The first month of the 112th Session of Congress has sped by and I am encouraged with the progress we have made in such a short amount of time. The U.S. House has moved forward with fulfilling three of its tenets from the Pledge to America: We’ve changed the way Congress works, cut spending immediately, and repealed the job-destroying government takeover of healthcare.
Specifically, we changed the way Congress works by requiring every bill to cite its specific Constitutional Authority, requiring legislation to be publicly available for at least 3 days before voting on it, and changing the budget rules to make spending cuts easier and spending hikes harder.
We’ve cut over $2.7 trillion from the budget with votes to cut Congress’ budget by 5 percent, return spending levels to pre-2008 levels, ban earmarks, end taxpayer funding of presidential campaigns, end the wasteful printing of bills introduced in Congress, and repeal ObamaCare.
I co-sponsored Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s bill to repeal the job-destroying government takeover of health care that was passed last year and was glad the repeal passed the House. Last year’s bill needs to be replaced because it increases the cost of health care, destroys jobs, raises taxes on businesses, includes provisions for taxpayer subsidy of abortion, takes money from Medicare, adds over $700 billion to our nation’s deficit and dictates every American citizen purchase a private product – which goes against our Constitutional rights.
We can do better. I supported a rule to begin the process of writing a new bill to replace the one repealed. It addresses the real concerns with health care: high costs and lack of access. The new bill will be debated in the coming months and I look forward to advancing affordable solutions to health care which retain patient-doctor control.
The courts sided this week with our conviction that last year’s bill must be repealed. A federal judge in Florida ruled that the plan to have government take control of our health care system is unconstitutional. I welcomed that ruling as I know it was welcomed by so many good citizens here in Missouri’s 4th District. The Obama Administration has the right to appeal this ruling, which it is expected to do, but we believe Judge Roger Vinson issued the correct ruling and expect it to be upheld if and when proceedings end up before the United States Supreme Court.
This week was the first in-district work week we have had since the 112th Session of Congress began January 5. The Republican leadership has scheduled regular time back in the district so we can stay close to those we serve, listening to their concerns and gleaning from their wisdom and common sense that Washington so desperately needs.
Several meetings throughout the district had to be cancelled due to the Blizzard of 2011. The Fourth District seemed to be in the center of the bullseye, recording some of the largest snowfalls in Missouri. As usual, people in our district pulled together, bladed roadways, shoveled neighbors’ driveways, and called friends to make sure they were all right. It will certainly be a storm we will tell future generations about!
As we head into the weekend we pause to take note of a very special anniversary. Sunday marks the 100th birthday of one of America’s greatest leaders – President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan inspired so many of us who warmly embraced his conservative ideals of limited government, lower taxes, respect for life, and a strong national defense. He had so many accomplishments, not the least of which was his speech in front of the Berlin Wall, calling on Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!” The wall fell soon after that, followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union. There can be no doubt that Ronald Reagan’s firm stance in dealing with the Soviets and communism led directly to the crumbling of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union. He spoke of achieving peace through strength when he said, “We know only too well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, but when they are weak. It is then that tyrants are tempted.” We would do well to heed his wise words today.