Earlier this month I held a series of four jobs forums throughout the Sixth District of Minnesota to meet and talk with local business owners and constituents to find solutions for creating jobs in Minnesota. The number one factor that almost every speaker cited as their main concern for their business moving forward was “uncertainty.” Government regulations in health care, looming tax increases, the possibility of cap-and-trade legislation, and lack of credit were all said to be holding these owners back from expanding and hiring workers.

And how has Washington reacted to these lingering and weighty issues affecting so many Americans? By spending hundreds of billions on a failed economic "stimulus" package that has allowed our unemployment rate to rise to 10% -- well over the 8% threshold the legislation had promised. We've seen the government take over General Motors, we've bailed out Wall Street, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and now the government's penchant for bailouts has crossed the Atlantic into Europe in the form of a bailout of Greece.

While the Democratic-establishment in Washington is grossly misrepresenting the Republican minority as the “Party of No,” it's House Republicans who are speaking up on behalf of the American people who have said ENOUGH! Enough spending. Enough bailouts. And enough government growth and bureaucracy. We would not be doing our job if we were to merely go along with Washington’s reckless agenda that has put our nation $13 trillion in debt. Clearly, the priorities of Washington are not in tune with that of the people, and Americans are standing up and making their voices heard.

A new agenda must be put in place, and we can’t wait until November and a new Congress. We need to get to work now. Today, House Republicans unveiled a new initiative of engagement with the American people that will, in time, lead to a governing policy agenda for America. The thrust behind this project is to enable every single American who feels their voice has fallen on deaf ears because Washington is more focused on pursuing a radical, liberal agenda than the priorities of the majority of the American people. It’s time for the American people to drive the agenda in Washington, not the other way around.

The focal point of this effort is a new online forum, AmericaSpeakingOut.com, where folks just like you can offer their own ideas and policy solutions, promote your priorities, debate ideas with other Americans, and share your agenda with friends, family, and your community by harnessing the power of social networking sites and new media technologies.

From taxes to national defense, immigration reform to health care, we want Americans to know that someone in Washington is listening to them no matter what the issue, and that your ideas will be considered and acted upon legislatively. Now, to be clear, we're not interested in the tired, worn out policies liberal leadership in Congress has brought us these past 18 months. If you're looking to grow the size of government and put a greater burden on the already overburdened taxpayer, this initiative may not be for you. The Democratic-establishment here in D.C. will surely scream and shout about how it’s nothing more than a gimmick, but that merely shows their arrogance. An arrogance that has run roughshod over the backs of hard-working Americans for too long through backroom meetings and political handouts. This is your chance to turn all that around and put your thoughts and ideas into policy at the national level.

Speak out America! We welcome your ideas and we hope you will take part in the process. Government answers to the people, not the other way around. Here is your chance. This is your outlet for action. You have the power to get this country back on the right track, and I look forward to working with you every step of the way.

Michele Bachmann represents Minnesota’s 6th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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