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Rick Perry's plan to 'uproot, tear down and rebuild' Washington

November 15, 2011|By Kim Geiger | Washington Bureau
  • In a Web video, Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry proposes to ban insider trading by members of Congress.
In a Web video, Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry…

Texas Gov. Rick Perry wants to make Congress part-time, put term limits on federal judges and automatically retire regulations unless Congress votes to renew them.

Those ideas and more were laid out by the Republican presidential candidate in a speech delivered Tuesday morning in Bettendorf, Iowa.

“I do not believe Washington needs a new coat of paint, it needs a complete overhaul,” Perry said. “We need to uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C., and our federal institutions.”

Perry also made reference to his proposal to eliminate three federal agencies “that perform redundant functions,” less than a week after his “oops” moment at a Republican debate, when he forgot one of the three. (He would do away with the departments of Commerce, Education and Energy.) He also proposed to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Taking aim at Congress, Perry said: “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.”

He would freeze lawmakers’ salaries until the budget is balanced and cut Congress’ pay in half again if the budget doesn’t balance by 2020. He would also cut the president's salary in half until the budget is balanced.

Drawing on a "60 Minutes" report suggesting that some members of Congress may be getting rich by trading stocks based on insider information, Perry called on Congress to end the practice immediately. Law now allows members of Congress to trade freely even though their insider knowledge may give them an advantage.

The premise of the "60 Minutes" story — that members of Congress often become incredibly wealthy during their time in office — is one that has also been applied to Perry, who became a millionaire while serving in Texas public office, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

In a video posted Monday on Perry’s campaign website, he declares that, “Congress certainly can’t be trusted to watch our money, and now it’s clear they can’t be trusted with theirs.”

He proposes that “any congressman or senator that uses their insider knowledge to profit in the stock market ought to be sent to jail — period.”

Referring to himself repeatedly as a “Washington outsider,” Perry suggested members of Congress spend too much time inside the Beltway and are out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans.

“We send members of Congress to look out for America, not enrich themselves,” Perry said in his prepared remarks. “But too often, they are taken captive by the Washington culture. That’s why we need a part-time Congress. I say send them home to live under the laws they pass among the people they represent.”

kim.geiger@latimes.com

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