“I stand firm on my conservative principles, but I believe in productivity over partisanship.”

Curtis & Moore Lay Out Their Approach to Lawmaking in the 117th Congress

WASHINGTON, DC — The Ripon Society and Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange held a virtual discussion on Wednesday with two members of the Utah delegation to Congress: U.S. Reps. John Curtis (UT-3) and Blake Moore (UT-1).

The discussion centered on what each lawmaker seeks to achieve in the 117th Congress. Curtis, first elected to the House in 2017, kicked things off by touching on his recent appointment to the Energy and Commerce Committee.

“This has been a three-year journey for me to land on this Committee,” Curtis stated. “I feel very fortunate to be on the health care, the telecom, and the climate subcommittees. On the climate side, I know this is shocking, but I’m actually a Republican who wants to make a substantial difference. I think the only difference between me and my GOP colleagues is I’m a little bit more willing to talk about it.

“I regret that Republicans have allowed ourselves to be branded as not caring about this wonderful environment that we have, and that’s one of my projects: getting Republicans better on their feet on this issue and actually do something besides say that we don’t like the current ideas and proposals out there.”

Curtis then introduced his fellow Utahn, and freshman Republican colleague, Blake Moore.

“Blake exemplifies the characteristics of being a thoughtful, hardworking, bright, and sharp individual. We scored big in Utah when he became a new member of our delegation.”

“I ran because I feel like I have a really unique background,” Moore said. “I thought that I could offer something that was unique and something that you don’t always see in Washington. I spent the first half of my career serving our country in a civilian role for the defense and intelligence-related communities and also as an officer for the Foreign Service. That opportunity gave me a chance to understand how our federal government works, giving me a chance to see the reality of both the mission and our bureaucracy, to be frank.”

Moore was tapped to serve on the House Armed Services Committee and the Natural Resources Committee in his first term. Former Natural Resources Chairman, Rob Bishop, represented Utah’s First District until his retirement earlier this year. Moore explained that he wanted to continue his predecessor’s legacy as he begins his own tenure on the Committee.

“I’m trying to create the productivity that I spoke a lot about on the campaign trail. I stand firm on my conservative principles, but I believe in productivity over partisanship. I’m hopeful that we can have some success finding common ground on the reasonable policies that make sense.”

After their opening remarks, the two lawmakers took questions from the virtual audience, the first being what they thought about the Utah Republican Party’s statement championing “diversity of thought” within the GOP after Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney voted to acquit and convict former President Trump respectively at the end of his second impeachment trial.

“I was very proud of my state party when that statement came out, Curtis stated. “Several days ago, Mike Lee actually released a statement that echoed that same sentiment and gave a little cover to Mitt Romney, which I thought was very good. We want a diversity of thought. We want a good debate of ideas — a civil debate. I can’t tell you how proud I was of our party when that statement came out, because it’s the right statement. And it helps people focus and move forward.”

Moore agreed.

“I was equally thrilled,” he said. “I’m not here for the tweets, I’m here to work. But when that statement came out, I felt compelled to retweet and communicate that the term ‘diversity of thought’ was a great way to capture what the GOP needs to stand for in order to win hearts and minds in future elections, and do so with aspirational, pro-growth, and inclusive policies.”

Next, the two were asked about climate change and what it would take for a bipartisan approach to emerge for the issue.

“Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and every single voter wants this issue to be reasonable,” Moore stated matter-of-factly. “They want it to be thoughtful and not based in sensationalism. People want to see a plan. They want to see where the investments need to be made.

“We, as Republicans, have to change the conversation and highlight what we’ve been doing, what conservatives have been doing on this issue. The media is not going to just automatically do that. This is not an issue that we can shy away from.”

Curtis followed, pointing to his own record on the issue.

“A little over a year ago,” he recounted, “I went in front of Utah’s most conservative think tank and criticized my colleagues who denied the science. And likewise, I took a shot at my colleagues on the left who want to ‘take the head off to fix the headache.’ That has launched me into the forefront of the dialogue, which I really appreciate. We can do so much better on both the right and the left on climate than what we’re doing. This should be an area of strong bipartisan agreement.”

Finally, Curtis and Moore were asked about the President’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package and how constituents back home weigh the possible benefits of the plan with the monumental cost. Curtis fielded the question first.

“It’s hard to find a state that cares more about fiscal issues than the state of Utah,” explained Curtis, the former mayor of Provo. “We balance our budget every year. We put money into a rainy-day fund that we hardly ever use — even during the financial crisis of 2009 and 2010.

“In my district, this $1.9 trillion is not playing well. We’re all in tune with the fact that there are some people still hurting. We’re in tune with the fact that we need some money for vaccinations and distributions, and I think every Republican I know would step up and put some money towards that. But we’re approaching about $18,000 spent per every man and woman on COVID relief with this additional $1.9 trillion. Nearly $6,000 per child. I’ve got 10 grandkids, that’s $60,000 of debt on my grandkids because of this. When people in my district see that spending is not just going toward disseminating vaccines and helping those most in need, they get frustrated.”

Moore echoed his colleague’s sentiment.

“Do I care about the airline industry? Absolutely,” he declared. “That’s very important in Utah with Delta having a huge hub there. Do I care about the hospitality industry? Yes. But we should have targeted relief. The thing that I’m most frustrated with joining Congress is how we let one piece of legislation get so large and so out of hand. This $1.9 trillion is not targeted, and it’s just adding on an enormous amount of debt.”

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.