Weekly Columns

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  • Out With the Old, In With the New
    Posted in Weekly Columns on April 18, 2018 | Preview rr
    Tags: Taxes

    Every April, Americans face the dreaded tax filing season, a season marked for many with long, complicated forms, hours of rifling through paperwork and working through expenses from the previous year. This year, Tax Day fell on April 17, and marked the last Tax Day that Americans will have to file under the old, outdated, overly-complicated and hard-to-navigate tax code. Since I’ve been in Congress, I have been a strong advocate for overhauling and simplifying our tax code. Thankfully, on Decem... Read more

  • The Clearest Sign Yet We Need a Balanced Budget Amendment
    Posted in Weekly Columns on April 11, 2018 | Preview rr
    Tags: Budget

    Earlier this week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an alarming projection about future budget deficits over the next 10 years. While CBO doesn’t always get it right, this warning cry should hit home for every American; it certainly does for me. If out-of-control spending is left unchecked, CBO predicts America’s deficit will surpass $1 trillion by 2020. To me, this is the clearest sign yet that we have to pass a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment, which the House... Read more

  • Standing For Life, Securing Our Border and Supporting Our President
    Posted in Weekly Columns on April 4, 2018 | Preview rr
    Tags: Abortion, Budget, Immigration

    In last week’s column, I gave an overview of the recent omnibus spending bill and called for the Senate to change their broken and outdated rules so Congress can help advance President Trump’s agenda. While I know this vote was necessary to ensure the men and women who serve in our military have the resources they need, and will never apologize for taking care of our troops, I have heard several concerns about this package that I wanted to address more specifically. Some are concerned that this ... Read more

  • Fixing a Broken Process
    Posted in Weekly Columns on March 29, 2018 | Preview rr
    Tags: Budget

    Last week, the Omnibus spending package was signed into law, completing the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 18) appropriations process. Given that we are almost 6 months into FY 18, it should go without saying that the process we have is broken. We all want a better process and a better bill, but the reality is we won’t get one until the Senate changes its rules that require 60 votes to even consider an appropriations bill. First, let me tell you why I voted for this package. Over the past 9 years, we have... Read more

  • The Opioid Crisis Cannot Take Any More Lives
    Posted in Weekly Columns on March 21, 2018 | Preview rr

    The opioid epidemic affects Tennesseans from all walks of life, no matter their race, gender, socioeconomic status, geographic location or background. In 2016, drug-related overdoses, driven in large part by opioids, claimed more lives than car wrecks. One thing is clear: we must continue fighting drug abuse at every level, using every available resource. We must ensure opioids are prescribed responsibly, and that medical facilities have the resources needed to fight opioid abuse and overdoses. ... Read more

  • Confronting School Violence
    Posted in Weekly Columns on March 14, 2018 | Preview rr
    Tags: Second Amendment

    Today, school systems around the country – including the First Congressional District – will commemorate School Safety Day. Wednesday marks the one month anniversary of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and my heart breaks for the victims and their families. Schools should be safe havens for our children, which is why I strongly supported legislation passed by the House this week to provide school systems with additional tools to help keep students safe. As a father and grandfathe... Read more

  • Energy Independence, American Jobs & National Security
    Posted in Weekly Columns on March 7, 2018 | Preview rr
    Tags: Energy

    Americans are some of the smartest shoppers in the world. We will drive across five lanes of traffic just to save two cents a gallon on gas. I always say that the economic issue that affects people in the First District most is the price of a gallon of gas. The price of gas affects so many things in our everyday life, including food and transportation. More broadly, the cost of energy – whether that’s gas prices, electricity or other utilities – has a huge impact on Tennessee families, which is ... Read more

  • Securing Our Retirees' Future
    Posted in Weekly Columns on February 28, 2018 | Preview rr

    For decades, millions of American workers have relied on multiemployer pension plans as they saved toward retirement. Unfortunately, the multiemployer pension system as currently structured is broken, and about one million Americans are participating in pension plans that are not expected to be solvent when these employees reach retirement age. Further, research has found that the vast majority of Americans have less than $1,000 saved for retirement. Workers deserve a secure and stable retiremen... Read more

  • Investing in America’s Veterans
    Posted in Weekly Columns on February 21, 2018 | Preview rr
    Tags: Veterans

    One of the greatest privileges I’ve had since coming to Congress is chairing the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Over the last year, we’ve made great strides toward reforming the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but there is still hard work ahead. One of the most important items on our agenda is ensuring veterans get access to timely care, regardless of whether that care is at a VA hospital or a facility in the community. As the Committee works to improve the quality and timelines... Read more

  • Making Progress on the Opioid Crisis
    Posted in Weekly Columns on February 14, 2018 | Preview rr
    Tags: Health Care

    Families all across the nation are struggling to cope with the devastating impact the ongoing opioid epidemic is having on their communities. Recent studies have shown that every day, at least three Tennesseans die because of opioid-related overdoses. In fact, last December the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report that highlighted life expectancy in the U.S. had fallen for the second year in a row, a significant factor being the rash of opioid overdose deaths. The o... Read more