Bob Goodlatte: New year, new opportunities

bob-goodlatte-afp2A new year brings new opportunities for our country. It’s a time to refocus and, with a fresh perspective, look ahead at all that must be accomplished. As we ring in 2016, Congress has much to do to address the priorities of the American people.

The tasks before us touch every American. We must continue our work to dismantle the President’s health care law, and reform the health care system in a way that puts patients first. Congress also has a responsibility to the American people to promote an economic environment that fosters job creation and opportunity. One way to do this is through meaningful, comprehensive tax reform. I have yet to hear an argument for maintaining our current tax code, but I hear many for why we need a new one. Tax reform will not come overnight, but we should not delay taking a first step. We must also lessen the grip of federal red tape on job creators, and hold federal bureaucrats accountable for imposing heavy burdens on America’s economy. And contrary to what some in Washington may think, we do not have an endless line of credit. We must curb spending now or saddle our grandchildren with the bill.

Additionally, I hope to see a return to regular order, and, in turn, a Congress that works better on behalf of the people we represent. Speaker Ryan has promised regular order in the House, including the appropriations process, which determines funding for activities like defense and transportation. Fully debating each of the 12 government funding bills, instead of wrapping them into a massive, end-of-the-year package, will allow lawmakers to carefully consider each piece separately. That’s the preferred way of doing business, and the best way forward to ensure all voices are heard.

As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I am working to advance legislation to strengthen visa processing security and protect national security. Over the coming weeks, the Committee will unveil additional criminal justice reform bills to ensure the system reflects core American values. Additionally, I will continue to stand guard over the freedoms and liberties enshrined in the United States Constitution.

As we greet 2016, I am reminded of President Ronald Reagan’s first State of the Union address. He called on all Americans to not “… let anyone tell you that America’s best days are behind her, that the American spirit has been vanquished. We’ve seen it triumph too often in our lives to stop believing in it now.” I am hopeful for what 2016 will bring. Though we continue to confront great challenges at home and abroad, we must always remember that the American people are more than equal to the tasks before us.

Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth District of Virginia in Congress.


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