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Don't expect miracles, but good changes ahead with new Congress

The results of the midterm elections were a clear declaration that Americans feel they have been ignored. As Congress prepares for the upcoming session starting in January 2015, we need to bring to light the pressing issues that the current majority has buried for so long in hopes of protecting its own political prospects. We can see that didn’t work out for them or for our nation. We need open consideration of bills in the proper committees and on the Senate floor with senators from both parties allowed to offer improvements and get votes on their amendments. The new Republican majority the American people just elected should not stand idle. 

Last month President Obama granted amnesty to over 4 million people with the stroke of the pen without a single vote in Congress and that's wrong. I have always opposed amnesty and will continue to do so. Why haven't we counteracted this? We don't have the votes. That will change once the new congress starts. 

I will also continue to push my Penny Plan and Biennial Budget bills that would balance the budget and lower our deficits to help get our country back on the right track. We also need to reform the tax code to make it simpler and fairer for all Americans. 

Obamacare is still making our economy sick, but it is treatable. Along with working to overturn the law, I am working on bills that would repeal the most egregious parts of the law, starting with restoring the reductions in pay and hours many workers are facing by restoring the real definition of full-time work to 40 hours a week. 

In Wyoming we know the importance of energy projects. They create jobs and help keep energy prices affordable for our nation. The Keystone XL Pipeline was right six years ago when the issue came up and it is right now. I’m hopeful when the new majority takes over the Senate will finally do the right thing and approve this project.

Congress should also focus on addressing the overreaching regulations proposed by the Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, along with other emissions. These rules, which will do nothing to help improve our economy or help put people back to work and do very little to help the environment, will take more money out of every family’s pocketbook in the form of higher energy prices. We should be working with our energy producers to create more abundant and affordable energy while being good stewards of the environment. Affordable energy and a clean environment don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

If we are going to replace Obamacare, reform our tax code, and stop wasting money on programs that don’t work, the Senate Budget Committee and Senate Finance Committee are going to play a major role. I serve on both and have been on the Budget Committee for a dozen years. I’m a past Chairman and Ranking Member of the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee. I know how to put government on a low-spending diet. I’ve used budget reconciliation instructions to save more than $15 billion from different programs. This is where experience counts. It’s time to get into the weeds and dig into the numbers, something that energizes me, an accountant and small businessman by trade.

The president insisted on a large, all-encompassing government for the past six years and it hasn’t worked. It’s now time for a new direction, one that shows how a smaller, more efficient government can work for the American people and get the results they expect. But America shouldn’t expect miracles, we still have the same president and we don’t have veto-proof majorities, but they should expect progress. It is an honor to serve the good people of Wyoming in the United States Senate for the next six years.