Thom & Renee: the hit of The Ripon Society’s party

Tillis-and-Ellmers-063For those of you who may not be familiar with this Ripon crowd, they were founded to counter the rise of the Goldwater / Reagan people in the GOP and to return the party to the grand old days of Nelson Rockefeller and Teddy Roosevelt.  Basically, they are into a slight variation of the statism favored by the Democrats.  

Well, in May, the Second District’s Big Government Barbie and our rookie US senator were the star attractions at the Riponites’ meeting: 

Senator Thom Tillis (NC) spoke to a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society yesterday morning, delivering a speech in which he discussed his first few months in office and a number of critical issues affecting his home state, including Trade Promotion Authority.

“If we don’t take the opportunity to get TPA now, we won’t have it if we have a Republican President in 2017,” he stated.  “It will be structurally impossible to get it done as this is a six-year agreement.  We ultimately have to get trade agreements done if we are to be a serious global player in trade.  So hopefully we will be able to get folks to come together.”

Before you go on, here is some key info on TPA, TAA, and TPP.    MORE: 

[…]Senator Tillis also described what he sees his role is within the Senate Republican conference as a freshman and why he’s aiming for legislative “singles and doubles.”

“My goal is to be defined as one of the most effective and intensely boring Members of the U.S. Senate.  While everyone else is chasing the shiny objects that will always be questionable as to whether or not you can get it done, I want the singles and doubles.  I want the things that you can put into regulatory reform measures that can make an impact.  They’re not necessarily going to get you on TV, but they will get you to a point that over time will have an enormously positive impact on the business climate.Tillis-and-Ellmers

“I saw it in North Carolina – four straight years of regulatory reform. That’s why we are now third in CEO Magazine for being the most business-friendly climate.  We weren’t even in the top-10 a few years ago.  We went from 44th to 16th in tax reform because we systematically reduced the tax burden.  On unemployment, we went from fourth to now under the national average.  Very few of those were done with home runs, but with a series of bills that in the aggregate had an enormously positive impact on North Carolina.  That’s the sort of thing that I want to work on right now as a freshman – support all of the big bills from the senior Members and I will try to go in and make them better through suggestions on amendments or through measures that are simply focused on singles and doubles.”

Senator Tillis was introduced by Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (NC-2).  In her remarks, she praised his considerable background in business and pointed to a specific joint-issue that they are currently teaming up to address.

Gosh.  Teaming up with Nee-Nee.  *WHAT could go WRONG?*

“Thom is an American success story,” Ellmers proclaimed.  “He is someone who brought himself up through the channels on his own and made it to the top by becoming part of an incredible leadership team at PricewaterhouseCoopers and a real leader there.  Then he moved on to the House of Representatives in North Carolina where he came to the forefront and helped change the majority from Democrmouthat to Republican.  We’ve seen a real transformative time in North Carolina and Thom was part of that as Speaker of the House.  He really led his fellow Members.  He was a voice of leadership and a voice of strength.

“We’re working on some efforts together right now representing Fort Bragg – which is a huge responsibility for me.  We have some issues with the dismantling of the 440thAirlift Wing that we feel very strongly is a shortsighted initiative by the Air Force.  We’ve been working very closely on that, and he’s been so sensible and pragmatic.  I think he is going to be a huge leader in the Senate moving forward, and I know we will continue to work together on so many different issues.”


[…]In response to a question on trade, Senator Tillis also warned of the consequences that would occur if fast-track authority is not approved for robust trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“If we have an isolationist mentality with regard to building relationships with our trading partners, the vacuum will be filled by China in a heartbeat,” he said.  “We’re playing checkers with the TPA discussion and maybe TPP while they’re playing chess throughout the globe.  This is the best opportunity to really stem that tide.thomsigh

“I tell everyone, look: ‘NAFTA absolutely decimated certain areas of North Carolina – particularly in textiles and furniture.  Now, we’ve recovered and a part of that happened because we didn’t really have that diversified of an economy back then.’  That trade agreement happened to impact us in a very negative way and there are some deep scars and wounds in North Carolina over that.

“There are a few friends of mine who are concerned over TPA, and people who share concerns with Senator Portman and me over currency manipulation.  But I think we can take steps to get there outside of TPA and we just have to go and have those honest discussions.  I believe that if we do it, then over a reasonably short period of time we will see the benefits of it because it happens to be one of the few issues that the President and the new majorities in Congress are on the same page with.  If we miss this opportunity, there will be no TPA for the next President and we will fall very far behind in terms of trade over the next six years.”