Weekly Columns

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  • Simplifying Our Tax System
    Posted in Weekly Columns on April 12, 2017 | Preview rr
    Tags: Taxes

    Every April, instead of enjoying springtime, Americans will spend countless hours on long tax forms and working through confusing tax rules. This year, Tax Day falls on April 18th with Easter and Emancipation Day affecting the federal holiday schedule. In their 2015 annual report to Congress, the Taxpayer Advocate Service found that, in fiscal year 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collected over $2.8 trillion dollars. In the IRS’s 2016 annual report to Congress, it is reported that taxpa... Read more

  • Addressing Veterans Crisis Line Shortcomings
    Posted in Weekly Columns on April 5, 2017 | Preview rr
    Tags: Veterans

    When a man or woman in our armed forces takes their oath to support and defend the Constitution of our country, our country in turn makes a promise to them, first made by President Lincoln, to take care of them when they return from duty as they transition back into civilian life. The men and women who keep this country safe deserve the best care we have to offer. It is an honor to serve as Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which is why I am committed to ensuring our veterans... Read more

  • Strengthening the Nation's Energy Security
    Posted in Weekly Columns on March 29, 2017 | Preview rr
    Tags: Energy

    This week, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) to roll back the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) misguided, job-killing Clean Power Plan (CPP), a key component of the Obama administration’s war on coal. I was pleased with the president’s action because these regulations have been hugely detrimental to our region’s economy – from southwestern Virginia’s coal mining jobs to jobs at Erwin’s railroad depot being just two examples. Further, if left in place, the CPP could have incre... Read more

  • Improving the VA
    Posted in Weekly Columns on March 23, 2017 | Preview rr
    Tags: Veterans

    The men and women who served our country, who risked their lives in the line of duty to protect our freedom and defend our liberties, should be honored, revered and treated with respect. As Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and a veteran myself, I feel a duty to help ensure veterans receive the benefits and services they have earned, and that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is responsive to veterans’ needs and put veterans first. Just last week, the House of Representa... Read more

  • The American Health Care Act: Patient-Centered, 21st Century Health Care
    Posted in Weekly Columns on March 15, 2017 | Preview rr
    Tags: Health Care

    Every day I hear stories from folks across East Tennessee who are being forced to choose between paying their monthly insurance premium or buying other essentials for their families. With health care premiums skyrocketing and competition among providers eliminated, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is forcing Americans to purchase health insurance that they don’t like, need, and cannot afford. In fact, beginning in 2018, one-third of the counties in the First District have ... Read more

  • Town Halls, Serving Veterans and Reforming VA
    Posted in Weekly Columns on March 8, 2017 | Preview rr

    I want to begin this week’s column by thanking the constituents who came out to participate in my town hall in Greeneville on Monday evening. We had a productive and respectful discussion, and I look forward to holding more of these in the future. I’ve held more than 40 in-person town halls. Monday wasn’t my first town hall meeting and it certainly will not be my last. Health care reform was a hot topic of conversation, and during the town hall House Republicans released our plan to repeal Obama... Read more

  • President Trump’s First Joint Address
    Posted in Weekly Columns on March 1, 2017 | Preview rr

    “Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present. That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world. I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart. A new chapter of American Greatness is now beginning. A new national pride is sweeping across our nation. And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our gras... Read more

  • Retirement Security for All Americans
    Posted in Weekly Columns on February 22, 2017 | Preview rr

    In 2015, an alarming report from the Government Accountability Office found that 29 percent of Americans aged 55 and older have no retirement savings and no traditional pension. Just this week, Census researchers announced that nearly two-thirds of Americans aren’t contributing anything to their 401(k) accounts. Now, more than ever, the U.S. government should be championing policies to make it easier for Americans to save for retirement and keep more of their hard-earned wages. Nonetheless, sinc... Read more

  • Tennesseans Deserve First Class Care
    Posted in Weekly Columns on February 15, 2017 | Preview rr

    On Tuesday, Humana announced they would pull out of all exchanges established through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, for 2018 and beyond. Unfortunately, this means more bad news for the Tennesseans struggling under the ACA. Humana was the only insurer offering coverage through the ACA in 16 counties in the state of Tennessee. Sadly, that means 1/3 of all the counties in my Congressional district now have no options for health care coverage under the ACA for 2018. This comes after H... Read more

  • Preserving Local Control in Education
    Posted in Weekly Columns on February 9, 2017 | Preview rr

    Since coming to Congress, I’ve proudly served on the House Education and Workforce Committee. This experience has strengthened my belief that a quality education is critical to the future of our children and grandchildren, and serving on this committee gives me the opportunity to address issues facing our nation’s students, teachers and school administrators. I believe the vast majority of our educators do a wonderful job teaching their students, but for far too long government has inserted itse... Read more