House Republicans know what they believe, and in americaspeakingout.com, we state those openly on the first page, Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence said. We are committed to our principles of economic freedom, limited, more accountable government, fiscal responsibility, protecting life, American values and the Constitution and providing a strong national defense.
But the Indiana Republican added that while our principles are fixed, the best ideas in America are from Americans.
Chief Deputy Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), the project chairman, acknowledged that some contributors might offer policy ideas that Republicans will not entertain.
The strongest idea is going to be able to leap forward, McCarthy said. People will have a lot of ideas that we wont agree with ... but the difference being here is this is open, this is sunshine.
The website is the central part of the Republican project to craft an agenda scheduled to be released in the fall, but Republicans said ideas submitted on the site could become legislation well before the final document is completed.
I dont think you are going to have to wait until September to find ideas directly out of here, McCarthy said. You might find an amendment or two that gets up in the next week.
McCarthy encouraged Americans of all political stripes to contribute to the discussion and stressed that those who register for the site are not asked their political affiliation.
But Republican leaders noted that the most desirable ideas would be those that fell into their conservative framework.
Rep. Peter Roskam, deputy chairman of the agenda project, said ideas that deviate from those principles would not be considered as viable suggestions for the Republican governing agenda.
Someone who wants to come on and make the suggestion on how to raise taxes, for example, the Illinois Republican said. They are welcome to do that, [but] thats not something that we are going to take up.
Roskam told reporters after the briefing that while visitors to the site are free to discuss whatever they want on the site, ideas that are inconsistent with Republican principles would be rejected.
We wont do them, Roskam said. This is our worldview, and our sense is that it is a winning worldview.