Interview with Congressman Dave Brat: ‘America’s bottom 80% is sinking’

Interview with Congressman Dave Brat: ‘America’s bottom 80% is sinking’

US. Rep. Dave Brat says he wants to be the “most boring guy in Congress.” That doesn’t mean the freshman congressman is quietly going along to get along.

The populist Republican who knocked out House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last fall in a stunning Virginia primary says his first eight weeks on Capitol Hill “seemed like 14 years.”

“I’m even more in favor of term limits,” the former Randolph-Macon College professor said.

“We need some big, big changes,” Brat told this reporter in an interview. But he said he sees no sign of things turning around as long as D.C. remains mired in politics as usual.

“I’m a macro-economic guy,” the former economics and ethics instructor said. “I vote no if it’s bad for the country.”

Citing recent examples, the 7th Virginia Congressional District lawmaker opposed the bloated Cromnibus spending bill, as well as funding for the Export-Import Bank, derisively known as “Boeing’s Bank” for its corporate dealings. He also voted against returning John Boehner as House Speaker, while managing to hold onto his seats at the budget, education and workforce committees when the Ohio Republican was re-elected.

Brat urges conservatives – and Americans at large — to stay focused on “big issues.”

“The Keystone pipeline is symbolic. Don’t over-hype it. What’s most important is speeding up the whole economy,” he said.

In that vein, Brat said the country would be better served by “getting rid of the EPA, which is killing off small businesses.”

Defying corporatist conservatives and libertarians alike, Brat calls illegal immigration a linchpin to the coming elections.

“When you increase the supply of cheap labor by 12 million workers through amnesty, wages go down,” he said.

Sounding more like firebrand Democratic Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren than buttoned-down Mitt Romney, the GOP congressman noted:

The bottom 80 percent of American workers are losing. This is what 2016 is all about: Who’s really going to help the middle class?

While Brat and Warren talk tough about crony capitalism, he parts company with the Massachusetts liberal on policy. “They have no solutions,” Brat said of Warren and other statist Democrats. “We do.”

The prescription, he said, starts with smaller government, free markets and, most importantly, the rule of law. If voting that way is boring or discommodes the Republican establishment, so be it.

I ran on economics, and everyone is going to know how I’m going to vote because I follow the Constitution. It’s about what’s good for the country — not what’s good for special interests.

Read more by Kenric Ward at

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward is a national correspondent and writes for the Texas Bureau of Formerly a reporter and editor at two Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, Kenric has won dozens of state and national news awards for investigative articles. His most recent book is “Saints in Babylon: Mormons and Las Vegas.”


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