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COLUMN: Focusing on Priorities for a Confident America

January 25, 2016
Weekly Column and Op-Ed

The question of how to restore a confident America is key for our future as a nation. In terms of governing, the year ahead must be about more than allowing the president to control the national debate through executive actions during his presidency’s lame duck period. Conservatives must unite around a common vision. Instead of simply reacting to the president’s agenda of top-down rules. Congress must lay out a positive national agenda that allows individual freedom to flourish and creates opportunity.

Under the leadership of Speaker Paul Ryan, I have joined my colleagues to outline where progress this year is critical for six national priorities:

National security: After a series of terrorist attacks at home and abroad, including in Paris and San Bernardino, California, Americans are concerned that not enough is being done to secure our homeland and root out ISIS terrorists. The foremost responsibility of the federal government is to provide our national defense. Congress will focus on improving our national security through ensuring that our military is equipped to meet 21st Century challenges. Confronting the threat of radical Islamic terror means we must have the ability to identify those traveling to the U.S. and confirm that they mean Americans no harm. Improving security also mean strengthening our cybersecurity defenses from hackers who target private and government data.

Jobs and economic growth: Families continue to face economic uncertainty. The answer is not government intervention, but economic growth. Stagnant household incomes require a new approach to fix the tax code, reduce burdensome federal regulations, and make the best use of America’s own affordable energy resources.

Health care: I regularly hear from Washingtonians that they are struggling under the current health care system created by Obamacare through higher premiums and lost access to doctors they want to keep. In 2016, we must work to push ideas that lower costs, increase competition, and put patients at the center of our health care system.

Poverty and opportunity: 14.8 percent of Americans currently live in poverty. That equates to 46 million people. In 2016, we must put forward ideas that increase economic mobility so that everyone has the chance to work and fulfill the American dream. 

Constitutional authority: Reining in President Obama’s attempts to overreach his executive authority and the separation of powers will restore confidence in constitutional limits our Founders put in place to protect individual freedoms.

While these are broad topics that encompass many of Americans’ most pressing concerns, they do not cover every important issue. Addressing the challenges facing our country cannot be a “top-down” process. We have already seen that does not work. That is why it is so important for me to hear directly from constituents about your priorities and ideas. I encourage you to contact me through my office or Newhouse.house.gov. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on a positive agenda for 2016 that will restore a confident America.