Returning to Legislative Business
With the impeachment trial behind us, my colleagues and I are eager to get back to focusing on our legislative to-do list.
The Senate had been working at a very effective pace during the 116th Congress before the House of Representatives finally, after an inexplicable month-long delay, sent over the articles of impeachment.
Last year, the Senate confirmed over 100 federal judges, repealed costly Obamacare taxes and increased security at the border. We made national defense a top priority, not just in terms of modernizing our weapons systems, but also by giving the brave men and women who serve our nation the largest pay raise they have received in a decade.
We passed major initiatives that are vital to the future of our nation, including measures to secure our elections, increase funding for medical research and improve retirement security. Smaller issues that cause big headaches, such as combatting those annoying robocalls that frustrate us all, have also been addressed in the 116th Congress.
Just before the trial began, the Senate passed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), checking off the most significant accomplishment to date on this session’s to-do list. This historic deal brings our trade policies with our North American neighbors into the 21st century and enables hardworking Arkansas farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and workers to compete in the global economy.
Unfortunately, as a result of Senate rules and precedents, the impeachment trial brought the legislative process to a grinding halt. Now, it is time to return to addressing the priorities of the American people.
Here’s how I’d like us to use that time.
We can start by passing the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act. This comprehensive legislation will strengthen our ability to provide veterans with the mental health care they need and includes language I authored to leverage the services of veteran-serving non-profits and other community networks in our overall strategy to reduce veteran suicides. This bipartisan bill recently garnered committee approval and now is awaiting consideration by the full Senate.
Veterans legislation is one of the policy areas where I believe we can find common ground between Republicans and Democrats. Another area where we can find agreement is making sensible, long-term investments in our nation’s infrastructure. This will help our economy continue to grow and allow our country to remain competitive in the global economy for years to come. I also believe we can coalesce behind a reauthorization of federal child nutrition programs. I have been leading the bipartisan charge to make federal child nutrition programs more efficient, flexible and better equipped to reach Arkansas children in need during the summer months. My goal is to ensure this legislation is included in the broader package that the Senate will consider.
It is safe to say that we will return to our record pace of confirming nominees for the bench. Judges appointed by President Trump now hold more than one out of every four circuit court seats. We are reshaping the courts, appointing judges who will follow the law as it was written and intended to be implemented by lawmakers.
The average Arkansan, like many other Americans, is looking for results and asking how their elected officials are trying to help make their lives better and move our country forward. We need to put the political games and theater behind us and work together to achieve those goals.
2-14-20 3:33 p.m. KAWX.ORG