Weekly Columns

Reflecting Back and Looking Forward

f t # e
Washington, April 26, 2017 | Lani Short (202-225-6356) | comments

This Saturday, April 29, 2017 – marks President Trump’s 100th day in office as the President of the United States. Since his inauguration, we’ve put forward policies that put America first; proposals to bring accountability to government; and rolled back harmful rules and burdensome regulations in order to enforce pro-growth policies. The American people spoke loud and clear that they sought a different direction for our country, and that’s why House Republicans are doing everything we can to work with the president to get our country back on track. Though there is much work ahead, I am pleased by the progress we’ve made working together.

President Trump has signed 13 Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions to overturn Obama-regulated directives, and stop the government from interfering in the lives of the American people. These actions have amounted to $67 billion in regulatory relief and saved more than 52 million hours of paperwork. Using the CRA, Congress can reverse regulations put out in the last 60 legislative days of the previous administration. Importantly, CRAs cannot be filibustered and only require a simple majority in the Senate to be sent to the president’s desk. This tool is an effective way to roll back harmful rules and regulations issued toward the end of a president’s term. For example, I was proud to support H.J.Res 43, which eliminated a rule that forced states to use Title X money to fund Planned Parenthood or other entities that provide abortions. I firmly believe in the sanctity of life, and will always be a strong supporter of the right to life. No matter your views on abortion, we should all be able to agree that states should be able to consider whether or not an organization provides abortions when granting them taxpayer funding.

Congress and President Trump also worked together to protect jobs and grow our economy by repealing the Department of Interior’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation put forward by former President Obama which could have removed one-third of America’s coal mining jobs. By repealing this regulation, American coal workers will receive relief from the Obama administration’s harmful regulations, and coal country can begin the process of being revitalized.

As the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I am also proud our committee hit the ground running on behalf of our nation’s veterans. Just this month, President Trump signed a bill to eliminate the sunset date of the Choice Program, a version of which I introduced in the House. This will allow the program to continue until the original funding has been expended while Congress works with the Trump administration to reform the Choice program and give veterans more options for care. Our committee has also acted to improve accountability for employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), eliminated an unfair restriction on veterans’ 2nd Amendment rights, and acted to improve the VA’s ability to recruit and retain quality physicians.

While we’ve had a good start, we have a lot of work to do. Repealing Obamacare and moving forward with patient-centered health care reform is one of my biggest priorities. I know many East Tennesseans are struggling under this law, and I won’t stop fighting until those patients have the certainty and options for quality health care they deserve. In 2018, one-third of the counties in the First District will have no options for health care coverage through Obamacare. If we do nothing, more insurers will pull out of Obamacare exchanges, leaving millions more without access to health insurance, which is why I am committed to repealing and replacing this flawed law.

The President today also laid out his plan to cut taxes and simplify our bloated, overly-complicated tax code, and I strongly support him in this effort. Tax reform will help families keep more of their hard-earned pay, and bring them more financial security during a time when our economy is still recovering from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Lastly, I’m glad restoring order at America’s borders and fixing our broken immigration system are cornerstones of President Trump’s agenda. Like the president, I believe we must secure our southern border and implement strong policies to prevent illegal immigration. As I’ve said time and time again, border security must be the first step in the process of immigration reform. If we continue to have a porous border, we will never solve the problem. Americans are the fairest people on the earth, but we cannot expect law-abiding citizens and legal immigrants to obey the law while allowing others to come here illegally with no penalty.  

I am proud of what the House, Senate and White House have achieved thus far, but I am also aware of the many challenges we have to face in the future. I look forward to continuing to improve our great country by working with the president and my colleagues in Congress.

As always, feel free to contact my office if I can be of assistance to you or your family. 
f t # e