Below is Priebus' speech as prepared for delivery (video will be added in a few minutes):
Election Day is only 33 days away, and early voting has begun in some states. Many have labeled this midterm election a referendum on the policies of President Obama. In many ways it is. And if you asked the country, most people would say they know our party opposes many of those policies.
We oppose them because we know there’s a better way. Republicans have new ideas to solve the country’s problems...bottom-up solutions founded in the free market, compassion, responsibility, and the idea that America is headed for better days.
So before November, I wanted to take a moment, cut through the noise, and talk about what’s driving the Republican Party. People know what we’re against. I want to talk about the things we’re for…
These 11 principles unite us as a party and inform our policymaking, whether you’re running for governor in New England or Congress in the South or state house in the West. These principles cover 11 vital topics: jobs, spending, healthcare, our veterans, national security, education, poverty, values, energy, and immigration. But the first principle is about the Constitution.
Principle number one: Our Constitution should be preserved, valued and honored.
…As I’ll discuss many times today, the practical effect of a commitment to the Constitution is restoring power to “we, the people.” From our work to eliminate poverty to our efforts to improve education and healthcare, states need the ability to respond to their residents’ needs. This doesn’t just make Constitutional sense, it should be common sense.
The federal government has boundaries, and when it oversteps them, it’s encroaching on your personal freedom and your God-given liberty to decide what’s right for your own life.
That guides our thinking on every issue.
Right now, Americans say the economy is their top issue, so that brings us to principle number two: We need to start growing America’s economy instead of Washington’s economy so that working Americans see better wages and more opportunity.
In other words, bureaucrats, lobbyists, and out-of-touch politicians need to get out of the way, and give American workers and businesses the freedom to create jobs.
…Take a look at what Republican governors are doing. Every year, states governed by Republicans top the lists of the best states for business.
…But part of the equation is also getting Washington, DC, to stop spending our money on things we don’t need. So that brings us to principle number three:
We need to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, make government more efficient and leave the next generation with opportunity, not debt.
…We’re leaving each child born today a share of our almost $18 trillion national debt, a debt for every child that’s over $55,000. How is that fair?
Shame on us if we don’t do something—because taking care of our generation shouldn’t require robbing the next.
…Let’s apply some 21st century efficiency to 20th century bureaucracy, save money, and balance the budget.
Moving on to health care, which is one of the big drivers of our spending, principle number four: We need to start over with real healthcare reform that puts patients and their doctors in charge, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington.
We need healthcare solutions that reduce costs, provide greater access to world-class care, and give Americans more control over their healthcare decisions.
But ObamaCare gave Washington, DC, more control over our healthcare—and patients and doctors less. Republicans trust Americans to make their own healthcare decisions.
Improving healthcare access and quality gets right to the heart of the next issue, veterans’ affairs, and principle number five: Our veterans have earned our respect and gratitude, and no veteran should have to wait in line for months or years just to see a doctor.
The VA scandal under President Obama is unconscionable. Big picture: it’s another example of how mismanaged this administration is.
The most important thing is making sure veterans get the care they need. It shouldn’t matter if it’s in a VA facility or not. That’s why Republicans were proud to support the bipartisan Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014.
…We have to keep our word to our veterans, both because it’s a moral obligation and because the service of our armed forces is critical to our national security.
And that brings me to principle six: Keeping America safe and strong requires a strong military, growing the economy, energy independence, and secure borders.
The federal government has no greater responsibility than keeping us safe. If you’re not safe, if you’re family and kids aren’t secure, nothing else matters.
With ISIS, we face an enemy who wants Americans dead and our way of life destroyed. We need leaders who will defeat terrorism, not manage it. We need leaders who will act decisively, not downplay the threat as “JV.” We need leaders who will take responsibility, not blame the intelligence community.
This is no time to weaken our military. It’s time to strengthen it. We can eliminate waste and bureaucracy inside the Pentagon, but we must have more resources for our troops.
Let’s move to education and principle number seven: Every child should have an equal opportunity to get a great education; no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school.
…Educational access is the civil rights issue of our day, and school choice is one of the most effective ways to expand access.
House Speaker John Boehner has been a champion of the Opportunity Scholarship program here in D.C. And there’s a reason: it offers children in this city hope. One of those former students, named Tiffany, talked about waiting to hear if she’d received a scholarship. She said, quote, “I started praying every day because I didn't want to go to a neighborhood school.”
School choice can truly be the answer to a child’s prayer.
…There is a lie on the left that Republicans want to cut education. That’s not true. What Republicans want is a good education for every child, period.
We shouldn’t measure how much we care about education by how much we spend, but rather by how much our students learn. Right now, we see money wasted on the priorities of teachers unions, not children. Education is too important to let policies be dictated by special interests.
Education is key to opening doors of opportunity—and for fighting poverty. Which brings us to principle number eight: The best anti-poverty program is a strong family and a good job, so our focus should be on getting people out of poverty by lifting up all people and helping them find work.
We need an effective safety net, but the federal government’s anti-poverty programs have become mismanaged and ineffective.
We should restructure and consolidate them, give more power to the states, and actually measure the results. Doing the same old thing gets the same old results. 45 million of our fellow Americans are living in poverty.
…Whatever we do, we have to take a fresh approach to ending poverty—because too many families are hurting.
Principle nine: Our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty, and hard work. We should champion policies that advance these values.
…As Republicans we’re pro-family; and we’re also pro-life. So when a woman faces an unplanned pregnancy, society should offer our support and compassion. She should know that adoption is possible. Our laws should be improved to make adoption an easier path for families who want to open their homes to children.
And just as our government shouldn’t stand in the way of family, it shouldn’t stand in the way of religion. Family life has long been synonymous with religious life. Republicans will fight for protecting the rights to free exercise and free expression—and freedom from government coercion to violate one’s religious beliefs.
Finally, we want to uphold the value of hard work. And hard work is a value…one we pass on through our families and communities. It’s what built our country.
Ultimately, our goal is to make life more fulfilling and more affordable.
So, principle number ten: We should make America energy independent by encouraging investment in domestic energy, lowering prices, and creating jobs at home.
America is blessed with abundant resources. What we don’t need is Washington, DC, picking and choosing what energy we can use.
We have to build the Keystone Pipeline. It’s good for jobs and national security.
…Finally, today, I want to talk about an issue that’s often in the headlines—a personal issue for many people, including me. That’s immigration.
Principle number eleven: We need an immigration system that secures our borders, upholds the law, and boosts our economy.
Border security must come first. The humanitarian crisis at the border made that clear.
As a nation of immigrants, we must fix our broken immigration system. We can’t reward those who break the laws and punish those who lawfully wait in line. Legal immigration has strengthened this country, and we want to continue that legacy and protect the American worker.
So I’ve seen the American Dream come true in my own family. We need to make sure America remains a place where people aspire to work and dream to live. Our country should be a welcoming place for those who want to come here and do it the right way.
The 11 principles I’ve outlined today represent the party’s unifying goals. If anyone asks, “How’s the Republican Party going to work for me?”…these principles are part of the answer.
…Our focus always remains on expanding opportunity for everyone...
One election won’t fix everything, but we can take a step in the right direction this November. If the American people hire us, we’ll be ready on day one.