• Taxes. We hear that the House-Senate conference to extend the 15% capital gains and dividend rates isn't even meeting. This is inexplicable. The one large domestic success of the Bush years has been the post-bubble, post-9/11 economic revival, yet Republicans seem blasé about extending the tax cuts that did so much to spur it. A failure here would hurt the stock market and demoralize economic conservatives.
While they're at it, force the Senate to vote on death-tax repeal. Republicans may not get 60 votes, but if they come close enough they may be able to get Senator Jon Kyl's compromise that would cut the rate to 15%, from nearly 50% today, and raise the exemption above $10 million or so.
• Reform Congressional budgeting, by passing the line-item veto and ending static revenue scoring at the Joint Tax Committee. Another good idea is the effort by Arizonans Jeff Flake in the House and John McCain in the Senate to end earmark abuse. A return to some spending self-discipline will count for much more with conservative voters than will "lobbying reform," which is a Beltway trope designed by the same crowd that promoted the "campaign-finance reform" that empowered George Soros.
• Health-care choice. Congressman John Shadegg (R., Ariz.) has a bill to let Americans purchase affordable health insurance from any of the 50 states, thus bypassing state mandates that drive up insurance costs in New York and many other places. Another idea would let associations form health-care risk pools for their members, thus giving small business owners and the self-employed the same tax-preferred insurance options that big business and unions have now. These proposals would address a top voter priority and steal a march on Democrats.
• Endangered Species Act reform. This is a huge issue in the West, where ESA rules drive property owners crazy. Congressman Richard Pombo (R., Calif.) has a bipartisan proposal that would require the federal government to compensate property owners for regulatory "takings" due to wetlands preservation or endangered species limits on development. The Senate probably wouldn't pass it, but the issue could be potent in key Congressional contests this fall.
These are common-sense ideas that would prove popular and beneficial to the country. I'm sure the Republicans will find some reason not to do them.