By Robert Pittenger
The New Year is traditionally a time to review and reflect on the triumphs and tribulations of the past year.
In my view, 2017 was a turning point for America. Hidden behind the façade of media-induced frenzies was a year highlighted by accomplishments and progress on multiple fronts. After eight years of painful stagnation, America’s economy is energized again.
With my full backing and support, Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, the biggest tax cut bill in a generation. Hardworking Americans and middle-class families are going to see their tax rates shrink and their paychecks grow. By cutting the noncompetitive rates imposed on businesses, our tax cut bill will create jobs, grow wages and revitalize Main Streets across America.
To further facilitate economic growth and job creation, we rolled back burdensome regulations, shrunk the bloated government bureaucracy and repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate.
In just one short year, our pro-growth economic policies have already made a tremendous impact.
The stock market has been on a record tear and consumer confidence has risen to a 17-year high. For the first time ever, the Dow Jones increased by over 5,000 points in a single year. Over 1.7 million new jobs were created in 2017 as unemployment sunk to a 4.1 percent, a 17- year low.
In addition to supporting and implementing a pro-growth, job-creating economic agenda, last year I continued my efforts to protect America from foreign threats and aggressors.
As the chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, I am committed to defending our cities and communities from those who wish us harm. Since terrorism is a global threat, we must work with our allies to intercept and defeat terrorist activity before it can reach our shores. To that end, this year I organized and hosted two major multi-national intelligence-security forums. Altogether, more than 350 members of Parliament, ambassadors, and experts from over 70 nations joined for deliberations on counter terrorist financing, enhancing data sharing and cyber threats.
In 2017, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and I introduced the most significant legislation in a generation to prevent foreign acquisitions of our military related technology companies. For years, China’s Communist leadership has been using financial investment as a vehicle for infiltrating America’s national security infrastructure and strategically acquiring our technology and intellectual property. My bill gives our authorities the tools and latitude necessary to counter this threat and stop malignant foreign investment from China and other adversarial nations.
Last year, I also continued my efforts to protect the unborn by introducing legislation to prohibit abortion providers from using taxpayer-subsidized bonds.
In an effort to bring new jobs and economic development to communities throughout southeastern North Carolina, I have been spearheading an effort to upgrade U.S. 74 into a modern interstate. While this idea is still in the conceptual stage, my hope is that we can get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
While there were many legislative accomplishments, I am most proud of the work I’ve done back home for my constituents. Last year, my office assisted over 1,000 North Carolinians with issues involving federal agencies, including Social Security, Medicare, IRS, passports, and Veterans benefits.
Accessibility has always been a top priority of our team. In reaffirming that commitment, we sent over 50,000 emails last year responding to constituent questions and concerns. In addition, I hosted nine town hall meetings which gave me an opportunity to meet and speak with my constituents face to face.
Looking back, I could not be more proud of what we accomplished last year. 2017 was a defining year for Americans and I look forward to accomplishing much more in the year ahead.
Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) is chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee, with a special focus on supporting small businesses, community banks and credit unions.