The two most important choices we face:

WHAT WILL WE STAND FOR?

WHO WILL WE STAND WITH?

Mike Lee’s Conservative Reform Agenda
follows the Utah model to:

  • ✓ Create upward mobility for the poor
  • ✓ Expand opportunity for the middle class
  • ✓ End special priviledges for the well connected
    and political elite

The Conservative Reform Agenda

Conservatives learned an important lesson in 2012: if we refuse to offer a bold conservative alternative, the radical left-wing strategy of distraction, distortion and division will continue to dominate elections.

The left knows it cannot win a policy debate with conservatives, which is why progressives invent the “war on women,” knowingly make false promises about Obamacare, and viciously attack their opponents in contests nationwide.

Too many Republicans engage in these false fights and end up waging aimless campaigns that fail to offer the American people a positive vision for the country.

It is up to conservatives to change that!

First, we need to tell the truth about the left. It is their policies that have created greater immobility among the poor, trapping low-income Americans in failed government programs; made it harder for the middle-class to get ahead by raising taxes, killing jobs, and making health insurance unstable and more expensive; and rewarded their special interest friends –unions, radical environmentalists, and corporate cronies – all at the expense of everyday Americans.

But while it is critical to hold the left accountable for the damage they’ve done to the country, it is even more important that we put forward a comprehensive plan to empower Americans, increase economic security and mobility, and improve our quality of life.

That’s why I am confident that we can take back the country from the far left if we are united behind a Conservative Reform Agenda for America.

It was an agenda in the late 1970s that pulled conservative ideas to the forefront and propelled a leader for the ages, Ronald Reagan, into the White House. And it was the Contract with America that earned a mandate from the American people to move in a more conservative direction.

And after nearly two decades of Republicans wandering in the policy woods, it is time for a new conservative reform agenda to put an end to President Obama’s lawless and destructive policies and restore America’s greatness.

But we shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking we can just imitate the reformers of the past. That just reinforces the left’s false narrative that the GOP is out of touch.

Instead, we must comprehensively re-express conservative convictions to meet our time and address the greatest challenge of this generation: America’s large and growing opportunity deficit.

The good news is that conservative leaders, activists, and intellectuals have been providing new energy and new ideas for years.   Now is the time to put it all together!

Armed with the ideas, the right message, and adequate resources, the entire conservative movement – organizations, candidates, and the grassroots – can join forces to build a sustainable conservative majority.

Much has been made in the media of Republican “infighting” between the GOP Establishment and its base. I believe the gap between Republican Leadership and the base is the exact size and shape of a conservative reform agenda. That is precisely why we need to focus on the principles we share, the values we have in common, and the ideas we all support.

In the coming months, conservative reformers in Congress will be proposing dozens of policy proposals to get the country back on track. They include tax reform to grow the economy and protect families, higher education reform to make it more affordable and accessible, an anti-poverty agenda to help low-income Americans work their way into the middle-class and stay there, and a bold effort to end policies that promote cronyist privilege among political and economic elites.

And, of course, there is no policy that does more damage to our economy, our communities, and our way of life than Obamacare. Conservatives must have a plan to repeal this failed law and reform our health care system in a way that works for all Americans.

I am hopeful you will join me in this effort to enact a conservative reform agenda and elect conservatives who are willing to unapologetically make the case for these positive, principled reforms.

 

Transportation

The Transportation Empowerment Act (S. 1702)

Americans deserve a transportation system that allows states to respond to the needs of their communities and to build infrastructure that results in less traffic, shorter commutes, more affordable homes, and opportunities for families to better manage work-life balance. The TEA Act achieves this through greater local control, better-targeted projects, and improved infrastructure at lower costs. It will connect where people want to live with where they need to work.

  • Reduces federal gas tax to 3.7 cents from 18.4 cents
  • Gives states greater control over highway and transit programs
  • Improves state response time to infrastructure problems, such as traffic congestion
  • Creates jobs and increases economic growth
  • Incentivizes opportunities for new and creative transit solutions

(Source: Senator Mike Lee’s website)

Education

The Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act (S. 1904)

Washington should be opening up new avenues of opportunity that make education more affordable and accessible, without driving students or taxpayers deeper into debt. The HERO Act would not only lower the cost of higher education, but also make it easier for students to customize their own educational experience and gain the specific skills they need to compete in today’s economy. It would make higher education available to many non-traditional students, such as single parents, and open doors for those seeking alternatives to the traditional four-year college. The HERO Act would enable every good teacher to teach and every willing student to learn.

