The confirmation of a Supreme Court justice deserves national attention. These lifetime appointments to the court are some of the most influential decisions a president can make.
The consideration of Judge Brett Kavanaugh was no exception, arguably drawing the most intense attention a Supreme Court nominee has ever received. On October 6, I voted with the majority of my Senate colleagues to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Judicial nominations have been a priority for the Trump Administration, and the Senate has now confirmed two of the President’s Supreme Court nominees, a record 29 circuit court judges, and 53 district court judges. However, these nominations have not stood in the way of other legislative victories. In recent weeks, the Senate’s accomplishments have continued to grow, with bills impacting our infrastructure and public safety earning wide bipartisan support.
Long-Term Reauthorization for FAA
One of those accomplishments is the recent reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which oversees all activities related to commercial air travel. For years, the agency has operated under stopgap reauthorizations. The new law’s five-year reauthorization is welcome news for airports, industries, and passengers that depend on FAA programs.
More specifically, the FAA law will support the grant program that many of our state’s airports have utilized to improve and expand their facilities. It will continue the work being done at Mississippi State University’s Center for Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which is critical to the safe integration of drones into the national airspace. The reauthorization will also institute measures to benefit consumers, such as minimum seat size requirements on commercial flights and protections against exorbitant costs imposed by air ambulance providers.
Wicker Provision to Help Rural Communities
Another accomplishment I am particularly pleased to see reach the finish line is passage of the “America’s Water Infrastructure Act.” Like the FAA bill, this legislation prioritizes the safety and well-being of Americans through needed upgrades and maintenance. Without reliable ports and inland waterways, the commerce that fuels our economy would be severely hampered, hurting the communities along our coasts and rivers. Without effective dams and levees, American lives and property are put at risk in the event of extreme flooding.
The water infrastructure bill also includes a provision I authored to help small communities with their wastewater treatment systems. Small communities often struggle with the costs and technical expertise required to operate these systems in compliance with federal rules. My provision would create opportunities for these communities to receive technical assistance for wastewater treatment. It follows the success of a similar provision I enacted into law in 2015 for drinking water systems. Not only is clean drinking water and wastewater important to public safety, it can encourage critical economic investment.
Passage of these bills was accompanied by other bipartisan wins, including legislation to address our nation’s opioid epidemic and appropriations bills to keep the government funded. President Trump has set forth an ambitious agenda for his Administration, and Congress continues to work to make good on its end of the deal – cutting taxes, rebuilding America’s infrastructure, and ensuring that our military remains the strongest fighting force in the world.