I welcome 2012 as a year full of hope and opportunity for southern and eastern Kentuckians.
Many of our students are enjoying their first snow day of the year, so it may be a good time to talk to them about their new year's resolutions. I encourage you to help our young people set goals for the future. A few of the great opportunities to take advantage of in our region include The Congressional Award, Rogers Scholars, Rogers Explorers, and the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institiute (ELI).
I believe that changing the future of our region starts with providing our young people with the best tools and opportunities to succeed on their own, right here at home.
It was great to see our Kentucky National Guard 1/149th "Mountain Warriors" back on American soil and safely reunited with their families for Christmas in the Bluegrass. However, we should continue to lift up the thousands of troops deployed around the world who missed the holidays with their families, as they continue their brave sacrifices for this nation.
NEWS ON THE HILL
Like most Americans, I was disappointed that Congress was unable to deliver on a one year extension of payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits, and a much needed two year “doc fix” which would prevent a 27 percent cut to doctors serving Medicare patients. On December 13th, I voted in support of a House proposal that would have accomplished these goals and been fully paid for with cuts in federal spending and critical reforms to programs. This initial, House-passed version would have also provided the longest period of assurance in over a decade for Medicare patients and doctors and enabled employers and workers to plan for a 12-month reduction in payroll taxes. Instead, Congress has agreed to a brief, two month extension until February 29 leaving lots of uncertainty in an already unstable economy. Come January, I am hopeful that Washington will get back to work and provide longer extensions of these important initiatives.
At the beginning of 2011, I was tasked by my colleagues to cut government spending and help rein in federal agencies intent on pushing costly, job-killing regulations through my chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee. After 12 months, we’ve cut nearly $95 billion in real spending while ensuring that our soldiers, sailors, and airmen are well supplied, our veterans looked out for, and critical programs to fight prescription drug abuse are adequately funded in order to stop the nation’s fastest growing drug problem. This hasn’t been an easy task, but with $15 trillion in federal debt, we’ve got to make some tough choices in these tough times. As part of the final fiscal year 2011 spending bill, I was also pleased to include key provisions to stop or slow EPA’s war on coal and seek to restore this important natural resource to our energy security arsenal.
To follow my work as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, visit: http://appropriations.house.gov or follow on Facebook.
As always, please feel free to contact me at any time by sending me an email. If you would like to receive more frequent updates on what’s happening in Washington, please join my Facebook page or subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thank you to everyone who has dropped by to share your opinion -- let’s keep the dialogue going!