Americans need no reminder that the challenges we face are enormous. Our economy has declined and our debt has mushroomed with the loss of millions of jobs. The social fabric that binds us as citizens, families and communities is unraveling. Voices in and out of government whisper that our standing as the world’s leader of democracy and economic growth is ending.
The American people do not accept these counsels of timidity, failure, and despair. In town halls and on public squares, in every corner of this country, people have gathered and spoken out – in small groups and larger crowds, through phone calls and in letters, through websites and new technologies.
Legislators in Washington have imposed an agenda that doesn’t reflect the priorities of the people. What’s worse, the most important decisions are made behind closed doors, where a flurry of backroom deals has supplanted the will of the people.
It's time to do away with the old agendas: that much is clear. It's not enough, however, to swap out one set of leaders for another. Structure dictates behavior, so we have drafted this blueprint on a process of listening to the American people and fielding their concerns and ideas for turning things around.
The American people have humbled us. They have reminded us that the privilege to serve is temporary. Hard work and tough decisions will be required of the 112th Congress. No longer can we fall short. No longer can we kick the can down the road. In November, the people voted to end business as usual, and thus, we begin carrying out their instructions. This is our guidebook as we move forward.
This is our Pledge to America.
Speaker John Boehner holds up a copy of "A Pledge to America" at Tart Lumber Company on September 23, 2010.
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