Vol. 49, No. 4

In this edition

With Congress reaching agreement this year on plans to rebuild our roads, reform our schools, and expand foreign markets through global trade, the latest edition of THE RIPON FORUM looks at another area where common sense and compromise are needed in 2016 — overregulation.

Congress, Heal Thyself

Seldom has there been such widespread agreement in Washington among Republicans and Democrats, Senators and House members, and most of the general public: Congress doesn’t function and something needs to change, soon.

Making Our Auto Safety Laws Work Better

Following a record year of vehicle recalls due to safety defects, it is clear that automakers must do more to meet those standards, and congruently, NHTSA must do more to enforce them.

The FCC: Obama’s Broadband Bully

The current administration pushes federal agencies to twist existing laws until they are unrecognizable. This explains many of the Federal Communication Commission’s actions in the last few years, and it has just embarked on its boldest regulatory experiment yet – regulating our modern printing presses – broadband providers and other Internet-based media companies.

Q&A with Mike Oxley about the career of John Boehner

With John Boehner stepping down as Speaker of the House earlier this fall, the Forum sat down with former Ohio Congressman Mike Oxley to ask him about the career of his good friend and colleague.

Regulatory Reform That Restores Government Of, By, and For the People

Fixing the administrative state and reducing the broken regulatory system in America is about much more than economics. It is about holding government accountable, putting a stop to corruptive influences in Washington, and ending the proliferation of bad rules.

How Congress Can Fix Broken Government

American government today is run by dead people — past members of Congress who wrote all these statutes, and bureaucrats long gone who wrote the millions of words of regulations. Government is broken not mainly because past lawmakers were stupid, but because legislative programs almost never work out as planned.

Pen and Phone… Meet Liberty’s Meat Axe

If the “regulatory state” were a country, it would be the 10th largest, between Russia and India. Clearly, Congress has not only lost its grip on the power of the purse, it has relinquished its lawmaking power to federal agencies.

How Cutting Red Tape has Helped Fuel South Dakota’s Economic Success

When people around the country think about South Dakota, the first image that comes to mind is probably Mount Rushmore. But South Dakota is a great place to do business.

The Cost of Overregulation: America’s Small Business Owners Speak

THE RIPON FORUM recently contacted the National Federal of Independent Business with a simple request – namely, to find out how federal rules and regulations are affecting the 325,000 small and independent business owners they represent around the United States.

Fighting Government Red Tape: What the Next President Might Do

When it comes to reining in the regulatory state, there are are key differences about the2016 presidential candidates that could be a factor in the election next year.

Ripon Profile of Carlos Curbelo

The U.S. Representative from Florida’s 26th Congressional District discusses his first year in office and broadening the GOP’s base.

Regulations are the Fourth Branch of Government

Too often, American businesses are targeted by bureaucrats and regulators. Webs of red tape ensnare corporations and small mom-and-pop shops alike, and companies are faced with the tough choice of whether to continue running their businesses. The nameless, faceless government agencies that dole out staggering amounts of rules have morphed into a fourth branch of […]

Ripon Profile of Carlos Curbelo

Ripon Profile - Carlos CurbeloName: Carlos Curbelo

Occupation: U.S. Representative (FL-26)

You started a media relations firm right out of college.  How has owning your own business affected your approach in public life?  Owning my own business instilled in me many life-long lessons which have proven indispensable throughout the years. One important skill that I regularly find myself practicing is time management. As a family man who balances working in Congress and spending time with my two very young daughters, I use this skill on a daily basis.

As the grandson of a man who was once a political prisoner under Fidel Castro, why is it a mistake to renew relations with the people of Cuba today?  As the son of Cuban exiles, I am proud of our nation’s rich ethnic diversity.  I know, from first-hand experience, the great and generous spirit of the American people and the opportunities our nation provides to all who are willing and able to work for it.

Regarding Cuba, President Obama has ignored the realities and the ruthless and violent nature of the Castro regime. Unfortunately the President is putting American national security interests at risk and prolonging the suffering of the Cuban people living under the oppressive dictatorship. It is crucial to remember that the men in power of Cuba today are the same men who had nuclear missiles pointed at the United States in the Cold War. The Administration has afforded the Cuban dictatorship a myriad of unilateral concessions while receiving little in return. America must once again take up the mantle of the protector of human rights and the promoter of democracy; however we cannot accomplish this as long as we confer legitimacy on military dictatorships. I will continue to work to restore our place as a leader on these issues.

As a Cuban-American, do you believe the Republican Party is doing enough to broaden its base?  We have to do a better job of sharing our story with young and minority voters. The Republican Party led the reform movement that has saved U.S. public education. I’ve seen this firsthand in Miami-Dade, where we rescued public education from mediocrity. That’s important to a lot of Hispanic families, in particular, because they know that their children will need the best education possible to move up in life. Young people want higher education to be more affordable, and we’re working on that. Republicans also want to save Social Security and Medicare for young people. I’m 35, and I know that many people my age don’t believe they’ll ever get benefits back from those programs. Democrats don’t even want to acknowledge that those programs face a long-term funding crisis. Republicans want to make the reforms that are necessary to ensure those programs will still be around in the future.

As your first year in Congress is coming to a close, what has proven to be your greatest legislative success so far?  I am proud of H.R. 1386, the Small Entrepreneur Subcontracting Opportunities (SESO) Act which is my first piece of legislation to pass both the House and Senate and be signed into law by the President. Also, as a former Miami Dade School Board Member, I am proud of our recently passed bill in the House, the Every Student Succeeds Act which will replace and improve upon No Child Left Behind. This bill included my provision which grants English Language Learners additional time to become proficient in reading and math and puts children, not Washington Bureaucrats, at the center of America’s education system.

On the other hand, what has been your greatest legislative challenge?  Though this year has been filled with great moments, I have also experienced some challenges. I’d say that one of my greatest legislative trials has probably been finding common ground to update our current Cuba policy, while still making the changes that are necessary to have productive reform. This has been one of my top priorities this year and something I will continue to fight for.

And finally, as a graduate from the University of Miami, what needs to happen to return “The U” to its glory days in college football?  I recently met the University of Miami’s new President, Dr. Julio Frenks and of course we talked about The U. It’s been a tough year for UM Football, but I still love my team and I know we can turn things around through hard work and resilience. We never give up—Go Canes!