McDaniel Contract with Mississippi
As a lifelong conservative Republican and as a citizen running for the office of United States Senator to represent the State of Mississippi, I am not merely seeking to win a title to federal office but to enact policies consistent with the conservative principles of freedom, self-government, and accountability. Those policies, I believe, will make Mississippi freer, safer, and more prosperous.
In this era of political divisions where partisan advantage has taken priority over truth and where rhetoric is valued over substantive policy, I am offering to Mississippi voters a detailed account of my priorities and where I stand on important issues. Moreover, I am offering specific proposals on what legislation I will promote and support, and what legislation being currently debated that I will oppose if elected.
The bonds of trust between elected officials and the people have been so deeply eroded, it is entirely understandable why many voters view politicians with profound skepticism. The widening gap between campaign promises and a legislative record is at the heart of voters’ justifiable cynicism about politicians and the governments they oversee.
That is why I am willing to put forth a detailed contract so that Mississippi voters can hold me accountable.
This contract is merely a starting point for conservative reform. In every vote I cast, I will conform to conservative principles — put simply, to preserve individual liberty, government must necessarily be limited.
Consistent with the Republican Oath, this contract is dedicated to the following concepts: good government is based on the individual and that each person’s ability, dignity, freedom, and responsibility must be honored and recognized; free enterprise and the encouragement of individual initiative and incentive have given this nation an economic system second to none; sound money policy should be our goal; equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, must be defended; American values, exceptionalism, and our feeling of national strength must be preserved; and the Republican Party remains a vehicle for translating these ideas into successful principles of government.
I. BUDGET REFORM
I WILL support and vote for The Penny Plan as recently re-introduced by Senator Rand Paul. The Penny Plan reduces Federal spending by one penny on the dollar year after year until the budget is balanced without touching Social Security.
Our current National Debt is over $21 Trillion. Our politicians in Washington are currently spending nearly a trillion per year more than they receive from taxpayers. These numbers are so large that they are hard to grasp but let’s say your household had $21,000 in credit card debt and you continued to spend $10,000 more per year than you made. You would say something has to change – and you’d be right, something has to change.
To get your debt under control, could you spend just one penny per dollar less this year than last year? Of course, you could! If Congress did the same, we could get our spending under control and begin to pay off our National Debt.
I WILL NEVER support or vote for a budget that adds one penny to the deficit without a Declaration of War from the Congress.
We don’t have to make dramatic cuts to our budget all at once, but we do have to get our debt under control. With The Penny Plan, we can. Most politicians in Washington say that they want to balance the budget. They even pass phony resolutions and vote for phony bills they know will never pass so they can look fiscally responsible. But when you ask them what their plan is, you get blank stares. That’s because they have no plan. They aren’t serious about fiscal responsibility. I am and will support a plan to get our finances under control – The Penny Plan. We can eliminate our deficit, balance the budget and lower our debt without immediate draconian cuts. The Penny Plan is a powerful but very reasonable approach that works over time. That’s why I won’t vote for a budget that continues to add more debt.
The only exception to spending more than we take in is during war, but it is Congress’ responsibility to first declare war.
I WILL support the full repeal of the Death Tax.
It is simply unconscionable to have to visit both the Undertaker and the IRS after a loved one dies. Too many small family businesses and farms are vulnerable to forced liquidation and closure because of the Death Tax. The IRS collects relatively little revenue from the Death Tax but there are devastating consequences for families that are hit with it. Often, the family business is forced to downsize or even close, causing their employees to lose their jobs. It’s time to permanently eliminate the Death Tax.
I WILL support the elimination of income taxes on Social Security benefits as introduced by Congressman Thomas Massie as the Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act (H.R. 2552).
Social Security is a compact the government made with the American people in order to help seniors live out a dignified retirement. Taxing Social Security breaks our promise to seniors because it reduces their promised benefits. Seniors should be enjoying the benefits of the retirement they’ve earned. They should not be a source of additional revenue for the Federal Government.
I WILL support cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible.
I WILL NEVER support or vote for an increase in the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses, and I will oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits unless matched dollar for dollar by a further reduction of tax rates.
This language matches the Tax Pledge I have already signed from Americans for Tax Reform. Congress has a spending problem which will not be solved by raising taxes; in fact, it will make things worse. I am open to reforms that will stimulate growth, make America more competitive, and encourage job creation. Like most Americans, I want a taxation system that is flatter, fairer, and simpler but I am open to any tax reform proposals that result in more money left in the pockets of Americans and less sent to Washington.
III. REGULATORY REFORM
I WILL support plans to reduce federal regulations.
