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A Prosperous Future Needs Focused Conservative Vision

Adrian Smith 3rd Dist

The United States’ constitutional foundation of freedom and opportunity laid the pathway for our nation to become the most prosperous on the planet. Defending the right of each citizen to pursue prosperity while limiting the government’s intrusion into our livelihoods and pocketbooks is a proven road to improved standards of living for American households of all income levels. We have nearly two-and-a-half centuries of evidence showing conservative principles yield the best results to grow our economy and safeguard liberties, and I take very seriously the task of applying those principles as a lawmaker.

Recently, competing visions for the nation’s economic future have been in the political spotlight as President Biden released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 budget proposal, and the federal government faced a deadline to appropriate funding for FY24. The president’s budget proposals made it clear: his goal is to expand Washington’s reach into the daily lives of Americans, raise taxes, and supersize government spending.

Projected to accumulate $16.3 trillion in total deficits, the Biden budget contains a long list of far-left policies targeted to increase regulation of the firearm industry, push a radical climate agenda, and promote divisive ideologies through our education system. Furthermore, the proposal includes new tax increases attacking private aviation and signals the White House’s willingness to jeopardize family farms and small businesses by once again calling for the repeal of stepped-up basis.

An executive branch with such detached priorities paired with an out-of-touch, Democrat-controlled Senate raises enormous obstacles to getting anything done on behalf of the American people, especially for a House Republican Conference holding its majority by a razor-thin margin. The challenges of divided government demand a unifying vision for everything elected officials are constitutionally obligated to do for the American people. This is crucial when it comes to fiscal policy and coming to terms to appropriate federal funds.

In the appropriations package passed by the House on March 22, 2024, Republicans did not get everything we wanted, but I supported the bill because of the significant policy wins it contained. These wins included rescinding $10.2 billion in the Democrats’ Inflation Act funding for the hiring of 87,000 new IRS agents—a provision originating from my own bill, which was the first bill passed by the House this Congress. The package also provides for a 5.2 percent increase in pay for military servicemembers, improved border security technology, and the hiring of 22,000 more border patrol agents.

The package cuts $574 million from wasteful climate programs at the Department of Defense, prohibits the Biden administration from banning gas stoves, and requires U.S. diplomatic facilities to fly only the American flag and other official flags. It also maintains annual appropriations riders such as the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions, and the Dickey Amendment, which prohibits use of federal funding to advocate for gun control.

The unprecedented, antagonistic environment Speaker Mike Johnson inherited is a symptom of our broken congressional appropriations process. Funding deadline brinksmanship invites the president to weaponize federal agencies with already poor records of taxpayer service. During the 2013 shutdown, which stunted GDP growth and costed an estimated $1.5 billion per day, the Obama administration blockaded national monuments and parks and threatened to withhold VA benefits from veterans.

Contrary to false counter-narratives, House Republicans have a focused vision to secure the border, unleash prosperity, and address wasteful spending. To do this, we must come together to enact commonsense reforms such as extending the 2017 Tax Cuts Jobs Act taxpayer savings set to expire in 2025, returning to regular order in the appropriations process, and promoting the dignity that comes with work, opportunity, and self-sufficiency. These conservative values are the keys to a prosperous future.