U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was among congressional Republicans making a “pledge” Thursday to change the way the federal government works if they regain control.
But her campaign opponent, Daryl Romeyn, said she and other Republicans should skip the grandiose statements and take some responsibility for things they did when they were in charge.
The House Republicans’ “Pledge to America” promises more fiscal responsibility, smaller government and lower taxes, along with more accountability in Washington, D.C. McMorris Rodgers was on the platform when the 45-page document was released at a suburban Virginia lumber store.
“This is a governing document, a governing agenda,” McMorris Rodgers said in a phone interview later in the day. “This is not a campaign document.”
But to make the changes called for in the document, things like repealing health care reform or making tax cuts permanent, Republicans will have to take the majority in the November elections.
Romeyn, the Democratic challenger in Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District, said his cursory reading of the pledge revealed some things that make sense and some things that don’t. But he wonders about some of the verbiage, like its denunciation of “an arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites (that) makes decisions, issues mandates and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many.”
“I thought we voted people in that make laws in this country,” Romeyn said.
McMorris Rodgers said that’s a reference to federal agencies that have too much authority and not enough oversight. Republicans want any new rule that would cost more than $100 million to come back to Congress for additional approval.
Republicans were as guilty of overspending and running up deficits as Democrats when they held the White House and Congress in the last decade, Romeyn said. “They want government to be honest, but they themselves are not being honest.”
McMorris Rodgers agreed Republicans made mistakes with too much spending when they had control. That’s why so many were “fired” in 2006, she said.
If voters put them back in the majority, they could be voted out in two years if they don’t keep their pledge, she said. But she stopped short of promising to step down in 2012 if Republicans get the majority and don’t deliver on the pledge: “That’s up to the American people.”