A full year has passed since Congress enacted the most significant tax reform of the past 31 years, and its positive effects are still reverberating on the economy and on American lives.
The long-awaited overhaul of our outdated tax code was a milestone moment, leading to bigger paychecks, a simplified tax system, and new jobs. The bill created Opportunity Zones to help spur business investment in our country’s most disadvantaged areas, and it incentivized employers to offer family and medical leave. American workers, families, and communities have all benefited from the law’s provisions and the solid economic growth it has helped generate.
Comprehensive tax reform was hardly a one-hit wonder for this Congress. Many other significant legislative items have rounded out a notable and lengthy achievement list over the past two years. The most recent additions to that list are a prison reform bill to lower the recidivism rate among repeat offenders and a five-year farm bill to provide stability for our farmers. Here are a few other important highlights:
- Rebuilding the military. After years of military cuts and the downsizing of our forces, Congress and the Trump Administration are restoring America’s defense strength. For the first time in 10 years, Congress delivered a budget to the Pentagon on time, giving our military commanders certainty that they will have the resources to protect our national security interests. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I was successful in getting the “SHIPS Act” passed to help initiate a buildup of our naval fleet. Congress also passed the “VA MISSION Act” to ensure that our veterans receive the benefits they deserve.
- Fighting the opioid epidemic. The rampant abuse of opioids is killing Americans and destroying families at an alarming rate. It has become a national crisis deserving of a national response, which Congress provided with a thorough legislative package passed earlier this year. The new law recognizes the complexity of the problem and targets both the international shipping of these drugs into the country and the local tools needed by communities to help victims get the rehabilitation they need.
- Reining in overregulation. Congress acted quickly to curb the unnecessary costs and burdens associated with many Obama-era regulations, repealing 16 of them using the “Congressional Review Act.” Congress also acted on a bipartisan basis to exempt community banks from the regulations intended for Wall Street banks after the 2008 financial crisis.
- Transforming the judiciary. In keeping with its constitutional duty, the Senate has worked diligently to approve President Trump’s nominees for our nation’s courts. In just this Congress, we have confirmed two Supreme Court justices and 30 judges for our circuit courts. With these lifetime appointments, President Trump and a Republican-led Senate have helped ensure conservative voices are heard in our court system for years to come.
By August of last year, the 115th Congress had been recognized as one of the most productive Congresses of the past several years. I hope the next Congress follows in these footsteps, working efficiently to craft legislative solutions that can further enrich American lives.