Optimism for the Work Ahead

Mar 3, 2017 Issues: Agriculture, Health Care, Taxes, Ways & Means

With its healthy optimism and sense of urgency, it is no surprise President Trump’s address to Congress earned a 76 percent approval rating among viewers in a CBS News poll. Expectations are high among Americans, and they should be. We have a lot of work to do.  

I had hoped he would focus on bringing the country together, and the President delivered. By opening with a call for unity and emphasizing it throughout his address, he set the right tone for the days ahead.

President Trump talked extensively about the regulatory reforms he has been working on from day one. In the House, we have been partnering with him to roll back many of the Obama administration’s costly rules. One of the most celebrated relief efforts came the same day as President Trump’s address, when he signed an executive order requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers to go back to the drawing board on the Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS.

WOTUS, which gave the EPA the power to dictate local land use decisions and farming practices nationwide, was one of the Obama administration’s most egregious overreaches. Nebraskans expressed deep concerns about federal agencies having control over the water puddles and irrigation ditches on their properties. Local officials told me about infrastructure projects, such as cleaning and widening a drainage ditch, which were needlessly delayed by the rule’s red tape.

I was honored to join President Trump at the White House when he signed his executive order to push the reset button on WOTUS. Though the Obama administration refused to listen to the concerns of agriculture producers, I am glad President Trump took them seriously.

In his address, the President also laid out his goals for health care reform, including expanding choice, increasing access, and lowering costs. These are the same goals I have advocated for over the past few years as premiums have risen and choices have dwindled under Obamacare. We need a health insurance system which compels consumers to purchase coverage due to its value and quality rather than the federal government forcing their hands.  

President Trump highlighted some of the reforms we are working on in the Ways and Means Committee to replace Obamacare with a more patient-centered, market-based approach. By enhancing health savings accounts, we can make it easier for Americans to spend their money the way they want to on the care they need. By reforming the tax treatment of health care, we can empower Americans to select the best insurance for them rather than being tied to a certain job, state, or program. We also remain committed to keeping protections in place for those with preexisting conditions, as the President reaffirmed.

Additionally, I appreciated President Trump’s remarks on tax reform. Simplifying our tax code is the most effective way to grow our economy. Under our Ways and Means Committee blueprint, 90 percent of Americans could file their taxes on a postcard. The President has also signaled his commitment to repealing the death tax, which is great news for Nebraska farmers and ranchers. I look forward to working with him to get this done.

As President Trump stated, “Action is not a choice – it is a necessity.” We are ready to act.