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The 100th Armistice Day

This year, Veterans Day also marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. As I reflect on this milestone year and all the men and women who have defended our great experiment in self-governance since our founding, I can’t help but also reflect on some of the courageous conversations those veterans have had with their leaders in Congress.

My mind and heart go back to a veterans town hall I hosted in my district a few years ago. It was around the time that former VA Secretary McDonald had compared the deadly wait times at clinics to the wait times at Disney.

I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of frustration that filled that room. Veterans felt that no one was listening to them, and that serious changes needed to be made for them to receive the care they earned. Each day, my office receives phone calls and letters that reflect those same concerns.

It’s hard to describe in words how powerful it was to see grown men who have been trained to kill in defense of our country, weep in front of other such men because they can’t pick up their newborns or play on the floor with their toddlers — all because they received substandard care at the VA.

Our veterans have met every mission we’ve asked of them. When our nation was threatened, they left behind loved ones, not knowing if it was goodbye for now, or goodbye for good. They are our heroes, and deserve a hero’s treatment when the tours end and they return home.

All too often, however, America’s veterans feel like a burden on the country they’ve sworn to defend. And the agency whose sole mission is to serve them has become disconnected from that mission.

As one of their representatives in Congress, and as a grateful American, I am proud of the work this Republican majority has done to serve our veterans and fulfill the promises our country made to them.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 and the VA MISSION Act represent important steps in our work to restore trust, hold bad employees accountable, and most importantly, improve care. Our work continues.

Roughly 80 veterans served in the House during the 115th Congress, and each one of them is a daily reminder of our responsibilities. Though the dynamics will be changing in the House chamber, our dedication to our servicemen and women will not.

Just as the wounds of war last a lifetime, so does America’s commitment to our veterans.

May God continue to bless the United States of America.

Two visions for this country

One of the most important duties of leaders is to listen — to hear the stories and concerns of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life, and then to act. As House Republicans have met with people across this country, it’s clear that policies like tax reform have made a huge difference in so many lives.

Historic low unemployment, a manufacturing boom, and wage increases are no small thing. For millions, it means getting ahead when for so long they were barely getting by.

So it’s disturbing to say the least that there is a party that looks at these positive changes with disdain. Let’s not forget that Democrats referred to tax reform — the very tax reform that increased paychecks, lowered utility rates in 50 states, and led to millions of dollars in community investments — as a scam. They also called it Evil in the extreme.” “The worst bill in the history of the United States Congress.” “The death of America.” “Armageddon.” “Akin to rape.

Comparing policies that helped families save money to rape and the end of the world is not only offensive, it’s insulting to the American people’s intelligence.

Now, Democrats are talking about #WhatsAtStake and being #ForThePeople after standing in the way of positive change for the past two years. What they really mean when they talk about being #ForThePeople is deciding what’s best for them.

At the end of the day, it comes down to two visions for this country. Republicans have a vision for a booming economy, safer communities, and a stronger military, and policies that empower Americans to make the best decisions for themselves, their businesses, and their families. Democrats have a goal of government-dictated programs and policies that will limit choices, bust budgets, and leave middle-class families behind.

This is #WhatsAtStake.

#WhatsAtStake without Republican leadership: Freedom from red tape

Halloween may have come and gone, but honestly, we’re still frightened.

Why? Because Democrats are summoning spirits of two years past.

Two years ago, our country was in a very different place. Our economy was stagnant, and we were told to accept the sluggish two percent growth as the ‘new normal.’ Thanks to an absurdly high corporate tax rate, we hemorrhaged companies (and jobs) to other countries, and small businesses credited regulations and the tax code with their inability to grow and hire.

Republicans changed that. Part of our Better Way agenda two years ago was a promise to roll back regulations that were hurting Americans and crushing jobs — and we did.

In addition to policies like tax reform, House Republicans passed 17 Congressional Review Act resolutions, with 16 of them becoming law — the most in U.S. history.

