Time to build the Republican Party back into what Americans deserve

Time to build the Republican Party back into what Americans deserve
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The 116th Congress has officially begun this month, bringing an end to unilateral Republican control of the legislative and executive branches of government. The federal government remains shuttered in the midst of one of the longest shutdowns in the modern era. The ongoing shutdown is the latest example of political incapacity and unwillingness to govern, made all the more shameful by the fact the shutdown began while the Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress and the presidency.

We are calling for a return to governance. The gridlock on Capitol Hill, caused by a decade of increasing partisanship and a lack of willingness to debate and pass sensible legislation, has made every problem facing our nation harder to tackle. Our nation deserves better from our elected officials on both sides of the aisle. We can no longer afford to tolerate lawmakers in Congress more concerned with winning elections than governing. The American people are hoping this divided government will not continue to be a dysfunctional government and that the Democratic majority in the House will decide on a path of reasonable governance.

We, along with other Republicans, have called on the party to reject the corrosive and regressive policies of Donald Trump. We have criticized Congress and Republican institutions for largely abandoning the tenets of limited government and fiscal conservatism, which have long been the cornerstone of the party. Despite the warnings and widespread desertion of the party by lifelong conservatives, the current Republican Party has continued to abdicate its authority to President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE. By embracing populism, nativism, and ideological extremism, the party has set both itself and the country on a dangerous path. We believe our government suffers when either one of, or both, parties are broken and dysfunctional.

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The only way that Republicans can course correct is for those in the center right to push for a better and reformed party. We believe the party can and should be improved. We believe the path to a healthy and lasting Republican Party lies in the creation of an inclusive platform, one that holds true to the legacy of limited government while addressing modern challenges reasonably and compassionately. We have unveiled nine principles capturing our vision for the future of the Republican Party.

Four of our principles are bold calls to action for both Republicans and Democrats. The majority in this country feels unheard and unrepresented by Congress and this administration. That condition is the failing of both parties to work towards solutions for the most pressing problems facing our country. Across the political spectrum, our elected officials need to commit to participating in good faith efforts to pass legislation and enact regulations that safeguard our freedom and opportunities as Americans.

Policy proposals are improved and strengthened by thoughtful debate. We are a nation of myriad views influenced by our different experiences and our cultural, religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. The country has always found strength in the melting pot of our citizens. We should rediscover that strength. Republicans and Democrats do not need to agree philosophically to work together on meaningful policy solutions.

Our five remaining principles outline the ideals that we believe can be foundational for a viable Republican Party. The role of government should be to safeguard our rights and ensure the United States remains the land of opportunity. We need to invest in our future as a nation, which means exercising greater fiscal responsibility and ensuring our tax dollars yield socially and economically beneficial results. The role of government cannot be one of perpetual bankroller as we try to buy our way out of every challenge. The government should enact policies that allow us the freedom to chase the American dream without institutional impediments.

The important conversations surrounding the defining characteristics of our two political parties are evolving. Just last month, the Niskanen Center released a paper on public policy in this age of ideological extremism. There is much common ground between this proposal and our nine policy principles for the Republican Party. From the midterm election results to the ongoing work to halt the slide of our aisle into chaotic populism, it is clear there is a need and an appetite for the resurgence of a center right.

The Republican Party is far afield. It will take time and determination to pull it back from the brink. We are suggesting the first few steps toward rebuilding a party that can work for a greater number of people. We hope that those of us who are unhappy with the direction can band together to push for some necessary changes to both our political culture and policy positions. To those still serving in office, we are watching, our numbers are growing, and we will continue to work toward better representation.

Meghan Milloy and Jennifer Pierotti Lim are the cofounders of Republican Women for Progress. Milloy previously worked for American Action Forum and Lim previously worked for the United States Chamber of Commerce.