Fighting for What Matters
By US Senator John Thune
December 2. 2016
If you tuned in to C-SPAN today, you’d find a much different Senate than the one that existed just a few short years ago. In 2013 and 2014, under Democrat leadership, the Senate repeatedly chose politics and partisanship over bipartisanship and efficiency. The legislative process, including the important work done in our committees, nearly ground to a halt. Only backroom, cherry-picked bills chosen by Democrat leaders made it to the floor. The Senate wasn’t passing the important pieces of legislation that it should have been, and senators were often backed into take-it-or-leave-it scenarios created by politically orchestrated cliffs and countdown clocks.
Republicans told the American people that if we were given the opportunity to lead in the Senate, we would do things differently. We would focus on the issues that mattered to the people. We would help give them the voice they deserved. After Republicans regained the majority in January 2015, we quickly got to work. Republicans and Democrats were able to participate in the legislative process and offer proposals they thought would make bills better for the people they served. Ideas were debated and considered in committee, and bills that were sent to the floor were better for it.
We passed a balanced budget, appropriations bills, and the first major energy bill in more than a decade. The Commerce Committee, which I chair, worked hard to get a Federal Aviation Administration bill with major airport security provisions through the Senate and onto the president’s desk. And the committee delivered the same result on the first long-term transportation bill since 2005. I’ve always believed that hard work delivers positive results, and there’s no better proof than what we’ve accomplished in the last two years in the Senate.
We’re just getting started, though, and I’m glad Republicans will have the chance to continue working toward our goal of creating greater economic and national security for the American people. That starts with rolling back some of the Obama administration’s most onerous regulations, particularly the Waters of the United States rule. We’ll work toward repealing and replacing Obamacare, which has been a huge drag on family budgets in South Dakota and across the country. And we’ll continue to protect our nation’s borders and address the threats posed by terrorist groups like ISIS.
Republicans plan to start the 115th Congress in January the same way we’re ending the 114th this month – with a lot of hard work and determination. We’re going to have a long list of items to tackle, including confirming a Supreme Court nominee who will judge based on the law and the Constitution. January will be here in no time, and I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running and advancing our pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-America agenda in 2017 and beyond.