Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush slammed Washington's "arrogance" and "incompetence" and proposed sweeping reforms to the federal bureaucracy and more stringent rules on lobbying in a speech in Tallahassee, Florida Monday.
Returning to the Florida state capitol Monday, Bush outlined a series of reforms, if elected president, that would freeze federal government hiring, enact a six-year ban on lobbying after members of Congress leave office, and dock their pay for missing votes.
"The overspending, the overreaching, the arrogance, and the sheer incompetence in that city - these problems have been with us so long that they are sometimes accepted as facts of life. But a president should never accept them, and I will not," he said.
The former Florida governor waded into the firestorm over fellow candidate Donald Trump's comments Saturday that suggested Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, was only considered a war hero because he was captured. Talking about his support for McCain's work on military procurement reform, Bush described the senator as a "real hero" to audience cheers.
In the speech titled "Taking on Mount Washington" - a nod to the fact that he used to describe the Florida State Capitol as "Mount Tallahassee" because it was too unresponsive to the state's residents - Bush decried the revolving door culture of federal government lobbying. He called for more disclosure and a six-year timeout for former members of Congress after leaving office.
"If I am elected president, I will use all of my influence to enact into law an immediate, unequivocal six-year ban on lobbying - a full Senate term - for ex-members of the House and Senate," Bush said.
He also the audience that every meeting between a member of Congress and a lobbyist should be, "reported online - every week, and on the member's official website."
In an implicit dig against the four current senators running for the Republican nomination, the former governor attacked the Congress for missing votes and workdays.
"Consider a pattern in Congress of members who sometimes seem to regard attendance and voting as optional - something to do as time permits," he said.
The solution? Bush would ask Congress to pass new rules docking members' pay for days they miss.
"We can expect more than 10 percent of the current federal workforce to retire over the next 5 years. It's a fairly safe bet that not everyone who leaves has to be replaced. "
Bush also detailed reforms that would reduce the size of government, calling for a government hiring freeze that would reduce the federal bureaucracy through attrition by allowing just one new hire for every three people that leave the government.
The Monday "Mount Washington" speech kicked off a series of events outlining Bush's priorities as president. On Wednesday and Thursday, he will hold "Taking on Mount Washington" town halls in South Carolina and New Hampshire.