MEMO: Conservative Expectations on House Leadership Races

To:                  Interested Parties
From:            Heritage Action for America
Date:              September 30, 2015
Subject:         Conservative Expectations on House Leadership Races

Read the entire memo.

The upcoming leadership races should not be driven by personality, quid pro quo committee assignments and fundraising prowess.  Instead, those races should be determined by policy and process.  Which candidates will promote a conservative policy agenda that advances opportunity for all and favoritism to none?  Which candidates will fight for those policies and seriously challenge President Obama?  Which candidates will reform the internal workings of the House to ensure a more open and deliberative process with less top-down management, and end the culture of punishment and retribution?

A Real Governing Vision. The complete absence of a conservative agenda by the Republican-controlled Congress must change. In evaluating leadership candidates, members should demand clarity as to how each one would put forward a positive conservative agenda that promotes opportunity for all and favoritism to none.[1] For example:

Higher Education. Younger Americans (and in many cases their parents) are suffering from the high cost and rigidity of our nation’s higher education system. The new leadership team should use the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to embrace bold reforms. The Higher Education Reform and Opportunity (HERO) Act would break up our nation’s accreditation cartel and open the doors of opportunity for all Americans.

Entitlement Reform. The House-passed budget promised a myriad of important reforms, though none have moved through the House as standalone legislation. Sending real entitlement reforms – Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and even Social Security – to the Senate would demonstrate the new leadership is serious about advancing conservative policy and serious about forcing Senate action on those priorities.

Tax Reform. Advancing a sweeping, pro-growth tax reform that removes entrenched favoritism buried in the current code should be a priority. Doing so would demonstrate a much-needed seriousness when it comes to policy and continue to emphasize the party’s move away from K Street.

Religious Liberty. Americans should be free to practice their religious beliefs without fear of oppression or discrimination, especially from the federal government. New leadership should embrace that fundamental right by advancing the First Amendment Defense Act.

Significant Internal Reforms. More often than not, process and personnel are policy. As things stand, the House and GOP conference rules concentrate power in the hands of a few individuals, thus marginalizing conservatives and rank-and-file members. In evaluating leadership candidates, members should demand key reforms that decentralize power in the House and empower members to better represent their constituents.[2]

Near-term Trust Building. In evaluating leadership candidates, members should demand clarity as to how each one would fight the numerous legislative battles that will emerge over the remainder of the year. Members should evaluate the next Speaker and his or her leadership team on the following issues:

Planned Parenthood. Taxpayer funding of abortion giant Planned Parenthood cannot continue. A key test will occur today as outgoing Speaker John Boehner plans to use Democrats votes to continue the organization’s funding. Those seeking a leadership position should fight his plan using every tool at their disposal.

Reconciliation. The Republican budget passed, primarily, because leadership and the budget chairmen promised “the use of reconciliation for the sole purpose of repealing the President’s job-killing health care law.” Failure to uphold that promise will jeopardize the likelihood of passing a budget next year. It will also hamper efforts to fully repeal the law in 2017.

Budget Caps. In 2011, the Republican-controlled House forced President Obama to sign spending caps into law. Those caps have been raised once before and many suggest they will be raised once more, in an effort dubbed Ryan-Murray 2.0. A near-term spending increase would further undermine the party’s claim to fiscal responsibility.

Debt Ceiling. The debt ceiling is a legitimate tool to control spending and enact major pillars of the GOP budget. The next GOP leadership team must pledge to use that tool. Additionally, they should pledge to tie the debt ceiling to an actual number, as opposed to a date change that hides the true cost of such actions.

Export-Import Bank. The new leadership team must promise to keep the Export-Import Bank shuttered and limit its funding to ensure it only conducts activities necessary to winding down. Additionally, the next Speaker and his or her leadership team must stop any attempt to resurrect the bank, which has been closed for 92 days.

Highway Bailout. According to the Department of Transportation, the federal Highway Trust Fund currently has more resources than previously projected, and should have plenty of funding to continue operating well into next year. The next GOP leadership team must ensure the October 29 reauthorization deadline is not used as an excuse to pass a massive extension and expansion of federal highway funding.

No Child Left Behind. House Republicans rightly criticized the Senate’s reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. There is no reason for the House to proceed to a conference with such a bill.

The opportunity for a change in leadership should empower rank-and-file lawmakers. The Republican-controlled House should embrace this as an opportunity to align itself with the conservative grassroots and increase the likelihood the party will actually fight for conservative policy priorities. That will not happen through inertia, though. It will take a concerted effort to ensure the meaning of the moment is not lost.

No one should need an army of lawyers, lobbyists and accountants to succeed in this great nation. We have a chance to take back America, but it will require the Republican Party to fight for all Americans, not the powerful and well connected.

