Weekly Columns

A Stronger America for Future Generations

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Washington, January 10, 2018 | Lani Short (202-225-6356) | comments

This week I had the privilege and honor of joining President Trump on Air Force One to travel to Nashville where the president addressed the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention. In person, President Trump is very engaging. He has a strong sense of what he wants to accomplish for the American people, and his agenda aligns very well with what we prioritize in East Tennessee. During our trip, we were able to discuss several issues of importance with the president, including how we are working to ensure that our nation’s veterans receive the best care in the world. 

His speech focused on helping farmers and rural America. I’m proud of the president’s commitment to rebuild rural communities, and glad he recognizes the current levels of economic growth, which creates jobs in cities but too often passes over rural America, is not sufficient. The president outlined several ways he plans to deliver on his promise to bring prosperity to Americans in rural communities, and I look forward to working with him on achieving these goals. Some of the issues he addressed were: the benefits of tax reform for rural America, the opioid crisis and the Rural Task Force report led by Agriculture Secretary Perdue.

Last month, President Trump signed the first major tax overhaul in 31 years, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, into law. This law will allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks, and pave the way for increased wages. In fact, over one million Americans have already received a bonus or pay increase because of the new tax law. The law simplifies our tax code and preserves important deductions and credits like the mortgage interest deduction and the child tax credit that was expanded under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Some Democrats warned about unintended consequences of tax reform, and they were right. I didn’t expect to hear about so many utilities in cities like Baltimore, Chicago, D.C. and others taking steps to lower the cost of electricity for their customers. This is welcome relief to families across the country right in the middle of a cold winter. It’s great to see tax reform is already working to ease the financial and tax burden of American individuals, families and businesses and I’m excited to see more ways this new law will boost the economy.

President Trump also spoke about the opioid epidemic that has ravaged rural communities for far too long – especially in East Tennessee – with more people dying from opioid overdoses than car wrecks. Last year, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a National Public Health Emergency, which allows the public health community to commit additional resources to fighting this serious and devastating problem. I am pleased the president is actively taking steps to fight this deadly crisis in our communities, and I’m proud to join those efforts. To ensure we’re taking every step possible to prevent opioid abuse, I’ve also introduced the Opioid Addiction and Prevention Act. This bipartisan bill would limit initial opioid prescription for post-acute care to a maximum of ten days in order to help ensure responsible management of pain during recovery.

Finally, in his speech, President Trump also spoke about the Rural Prosperity Task Force. This task force was established by the president last year to identify ways to help improve life in rural America and brought together more than 21 federal agencies and local leaders. In its final report, released yesterday, the task force identified over 100 regulatory, legislative and policy changes that the federal government can make to build a better rural America. The main focus of the task force’s recommendations were 1) connectivity for rural America; 2) quality of life improvement; 3) support for a rural workforce; 4) innovation in technology; and 5) economic development. President Trump isn’t wasting any time getting started on the task force’s recommendations. As soon as he finished his speech, he signed two executive orders to address connectivity for rural America by streamlining and expediting requests for broadband facilities, and by supporting broadband tower facilities. I know there are more great things to come from this task force, and I thank President Trump and Secretary Purdue for their hard work on behalf of rural communities around the country.

This past year economic growth has surged. Unemployment is at a 17-year low and the stock market is hitting all-time highs. We’re fighting to leave a stronger America for future generations, and our work is just beginning. I was very inspired by President Trump’s remarks, and I thank our president for keeping his promise to prioritize the communities around the country who were forgotten or ignored by the previous administration. You are no longer forgotten, and I will proudly stand with the president to fight for you as long as I have the privilege of serving in Congress.

Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family. 

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