My fellow conservatives,

The people have spoken. Reckless spending, stifling regulations, ever-rising taxes, endless debt and the looming government takeover of health care have brought this nation to a tipping point. Not surprisingly, the American people have now taken matters into their own hands.

How we got to that tipping point is clear. For too long, Washington’s preening elites have assumed that they knew best and that government was in itself the all-purpose solution to every perceived problem.

But the American people have a collective wisdom, and they expressed it yesterday. They took a stand and decided on a new direction because continuing down the path we’re currently on would mean the end of the American Dream.

They repudiated “change” that denies our character and tradition, and called instead for an American Renewal that taps our values. The message that came out of this election, I can assure you, was heard around the world. Everyone now knows that Americans remain a strong and free people, unbowed by adversity and unwilling to exchange their birthright of liberty for a perpetual stew of bureaucratic rule and government dependency.

But let’s be clear, now we must all get to work.  The new Congress has a choice: answer the call of renewal or betray the hopes of the American people.  It is time for conservatives to be conservative, and not backslide.

We here at The Heritage Foundation are inspired by your commitment to America’s principles, and bolstered by your demand for practical, conservative solutions to our common problems. We and our 700,000 members will work day and night to make sure Washington has heard you, too, for now the real work begins.

There is much work to be done by the new Congress. Heritage is issuing a set of five simple actions Congress must take in order to meet this mandate of the American people. These five priorities represent the bare minimum of what is expected of our new representatives. More will need to be done to get our nation back on the right track, but taking these actions represent a good start.

I recommend that you print out this document, share it with friends and family.

This list, which we call “Solutions for America: Get to Work”, is comprised of the following calls to action:

  • FREEZE AND CUT SPENDING: Congress should immediately freeze discretionary budget authority at 2010 levels; and cut at least $170 billion from the federal budget for fiscal year 2012. This is only a first step. In the past four years, Congress has approved more spending that even the bureaucrats can handle. Congress must immediately survey the unobligated balances of all appropriations made in the past four years and should reclaim these unspent taxpayer funds and use them to reduce the deficit.
  • REPEAL OBAMACARE: Congress must immediately pass a bill that repeals Obamacare. Until Congress is able to get the President to sign a law repealing Obamacare, it must withhold funding, block key provisions and override regulations carrying out Obamacare. Only after Obamacare is rejected, can Congress undertake a careful, thoughtful legislative process to make practical adjustments that allow the free market to provide affordable, effective health care insurance choices.
  • STOP THE OBAMA TAX HIKES: Congress must reject the Obama tax hikes, and make permanent the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, thereby helping the economy grow and create more jobs.
  • PROTECT AMERICA: Congress must pass a budget resolution that won’t put our troops at risk or leave Americans vulnerable. It can do this by providing for defense an average of $720 billion per year (to be adjusted for inflation) for each of the next five fiscal years, in addition to the funding needed for ongoing contingency operations. Congress must make the defense budget as efficient as possible and reinvest dollars achieved from reforms in the military to offset the cost of modernizing and developing next-generation equipment.
  • GET CONTROL OF GOVERNMENT: Congress must immediately reestablish legislative accountability by posting complete legislation, ending earmarks, reviewing all unauthorized programs and respecting constitutional limits on government. Congress must check executive branch overreach with aggressive oversight, roll back recent government interventions, stop unnecessary administrative regulations and sunset new ones, restrict bureaucrats’ rulemaking authority and override executive orders.

Please see the full document here. Each of these things must be done if Washington is to fulfill its electoral mandate and meet its constitutional responsibilities.

We must not underestimate the difficulty of this task. This is but the beginning of a long recovery and renewal. There’s much to be done.  We need to put an end to the crony capitalism that permeates so many of the outrages of these past two years. Government elites should not be picking winners and losers, giving bailouts to GM and waivers of the health care law to McDonald’s.

We must return to the states the authority and flexibility to solve problems best resolved at that level of government. Replace federal failure and incompetence with state ingenuity custom-tailored to solve local problems.

Many will say it cannot be done, and some will demean the people and trivialize their objectives. They will do so at their peril. That attitude ignores what has just taken place.  Let us never overlook our noble purpose: to restore America, rebuild its limited government and revive a nation of unlimited possibilities–where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.

This is a pivotal time. The public mind is engaged, and the eyes of the people are on Washington to see if their government will listen to them once again.  We must seize the moment, or the moment will be lost, and so might our country.

Americans have reached back to their roots and history to rediscover their traditions and values. There’s a reason the Tea Party took a name from one of our earliest revolutionary events. One of the worst things our President has done in his two years in office—on top of the spending, the overreach of health care and the inability to allow the private sector to create jobs—has been in comment after comment to disparage the people, their wisdom and their intelligence.

We must remain committed, stay focused, be ever vigilant — and keep the faith.

Join us in this cause at Heritage.Org. Watch our statement on the conservative wave. Print out the Get to Work Checklist. Listen to our experts discuss the Checklist. Make a donation today to help turn this country around and tell lawmakers in Washington: Get to work.

Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D., President, The Heritage Foundation

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