By Kendra Marr
Instead of a supercommittee, Congress needs Lean Six Sigma.
That was the argument Newt Gingrich made Tuesday, expanding on his critique of the new 12-member debt panel that he lashed out against during last week's presidential debate in Iowa.
The former House speaker is a big fan of the waste-cutting management philosophy popularized by Fortune 500 companies, and used a speech to the Heritage Foundation to press again for its adoption in Washington.
"An intelligent Congress in a city that wanted to be intelligent would hold hearings, bring in the experts, figure out how to fundamentally change the government," he said, noting that he'll host a conference call with other Six Sigma devotees on Wednesday so get more government reform ideas.
Gingrich repeated his support for Obama-approved extensions of unemployment insurance -- though only if accompanied by job training -- and added his support for extending the payroll tax break that expires at the end of the year.
"I think it is very hard not to keep the payroll tax cut in this economy," Gingrich said.
Gingrich argued against the grand bargain the president and congressional leaders had been seeking, "but 1,000 small, smart things would actually get more done," he said. "My guess is you could be in the $3 trillion range by Christmas, scored over 10 years."
Tuesday's speech, "A Better Approach to Deficit Reduction," was the latest in the presidential candidate's in-depth dives, following his calls to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, invest in Alzheimer's research and strengthen Tenth Amendment enforcement. Though Heritage insisted the speech was "not a campaign event" and warned the audience against asking political questions.
Segueing into job creation, he called for overhauling the visa application progress and Food and Drug Administration. He said cultivating American energy and developing federal land assets in Nevada and Alaska would "dwarf any conceivable tax increase."
Gingrich called for House Republicans, upon returning from their summer recess, to take up a bill sponsored by Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) to expand offshore drilling. He said the first three days of every week should be dedicated to passing bills that both parties agree on -- no matter how insignificant -- and that Republicans should be scanning Democratic proposals for good ideas.
As proof of the Obama administration's inefficiencies, Gingrich cited a recent study that found that speedier federal permitting of offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico would create 230,000 new jobs.
He topped off his speech with a meander through history, from Abraham Lincoln to Ronald Reagan, to explain that the constitutionally "power comes from God to you personally."
"You are never a subject, which is why the current bureaucracy has to be thoroughly overhauled because it is a European-style bureaucracy which treats Americans as though they are subjects," he said. "It does not treat them with the dignity and authority to be citizens."