speak. Indeed, nearly half of the 39 bills signed into law either name federal property or build a road.
Not surprisingly, Gallup last week showed that just 14 percent of Americans — an all-time low — have confidence in this Congress. The previous low point for Congress was 18 percent at several points in the time period from 1991 to 1994, the last time Democrats were in power. Republicans recognize these numbers are a reflection on all of us. But unlike the Democrats, Republicans have demonstrated in recent months that we recognize the need to restore the bonds of trust between the American people and their elected leaders. We got the message, and we got it the hard way. House Republicans have kept the promise we made to the American people six months ago to return to our core principles and focus on the need for smaller, less costly and more accountable government. And where the majority fails to lead, Republicans are stepping up.
One of the only meaningful accomplishments of this Congress to date has been legislation enacted to fully fund American troops fighting radical jihadists — a bill that was carried on the strength of a unified Republican Party.
House Republicans forced the majority to restore GOP earmark reforms that bring greater transparency and accountability to federal spending. We put forward a plan to balance the federal budget without raising taxes on middle-class families. And just last week we saved American taxpayers more than $1 billion by preventing Democrats from shutting down the practice of private unpaid tax collection, an initiative that collects unpaid taxes the IRS bureaucracy is unable or unwilling to pursue.
House Republicans stood united to provide our troops the resources they need to defeat al Qaeda and radical jihadists, and are determined to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws. We’ve proven successful in strengthening and exposing flaws in Democratic bills and are pushing for commonsense ethics rules that hold lawmakers to a higher standard. Week by week, Republicans are working together more closely than ever before, united in purpose as we rebuild and restore the House Republican brand.
In contrast, Democrats have worked to weaken our national defense and retreat from the global war on terror. They’ve voted to impose the largest tax increase in American history; proposed hundreds of billions in wasteful, unnecessary spending; crafted multibillion-dollar slush funds for secret earmarks; made gas prices worse by proposing new taxes and regulation; and voted against increasing access to affordable health care for millions of uninsured working families. And they’ve done it all by decree, not through the “open” debate they promised.
The fact is Americans believe they were sold a bill of goods, and they deserve better. Both parties have largely lost the trust of the American people. Republicans are committed to doing what is needed to earn that trust back.
Originally appeared in the Washington Times.