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Rep. Jason Chaffetz

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Building a New American Agenda

Posted: 05/26/10 02:30 PM ET

Americans looking for change in Washington have been sadly shortchanged. During an economic crisis that led many to lose their jobs, their homes, or significant chunks of their household budgets, Congress has been busy growing government. Even as private sector jobs disappear, federal jobs and federal salaries are exploding. As deficits and unemployment rise, this credit-card Congress has squandered political capital on job-killing government takeovers and excessive regulation. The current agenda in Washington does not reflect the agenda of the American people.

Across the political spectrum, Americans say they want Congress to cut spending, facilitate job creation, and grow the economy. Instead, Congress has been focused on remaking the auto industry, the banking industry and the health care industry. There is no excuse for the disconnect between the people and their leaders in Congress.

There is a reason so many Americans are organizing to make their voices heard. Neither today's Democratic majority nor the previous Republican one truly reflected the needs of the American people. The time has come to shape a new policy agenda - one that represents the priorities of the people we represent.

It's time for a new set of policy solutions and a new way of fighting for them. If the United States is to remain the world's economic and military superpower, we must change the way we do business in Washington, DC. I represent Utah to Washington, not Washington to Utah, just as every Member of Congress must represent his or her state to the federal government. American citizens are not pawns of government -- they are participants in it.

House Republicans recognize the need to build an agenda driven and shaped by the priorities of the people we represent. We ask Americans to voice their opinions by visiting AmericaSpeakingOut.com, the newest tool to strengthen the link between voters and lawmakers. AmericaSpeakingOut.com is an online forum where Americans can collaborate to suggest policy and promote their own priorities, connecting engaged citizens from all 50 states. It is our vision that AmericaSpeakingOut.com will become a bridge between Americans all across the country, but also between voters and lawmakers.

The need for further engagement is evident. Even as Congress has lurched left, America remains a center-right nation. We seek conservative alternatives to the misguided policies of the current majority. Speaker Pelosi's job-killing policies of taxation, regulation and litigation are not the answer. It's time to let the people drive the policy in this country.

With the challenges we face, we need to work together. We need to build an agenda that will transcend politics and reflect the strong ideas, fierce engagement and great faith of the American people in representative democracy. We invite you to speak out. Share your ideas. Give us a piece of your mind. We hope you'll choose to be part of the positive change that is coming -- both in policy and process. Help is on the way. Choose to be a part of it.