Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Foxx's Common Sense Agenda For America

The following information is from an email from NC Congresswoman Virginia Foxx.

A big agenda doesn't have to mean Big Government
A common sense agenda for America
By Congresswoman Virginia Foxx

The 111th Congress convenes in Washington this month. As new and returning members of Congress are sworn into office America faces a pressing set of challenges. Our economy is limping along, shedding jobs each month. Home prices are declining at record rates. The federal government is stuck in a mantra of bailout mania.

In the midst of this economic crisis there remains a silver lining with a uniquely American character. A new Congress’s swearing in denotes the success of a democratic America. November’s election, a peaceful affair, reminds each of us of the privileges and solemn duty we have as participants in the great American democratic experiment.

Few nations boast such a strong tradition of democratic, peaceful transfer of power. While many take this heritage of democracy for granted, this January I am grateful that at the outset of this new Congress our nation’s citizens can have confidence in the free and fair elections of those who represent them in Congress.

Of course, such confidence should never be mistaken for blanket acquiescence to whatever agenda Congress takes up in 2009. Few doubt that we are experiencing an economic crisis and this crisis may still call for a big and bold agenda. But in the scramble to nail down such an agenda, many lawmakers have forgotten that big agendas don’t have to result in Big Government.

Cool heads must prevail in times of crisis. Decisions must surely be made and action taken, but plans crafted in haste have already proven their weakness. We need only recall the $700 billion bailout from last fall. It was a bad egg hatched in a panic. That’s why I joined people from both sides of the aisle and opposed it from its conception.

With its serious flaws and almost unprecedented lack of oversight and accountability for the $700 billion slush-fund of taxpayer money, I knew a boondoggle when I saw one.
Was decisive action needed? Yes. But the bailout frenzy left no room for debate, dissent or legislative innovation. Instead Congress pushed it through in a blind panic over the objections of many people on both sides of the aisle.

Instead of panicking, one good approach would have left our free markets intact by spurring activity in the credit and housing markets with tax cuts or a capital gains tax holiday. Many other good market-driven suggestions were made during the bailout debate but were never given the time of day.

My hope for 2009 is that panicked policymaking does not prevail. Hopefully the $700 billion lesson from the fall of 2008 is still fresh in lawmakers’ minds. Creating massive new government programs in the midst of crisis may sometimes seem like a prudent approach. But time after time the American people look back with dismay at well-meaning government programs rife with waste, fraud, and abuse.

Doing the work of the American people means taking a balanced and reasonable approach in each situation that comes before Congress—crisis, or no crisis. I strongly believe that this means eschewing the long arm of the federal government as often as possible. We must think long and hard about any new plan for the massive expansion of the federal government. Such changes are not easily undone.

As I am sworn into a third term in office this month my promise to each constituent is that I will work tirelessly to uphold and protect the Constitution. The ideal of putting our country first guides me in my work in Congress each day.

This duty transcends party and politics—I am an American first, member of a party second. With that in mind I will champion common sense solutions that avoid the trap of big government and that keep our individual liberties intact.

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx represents the Fifth Congressional District of North Carolina. She currently serves on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. You may contact her office toll free at 1-866-677-8968 or e-mail her from her website, www.foxx.house.gov.

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