When Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ill.) addressed members of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) yesterday, he seemed the opposite of what you might expect from a typical Washington congressman.

Members of each association are in Washington, D.C., this week to attend association meetings and meet with members of Congress.

“Everyone in this room represents what makes this work,” said Pence. “Let me assure you that you shouldn’t be back in your shop. It really matters that you are here.”

Pence highlighted the most important item on the Washington agenda—the massive federal deficit.

“It’s a battle for fiscal responsibility,” he said. “I think it’s time to pick a fight.”

To illustrate the severity of the debt, he pointed out that while Congress recently made $61 billion in cuts, “We would have to do that 230 times to get rid of the national debt.” He also chided his fellow representatives for balking at the first round of cuts.

Pence outlined his “START” strategy, which consists of the following:

S: Sound money. The government shouldn’t be printing money to keep the country afloat, he suggested.

T: Tax relief and tax reform. Pence is in favor of a national flat tax based on “one fair rate” for individuals. As he wrapped up his speech, he added, “I encourage you to think about this crazy flat tax idea I floated.”

A: Access to American energy that is domestically produced. “An energy strategy has to be part of our national strategy,” said Pence.

R: Regulatory Relief.

T: Trade. “I’m someone who believes that trade means jobs,” he said.

Pence ended his talk by encouraging attendees to make their voice heard during Congressional meetings.

“I hope you really tear it up on Capitol Hill today,” he said.

But before they went to do just that, attendees asked some industry-related questions of the congressman. These ranged from his views on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and whether the mortgage interest deduction should be kept intact. Regarding the former, Pence said these institutions should remain but perhaps with some changes. With regards to the mortgage deduction Pence again focused on the need for tax reform.

“If we fundamentally lowered taxes we would have more people buying,” he said.

Before leaving the group, the associations presented Pence with the “Legislator of the Year” award.

Congressman Pence addresses WDMA and NLBMDA attendees.

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