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Weekly Column: Priorities For The 116th Congress

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

As the 116th Congress has begun, work continues to build on the progress made in the last Congress in restoring prosperity, stability and liberty for our country. 

As a result of our comprehensive reform of the tax code, we are seeing robust growth in our economy, at rates well above what had been projected if we had not reformed the tax code.  This increased economic activity, and resulting increased revenue generation, has helped to create a better foundation from which to enact long-overdue controls and reforms to federal spending programs. 

By delaying and canceling burdensome federal mandates, Congress and the Administration made great strides in reducing unnecessary federal regulations that restrict the ability of Americans to turn their ideas into jobs.  Moving forward, we must continue to eliminate unnecessary regulations that pile paperwork and red tape on Americans and stop regulatory agencies’ collection of big data on private financial information.  Americans should have the opportunity to opt out of their personally identifiable information being stored in databases, and safeguards must be in place to truly prevent the use of the data to determine personally identifiable information. 

We must also exercise congressional oversight authority over the many legislative accomplishments of the 115th Congress, ensuring that the laws we passed are implemented and interpreted according to congressional intent.

Additionally, I will continue to advocate for locally-driven collaboration as the best means of addressing many of our environment and public lands issues and back legislation and policy that secure the long-term success of these solutions.  The Government Accountability Office reported, “Several benefits can result from using collaborative resource management, including reduced conflict and litigation and improved natural resource conditions, according to the experts.”    

We have our work cut out for us.  And, in a divided Congress, we may see politics at its worst.  But, there are plenty of areas where bipartisan progress can be made.  The many achievements of the 115th Congress are lasting examples.

The irregular passage of government-funding measures has encouraged irresponsible federal spending and prevented Congress from doing the important work of evaluating policy options and properly prioritizing funding.  Returning to regular order of enacting appropriations bills on time is an imperative step that I will continue to push.    

With the input of Idahoans as my continued guide, I look forward to working hard in the 116th Congress to make progress on these and other issues important to Idahoans.  There remains no better place to get national direction than here in Idaho where sensibility prevails.  Thank you to the many Idahoans who continue to share your thoughtful insights on the issues before the U.S. Senate.    

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Word Count:  435