The United States was created as a bastion of free enterprise, where anyone who had the desire, determination, ingenuity, and good old-fashioned American work ethic could build a business and prosper. President Trump has accomplished much in his quest to help the economy grow and business to prosper by reducing taxes and burdensome regulations. The President’s plan calls for the elimination of 75 percent of federal regulations, but Congress must also take an active role.
Burdensome laws and regulations, as much as taxes, can choke the life out of businesses. The Code of Federal Regulations under Obama climbed to 80,000 pages, containing rules that could subject American citizens to fines or jail time for violating a regulation written by an unelected bureaucrat.
How can any business be expected to keep up with so many laws and regulations, many that border on the absurd? Obamacare, which added 11 million words of federal regulations, even though the law itself was 2.8 million words, should be repealed without delay, as well as the Sarbanes-Oxley law that fastened oppressive and costly accounting regulations on private companies.
Another example of oppressive and burdensome regulations is found within the nation’s agriculture industry. Our nation’s farmers and ranchers are some of the country’s top conservationists, yet every year they are forced to comply with costly and burdensome regulations that are providing no benefit back to the American people or the environment. Regulatory reform of the Environmental Protection Agency is another great place to start. That being said, it is just one of many areas that must be focused on.
But, aside from repealing onerous laws, Congress should take further control of the regulatory code emanating from the executive departments and institute reform. There are a number of current plans that Congress is considering, including the REINS Act, which would require federal agencies to get congressional approval for major regulations, and the SCRUB Act that would create a commission to review existing regulations, then Congress would vote to repeal outdated and duplicative rules.
I believe Congress should go further in its reform efforts. We need a regulatory moratorium, or “cooling off period,” so that Congress can get a handle on the out-of-control regulatory state. I believe all existing regulations must be reviewed and approved by Congress (or a congressional commission) during the moratorium, and that no future regulations NO MATTER HOW TRIVIAL shall go into effect without the approval of the people’s representatives in Congress.
These reforms of the regulatory code, as well as the tax laws, will provide major relief to American businesses of all sizes and provide a genuine boost to the economy.
IV. JUDICIAL REFORM
I WILL support efforts to reform the federal judiciary.
The Founding Fathers never envisioned the federal court system becoming the most powerful of the three branches of government. But our federal judiciary is out of control and sees itself as the most significant branch that must oversee both Congress and the Presidency through judicial review while acting as though there is no check upon its own power.
Our Constitution, though, tells a different story. As constructed, Congress was meant to be the most powerful and influential branch, since it represents both the people and the states. Under our system of constitutional checks and balances, Congress has leverage over the other two branches, especially the courts.
Congress can and must rein in the courts under the authority granted in the Constitution. Congress created every district and appeals court, and also sets the number of seats on the Supreme Court. These are weapons that Congress should not be shy about using if need be. But, more importantly, Congress sets the appellate jurisdiction of the federal judiciary and can strip courts of their ability to hear certain cases. This is a power that Congress has used in the past and should use frequently in the future.
To rein in the federal courts more permanently, a new constitutional amendment should be enacted to limit Supreme Court justices to a period of no more than 12 years and also to allow Congress, with a three-fifths vote in each house, to override decisions of the Supreme Court, an action that would not be subject to a presidential veto. Also, this amendment would allow the state legislatures, with a majority vote by three-fifths of the states, to override any future Supreme Court decision.
By restricting the power of the federal courts, we can return our country to the federal republic it was meant to be, rather than the judicial oligarchy it has become.
V. SECOND AMENDMENT
I WILL support and vote for Constitutional Carry.
The Second Amendment says, ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” I will never vote for any bill that takes away the rights of law-abiding gun-owners and I will support Constitutional Carry which allows citizens to purchase and carry firearm without government permission.
I WILL NEVER vote for any legislation or regulation that infringes on our inalienable Second Amendment rights.
I WILL support and vote for building both a physical wall and a virtual wall to secure our southern border.
We need to control who is coming into our country for both economic and national security reasons. I support building a physical barrier where it makes sense and to use technology to prevent illegal crossings elsewhere.
I WILL NEVER support or vote to make DACA permanent.
Allowing people to cross our borders illegally and then granting legal status to their children will only invite more illegal immigration. We have to get serious about securing our borders to protect our economy and to keep Americans safe.
I WILL support efforts to defund cities and states that defy federal law by establishing “sanctuaries” for illegal aliens, particularly violent gang members and other dangerous criminals, while thwarting efforts by federal agencies to apprehend them. These cities and states should lose all funding if they continue to obstruct federal immigration efforts.
I WILL support and vote to end all Federal funding for abortion providers.
