As we approach the end of the year, I wanted to take a look back at some of the good – and some of the bad – that 2013 brought us.
Along with the first government shutdown in 17 years, we learned about the IRS targeting conservative non-profits, revelations about the NSA spying on Americans, and the knowledge that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has collected financial data on over 10 million consumers without their permission and without the possibility for them to opt out of the data collection.
With the roll out of the faulty government health insurance website “healthcare.gov”, this year also saw millions of Americans lose the health insurance plans they liked due to Obamacare.
In an act of extreme desperation for power the Senate majority broke the senate rules in order to weaken the filibuster, which is what protects minority rights. The Senate was designed so that a majority couldn’t run roughshod over a minority. It was designed to ensure that each senator could represent the views of his or her constituents. The filibuster is one of the tools we use.
But 2013 also saw some good. I helped preserve second amendment rights and opposed gun control in the 113th congress.
The Wyoming delegation was able to pass a bill in 2013 that will ensure America has a stable supply of helium. The bill also partially restored Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) funding to Wyoming and established a competitive royalty rate for America’s soda ash producers. Wyoming is now set to receive an additional $13 million in AML funding in Fiscal Year 2014 and $60 million in AML funding in Fiscal Year 2015.
After years of the Powell Recreation District attempting to obtain federal land that houses its shooting range, my bill to secure the land transfer passed through a partisan Congress and was signed into law.
This year I was also recognized for my efforts back in 2010 to overturn the Department of Health and Human Services “grandfathering” regulations which in effect ensured that millions of Americans would be forced off their current plans. I also worked on 17 bills that would repeal, defund, and dismantle Obamacare piece-by-piece. Though joint efforts with other Senators failed to defund Obamacare, in 2014 I will continue the fight to overturn Obamacare and return health care decisions to the American people.
I was able to make great strides in moving forward with several of my bills to reign in the government’s overspending and budget issues. I have a penny plan, a proposal on biennial budgeting, some relevant amendments for spending bills, and the End Government Shutdowns legislation, with forced prioritization for spending cuts, and tax reform.
In 2013 I made it clear that I would fight to make sure that the United Nations (U.N.) arms trade treaty that Secretary of State John Kerry signed in late September would be dead on arrival in the Senate.
I was also honored to receive a coal lifetime achievement award from The Washington Coal Club for my work to promote coal in Wyoming and across the country.
I’m hopeful in the next year we’ll be able to continue to address important issues and come together to do what’s right for our country.What issues are most important to you in the coming year?