Three of the House of Representatives top-ranked Republicans, known collectively as the “Young Guns,” appeared at a town hall event streamed live online by Facebook, rallying around their shared convictions to cut regulations and taxes while enacting tax and entitlement reform in order to put the country back on a fiscally sustainable path.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, known as the leader of the GOP’s conservative rise, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, credited as the strategist of the House Republican Conference, and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, considered the thinker of the trio, each appeared on stage casually dressed without coats or ties and chatted about the latest trends in social media and how that plays into the GOP’s playbook to reach more voters and engage their constituencies.
All three collaborated to write a paperback book, “Young Guns” last year.
Cantor, reacting to a showdown over a spending bill to keep the government operating, said he was “positive” the divided Congress would be able to reach an agreement to avert a government shutdown.
“There’s a lot of hyperbole in the press, but I’m positive that we will get this thing done,” Cantor, R-Va., promised. “Hopefully begin to look at a future that really holds a space for a lot more Facebooks, and holds the future for the kinds of limitless opportunity and unlimited inclusion that Facebook stands for.”
McCarthy, R-Calif., agreed that in order to spur job creation, “Congress should look at what creates jobs” and remove barriers that stand in the way of companies emerging in the private sector.
“Congress should step back and see how did Facebook start? It started in a dorm. How did Apple start? In a garage. How did Google start? In a garage,” McCarthy said. “I’d focus on what’s made America great: entrepreneurship, innovation.”
Ryan, R-Wis., once again downplayed his expectations for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, and said a genuine solution to the debt crisis will require a solution from every member of Congress.
“The select committee, I believe, can and should get the $1.2 trillion that they’re supposed to get. That would be a nice step in the right direction. It would show divided government works, it’d be a confidence-booster for our markets for economic growth,” Ryan said. “But 12 people in Congress are not going to cut a backroom deal that are going to fix all of the country’s fiscal problems, nor should they try. We ought to have real government that actually works, so all 535 members of Congress actually do their jobs and actually budget and fix these problems before they get out of our control.”
The Facebook live town hall, which was moderated by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, was the same format that President Obama recently used. After the event, the trio was slated to meet privately with Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, just as the president had weeks ago.
Ryan also discussed fundamentally reforming both entitlements and taxes in order to get businesses hiring again.
“Let’s clear out all the clunk. Let’s get all the junk — all the loopholes out so we can lower everybody’s tax rates,” Ryan said. “Stop picking winners and losers in Washington and get us to a more globally-competitive system. … We think that fundamental tax reform — fair, simple, internationally competitive — is a key secret to economic growth.”
Pressed whether that included cutting loopholes for Big Oil, Ryan was unequivocal.
“Yeah, we should get rid of all that stuff so we can lower everybody’s rates,” Ryan said. “All of it.”