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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / CAMPAIGN 2012

Perry Proposes Sweeping Government Reform

Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to unveil a sweeping government reform plan in Iowa today as he campaigns for the Republican nomination for president.(Chet Susslin)

photo of Rebecca Kaplan
November 15, 2011

BETTENDORF, Iowa – An early copy of Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry’s government-reform speech shared with the Des Moines Register that shows the Texas governor is planning to propose widespread changes for the federal government, including term limits on federal judges and Supreme Court justices, a part-time Congress, and laws criminalizing insider trading.
 
Perry first previewed the reforms in a speech on Monday evening at an event by the Scott County Republican Party, where he said, “Washington doesn’t need a new coat of paint, it needs a complete overhaul.” Today, he will deliver the details of his plan in a speech at the Schebler Manufacturing facility.
 
He will pledge to limit future federal judges to 18 years of service to prevent them from being able to “rule with impunity from the bench,” according to the text provided to the Register.  In Perry’s Washington, members of Congress would receive half the pay and half the office budget they currently do to encourage creation of a part-time legislative branch. Perry threatens to halve their pay again if they fail to balance the federal budget by 2020.
 
Federal workers would suffer a similar, if less severe fate: Their salaries would be halved until the budget is balanced.
 
In a Web video preview of Perry’s plan released on Monday, he proposes to criminalize insider trading by members of Congress. The CBS News program 60 Minutes on Sunday aired a segment examining whether lawmakers engage in insider trading by using information from pending legislation to guide their investment decisions.

Perry says he will also “change the spending culture in Congress” in part by ending bank bailouts and spending earmarks and also by privatizing government-supported mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Perry’s plan also calls for eliminating the departments of Commerce, Education, and Energy.  
 
In recent weeks on the stump, Perry has pledged to take a “sledgehammer” to the ways of Washington, rhetoric with appeal among tea party voters.

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