Cantor issues GOP plan for governance
Nov 04, 2010 | Posted by Team Cantor
Originally published by Jim Nolan of the Richmond Times-Dispatch on November 4, 2010.
The people have spoken. And everyone in Washington — even an empowered Republican Party prepared to hold sway in the House of Representatives next year — is listening.
That was the message sent back to voters yesterday by the GOP leadership — namely Rep. Eric Cantor, R-7th, who formally announced he will seek to become House majority leader and issued a 20-page treatise on governing going forward.
“Last night’s election, I think, was a clear message for people in this country that they want a government that will listen to them,” Cantor, now the House minority whip, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch during an interview in his office at the U.S. Capitol.
“Our party’s been given a second chance,” said Cantor, a Henrico County resident first elected to Congress in 2000.
“We’ve got a golden opportunity to deliver on the promise that people thought the Republican Party was about. And that is to return to fiscal discipline, to the notion of free markets,” he said.
“Smarter regulation, not necessarily more regulation. It starts with cutting spending. That’s how you reduce the reign and reach of government.”
It was a great Election Day for Cantor and Republicans, who took the House majority with a net gain of 60-plus seats; picked up at least six U.S. Senate seats; and posted gains in contests for governor.
But there was no gloating to be found in the halls of Congress, which virtually were empty because of the midterm election break.
Rather, Cantor and Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, the minority leader who is poised to become speaker of the House, struck a sober tone in post-election speeches and press availability yesterday.
“We appreciate the trust the American people have placed in us,” Boehner said during a photo opportunity with Cantor in Boehner’s office. “Our job is to listen to the American people and follow the will of the American people.
“It’s pretty clear the American people want us to do something about cutting spending here in Washington and helping to create an environment that will get jobs back in our country,” he said.
“We’ve got a big job ahead of us, and that’s why you’ll see us roll up our sleeves and go to work today.”
President Barack Obama called Boehner on Tuesday night.
But yesterday, Cantor and Boehner made it clear that an emboldened GOP has no intention of backing off its opposition to Obama’s agenda. Rather, they said, it is the president and Democrats who will have to bend toward Republican will.
“It’s pretty clear the Obama-Pelosi agenda is being rejected by the American people,” said Boehner, who called the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul “a monstrosity.”
“They want the president to change course. And I think change course, we will.”
Cantor said efforts to work with the administration have been “a one-way street.”
“The president continued to say for the last two years of his term that elections have consequences,” Cantor said. “What we feel now is the people have spoken loudly. So it’s time for the president and his team to reassess.”
To Cantor, that reassessment will include no new taxes and a promise to cut spending and the size of government to pre-Obama levels.
Being in the majority will give the GOP leverage to use the appropriations process and congressional oversight powers to effect changes.
“I also think we can expect to see a repeal bill on Obamacare come very quickly once we are in the majority,” said Cantor, who called the health-care overhaul “chock full of job-killing measures.”
Finally, Cantor said he expects that the large incoming freshman class of lawmakers — including at least three new GOP congressmen from Virginia — will facilitate the culture change that voters demanded at the polls Tuesday.
“You don’t want people coming here just to bring pork back to their districts,” he said.
“This is about people trying to cut federal spending, change the focus from growing government, from this alleged role of having the government fix all our problems — and instead go after the idea of what America is all about,” he added.
“And that’s what I think you’re going to have reflected in this new class.”