Without life, there can be no liberty and without liberty, there can be no pursuit of happiness. But life comes first. We should protect innocent life; therefore, we cannot allow taxpayer money to pay for abortions.
We should end all federal dollars going to abortion providers, even where the claim is made that the money is not specifically used for abortions. There are many women’s health services that do not provide abortions.
I WILL support federal judges and justices who are originalists in the mold of Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Gorsuch.
VIII. NATIONAL SECURITY
I WILL support and vote for a law to protect our national defense by keeping our military and intelligence spending at no less than 4% of GDP. (As of now it is at 3.7%)
Currently, we are at about the right level of spending on our military and intelligence services. Unfortunately, the next Congress or the next administration could then gut what was rebuilt. Historically, this has happened over and over again. We need to protect those who protect us by keeping our military consistently strong and preventing those who would weaken our defenses to fund pet projects. Defense must be our main priority. Our enemies are always trying to find ways to exploit a weakness in our defenses. We have to invest in technology and innovations to always stay ahead of those who would do us harm. Freedom is not free, it comes at a high price, but it is worth the cost for us to be safe, prosperous, and free.
I WILL support efforts to reform the National Security Administration (NSA).
National security and public safety are both very important but not at the expense of individual liberty. The NSA records domestic phone calls, tracks cell phone locations, reads emails, and keeps tabs on all texts, website visits, and social media comments. The surveillance program grew by leaps and bounds under Obama, including a new multi-billion-dollar headquarters and the use of domestic surveillance drones, far exceeding the programs of the Bush administration. But I do not believe any American citizen should be subjected to NSA spying without a search warrant signed by a federal judge, which is required by the Fourth Amendment.
IX. SOCIAL SECURITY
I WILL support serious efforts to save Social Security for current recipients as well as future generations.
In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, which provides “old-age benefits” and other provisions through taxation on both the employee and the employer. The federal government made this promise to American workers 83 years ago and that promise should be kept.
But the program is facing more difficult times today, and in the years ahead, due to demographic changes, such as declining birth rates, longer life expectancy, and a decline in worker-to-retiree ratios. And this ratio will fall further as more of the massive “baby boomer” generation retires.
According to the Social Security Administration, as it stands now “12 percent of the total population is aged 65 or older, but by 2080, it will be 23 percent. At the same time, the working-age population is shrinking from 60 percent today to a projected 54 percent in 2080.” In 1945 there were 42 workers for every Social Security beneficiary; today it stands at less than three workers for every retiree. By 2040, it will be 2.1-to-1.
Furthermore, Social Security is projected to run a deficit this year, in 2018, for the first time since 1982. The deficits are projected to grow larger and larger until 2034, when Social Security is fully depleted. At that point, according to the Social Security Trustees, it is likely that workers will receive a 25 percent cut in their benefits.
Therefore, changes need to be made on both a short-term and a long-term basis. But today’s beneficiaries do not have to fear any changes whatsoever. They will continue to receive their monthly checks just as they have been.
More revenue is obviously necessary. Social Security was first taxed in 1983 to provide more revenue for the program. The reason is because there is no money in the Social Security Trust Fund. Congress took the cash out and replaced it with treasury bonds redeemable at a later date. This accounts for nearly $3 trillion of our National Debt.
According to the Heritage Foundation, “the Social Security trust fund contains nothing more than IOUs that have no value beyond a promise to impose higher taxes on future workers. The annual surpluses that many thought were being used to build up a reserve for baby boomers have been spent on other government programs or to reduce the government debt.”
A Heritage report on Social Security goes further:
At some point in the future, Social Security will need to spend more than it receives in payroll taxes. At that point, it will begin to cash in the bonds in the trust fund. Where will the money come from?
According to the OMB, there are only four sources that money can be drawn from. Congress could repay the money by raising other taxes. It could also authorize the Treasury to just borrow the needed funds. Another alternative would be for Congress to reduce other federal programs and to use the money that was to have been spent for them to redeem Social Security bonds. Finally, Congress could simply reduce Social Security benefits. None of these options is either easy or very attractive.
So, how can we begin to fix this now? Looking at the four options from Heritage, I can conclude the following:
I WILL NEVER support raising taxes, borrowing more money, or reducing benefits. That leaves only one option: cut spending elsewhere to boost Social Security. And with a massive federal budget full of wasteful spending, there’s much we can do.
We can also make other changes to the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, which has become a $135 billion bureaucratic monster that is rife with waste, fraud, and abuse. Over a 30-year period from 1980 to 2010, those receiving disability payments rose 187 percent. And major frauds are busted every year. We need to ensure that this program is for those who are truly disabled.
