The new Republican House majority has a difficult road ahead and we must get it right. The failed policies of the Democratic leadership under Nancy Pelosi turned a fiscal mess into a complete disaster. The immediate priority of the next Congress has to be returning stability to our economy and with that, an increase in private sector job creation. I strongly believe that Kansans and all Americans want commonsense fiscal responsibility from their government.

The federal government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. If Congress is to take fiscal discipline seriously, the number one priority over the next several years needs to be cutting spending. Our nation’s debt and deficit have hit once unimaginable levels, and a possible first step to address this growing problem could be to take the nearly $400 billion of the failed stimulus bill that has yet to be spent and use it to reduce this year’s $1.2 trillion deficit.           

The most glaring failure of the last Congress, however, has been the inability to get America back to work. Though we were assured unemployment would stay below 8 percent, it has hovered near 10 percent for over a year. The federal government must get out of the way so the private sector can create jobs.

Brash actions by Congress and the dramatic growth of the federal government have created a culture of uncertainty in the economy, which in turn has frozen the job market. A reduction in federal expenditures will go a long way to create some stability by reducing the prevailing belief that higher taxes are coming. However, to drive this point home, Congress must permanently extend the current tax rates. Raising taxes on anyone in this economy would be devastating. A $3.8 trillion tax hike would only serve to line government pockets and hamper an already struggling job market.  

As I said, Republicans have an uphill battle ahead, but hopefully those of us representing the new class of conservatives will listen to the American people and avoid the pitfalls of the past. I look forward to working side by side with my colleagues in the House to get this nation back on the right track.