BETTENDORF, Iowa – Standing in the middle of a metal manufacturing facility in Iowa, Gov. Rick Perry branded himself a “Washington outsider” who can “uproot and overhaul” the federal government, even citing a Bible passage to drive home his point that it’s time for Washington to change.
“Washington’s too broken to be fixed by tinkering on the margins. I don’t believe that Washington just needs a new coat of paint. I think the whole place needs to be overhauled,” Perry said in a speech at the Schebler Co. plant in Iowa. “I’m a true believer that we need to uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C. and our federal institutions.”
“We should apply the wisdom of Solomon to Washington. You know, in Ecclesiastes, over in Chapter 3…he said, ‘there is a time to plant, there is a time to uproot, there is a time to tear down, and there is a time to build.’ Well I think it’s time to tear down the monuments of bureaucratic failure, and put in place a smaller, more efficient federal government that puts the American people first.”
Missing were his typical lines of using a wrecking ball and taking a sledge hammer to Washington, D.C., but Perry’s plan, officially called the “Uproot and Overhaul Washington” and is the third of his major policy initiatives, aims to broadly reform each branch of government, starting with the implementation of what he dubbed a “part-time Citizen Congress”
“We have a lot of well-intentioned members of Congress. But they have become creatures of Washington,” Perry said. “They are completely detached from the people, people who are struggling to get by, and those people sure can’t vote themselves a pay raise.”
“We send members of Congress to Washington to look after America, not enrich themselves. But too often, they are taken captive by that Washington culture, and that’s why we need a part-time Congress. I say send them home to live under that the laws they pass among the people they represent.”
This part-time Congress would allow legislators to spend more time in their home states and cut their salaries. Salaries would then be cut in half a second time until Congress passes a balanced budget amendment. He would require a two-thirds majority vote in Congress for any tax increase.
As he did in a video released Monday, Perry railed on members of Congress who have engaged in insider trading and called for the immediate passage of a law that would imprison any legislators partaking in such activity.
“Some have even abused the public’s trust, trading on inside information to pad their stock portfolios. Congress has proven it cannot be trusted to watch our money, and now it’s clear they can’t even be trusted to watch their own,” Perry said. “Any congressman or senator that uses their insider knowledge to profit in the stock market ought to be sent to prison – period.”
On the judicial level, Perry called for term limits on federal judges, specifically citing an 18-year term limit on Supreme Court justices, which would require a constitutional amendment.
“Too many federal judges rule with impunity from the bench, and those who legislate from the bench shouldn’t be entitled to a lifetime appointment to the judiciary,” Perry said.
The third aspect of his plan focused on the executive branch and the “dismantling and rebuilding of the permanent bureaucracy.” Under Perry’s plan, he would eliminate the Departments of Commerce, Education and Energy, while restructuring the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Homeland Security and privatizing the TSA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In addition, he called for an audit of the federal government and a review of all regulations implemented since 2008.
“We need new leadership. We need a new builder. We need a Washington outsider,” Perry said. “I’m unique in this Republican field. I’ve never been an establishment figure. I’ve never have never served in Congress. I’ve never been a part of an administration. I’ve never have never been a paid lobbyist. My career has been that of a Washington outsider.”
Perry was joined by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, who endorsed the Texas governor in September and delivered his speech at the Schebler manufacturing facility, which employs over 160 employees in Bettendorf to produce items for chimney systems, food equipment, specialty fabrication and heating and cooling systems.