Hultgren: First six months challenging, but progress has been made
Six months ago, I was sworn in as a member of the 112th Congress, one of 96 new Representatives, including 87 Republicans. Since then, I have worked tirelessly to keep the promises I’ve made to my constituents, shrinking the size of the federal government, cutting spending, working to restore our nation to fiscal health and putting Americans back to work.
Like so many of my constituents, I know that the government cannot create private sector jobs, but it can create barriers to future private sector job creation and even destroy jobs. Every time I return to the 14th District and speak to small business owners and job-creators, they tell me that they’re terrified of the red tape coming from the Washington bureaucracy, and without certainty about government regulations, spending and taxes, they cannot grow or put people back to work.
I’ve worked hard with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to roll back anti-growth regulations created by unelected bureaucrats. In April, we scored a major victory for America’s small-business owners when legislation repealing the “1099 provision” was signed into law. The 1099 provision was one of the most egregious anti-jobs, anti-growth provisions in President Obama’s health care law, and it threatened to bury job-creators in an avalanche of red tape.
The House has also passed four bills that would reduce the regulatory burdens limiting domestic energy production. At a time when Illinoisans are paying almost $4 for a gallon of gas, it’s clear that we must do more to expand American production of oil and natural gas. Doing so will not only reduce the pain we’re feeling at the pump, but it will also create good-paying jobs and generate revenue for local governments.
My committees in Congress are also working hard to get the bureaucrats out of the way of our job-creators. In the Agriculture Committee, we've questioned officials from the Environmental Protection Agency on their misguided efforts to regulate dust and spilled milk, regulations that would create yet more forms of red tape and devastate Illinois' agriculture sector. As part of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, I hosted a listening session with Committee Chairman John Mica and local decision-makers at DuPage County Airport. The participants – officials from local governments and others who are working to improve our nation’s infrastructure – repeatedly cited bureaucratic red tape as one of the foremost issues hindering their efforts to put Americans back to work.
In addition to getting Washington out of the way of Main Street, I’m working hard to cut spending and shrink the size of government. In April, I helped pass a budget that will cut $6.2 trillion in government spending and $4.4 trillion in deficit spending over the next decade. More recently, I have supported spending bills that cut government expenditures back to 2008, pre-bailout levels. Restoring our nation to fiscal health will not happen overnight, but I am proud to be part of the effort to change the culture of Washington from one of spending and growing government, to one of cutting and shrinking government.
But significant challenges remain. An intransigent Senate and President have hindered our efforts to cut spending and enact pro-growth policies. On too many occasions, I have been deeply frustrated by the fact that government bureaucrats refuse to be accountable for their actions and have even declined to testify before Congress, such as officials from the Transportation Security Administration.
Yet overall I remain hopeful, not just in our ability to restore fiscal sanity and get Americans working again, but also in the fundamental greatness of this country, which I believe will help see us through the challenges that confront us as a nation. The first six months haven't been easy, but I truly feel we've made substantial progress and look forward to continuing that progress in the coming months and years.
I've heard my mission loud and clear, and it is my pledge that I will continue that mission.