GOP's Pledge to America

House GOP leaders are set to release their “Pledge to America” (full document and separate executive summary) at an event in Virginia on Thursday, offering a bold set of proposals for a new governing agenda.

The document offers a pledge from Republicans on issues ranging from a GOP blueprint to reform congressional corruption to unleashing job creators by cutting taxes and reducing the debt burden on future generations by cutting government spending, according to a copy of the document obtained Wednesday by Human Events.

The pledge also commits House Republicans to a full repeal of Obamacare.

Through its “America Speaking Out” initiative, Republicans have been reaching out to the people and through that initiative they have assessed the issues addressed in their pledge as those the American people most want Congress to tackle.

The plan offers comprehensive detail on efforts to get government out of the way so private enterprise can do what they do best: create jobs. 

The GOP plan to end the economic uncertainty and make America more competitive includes:

Permanently Stop All Job-Killing Tax Hikes: We will help the economy by permanently stopping all tax increases, currently scheduled to take effect January 1, 2011. That means protecting middle-class families, seniors worried about their retirement and the entrepreneurs and family-owned small businesses on which we depend to create jobs in America. 

Give Small Businesses a Tax Deduction: We will allow small business owners to take a tax deduction equal to 20% of their business income. This will provide entrepreneurs with a much-needed infusion of capital for investment and new hiring.

Rein in the Red Tape Factory in Washington, D.C.: Excessive federal regulation is a de facto tax on employers and consumers that stifles job creation, hampers innovation and postpones investment in the economy. When the game is always changing, small businesses cannot properly plan for the future. To provide stability, we will require congressional approval of any new federal regulation that has an annual cost to our economy of $100 million or more. This is the threshold at which the government deems a regulation “economically significant.” If a regulation is so “significant” and costly that it may harm job creation, Congress should vote on it first.

The document also goes into detail on how it will cut spending, which includes unprecedented accounting and benchmarks for entitlement programs:

Act immediately to reduce spending, canceling unspent “stimulus” funds, and block any attempts to extend the timeline for spending “stimulus” funds. Throwing more money at a stimulus plan that is not working only wastes taxpayer money and puts us further in debt.

Cut government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels: With common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops, we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone.

Establish a hard cap on new discretionary spending: We will set strict budget caps to limit federal spending on an annual basis. Budget caps were used in the 1990s, when a Republican Congress was able to bring the budget into balance and eventual surplus.

Cut Congress’ budget: This year, Congress increased its own budget by 5.8% at a time when families and small businesses across the country are cutting back. We will make Congress do more with less by significantly reducing its budget.

Hold weekly votes on spending cuts: Through the YouCut initiative Republicans will continue to hold weekly votes on spending cuts.

End TARP once and for all: Cancel the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), a move that would save taxpayers roughly $16 billion.

End government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: We will reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by ending their government takeover, shrinking their portfolios, and establishing minimum capital standards.

Impose a net federal hiring freeze of non-security employees: Impose a net hiring freeze on non-security federal employees and ensure that the public sector no longer grows at the expense of the private sector.

Root out government waste and duplication: Adopt a “sunset” requirement at the federal level to force Congress to determine if a program is worthy of continued taxpayer support.

Reform the budget process to focus on long-term challenges: Require a full accounting of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, setting benchmarks for these programs and reviewing them regularly, and preventing the expansion of unfunded liabilities.

Republicans also plan to repeal Obamacare, making common-sense reforms aimed at reducing healthcare costs including:

– Enacting medical liability reform to rein in junk lawsuits and curb defensive medicine.
– Purchase of insurance across state lines.
– Expand Health Savings Accounts.
– Ensure access for patients with pre-existing conditions through high-risk pools.
– Permanently prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion.

The pledge also offers specifics on how Republicans would reign in congressional corruption:

“Read the Bill” requirement would ensure test of bills published online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives

“Adhere to the Constitution” element would require each bill moving through Congress to include a clause citing the specific constitutional authority upon which the bill is justified.

“Make It Easier to Cut Spending” provision would end forbidding amendments on spending bills letting let any lawmaker — Democrat or Republican— offer amendments to reduce spending.

Advance legislative issues one at a time: end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with “must-pass” legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time.

Republicans say these are initiatives they believe can be done immediately and they plan to call on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to allow them to come to the floor.