In his first day on the job, The Heritage Foundation’s new president, Kevin Roberts, told a group of House Republicans what their shared policy goals should be.
“No disrespect to those of you who stand for election, but the most important thing we’re going to achieve is that we’ll look back 10 years from now, and say what we achieved as Americans being self-governing again,” Roberts told a lunch meeting of the Republican Study Committee on Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
The Republican Study Committee, with more than 100 GOP House members, has been the conservative policy caucus for House Republicans since 1973.
Roberts discussed and fielded questions on, among other things, federal spending, higher education, the Biden administration, and disagreements among conservatives.
“We’re a bunch of conservatives, so there are going to be differences of opinion,” Roberts said. “The world isn’t going to end if we can’t agree 100% of the time, but let’s go fight like heck and charge those hills, the top of which are issues that we do agree on, like ending [Roe v. Wade].”
He spoke to the Republican Study Committee at the Capitol after arguments had concluded at the Supreme Court about a Mississippi abortion case that could result in the overturning of Roe, the 1973 precedent that legalized abortion nationwide.
Roberts added that conservatives can be united in opposing policies from the left and the Biden administration.
“We are fighting, I think, one of the most aggressive, radical leftist agendas in American history, and unfortunately, that’s saying something, going back to the days of Woodrow Wilson and FDR and Clinton and Obama,” the new Heritage chief said, adding:
I want you to know that when you’re looking for the intellectual ammunition to fight Biden inflation, to fight our open borders, to fight everything that they’re trying to do and ridiculous legislation they come up with, the Green New Deal, that you can count on The Heritage Foundation.
Roberts came to The Heritage Foundation in Washington after serving as the president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin, Texas, for five years. The Heritage board announced his hiring in October. He replaced Kay C. James, who became president in 2017 and who is retiring.
Asked about corporations moving to the left politically—for example, in opposing state voter ID laws—he noted that as president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, he stood firm.
“Why can’t the think tank world say, ‘Who cares? Go pound sand.’ And it worked,” Roberts said. “This is common sense to you. That’s the kind of thing that we’ve got to scale all around the country. And the point is one way to say the cavalry is coming, and I’m looking forward to the fight.”
Asked later about addressing left-wing political indoctrination in higher education, Roberts previewed the potential for a long-term policy.
“I’ve been working in my previous role up to yesterday in Texas on a really big effort that Heritage will be part of, on reforming the accreditation cartel,” Roberts said.
“You want to break up higher ed. There are two ways to do it,” he said. “You either end tenure, which means we’re all going to be harmed by faculty. Or you make an end run—to go back to a football metaphor—and you break up the cartel that empowers them.”
“And so, we’ve got a plan that we’re putting in place. I’ll share that with you,” he added. “It’s not the kind of thing that can happen in a year, but it’s the kind of thing that can happen in a few years.”
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