Op-ed: First 100 Days: Keeping My Promises to You
By Rep. Tom Rooney
Exclusive to the Charlotte Sun
Talk is cheap. I learned that lesson from my father and hope to impress it upon my three sons. Particularly in the world of politics, what you’ve done matters far more than what you’ve said.
In January, I wrote a column in this newspaper with a list of goals for the new Congress. As we marked our 100th Day last week, this is a good time take stock of what we’ve accomplished so far to keep those pledges. What I said, and what I’ve done:
“Find common ground to help grow the economy and create jobs.”
In three months, the House of Representatives passed six bipartisan bills to promote job creation by empowering small businesses, reducing regulatory burdens, and expanding access to capital. We passed three bills to create jobs while reducing energy costs by expanding North American energy production – including construction of the Keystone Pipeline. We helped prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow with legislation promoting STEM education and improving college affordability.
“Work to fix our broken tax code and tackle the long-term drivers of our national debt … keep taxes low and work to reduce spending and the size of government.”
The House laid the groundwork to reduce the size and scope of the federal government with a budget that balances in 10 years. Our plan repeals Obamacare, overhauls the tax code by closing loopholes and reducing rates, and saves Medicare and Social Security for future generations.
We passed several bills to make the tax code simpler and fairer, including permanent repeal of the death tax and relief for small businesses. I also cosponsored the FairTax Act.
For the first time in decades, we passed significant entitlement reform into law. Our bipartisan bill permanently fixes the Medicare reimbursement system so seniors can continue to receive the care they need, while saving taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.
“Fight to secure our borders, oppose amnesty, demand that the President follow the rule of law ... Protect your second amendment rights.”
I kept my promise and voted against legislation funding the President’s executive amnesty. While I was disappointed by that bill’s passage, I am pleased to report that the House has approved more than a dozen bills to hold the Administration accountable to the rule of law, like blocking the NLRB’s ambush election rule and requiring greater transparency in new regulations. We passed seven bipartisan bills to end IRS abuses and hold that agency accountable to the taxpayers, including a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and an end to IRS targeting.
I cosponsored bills to prevent the Department of Education from coercing states into adopting Common Core, and to protect internet freedom in the wake of the so-called net neutrality ruling.
After the ATF proposed a ban on popular M855 sporting ammunition, I introduced legislation to protect our Second Amendment rights by blocking any new bans on legal ammunition. Facing overwhelming opposition, the Administration retracted its proposal.
“Work to keep our nation safe from the threat of global terrorism … strengthen America’s national security.”
On the House Intelligence Committee, I have continued fighting for a stronger national security. With our military facing severe cuts, I helped lead the successful effort to add additional defense spending to the 2016 budget. I have repeatedly called on President Obama to present a comprehensive, effective strategy to defeat and destroy ISIS. I have been an outspoken opponent of the President’s dangerous nuclear deal with Iran and his appeasement of the Castro regime.
“Help our citrus growers combat greening disease, block overregulation so that our farmers and ranchers can provide a safe and affordable food supply.”
As a member of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, I submitted a series of requests for the 2016 funding bill to support Florida farmers, ranchers and growers, including additional funding and agency coordination to fight citrus greening disease, an existential threat to the Florida citrus industry and the tens of thousands of jobs it supports.
“Ensure Florida’s veterans get the care and services they need.”
The House approved bipartisan bills to expand job opportunities for returning veterans, improve mental health services, and prevent veterans’ suicide. In the 2016 funding bill, the Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee included my requests to provide additional health care treatment options for veterans and make e-filing VA benefit claims easier.
As you can see, we had a busy first 100 days. We took action to help grow the economy from the bottom up, keep America safe, and balance our budget. In the months to come, I hope we will continue making progress to fix our broken tax code, tackle our debt crisis, and create an environment where small businesses can grow and hire new workers. I look forward to updating you again soon.
Rooney represents Florida’s 17th district, which includes all of Charlotte County.