Buddy Carter, U.S. House of Representatives, Georgia First District
The New Year is upon us and, as we welcome in 2016, we begin the second and final session of the 114th Congress.
The past year saw many conservative victories for the new Republican majority in Congress, including passing a budget for the first time since 2009, enacting the first entitlement reform in a generation and passing education reform described as “the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter century.”
We also held spending this year to the same level as 2008, $117 billion less than when Democrats controlled all branches of government. We restored critical defense funding and turned back the Obama Administration’s misguided cuts to our national security infrastructure, as well as repealing an outdated oil export ban. We reined in the IRS and EPA from their job killing agendas of regulatory overreach.
In 2016, the House will continue doing the people’s business. While much of the national attention will turn to the presidential elections and a lame duck President finishes his time in office, there remains much we should and can do in the year ahead.
In the House, our focus will be on restoring the confidence of the American people and turning back the federal bureaucracy’s growth and interference in our lives. We will provide a positive alternative to those who seek to expand the bureaucracy and crony capitalism where big business and big government team up against the rest of us.
I have always said that the number one responsibility of our government is to protect our citizens and our homeland. We will continue to secure our borders with visa waver, refugee and other entry reforms.
To restore confidence in America’s leadership around the world, we will combat the Obama Administration’s failed foreign policy and misguided cuts to our national security. We must reform the Pentagon to ensure it is able to adapt to the threats we face and unleash the full force of our military to rid the earth of the scourge of ISIS.
We will continue our work to combat and repeal Obamacare so it can be replaced with conservative alternatives and free market principles that make health care more affordable and accessible. In addition to two Supreme Court cases that could further weaken the law, Speaker Ryan has pledged to unveil a complete alternative. As the only pharmacist in Congress, I fully expect to be a part of that discussion.
Speaker Ryan has also made it clear that one of our first orders of business will be to tackle our overly complex tax code that stands in the way of growth. We will seek to simplify the tax code, close the special interest loopholes and implement a tax code that rewards work and savings.
To get America working again, we will advance welfare reforms that scrap the current system which traps people in a cycle of poverty and instead advances programs that encourage work and self-reliance. We will return power to states and communities to address poverty in a way best suited for them.
We will seek to increase opportunity by leveling the playing field for American small businesses and job creators both at home and around the world.
We will continue to address cybersecurity issues as we are close to creating a legal structure for government and industry to share “cyber threat indicators” that could provide tip-offs to imminent attacks or help mitigate the effects of breaches. Next, we will work to create data security standards and breach notification, addressing the big hacks that have rattled consumers for years.
We will continue to attack the host of job killing regulations that have been part of President Obama’s policy priorities. The Clean Power Plan, ozone rules, methane rules, emission controls for refineries, Waters of the U.S., and other far-reaching climate change agenda items, will be the target of lawsuits and scrutiny.
More than anything, my pledge to you is that I will fight every day to ensure the advances we made over the last year are only a down payment on more substantial conservative reforms we can achieve in the coming year. We will seize the opportunities of the new year to restore America’s greatness and leave our country better off for generations to come.