Representing West Michigan for another term in Congress is an honor and responsibility that I don’t take lightly. I believe we have a real opportunity to improve lives today and strengthen the future for our children and grandchildren tomorrow.
This week, the Electoral College officially voted for Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. A unified, Republican-led government can tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our nation by repealing and replacing Obamacare, providing much needed relief to hardworking West Michigan families by making our broken tax code more competitive, and by eliminating the unnecessary regulatory red tape that is stifling economic growth and hindering job creation.
I spoke about these important issues, as well as several others, on Monday in Holland at the West Coast Chamber's "Breakfast with Bill." The event was attended by more than 500 people from across West Michigan. If you weren't able to attend, the Holland Sentinel detailed my presentation, as well as the question and answer session. Thank you to everyone who attended, especially to those who volunteered for the event!
Looking Back On The 114th Congress
While much of the nation's attention was focused on partisan rancor and the presidential election, over the past two years Congress made significant progress on some of the major issues facing our nation:
Results For West Michigan
While the big picture items are important, I also wanted to share with you some of my legislative achievements that specifically impact West Michigan:
- Cutting Spending, Boosting West Michigan Jobs: A 2013 GAO report found that the federal government owns a fleet of approximately 588,000 vehicles. The cost of maintaining this fleet has soared to nearly $1 billion. By directing federal agencies to use remanufactured parts, the Federal Vehicle Repair Cost Savings Act will save taxpayers millions of dollars and bolster the opportunity for job creation in Wyoming, Kentwood, and other remanufacturing hubs across the nation.
- Standing Up For Michigan Manufacturing Jobs & Supporting Our Troops: Manufacturers will now be able to compete to supply our military recruits with top of the line athletic training footwear, creating good-paying jobs right here in Michigan. Until recently the Department of Defense did not believe a 100% made in America shoe was possible. Michigan manufacturers proved otherwise ...
- Strengthening The Great Lakes Economy: First, I worked to make sure the federal government classified the Great Lakes as one continuous water system, the same way the Mississippi River is treated. Next, I fought to ensure the Army Corps of Engineers will now have dedicated priority funds for the Great Lakes to ensure repairs to Great Lakes infrastructure are done in a more timely fashion. And lastly, I worked in a bipartisan manner to restore the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and prevent those revenues from being used for items other than harbor dredging & maintenance. This will lead to more economic activity and job creation for port and harbor communities across the Great Lakes.
- The S.S. Badger - A Win For Michigan's History, Families, and Economy: While this historic designation didn't require "an Act of Congress," it is something that I have been working on for more than five years. This designation not only highlights the massive economic importance of the Badger to Ludington, Mason County, and Michigan as a whole, it also demonstrates the historical significance of the Badger to the entire Great Lakes Region. It wasn't all that long ago that bureaucrats in Washington mounted an incredible regulatory assault against the last remaining coal-fired Great Lakes car ferry. However these repeated attempts were thwarted, and I am happy to report another generation of Michiganders will be able to experience the living history that is the S.S. Badger.
Looking Ahead To The Next Congress
So what does the next year look like? I encourage you to look at the Republican roadmap called a Better Way at Better.GOP. It is a bottom up, member driven plan that details how to reform our tax and regulatory structures, strengthen our military, restore constitutional balance, combat poverty, and provide relief from ObamaCare.
Another big picture item I continue to work on is reforming the Federal Reserve. The FORM Act, which I authored, passed the House of Representatives this Congress but was not voted on in the Senate. The FORM Act should get another look because of the important impact the Federal Reserve has on our economy. Whether it is an interest rate for a mortgage, an auto loan, or even your savings account, the Federal Reserve plays a significant role in determining those rates. It is important for the Fed to clearly communicate its decisions to both Congress and the American people.
Lastly, Dodd-Frank was an agenda looking for a crisis. As a member of the Financial Services Committee, our Republican alternative, called the Financial CHOICE Act, embraces the core principle that every American, regardless of their circumstances, must have the opportunity to achieve financial independence. To learn how this important legislation will help West Michigan families and small businesses, click here.
New Office Location
My office in Washington, D.C. has relocated to room 2232 in the Rayburn House Office Building. The phone number remains the same: (202) 225-4401. Here’s how I knew 2232 Rayburn was the right place for the Second District to call home.
The Michigan Minute
As the holiday season enters full swing, I thought you would enjoy a picture of this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree as much as I do. From my family to yours, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!
2016 was certainly a memorable year, and I look forward to what 2017 has in store. If you are visiting Washington D.C. for inauguration, make sure to stop by 2232 Rayburn and say hello. Happy New Year and thank you for continuing to read the Huddle!