Let Freedom Ring Must Reads

Uniting Behind a Pro-Growth Agenda
By David McIntosh

Pundits claim the Republican leadership in Congress cannot possibly satisfy the unrealistic expectations of the party’s supposedly unruly base. But while there may be disagreements at times over some issues and priorities, pro-growth conservatives will support and work with all members of Congress to promote economic growth that leads to a healthy and prosperous America.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already outlined two such policies—tax reform and trade—where the GOP can make a real difference. Members of the Club for Growth wholeheartedly support these efforts.

Republicans have a real opportunity to pass a comprehensive reform of the tax code. They should not limit themselves to modifying the corporate tax structure, as President Obama would prefer. Instead, the congressional majority in both Houses should pass a complete package that lowers the rates, broadens the base and eliminates loopholes that reward cronyism and political connections. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) has called for doing just that, building on the excellent work of the House Ways and Means Committee last year.

Not only is this the correct policy position, it is also smart politically. If Republicans focus on overhauling the entire, unpopular tax code, Mr. Obama and Democrats would have to answer to their desire only to make things easier for corporations, while America’s families and small businesses continue to suffer.

Mr. McConnell ’s call for improving America’s trade policies is also encouraging. There is bipartisan consensus that Congress should pass trade-promotion authority, or TPA, to facilitate passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The White House realizes Republicans are necessary to pass this pro-growth trade deal, so the GOP should not concede President Obama’s likely giveaways to Big Labor and special interests.

If Republicans fight for TPA without trade-adjustment assistance (supplemental unemployment insurance with dubious eligibility standards), or language about foreign-currency manipulation (the precursor for a big tax increase on imported goods), fiscal conservatives will be their biggest cheerleaders.

Mr. McConnell wants to work with Mr. Obama to meet transportation and infrastructure needs across the U.S. These needs are valid—but the Republican leadership should avoid legislation or deal-making that would grow the size of the federal government, raise taxes or add to our already unsustainable national debt, which has grown by more than $7.5 trillion under Mr. Obama.

Instead, the congressional Republicans should empower states and localities to handle their transportation and infrastructure needs. Bills in the House from Rep. Tom Graves (R., Ga.), and in the Senate from Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Mike Lee (R., Utah), would end the highway trust fund and return highway spending to the states.

The GOP campaigned heavily against ObamaCare in the recent election. Republican candidates ran more than 40,000 ads in October 2014 alone promising to repeal the law that has caused health-care costs to skyrocket, curtailed patient choice, discouraged innovation and exacerbated joblessness. The American people have said repeatedly they do not want ObamaCare. The GOP should move to repeal it in the first 100 days.

Yes, pro-growth conservatives understand that Mr. Obama would veto repeal of his signature law. Still, it is vital that Republicans force him and potential Democratic presidential candidates to defend the Affordable Care Act. Doing so will remind Americans that they will have to re-elect GOP legislative majorities and put a Republican in the White House to rid the country of this disastrous legislation. Meanwhile, the GOP should offer patient-centered solutions to restore the health-care choices that Americans want and deserve.

“Instead, the congressional Republicans should empower states and localities to handle their transportation and infrastructure needs. Bills in the House from Rep. Tom Graves (R., Ga.), and in the Senate from Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Mike Lee (R., Utah), would end the highway trust fund and return highway spending to the states.”

Since Mr. Obama took office, the morass of regulation has increased dramatically. In 2014 alone the executive branch added another $180 billion in regulatory costs, according to the American Action Forum. In the first 100 days of the new Congress, Republicans should move to roll back antigrowth regulations that seem to spew daily from government agencies like the EPA and Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, regulating everything from coal to your automobile.

The next two years are an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate that conservative governance—rooted in timeless principles and projecting a vibrant vision for the country’s future—can improve the lives of the American people through economic freedom. It can also thwart the harmful determinations of an out-of-control Obama administration that has done much more harm than good. And all of this can be accomplished while setting the GOP up for victory across the board in 2016.

Mr. McIntosh, a former Republican congressman from Indiana, is president of the Club for Growth.

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