Reflecting on 2017 and Looking Ahead
The new year is upon us, which is an important time to reflect on the work we have done so far this Congress and recommit to delivering even more promises in 2018.
Despite what you may see when you turn on cable news, there is a lot for us to be proud of in our country right now. We’ve seen tremendous economic growth and our tax reform overhaul brought some great news to families around the country this holiday season. Countless companies have already rewarded their employees with bonuses and higher wages due to tax reform, and I’m confident this is only the beginning of positive news to come as a result.
Americans have rightly been frustrated with gridlock in our government, and I’m often asked “why can’t Congress get anything done?” While there have been many legislative priorities stuck in the Senate, the House responded to Americans’ frustration with action last year. Did you know that we’ve already passed legislation on nearly every major agenda item?
In 2017, the House passed legislation to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a system designed to lower costs and increase choices. We passed legislation to overhaul Dodd-Frank and untangle the mess of financial regulations hurting hometown lenders, small businesses, and farmers. To act on our promise to finally secure our nation’s border, the House passed an appropriations package to fund construction of a border wall.
We’ve acted on historic VA reforms, increased resources to fight the opioid epidemic, and added tougher penalties for sex traffickers. We’ve cracked down on sanctuary cities that violate our nation’s immigration laws, provided service members with their biggest pay raise in eight years, enhanced Second Amendment protections with concealed carry reciprocity legislation, and we’re not stopping there. I’m proud of the work we were able to accomplish in 2017, and I’m hopeful that the new year will bring new momentum to continue fighting for conservative, pro-growth priorities.
President Trump and Congressional leaders have already started conversations this year about how to reinvigorate our nation’s aging infrastructure. Having reliable roads, bridges, ports, and railways is fundamental to our ability to do business, but we haven’t done enough to properly maintain them. I’m eager to work with my colleagues to deliver on an infrastructure plan that could turn what is a serious liability into a major strength for Alabama and our entire country.
This new year also presents an opportunity to reshape federal agriculture policy for the better. Soon Congress will begin debating and crafting the farm bill, and I will continue to advocate for policies that treat Alabama commodities like cotton, peanuts, timber, poultry, soybeans, and catfish fairly. I am optimistic that Congress and Agriculture Secretary Perdue can work together to deliver policies that help Alabama’s farmers do what they do best – produce the food and fiber that our country depends on.
Last, but certainly not least, I’m committed to working with my colleagues to end the cycle of short-term government funding resolutions that do not properly fund the Department of Defense. I’m proud to have a seat at the table on the defense subcommittee that delivers funding for military programs that matter to our area, Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, and Fort Rucker. Properly funding the military is one of our most basic responsibilities. For far too long, however, our military funding was drastically and unfairly cut under the Obama Administration. I have and will continue to work with my colleagues to build support for strong military funding that properly provides for those who serve and have served in uniform.
Our unified Republican government has an incredible opportunity to accomplish more for the American people in this new year, and I will do everything I can to ensure that we capitalize on this historic moment for our country. As the second session of the 115th Congress gears up this month, I look forward to hearing from you and sharing the work that I’m doing on your behalf. It’s an honor to work for you, and I look forward to a productive 2018.