By Iowa Congressman Tom Latham
Iowa’s 4th Congressional District
Much of last month was a welcome breath of fresh air for me as I traveled to nearly every corner of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District for a series of 27 town hall meetings. The conversations at each of the meetings highlighted the honesty and insight so common among every-day Iowans but unfortunately is in such short supply in Washington, D.C.
At meeting after meeting throughout the district, I listened to Iowans explain their frustrations with the policymakers in Washington. Iowans are frustrated because those who run Congress and the White House are tuning out the voices of the American people and pursuing an agenda that spends, taxes and borrows at unprecedented levels. That’s why so many who attended the town hall meetings echoed the overwhelming sentiment I have seen in calls, emails and letters to my office demanding a new approach that will give families a sense of economic stability and small businesses the certainty they need to begin creating jobs and investing in our communities.
At a time when most of Washington has stopped listening, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives devoted this summer to seeking input from the American people to put together a list of principles and concrete proposals that will bring transparency back to Congress and prosperity back to America. Americans from across the country and all walks of life have contributed to the discussion, and the result is a comprehensive document that was unveiled this week. This document, called “A Pledge to America,” includes plans to create jobs, end out-of-control federal spending, make Congress more accountable and keep our country secure. It contains proposals that Congress can enact immediately – today – to put our country back on the right track if Speaker Pelosi allowed the proposals to come to the floor for a vote.
At the core of the new agenda is the recognition that in order to get our economy back to creating jobs, the job-killing economic uncertainty afflicting small businesses must be eliminated, the “stimulus” spending spree in Washington must end, and Congress itself must be reformed. To help our economy create jobs, we must block the coming tax hikes, cut spending, and begin a drive for smaller, less costly government – and to do this, we need to change Congress itself.
The new agenda embodies Americans’ rejection of the thoroughly discredited notion that we can simply tax, borrow and spend our way to prosperity. It offers a new way forward that hasn’t been tried in Washington, an approach focused on cutting spending instead of accelerating spending, and eliminating uncertainty for the private-sector innovators and entrepreneurs who create jobs. It also commits to immediate action to change the way Congress works, recognizing that the current structure is rigged to minimize public scrutiny and facilitate unnecessary spending.
The solutions in the Pledge to America plan address the top priorities of the American people, and they are rooted in the input received over the course of the last few months from a broad range of citizens from all over this country. Aside from the 27 town halls I hosted in August and September, I’ve welcomed input from Iowans through telephone town halls, letters and e-mails. I hear the message that Iowans are sending to Washington, and the ideas contained in the Pledge to America will help us turn that message into real results. This is a legislative agenda by, of and for the people.
I invite you to take some time and fully read the Pledge to America document and let me know what you agree with or what you disagree with. The document can be downloaded or viewed at http://pledge.gop.gov/
Of course, this effort couldn’t have gotten to this point without the input and participation of the American people, and it won’t succeed without continued public participation. To those who showed up at my town hall meetings to offer input, ask tough questions and take part in the democratic process, I extend my thanks. Our government works best when citizens stay informed and make their voices heard. If you weren’t able to attend, please get in touch by contacting one of my offices or going filling out the form on my contact page. Together, we can get our country moving forward again.
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