This election marks a great victory for common sense. For the GOP, it's a golden opportunity at a second chance. Republicans now have to prove to a suspicious public that we are ready to govern in a conservative manner by returning this country to a land of opportunity, responsibility and success.
For the past two years, House Republicans have been committed to developing alternative solutions grounded in the time-tested principles of fiscal responsibility, small government, economic opportunity and reward for hard work. These are the values that inspired America to flourish. By embracing them -- rather than undermining them -- we will produce lasting results and achieve another century of American prosperity.
Faced with an administration and a Congress that seemed intent on reorienting the role of government in America, time and again we stood up against them. Now it is our responsibility to lead with the same conviction, vigor and determination.
The Republicans who make up our new majority did not run for Congress to provide a subsidy to a particular industry or interest; to continue the same federal programs and agencies that are failing our citizens and bankrupting our children and grandchildren; or to spend our time congratulating collegiate basketball teams for having a good season -- even if we happened to be a fan.
We were elected because we intend to tackle the big problems facing our nation. Make no mistake, we are coming to Washington to rein in the deficit, to tear down barriers to job creation and to reform a government that has grown out of touch with the governed.
We will reform the way the House operates. This starts by rethinking how time is spent and what types of legislation we will bring to the House floor. We will identify our top policy goals and commit to take concrete steps every single week to advance those goals. And we will hold each other accountable by asking: Are my efforts addressing job creation and the economy; are they reducing spending; and are they shrinking the size of the federal government while increasing and protecting liberty? If not, why am I doing it? Why are we doing it?"
We must unshackle and unleash the nation's job creators -- businesses of all sizes -- so they will once again innovate, invest, expand and thereby employ millions of people. We will encourage them and give them incentives, but mostly we will stop being a barrier to their growth.
The broken state of our government is a direct result of years of unsustainable growth and mismanagement -- under the watch of both parties. Righting the ship will not happen overnight, but our work must begin immediately. We may not be able to balance the budget tomorrow or defeat terrorism once and for all next week, but we can begin to demonstrate incremental progress and tangible results toward solving America's thorniest problems.
And as we set out to tackle these challenges, the old, ingrained powers of Washington are gearing up to fight us every step of the way. They will fight, but we will fight harder. By changing the culture and focusing narrowly on the people's priorities, ours will be a lasting and worthwhile legacy: that we will achieve what we said we came to accomplish, and in so doing, deliver on the type of conservative governance that has been promised.
Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., is the House Republican Whip.