On Feb. 2, 1977, President Jimmy Carter addressed the nation from the White House. He had been in office for two weeks and inflation was already beginning to impact American families. Famously wearing a cardigan sweater, he said energy shortages would be permanent while urging Americans to lower their thermostats to 55 degrees and make sacrifices. This address was followed by several years of hyperinflation, gas lines, and as President Carter called it, “a crisis of confidence.”
By 1980, America was fed up and sent an eternal optimist and problem solver to the White House. President Ronald Reagan didn’t accept that America’s best days were behind us and the next generation would have to make more sacrifices than the last. He worked to lower taxes and address the inflation, energy and economic crises facing our nation, inspiring millions of young Americans like me to believe in our country.
Nearly 40 years later, our country is once again facing inflation, energy and economic crises. Gas prices are at their highest in seven years. Consumer goods cost the most in 13 years. We have a stagnant economy with a record 10 million jobs available. Now labor shortages and supply-chain issues are leading to empty shelves around the country.
In the face of these challenges, last week the Washington Post published an op-ed that said “Don’t rant about short-staffed stores and supply chain woes. Try to lower expectations.” It went on to say Americans have been spoiled, but “now it’s our turn to make adjustments.”
This sums up what many Washington Democrats believe. The Biden administration has called our current inflation crisis “transitory” and a “high class problem.” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said supply-chain problems are simply something Americans will have to endure into the next year. These Washington Democrats dismiss the challenges you and your family are facing while telling you to just deal with higher costs at the gas pump and empty shelves in the stores.
Like President Reagan, I know we don’t have to accept this status quo. Americans are exceptional and we always rise to every challenge. Instead of lowering expectations, we need to demand better and start to address our challenges head on.
You sent me to Washington to solve problems and get things done. It’s not always easy amid the current partisanship and radical agenda of Democrats in Washington. But I have never stopped working on common-sense solutions for you and your family.
Last week, I was proud to have two bills passed by the U.S. House to address some of our current problems. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the dangers of relying on foreign countries, especially when it comes to needed medical supplies. I introduced the Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act to reduce our foreign dependence for critical supplies like PPE by boosting our manufacturing to make those products here in the United States. It also makes needed improvements to our national PPE stockpile to ensure it is full and items are ready for the next public health emergency.
I introduced the Open RAN Outreach Act to strengthen our telecommunications supply chains. It also helps protect small and rural communications providers from Chinese-backed companies like Huawei. Providers backed by the Chinese Communist Party have tried to undercut their prices and expand their outreach, particularly in our rural communities. My legislation encourages a competitive market so we can expand network access across our country without Chinese interference.
Strengthening our PPE stockpile, domestic manufacturing and supply chains and standing up to China have never been more important for our economy and our national security. Now that these bills have passed the House, I will continue to work until they are passed by the Senate and signed into law.
There are many other challenges facing our nation. Last week, data revealed border agents apprehended the highest number of illegal migrants at our border in at least 35 years. I’m concerned by a plan from the Biden administration to monitor your bank account. The Department of Justice has threatened to treat concerned parents at school board meetings as domestic terrorists. And Washington Democrats are determined to pass trillions in new spending and tax increases that will make our inflation crisis even worse.
While I will fight against these measures, the bipartisan bills I had passed last week are a model of how Washington and your government should operate. I’ll continue to work on your behalf and perhaps we don’t have to lower our expectations after all.