By U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx
Jan. 30, 2015. On Jan. 6, 2015, I was sworn in to my sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Serving the people of North Carolina is a profound honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity to represent the 5th District in Congress. It is always a tremendous privilege to take the oath of office and pledge to “support and defend” the Constitution of the United States.
The first month of the 114th Congress has been a busy one as the House has gotten right to work tackling the difficult issues facing the nation. We started off the new year by passing two pieces of bipartisan legislation designed to minimize the consequences caused by Obamacare. The Hire More Heroes Act would make it easier to hire veterans by exempting those who already have health insurance from being subject to the employer mandate in the president’s health care law. The Save American Workers Act would change Obamacare’s 30-hour definition of “full-time employment” and restore the traditional 40-hour workweek, which has long been the standard for full-time work.
We also approved three bills that will help us on our way to energy independence and increase access to affordable North American oil. The first would authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Supporters have been fighting for more than six years to secure the necessary approval that would allow the U.S. to take advantage of vital oil production in Canada and the northern United States. Second, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act would set time limits for federal consideration of certification and permits for construction of natural gas pipelines, and finally the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act would expedite the approval process of export permits for liquid natural gas, also known as LNG. America has been blessed with an abundance of domestic energy resources, and we can’t let bureaucratic delays stand in the way of accessing or advancing those assets.
Breaking the law to enter the United States should not be rewarded, but that’s exactly what President Obama did when he announced plans to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens through executive actions. The House acted swiftly to defund the president’s executive actions in their entirety through five amendments to legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security for the remainder of fiscal year 2015.
We also passed legislation that would ensure veterans who may be struggling have access to the mental health care services and support they need as well as legislation to permanently prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for elective abortions or abortion coverage.
Finally the House passed 12 bills designed to fight the growing problem of human trafficking in the United States. Human trafficking is modern day slavery that preys on vulnerable individuals, and this epidemic is not isolated to far-off places on the other side of the world. It is happening every day in the places we call home. These bipartisan bills will protect children and provide support to combat this horrific problem.
While the House has accomplished a great deal in a relatively short time, there is still much work to do. We have a responsibility to act now to preserve our nation’s unique role in the world and to build a better future for American families.