How Will Congress Respond to the State of the Union?


Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273

Washington, D.C., January 23, 2007—As President Bush prepares to deliver his first State of the Union address after the change of control in Congress, both the White House and leaders on the Hill are facing the prospects of having to work more closely to pass new legislation.

The 110th Congress has already begun work on an ambitious domestic policy agenda including a higher minimum wage, lower Medicare drug prices, changes to oil and gas royalties and subsidies for renewable energy. As the work of the legislative session progresses, however, members will increasingly feel the perennial need for compromise. In that spirit, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has presented a free market agenda for government reform that both Democrats and Republicans can appreciate.

“During the last Congress, Republicans massively expanded the federal government—and the voters reacted negatively,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute President Fred L. Smith, Jr. “Now the Democrats have been entrusted to set aright the ship of state. In a globalized world, they will retain their majority only by eschewing the anti-market rhetoric of their party’s past. They, along with President Bush, hope to cement a legacy.”

Key elements of CEI’s proposal for the new Congress include:

Securing the Economy

 Rein in the $1 Trillion Regulatory State

 Reform U.S. Agriculture Programs

 Roll Back Overly Aggressive Sarbanes-Oxley Accounting Rules

 Make Stock Options Available to More Workers

 Recognize the Value of Hedge Funds and Private Equity for Entrepreneurs and Shareholders

 Encourage Innovation in Credit Availability

 Facilitate Further Telecommunications Reform

 Improve Access to Affordable Energy

 Allow American Workers to Work Without Labor Regulation

 Avoid Extension of Antitrust Regulation into New Competitive Realms

 Avoid Privacy Regulation that Worsens Personal Security

 Forge a Bipartisan Alliance Against Corporate Welfare

 Liberalize Insurance Markets

 Keep Government’s Hands off the Net and E-Commerce

 Clarify the Role of Not-So-Intellectual Property in the Economy

 Define Corporate Social Responsibility

 Protect and Enhance Federalism

 Protect Free Speech by Rejecting Content Regulation

 Promote Globalization’s Benefits by Further Liberalizing Trade

 Counteract Politicization of Federal Science Policy

 Resist New Burdens on the Transportation Sector

 Facilitate Electricity Competition

Protecting the Environment

 Restore the Constitutional Right to Property

 Embrace Private Conservation of Land and Natural Resources

 Protect Endangered Species

 Clarify the Role of Invasive Species

 Develop New Approaches to Preserve Ocean Resources

 Recognize the Risks of Global Warming Policies

 Trash Counterproductive Waste Disposal Policies

 Recognize the Elitist Nature of “Anti-Sprawl” Measures

 Resist the Urge to Play the Fuel Economy Mandate Game

 Rethink Water Rights Policies

 Reform Wetlands Policies

Improving Health and Safety

 Reject the Precautionary Principle, a Threat to Scientific Progress

 Recognize the Deadly Effects of Overregulating Medicines and Medical Devices

 Purify Federal Water Policies

 Enhance Auto Safety

 Improve Food Safety and Labeling

 Secure the Future of Food Biotechnology

 Resist Over-Caution on Nanotechnology and Other Frontier Sciences

 Enhance the Homeland Security Role of Critical Infrastructure and Cybersecurity