After years of dysfunction and gridlock under Democratic leadership, the Senate is functioning again and back on track to regular order. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently noted that Republicans are leading the Senate into a “new normal” which includes opening up the legislative process so all members have the opportunity to offer amendments to improve legislation and working through the committee process. I’m proud to be part of the solution to address the issues important to our country.
Senate Republicans started to make good on this promise in 2015, but this year we’ve been able to produce greater results for the American people. The Washington Examiner recently reported that the Republican-led Senate is “passing bills at a rate that has not been seen in decades.”
So far this year, 32 Senate bills have been signed into law by the president. The Senate has voted on over 230 amendments, of which 205 passed in 2016. Additionally, the Senate Appropriations Committee–of which I am a member–reported all 12 annual appropriations bills for the second year in a row.
Our priority has been to advance policies that affect Arkansans and all Americans, particularly on matters of economic and national security. We’ve passed sanctions against the dictatorial regime in North Korea, voted to authorize national security spending through the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, worked to pass a labeling standard that will keep food costs down while allowing consumers to know what they are buying and voted for critical funding for our nation’s infrastructure.
I’ve also been able to advance some important priorities. A provision I authored that will require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to reform general aviation medical standards, namely allowing pilots to fly many types of small, light aircraft without a third class medical certificate, was included in the recently passed FAA reauthorization.
I’m also proud of my work on behalf of veterans. I’ve introduced legislative proposals that focus on protecting combat-injured veterans’ severance payments, safeguarding veterans housing and job training programs and honoring National Guard and Reserve retirees with twenty or more years of service as veterans.
There’s no doubt that we have more work to do, but I am encouraged by these examples that we can continue to make progress toward getting Washington to function again. Republican Senators are committed to moving the ball forward.
I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will resolve to work with us to address critical legislative items on our agenda that include funding the government for the next fiscal year. The American people deserve to have a Congress working on their behalf and answering the challenges facing our country. I look forward to seeing continued progress for the rest of the year and hope it continues in the future.