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By Rep. Mike Pence
What a difference a year makes. A year ago, Democrats expanded their majorities in Congress on the coattails of President Barack Obama's historic election. The chattering class was giving Republicans no chance of stopping the freight train of big government the Democrat majority was planning as the solution to every problem facing the country.
But the history of last year tells a different story. House Republicans stood courageously together, offering common sense solutions to address our nation's challenges, and worked hard to slow down the big government liberal agenda that was being forced on the American people.
The fight started before the president even took the oath of office as Democrat leaders charted a course for the country that put special interests in the driver's seat and the American people in the back. As the president's own chief of staff once said, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." With that in mind, Speaker Pelosi and President Obama moved quickly to impose radical change on a country that didn't want it.
First out of the gate was the $787 billion so-called stimulus bill that was nothing more than a wish-list of liberal spending priorities. Following the policies of more spending and more debt -- the same policies that got us into this mess -- would not get our economy moving again. House Republicans responded with an economic recovery plan that would have delivered immediate tax relief to struggling Americans.
The Republican plan embodied conservative principles that have always led to economic prosperity -- tax relief for working Americans and small businesses. When the votes were counted, a majority of Democrats defeated our proposal yet stood stunned as every House Republican said "no" to more government and more debt.
That vote was a defining moment for House Republicans as it put the White House and Democratic congressional leadership on notice that the time to go along to get along was over.
But Democrats didn't get the message. Instead of working with Republicans on solutions to get our country back on track, they continued down the road of big government and out of control spending.
In fact, as national unemployment continued its climb toward a heartbreaking 10 percent, the White House and Democrat congressional leaders unveiled one job-killing idea after another. Their budget-busting proposals will cost $3.7 trillion and raise taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars.
They introduced an energy tax that would raise energy prices on businesses and homes and inflict more pain at the pump. And despite enormous pubic opposition, they continue to try and pass a government takeover of health care that they wrote with special interests behind closed doors. The Senate-passed plan is 2,700 pages long, will raise taxes, raise health care costs, mandate insurance and fund abortion coverage.
These may be the challenges we face but the solutions are not found in the halls of Congress or in the offices of government bureaucrats. There are found in the common sense of the American people -- at kitchen tables, in tractors and combines and coffee shops across this great land.
Whether it is working toward energy independence, lowering health care costs or fixing our economy, we labor in vain unless we put the American people at the center of our future.
That is why House Republicans have offered American solutions to the challenges we face, not government solutions. We introduced a comprehensive strategy to achieve energy independence, common-sense reform to lower health care costs, and a responsible federal budget that lowers deficits without raising taxes. You can learn more about our solutions by visiting gop.gov/solutions.
If the events of this past year taught us anything, it's that the American people want us to win their country back. And Republicans are fighting to do just that. We will seize every opportunity to take our ideas and proposals to the president, to Democrats in Congress, and to the people. Most importantly, we will continue to fight for the common sense and common values of the American people in 2010.
There are some liberals in power who feel that victory is near, but the American people can rest assured that House Republicans have only begun to fight. We are in a battle to preserve all that makes America great and now is the time to do our duty.
The freight train of big government may be losing steam but liberals in Washington won't give up without a fight. House Republicans are in the fight. But we need your help.
Do all you can because a minority in Congress plus the American people equals a majority. With your help we can win back America.