  • Authorizes states to develop alternative higher education accreditation systems, including for apprenticeships, job training programs, and even individual courses
  • Allows institutions under these new systems to be eligible for Title IV funding (federal student loan dollars).
  • Does not alter the current accreditation system in any way
  • Spurs innovation, competition and experimentation in higher education
  • Drives down costs and lowers barriers to the middle class

(Source: Senator Mike Lee’s website)

Head Start Improvement Act (S. 2119)

Rethinking early education to meet the needs of the next generation

We need to create new partnerships between the states and the federal government that help facilitate early education, serve the interests of parents and young children, and produce better results. The Head Start Improvement Act promotes greater efficiency, flexibility and accountability among the states.

  • Block grants Head Start’s $8.6 billion budget to the states
  • Reduces federal regulations
  • Offers states and parents flexibility to tailor programs specifically designed to help the children who need it most

 

A-PLUS Act (S. 1210)

The Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (A-PLUS) Act would reduce the heavy burdens on state and local education agencies that make it difficult for administrators to reform and improve their education programs. It ensures greater public scrutiny of the use of federal K-12 funds and allows parents to better evaluate student achievement.

  • Under A-PLUS, states would be allowed to obtain federal Elementary and Secondary EducationAct (ESEA)/No Child Left Behind (NCLB) education funding in the form of block grants.
  • States would submit a “declaration of intent” to the U.S. Department of Education to consolidate federal education programs and funding and redirect resources toward state-directed education reform initiatives.
  • The terms of the “declaration of intent” apply for five years, and require assurances that states will continue to abide by Federal civil rights laws in advancing educational opportunities for all students.
  • States would also be required to disseminate annual reports to the public and parents regarding student achievement data and fiscal accountability.

(Source: Sen. John Cornyn’s website)

Tax Reform

Family Fairness and Opportunity Tax Reform Act (S. 1616)

The Family Fairness and Opportunity Tax Reform Act is an innovative tax reform plan that replaces much of today’s complex tax system with a new, simple structure that incentivizes social mobility, promotes middle-class economic security and ends the tax code’s discrimination against parents. It restores opportunities to working parents and their children to pursue happiness that right now federal policy unfairly denies them.

 

Ending the Parent Tax Penalty

The parent tax penalty is a glitch in the federal tax code that forces parents to pay for the cost of senior entitlement programs twice: first, when they pay their taxes; and then again by incurring the enormous costs of raising children, who will pay for the benefits of future retirees. This singles out parents for a distinct economic disadvantage, which conservative reform should correct.

  • Establishes two individual income tax rates
  • Eliminates the parent tax penalty
  • Repeals Obamacare taxes and the AMT

(Source: Senator Mike Lee’s website)

 

 

Death Tax Repeal Act (S. 1183)

The death tax unfairly punishes Americans for a lifetime of hard work. Repealing the death tax will immediately improve the chances that family farms and businesses will survive and grow.

  • Immediately repeals the federal estate tax upon enactment

(Source: Senator John Thune’s website)

Energy

Energy Production and Project Delivery Act (S. 17)

Reforming America’s energy policy is one of the fastest ways to create jobs, grow the economy and help the bottom line of every family budget. The Energy Production and Project Delivery Act recognizes the immense opportunity offered by the development of America’s energy resources. Now that we have overwhelming evidence of the positive benefits of responsible growth on private and state land, it is time to lift the barriers to federally-controlled areas on- and off-shore.

  • Opens certain areas of the outer continental shelf and ANWR to energy development
  • Expedites judicial review of energy projects
  • Improves revenue sharing with states

(Source: Senator David Vitter’s website)

 

Energy Freedom and Economic Prosperity Act (HR 259)

Washington should not be using taxpayer money to pick winners and losers in the energy industry. Consumer-driven, free-market competition provides a much better way to ensure Americans have access to reliable, affordable energy.   The Energy Freedom and Economic Prosperity Act would level the playing field for all energy producers, forcing them to compete for consumer dollars rather than political favors.

