My 2020 Legislative Agenda

Jan 30, 2020
Op-eds

I am always grateful to serve the people of South Carolina’s Second District. Although Republicans are not currently in the majority and were forced to deal with a false impeachment inquiry, I was able to work with my Republican colleagues to fight for our pro-job, pro-family and pro-America agenda. I am looking forward to the second half of the 116th Congress and working toward the goals outlined in my 2020 Legislative Agenda of limited government and expanded freedoms.

In 2020, I will continue working to create jobs and for continued economic growth. This year, jobs in South Carolina have risen by 3.5%. Looking forward, I will continue to work closely with local chambers and agencies to bring jobs to South Carolina. In May, we introduced the National Right to Work Act (H.R. 2571) that would repeal provisions that automatically enroll employees into unions. This bill will allow the decision of joining a union to be up to the employee and not default the employee to join and I look forward to working with my colleagues to see this implemented. I am also a co-sponsor of the Employee Rights Act (H.R. 1855), which increases employee rights when dealing with unions. I also intend to repeal Obamacare provisions that destroy jobs.

This year I will also remain an advocate for the important, job-creating missions at the Savannah River Site (SRS) and Savannah River National Lab. This past year, we were able to secure additional funding for critical missions at the Savannah River Site, including the plutonium pit mission, risk management operations, and payment in lieu of taxes for Aiken, Barnwell, and Allendale counties.

I will continue working for conservative values this year. As a co-sponsor of the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act, I am thankful to support legislation that will establish tax credits to encourage individual and corporate taxpayers to contribute to scholarships for elementary and secondary students through eligible scholarship-granting organizations. I also co-sponsored the Employer Participation in Repayment Act which allows a tax exclusion for employer-provided educational assistance to include payments of qualified education loans by an employer to either an employee or a lender. I support a balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution and conservative budgets as well. I will also work to implement President Trump’s tax cuts to increase wages. Moving forward I will continue to eliminate burdensome government regulations that stifle small businesses and job creation along with the establishment of the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative Center at USC Aiken.

I support President Trump’s mission of keeping America first in all trade relationships. We have already seen positive dividends of the administration’s tough line on China’s cheating and exploitation of global trade, by working with our allies we can put even more pressure on China. I am grateful for President Trump also inaugurating a free trade agreement with our ally South Korea to strengthen our bilateral trade. President Trump also presided over the successful renegotiation of USMCA, the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, which I am in favor of. Moving forward there are even more opportunities, President Trump has shown he gets things done and keeps his promises. I am grateful that the President and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson have a close relationship for a job-creating partnership.

I have been and will continue to be a strong proponent of international partnerships that can grow our local economy. Just recently, I supported Taiwanese and Bulgarian acquisitions of F-16 block 70 aircraft which are now being made right here in South Carolina. I was honored in Manana, Bahrain, to thank our ally for its purchase of South Carolina-made aircraft. Through my leadership on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I hope to stimulate even more jobs and opportunities for South Carolina. I will continue working actively on my Congressional country caucuses in order to keep Members engaged in international issues and partnerships. I am the co-chair of numerous caucuses, including Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Korea, Turkey, Qatar, Morocco, House Republican Israel Caucus, U.K., France, EU, and Bulgaria.

This year I will serve as the ranking member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. In this role, I advocate for stronger relationships with our allies in the face of growing threats, including from China and other malign actors. I also strongly support international anti-corruption efforts and champion international religious freedom as ranking member.

This past year I served as a conferee of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference committee where I worked to secure important wins in the final NDAA including a longtime initiative of mine to repeal the tragic “Widow’s Tax.” This legislation achieved the largest number of cosponsors, 383, of any bill this Congress due to dedicated Gold Star Wives and veterans service organizations. Repealing the Widow’s Tax is personal to me. Lieutenant Colonel Joseph “Trane” McCloud was the military fellow in our office in 2003 and was then killed in Iraq on Dec. 4, 2006. His wife, Maggie, and their three children have always been on my mind and in my heart as we fought for the repeal of the Widow’s Tax. The fact that we have finally “Axed Widow’s Tax” is a huge accomplishment for the 65,000 families affected by this unfair offset. Following this win, on average, surviving families will receive an increase of $12,000 per year. I will continue to support and monitor the implementation of this repeal.

In December, I introduced the Body Armor for Females Modernization Act. Fort Jackson trains more than 60% of all women entering the Army each year. I will push this legislation to be passed so that women in our military have the proper fitting personal protective equipment from the day they enter the military – not just when deploying. Our military’s readiness depends on soldiers, airmen, Marines, and sailors to "train like they fight." This bill will expedite the procuring and fielding of new generation equipment that better protects females. I’m grateful to work to reduce injuries of all our brave service members by ensuring they have the right equipment from day one. This bill will improve overall combat effectiveness while increasing our military’s readiness.

Sadly, the last session was distracted by the impeachment hoax that House Democrats put forth this past year. I voted against the hoax impeachment which wasted over $30 million taxpayer dollars. This attempt by House Democrats to overturn the votes of 63 million Americans is sad and completely unwarranted. I will continue to stand with our duly elected president. It is disgraceful that Democrats wasted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for a Russian hoax and now a Ukrainian hoax.

I strive to work for our amazing community and for the people I represent. To me, it is important to share the 2020 legislative agenda so that my community may keep me accountable. I will continue working tirelessly for the Second District in Congress to promote jobs and families. Offices for the Second Congressional District of South Carolina are available to serve. Office hours in Aiken, North Augusta, Barnwell and West Columbia are open for the community to provide many helpful resources. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to serve you in Congress.

Read this op-ed in the North Augusta Star here