Perry Calls for Government Overhaul
This is a solid campaign move by Perry. Newt Gingrich is coming on strong in the polls as the anti-Romney, but the fact that the former Speaker is an old-school Beltway insider is a vulnerability. If Perry hopes to revitalize his campaign and get back in the race, it’s essential he plays up his outsider status, and he seems to be doing just that. The anti-establishment outrage has reached a fever pitch since the explosive “60 Minutes” report on Peter Schweizer’s Throw Them All Out, and Perry is the first GOP candidate to try to own that sentiment.
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BETTENDORF, Iowa (AP) – Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said Tuesday that if elected he would end lifetime appointments for federal judges and slash the pay for federal lawmakers, effectively turning Congress into a part-time institution.
In a speech laying out how he would “uproot and overhaul” Washington, the Texas governor suggested that his Washington outsider background—unlike some of his GOP rivals—would help him succeed at changing the city’s culture. Changing Washington also was one of President Barack Obama’s goals and he’s had no success on that front since taking office.
“Unique to the Republican field, I have never been an establishment figure, have never served in Congress or part of an administration and have never been a paid lobbyist,” Perry said. “My career has been that of a Washington outsider.”
Until he jumped into the presidential race in August, Perry spent his entire political career in his home state of Texas.
The plan Perry rolled out at a heating and cooling company in Iowa also calls for requiring a two-thirds vote in Congress for any tax increases, halting all proposed federal regulations and criminalizing insider trading by Washington lawmakers.
Perry includes the president in the call for a pay cut and said lawmakers’ pay would be halved again—or essentially slashed by three-fourths—if the federal budget isn’t balanced by 2020.
The president’s annual salary is $400,000. Members of Congress not in leadership positions earn $174,000 a year.
“We should cut the salary of the president of the United States in half until that budget is balanced,” he said.
With voting set to begin in Iowa in less than two months, Perry is looking to turn around his once high-flying campaign. He is no longer a top-tier candidate, largely because of disappointing debate performances, including an embarrassing blunder in front of his rivals last week when he struggled to name the three federal departments he says he’d dismantle if elected.