This month, we celebrate the entrepreneurs, innovators, the teachers, the artists, and the visionaries in the Hispanic community who have contributed so much to our culture and way of life.
They embody a core belief of Americans everywhere -- that no matter your background, you should be able to imagine what’s possible and go out and make it happen.
Somewhere along the way, though, we’ve lost sight of that ambition. Top-down, government-knows-best policies made it so that for the first time in our history, the next generation is expected to be worse off than their parents. The American Dream is being replaced by the American “Good Enough.” To make matters worse, people feel they’ve lost their voice in representative government. We know there is a better way.
We want to make it easier for every American to raise their families, start businesses, and work towards a better life.
To do that, we need to keep the ever-encroaching burden of government at bay by rethinking our nation’s approaches to taxes, regulation, education, health care, and poverty. House Republicans’ bold policy plan, A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America, addresses the challenges that Americans face all across this country by offering real policy solutions.
RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS YOUR WAY
The land of opportunity starts with having a job. Because a job is so much more than a paycheck. Gainful employment, and job creation by our nation’s small business owners, provides people with a sense of purpose – a contribution to the community around them.
With the rise of start-ups, small businesses now account for more than half of all jobs made in the United States. Minority-owned businesses are the fastest growing segment of small businesses nationwide, with Hispanics alone reporting a 46.3 percent increase to 3.3 million between 2007 and 2012.
We want to encourage, not diminish, this entrepreneurial spirit, and that begins with a serious conversation about the increased burden of taxes and regulation that comes with owning a business.
All too often government gets in the way, regulating everything from overtime pay to mud puddles -- even licenses for styling and braiding hair. The recent Department of Labor overtime rule alone has the potential to be devastating to the middle class.
Regulations cost thousands of dollars per employee each year, and business owners across the country are drowning in countless hours of paperwork. Worse, these situations are often caused by nameless bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. who aren’t accountable to you – the very people they’re affecting.
It isn’t just about regulations – we want to make the tax code simpler, fairer, and flatter, so simple that it fits on a post card. It’s about giving you peace of mind.
We want to unleash your potential – free it from the mountain of paperwork – so that you can spend your time, talent, and treasure on the work and causes that matter to you.
FLEXIBILITY FOR FAMILIES
Family is a gift, and it’s a gift worth protecting and nurturing with all resources available to us.
There are no cookie cutter families, so there should be no cookie cutter approaches to health care and education – that’s the basis of our Better Way plan.
When the Affordable Care Act was implemented, inexpensive health care plans were eliminated to ensure regulatory compliance, leaving many families without affordable options to care for their family.
Our Better Way to Fix Health Care is aimed at offering the highest quality health care to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible cost. Families need flexibility to choose what best meets their needs, priorities, and budgets.
Families also need options for how to educate their children.
We hear from students and parents alike who have gone through charter schools that have been tailored to meet their needs and their communities, and the results speak for themselves.
In Washington, D.C. alone, 90 percent of students participating in the Opportunity Scholarship program graduate – that’s 32 percent higher than the city’s public schools. 88 percent of these students go on to college.
That is what we want for everyone in this country – no matter how much money you have, or your race, gender, age, or walk of life, or what challenges you may face. That is why we are pursuing a Better Way.
In December 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) passed and was signed into law. It was the most comprehensive education reform in more than two decades, and addressed serious issues from previous legislation.
It reduces the federal role in our children’s education because one size does not fit all, and top-down policies do not work. It restores local control and empowers parents by increasing options. Every school isn’t for every child.
By providing parents with the ability to meet their children’s needs – particularly those who are disadvantaged, have special needs, or are English Language Learners – we can better ensure a quality education for children across the country.
Let’s open more doors for America’s students. Let’s expand their educational options. And let’s give them the foundation to be America’s next innovators, entrepreneurs, doctors, artists, and engineers.
PURSUING A BETTER LIFE
Bureaucrats cannot possibly contemplate the complexities different communities, with different needs and challenges, face around the country.
Yet what comes out of D.C. are one-size-fits-all policies that set up roadblocks to minority communities because too much power is taken away from local governments.
The welfare system is designed to trap people. If you were raised poor, you’re just as likely to stay poor. It traps everyone, from individuals to entire families. 46.7 million Americans fell below the poverty line, including more than 21 percent of Hispanic-Americans. No one should be forced to live like this.
Our Better Way to Fight Poverty rewards work, tailors benefits to match people’s needs, and makes it easier for families to save money and plan for the future.
At the end of the day, what we do is – and has to be – about people, not just policy. We are committed to restoring your voice in representative government so that you can live confidently and boldly pursue a better life.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers represents Washington's 5th District and serves as chair of the House Republican Conference | Mario Diaz Balart represents Florida’s 25th District and serves in the House Committee on Appropriations and the House Committee on Budget.
Disclaimer: We selected this Op-Ed to be published in our opinion section as a contribution to public debate. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of its author(s) and/or the organization(s) they represent and do not reflect the views or the editorial line of Univision Noticias.