Morgan Griffith: Highlights of success in the 115th Congress
The 115th Congress has been working to improve the lives of average Americans. From taking on the opioid crisis to cutting taxes for the great majority of Americans, the House of Representatives has pushed for solutions. I believe the results make Americans better off.
Constituents frequently ask about jobs and economic development when I talk to them while traveling around the 22 counties and 7 independent cities that make up the Ninth District or in electronic town halls. I believe we have made progress on economic conditions for Southwest, the Alleghany Highlands, and Southside Virginia.
Development Projects: I am excited about a pilot project that cleans up environmentally-damaged land for reuse and redevelopment. Over the last two years, I have acquired $20 million worth of funding specifically for the Ninth District, and another $10 million was included in House and Senate appropriations this year. One project already received funding from this source, and I look forward to more projects getting underway in our area soon.
The Brownfields Program, reauthorized this year for the first time since 2002 based on language we crafted in the Energy and Commerce Committee, provided $1.8 million in grants for our communities to clean up additional contaminated areas and refit them for economic activity.
President Trump signed bills I introduced for hydroelectric projects in the district. These bills bring closer to fruition construction jobs and cheaper, clean power for homes in the Ninth District.
Taxes: Changes to our broken tax code came in December 2017 with passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Most Americans are better off under the new code’s individual provisions, which lowered rates, expanded the Child Tax Credit, and nearly doubled the standard deduction. Cutting the corporate tax rate, which previously was the highest in the developed world, encouraged businesses to establish operations and create jobs in our country.
Many individuals have already enjoyed tax reform’s benefits via bigger paychecks or hiring for a new job, and the signs for continued economic strength due to tax reform are encouraging.
I have heard from Ninth District companies that are expanding at current locations, creating new jobs, paying higher wages, and looking to open new locations because of the increased economic activity resulting from the tax bill.
Regulations: This Congress successfully used the Congressional Review Act sixteen (16) times to repeal unnecessary, burdensome regulations imposed in the waning days of the Obama Administration. Cutting red tape has also energized the economy.
Opioids: As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and particularly as a member of the Health Subcommittee, I have been working to address the opioid crisis affecting so many Virginians. We have investigated and will continue our investigation into the origins and cause of this emergency. This includes grilling pharmaceutical distributors and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The Committee passed 57 bills dealing with opioids.
Among them were reforms I had introduced to state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs). I believe PDMPs are useful tools to combat opioids, and my ideas aimed to increase the use of information they collect and improve sharing of PDMP data across state lines.
The House also authorized more comprehensive treatment centers, helping people suffering from opioid addiction find personalized care.
Telemedicine: President Trump signed legislation including language I wrote advancing access to telemedicine for stroke victims. Telemedicine is critical to expanding access and reducing costs in rural areas. I am proud to be one of the leaders in Congress advancing telemedicine.
“Right to try:” I was one of three original cosponsors of the House “right to try” bill and voted for the Senate version signed by President Trump, giving Americans confronting terminal illnesses a chance. Patients with life-threatening diagnoses should be able to use experimental treatments in an effort to prolong their lives and advance medical research.
Health programs: The House passed a ten-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the longest extension in its history.
We also provided two years of funding for Community Health Centers, 32 of which are in the Ninth District.
Although much remains to be done, I am pleased with the work we have done so far. The Energy and Commerce Committee has a considerable record of bipartisan and legislative success. We have reported 130 bills, passed 120 bills in the House, and seen 20 signed into law. The solutions advanced are delivering positive results for the safety, prosperity, and well-being of all.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.