WASHINGTON – Three leading Republican members of Congress are calling for more Christian values in government policies and a reduction in the overall role of government as ways to achieve a party majority in the fall elections.
Sens. Mike Lee,R-Utah, Marco Rubio,R-Fla.,and Ted Cruz,R-Texas,some of whom might consider a race for president in 2016,criticized the Obama administration’s domestic and foreign policy. They spoke at an event Thursday hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition,a group that advocates faith-based public policy.
Rubio and Cruz are considered likely 2016 presidential candidates,and the coalition has among its goals enacting policies to strengthen families,outside of the federal government.
Better workforce training,a more affordable higher education system and religious freedom in schools were some issues the senators said would help the conservative party achieve a majority in the midterm elections.
“I believe that a road to a majority is a means to an end,” Lee said. “Our ultimate goal is enact conservative policies that restore the proper role of government,re-energize our economy and create the conditions where all American shave a fair chance to pursue happiness.”
To win elections in 2014 and 2016,Republicans must advocate policy that “redesigns our unwieldy welfare state and modernizes our out dated government programs so that they address a growing lack of opportunity for middle class families,” Lee said.
The need for economic reform is urgent,Rubio said,citing a complicated tax code and over-regulation as examples of why he thinks the U.S. is experiencing a lack of investment. He called for a more efficient higher-education system that “doesn’t stigmatize working-class jobs.”
“In this country,we still need welders and plumbers and technicians and airplane mechanics,and we should be able to graduate kids from high school with those skills so they can go to work right away and make it to the middle.”
Rubio called the Obama administration’s policies a “relic from another age” that need to be removed to achieve “American exceptionalism.”
“We believe that every human being born anywhere on earth has a God-given right – not a law-given right,a God-given right – to go as far as their talent and work will take them,” Rubio said.
The role of faith in the government was a common theme throughout each senator’s speech. Lee,Rubio and Cruz agreed that religion is a driving force in public policy.
Cruz criticized the administration’s intrusion into to private life,saying,“The idea that our federal movement is coming after religious liberty is just astonishing and heartbreaking.”
He cited last year’s IRS scandal targeting conservative groups as an example.
Cruz spoke out against the government’s unwillingness to defend Christians throughout the world,citing the case of Miriam Ibrahim – a Sudanese woman facing the death penalty for abandoning her Islamic faith’ after marrying a Christian man – and the failure of the U.S. government to “speak out on her behalf.”
White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden issued a statement condemning the Sudanese government’s action on the day Ibrahim was sentenced. A search of the White House website yielded no other statements. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday urged that Ibrahim be freed.
Foreign policy generally took a back burner during the event. Cruz highlighted the dangerous plight of Christians caught in the violence in Iraq and criticized the Obama administration for considering negotiations with Iran to stop the conflict,something he said will increase the likelihood of Iran developing nuclear weapon capability.
“I have been very concerned about the direction of our nation,” Ronald Cavitt,68,a former pastor from Acworth,Ga.,who attended the event,said. “I think many of our legislators including our president are off track.”
Cavitt,like many of the roughly 150 people who attended the luncheon where the three senators spoke,spent two days on a bus to get to the conference. Cavitt is part of the evangelical Christian base that many Republican lawmakers hope will vote for them in November.
Reach reporter Anna Giles at [email protected]or 202-326-9861. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.