Congressman Mark Meadows took the stage to close out the Civitas Institute’s 2017 Conservative Leadership Conference not with a sheaf of papers in hand to deliver a well-manicured speech, but with an aim to give those gathered at the Crabtree Marriot a look into how the sausage is made in Washington – and how they might be able to make the end product better.
“I want to start by saying thank you, thank you for the job you do, thank you for the power that I have because of your voice. That’s the only power that I have, is really the voice of the people,” Meadows said. “And sometimes members of Congress forget that. It is incumbent upon us to have a reality check. So I’m going to talk to you as family members today and kind of give you a ‘behind the scenes,’ if that’s what you would like to know. I could do this prepared speech and it would sound much better, but I think you want the real story.
“So I’m here to tell you that you will get all kinds of promises from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, who say they’re going to pound their chest and get something done and they forget,” he said. “They go to Washington and they don’t get anything done. You know Winston Churchill used to say, ‘No matter how beautiful the strategy, we must occasionally look at the results,’ and the results have not been too great.
“And I think its time that we change that, and if members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, if they can’t see the light, you need to make them feel the heat. If they don’t start changing things, you send them home, myself included. It is time that we get things done.”
Meadows said that it is time that Congress finally repeal and replace Obamacare, and with a truly workable replacement; that tax reform gets done; and that people get back to work.
Addressing the failed “Trumpcare” bill, Meadows said that the bill would not have accomplished the core need of reducing cost to Americans for healthcare, even though many said it would.
“The president had been convinced by members of our own party that it was a great bill, even though only 17 percent of Americans believed it was a good bill,” he said. “In fact I can tell you that not even 17 percent of the members of Congress even read the bill. I understood that as we read the bill we had to do one thing, lower premiums across the board, and that didn’t do it.”
But Meadows’ talk wasn’t just about a failed push to end the Affordable Care Act, it was about the renewed push in the Senate to put forth a real workable solution to Obamacare.
“In the Senate there are a number of people who are working … that truly are looking from very different stakes on how we work that out,” he said. “I can tell you that the progress they are making is real. I’m optimistic that we will have a bill on the President’s desk by the middle of July and he will sign it and we will start to finally bring premiums down.”
But Meadows also gave a two-point charge to the assembled conservatives.
First, to get outside of their comfort zone to tell those outside of their circle about conservatism, and second, to hold Capitol Hill accountable for its actions, or inaction.
“I don’t know about you, but most of the constituents didn’t send me to name post offices, they sent me to repeal and replace Obamacare, they sent me to reduce taxes, they sent me to make sure that we put people back to work again. It’s important that we do that,” he said. “They sent me there to fix the VA finally and give our veterans the care they deserve. … If we don’t get health care fixed by the end of July, and we don’t get tax reform introduced and out of the House by July, I want you to join me and say we [in Congress] need to cancel our August recess and get our work done.”