Blaine's Bulletin: First 100 Days of the 118th Congress
Washington, April 21, 2023
This Monday marked the 100th day of this Congress, and 100 days into a House Republican majority. The first week of January was admittedly a little rocky as we chose a new Speaker, but I’m proud of the progress we’ve made. In our Commitment to America, we laid out a goal of a nation that is safe, strong, and free, and a government that is more accountable to the American people – as it should be. That continues to be our guide.
The first order of business for the new Congress was to re-open the House to the public. Speaker Pelosi used the pandemic as an excuse to keep people out of the House for two full years, but that changed on January 3rd when Republicans took over. They call it the “People’s House” for a reason, and visitors from across the country should be able to enter the House buildings to visit their home state offices and meet with their representatives to discuss the issues most affecting their communities. We can’t have a government accountable to the people if the people cannot meet with their elected representatives.
Regarding safety, we are putting an end to the “defund the police” policies that have threatened the safety of communities across the country. Like so many major cities, Washington D.C.’s pro-crime policies have caused spikes in violence against D.C. residents and tourists from around the country who came to visit the capital. While the D.C. City Council has the authority to make law for the city, because it is the capital city, Congress has the authority to overturn those laws. After the D.C. Council passed another law to reduce the punishments for violent crimes and carjackings, the House passed a bill to overturn it. Even though many Democrats in the House opposed our bill, we were able to put enough pressure on the Senate and White House to get signed it into law. As we work on the appropriations bills that support law enforcement across America, we will build on that success to put public safety over political rhetoric.
Another point where we were able to force the President to concede was the end of the pandemic. Everyone here in Missouri knows the pandemic ended long ago. However, the President and Congressional Democrats fought to maintain the emergency declaration so they could spend more money and limit certain freedoms we enjoyed before the pandemic. You may remember that I wrote about this in my February 2023 Bulletin. After we passed our bill, the White House had no choice but to acknowledge the undoubtable truth that the pandemic is over, and that most Americans got back to their regular lives long ago.
With a divided government – remember that the White House and Senate are controlled by Democrats – it is unrealistic to expect many of our ideas to become law, but we have used our position to highlight and push policies that the American people largely support. Just to name a few, in the House we passed bills to increase American energy production (H.R.1), eliminate the administration’s proposed 87,000 new IRS agents who would review every transaction over $600, and yesterday we passed a bill to prevent taxpayer dollars from supporting schools and organizations that allow men to play on women’s sports teams. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, not a single Democrat voted with us to protect women’s sports.
One of the most important jobs of Congress is to perform oversight of the government, and we’re certainly doing it. Since January, the House has held more than 235 hearings, sent over 500 Congressional oversight letters, and made full use of subpoena power – which is only at the majority’s disposal – to subpoena 34 witnesses to ensure maximum accountability and transparency for the American people. We actually broke a record by holding 42 different committee hearings in the House in one single day. These hearings cover everything from combatting tax hikes on small businesses, to the purchases of American farmland by China. While one committee is holding Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas accountable for refusing to do his job of securing our border, another is reviewing timber sales by the Forest Service. There is no government agency or issue we will not cover.
Under Republican leadership, the House is moving quickly and effectively for the American people and we’re just getting started.