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Good news from our nation's capital
After seven months of the 115th Congress, I want to provide a status report on where the major legislative issues stand. While some in the media may be telling a different story, we have seen a lot of progress on many of the issues important to our area and to our country.
As an overview, the charts below show how many bills have passed the House and how many bills have been signed into law this year as compared with the same period in prior administrations. As you can tell, this year is well above average.
Below are some highlights and issues we have addressed so far, including bills that I have introduced; as well as links to more information.
Regulations and Washington Overreach
Reform and Overturn: Regulations have been a major focus of the 115th Congress. The House has worked to restructure how the bureaucracy makes regulations and how the courts litigate regulations. We also used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to successfully overturn 14 harmful, Obama-era regulations. The CRA has only been used once before to overturn a regulation.
Status: H.R. 5, the “Regulatory Accountability Act” - House passed
Status: H.R. 21, the “Midnight Rules Relief Act” - House passed
Status: H.R. 998, the "SCRUB Act” - House passed
Status: 15 separate, harmful, Obama-era regulations - 15 House passed, 14 Signed into Law
Waters of the United States (WOTUS): In February, I introduced a bill to clarify in statute what “navigable waters” means and especially what it does not. Placing a good definition in law will help ensure that the courts and future administrations will not revive attempts to regulate every bar ditch and puddle across the country with another misguided WOTUS Rule. Legislation has also been signed into law that allows the Administration to withdraw the WOTUS rule without having to go through the existing processes and restrictions to repeal a rule.
Status: H.R. 1261, the “Federal Regulatory Certainty for Water Act” - Introduced in the House
Wall Street Reform: One of the most burdensome regulatory laws we have worked to reform is the Dodd-Frank Act, which has hurt everyone from small businesses to homebuyers. I cosponsored and the House passed H.R. 10, the “Financial CHOICE Act,” in June. This bill repeals and amends several provisions of Dodd-Frank and aims to create a simpler and more transparent regulatory financial system to create jobs and boost the economy.
Status: H.R. 10, the “Financial CHOICE Act” - House passed
Obamacare: The House passed a bill to repeal and replace the worst parts of Obamacare in May with a process that can avoid a Senate filibuster and pass with a simple majority vote. The House has also passed several additional bills to address other issues with Obamacare and our health care system. The Senate has not yet been able to pass a repeal and replace bill, but I hope they continue to work to lower prices and provide more choices to patients. Obamacare is simply not working as promised. We must continue to work for ways to stop the harmful effects of this law, control costs, and put patients in charge of their health care.
Status: Obamacare repeal and replace - House passed
Status: 7 other bills to improve healthcare - House passed
Private Property Rights
BLM Red River: This Congress, I introduced H.R. 428, the “Red River Gradient Boundary Survey Act,” which passed the House in February, and the Senate held a hearing on Senator Cornyn’s identical bill last month. This bill seeks to end questions of disputed land along the Red River to protect private property rights from federal ownership claims.
Status: H.R. 428, the “Red River Gradient Boundary Survey Act,” - House passed
Immigration and Border Security
Immigration Reform: Our immigration laws are in need of a major overhaul, and the House has passed important bills to address this issue. The House has focused on making state and local governments ineligible for certain federal funds if they have “sanctuary” policies in effect. “Kate’s Law,” inspired by Kathryn Steinle will strengthen the criminal penalties for people who attempt to illegally reenter the country after being convicted of certain felonies.
Status: H.R. 3003, the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act of 2017” - House passed
Status: H.R. 3004, “Kate’s Law” -House passed
Border Patrol Agents: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has struggled to recruit and hire additional agents because of the pre-employment polygraph requirement, and as a result, is understaffed. The House passed legislation to allow the Commissioner of the CBP to waive the polygraph requirement for candidates who have already been vetted and have served as either a law enforcement officer or a member of the Armed Services and have a security clearance.
Status: H.R. 2213, the “Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017” -House passed
Protecting Americans: Human trafficking is a global problem. This is an issue that must not be ignored or underestimated - the safety of our families relies on it. There is no international system in place to combat human trafficking effectively, and we must do better here at home. Congress has made this issue a very high priority.
Supporting our Veterans: Meeting our commitments to our veterans and their families is one of the most important responsibilities of the federal government. These men and women have put their lives on the line to keep our country safe, and they all deserve our best in return.
Status: S. 1094, the "VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act" - Signed into Law
Status: Senate companion to H.R. 369, the "Eliminating the Sunset Date of the Choice Act" - Signed into Law
Status: H.R. 244, the "HIRE Vets Act" - Signed into Law
Rebuilding Our Military: The House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 when I introduced as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. The bill covers the wide range of programs and activities carried out by the Department of Defense and portions of the Department of Energy. The NDAA also supports Sheppard Air Force Base, Bell Helicopter, and Pantex in our local area.
Status: H.R. 2810, the “National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018”- House passed
Sanctions on Hostile Regimes: It is our responsibility as the federal government to make sure that Americans are safe. The House has taken several votes to combat global adversaries through stricter economic restrictions.
Status: H.R. 1644, “The Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act” - House passed
Status: H.R. 1677, the “Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act” - House passed
Status: H.R. 3364, the “Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Act” - House passed, Senate passed, Signed into Law
Neil M. Gorsuch: This year, President Trump nominated Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, and the Senate confirmed him by a vote of 54 to 45. This confirmation will have a positive impact on the Supreme Court for decades to come.
Status: Neil Gorsuch - Senate confirmed
Overhauling Broken Tax Code: The first bill I introduced this Congress was H.R. 198, the “Death Tax Repeal Act,” that will completely and permanently repeal the federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes. Death should never be a taxable event. Small business owners, farmers, and ranchers are especially vulnerable to this tax, making it more difficult for future generations to build upon their family's hard work. President Trump's tax reform proposal and the House Republican “A Better Way” plan both include a repeal of the death tax. As we work with the Administration to fix our broken tax code, I will continue to push for a full repeal of the death tax.
Status: H.R. 198, the “Death Tax Repeal Act” - Introduced in the House
I invite you to learn more about these issues and others by visiting my website here. Have a question you would like answered? Please contact me by phone, letter, e-mail, or on Facebook.
As always, I appreciate hearing from you.