  • Phases out all technology-specific energy subsidies in the tax code
  • Reduces corporate dependence on Washington handouts
  • Offsets any net tax increase with a reduction in the corporate tax rate

(Source: Rep. Mike Pompeo’s website)

 

American Energy Renaissance Act (S. 2170, HR 4286)

The bill would empower the private sector to create good-paying, American jobs and spur economic growth by harnessing our nation’s energy resources and removing federal impediments to energy exploration, development and trade. It will also provide a real reset of our foreign policy so we are no longer beholden to unfriendly nations for our energy needs, and can use our own resources to exert our influence around the globe.

  • Prevents federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing,
  • Facilitates the expansion of domestic refining capacity,
  • Improves processes to develop energy infrastructure,
  • Stops EPA overreach and its war on coal,
  • Forces Congress and the President to approve any new EPA regulations that kill jobs,
  • Broadens energy development on federal land,
  • Opens offshore exploration,
  • Expands U.S. energy exports,
  • Dedicates additional revenues to debt reduction

(Source: Sen Ted Cruz’s Website: http://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1071)

Labor

Working Families Flexibility Act (S. 1623)

Sometimes time is more valuable than money. Unfortunately for many private-sector workers, federal law forces them to take financial compensation for working extra hours without the option to take comp time. The Working Families Flexibility Act frees workers to choose whether time or money is more important and helps alleviate the difficulties of juggling work, home, kids, and community. It would extend the same choice to those in the private sector that Congress already guarantees to government workers, while maintaining all existing employee protections.

  • Allows private employers to offer employees the option of overtime pay or comp time

(Source: Senator Mike Lee’s website)

 

National Right to Work Act (S. 204)

All hard-working Americans should be free to choose whether or not to join or contribute to a union. The National Right to Work Act would reform federal policy that imposes financial burdens on many low-income and middle-class workers who are compelled to support a union.

  • Eliminates forced unionism provisions in the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act

(Source: Senator Rand Paul’s website)

 

Employee Rights Act (S. 1712)

The workplace should be an environment free of intimidation, coercion and fear. The Employee Rights Act updates labor laws to protect workers’ rights, safeguard against union intimidation, and make union elections more democratic.

  • Strengthens secret ballots in labor elections
  • Protects workers’ private information
  • Prevents automatic union dues
  • Stiffens penalties for union intimidation

(Source: Senator Orrin Hatch’s website)

Health Care

Obamacare Repeal Act (S. 177)

There is no government policy that illustrates America’s opportunity crisis more than Obamacare. It exacerbates immobility among the poor, insecurity in the middle class, and cronyist privilege at the top. It fails to improve health care outcomes and make health care less affordable and accessible. We need to replace the president’s failed health care reform with a policy that puts power back in the hands of patients and doctors.

  • Fully repeals Obamacare

(Source: Senator Ted Cruz’s website)

 

Obamacare Bailout Prevention Act (S. 1726)

The bill would eliminate a provision of ObamaCare that allows for taxpayer-funded bailouts of insurance companies at the Obama Administration’s sole discretion. Washington’s bailout culture must end, and eliminating ObamaCare’s blank check for a bailout of insurance companies is a common sense step to protect taxpayers when ObamaCare fails.

  • Fully repeal the risk corridor provision in Obamacare’s section 1342

(Source: Sen. Marco Rubio’s website: http://1.usa.gov/1ltzUQZ)

Government Reform

Export-Import bank Termination Act (S. 1102)

The Export-Import bank is hardly more than a slush fund for large businesses and Washington’s favored corporations. Hard-working Americans shouldn’t be subsidizing these companies, and federal policy should not unfairly tilt the playing field to benefit corporate special interests at the expense of everyone else.

  • Phases out the Export-Import Bank

(Source: Senator Mike Lee’s website)

 

Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS Act)(S. 15)

The cost of federal regulations is crushing businesses and hurting consumers. The REINS Act would give the American people a greater voice in reducing the undue burden of excessive regulations and help hold executive agencies accountable.

  • Requires Congress to approve any new rule with a major impact on the economy ($100 million)

(Source: Senator Rand Paul’s website)

Criminal Justice System Reform

Smarter Sentencing Act (S. 1410)

Our current scheme of federal mandatory minimum sentences is irrational and wasteful. By targeting particularly egregious mandatory minimums and returning discretion to federal judges in an incremental manner, the Smarter Sentencing Act takes an important step toward reducing the financial and human cost of outdated and imprudent sentencing polices.

