Conservative think tank leader tells GOP to ‘get serious’ in new Congress

The head of a leading conservative think tank said House Republicans should ditch “performative politics” and “get serious” about economic issues as they prepare to take majority in the new Congress. 

Robert Doar, CEO of the American Enterprise Institute, discussed the GOP’s priorities at The Hill’s A More Perfect Union event on Thursday. 

“Some of this talk of investigations I think is a waste of time and a kind of performative politics, which has really damaged our public policy processes,” said Doar. “The Republican House would be wise to get serious, to do a lot of things that show some seriousness.”  

House Republicans have pledged to investigate an array of issues as they take control of the chamber, from President Biden’s son’s business dealings to the origins of the COVID-19 virus and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

Doar told The Hill’s Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack that Republicans should focus on the difficult year ahead, as the economy was in a “very precarious situation right now,” due to rising interest rates and some individuals choosing not to reenter the workforce. 

“We are definitely facing a difficult next year and I think if we stay confident in who we are and not retreat to protectionism, and even further regulation, and greater taxes, and greater government intervention, we’ll come out of it stronger,” said Doar.  

Kristen Kerrigan, president and CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, said lawmakers should also focus on helping businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“They [small businesses] certainly have grinded it out, you know, over the last three years or so,” said Kerrigan. “They are still challenged by headwinds in terms of their revenues being pinched, higher cost, and in fact not even being able to operate up to full capacity.” 

Kerrigan pointed to a May Wall Street Journal survey that found 55 percent of business owners said they still weren’t able to operate at full capacity.

“There’s a lot of consensuses on issues and on the priorities of small businesses that we think we could get through this House and get through the Senate,” said Kerrigan. ” Issues such as capital formation, affordable health coverage choices, possibly some regulatory relief, maybe even some tax reform.” 

Specifically on tax reform, Kerrigan said she would like to see “permanency” for some provisions in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Kerrigan also said that the private sector would figure out some of the supply chain issues that plague small businesses, if left to its own devices. 

“If we just let the private sector do what it does best, and there’s policy stability from a tax and regulatory perspective, that’s going to drive the investment and going to drive the business activity that we need in order to resolve, you know, the supply chain mess,” she said. 

Tags American Enterprise Institute Biden Bob Cusack GOP majority small businesses
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