The PJ Tatler

Rick Perry Unveils Reform Plan to 'Uproot and Overhaul Washington'

From the campaign press release:

BETTENDORF, Iowa – Gov. Rick Perry today unveiled his Uproot and Overhaul Washington plan to fundamentally reform the three branches of government and review all federal departments, agencies, and spending programs from the top down.

The governor’s Uproot and Overhaul Washington plan includes establishing a part-time, citizen Congress, cutting congressional salaries, ending lifetime appointments of federal judges, issuing an immediate moratorium on new and pending federal regulations, and dismantling wasteful, redundant federal agencies, Gov. Perry announced his plan at the Schebler Manufacturing Facility in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Gov. Perry’s full plan can be viewed at

“Washington is too broken to be fixed by tinkering on the margins,” said Gov. Perry. “I do not believe Washington needs a new coat of paint, it needs a complete overhaul. We need to uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C. and our federal institutions.

“Washington is so broken, Americans will accept nothing less than a complete overhaul of the way business is done in America. We need new leadership. We need a new builder. We need a Washington Outsider. Unique to the Republican field, I have never been an establishment figure. My career has been that of a Washington outsider.”

Gov. Perry’s plan will reform the federal judiciary by ending lifetime appointments of all unelected federal judges. He will champion a constitutional amendment to prospectively institute 18-year terms for the Supreme Court, staggered every two years, so that justices are replaced in order of seniority every other year. This will instill regularity to the nominations process, discourage justices from choosing a retirement date based on politics and put an end to the ever-increasing tenure of justices.

Second, the governor’s plan calls for fundamental reform of the legislative branch by establishing a part-time, citizen Congress that cuts in half their salaries, office budgets and time in Washington. Additionally, if Congress cannot balance the budget by 2020, as the governor has previously called for, their salaries should be cut in half again. Gov. Perry will also work to freeze Congressional and federal civilian salaries until the budget is balanced, holding Congress accountable to the American people.

“Congress is out of touch because Congressmen are overpaid, over-staffed and away from home too much,” said Gov. Perry. “It’s time to create a part-time Congress where their pay is cut in half, their office budgets are cut in half, and their time in Washington is cut in half.  And if they do not submit a budget that balances by 2020 as my plan calls for, we should cut their pay in half again.”

Gov. Perry also noted recent abuse by Congressional members of insider information that has been used to enhance their stock portfolios, and is calling for the criminalization of such insider trading by members of Congress. Not only will that be a part of the governor’s government reform plan, but he is also calling on Congress to pass such a law immediately (watch Gov. Perry’s video calling for an end to this practice at

The governor added, “Congress has proven it can’t be trusted to watch our money, and now its clear they can’t be trusted with theirs. Any Congressman or Senator that uses their insider knowledge to profit in the stock market ought to be sent to jail – period.”

Third, Gov. Perry’s plan will reform congressional spending, through measures that include:

  • Ending bailouts and earmarks, and veto of any legislation containing such measures
  • Passing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution
  • Ending federal funding of Planned Parenthood
  • Vetoing legislation that places new, unfunded mandates on states, local communities or schools
  • Supporting legislation requiring a two-thirds majority to pass tax increase
  • Capping federal spending to 18 percent of GDP (average amount over last 50 years)

Lastly, Gov. Perry called for the dismantling and rebuilding of federal bureaucracy, including the privatization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the elimination of agencies that perform redundant functions.

“No longer will we prop up failed entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were at the heart of the economic collapse because of mortgage financing policies that gave false confidence to homebuyers who have now defaulted or are under water,” said Gov. Perry. “We will privatize Fannie and Freddie so politicians can no longer politicize them, and taxpayers will no longer be fleeced by them.”

The governor’s plan will also eliminate the departments of Commerce, Education and Energy, moving key programs, like National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Nuclear Security Administration and civil rights programs, among others, to more appropriate federal departments. The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Homeland Security will be completely restructured and reformed, and the Transportation Security Administration will be transitioned to a public-private partnership.

“We will perform a full audit of the federal government, and there will be no sacred cows, including wasteful spending at the Department of Defense, where every dollar we spend should support our warfighters around the world,” Gov. Perry said. “And we will say to every bureaucrat: no salary increases until the federal budget is balanced. And because a president must lead by example, we should cut his salary in half until the budget is balanced.”

Additionally, the governor reiterated his call for a moratorium on all pending federal regulations, an audit of every regulation promulgated since 2008 and subsequent repeal of any regulations that are not found to be affordable, effective and compatible with job creation.

As presidential plans go, this is about as bold and sweeping as it gets. The realist in me says that much of it is impossible to achieve. Get Congress to work part-time while cutting their salaries and staffs? The most dangerous place on earth tends to be the space between congresscritters and a camera, and many of them use their padded office budgets to reward friends and family. Changing the federal judiciary at such a fundamental level? Putting term limits on Supreme Court justices is so far outside the box that it’s a bit tough to get your head around.

But going big as this plan does might enable some of these reforms to be enacted, and they are good reforms. Some, such as the moratorium on regulations, can be done through the executive branch alone. Reforms of EPA and DHS are long overdue. It’s heartening to hear a presidential candidate propose it.

The Uproot and Overhaul plan is the third major policy that the Perry campaign has rolled out in recent weeks. It joins Cut, Balance and Grow and Energizing American Jobs and Security as some of the most sweeping and detailed plans any presidential candidate has ever put forward.