The Ripon Forum

Volume 52, No. 5

November 2018


By on October 23, 2018


Two years ago, House Republicans laid out a bold policy agenda called A Better Way to tackle some of the biggest challenges of the day.

At the time, I said that restoring the people’s voice in Congress is not just one part of our Better Way agenda — it’s the most important part. Because unless people are back in the driver’s seat, we won’t be able to rebuild our military, roll back the red tape, or help our most vulnerable. Only ‘we, the people’ know the way to achieve our dreams – not the government.

I still believe that. It’s the voice of the American people – their stories, their struggles, their hopes and dreams — that inspired our Better Way. We promised to focus on their priorities for a safer, stronger, and more secure America. We’ve kept those promises and as a result, the American people are seeing jobs, opportunity, and confidence come roaring back.

Thanks to tax reform and our work to repeal a record 16 Obama administration regulations, the economy is booming. America was just named the world’s most competitive economy. There are a record 7 million job openings, wages are rising, and consumer confidence has hit an 18-year high. In all 10 counties I represent, wages have grown between 3 and 9 percent. Behind all these numbers are real people who are dreaming again because they are optimistic about the future.

There are a record 7 million job openings, wages are rising, and consumer confidence has hit an 18-year high.

Take for example, a furniture store in my district called the Tin Roof. The owners of this family owned business told me that business is better and more people are walking into their store to buy higher quality furniture. Tin Roof is expanding, purchasing two new trucks, increasing wages, and, for the first time in nearly a decade, they are offering health insurance to their employees again. These are the exact results we said were possible if we put power back in the hands of people in our communities.

Remember, the overall unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in 2010. Last month, it was 3.7 percent, the lowest it’s been in nearly a half century. Middle-class income hit a record high last year. In my home state of Washington, the average wage increase is at a 10-year high. This is what a booming economy looks like, and it’s this economic resurgence that is helping people across the country. In fact, more people with disabilities are finding work and a job that gives them purpose. The Hispanic unemployment rate is the lowest on record, and the black unemployment rate is the lowest in 10 years.

In a stronger economy with rising wages and record-breaking optimism, we’ve also worked to make sure our communities are stronger and safer.\

We’ve made a historic investment in the fight against opioid addiction to help our communities prevent and recover from this crisis. Additionally, important legislation was enacted to fight the scourge of human trafficking, target dangerous criminals, protect communities from gangs like MS-13, and improve school safety.

We’ve also taken important steps to secure our nation from threats abroad. After the Obama administration left our Armed Forces depleted, we made good on our promise to restore and rebuild our military.

After the Obama administration left our Armed Forces depleted, we made good on our promise to restore and rebuild our military.

When our military was forced to do more with less, it created a readiness crisis that has jeopardized our troops’ lives and threatened our national security. In 2017, more troops were killed in training accidents than in combat. That same year, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned Congress that America had diminished military might. He said, “Every operating domain – including outer space, air, sea, undersea, land and cyberspace – is contested.”

So just like we did with our economy, Republicans in Congress promised and delivered on a Better Way to keep America safe. In addition to giving our troops their biggest pay raise in almost a decade, we provided for the largest year-to-year increase in defense funding in 15 years. Now our troops will have more resources for training and to complete their missions around the world so they can return home safely.

America is stronger at home and abroad, with a booming economy, safer communities, and a stronger military. Of course, more work remains, but Republican policies are helping improve people’s lives and making it easier for families to get ahead, with a renewed sense of confidence for the future.

After years of slow growth and lack of confidence, Americans asked for a better way. Our work proves that we found it. We’ve kept our promise to the American people to restore their voice and put their priorities first. That’s why our country is better off now, and why we need to keep this momentum going. While some are trying to distract from this record of results and stop all the progress we’ve made, I’m here to say that we are just getting started.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers represents Washington’s 5th Congressional District. She is the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, the lead communications arm of the House Republican leadership team. She is the fourth-highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives. You can follow her on Twitter: @cathymcmorris

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