Farming and ranching is the cornerstone of rural Colorado's economy, and it has always been an integral part of our way of life. The agriculture and food industry contributes over $40 billion annually to our state's econonmy. As Vice Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, I am committed to preserving the prosperity of American agriculture by ensuring our farms and ranches are both safe and productive. I support policies that provide job opportunities for rural America, affordable food for our citizens, and economic growth in our communities. I frequently hear the concerns of many family farmers and ranchers who are facing a mountain of new regultions. We all understand that some federal regulation plays a role in keeping our country safe; however, one-size-fits-all, excessive regulation is unnecessarily harmful to rural communities. Providing greater regulatory relief -- especially from legislation or agency rules that are duplicatve and bring no added environmental or food safety protection -- will enable agricultural communities to flourish and help get the nation back on the path to prosperity.
Our country is at a critical junction. With our national debt now over $20 trillion, the federal government cannot continue to spend money it doesn't have. It is now more important than ever that we focus federal resources on keeping our country safe though defense and diplomacy, invest in programs that deliver results for Americans on Main Street and create jobs, and ensure our social safety nets are put on a sustainable course for those who truly need them.
Economy and Jobs
During this time of economic uncertainty, we must take a hard look at our budget priorities and rein in the federal overreach that is impeding private-sector job creation. By cutting out-of-control federal spending and reforming job-killing regulations, we can get government out of the way of the private sector and give businesses room to create jobs, drive economic recovery, and move toward economic security for our families. Thousands of good-paying jobs are tied to energy production in Colorado. I remain committed to advancing an all-of-the-above energy development plan that grows our economy and keeps energy costs affordable for our families.
Comprising roughly half of the state of Colorado, the 3rd Congressional District is one of the most diverse regions in the nation. It includes Indian reservations, farming and ranching communities, urban areas, and rural mountain towns. Each of these communities has its own unique characteristics and education needs. Because of this, I believe firmly that education matters are best handled at the local and state levels. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 15, 2015. This law goes a long way towards returning the responsibility for student achievement to states, local school districts, and parents, while maintaining the standards needed to ensure the U.S. remains competitive in the global economy.
Energy and Environment
Spanning the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District is blessed with abundant natural resources, open spaces, and scenic beauty. Our energy portfolio includes traditional energy resources like natural gas, oil, and clean coal, as well as renewable sources like wind, solar, and hydropower. Development of our energy resources must be done carefully and responsibly, so that we can preserve our state’s environment and pristine beauty. To that end, I am committed to keeping Colorado beautiful for this and future generations through responsible conservation and forest management, and by ensuring that our open spaces and public lands remain accessible, so that people from all around the world continue to visit and experience our world-class skiing, hiking, angling, hunting and many other types of outdoor recreation.
The most pressing issue facing financial institutions in the Third Congressional District is the compliance burden from Dodd-Frank regulations. The Dodd-Frank regulations were meant to lift the economy out of recession and end the “too big to fail” phenomenon that came out of the 2008 financial crisis. Instead, the one-size-fits-all regulations have hurt community banks, stunted the growth of small businesses, and limited credit options for lower-income Americans. As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, I am working to provide our small banks and credit unions relief from heavy-handed Dodd-Frank regulations that should never have been applied to them in the first place.
I firmly believe that all Americans should access to affordable health care, including coverage for pre-existing conditions, but there is a big difference between having health care and having health insurance. We must put control of health care decisions back into the hands of individuals, families, and their doctors. Instead of making health care more accessible and more affordable, Obamacare has only made it harder for many Amerians to access the health services they ned. Thousands of Coloradans have had their health insurance plans cancelled, because Obamacare is making it near impossibe for insurers to provide plans in our state. The law has also forced many small businesses to cut their employee health insurance benefits. As we continue our work to fix the health care system by repealing and replacing Obamacare, I will support legislation that allows the free market to work and competition to drive down health care costs.
The Western United States was settled through the spirit of rugged individualism, a value that still impacts our lives today. We expect our representatives to adhere to our country’s founding principles, respect our way of life, and keep unelected Washington bureaucrats from making the decisions that we Coloradans should be making for our families. All federal actions must be an appropriate exercise of Constitutional authority. Unfortunately, today it seems like nothing is off-limits to the federal government, including our property, health care, firearms, and right to make an honest living without interference. Before I was elected to Congress, I made a commitment to oppose government intrusion and overreach. Now, as a U.S. Representative, I work every day to uphold and defend the Constitution.
Military and Veterans
Americans unite around our respect for the men and women in uniform who keep us safe and free. Our respect and gratitude do not end when these heroes conclude their military service. These men and women have protected our families and our way of life, and we owe them a lifetime of gratitude. I am committed to making sure that the security of our homeland and the welfare of our troops and veterans remain a top priority in Washington. Ensuring that the United States has the ability to build and maintain a strong national defense is one of Congress’ most important duties. To achieve that, we must be clear-eyed about the threats America faces and about what is required to overcome those challenges and defeat our enemies. Congress must also work together to ensure that our military members, both current and former, receive the recognition they deserve and the benefits they have earned.
Since arriving in Congress, I have been committed to preserving Colorado's pristine areas and cultural treasures. I am committed to keeping Colorado beautiful for this and future generations, through responsible conservation and forest management. I am also committed to ensuring that our open spaces and public lands remain accessible, so that people from all around the world continue to visit and experience our world-class skiing, hiking, angling, hunting, and many other types of outdoor recreation. I support a balanced appraoch to federal land management and believe that the push for any land designation must come from the local level. I support efforts that revolve around respecting the environment we all deepy value, while making the best use of our resources.
Small businesses play a vital role in the health of our nation’s economy, and their importance cannot be overstated. As a former small business owner, I signed the front of a paycheck for 30 years. I know firsthand the struggles and challenges small businesses and entrepreneurs face in today’s economic climate. My experience guides my work in Congress. As Chairman of the Congressional Small Business Caucus, I am working to get government out of the way, so small businesses can do what they do best: create jobs and generate economic growth. Federal regulations have concentrated power in Washington, crippled small businesses, stunted job creation, and shuttered store fronts along Main Streets across America. I am working to advance policies that roll back unnecessary federal regulations, support small businesses, and empower entrepreneurs.
The federal government continues to spend money we don't have and issue regulations that reduce revenues and stunt job creation. This is a bad combination. Our federal tax code has grown to be too big and too complex. Instead of promoting the growth of U.S. jobs, wages, and the economy, our tax code is working against us. In 1960, 17 of the 20 largest global companies were headquarted in the United States. Now that the U.S. imposes the highest corporate income tax rate in the developed world, this number has dropped to six. I’m committed to cutting down on needless regulations, reducing wasteful spending, and simplifying our tax code in order to restore economic growth and the jobs that come along with a healthy economy.
Coloradans often travel long distances, so it is critical that our transportation and infrastructure systems accommodate safe, affordable, and efficient travel. Maintaining and improving a modern network of roads, airports, and railroads is a continuous process. Transportation and infrastructure projects provide jobs in our communities and support tourism. It is vitally important that federal resources are being used as effectively and efficiently as possible. As Colorado's population continues to grow, so does the stress and demand on our roads and transportation infrastructure. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act was signed into law on December 4, 2015, authorizing $305 billion through 2020 for highways, rail systems, public transportation, and other surface transportation programs.