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Jeb Bush Promises To 'Challenge The Whole Culture' Of Washington


Nevermind that Jeb Bush is from one of American's most famous political families. Today, he cast himself as an outsider ready to take on Washington. He spoke today at Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he served as governor for eight years. NPR's Juana Summers reports.

JUANA SUMMERS, BYLINE: In Florida, Jeb Bush wanted to topple Mount Tallahassee. That's the disdainful way he referred to the state of things in the Florida State Capitol nearly two decades ago. But now as he runs for the Republican nomination, he's shifted his focus to what he calls Mount Washington.


JEB BUSH: The overspending, the overreaching, the arrogance, the sheer incompetence of the city are sometimes - they're treated as though it's a fact of life, that nothing can be done about it. But a president should never accept them, and I will not. We need a president willing to challenge the whole culture in our nation's capital, and I mean to do it.

SUMMERS: Among the things Bush says he would make happen if elected president are line-item veto power and a balanced budget amendment. Both would need to come from Congress, but Bush did pledge to impose a hiring freeze for the federal workforce except for National Security. He also wants to replace just 1 of every 3 federal workers that retire. Bush wants to slow down Washington's revolving door too. He says former members of Congress should have to wait six years, not two, to lobby their former colleagues. He also took a swipe at fellow Republicans currently running for president while serving in the Senate. He said that if lawmakers miss votes, their pay should be docked.


BUSH: The reality is that Congress is in session for, typically, three days a week when they're up there. So it's not asking too much that every member be there and work on those days.

SUMMERS: Bush didn't mention any senators by name, but Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida in particular have been criticized for missing votes as they juggle their day jobs and their White House campaigns. Juana Summers, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Juana Summers is a political correspondent for NPR covering race, justice and politics. She has covered politics since 2010 for publications including Politico, CNN and The Associated Press. She got her start in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Mo., and also previously covered Congress for NPR.

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