Kicking off the 116th Congress

By Rep. Dan Newhouse

On Jan. 3, I took an oath of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution as the representative of the people of the 4th Congressional District in the 116th Congress. It is an honor to be entrusted with this office to represent the people of Central Washington, our values and our liberties.

In this period of divided government with a Republican president, Republican Senate majority, and Democratic House majority, it is our responsibility to find common ground as representatives of the people.

I am proud that my first votes this Congress included support for legislation that would make tax relief for middle class families permanent — keeping in place the doubling of the child tax credit and the standard deduction, which were provisions in the historic tax bill signed into law in 2017. Unfortunately, not a single Democrat joined with Republicans to support this middle-class tax relief and the legislation failed. I will not give up, and I will continue to support making tax relief permanent for middle class families.

On the first day of session of this Congress, I immediately cosponsored bills and resolutions that reflect the values of Central Washington to defend the 2nd Amendment, safeguard the right to life, and to protect the American flag from desecration.

Regrettably, in the first act of their new majority, House Democrats approved a set of rules to allow the debt limit to be raised automatically, to remove protections that prevent tax hikes on the American people, and to weaken the requirement that offsets be provided when federal spending is increased. Democrats also brought new spending legislation straight to the floor for a vote, with no opportunity for debate or ability to offer amendments — cutting out the Rules and Appropriations Committees out of the process entirely all while calling for more transparency. While I believe it is important to work to find common ground, I am sincerely disappointed in these first moves in the 116th Congress.

In more positive news, I joined colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote in favor of creation of new Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress — a solid idea to come up with tools to improve how Congress functions on behalf of the people. This new select committee will be charged with investigating, studying, making findings, holding public hearings and developing recommendations on ways to modernize the Legislative Branch.

I voted at the end of last year to fund border security and keep the government open, and the House Republican majority passed that legislation. Now with a Democratic House majority, Democrats must come to a reasonable compromise with President Trump to reopen the government and secure our borders and not waste time on bills that will not be signed into law. For the partial government shutdown to end, it will take a bipartisan agreement negotiated between President Trump and House Democrats.

As a nation, we have risen to greater challenges than divided government. Our country is strong enough to find agreement on solutions even when it may be difficult. I am humbled to represent you, and I look forward to being a strong voice for the interests of the people of Central Washington in the 116th Congress.

 

Dan Newhouse is a representative in the 4th Congressional District of Washington.