COLUMN: A New President’s Priorities
I had the privilege to attend as President Trump gave his first Joint Address to Congress. The message that America heard was one of optimism and reform. The President is getting straight to work with Congress on an agenda to restore limited government, boost the economy to create jobs in the private sector, and ensure that our homeland is secure. He spoke of “the renewal of the American spirit” and an “America is once again ready to lead.” The President was speaking to all Americans, but especially to those who have felt forgotten for too long.
One of the most moving moments in the House chamber during the speech was the President’s recognition of the ultimate sacrifice of U.S. Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens. His widow, Carryn, was present, and the President told her and the nation that “Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity.” It was truly a stunning moment in the room as Ryan’s sacrifice was honored in the eyes of America.
On policy, the House of Representatives is already moving to implement President Trump’s agenda, and the first major step will be to present him with legislation that repeals and replaces Obamacare. Just last week, in fact, my office received a call from a farmer in Moses Lake who said that before Obamacare, he was paying less than $200 for catastrophic coverage for his family. Now with the law in place, he is forced to pay $1000 per month with high deductibles that discourages their family from utilizing their plan. It was yet another reminder that Americans do not deserve to suffer from the consequences of the failures of Obamacare, so it is time to restore access to quality, affordable health insurance options.
In his speech, the President also laid out his goal to tackle tax reform to spur economic growth and create jobs and opportunity in the private sector. Improving our nation’s infrastructure will also be a priority, and I will advocate to make progress on critical water storage projects in the West and in Washington state, such as the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project.
I applaud President Trump’s new rule that requires for every one new federal regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated. Just last week, President Trump’s administration took action to withdraw the Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS). This intrusive Obama-era rule was a power grab by the Environmental Protection Agency to redefine “navigable waterways” to expand federal regulation over ponds, streams, or irrigation ditches in the middle of crop land, giving the EPA unprecedented say over what farmers, or any landowner, can or can’t do with their land. Repealing this rule relieves the uncertainty for farmers, ranchers, localities, and small businesses that could have resulted in costly permits and fines, damaging the economy, and increasing the regulatory burden.
I look forward to working with the President on behalf of Central Washington and our great nation.