The first week in January was not only the start to a new year, but it also was the start of the the 115th Congress and House Republicans were ready to hit the ground running.
It proved to be a busy week as I had the opportunity to meet with constituents that were in town and I was very fortunate to have my wife, children, and grandchildren at my side for the swearing-in ceremony. The ceremony provides me a time to reflect on the opportunity that the people of the 3rd District have given me and how greatly honored I am to serve as the liaison to your government. This year, especially, I feel a great sense of excitement as we move forward with getting our country back on track in order to make all of our lives and communities better for everyone.
In addition to the opening ceremonies, the House had a very busy legislative week. By now, everyone has heard about the onslaught of rules and regulations that have come out of the Obama Administration for the last eight years. In fact, the Federal Register, where all of the rules and regulations are published, stood at 97,000 pages at the end of 2016. That is why our first legislative vote of the year was to ensure that Congress would be able to swiftly repeal any of the Obama Administration's "midnight" regulations that are being issued in its final days of the term. I am hopeful the Senate will consider this legislation quickly and the incoming Trump Administration will sign this bill into law.
In keeping with the theme of controlling the onslaught of regulations, the next bill the House voted on was the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. I am proud to be a cosponsor and long-time supporter of this legislation. This bill is simple: it requires both chambers of Congress to approve regulations estimated to have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more. It would give the American people a voice in major regulations instead of giving this authority to Washington bureaucrats.
With the change in administration, we have a real opportunity to enact meaningful, pro-growth policies. Relieving the regulatory burden is an important first step. For the last eight years, I've met with countless constituents who have shared stories about how federal red tape has stifled their livelihoods. I'm hopeful in 2017 to hear stories about how the government got out of the way of economic growth, free enterprise, and financial independence.
On a final note, the House voted on another important bill during its first week. It didn't deal with regulations, but, instead, American foreign policy. Just recently, the Obama Administration failed to uphold long-standing United States policy to oppose and veto any one-sided, anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations Security Council. The United States chose not to exercise its veto on U.N. Resolution 2334 which condemns Israeli settlements in the West Bank and claims that they constitute a flagrant violation of international law. In response, the House passed a bill condemning U.N. Resolution 2334 for undermining the prospect of peace and calling for its immediate repeal. I believe that Israel is a shining symbol of hope and freedom in the Middle East, an area where liberty and democratic ideals are stifled, and the U.S. must stand by its important democratic ally.
These three bills just touch on what the House has in store for the year. House Republicans are committed to enriching the lives of Americans and putting you back in control.
To keep you informed in the latest goings on in Washington and in the 3rd District, I'm looking forward to continuing these weekly updates as the 115th Congress gets underway.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., represents the state's 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 573-635-7232.