We’re approaching the time of year most people begin to think about their New Year’s resolutions. As we look forward to all the opportunities 2017 will bring, I think it’s also important to take a moment to reflect on the progress we have made in the past year and identify areas in which there is still work to be done.
Representing the 3rd Congressional District of Colorado in the 114th Congress has been an honor. My primary focus this session has been on advancing policies that grow jobs, spur economic growth and support health and safety in our communities.
Within the Financial Services Committee, we worked on the Small Bank Exam Cycle Reform Act, which was signed into law, and the Taking Account of Institutions with Low Operation Risk Act, which is slated to be included in a larger regulatory reform package the House will pass next year.
We hope the Senate can also pass and get it signed into law early next Congress. Both bills will support growth on Main Street and bring more opportunities to families across our state.
Outside the Financial Services Committee, my focus has been on protecting our water rights, holding the EPA accountable for its reckless actions in Gold King Mine and working to find solutions to the opioid epidemic that has devastated so many of our communities.
I’m proud of the bipartisan effort that resulted in the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which was signed into law in July, and the 21st Century Cures Act, which has passed both chambers of Congress and will soon be signed into law. During roundtable meetings in the communities that have been most devastated by the opioid epidemic, I heard from parents, health care providers, law enforcement officers and others about the heavy toll the epidemic has had on almost every part of our society. Both CARA and the 21st Century Cures Act will have real-life, positive impacts on those who have been touched by opioid addiction.
I was also proud to work with my Colorado colleague, Sen. Cory Gardner, to make sure the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which will be signed into law before the end of the year, included a provision to expedite the process for states, local governments and tribes seeking to recoup expenses incurred after the Gold King Mine spill.
Following the Gold King Mine accident, it is clear we need a better approach when it comes to cleaning up contamination in old abandoned mine sites in the West. I will continue to work next Congress on Good Samaritan legislation that removes existing hurdles that discourage qualified Good Samaritan groups from conducting mediation.
There’s also more work to be done on water rights in the 115th Congress. I’m confident the Water Rights Protection Act, my bill to protect Coloradans’ privately held water rights from federal takings and interference, will make it across the finish line, as will important forest management provisions I introduced in the Healthy Forest Management Act.
Overall, our primary focus in the 115th Congress will be to roll back the unnecessary and overly burdensome regulations that have overrun states’ rights and plagued our economy during the past eight years. With the House Republicans’ Better Way Agenda as our guide, we have a real opportunity to get our country back on track. Our first order of business will be repealing and replacing Obamacare with a health care system that is actually affordable and accessible for Americans.
Then, we’ll turn our focus to enacting the reforms we’ve developed through the past year to fight poverty, restore Constitutional power, allow people to keep more of their hard-earned money and rebuild our national defense.
We have a tall task ahead of us, but we’ll hit the ground running in 2017.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a safe holiday season.
Scott Tipton is a U.S. representative serving the 3rd Congressional District of Colorado.