Weekly Update: Give Thanks
By Rob Wittman
November 23, 2017
We have a tradition in my family on Thanksgiving. We all sit down at the table, and before we start eating the beautifully prepared feast, we go around and say what we are thankful for. Well this year, I wanted to do the same thing for work as I do for family; look back through 2017 to think about what I am most thankful for.
As I reflected on this year, I thought about all that we have accomplished. From the outset of 2017, I made it a priority to work on the issues that matter most to you and I believe the House took meaningful steps to improve education, strengthen the health care system, protect the Chesapeake Bay, grow our economy, and support our men and women in uniform.
Workforce development is crucial to improving education. The House passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353), which supports our career and technical education programs in Virginia. This means the development and implementation of programs aligned with Virginia-specific occupations or industries will help better match future workers with the skills currently in demand in your community.
To strengthen our health care system, I voted to advance a bill called the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101) that allows small business employers to band together through association health plans in order to purchase quality health care for their employees at a lower cost. Congress also took action and delivered a $781 million increase in resources for fighting the opioid epidemic, with funds going towards grants, treatment and prevention, and support for law enforcement.
Like many of you, I grew up in the Chesapeake Bay watershed region and spent countless hours outdoors hunting, fishing, and just enjoying the natural beauty of my surroundings. I am thankful that we fought to keep $73 million in funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program. We have seen the successes of the Bay Program through cleaner water, more oysters and more blue crabs - demonstrating that our efforts are paying off.
We promised you a better economy. Last week, the House completed the first step towards keeping our promise to the Nation. We passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which makes the tax code much simpler for working-class Americans, while simultaneously protecting more of their hard-earned paychecks. This tax relief will give our economy the boost it so desperately needs.
I am thankful for all that we have done for our troops this year. Last week the House and Senate passed the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act. This bill provides the authorities and resources for our men and women of the Armed Forces to do the job we've asked them to do. It also gets us well on our way to achieving our goal of a 355-ship Navy so that we may deter our adversaries, support our allies, and respond to threats around the globe.
Most of all, I am thankful for the men and women serving our nation overseas who do not get to be home this Thanksgiving holiday. Last week I had the privilege of meeting with the outstanding men and women serving in Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Iraq. Their patriotism is immeasurable and unwavering. We have so much to be thankful for here in the United States, and today we join together with friends and family in quiet acknowledgment of those blessings.
I hope that you and your family have a happy and blessing-filled Thanksgiving. God bless you, God bless this great Commonwealth of Virginia, and God bless these United States of America.