Nov 21, 2016

Congress is Right About Protecting Taxpayers in Lame Duck, Addressing Key Issues In 2017

Post by Derek Yale

Freedom Partners, Americans for Prosperity, and Coalition Allies Identify Main Priorities for Working With New Congress and Administration

With the regular budget and appropriations process falling apart this year, Congress again needed a lame-duck session to keep the government funded for the coming year. The problem? These end-of-year spending bills negotiated by unaccountable lawmakers traditionally produce increased spending, backroom deals for pet projects, and corporate welfare for special interests and the well-connected. This year would likely be no exception.

Then, everything changed.

“Would you rather negotiate with Harry Reid and Barack Obama or with Donald Trump? … It’s a pretty easy choice,” Rep. Cole told The Washington Post in the week after republicans held the House and Senate in the November elections.

But while Congress is right to reject negotiating with lame-duck lawmakers and an outgoing president, DC lobbyists are surely working overtime to load up what should largely be a “clean” spending bill with pet projects, and ultimately higher spending and debt.

Congress must now say ‘no’ to special interest arm twisting and leave important decisions to the new Congress and administration convening in January, when fiscal conservatives should continue to resist efforts to increase spending and award corporate welfare.

Here’s what the next Congress and administration can start focusing on at the start of 2017.

  • Repealing Obamacare & Reforming Health Care – It’s time to repeal Obamacare and reform health care policy with improvements that not only put patients back in charge of their health care, but lower costs, increase access, and improve quality.
  • Tax Reform – Our tax code is too convoluted and complicated. Americans deserve a fairer tax code that benefits taxpayers and consumers through lower taxes and the elimination of preferences that pick winners and losers and distort the market. It’s time to create greater opportunity for all Americans across the country.
  • Overturning Anti-Energy Regulations – Policies like the Clean Power Plan and Waters of the U.S. do next to nothing for the environment while unfairly skyrocketing prices on everyday citizens and stifling innovation. Eliminating burdensome environmental regulations and unleashing the energy market potential here in the U.S. would help provide low-cost energy to all Americans.

On a recent conference call with reporters, officials from Freedom Partners and Americans for Prosperity expressed their optimism that Congress and the president will take positive steps to end business as usual, protect taxpayers, and address barriers to growth and opportunity.

Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce EVP of Communications and Marketing James Davis:

“So now with the election behind us, our network, which includes Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Partners, Concerned Veterans for America, the LIBRE Initiative and Generation Opportunity, we’re turning our attention to important legislative and policy work that needs to take place both in our nation’s capital and in state legislatures across the country.”

Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips:

“The American public has spoken that they want to see change in Washington and one of the changes they want to see is an end to this, in effect, pay-to-play. Groups that have lobbyists, that give a lot of money, that are well-connected politically, they get special treatment in the tax code or with taxpayer dollars. We want to see those ended, and we want to see a genuinely clean spending bill this year.”

Americans for Prosperity Chief Government Affairs Officer Brent Gardner:

“We continue our call that you heard from us back in September, talking about the need to stand with taxpayers instead of special interests, to say no to another disastrous lame duck …As we look forward into 2017…we’re hopeful that next year, Congress will focus on comprehensive tax reform…repealing Obamacare and reforming our broken health-care system, removing things like the overtime rule, EPA regulations, and pulling out of things like the Paris climate accord ….AFP and our network partners are going to continue to work across the spectrum to champion those issues. We’re encouraged by some of the opportunities in front of us and plan on continuing to work towards those goals.”

Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott:

“The issues we’re talking about here [on Capitol Hill] are corporate welfare, cronyism and irresponsible spending are the very issues that just motivated…voters all across Wisconsin to defeat Russ Feingold. It is not the time to go back and suddenly start embracing these policies which the voters just overwhelmingly rejected in our state.”