Chairman Flores Lays Out Republican Study Committee Agenda for 2016

Flores RSC 012 (2)Joined by RSC Members Hill, Emmer & Bishop at Ripon Society Discussion

WASHINGTON, DC — In an appearance yesterday morning before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society, the Chairman and three members of the Republican Study Committee delivered remarks in which they discussed the RSC’s agenda for the remainder of 2016 and some of the priorities they are working on this year.

The members included U.S. Representatives French Hill (AR-2), Tom Emmer (MN-6), and Mike Bishop (MI-8).  They were joined by U.S. Representative Bill Flores (TX-17), who Chairs the Study Committee and kicked off the discussion by talking about role the group has historically played within the Republican Conference on Capitol Hill.

“We have always served a very important function in the House,” Flores stated.  “We’re the largest caucus in Congress.  To date, we have 176 members.  We do several things.  We are the conservative conscience inside the House of Representatives.  We also provide the toolsets that help people analyze legislation.  Our legislative bulletins are the go-to guide for Members of Congress to look at in terms of how every piece of legislation fits with our conservative ideals.  We have the strongest network of conservatives in the House, and we’re the idea factory.  We’re the folks that come up with bold ideas.”

Flores was elected to the House in 2010.  A Member of the Energy & Commerce Committee, he was selected by his colleagues to serve as Chairman of the RSC in 2014 and immediately put forward a number of key principles and policies to follow as part of the job.

“When I became chair,” the Texas Republican said, “we laid out a bold, conservative agenda that was focused on five principles.  First, we wanted to expand economic opportunity through more jobs and better paychecks.  Second, we wanted to fix Washington’s fiscal mess.  Third, we wanted to rebuild America’s national security.  Fourth, we wanted to protect American values.  And fifth, we wanted to restrict the federal government to its constitutionally limited role.  Every policy proposal we crafted fit with those five principles.

“The first thing we rolled out last year was a blueprint for a balanced budget.  The RSC budgets have always been the most aspirationally conservative budgets in the House.  Last year’s was no exception.  If you look at things that are in RSC budgets, they typically migrate into House budgets over time.”

Flores also discussed the group’s efforts to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a plan called the American Health Care Reform Act.

“It is our vision for a replacement to Obamacare,” he remarked.  “We have more cosponsors on this bill than any other piece of health care reform legislation in the House.  It is a patient-centered solution that relies on free market principles.  It increases competition and choice.  It lowers premium.  And it improves access.  That’s what we were all about – lower premiums and improved access.  You look at Obamacare – it’s exactly the opposite.”

Flores concluded his remarks by talking about an economic empowerment initiative being led by RSC Members Andy Barr (KY-6) and Todd Young (IN-9) that is intended to help low-income Americans climb out of poverty.

“The war on poverty has not worked,” Flores declared.  “We’ve spent $16+ trillion.  Let’s start with a blank sheet of paper.  What’s the best social program that you can create?  It’s a job.  What is it that we can do to expand jobs?  What is it that we can do to keep families together – to encourage family formation, not break families apart?  When you think about all the things that our current welfare system does, it destroys dignity.  It creates despondency and dependency.  What we’re trying to do is get rid of dependency and despondency and create dignity and a virtuous cycle where you not only have a job, but a strong family behind you.”

Chairman Flores then introduced the other member of the RSC, who discussed some of the priorities they were working on in their jobs.

Hill RSC 026 (2)

The first up was Congressman Hill, who talked about the regulatory burdens that are only now being felt from Dodd-Frank and the impact these burdens are having on the American consumer and American economy.

“The average person out there trying to buy a house, or buy a manufactured home for their farm, or get a consumer loan, or qualify for a regular mortgage on a house, they didn’t see the pernicious impact of the whole thing until the last 12 to 24 months,” he stated.  “And so now on the fifth anniversary of Dodd-Frank, we have a real consensus, I think, of Democrats and Republicans who believe that this law is broken.  It’s not working.  It has impacted our capital markets.  It has impacted our corporate competitiveness on raising debt and equity capital.  It’s constraining consumers’ ability to get credit.  It has stopped innovation out in the banking sector – whether you’re a $100 million bank down in Stuttgart, Arkansas or a trillion dollar bank up in Manhattan.  That is not how we stay #1 in the world economy.”

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Congressman Emmer then spoke about tax reform and legislation he has introduced to make the U.S. corporate income tax rate more competitive with other developed nations around the world.

“This country has the highest corporate tax rate of any developed country in the world at 39%,” the Minnesota lawmaker stated.  “Just think about how many jobs we are losing and how many companies.  Since 2012, we’ve lost 22 companies to go overseas. Take Minnesota, one of our great success stories that was started in a garage, Medtronic is now an Irish company after its deal with Covidien. This has to change, and it has to change soon. So the idea that we’ve got is you take the average of the 34 countries that are members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and you reduce that by five percentage points, which would put us at about 20%. And then you reevaluate that every five years so you stay competitive.”

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Congressman Bishop then spoke about the political climate in America and why he believes that passing a fiscally responsible budget will go a long way to restoring the public’s trust.

“I do believe our constituents, as a whole, have really reached the end of their rope,” he stated.  “We really have got to do something to restore the faith of the American people.  The way we do that is to move this ship forward and get this government back on track.  We desperately need to do that. One of the things we can do is focus on our budget and make sure we get the appropriations bills done, that we have an open and honest debate about issues, and we talk about the priorities of government. The American people are waiting for Republicans to show what they stand for.  Until we do that, we can’t expect them to support us and vote for us. So I believe that this budget is one of the most important things that we can do right now, and do it in an open and transparent way.”

To view the remarks of Chairman Flores and the other members of the Republican Study Committee before The Ripon Society yesterday morning, please click on the link below:

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.