McHenry Discusses Importance of GOP Having a Positive Plan to Run on This Year

By on March 31, 2022 in Featured News, News

“If House Republicans have an agenda that we’re fighting for, we’re like Marines at war. If we don’t have an agenda, we’re like Marines on leave.”

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WASHINGTON, DC – In remarks yesterday morning before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry talked about the importance of Republicans having a positive agenda heading into the mid-term elections, and the effort he is leading on Capitol Hill to achieve that goal.

McHenry represents the 10th District of North Carolina in the House.  First elected in 2004, he serves as Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee.  He also serves as the leader of the House Republican Task Force on Jobs and the Economy, which was established last year by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and charged with developing a set of solutions to address some of the key challenges facing the American people.

McHenry opened his remarks by talking about some of these challenges.

“We are in a different economy than what policymakers have experienced in their lifetimes,” the veteran lawmaker stated.  “The easiest touch point is 2008/2009, where we had high unemployment and people left their jobs and got new jobs that paid them, on average, 17% less. Today, in this economy, you can leave your job and, on average, make between 4% and 6% more. So the job market is different.” 

“You also have a mass movement of people within states and between states. This will rate as one of the biggest migratory periods in American history. It will rate up there with post-World War II. It will rate up there to the Dust Bowl. It will rate up there with farmer movement to urban areas in the last part of the 19th century. This is a different labor market and people are making different choices. 

“We also have supply chain disruptions and inflation like we’ve not seen in really two generations. We have inflation that is the highest we’ve seen since 1982. We have supply chain dislocations unlike we’ve seen since post-World War II. What we saw in the post-World War II era was people purchasing more things on a massive scale than ever before. For the five-year period after World War II, one out of five Americans purchased washing machines. So they had massive shortages of washing machines. Well, did you try to order a new laptop in the last two years?  There were similar issues, right?”

According to McHenry, Republicans are in a good position to meet these challenges not only because of their belief in conservative principles that can be readily adapted to the future, but because Democrats are beholden to liberal special interest groups that are increasingly wedded to the past.

“Republicans are well-positioned to be nimbler on workforce issues,” McHenry said, pointing to one area where he believes his party can offer a better way. “That means offering a conservative answer to how we provide for child care in a more fulsome way than we currently have in society today.  How we embrace gig work and recognize the ability to be an independent contractor sets up nicely with Democrats, who are much more beholden to unions and therefore can’t be as nimble on those issues.”

“We have eleven and a half million unfilled jobs and five million people looking for work. We have three million more people who are out of the workforce today than we did pre-COVID. We’ve got to get them back into the workforce.  We have to connect them with skills and jobs. And there is a conservative solution on workforce development, education, and training.”

There is also, he said, a conservative solution to strengthening supply chains and getting goods into the hands of American consumers in a more effective way.

“Everybody wants to talk about roads, bridges, and ports,” he observed.  “Well, that’s not the totality of supply chains. Ninety-two percent of the world’s advanced semiconductors are manufactured in Taiwan. Why? Well, it’s not because of cheap power. And it’s not because of tax incentives. It’s because of brain power. So, we have to think much more holistically about our trading relationships, about our tax policy, and about our regulatory policy to encourage people to manufacture here in the United States.”

Republicans also have to remember, he added, the most pressing challenge facing Americans this year.

“The biggest issue right now on voters’ minds is inflation,” McHenry declared. “If you’re in power and you’re presiding over inflation, sorry, it’s tough to be you. When you are the party that has spent more money, and that money was part of your agenda, and then you look around and wonder why inflation is occurring — well, you own it, right?”

“The San Francisco Fed rated the American Rescue Plan as being the key spark that ignited inflation. The San Francisco Fed is not some right-wing organization. Janet Yellen headed up the San Francisco Fed before becoming Fed Chair … It is this Administration that ignited this inflationary flame.”

To lower inflation, McHenry said it is time for Republicans to return to their roots.

“Fiscal discipline is kind of the old-time religion of Republicans,” he stated. “Let me remind you there was a guy named Paul Ryan who was all about fiscal discipline.  We have to return to those principles.  Even though it’s been long forgotten by most members of the House Republican Conference, fiscal discipline is our answer to inflationary policies.”

McHenry concluded his remarks by returning to the importance of having a positive agenda, and why he believes it is critical that Republicans develop one to run on this year.

“A legislative agenda is helpful to win the election,” he said. “That means there’s a counterpoint to just saying they’re awful and we’re not.  To have an agenda is a useful and necessary thing, even in the midst of personality politics. 

“If House Republicans have an agenda that we’re fighting for, we’re like Marines at war. If we don’t have an agenda, we’re like Marines on leave.”

To view McHenry’s remarks before The Ripon Society’s breakfast meeting 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.

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