In his recent speech before Congress, President Donald Trump outlined a message of optimism that resonated with many. He laid forth an ambitious agenda that, if we work together to implement, will strengthen America.
The President offered an agenda rooted in personal liberty and economic freedom with three bold agenda priorities:
• To strengthen our national security;
• Provide for our veterans; and
• Unleash robust job creation.
Many military families, including those at Idaho’s own Mountain Home Air Force Base and those serving out of Gowen Field have been engaged in the ongoing global war on terrorism. We must continue our commitment to protect our communities while also providing for our military personnel who selflessly volunteer to serve, as well as their families. I also agree that we must prioritize veterans. The feedback I have received from Idaho’s veteran community has focused much of my work in the Senate and I welcome the President’s plans to ensure we honor our commitments to those who have served.
The President highlighted his work to establish task forces in every government agency to reduce regulation and limit the explosive growth of our government. Further, he has implemented a plan calling for the elimination of two old regulations for every one new regulation. I welcome both of these approaches that will make government more efficient and responsive to the people it serves. The President’s recent action to scale back the overreaching “Waters of the United States” rule is also welcome.
Further, the President addressed the need to repeal and replace Obamacare with a plan that offers real choice and access to many plans that are truly affordable. In Idaho, as in many states, only one health provider with costly premiums is serving some counties. During my town meetings and in the letters and emails to my office, Idahoans have shared stories about premium spikes, high-deductibles, and lack of access to doctors and choices. The president also spoke about maintaining coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, the expansion of Health Savings Accounts for individuals to purchase the plans that work best for them and their families, and for consumers to buy insurance across state lines.
Additionally, the President spoke about the urgent need to deliver real, meaningful tax-reform. For our working, middle-class families and small business owners, creating a level-playing field will spur economic growth and enable U.S. companies, manufacturers and service providers to compete fairly in an ever-increasing global economy. I have long-supported comprehensive tax reform and it is essential for Congress to act on this priority for our nation’s economic security and prosperity.
Finally, President Trump addressed the need to enforce our immigration laws to protect both our economic and national security. I have long maintained that any immigration reforms must commit the resources necessary to have the strongest possible border enforcement while reforming our screening and vetting process.
I agree with the President that we can develop meaningful immigration policies that meet these priorities.
We have our work cut out for us, but we have a great opportunity within reach to truly bring about needed changes. Many of the President’s proposals echo the concerns and questions I heard during my more than 200 town meetings across Idaho, and this agenda contains many areas for bipartisan agreement and cooperation. As the President aptly emphasized, “We all salute the same, great American flag.” I look forward to working with my colleagues of both parties to find ways that Congress can move this agenda forward responsibly for the strength and prosperity of our nation.
Senator Jim Risch is a Republican in Idaho’s federal delegation.