The Suburban Caucus: Solutions for America’s suburbs
The Republican Party’s representation in our nation’s suburbs has changed in recent times, but each of us proudly represents suburban areas in diverse states and have seen how our party can best advocate for policies that help suburban Americans. We believe that the next decade of American exceptionalism will be rooted in the suburbs of our nation, with Republican legislative policies leading the charge.
The good news is that suburbs are once again on the rise. More and more people are moving to suburban areas for quality of life issues, to raise a family, or start a new business. Unique challenges accompany this growing region. That is why we are proud to announce the kickoff of the Suburban Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Our new Caucus will address the challenges faced by folks living and working in suburban America. As millennials age and balk at the inconveniences and expenses of urban life—especially urban life with children—they are following in their parent’s footsteps and choosing to live in suburban communities. Recent studies show that most all of the population growth in our top 50 metropolitan areas comes directly from growth in the suburbs. They also reveal that suburbs are racially and ethnically diverse, and responsible for a high rate of recent job growth. Busting the myth that American young people live downtown, suburbs are actually much “younger” than urban areas, with approximately 75 percent of millennials aged 25 to 34 in America’s largest metro areas living in the suburbs.
But despite record economic growth during the last few years, many of these young suburban families are struggling to juggle student loans, housing prices, retirement savings, and childcare costs. As higher education costs skyrocket above the rate of inflation, home prices become far more expensive than two decades ago, and savings rates fall, it is clear that the Republican Party must do a better job in communicating how our pro-family, pro-work policies are addressing these challenges and helping families make ends meet. Each of us represents a congressional district that is wholly or partially suburban, and as we travel throughout our districts in Missouri, Virginia, Washington, Indiana and Arkansas, we hear from families about the realities they face that reduce quality of life and limit opportunities for their children. We have taken their concerns to heart and come to the same conclusion: Republicans must articulate a forward-thinking platform that prioritizes household issues and strengthens our suburban communities.
Common themes have emerged from our district discussions, so we have joined together to launch the Suburban Caucus and generate solutions that will benefit suburbanites of all ages. Their shared concerns include rising childcare costs, out-of-control traffic and commutes, protecting patients with preexisting conditions, affordable health care and home prices, school safety, caring for aging parents, paid parental leave, workforce development, putting money away for the future and accessing more educational opportunities. Our caucus is writing and introducing legislation that specifically targets these kitchen table issues.
As legislators, it is our duty to develop policies that effectively address our constituents’ concerns. We take that duty seriously, and the Suburban Caucus is our response. We are delighted that tax reform has put money back into the pockets of American families, saving an average family of four nearly $3,000 per year or $44,6997 over the next ten years. This is monumental, but we are just getting started.
We have already introduced legislation to protect patients with preexisting conditions; allow Americans to save more money tax-free for health care and dependent care; make the child tax credit permanent and expand it to pregnant moms; expand the use of 529 education savings accounts; incentivize states and localities to repeal onerous laws that make housing less affordable; lower prescription drug costs; end surprise medical billing; participate in apprenticeship programs; address the soaring burden of student loans; and address mental health issues that impact our communities. We recognize that suburban areas are desirable because they offer common spaces and services that can improve family life. To that end, we have offered legislation that would help strengthen school safety, address gun violence, clean up recreational spaces and national parks, support industry-led clean energy options, and alleviate homelessness. Congresswoman Ann Wagner has also introduced paid family leave legislation to ensure that parents have more flexibility to share one of life’s most precious and exceptional moments with their newborn or newly adopted child.
Our conversations with suburban families have led us to establish core task forces that will inspire our mission moving forward led by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Congressman French Hill (R-Ark.), Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), and Congressman Rob Wittman (R-Va.). Congresswoman Ann Wagner will chair the Suburban Caucus and work closely with each of the task forces to shape a legislative platform that is dynamically responsive to suburban Americans.
Too many Americans have the false impression that Republicans only engage with rural voters and leave the suburbs by the wayside. But we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in an America that provides opportunities to realize their potential, innovate, raise families and become leaders. Our goal is to craft policies that get at the root of everyday problems and provide flexibility, choice and opportunity without imposing onerous regulations or burdensome costs on taxpayers. Building a country where the next generation can prosper starts right here in the Suburban Caucus, and we are dedicated to doing our part to make sure suburban Americans thrive.
Rep. Ann Wagner represents Missouri’s 2nd District, Jackie Walorski represent Indiana’s 2nd District, French Hill represents Arkansas’s 2nd District, Rob Wittman represents Virginia’s 1st District, Cathy McMorris Rodgers represents Washington’s 5th District.