“It’s incumbent upon us to shake it up and get results.”

capito-and-brooks-013-2Capito & Brooks Discuss the Results of the Election and the Agenda for Next Year

WASHINGTON, DC – With the 114th Congress coming to a close, U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (WV) and U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-5) appeared before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society yesterday morning to talk about the November 8th election and how the results will shape the agenda of the 115th Congress in 2017.

“Donald Trump took our state with 70 percent,” Capito stated.  “No shock there. Our state has been devastated by the regulatory environment that the President has put forward. I can’t even tell you as a native West Virginian how pessimistic people have been. Hurt, upset, depressed, and leaving the state.  It’s not just coal miners. It’s all the other ancillary businesses connected with that. It’s been a real blow to us. And you know what? People got out and voted like that. And they said, ‘We don’t want this anymore.’ So I would say we were ground zero of the, ‘I’m tired as hell and I can’t take it anymore’ vote.”

Making reference to the recent deal the President-elect negotiated to keep Carrier from moving jobs to Mexico from Indiana, the Senator continued:  “If he were to come to West Virginia and save a thousand jobs, we would re-carve the Capitol dome in the shape of his hair.  The dome’s already gold – it would be great.  But that’s what people want. A thousand people are going to be able to stay in their hometowns, work for a company that’s a great company, raise their families there, and create American jobs. That’s what he said he was going to do … so I was really excited about that yesterday. Not just for Indiana, but for our country and for my state.”


Capito was elected to the Senate in 2014 after serving 14 years in the U.S. House.  A member of the Senate Republican leadership team, she said that repealing the Affordable Care Act will likely be the first order of business in 2017.  She also praised the 21st Century Cures Act, which was approved by the House on Wednesday and is expected to be voted on in the Senate in the coming week.

“It’s really going to save a lot of people’s lives,” she said of the landmark Cures legislation. “I lost both of my parents to Alzheimer’s over the last two years. It is the saddest thing that I’ve ever experienced in my life — the hardest thing.  And the brain initiative in this 21st Century Cures is very meaningful to me. I also have a very small provision in there, but it’s not small if it’s affecting you. It’s on eating disorders.  For those of you who know people or have people in your family who have been affected by anorexia or bulimia, it is a devastating illness, and there has been some difficulty getting insurance to cover a lot of the treatment.  A provision to address that problem is in there, and I’m very excited about that part of that I was able to play.”

Capito concluded her remarks by returning to the message of this year’s election and how it should serve as a guide for Congressional action next year.

“They came out in droves to say ‘I want a change, I want to shake it up,’” she said of the American voter.  “So it’s incumbent upon us to shake it up and get results.”

Brooks echoed Capito’s remarks, and pointed to the 21st Century Cures Act as an example of the type of measure that will deliver results and make a real difference in people’s lives.

“It is really an awesome piece of legislation,” she stated. “I was able to include a pretty significant bill involving the biological threats that our country faces and establishing a priority review voucher program for companies engaged in the material threat list.  And then Dr. Tim Murphy’s bill on mental health; it’s the first significant reform to our mental health system in decades.  Tim Murphy never went to a microphone without talking about mental health challenges. It’s a great way to end the year.”


Brooks was first elected to the House in 2012.  A member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, she said that she not only expected tax reform and regulatory relief to be top priorities on the Congressional agenda next year, but that – in these and other areas – Congress has an obligation “to act.”

“When Mike Pence came to our conference a couple weeks ago, he said, ‘Buckle up,’” the Indiana lawmaker recounted.  “And that’s exactly right.  Buckle up — it’s time to really rock and roll on the things that we need to get done. No more complaining – now it’s about doing. We’ve got to act. We’ve got to work as a team in the House in particular, which can be a challenge in our conference at times.  But people are engaged and excited. More people are showing up for conference then have ever shown up before. And it’s been really positive.”

That said, Brooks noted that the House has to be mindful of the Senate in its approach to legislating in the 115th Congress, and be cognizant of the importance of the Senate calendar – and the Senate confirmation process – in the coming year.

“We’ve got to do things in a really wise way so that we can get bipartisan support in the Senate,” she stated.  “Paul [Ryan] is always talking about remembering the Senate calendar … We know their calendar and what they have to do with respect to nominations and confirmations are critically important.”

Recalling her own experience as a U.S. Attorney who was nominated to the job in August of 2001, she added:  “We learned a really tough lesson on 9/11. On 9/11, there were no presidentially-appointed U.S. Attorneys in place. Bob Mueller had been confirmed as the FBI director the day before [the attacks].  So President Bush, for nine or ten months, had little to no appointees in place because the Senate was so broken.”

“We’ve got to improve the nomination and confirmation process because we can’t have that happen. We’re in as dangerous of a time — if not a more dangerous time — as we were on 9/11, with ISIS and what’s going on around the world. We can’t have this new government stuck. So we’ve got to make sure the Trump/Pence team is sending up nominees, quite frankly, that can get confirmed.”

After their remarks, Brooks and Capito also took a question about America’s infrastructure and the prospect that the incoming Administration could reach an agreement with Congress to get the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges rebuilt.

“President-Elect Trump is in Indianapolis today,” Brooks said, referring to the President-elect’s visit to the Carrier plant.  “When that happened a few days ago, it kind of took my breath away that he was able to do that in this short of period of time.  I think if we can keep some of that momentum going — and I think he is that kind of shock-and-awe type of President — we’re going to see this time and time again.

“What I said when he was running is that he loves to negotiate. He loves to wheel and deal. He’s going to enjoy the wheeling and dealing, I think, with the Democrats and with Republicans. He wants to move things forward, and infrastructure is going to be one of those areas where he’s going to find a way.  He’s a builder.  He wants to build things.”

Capito agreed, and said she plans to see that any agreement to shore up the nation’s infrastructure not only rebuild America’s highways, but America’s information superhighway, as well.

“One of the areas I’d like to see in an infrastructure bill is broadband deployment,” she declared. “This is something I’ve worked on quite a bit. We’re falling behind. There is a digital divide, and it takes time and money to develop these things. The technology is there. It should be deployed in rural areas for health care, education, economic development. So we’re going to press to get broadband development into an infrastructure bill.”

To view the remarks of Senator Capito and Representative Brooks at yesterday’s Ripon Society breakfast discussion, 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.