Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15) highlighted a number of conservative policies enacted over the last several months in advance of President Obama’s last State of the Union Address to Congress Tuesday evening.
Those victories include the only bill to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood ever to reach the President’s desk, EPA spending cuts, education reform and a long term highway bill.
“The reconciliation bill that we passed and sent to the President was the first time we were able to really get through the Senate process and do two things: eliminate major portions of Obamacare, and of course attack funding for Planned Parenthood, and get that bill on the President’s desk,” Shimkus said. “That was a major victory.”
Last weekend President Obama vetoed the reconciliation bill. The House will vote later this month to override that veto.
Shimkus, who voted against the FY16 budget deal negotiated by President Obama and former Speaker John Boehner because it raised the debt limit and busted previously agreed to spending caps, acknowledged that while federal spending has decreased since Republicans took the House in 2010, much more work remains to be done.
“We continue to fight the budget fight,” Shimkus said. “We’ve reduced the budget deficit faster than any time since WWII. It’s not enough. We still have deficit spending; we still have a national debt. And we’re looking forward to the leadership of Speaker Paul Ryan to help us address deficits and debt and really start that big conversation on long term mandatory spending.”
Mandatory spending – that is, spending not subject to the annual appropriations process – is the biggest driver of our nearly $19 trillion national debt. In 2014, two-thirds of federal spending was mandatory spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on the debt.
Shimkus has championed mandatory spending reform since coming to Congress and, while disappointed in the recent budget numbers, noted one important discretionary spending victory.
“On the areas like the EPA,” Shimkus said: “we were able to reduce to levels at the beginning of the President’s presidency and staffing down to 1989 levels.”
Shimkus also highlighted the education and infrastructure bills signed into law late last year.
“We also passed an education bill,” Shimkus said. “That education bill repealed provisions on No Child Left Behind and made sure Common Core standards are not enforced on states.”
“Another big success was a long term highway bill that helps infrastructure planning and funding over five years,” Shimkus said. “That brings economic growth to our communities and rebuilds our roads and bridges.”
Congressman Shimkus will give his reaction to the State of the Union Address live on his Facebook Page after the speech.