It’s time for us to get back to work for our country

Published 4:02 pm Tuesday, November 18, 2014

By U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne

The next two years are shaping up to be very interesting on Capitol Hill. As you have probably heard by now, for the first time since 2006, Republicans will control both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate.

On Election Day, voters across the country went to the polls and elected the largest Republican majority in the House since Harry Truman was president. In the Senate, Republicans have already captured eight new seats.

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The elections are now over, and it’s time to get down to governing.
The voters sent a clear message to their elected officials: they are tired of the stagnation in Washington and want to see results. I believe the Republican majority should make it our top priority to offer solutions to the problems Americans face every day. From higher energy costs to unnecessary regulations, we should be focused on making life work for more Americans.

Over the past four years, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation aimed at reducing the regulatory burden, expanding domestic energy production, connecting Americans with good-paying jobs, and getting the federal government out of the way. Over 300 bills still languish in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Starting next year, these bills should be at the top of the list.

Unfortunately, it seems President Obama is tone deaf to the mandate for effective governance and is instead content to continue his “my way or the highway” approach to running our country. In fact, since the election, the President has only moved further to the extremes, pushing his radical climate change agenda and new regulations on the Internet. Worst of all, President Obama has continued to push ahead with his plans for executive amnesty.

Ultimately, we must push forward with our agenda of projects important to lower Alabama like building a new I-10 bridge and reforming red snapper regulations, and we should also promote commonsense solutions that impact all Americans. I sincerely hope President Obama will put politics aside and work across the aisle over the next two years. If he chooses to stand in the way of legislation which would make life easier for American families, then the burden will be on him.

We must push forward with legislation to end the ill-conceived sequestration cuts to national defense. At a time when we face multiple conflicts abroad, the last thing we need to do is cut our military. There are certainly smarter areas of the federal budget worthy of cuts.

We must push forward on dismantling Obamacare. We should push back against the employer and individual mandate, which place unnecessary burdens on American families and businesses. If a full repeal of the law doesn’t work out, we should also repeal the innovation stifling medical device tax.

We must push forward on policies that help connect Americans with good-paying jobs. A great example is the REINS Act, which requires congressional approval of new regulations that have a major impact on the economy. We should also continue to put an emphasis on career and technical education programs in our schools and colleges.

Finally, we must push forward on reining in our national debt. We should get serious about making real reforms to mandatory spending programs, which are the true driver of our debt. Making the tax code simpler and fairer would also be an important step toward fiscal stability.

At the end of the day, the people in southwest Alabama and all across the country don’t want to see more partisan bickering and political gimmicks, they want to see leadership and results that get Americans back to work. That’s been my priority from day one and will continue to be my priority in the new Congress.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne represents the 1st Congressional District of Alabama, which includes Escambia County.