As 2015 winds to a close, it is a good time to think back to what the year has brought. For our country, we face many new and growing challenges. They will not wait on us to conduct our elections; in fact, some of those who threaten us in the world may try to take advantage of the situation.
In Congress this year, several important measures have been passed and signed into law.
Some of them include:
In October, Congress passed the first “National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA) that I introduced as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. It includes a pay raise for the troops and funding for Sheppard Air Force Base, the Pantex Plant, and the V-22 Osprey program at Bell Helicopter’s Military Aircraft Assembly Center in Amarillo.
In August, the President signed into law provisions I introduced that would make the excise tax on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and diesel comparable on an energy-equivalent basis.
In April, Congress passed and the President signed into law the “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015” that permanently repeals and replaces Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate system, which was driving doctors out of the Medicare system. It also includes an extension for a number of Medicare payment programs important to our rural hospitals.
In addition, the House passed many bills that are awaiting action in the Senate. Some of them include:
This month, the House passed the “Red River Private Property Protection Act,” which I introduced with Sen. Cornyn. This bill is a big victory for private property owners everywhere who deserve to know that the federal government cannot come in and take away what they own.
In April, the House passed the “Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015” that I cosponsored and has been a priority for me. The death tax requires families to turn over portions of an inheritance to the government, which often harms small business owners, farmers, and ranchers.
I am also hopeful about what Congress can accomplish in 2016. The new House Speaker Paul Ryan recently outlined a bold, conservative vision for how we can make America confident again at home and abroad. In part, he said:
"We want a confident America—a purposeful America. We want to know we stand for freedom and show it—not with bluster or bravado, but with calm, steady action. We want our military to command respect from our adversaries and to inspire confidence in our allies. And when they come home, we want to give our veterans the care they deserve. We want our president, whatever the party, to always keep an eye on our interests and never turn a blind eye to the truth. We want America to lead again. That is the America we need."
Speaker Ryan’s optimistic vision for America reminds me of the same type of vision Ronald Reagan provided to Americans in 1980, and it is one that I share.
“Our country is a special place, because we Americans have always been sustained, through good times and bad, by a noble vision—a vision not only of what the world around us is today but what we as a free people can make it be tomorrow.”- President Ronald Reagan
I invite you to watch Speaker Ryan’s full speech by clicking on the image below.