Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry outlined his plan to “Uproot and Overhaul Washington” Tuesday morning in Bettendorf, Iowa. Perry has positioned himself as a D.C. outsider with a desire to “take a wrecking ball to Washington,” and unveiled a plan to put his outsider’s stamp on every branch of government.
The Texan, who has struggled in the polls in recent weeks, explained that while some are satisfied to merely “tinker” with the status quo, he has bigger plans for reform.
“I do not believe Washington needs a new coat of paint; it needs a complete overhaul. We need to uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C. and our federal institutions,” Perry said, going on to quote from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes. “There is a time to plant and a time to uproot; there is a time to tear down and a time to build.”
Perry took a shot at President Obama for his recent comments that cast Americans as “lazy,” countering that America’s problem has not been indolence but a government that no longer works.
“Mr. President, Americans aren’t soft or lazy, and Americans do not lack ambition or imagination — Washington has failed us,” he said.
Washington insiders have been too mired in old ways to make significant changes, according to Perry.
“We need new leadership. We need a new builder. We need a Washington outsider,” he said. “Unique to the Republican field, I have never been an establishment figure, have never served in Congress or part of a [presidential] administration, and have never been a paid lobbyist. My career has been that of a Washington outsider.”
Perry proposes reforms for all three branches of government.
He would end lifetime appointments in the federal judiciary, and push for a constitutional amendment to institute 18-year terms for federal judges.
Perry proposes to convert Congress into a part-time citizen legislature, cutting in half their time in Washington, their salaries and their office budgets. He also aims to freeze Congressional and federal civilian salaries until the budget is balanced, and threatens a second 50-percent pay cut for members of Congress if they fail to balance the federal budget by 2020.
“We have a lot of well-intentioned members of Congress. But they have become creatures of Washington,” he said. “They get paid more than three times the average American Family, and they have doubled their own budgets in the last decade. They are completely detached from the people, who are struggling to get by and can’t vote to raise their own pay.”
Perry reiterated his call to jail congressmen and senators who use insider information to profit in the stock market, as he laid out in an online campaign ad released Monday.
“Congress has proven it can’t be trusted to watch our money, and now its clear they can’t be trusted with theirs,” he said. “Any congressman or senator that uses their insider knowledge to profit in the stock market ought to be sent to jail. Period.”
The governor also outlined a plan to end congressional earmarks and bailouts, pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, eliminate federal funding of the abortion provider Planned Parenthood, end unfunded mandates on states and localities, cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP, and require a two-thirds super majority to pass tax increases in Congress.
Perry also plans to privatize quasi-governmental lending agencies.
“No longer will we prop up failed entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were at the heart of the economic collapse because of mortgage financing policies that gave false confidence to homebuyers who have now defaulted or are under water,” said Perry. “We will privatize Fannie and Freddie so politicians can no longer politicize them, and taxpayers will no longer be fleeced by them.”
“We will perform a full audit of the Federal Government, and there will be no sacred cows,” he said.