Please Share Your Thoughts

86 thoughts on “MEMO: Conservative Expectations on House Leadership Races

    • Before tackling any of these problems, the old GOP hardliners have to recognize that they have done little to address anything meaningful. They should get out of the way.

    • The leadership at Heritage is as phony as those in congress.
      I had high expectations for Heritage, but, after years of the Bush’s , Boehner, McConnell I no longer expect pro Constitutional advocacy.

      • I expect Dr Carson to re-establish the Constitution as the simple government doc it was meant to be send all the less governmental things back to the states. The government only for the common defense

    • We also need to get rid of lobbyists’ control of Congressional votes. I don’t know how, but it needs to be done. They’re polluting the system.

    • getting a majority maybe hard but when each sees they will not make it we can look for the strongest and support him ?

    • What this country really needs is real reduction in career politicians and go back to what the founding fathers imagined and all the people should be able to run for office and get rid of the career politicians. Then and only then will this country get back to basics.

  1. Fantastic start to get OUR America back on track. We need a person that has boldness, true patriotism, etc. BUT, first we must remove appointment power to a Speaker as this creates division and power to a few instead of the whole of the House. If a document brought forth, then we citizens must be allowed to read it in at least a minimum of 3 days, and not rushed through during the night or in a few minutes or hours with a lot of baloney!

  2. The question is how does the speaker get a majority to move legislation forward when the right is unwilling to compromise on its positions even if it results in another disasterous government shutdown which inevitably will be blamed on the Republicans?.

    • Ted, if the Republican House sends a bill to the Republican led Senate and the pass it with the “Nuclear Option”, majority and when it goes to the POTUS he vetoes it, then he is the one responsible for a gov’t shutdown, not the Republicans. Get A grip!

  3. I certainly agree, however I’m not sure the Establishment will allow this take place. Members of Congress learn pretty rapidly that they can line their own pockets by following what the lobbyist are selling and forgetting why we sent them to Washington. Open and transparent…….a lost art, I’m afraid!!

    • WHAT GOOD is $$$$$$$$$ to them when they are destroying their country and their children’s future???! (while the faux ‘Federal’ Reserve is destroying the value of the dollar!)

    • Limit Lobbyists so the empowerment of the Representatives and Senators will truly represent their voters. I can see where Experts can be needed in Hearings or creating correct legislation, but donations to campaigns should be monitored along with laws created.

  4. We need someone who remembers he works for: We the People, puts Americans first, if Americans are out of work, vets homeless, etc. We cannot take any more illegal. They can do to countries that can afford them. We have to remember we are a Christian nation this is why we were #1 in the world. If we get offended by who we are they need to leave our country. Stop being ashamed of America’s past. We had good and bad stories. People need to learn both sides. MAY GOD BLESS OUR COUNTRY ! before we destroy ourselves. Do what we know is right. Today right is wrong and wrong is right. This has to stop.

  5. I want someone who loves this country and it’s people. Someone who is not a coward. Some one who truly believes in God….. There’s got to be better. Got have mercy on our country and our people.

    • Ann, The Republicrats have compromised our liberties away. When good compromises with bad, good gets diluted. When that happens time after time, year after year… we wake up and realize that we have compromised away our freedoms and have a large, unwieldy Socialist government, led by a Muslim sympathizing Communist. There is no virtue in compromise!

  6. I see no mention of the violations of Constitutional Law that Obama and his administration continue to perpetrate against the people of this nation unopposed. No mention or of second amendment rights. The Second Amendment is the wall supporting the Constitution, erode it or eliminate, the wall will collapse and the single party socialist oppression will begin in America. I hope America realizes socialism is the mask concealing fascism, remember 1940’s Germanyand it’s one party rule.

  7. START PROCEEDINGS to break our government away from the faux ‘Federal’ Reserve that has been manipulating our monetary system for the past 102 years, charging the American people INTEREST on currency that it is the CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY of Congress to provide INTEREST-FREE!!!!
    REPEAL the 16th Amendment that STEALS $$$$$$ from American workers paychecks which was originated to PAY THE INTEREST due to the ‘Federal’ Reserve for $$$$$$ ‘borrowed’!!!!!

    • EMIRCITNA, you get a huge AMEN, from me on that post! Too few have a clue, as to how The Fraudulent Reserve creates currency out of debt and what they call “Frectional Banking, which is the biggest Ponzi Scheme ever perpetrated on the world. We loan ourselves, our own money and pay the International Bankers 6% on our national debt.
      It’s nuts and we, as a people, are extremely stupid!

  8. I feel like I’m preaching to the choir but we need someone who is going to get us back on track to true Constitutional government, that is principled and dedicated to this country and all that it stands for, and someone that can get things done and will stand up for what is right.

