Leading the Change America Wanted to See
Before Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives more than four and a half years ago, lawmakers already knew that Americans desired change. But unlike the “change” that President Obama promised throughout his campaign and then strong-armed through a closed-door, Democrat-led Congress, Americans wanted to see a government that reined in regulatory excess, controlled government spending and demanded greater transparency and accountability. The Republican members of the House understood that then, and we still understand and fight for that now.
Months before the historic Republican victory that claimed seats in the House, Republicans began crafting a governing vision to change the precedent set by the Administration and Democrats. I had the privilege of serving on the Republican committee that used opinions and feedback from Americans as the basis for the Pledge to America. The plan, released several weeks before the general election in 2010, set forth real solutions for cutting spending, reforming government, encouraging job creation and restoring American confidence in their elected officials.
Immediately following the House victory wave, Republican lawmakers set out to ensure a successful transition into the new majority and reassure the American people that we would indeed govern differently. Even though the government remained divided with a Democrat-led Administration and Senate, House Republicans knew that lasting change to overspending in government had to start somewhere. We believed that it should begin with our very own budgets. I was proud to be co-chairman of the transition team that identified and recommended cuts that could be made right away in the 112th Congress.
As soon as the new majority took office, we lost no time in enacting those identified cuts and proving to the American people that we were serious about getting the country back on track. In fact, the second day on the job, we fulfilled our promise to “make Congress do more with less by significantly reducing its budget” by voting to cut 5 percent from every congressional office budget and an additional 9 percent from the House Appropriations Committee, which resulted in $35 million in savings to taxpayers.
But the savings didn’t end there. Since Republicans began leading the House in 2011, we have not only recommended responsible cuts to other areas of government but we’ve continued to save taxpayer dollars throughout Capitol Hill. Our commitment to proving we can do more with less has resulted in more than $782 million saved to date. While I wish other areas of government would follow our example, I am pleased that the House has chosen to live and operate within its means—just like the countless Americans we were elected to represent.