It’s hard to believe we’ve already passed the 100 day mark of this Congress. The new Senate Republican majority has provided us a valuable opportunity to work together to get the country on the right track, and my assignment to the Ways & Means Committee has put me in prime position to help South Dakota.
The goal of the new Republican majority in Congress has been to work across the aisle to move common sense measures that increase freedom, promote opportunity, and make our government accountable. To that end, we’ve made solid progress so far this year.
In the House, we’ve passed a budget which balances without any new tax increases. While our budget cuts spending, we continue to focus on areas where the federal government has legitimate responsibility, like defense. In areas where control rightfully belongs in the hands of states or local communities, we introduce new limits on the federal government and even repeal programs it has no business managing. Rather than increasing your taxes, this budget begins to lay the groundwork for a fairer and simpler tax code that could lower your annual tax bill.
We’ve also passed bipartisan legislation that’s been signed into law that protects and strengthens Medicare by stopping dramatic cuts to doctors who care for Medicare patients. This so-called “Medicare doc fix” also contained reforms that save taxpayers money and put our nation’s budget on a more secure footing. I am proud that this law also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which serves more than 8 million children and expecting mothers, giving new parents the certainty they need to plan their family budgets and doctor visits in advance.
The House has also taken steps to protect the most vulnerable among us. The bipartisan Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act, a bill I first introduced last year, was passed by the House. This bill will give caregivers, state law enforcement officers, and others the tools they need to prevent trafficking in our communities. The Senate has recently also passed this bill and I’m hopeful we will be able to get it signed into law soon.
Additionally, we’ve taken action to improve the lives of our nation’s veterans by passing the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act. It provides resources to those who stood up to serve and defend our country. I am glad to report this legislation was signed into law. Additionally, the House passed the Hire More Heroes Act, which aims to provide more economic opportunity for veterans by exempting them from Obamacare’s employer mandate.
We’ve also seized the unprecedented opportunity we have – due to the recent North American energy revolution – to break our reliance on overseas oil, which has for so long left us vulnerable. One of the first items of business this year was passing and sending to the president’s desk the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act. The president unfortunately vetoed this legislation, though we are not giving up on the effort to get this common sense pipeline approved.
Simplification of the tax code is another area where there is overwhelming bipartisan agreement. Farmers, ranchers and small business owners in South Dakota are often disproportionately impacted by bad tax policy. I am proud that the House passed a repeal of the death tax, as I have experienced firsthand how this can affect a farm or business when a family is hurting most.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 4, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — As a lifelong farmer and rancher, I also understand the importance of reasonable deduction levels for new equipment and have heard repeatedly from producers and business owners across the state who are looking for more certainty with how the federal tax code treats these types of investments. In response, earlier this year the House passed legislation that would permanently increase what is known as Section 179 expensing to provide more certainty for our agriculture producers and small businesses.
Hardworking taxpayers deserve a more efficient, effective, and accountable federal government. We have made some progress so far this year in delivering this goal but there is much that remains to be done. As your voice in the U.S. House, you have my word that I will work hard on your behalf to build on these early accomplishments and continue promoting common sense solutions to the challenges our country faces.