  • Modestly expands the existing federal “safety valve”
  • Applies Fair Sentencing Act to sentences made before its enactment
  • Gives judges greater sentencing flexibility in limited circumstances

(Source: Senator Dick Durbin’s website)

 

Federal Prison Reform Act (S. 1783)

If we are serious about access to opportunity for all, then we have to put “rehabilitation” back into the vocabulary of the federal prison system. If inmates are violent and threats to our communities, then we have a moral responsibility to keep them locked up. If they are not violent and pose no threat, however, if they have reformed and are ready to return to their families and communities, we have just as much moral duty to get them re-integrated into our nation’s networks of social and economic mobility.

 

Based on the successful Texas model, the bill:

  • Requires DOJ to develop & implement recidivism reduction programming for 100% of eligible federal prisoners within 5 years;
  • Requires the Attorney General to enter into partnership with non-profit and faith-based organizations to provide many of these programs;
  • Allows prisoners classified as low-risk to earn up to 50% of their remaining sentence in home confinement or a halfway house;
  • Allows medium-risk and high-risk prisoners to earn time credits at a rate of 30% and 20% while they are successfully completing recidivism programming, but does not allow them to cash in this credit until the risk assessment tool shows they are low-risk; and
  • Reduces the need for new federal prison construction allocation by working to cap and reduce the number of incarcerated offenders.

(Source: Senator John Cornyn’s website

Welfare Reform

Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act (S. 2015)

Poverty is not just the absence of money, but also the absence of opportunity. Today’s federal anti-poverty programs place artificial restraints on those who are trying to get ahead, build careers and provide better lives for themselves and their families. Successful welfare programs are those that make poverty more temporary, not more tolerable, and we need to move current policy in that direction. The Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act will give all low-income Americans the opportunity to earn a good living and build a good life.

  • Attaches work requirements to SNAP benefits: 36 hours per week for individuals and 72 hours for families (a portion of which will be supervised work activation activities).
  • Focuses work requirements on Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs).
  • Rewards States that comply with work-activation requirements through grants that can be used to benefit individuals and families who are below 200% of the federal poverty level.
  • Penalizes States that do not comply with work-activation program requirements through a gradual reduction in SNAP benefits.
  • Reduces total welfare spending to 2007 levels over 3 years and caps spending at that level.
  • Creates a budget point of order against legislation exceeding the cap on total welfare spending.
  • Requires that the President include a report of total means-tested welfare spending in his annual budget submission.
  • Prohibits Federal funding of abortion.

(Source: Senator Mike Lee’s website)

Religious Liberty

Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (S. 1808)This bill protects the rights of individuals and organizations from religious discrimination by the federal government. Those who believe in the traditional definition of marriage deserve respect and tolerance. It is critical that we clarify the law to ensure that their fundamental civil liberties are not at risk.

  • Prohibits the federal government from retaliating against any individual or organization – such as eliminating non-profit tax status – for views on traditional marriage

(Source: Senator Mike Lee’s website)

 

State Marriage Defense Act (S. 2024)

Each state legislature is the legitimate and proper authority to determine the definition of marriage for the citizens of that state. The State Marriage Defense Act ensures that the federal government must respect the definition of marriage chosen by the people of each state.

(Source: Senator Ted Cruz’s website)

Intellectual Property

Patent Transparency and Improvements Act (S. 1720)All net job growth comes from new businesses, but abusive patent litigation can often hinder the success of these new companies. As a result, businesses, consumers, and our economy end up paying the price through discouraging innovation, sapping critical resources, and raising costs. The Patent Transparency and Improvements Act protects those who are targeted by these “patent trolls,” without unduly burdening legitimate businesses. When operating as intended, America’s patent system is the envy of the world, fueling the technological advances, creating jobs and benefiting American consumers.

  • Require a patentee who has filed a civil action for patent infringement to disclose anyone or any organization that might have a financial interest in the subject matter
    • Directs courts to grant a motion to stay an action against a customer accused of infringing a patent under certain circumstances

(Source: Senator Patrick Leahy’s website)