I WILL support the elimination of all taxes on Social Security benefits, especially since those taxes represent “double taxation” on the elderly; a complete reform of Social Security Disability Insurance to weed out the waste, fraud, and abuse in the system, funds that can be used shore up the Social Security Trust Fund; and cuts in federal spending to balance the budget, generate a surplus, and use part of that surplus to make sure Social Security is solvent for future generations.
In addition, rebuilding our economy, transforming welfare checks to paychecks, increasing employment and creating high paying jobs, repatriating overseas wealth back to America, and encouraging domestic production will also serve to increase revenue into the Social Security system.
X. WELFARE REFORM
I WILL support and vote for work requirements for welfare recipients.
A job, any job, has inherent dignity, promotes self-worth, and creates a good work ethic. It’s been said often that it is easier to find a job when you have a job. It’s much easier to advance by networking with others who are also working to find better opportunities. When hard times come, and they do, we have a social safety net to help get people back on their feet, but it cannot become a way of life. We need to break the cycle of generational poverty by ensuring that people take responsibility for themselves and their families. We can provide limited support for a limited time but people who receive welfare should understand that it’s a social contract where Americans agree to help their fellow citizens who want to be self-sufficient. We should always help the truly needy, but we can’t help them if others who are capable of work jump in line in front of those who really can’t work.
XI. HEALTH CARE
I WILL support and vote for the full repeal of Obamacare.
Despite all the rhetoric that came out of Washington about “Repeal and Replace” and all the promises the Republicans made about getting rid of Obamacare once they were in charge, we still have Obamacare. I won’t let Republicans or Democrats forget what voters were promised and I will work to actually repeal every word of Obamacare.
I WILL support and vote for a healthcare system where every individual will enjoy, at a minimum, the same opportunities for health coverage offered to every member of Congress.
Every Member of Congress has good health insurance at a good price. It is a scandal that those same members vote to impose healthcare onto American citizens (Obamacare) when they reject it for themselves. By utilizing market-based reforms and solutions, I’ll work to make sure every citizen has access to the same kinds of healthcare policies Congress does.
I WILL support and vote for the deductibility of all medical and prescription drug expenses from the first dollar spent.
Healthcare costs are out of control. As the population ages, the costs are growing. The high cost of medical expenses is hurting individuals and families. We should not allow those costs to cause someone to lose their home or file for bankruptcy. Congress can help by making all medical expenses deductible from the first dollars spent.
I WILL NEVER support or vote for a national education curriculum.
Nowhere in the United States Constitution is the word “education” mentioned. For too long, Mississippi has placed last or near last in the national education rankings for student performance. Getting a good education is necessary to create the workforce we need to create good-paying jobs right here in Mississippi. The Federal Department of Education needs to be abolished. Education works best when schools are accountable to the community. Because our nation is so diverse and regional differences are vast, a one-size-fits-all approach to education makes little sense. Moreover, different approaches lead to innovation in education where one state can see what is working in another state and what is not. Lastly, we should be very leery of the education agenda of future administrations and the values they want to teach to our kids. Values are best left to parents and not Washington bureaucrats.
XIII. GOVERNMENT REFORM
I WILL support and vote for Term Limits for Congress, limiting service to no more than 12 consecutive years for House and Senate members.
The Founders never envisioned “career politicians.” They believed that citizens would be duty-bound to go to Washington for a time and represent his or her neighbors back home. Having done so, they would soon return home and resume citizenship and let someone else take their place. If that doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because for too long we’ve allowed some of our fellow citizens to make a lucrative career out of being a politician. The need to stay in power is what drives members of Congress to want to make the federal government bigger and more powerful. That is why we have the Swamp we have today. If I’m elected, I will work for term-limits and “Drain the Swamp” of the power-hungry politicians that fill it.
I WILL NEVER support or vote for taxpayer dollars being used to “settle” sexual harassment cases against members of Congress.
Our elected leaders in Washington should be held to the highest standards of integrity. Sexual harassment cannot be tolerated and when it occurs, the offender must be held to account. The practice of allowing taxpayer dollars to settle harassment suits is intolerable and must be ended.
I WILL support President Trump’s “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations” to streamline the federal government to make it more efficient and accountable to American taxpayers.
XIV. NEW LEADERSHIP
I WILL NEVER support or vote for Mitch McConnell for Republican Leader.
Sadly, Leader Mitch McConnell has turned his back on the conservative movement. He does everything in his power to keep reform conservatives from being elected to the United States Senate and actively using his position to defeat conservative legislation. As Senator for Mississippi, I will not support Mitch McConnell for leader.