Jack Kingston’s American Renewal Project
Congressman Jack Kingston, who represent’s Georgia’s First CD and is vice-chairman of the House Republican Conference sent a letter out earlier today arguing that, “We need to get back to our basic priorities, to the issues that our constituents want us to address. We need priority-based leadership.”
Attached to this letter was an outline of something he terms the “American Renewal Project.”
1. Fiscal Accountability and Responsibility: keeping more money in the pockets of taxpayers and less in the Washington bureaucracy. Our plan for significant government reform will result in long-term real structural savings.
We achieve this by:
Ã¢€¢ Appointing a special BRAC-type Commission which is independent of the political process and can recommend substantive savings;
Ã¢€¢ An across-the-board savings plan;
Ã¢€¢ Zero-based budgeting;
Ã¢€¢ Sunset provisions for all new government programs;
Ã¢€¢ Earmark reform.
2. A balanced immigration policy that secures the nationÃ¢€™s borders and deters illegal immigration and criminal activity.
3. Strengthen AmericaÃ¢€™s national and economic security by realizing AmericaÃ¢€™s independence of Middle Eastern oil by 2015. AmericaÃ¢€™s oil policy must strike a better balance for the 21st Century Ã¢€“ strengthen supply, increase conservation and embrace fuel choice.
4. Congress should create a tax code that is simple, fair and honest. The annual burden of filing taxes, for American families and businesses, has become overwhelming. Thousands of man-hours are wasted navigating the countryÃ¢€™s arcane tax laws, which could otherwise be spent with the family.
5. Strengthen retirement security for current and future generations. Stop spending the Social Security surplus.
6. Reduce the size of the federal bureaucracy, cut red-tape, and make the federal government work smarter. The government model should be companies like Amazon.com, Google, UPS, American Express, Starbucks, and Verizon; not FEMA, the US Postal Service, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Ã¢€¢ Renewed commitment to annual oversight included in the recently passed budget reform proposals. Saving money should be an everyday mission and not just something done when political pressure mounts.
7. Make health care more affordable, accessible, and patient-centered. Congress should consolidate the many related ideas that would help improve the nationÃ¢€™s health care system including tort reform, medical technology reforms, association health plans, and deductibility of health costs.
8. Support the troops and continue to win the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress needs to have a unified national vision that can be understood and followed by our constituents. We need to insist that the DOD outlines what is ahead and what is expected to ensure that we can measure progress and get the troops home as soon as possible.
Some of this is platitude but much of it is genuine policy vision. The problem, as I’ve noted previously, is that this vision was mostly laid out in the 1994 campaign as the promised outcome of Republican governance. We’ve had a decade of Republican majorities in the House and except for a brief interruption caused by Jim Jeffords’ treachery, the Senate.
Why, suddenly, should we believe it’ll happen?
I’ve got a call and an e-mail into his office, from whence I got this communication. I’ll post the response if one is forthcoming.
Update: I got an e-mail response from his staff saying this was a “great question.” We’ve set up a telephone interview for tomorrow morning, which I’ll post on separately and link to here.
Update (1/25): See my Interview with Jack KingstonÃ¢€™s Office.