What does this mean? It means Republicans voted to protect the American people from the last-minute tidal wave of regulations that the Obama administration put in place in the final days of his presidency. Everything from land management to education to buying a car — nothing was safe from the heavy hand of a Democrat-led government.

These regulations were hurting workers, small business owners, even universities, and rolling them back was one of the first actions we took when Republicans took control. We’ve cut $4.1 billion in agency costs, $34.8 billion in industry costs, and saved  more than four million hours of paperwork.

Republicans believe that everyday Americans know better than the federal government how to live their lives, run their businesses, and raise their families. They don’t need a bureaucrat in the basement of the Department of Labor telling them what to do.

The Democrats? Well, the vast majority did vote NO on all of these regulatory rollbacks….

#WhatsAtStake without Republican leadership: Community banks

Democrats like to talk about #WhatsAtStake and being #ForThePeople. Want to know what’s at stake? A booming economy, safer communities, and a strong military.

When everyday Americans look at their bigger paychecks or the “now hiring” signs in their hometowns, they have Republicans to thank for that. What Americans do have Democrats to thank for is the destruction of community banks across the country.

While they try to claim that Republicans are the supports of the 1% and big banks, one of the Democrat legacy bills, Dodd-Frank, did more to bolster big banks and destroy community banks than any other legislation in recent history.

The bailouts? The poor lending practices? Dodd-Frank was supposed to make that all a thing of the past. The goal was to protect Americans from bailouts, financial fraud, and abusive banking. It was going to be tough on Wall Street, and give Main Street a fighting chance against the 1%. To understand the damage Dodd-Frank has done, think of those goals I just listed…then do the exact opposite.

Instead of being tough on Wall Street, Dodd-Frank put many on Main Street out of business. Community banks and credit unions don’t have the resources to navigate excessive regulations, so they become “too small to succeed.” It had gotten so bad by the time President Trump came into office that we were losing an average of one community bank or credit union every single day. And without this competition, big banks got even bigger than they were before. Oops!

It also created a rogue agency, ironically called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which had a virtually unlimited money supply and pumped out regulations that hurt consumers — without any oversight.

Democrats put Dodd-Frank in place, and after seeing the damage it did, most voted AGAINST repealing it. That’s what’s at stake.

Until tax reform and regulatory relief, we had the slowest, weakest economic recovery in 70 years. Dodd-Frank made having access to banking services more difficult, as fewer and fewer banks offered free checking and the minimum balances to open an account continued to grow.

While the more comprehensive Financial CHOICE Act is getting held up by Democrats in the Senate, President Trump did sign another Republican-led Dodd-Frank reform bill, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act into law in May. It protects community banks and credit unions from regulations that were never meant to be applied to them in the first place.

#WhatsAtStake without Republican leadership: Community investments

Democrats like to talk about #WhatsAtStake and being #ForThePeople. Want to know what’s at stake? A booming economy, safer communities, and a strong military.

When everyday Americans look at their bigger paychecks or the “now hiring” signs in their hometowns, they have only one party to thank for that.

Spoiler: it isn’t the Democrats. No, they fought us every step of the way as we worked to help everyone in this country have a chance at a better life. Worse still, they’ve promised to raise the corporate tax rate — despite the tax cut being the reason for community investments.

Those “tax breaks for corporations” that Democrats continue to harp on about? They not only allowed small businesses to expand and gave millions of everyday Americans bonuses and benefits — they meant major investments in communities across the country.

Centennial Bolt in Colorado is using tax savings to combat homelessness in Denver. The money they saved was invested in a new 150-bed women’s shelter.

In the Pacific Northwest, Premera pledges $250M of tax cut to health coverage and charity. They’re using their tax savings to expand rural access to health care and combat homelessness. That includes a $1 million grant to Hope House in Spokane, Washington to build a new women’s shelter.

