Weekly Columns

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  • Empowering America’s Teachers
    Posted in Weekly Columns on May 9, 2018 | Preview rr
    Tags: Education

    In East Tennessee, we are fortunate to have some of the best teachers in the country, let alone the state of Tennessee. That’s why this week, during Teacher Appreciation Week, I have the privilege of recognizing the hardworking educators all across the First District. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is the opportunity to visit schools and classrooms and see first-hand the quality education our teachers are providing. I attended public schools all the way through graduate school, and al... Read more

  • Remaining Vigilant as We Make Headway
    Posted in Weekly Columns on May 2, 2018 | Preview rr
    Tags: Defense

    Last month, historic steps were taken by South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as they shook hands in Panmunjom in the Joint Security Area of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) after years of hostilities. While Kim Jong-Un has given us reason to be skeptical over the years, I am cautiously optimistic that thanks in part to President Trump’s leadership, and in part because of sanctions from the international community, North Korea is willing to come to the negoti... Read more

  • Next Steps for Agriculture in East Tennessee
    Posted in Weekly Columns on April 26, 2018 | Preview rr
    Tags: Jobs & Economy

    Since coming to Congress, there are three groups I’ve always said I’ll never apologize for helping: active duty military, veterans and farmers. There’s no question America wouldn’t be as strong as we are without our men and women in agriculture, which is why I am committed to advocating for Tennessee farmers as this year’s Farm Bill moves through Congress. Growing up, I worked on a tobacco farm; that work convinced me that chemistry wasn’t so hard after all. All my life, I’ve seen first-hand the... Read more

  • 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 This year, Tax Day fell on April 17, and marked the last Tax Day that Americans will have to file under the old, outdated, overly-complicated and hard-to-navigate tax code.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