Column: An opportunity to get things done
As we’ve traveled tens of thousands of miles in our district over the past four years, I’ve found that some of the best ideas to solve our nation’s challenges originate with those who are working every day to make America stronger. The perspectives of farmers, oil field workers, small business owners, firefighters and police officers, builders, doctors and nurses, teachers, manufacturers and countless others provide expertise and common sense that is far too often absent in Washington.
Some of these ideas have become the basis for the legislation I introduced, and will continue to be a driving force behind the work we will do in the next Congress.
During the 113th Congress we were able to pass one such homegrown solution into law. The Hydropower and Rural Jobs Act (H.R. 678) reduces the time and cost of small hydropower projects by clearing red tape that would have required duplicative regulatory paperwork. It has already led to numerous projects being built throughout the 3rd District and is helping to create opportunities and economic growth here at home.
In addition to this law, we passed legislation through the House with bipartisan support to address issues that impact Colorado and communities across the nation.
These bills would:
- Protect private water rights from uncompensated federal takings (H.R. 3189);
- Put into place an all-of-the-above domestic energy plan that responsibly develops our natural resources to meet the needs of the American people without eliminating a single environmental safeguard already in place (H.R. 1394);
- And promote healthy forest management and prevent catastrophic wildfire through increased local control over hazardous fuels mitigation projects on public lands (H.R. 818).
We will have an opportunity in the 114th Congress to get these and other efforts across the finish line with a Senate that will allow the legislative process to work.
I also look forward to working with the Senate to address pressing national issues including healthcare, immigration reform and the national debt. To meet these challenges my goal is to advance policies, whether Republican or Democrat in origin, that will get results for the American people and improve our nation for future generations.
- When it comes to healthcare that means taking a hard look at the many failures in Obamacare, and replacing it with a solution that truly creates an affordable and accessible healthcare system for all Americans. There are redeemable portions of the current law that I believe should be included in replacement legislation such as coverage for pre-existing conditions. With the Senate we will work to pass a market-based solution that puts patients first, takes bureaucrats out of healthcare decisions that should be made between doctors and their patients, drives down costs, and reduces the size of big government.
- To fix our nation’s immigration system, we need to pass legislation through both chambers that takes a step-by-step approach beginning with enhanced, verifiable border security and a strengthened guest worker program before any other action is taken. Going it alone on immigration as the President is doing isn’t solving the problem; it’s prolonging it and widening the partisan divide.
- The national debt is now over $18 trillion and is not sustainable. Each year the hole is getting deeper and the next generation’s burden is getting heavier. We must continue to fight to restore fiscal accountability in Washington, cutting waste and abuse of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars, and work in the House and Senate to pass a long-term budget, rather than patches that don’t fully address the severity of our nation’s spending crisis.
In the 114th Congress I’m looking forward to serving on the Committee on Financial Services where we will now have a greater impact on issues that affect small community banks and their ability to work with local businesses to provide access to capital. This directly impacts the health of Main Street and countless jobs throughout the 3rd District because getting a loan to upgrade equipment, make it through a tough time or hire new employees is essential to the survival of many small businesses and the prosperity of virtually all of them.
On top of these goals, I will also continue to focus on public lands, natural resources and agriculture issues through my work on the Western Caucus. As the co-founder of the Congressional Small Business Caucus, I will continue to champion small business issues.
I’m committed to listening to the ideas and concerns of the people of the 3rd District and will continue to be accessible and available to them as we strive to represent their interests. Together we will work to advance Colorado-grown, commonsense solutions in Washington.