Lawmakers speaking at the recent Conservative Policy Summit in Washington shared hopeful visions of what could be accomplished if Americans embrace conservative reforms.
The public will be won over by real solutions, “not talking points,” Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., said during the afternoon session.
The Conservative Policy Summit, an annual event organized by Heritage Action for America, convened Feb. 3 at the Capitol Hill headquarters of The Heritage Foundation.
Two panel discussions in the afternoon moderated by Tim Chapman, Heritage Action‘s chief operating officer, produced some blunt talk and red meat from Republican legislators. Here’s a little of what five of them had to say:
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.: The American people “have lost their voice and they feel like no matter who they elect, when [candidates] get to the Senate especially, nothing changes,” Lankford said, because of “process issues” that limit debate. “We’re going to win the argument if it actually gets to the floor and we actually debate it,” he said during the first panel, “Perspectives from the House and Senate.”
Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind.: “We left thousands of unwritten rules to the ‘fourth branch’ of government to let the bureaucracies … make these rules, and look at the mess we have today.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.: “I would argue that we’ve got to have some behavioral changes [in Congress]. I think our leadership is committed to do [it]. We’ll have more of a semblance of regular order this year, but we’ve got a long way to go.” And “even before the more recent behavioral issues we’ve had in the Senate over the past decade, we were ceding far too much authority” to the White House, he added.
Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa.: “Moving into the future, the conservative movement should reaffirm the foundational principles that serve to check the concentration of power in the hands of the elite here in Washington, D.C.” Conservatives must “win the debate of ideas this year,” Rothfus said during the second panel, “State of the Conservative Movement.”
Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala.: “We need to show what we’re for, we need to take on the hard things, we need to give people a vision for how we’ll get our country back on track, be honest about what it’s going to cost, [and] we need to let them know what they can expect from us. … People will respond to and support courage; they know it when they see it.”
To sample speeches and panel discussions from the Conservative Policy Summit, go here.