It's not that nothing has been done on the Hill. However, the American people are not enthralled with what we've accomplished so far. To this point, we've come up short and our voters have every right to demand not just the goals but the strategy and the action steps to fulfill these past promises.
We can parse the meaning of the 2016 election all we want, but one thing is clear: it was a mandate election.
Republicans need to remember the corollary to any mandate: if you do not deliver, voters will find others who will. I know that this message was clear to my colleagues during the August district work period. Even supporters and friends are confused at why the significant items we promised have not been written into law.
I am confident that the American people will deliver their final grade on Republicans over the next three months based on three things: repealing and replacing Obamacare, passing tax reform, and increasing border security. If Republicans cannot achieve results on these endeavors, do we deserve our majorities in both houses?
The group which I lead, the Republican Study Committee, is renewing these promises to the American people. We are calling on all Republicans in Congress and the White House to do the same. We must deliver before the calendar reads 2018.
Obamacare should be the easiest of the three. After all, the House of Representatives voted more than 50 times to repeal the law that destroyed our health insurance markets through skyrocketing premiums and fewer options. If we cannot deliver anything on Obamacare, Republicans are guilty of false promises and political malpractice. To be fair, the House already did our job in passing the American Health Care Act this year.
We must continue to push for repeal, including dismantling the most damaging aspects of the law like the individual mandate, employer mandate, medical device tax, and the provision that gives employers an incentive to use part time workers rather than hire full timers.
We should also pass common-sense replacement policies, like expanding how much money employees can contribute to their health savings accounts (HSAs) and selling insurance across state lines, which would increase competition. We have just a few days before Mitch McConnell's September 30th deadline to enact health care changes with a 51- rather than 60-vote majority in the Senate and the Graham-Cassidy bill is in trouble, but regardless of whether Congress can come to a solution in that time, we cannot turn our backs on our promise to the American people.
Fixing Obamacare is not an option. We cannot pass any type of "stabilization" package that only cements this horrific legislation further. Obamacare repeal and replace is not merely a political goal. There are Americans suffering immensely from this broken law, and we have a moral obligation to act by replacing it with patient-centered health care that prioritizes quality of care over anything else.
Tax reform is a must
Tax reform is another must-pass item before the end of the year.
After years of stagnant growth due to ever-expanding government and regulations during the Obama years, our economy needs a jumpstart, and tax reform is the solution.
Tax reform needs to be pro-growth, comprehensive, and permanent. We need our tax code to let Americans keep more of their paycheck and give companies an advantage compared to their overseas competitors.
We need to show the world once again that America is a place where businesses can thrive.
In a time of increased threats to our national security by those that will do us harm, President Trump ran on a simple idea: border security. Securing our southern border is a must-do for Congress -- we cannot idly sit by while our nation's laws are flagrantly ignored, allowing potentially dangerous individuals to enter the United States with zero repercussions.
Democrats try time and time again to have an immigration "fix" now and secure the border later. We cannot fall into this trap again. We need a real fix to our immigration challenge, not a band-aid that exacerbates the problem.
While Republicans need to channel our legislative efforts into a long-term solution focusing on border security first, keeping America secure does not end at our borders. Republican solutions must include strong immigration enforcement mechanisms, including e-verify, entry-exit tracking, and cracking down on sanctuary cities.
This three-pronged mandate does seem more daunting at this point, but Republicans are only in this situation because Congress did not do its job the first nine months. If members cannot get the job done, voting Americans might find representatives who can.