Want to see what other companies did with their tax savings? Check out this list of charitable donations. Can you believe Democrats voted against making all that possible?

Additionally, Democrats voted against creating Opportunity Zones in the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. Opportunity Zones provide tax incentives to invest in low-income communities– nearly 35 million Americans who live in these communities could see benefits.

#WhatsAtStake without Republican leadership: Jobs

Democrats like to talk about #WhatsAtStake and being #ForThePeople. Want to know what’s at stake? A booming economy, safer communities, and a strong military.

When everyday Americans look at their bigger paychecks or the “now hiring” signs in their hometowns, they have only one party to thank for that.

Spoiler: it isn’t the Democrats. No, they fought us every step of the way as we worked to help everyone in this country have a chance at a better life. Worse still, they’ve promised to repeal tax cuts — the very tax cuts that made this hiring boom a reality.

Unemployment is at a historic low – 3.7 percent! That’s the lowest our unemployment has been since 1969!

4.5 million jobs have been created here in the United States since President Trump’s election — 2.1 million of those since the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act became law.

In addition to unemployment numbers being at their lowest point in decades, job openings are at a record high — 250,000 jobs were added in October alone. And in October there were 7.1 million job openings, marking yet another month that there have been more job openings than those who are unemployed.

While everyday Americans feel that now is a great time to find a job, Democrats scoff at these numbers. They miss the good ol’ days of 9 percent unemployment, stagnant growth, and bleakness like we had in 2010 under the Obama administration.

#WhatsAtStake without Republican leadership: Your bigger paycheck

Democrats like to talk about #WhatsAtStake and being #ForThePeople. Want to know what’s at stake? A booming economy, safer communities, and a strong military.

When everyday Americans look at their bigger paychecks or the “now hiring” signs in their hometowns, they have only one party to thank for that.

Spoiler: it isn’t the Democrats. No, they fought us every step of the way as we worked to help everyone in this country have a chance at a better life. Worse still — they’ve promised to raise taxes and take all of these benefits away from the American people.

90 percent of Americans are seeing bigger paychecks thanks to the new withholding tables under the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. The average family of four received a tax cut of $2,059.

On top of that, more than four million people received more than $4 billion in bonuses as companies invested their own tax cuts into their workers.  

Instead of celebrating with the American people, Democrats looked down on them, calling their bonuses and tax cuts “crumbs.”

While a $1,000 bonus and $2,059 tax cut may be nothing to a millionaire from San Francisco, this extra income gave many families the chance to get ahead when for so long they were barely getting by — that money went towards groceries, bills, saving for a rainy day, or taking a much-needed family vacation.

#WhatsAtStake without Republican leadership: Family businesses

Democrats like to talk about #WhatsAtStake and being #ForThePeople. Want to know what’s at stake? A booming economy, safer communities, and a strong military.

When everyday Americans look at their bigger paychecks or the “now hiring” signs in their hometowns, they have only one party to thank for that.

Spoiler: it isn’t the Democrats. No, they fought us every step of the way as we worked to help everyone in this country have a chance at a better life. Worse still — they’ve promised to raise taxes and take all of these benefits away from the American people.

Democrats have promised that if given the opportunity, they would repeal the doubled Republican exemption on the estate tax.

“Estate tax” is a misleading name. It gives the impression that it only impacts the ultra-wealthy who have the means to have a property that could be termed an “estate.” Democrats have capitalized (pun intended) on this misconception, painting everyone who has had to pay this tax a wealthy landowner who has money to spare.

In reality, the estate tax, or “death tax” as many know it, hurts middle-class and lower-income families, and discourages business owners from investing or planning for the long-term.. It punishes farmers and small business owners and forces them to pay the government because their loved one has the audacity to pass away before transitioning the farm or business assets to their families.

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) experienced this in her own family. When her father died in a farming accident, her family received a bill from the IRS. In their time of grief, they now had to worry about whether or not they’d be able to keep the family farm. Sure they had cattle and machinery and land, but they didn’t have the money in the bank to pay what the IRS was asking.

