Transcript of Rep. Dick Armey's radio addressNovember 23, 1996
Web posted at: 4:30 p.m. EST
Good morning. I'm Dick Armey, the House majority leader. I'd like to spend a few minutes talking with you about my vision of what the next Congress will mean for you, the American people.
This year we elected a president, a Republican Congress and many Democratic members of Congress who all ran on the same platform -- a conservative platform of smaller government, lower taxes, a balanced budget, saving Medicare, improving education and cleaning up our environment.
We promised you a brighter vision of America, a conservative vision of a prosperous and moral America founded on the enduring principles of freedom, opportunity and responsibility. You accepted our promise, and we intend to keep that promise.
In this Congress, there won't be any debate over whether to balance the budget, only over how and when to do it. There won't be any debate over whether to shrink the size of government, only over how much and to what aim.
And there will no longer be any debate over whether to replace our socially harmful welfare programs with a new emphasis on work and personal responsibility -- only debate over the best ways to end the cycle of dependency and poverty.
Americans know freedom is meaningless without personal responsibility, and responsibility must come from within -- not from government programs. We have a vision of an America where families have the freedom and opportunity to rebuild family life and community life.
This year, both Republicans and Democrats have an opportunity to put politics aside and work together on our shared goals. Together, we can balance the budget, provide tax relief for families, encourage economic growth, save Medicare and move decision-making power from Washington back to Main Street America.
The American people have demanded that we work on real campaign-finance reform, and we will do that. When union officials openly try to buy Congress and foreign interests try to buy the White House, we have a system that must be fixed. The role of money in all realms of politics -- and from whatever source -- must be addressed before the next election gets under way.
We must continue to build on this year's historic welfare reform. Millions of families in cities across America see urban decay destroying their communities and stifling opportunities for their children. We must continue to replace dependency with opportunity through enterprise zones, public housing reform and opportunity scholarships.
Teen drug use
We must reverse the recent trend of skyrocketing teen drug use and address the epidemic of juvenile gangs. Now is the time to stand together to protect our children from the growing menace of drugs and violence.
And we must move forward on Superfund reform. To fulfill our responsibility and our hopes for a clean and safe environment, money now going to lawyers and bureaucrats must go instead to clean up toxic waste in neighborhoods throughout America.
Republicans and Democrats will cooperate to pursue the broad conservative agenda that the American people know will bring prosperity and a brighter future for all our children. And we will work to make certain that the promises made to you in the 1996 elections are kept.
The history and traditions of our nation are proudly founded on the search for hope, faith and renewal. I believe that we are witnessing a rebirth of that spirit in America today. With respect for one another, people of all faiths and beliefs seek a return of spiritual renewal in their lives and in the life of our country.
As Republicans, we cherish that vision of America in which you have the freedom and the opportunity to pursue that search for renewal in a prosperous and responsible nation.
We have a great opportunity, if we work together, to move that vision forward and to create that future for you -- the American people -- a future that you deserve, a future where government recognizes the goodness of the American people and has the decency to respect it.
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