House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:
"To achieve great things, you must start from a strong foundation. You have to have a vision, but you also need the means and structure to achieve that vision. The vision for this nation that we have in the To turn that vision into action, Congress needs to pass a budget. Passing a budget is not only a showing of competence but it is also a document that lays out the path to achieve that vision.
"This week, the House of Representatives passed a budget that ensures Washington lives within its means, doesn’t raise taxes on the American people, and sets the stage for a strong American future--a future with a simpler and fairer tax code, a market-based health care system that empowers the patient, and one that doesn’t mortgage our children’s future with more reckless spending today.
"These pro-growth policies were combined with responsible support for our nation’s defense. As our nation and our allies face increasing threats from terrorists in the Middle East, Iran attempting to achieve the means to build a nuclear bomb, and aggression from countries such as Russia and Iran that threaten the sovereignty and democracy of free nations, House Republicans increased support for the men and women in our military.
"With our priorities on paper, the next several months will be spent fine-tuning our broad path forward to achieve the conservative policies that will grow America’s economy from the ground up while reducing Washington’s influence in our daily lives. Known as the appropriations process, this is an exercise that will demand Congress’ focus until a budget in detail can be presented to the President.
"Our focus will not be exclusive to appropriations over the coming months. There is simply too much to do (or rather undo) to free our neighbors from the harm government has done.
"Perhaps the most egregious example of the failures of the bureaucratic state is the inefficiencies of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). And for our community, this failure was magnified by our local veterans having to travel all the way to Sepulveda to receive care while passing multiple medical facilities along the way. Not only is that wrong, it is maddeningly inefficient.
"That is why offering veterans choice to seek private care that is closer to their homes was a big part of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability (CHOICE) Act that Congress passed, and the President signed into law last year. However, the VA’s rigid definition of distance eligibility still left many in our community ineligible for the program.
A"fter pressure from Congress, the VA smartly made the commonsense adjustments to open the program for many vets that live in our community, and communities across the country, that face long distances to receive VA care. This announcement is a big win for veterans in the west.
"So as House Republicans continue to plot the path forward for a brighter future, we will remain committed to holding our government accountable today. Important victories from the most recent VA announcement to the decision by the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Agency to back down from its plan to harm our 2nd Amendment rights are examples of the value and importance of remaining vigilant on Washington’s bureaucracy while working to achieve the vision for tomorrow.