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For the 114th Congress, It’s Economic Growth or Nothing | Commentary

Tuesday marked another historic change election. Now comes the hard part: The Republican Party’s new majority must make 2015 the year in which Congress gets serious about economic growth and putting America back to work. If it doesn’t, the 114th Congress will be seen as a squandered opportunity for the GOP to rebrand itself as the party of prosperity for every American.

We’ve heard congressional Republicans bark on the campaign trail, but now it’s time to bite on the House and Senate floors. Their very first order of business should be to pass a true economic growth package designed to create jobs, increase take-home pay and provide tax relief for middle-income workers.

When the 114th Congress gavels into session, Republicans must demonstrate that they, unlike their Democrat opponents, are able to present the American people with common sense, mainstream solutions to return the economy to prosperity and get Americans working again. Not only is this important for our nation’s future, it’s also good politics for Republicans.

Congress must pass legislation to cut taxes across the board, reform and simplify both corporate and individual taxes, and eliminate double taxation.

Republicans should pass legislation to allow immediate expensing of capital equipment and tax all business income at the same low rate, regardless of the business entity.

These and other pro-growth proposals should be debated, discussed and voted on in full view of the American public. Congressional Republicans must send a strong and immediate signal that economic growth is their first priority.

In fact, the first piece of legislation in the new Congress should be a resolution co-sponsored by every Republican member expressing the sense of Congress that growing the American economy should be the first duty of the new legislative session.

President Barack Obama’s track record suggests that we can count on him to veto true growth legislation. Our goal must be to demonstrate to the American people that Republicans stand for economic growth, and to lay the groundwork for a pro-growth legislative agenda under a Republican president.

After six long years of economic stagnation under Obama, the new Republican majorities in both the House and Senate must understand their mission has changed. They no longer exist solely to stop Obama’s agenda. Despite the continued presence of the lame-duck president, they must present a forward-looking agenda that truly revitalizes the American economy.

Republicans now have a unique opportunity to unite the country around a program to create real jobs and set the economy on a long-term path to prosperity for all and fiscal sustainability for government.

Obama’s great weakness — and Republicans’ greatest opportunity — lies in the American people’s sense that the president and his Democratic allies are not competent to run the country. This is true with regard to both the flagging economy and to our weak foreign policy. However, a strong domestic economy is the first necessary component for a strong posture in the world.

On Nov. 4, Americans said, “Enough is enough. We’re fed up with dysfunction and broken promises, and we want competent leadership in Washington.” Now is the time for the Republican Party to make a promise to every American: “We’ve got your back, we’ll fight to create prosperity and real jobs, and we will not let government stand in the way of your right to rise.”

The new majority has received its marching orders from the people who elected them to lead. Now is the time to move our country toward economic prosperity.

Jim Gilmore, a Republican, was the governor of Virginia and chairman of the Republican National Committee. He is the current chairman of GrowthPAC.

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