Bradley Byrne: A better way forward

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From health care to national security, people are worried about the direction our country is headed. That is certainly what I hear at my town hall meetings in Southwest Alabama, but the same is true all around the United States. According to Real Clear Politics, 65 percent of Americans believe our country is headed in the wrong direction.

When you are frustrated, it is simple to spend all your time complaining about what is wrong. In other words, it is easy to be against something.

But we can’t just spend all our time complaining and talking about why we are frustrated. We must rise above that temptation. Instead, we need to counter the current policies with ideas of our own. The American people are better off when there is a battle of ideas.

With this in mind, House Republicans recently released what we are calling a “Better Way” agenda. This agenda offers an alternative to the “Washington-knows-best,” big government policies that have wrecked our country over the last eight years.

Our platform focuses on six main areas, so I want to take a minute to discuss our plan and explain why I believe it offers a “Better Way.”

Poverty: Our nation’s welfare system needs to put a real focus on work instead of just throwing more money toward government programs. We must do more to help Americans gain the skills they need to get a job instead of encouraging government dependency.

National Security: We have to get serious about defeating radical Islamic terrorism, and that means having a strategy to defeat our enemies overseas. We must also protect the homeland by securing our borders and closing loopholes in our broken immigration system. It is also important that we don’t lose sight of new, evolving threats like cyberattacks. The safety and security of the American people must always be the top priority.

The Economy: It is time we roll back costly regulations that are only driving up costs for American families. We must also focus on making energy more affordable by pursuing an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. Innovation needs to be encouraged instead of punished. Finally, we need to put an end to Wall Street bailouts once and for all.

The Constitution: We have to make sure the Constitution is being followed, and that means restoring the powers of Congress. We must hold government agencies accountable and do everything we can to encourage efficiency and effectiveness across the federal government. Most importantly, Congress must get back to using our “power of the purse.”

Health Care: First, Obamacare must go, but we need to replace it with patient-centered reforms based on free-market principles. We need to give patients more choices by allowing for health insurance to be sold across state lines. We must also strengthen Medicare for our nation’s seniors while also preserving the program for the next generation.

Tax Reform: We need to completely rewrite the tax code so it is simpler and fairer for every family. Under our plan, everyone’s taxes would come down, and most people could fill out their taxes with a simple post card form. These reforms will also boost the economy and make it easier for small businesses to create jobs.

This is just a quick look at our “Better Way” agenda. You can learn more online at Better.gop.

I also realize that our agenda won’t be put in place overnight. Some of the reforms will take longer than others, but at least now we have put forward a bold agenda for the path forward.

There is a “Better Way,” and I am committed to making it a reality.

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Bradley Byrne is a member of U.S. Congress representing Alabama’s 1st Congressional District.

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