By U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx
Dec. 19, 2014. Since I was first elected to Congress in 2004, I have heard from thousands of constituents across North Carolina’s fifth district. In recent years, there has been an understandable note of frustration in their voices over the direction that our country is headed.
These folks know all too well the struggle to find a job and pay the bills. They’re angry that it takes an average 111 days just to make enough to pay the government before starting to keep what they earn for the year. They’ve watched an oppressive government intrusion into health care make it far too difficult and expensive for many to do business. They’re discouraged by an uncertain regulatory environment that is wreaking havoc on both employers and employees. They’re outraged at the president’s unprecedented attempt to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens when there are so many individuals who have waited years for the opportunity to come to this country the right way.
Over the last four years, I have worked with my colleagues in the House to do everything in our power to put this nation on a better path forward. We have passed numerous pieces of legislation to encourage job growth and strengthen America’s standing in the global economy. We’ve also passed bills that would decrease energy costs, allow workers to have more flexibility to spend time with their families and increase transparency in how tax dollars are spent. However, we have been stymied again and again by Democrats in the Senate.
Despite the short time we have had, the obstacles we have faced and the enormity of our task, House Republicans have still managed a number of conservative victories. For example, this summer legislation I authored was signed into law to streamline the federal workforce development system, including the elimination of 15 duplicative programs. Recently, we sent a bill to the president’s desk that will allow families of a severely disabled child to save for their child’s long-term disability expenses in the same way that many families currently save for college through popular 529 investment plans, encouraging personal responsibility instead of increasing dependency on the government.
We all wish we could have done more, much more. However, we will have greater opportunities beginning in January with a Republican-led House and Senate. The 114th Congress offers new chances to pass legislation that will take our country down a road of economic recovery that results in lower unemployment, a fair tax code and opportunity for all.
My priorities for next year include continuing efforts to increase transparency and accountability in government. While Congress cannot create prosperity, we can work to ensure entrepreneurs and employers aren’t crushed under red tape. That is why the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act is the first bill I intend to introduce in the 114th Congress. This legislation would improve transparency and public disclosure of the true cost—in dollars and in jobs—that federal dictates pose to the economy. I have offered this legislation in the past four Congresses, and it has successfully passed the House with bipartisan support on three separate occasions, only to be ignored by the Senate. My hope is that next year will be different.
Congress will also face off against the White House early next year over President Obama’s attempts to short circuit the American immigration process. By extending funding for the Department of Homeland Security only through February 2015, the House and Senate are prepared to confront the president’s unparalleled power grab without the threat of a looming, government-wide shutdown, and we will do everything we can to stop his destructive actions.
Rest assured Congress will be addressing the American people’s greatest priorities when we return to Washington in January. We heard your voices loud and clear in November, and we will work hard to build a better future for American families.