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EXCLUSIVE: RSC Releases Framework for 'Restoring the American Family Principles'

Facebook via Republican Study Committee

The Republican Study Committee (RSC) is offering Americans a framework of how to empower families, especially in these difficult times. Townhall received an exclusive look of the framework. The focus is on preserving "strong families," as "the cornerstone of a strong republic." The framework notes, with original emphasis, that "Supporting strong families should be the benchmark for conservative policymakers in both social and economic policy. If we ignore these trends, the American experiment will be undermined."

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When it comes to the alarming "trends" in question, the framework's introduction lists out specific areas of concerns. "In recent years, worrying trends have accelerated and now demand immediate attention from policymakers. Birth rates have hit all-time lows. The number of marriages has dipped precipitously too. Growing numbers of American children are raised in single-parent homes—or even worse, with neither parent present. Meanwhile, many parents struggle to find stable, dignified, and prosperous work, increasing the pressure of the 'two-income family' trap," it explains. 

The framework wonders what this could mean for America, with original emphasis. "Can a nation with fewer births than ever before be pro-life? Can a country be prosperous, if the traditional single-earner model is an unattainable luxury? Is American meritocracy alive and well, if over half of children are raised in family structures that disadvantage them at birth?"

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), who chairs the RSC, spoke to Townhall about how this also extends to being a priority when his party wins back the House. "The root of many of our nation’s greatest challenges is the rapid erosion of strong families. By empowering parents and investing in America’s children, we allow prosperity for future generations. If we want to protect and strengthen our nation, conservatives in Congress must be committed to promoting a pro-family agenda when Republicans win back the House," he said in a statement.

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The United States is facing population concerns as birth rates have fallen for several years, and have reached their lowest level, including to the point where women are not longer having enough babies to meet the replacement level, and where underpopulation may be a problem. 

When it comes to paychecks, too many Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. This includes one-third of those who make an annual salary of $250,000, according to a new PYMNTS.com/Lending Club report

The United States also has more children living in single-parent homes than any other country.

The 10 items that Chairman Banks and many other RSC members support touch upon childcare, education, wokeness, the pro-life issue, including when it comes to support for mothers as well as adoption and foster care, and other ways for the family to more easily thrive. 

The full list includes:

1) We support the protection of children from far-left ideologies like the transgender movement and racist ideology in their schools, the dangers of Big Tech and the internet, and other influences that cause trauma, endanger children’s health or otherwise blunt their development into functional adult citizens.  

2) We support policies that give working families flexibility in where and how they earn a living and in the kind of benefits they receive instead of one-size-fits-all, government run prescriptions.  

3) We support policies reflective of the reality that parents- not government officials- are the best qualified people to make decisions about the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of their children. We understand that children do best when they are raised in a secure family with their mother and father and our policies should always seek to encourage and support that arrangement and never burden it. 

4) We support a flexible and pluralistic approach to childcare, ensuring that working parents can choose the option that is best for them without overbearing government mandates.  

5) We support the elimination of policies that discourage family formation like marriage penalties in federal programs and tax policy. Furthermore, federal policy should never discriminate against working, two-parent families that make a financial sacrifice so that one parent can remain at home to care for young  children. 

6) We support efforts that incentivize work as a means of uplifting families instead of trapping them in a cycle of dependency. The welfare system should not remove families from participation in larger society; every child needs to grow up with at least one working parent as a role model. 

7) We support empowering parents with more choice and control over Pre-K and K-12 education dollars so they can find the educational setting that works best for their children and their values and we support giving parents the right to access their child’s curriculum[.] 

8) We support reforming our outdated Higher Education system to open up pathways to the American Dream that do not require a college degree, and to ensure that student loan debt is not an impediment to family formation.  

9) We support reforming the foster care and adoption system to better meet the needs of families and children, while protecting faith-based institutions who serve these communities from discrimination.  

10) We support efforts to end abortion, which ends the life of hundreds of thousands of children every year and to support mothers facing crisis pregnancies so that abortion becomes not only illegal but unthinkable.  

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The framework stresses a small government approach, especially when it comes to freedom from mandates, but also the freedom from governmental involvement in parental decisions about education. 

Grover Norquist, the President of Americans for Tax Reform further highlighted the danger of an overbearing government. "The RSC’s Family Policy Initiative contains several important pillars to help reduce the government’s ability to intrude in the lives of American families," he said, also adding that the proposals "should be applauded and supported by all lawmakers that want to reform the federal government and protect taxpayers."

Rep. Rick W. Allen (R-GA) also emphasized the importance of rejecting a government approach. "Parents want choice on how to raise their family and the education their children receive, and we must reject a top down, one-size-fits-all government approach. The American family is the greatest economic engine that God has ever created, and we must do all we can to ensure that our families have the support they need to thrive," he said.

On the pro-life issue, Hon. Marilyn Musgrave, Vice President of Government Affairs at Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America (formerly Susan B. Anthony List), also highlighted the importance of the pro-life issue in light of Roe v. Wade likely being overturned. 

"SBA Pro-Life America is grateful for the thoughtful and proactive work of the Republican Study Committee and RSC Chairman Jim Banks, shown in their Family Policy Initiative. At a time when Roe v. Wade is being reconsidered by the Supreme Court, RSC's pillar supporting efforts to end abortion—by making it both illegal and unthinkable—could not be more timely," she said. "While the Biden-Harris administration is working to implement policies that destroy unborn life, pro-life members of Congress are working to empower women and their babies."

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Other members chimed in to stress the importance of the family. 

"The strength of our country is dependent on the strength of our families. Today, we are seeing the results of decades of failed policies as marriage and birth rates decline, and parents struggle to provide for their families. We must reverse these trends and restore the foundations of our society, and this should be a priority for conscientious policymakers moving forward," Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) said.

"On my first day in office, I made a promise to work hard every day to make our nation a better place to live, worship, and raise a family. Families are the cornerstone of American prosperity, faith, and culture, which is why we must promote the conservative values that have supported strong families throughout our history," Rep. Mike Guest (R-MS), said. "I’m proud to sign this pledge to restore American Family Principles to promote family values, create community, and empower parents and caregivers — not Progressive politicians — to make decisions about the welfare of their children," he continued, highlighting the difference between progressivism and conservatives.

In addition to the 16 members who signed on, and the groups mentioned above, the framework is supported by a variety of different groups who look to empower the family. American Principles Project, Eagle Forum, the Faith & Freedom Coalition, and the Family Policy Alliance. 

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