  9. Well said. And all must be willing to protect our constitutional principles from all threats, regardless of the cost.

  10. The list is quite comprehensive, except there is no “mention of Amnesty or stopping illegal immigration”. Where does Heritage stand on these issues. As a member, I would like to know.
    J H. Johnson

  11. Ending Obamacare and other unconstitutional abuses of government are my priorities. And I don’t know whether either of them wants to be Speaker, but I think people who read this page might be interested in the U.S. Congressmen whose newsletters are frequently cited at my web site.

    • It’s easy for you to say “end Obamacare” because you probably have no problem paying for it but a lot of people work for companies like Walmart, and it’s hard to be able to get it because YOU can’t afford it and would otherwise not be able to get it and it’s vital for their health unless YOU would like to see a lot of people die. I can’t believe there are people like that in our country that has no feelings. God help you!

  12. Great document and road map to follow and by which to measure progress. Let’s work to get a speaker who has the tenacity to eat this elephant one bite at a time.

  13. I am not sure that “we the people” are being asked about these 12 things. Again it is as if we are being dictated to. And that leaves a very sour taste. Heritage is not asking for ideas but only offering “their” own. Where does this leave things such as the Dept. of Ed, the EPA, securing our borders, illegals and refugees, etc.? I would like clarification as to how they came up with these to start. What about crushing ISIS? What about sharia lawin America? what about terrorist training camps on America soil? Time some one either gets out a very detailed survey or has “we the people” openly respond.
    I would also like to know if these things we sign and add our name to, why do they ALWAYS want money?

  14. Is there anyone willing to demand the defunding of OBC, PP etc even if it means a shutdown? Blame the shutdown on Obama this time.

  15. I don’t see illegal immigration on here and dealing with the UACs flooding our border and living off taxpayers!

  16. Where is immigration reform in this list? Has not the American public placed this issue at or near the top of the list of priorities?

  17. Congress is nothing but a bunch of wimps!! They could have impeached Obama long ago on his abuse of office! He has given congress plenty of ammunition. I have stopped contributing to the Republican Party and sending my donations to select congressmen and senators that have balls ! God help America in the next election !

  18. It just baffles me that so many of the go alongs are afraid of threats from the leaders. Why can’t they come to the right side and do what they said they would do? If enough of them do what’s right, then the threats would disappear likely in a day.. The Establishment would then be the minority!

  19. TERM LIMITS AND NO thing Obama has shown the AMERICAN people is we do need term limits and we don’t need a president in the white house.

  20. To all you RINO’s, it is time you started listening to the American people, not to the the pretend Democrats. Let’s stiffen up our backbone and say no to the POTUS. Let’s put the blame where it belongs, in his backyard. He foments hate and destruction, then blames Guns and the Cops. He says he prays to God, but reveres Allah. He says he provide protection for the American people, but sends Christian refugees a NOT WELCOME HERE letter, but allows Muslim refugees a free pass. He not only doesn’t provide protection, he ignores warnings from our Border patrol that they have already crossed the Rio Grand, along with thousands of other Illegal Aliens.

    Between the POTUS, the present Secretary of State and former Secretary of State, I’m not sure which one has done the most damage or lied to the American people more.

    The POTUS and Hillary are guilty of lying to the people about Benghazi and not providing sufficient armed support for them. I suppose that goes along with the POTUS view of guns, but then why does he continue to give enemy armament support? A real American would have stepped up and did his job. Not this POTUS.

    No to McCarthy as Speaker, we don’t need more of the same.

  21. -Allow Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies on pricing
    -Give all veterans a card that enables them to go to any hospital that they choose instead of the VA

  22. Need to uphold the Constitution, bring back the three departmants

    Up hold the constitution, bring back the three divisions of government, All laws rules and regulations should be made by elected officials only!

    • Jim from Indiana. Our elected office holders and should honor their need to
      Our elected office holders and representatives should honor their Oaths of office.

  23. From Wall Builders: Charles Carroll of Carrollton signer of the declaration of independence said, “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, [and] which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and [which] insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”

    The rapid loss of morals in this country seems to align with our turning our backs on God in such things as no prayer in school, abortion on demand, removal of religious and patriotic artifacts that are important pieces of our heritage, the meaning of marriage and the resulting divorce rate. We need to put in power moral and righteous leaders to turn the tide.


  25. The “List” is good with a few exceptions – stay with Constitutional Government and keep the Rights out of the mix – with a Constitutional Government all Citizens Rights will be protected.

  26. All wrong! The new speaker should think of the people and not of what he or she wants! I think the people should have a say in who is elected for House Speaker. Planned Parent and Obamacare should not be touched! It’s easy for people that can afford insurance to say do away with it, but it’s the only way a lot of people can afford insurance they need that is vital for their well-being!

