We continue our Member of the Week segment with a questionnaire with the Congressman. We want you to know the most conservative members of Congress on both a professional and personal level because it's important to see them as real people, not just politicians. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) answers 5 questions, some policy oriented and some personal:
Heritage Action: What aspect of government (i.e., program, department, agency) do you want to reform the most? What legislation are you currently pushing or working on to achieve that reform?
Rep. Ross: There are two aspects of government I am most eager, and working most vigorously, to reform. The first is under my subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee, and that is the Postal Service. I, along with Chairman Issa (R-CA), have introduced HR 2309 to prevent the $85 billion taxpayer bailout some are seeking. In addition, it would allow the postal service to consolidate and close facilities, change delivery days and routes, end union ability to negotiate on the backs of the taxpayer, right size the workforce by over 200,000 without layoffs, and continue the responsible prefunding of health care and pension obligations.
The second aspect of government I would like to reform is the tax code. I am currently working on legislation that would flatten the code to two brackets, end all tax credits and most tax expenditures, eliminate capital gains taxes on long term investment, reduce the corporate tax to below the OECD average, end the death and alternative minimum tax, and grow the economy. While the President talks revenues and taxes, the reality remains that revenues are a function of economic growth and tax policy should be pro growth. Pro-growth is pro-revenue.
There are several other pieces of pro-growth, anti-waste initiatives I have introduced. The RAPID Act, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, to streamline environmental studies. The Zero Based Budget Act, HR 821, to ensure all federal agencies start at zero. HR 3813, the Securing Annuities for Federal Employees Act of 2012, that would put Congressional Pensions are par with the rest of the federal workforce and ensure no Member of Congress is treated any better than any federal employee. The NO FIELD Act that would rescind monies spent on a terrorist soccer field at Gitmo, and much more.
HA: What's a piece of smaller legislation, or nominee, that is currently on the agenda but flying under the radar that you feel conservatives should be concerned about?
Rep. Ross: It is not so much a piece of legislation, as it is a lack of legislation. When we had control of both Houses and the White House, we enjoyed a golden opportunity to institutionalize free markets and lay the groundwork for a truly entrepreneurial society that had the means to do great things. What is becoming clear is the Obama-Reid-Pelosi economic agenda is - as we always knew it would be - a failure. Republicans must, I believe, present tax, health care, spending, budget, and many other reforms to the American people as alternatives to failure. We should start, in the House, by passing real cuts, real spending changes and real transparent reforms. The Senate should feel a deluge of entrepreneurial ideas and the American people should hear from Republicans, at the dinner table, why these policies represent a future for their family.
HA: What do you enjoy the most and the least about being a Member of Congress?
Rep. Ross: I enjoy the opportunity to leave my kids a more prosperous, more free, and more competitive nation than the Greatest Generation left us. That opportunity also leads to the most frustrating aspect of being in Congress. Namely, the Washington instinct for self-preservation above principle. Far too many people in Washington are more concerned with staying in Washington than achieving a new birth of freedom.
HA: What is your favorite thing to do when you are not in Washington?
Rep. Ross: Without a doubt, hog hunting. In addition to hunting the animals, we donate the meat to local food banks as a way to enjoy the outdoors, enjoy a sport, keep a nuisance animal under control, and do something positive for the community. I also enjoy the outdoors, traveling to 49 of the 50 states, with my wife and two sons. Any chance to get on the road, and see this great nation, I will take.
HA: What do you miss most about being a kid?
Rep. Ross: I will have to answer that when I grow up!