Virginia Republican Rep. [crscore]Dave Brat[/crscore], the Tea Party member who managed to unseat former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in one of the most notable political upsets in recent history, says the American people are sending a loud and clear message they are fed up with the political elite ignoring the public’s wants by overwhelmingly backing a Washington outsider this election cycle.
The congressman, who served as a professor and chairman of the economics department at Randolph-Macon College and worked at the World Bank, has been vocal in his thoughts that Congress hasn’t been doing enough to control spending and the federal debt is on an unsustainable path – and the country is taking notice.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation, Brat says he has a policy of not endorsing GOP candidates at the primary level, believing it promotes a “top-down leadership style that tells people what to do” when voters are smart enough to vote on their conscience, but plans on supporting presumed Republican nominee Donald Trump in the general election.
While the Republican party appears to be shifting away from the establishment toward a more populist direction, Brat says many lawmakers are not taking the hint voters want to see something different.
“Just from a business standpoint, if the Republican party is losing 50 percent of its market share to a new competitor, any smart business person would say, ‘I better study this immediately, I better take a hard look and analyze this and respond to my customer,'” Brat says. ” I haven’t seen us do that yet – It looks to me like we are in total denial. We haven’t analyzed any data I’ve seen in order to respond better to the American people.”
While the Trump and the congressman may differ in a few policy areas, Brat says he thinks having a seasoned businessman in the White House could be very beneficial for the country.
Prior to voting for speaker of the House, the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) member says he laid out his positions for candidates on paper and would do similarly for anybody seeking office.
“He (Trump) said he doesn’t want to address mandatory spending or entitlements, and so I’ve just got to find out what he means by that,” Brat says. “Because if he just means he wants to protect all existing seniors, then we all agree with him, but if he means he never wants to look at it – then I would just tell him in 10 years all federal revenues go only to mandatory spending programs.” If the country continues on its fiscal path, there won’t be money left to be used toward the military, transportation or education and the chances of Medicare or Social Security existing for younger generation is slim – an issue Brat says Trump likely understands given his business background.
Brat, known for being a fiscal hawk among conservatives, added the country has an unfunded liability problem and if Congress doesn’t cut out waste or get behind pro-growth policies, it could end up in a similar situation to Puerto Rico.
In a recent op-ed published in The Washington Post, the congressman slammed the budget deal negotiated between Boehner and President Barack Obama last October, noting the budget remains at a standstill over leadership failing to offset the $30 billion spending increase the HRC is calling for despite conservatives saying they would back the $1.070 trillion number if cuts were made.
According to Brat, HFC members have offered a number of options to bring the number down, but the Senate has refused to consider a budget with lower numbers.
“The American people gave us the House and Senate and were still running $500 billion deficits; we’re trying to say we’re conservatives when we got it wrong on immigration, we don’t have a balanced budget and were not messaging strongly as Republicans on foreign policy,” he says. “In our absence there has been a vacuum, and Trump comes and offers to deal strongly on a range of issues and that’s a wakeup call.”
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