    • Planned Parenthood will get along fine without my tax dollars. Plenty fo private money. Have you not seen the evil things they are doing with these sweet aborted babies? Where are your feelings? America is becoming a cult of death. As for people too poor to buy insurance medicaid was there before Obamacare. Besides Obamacare was built upon lies. Remember what President Kennedy said “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. Today there are too many that think of nothing higher than Oh by the way i cannot afford what I am having to pay so that you can be insured.

  27. A Member with the “Balls” to restore our great nation. A person that will truly represent loyal Americans, not the sociocommies trying to destroy it. Someone who will listen to “us” and will budget in such a way that prevents obuerfication, hillarycation, sanderscation, soroscation, reidcaction, pelosication and their commie minions. Do the right thing in representation or get the hell out.

  28. Our elected Office holders and representatives should honor their oaths of office.

  29. Why should we support Federal involvement in any aspect of education. The Constitution leaves education to the states. Let’s work to take the Federal Government out of education altogether.

  30. That America has seemingly become a socialist nation cannot be denied. We The People have allowed this to occur by not being truly involved in the gubment of our nation. We have sat on our butts and let the liberal progressives to take command of our destiny. We can talk ‘”til the cows come home” but the only real answer is to get physically involved even if it takes a few extra hours a week. Sitting at an iPad or computer talking to each of us who believe our nation and her people are in grave danger is only a small part of our responsibility. Our Nation(THE GREATEST ON EARTH) is in a position to become the biggest basket case of the third world and the liberal progressives are doing their best to bring to pass the greatest change of all when the USA becomes a part of the THIRD WORLD! Years ago I went to school wth many of the young people, mostly from China and the Middle East and those young people were very dedicated to their studies. They are the leaders now and we are still training the leaders of the world with colleges and universities filled with liberal progressives as the professors. It seems most odd that most of the learned within the halls of academia are of the liberal progressive persuasion. The call to become an educater doesn’t seem to fall on the ears of the conservatives because we try to make the big bucks by hard work and diligence. The teaching profession is Noble but not well paid although ghet seem to be grossly overpaid as the results of their endeavors come out of colleges with more stupidity than when they entered.

  31. Agendas should be somewhat fluid. It’s a bit tyrannical to push for an agenda that does exactly what it purports to defeat: centralization of power. Heritage does not nor should have the corner to the market. Heritage claims to speak for conservatives, when the truth is that conservatives speak for conservatives. The 40 members in the House that have been marginalized by several entities, were put there to do exactly what they are doing. The only thing they lack is leadership, and that they can find among themselves.

  32. Applauding Treason seems to be the way of the world, and if one sits back and focuses on the Karma in the air, you almost get the sense that you can cut it with a knife, because the corruption level is so high, you have no choice but to accept that this is the Norm. When Boehner left the private meeting with obuma, it was obvious to me that something transpired that just did not agree with the Speaker of the House, well shortly after Mr. Boehner makes the comment that he will never Impeach the fraud and phony Barry sotoroe, but that he would file a law suit, to my knowledge that alleged law suit was never written. There are to many little red flags that no one has been paying attention to, and consequently we America started falling through the cracks, but know one considered them to important, and mean while the usurper is having a hay .day destroying our Constitution piece by piece
    For years I have been trying to tell the American people that we are in serious trouble in Washington D.C. and unless people don’t change their attitudes toward all the little signs, telling us exactly what obuma is up to. The first indicator telling us we are in trouble, besides the executive actions, was obumacare. To transform a country from it’s present direction is do something drastic, thus obumacare gets it’s wings and everyone thinks oh how wonderful, but no one has even read the damn thing, big red flag. obamacare was meant to fail so obuma’s government can step in and save it, and so now we have the government taking over Healthcare, and now move to disarm the people and eventually take over the police and it goes on and on until the Communist flag is raised.

  33. I get concerned when I hear your call to “reform” Medicare. It seems people have forgotten that we have PAID for our Medicare–all of our working life, every single paycheck! It’s not our fault that our money has been frittered away on anything and everything. Now, our “care” has pretty much disappeared after age 75! It was never our choice to have government healthcare, of any kind, but the government required we pay for it. Then they wasted our money!

  34. One additional item. Correct the accounting system used in Washington to reflect ALL revenues and expenditures in a way that nothing is hidden, or left off the books. That would be a major step toward transparency in the government.

  35. I would like clarification as to how they came up with these to start. What about crushing ISIS? What about sharia lawin America? what about terrorist training camps on America soil? Time some one either gets out a very detailed survey or has “we the people” openly respond.
    I hope America realizes socialism is the mask concealing fascism, remember 1940’s Germanyand it’s one party rule.

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