Monroe News: My commitment to serving the 7th District
President Joe Biden has been in the Oval Office for just over a week, and he has already significantly departed from his pledge to bring the country together during these polarizing times.
Since taking office, with no input from Republicans, President Biden issued more than 40 executive orders and actions—far surpassing any other modern-day president.
The administration’s flurry of unilateral directives has run the gamut from overturning taxpayer protections to canceling energy infrastructure projects. Taken together, they represent a new antagonism towards American workers and jobs at a time we can least afford.
Wasting no time, on day one, the Biden Administration revoked a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, eliminating thousands of good-paying jobs with the stroke of a pen. They went on to unveil a prohibition on oil and gas leasing on federal lands, another misguided move that will jeopardize jobs and drive up the cost of energy. Who stands to benefit from these attempts to undermine America’s energy independence? Our foreign adversaries like China and Russia.
The new administration rescinded the Mexico City Policy which prevents taxpayer dollars from funding international abortions, and they rolled back commonsense regulatory reforms that protect job creators from heavy-handed bureaucratic mandates. Troublingly, President Biden also spent his first days in office weakening border security, pushing a sweeping amnesty plan and halting construction of the border wall. With a migrant caravan heading towards the southern border, taking such steps that will encourage more illegal immigration is deeply misguided.
Despite the change in administration, my commitment to Michigan’s 7th District will not change: The best interests of our communities will continue to come first. As I have consistently done, if there are areas to find common ground, I will pursue them where possible. If the Biden Administration continues down this path of bypassing bipartisanship and catering to the far-left, I will voice my disagreement civilly yet strongly.
To that end, the House should turn its focus to a few key issues to help our constituents and country overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
Efficiently delivering a safe vaccine to those who want one must be a top priority. Thanks to Operation Warp Speed, the Biden Administration inherited a program that was vaccinating roughly one million Americans per day, but more needs to be done to ramp up distribution at the state level and safeguard Americans at a faster rate.
At the same time, we need to safely re-open our economy, protect people’s livelihoods, and get workers back on the job. To support small businesses who are struggling, the House recently renewed the Paycheck Protection Program to provide forgivable loans to assist with payroll and other expenses.
For the sake of our children’s future, it is also long past time to resume in-person learning. For too long, students have been deprived of the benefits of a classroom setting, and their educational, emotional, and physical needs are not being met. This past week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reiterated that the evidence shows it is safe for schools to re-open with the proper precautions in place.
This pandemic has underscored how integral high-speed broadband access is to our day-to-day lives and economy as a whole. We must ensure those of us in rural communities don’t get left behind. With the recent completion of the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction, I led a bipartisan letter highlighting the importance of using this funding to successfully deploy broadband to underserved areas in rural America.
It is time to turn the page from unilateral policymaking from the executive and tackle these pressing issues legislatively, together. While the early days of the Biden Administration have not been promising in this regard, please know I will continue listening, serving, and making sure your voice is heard.
U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, represents Michigan’s 7th District, which includes Monroe and Lenawee counties, and is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Education and Labor Committee. This op-ed originally appeared in the February 2 edition of the Monroe News.