This is the recess memo that John Boehner has sent to House Republicans:
M E M O
To: House GOP Members
From: House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH)
Re: What Americans Should Know about the Republican Agenda for Prosperity & Security
Date: 25 May 06
Over the last five weeks, House Republicans have come together as a team and taken significant steps forward in advancing an ambitious agenda for the American people. we are on the right side of the issues that the American people care about.
For all of the Democrats' angry, divisive rhetoric that is designed to drive us apart and take the focus off their lack of an agenda, we have steadied ourselves and focused on the issues at hand: a commitment to fiscal discipline on behalf of taxpayers; strengthening our economy that is providing robust job creation; securing our borders and addressing illegal immigration; offering real solutions to help drive down gasoline prices; and responding to the ever-present threat posed by terrorism and the forces behind it seeking to do our nation harm.
After months of work and input from our members, we adopted a common "vision statement" that draws a clear contrast between the values that unite us as Republicans and those of the Democrats. It says:
For the Next American Century:
We will promote the dignity and future of every individual by building a free society under a limited, accountable government that protects our liberty, security, and prosperity for a brighter American Dream.
Consistent with our principles and our vision, we will move forward on our agenda. As we head back to our districts for the Memorial Day district work period, I wanted to share some thoughts about what Americans should know about our agenda and our accomplishments.
Fiscal Discipline and Our Growing Economy
As Republicans, we must continue to remind our constituents about our party's stewardship of economic growth in this country that has resulted in nearly 5.3 million new jobs since August 2003, 32 consecutive months of job creation, and a low 4.7 percent unemployment rate that is below the average of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.
This didn't just happen by chance, and Americans should know that. We have delivered tax relief to working families, seniors, and small businesses that have helped expand our economy to open the door for more Americans to enjoy economic prosperity and join the growing ownership society. Keeping taxes low, coupled with fiscal restraint and economic growth, is providing greater-than-expected tax revenues to the federal government and making real progress in driving down our deficit.
Americans should know that Nancy Pelosi and her tax-and-spend Democrats on Capitol Hill fought us every step of the way. When we prevented a massive Democrat tax hike and ensured working Americans could continue to keep more of their own money, the Democrats said "No, that money belongs in Washington, DC." When we passed a fiscally-responsible budget that spends taxpayer dollars wisely, Democrats demanded more reckless spending. While we exercise fiscal restraint in the appropriations process, Democrats have requested $26.1 billion in new spending so far this year above and beyond what is fiscally responsible, putting them squarely at odds with the interests of taxpayers. This is a fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats. We want to protect the taxpayer's wallet; Democrats want to raid it.
We must always remember that protecting American taxpayers from the disastrous and just plain wrong Big Government philosophies of Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat friends on Capitol Hill is an important part of our jobs as we represent the interests of working families.
Border Security: Stopping Illegal Immigration and Open Border Policies
Americans should know that Republicans in Congress are serious about securing America's borders and shutting down the flow of illegal immigration into our cities and states. We've responded to the concerns of the American people by passing a tough border security bill that delivers resources where they are needed to make our borders safe and prevent sanctuaries for illegal immigrations in our border states and beyond.
The contrast between the two parties could not be greater on this issue. Democrats have constantly advocated troubling policies that encourage open borders and invite more and more illegal immigrants in addition to the estimated 10-12 million illegal immigrants that are already here. Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat friends in Washington, D.C. opposed the strong border security bill passed by the House in December and fought common-sense REAL ID legislation to prevent illegal immigrants and terrorists from obtaining state ID cards that would allow them to travel freely throughout the U.S.
With the Senate on the verge of passing a bill, it's important that we seek areas of common ground, while always stressing the most important priority for the American people is to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration. We can't underestimate the challenges that lie ahead of us. The American people want action, and we should be committed to working with our members of the Conference to see if we can find agreement on a responsible bill.
National Security: A Choice Between Resolve or Retreat
Americans should know that on the issue of national security, they have a choice between a Republican Party that understands the stakes and is dedicated to victory, and a Democrat Party with a non-existent national security policy that sheepishly dismisses the challenges of a post- 9/11 world and is all too willing to concede defeat on the battlefield in Iraq.
The American people are understandably concerned about our mission in a post-Saddam Iraq. As a nation, we have faced many challenges in Iraq since its liberation and transition to a sovereign democracy. But while Democrats are all too eager to seize upon the challenges we face as their rationale or motivation for retreat, as Republicans who understand the diplomatic and national security hazards of such a move, we must echo the American public's understanding of just how great the stakes are in Iraq to our long term efforts to win the War on Terrorism.
Building a democracy in a part of the world that has known nothing but tyranny and despotism is a hard thing to do. But achieving victory there and gaining a democratic ally in democracy in the region will be the best gift of security we can give to future generations of Americans.
Republican Action Vs. Democrat Negligence on Gas Prices
Americans should know just how much work Republicans have done to build a stronger energy future for America restructure our nation's energy policy so that we're no longer held hostage to foreign sources of energy production. We are on the verge of acting to authorize environmentally-safe energy production in ANWR, and we have supported expanding refinery capacity, banning price gouging, and establishing incentives to encourage development of breakthrough hydrogen technologies - all efforts that build on the Energy Policy Act signed into law last year.
Americans should also know about the chronic negligence of Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat colleagues in responding to the concerns of the American people. Democrats have opposed every responsible effort to increase America's energy supplies are directly responsible for the higher gasoline prices that working families are faced with today.
The choice between the two parties is clear: While House Republicans have a comprehensive energy strategy to help protect the pocketbooks of American consumers, the Democrat Party has been hijacked by left-wing environmentalists and stonewalled every responsible and common-sense proposal to help secure America's energy needs.
Our Republican Agenda: Looking Forward
From a fiscally-responsible budget to preventing a massive Democrat tax increase, from spending restraint to lobbying and earmark reform, from securing our ports to strengthening our intelligence capabilities, from supporting our troops with the funding, armor, and equipment to get the job done to honoring our veterans and assisting the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, House Republicans have accomplished a lot on behalf of the American people over the last five weeks.
In the coming weeks and months, we have much more to accomplish. We'll continue our work to hold the line on spending, we'll work on border security and pension security, and providing affordable health care to working families, and we'll work to help lower energy prices for working Americans. And that's just a start.
We have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us. United together behind a common vision that reflects our principles and values as Republicans, we will be successful in moving our ambitious agenda and responding to the concerns of the American people.
Politically, there's some useful stuff here for the House GOP. Undoubtedly, they need to focus on how strong the economy is, and how tax increases could damage the recovery.
I can't help but laugh though, at the statement that "Democrats have requested $26.1 billion in new spending so far this year above and beyond what is fiscally responsible." The President's budget calls for spending in 2007 of $2.77 trillion. So the additional funds requested by the Democrats amount to less than 1 percent of the total federal expenditure. How many conservatives are content that the 'fundamental difference' between the two parties is a grand total of 1 percent of federal spending?
Apart from that, the other problem I see is that no one perceives the House GOP to have been doing these things over the last few weeks. They need to focus on legislation to match the rhetoric, and a better focus on these issues.
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