It’s tragic and extremely unfair, and that’s why House Republicans took action. Although the House version fully repealed the death tax, the final agreement on the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act doubled the exemption to $11.16 million to help ensure that families that were struggling to get by were protected from this tax.

While Republicans work to make this change permanent, Democrats who claim to be #ForThePeople are looking these families in the eyes and threatening — no, promising — to take all this relief away from them.

These bills are now law

We’ve all heard it – “Congress doesn’t do anything.” The day to day business of the U.S. House of Representatives isn’t always the flashiest of headlines, so we can’t blame everyday Americans for not knowing every bill and every vote.

The truth is, House Republicans have been hard at work delivering on the American people’s priorities. And thanks to Republican policies, we have a booming economy, a stronger military, and safer communities. President Trump has now signed 275 bills, and not just tax reform!

Here’s a quick trip down memory lane of a few of the bills that are now the law of the land:

MAJOR VA REFORMS:

  • The VA MISSION Act will help ensure our veterans get the care they earned when they need it, and make sure that the VA isn’t squandering resources on unused or unnecessary facilities and instead targets resources on improving care.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 creates a new streamlined and efficient process to remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct with a concrete shortened timeline, while still protecting employees’ due process rights. This legislation ensures that America’s veterans receive the highest quality medical care and most efficient delivery of benefits.


HOPE FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER

  • The Childhood Cancer STAR Act expands opportunities for childhood cancer research, improves efforts to identify and track childhood cancer incidences, and enhances the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors.


INVESTMENTS TO END HUMAN TRAFFICKING

  • The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act made it easier for prosecutors to target dangerous criminals who wish to sell our girls into slavery and prostitution through the internet. Since this bill became law, sex trafficking has been in decline across the country.


HISTORIC OPIOID LEGISLATION

  • The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R.6) will help in our overall efforts to combat the opioid crisis by advancing treatment and recovery initiatives, improving prevention, protecting our communities, and bolstering our efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl.


STRENGTHENING CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION

  • The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for 21st Century Act promotes career and technical education at the state level, and improves and reforms programs to help Americans acquire the skills needed to fill the millions of open jobs in this economy.


STABILITY FOR THE MILITARY

  • The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 and Department of Defense Appropriations end the era of funding defense through continuing resolutions. It gives troops their biggest pay raise in nine years, funds the procurement of new equipment, funds research and development into new defense systems and technologies, cares for service members and military forces with funding above the president’s request for cancer research, traumatic brain injury research, and sexual assault prevention.


INFRASTRUCTURE

  • America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), ensuring our dams, ports, and waterways are usable for generations to come. Removing red tape means the Army Corps of Engineers has the freedom and flexibility they need for proper maintenance to reduce flood risks, the likelihood of dam leaks, and damage to our environment.  
  • FAA reauthorization means we can make reforms that will help modernize aviation and ensure airports are safer and more secure for everyday Americans.


RIGHT TO TRY

  • The Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017 authorizes the use of eligible investigational drugs by patients who have been diagnosed with certain illnesses, who have exhausted the approved treatment options and are not eligible to participate in a clinical trial.


DODD-FRANK REFORM

  • The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act reforms Dodd-Frank to protect community banks and credit unions from regulations that were never meant to be applied to them in the first place.

Halloween Frights: #WhatsAtStake without Republican leadership

Historic low unemployment. Confidence at an 18-year high. A manufacturing boom. Utility rates decreased in all 50 states. Wages and salaries jumped by 3.1% to the highest level in a decade.

We’ve got a lot to celebrate. But what’s scaring us this Halloween is Democrat promises to take all of this away.

If given the opportunity, Democrats would raise the corporate tax rate and increase the red tape that for so long was stifling everyone from families to small business owners to educators.