A Productive Three Months
With Congress on a short district work period, I recently took the opportunity to travel throughout Alabama’s Second District for a week full of meetings and visits.
My time spent traveling the district allows me to offer an update on the latest from Washington and hear from constituents about their concerns with the issues facing our country. Over the course of a week I visited Eufaula, Montgomery, Enterprise, Brantley, Opp, Andalusia, Luverne, Evergreen, Greenville, and places in between. Everywhere I went people asked me what exactly our Republican-led government is doing to move our country ahead.
It’s a fair question. If you turn on the news you’ll probably hear that everything in Washington is gridlocked and Congress and the White House aren’t getting along. You can draw your own conclusions about why some news outlets choose to report only negative news out of Washington, but it’s not all true.
The truth is the last three months have actually been pretty productive. As I told people throughout the district, Congress and the White House have been working together to deliver results on some of the biggest issues facing our country. I’ll briefly share just a few.
First, Neil Gorsuch is now an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. This is a prime example of a news story that was vastly underreported. Not only do we now have a highly capable justice who will help restore constitutional order, we will have him on the bench for a long time, Lord willing.
We are reining in the regulatory state that President Obama put into place. This is another story that may not always lead the news, but if you talk to anyone who runs a business they’ll tell you about the mountain of mandates and red tape that make it difficult to be successful. We’ve utilized the Congressional Review Act to strike 13 major federal regulations from the Obama era, ranging from intrusive environmental and educational mandates to regulations that eroded Second Amendment rights and attempted to force states to steer money to Planned Parenthood.
We are rebuilding our nation’s military. The Defense Appropriations bill we passed out of the House last month rejects the Obama Administration’s troop level reductions that would have cut as many as 36,000 from the ranks. Instead, we’re providing funding for an additional 4,000 servicemen and women. Our bill also delivers a much-deserved 2.1 percent pay raise to all military personnel.
Our country is finally taking action on illegal immigration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it very clear that he’s serious about securing the border and enforcing our laws. For the first time in years, the Department of Justice is embracing congressional efforts to defund sanctuary cities.
We are working to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs. President Trump recently signed into law the Veterans Choice Act to extend the VA’s Choice program and allow veterans to have more access to private care. This legislation ensures that those who are dependent on VA health care can access outside providers when VA wait times are too long or facilities are too far away.
While I’m proud of these successes, there have been discouraging setbacks. I was deeply disappointed that Congress could not immediately deliver on our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. There are many reasons why our efforts fell short, but the result is that this deeply flawed law remains in place and continues to make life harder for millions of Americans. I still remain optimistic about our prospects moving forward, and you can count me among those who are still 100 percent committed to delivering on our promise.
We need to pass health care legislation soon for many reasons. Accomplishing this will clear the way for other important agenda items, including pro-growth tax reform, an infrastructure investment plan, trade policies that put our country’s interests first, and more. I’m confident we can build upon our successes and learn lessons from our mistakes to continue to deliver the results that the American people are counting on.