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This Week in Washington: Assisting Alabama's Tornado Victims; First 100 Days of New Congress


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The heart wrenching images of hundreds of lives torn asunder by last week's unprecedented outbreak of tornadoes in Alabama and surrounding states are hard to get out of our minds. Our prayers go out to our friends and fellow Alabamians in their hour of need.

Immediately after the storms, I joined the rest of the Alabama delegation in supporting a federal disaster declaration to provide emergency resources for Alabama's recovery, and stand ready to assist in any way I can to help our neighbors to the north as they rebuild.

Whether challenged by hurricanes or tornadoes, Alabamians are a resilient people and we will overcome this latest trial.

First 100 Days of Republican House Devoted to Reform:

For as long as any of us can remember, Washington has pursued a course of "more is better," increasing both the size of government and its reach into all aspects of our lives. Federal spending occupies a quarter of our economy and more people work for government in America than for all our manufacturing industries put together.

No one said reversing Washington's overspending would be easy, but that has not deterred the new Republican House majority from sticking to its pledge of significantly reducing federal spending, reforming Congress and taking steps to repeal government's takeover of health care.

April 14 marked 100 days since Speaker John Boehner and members of the new conservative House were sworn in on a promise to reform government. While the House controls only one of the levers of lawmaking power in Washington -- the Democrat-controlled Senate and the president have their firm grip on the other two -- we have managed to shift the debate to federal spending.

From day one, the 112th Congress has been operating differently. We began by reading aloud the U.S. Constitution in its entirety -- something not done in the history of the House. I was honored to read a portion of the Preamble to the Bill of Rights.

We fulfilled our pledge to require all legislation considered by the House be posted on the Internet for everyone to see. We also made good on our promise to require every bill introduced in the House be accompanied by a statement of Constitutional authority.

The House leadership also kept its pledge to officially prohibit all earmarks, a significant reform that a majority of Americans support. Furthermore, we led by example by voting to reduce our own operating budget this Congress.

Answering another reform promise, the House voted to begin the monumental but critical task of cataloging and reviewing all existing, pending and proposed government regulations which stand in the way of job creation and slow down economic growth. Given the Obama's administration's self-declared mandate of governing through regulation, identifying and correcting regulations harmful to America's economic recovery is all the more urgent.

As you may have heard, the House also wasted no time voting to repeal the president's unpopular new health care law. We realize an outright repeal will be difficult given the opposition to our efforts in the Senate and at the White House. Therefore, we've also taken steps to defund ObamaCare, including voting to repeal its burdensome new business reporting mandate (the expanded 1099 requirement).

Halting ObamaCare is only the first step in our plan to reform health care to be more responsive to the needs of the American people. The House is currently writing new legislation to expand access to care and protect those with pre-existing conditions through market-based reforms, rather than costly and ineffective government controls.

The work of the new Republican House that has garnered the most attention in the media and among the public is our efforts to cut federal spending. Admittedly, we have faced obstacles, including a president and a Senate that would rather continue to kick the can down the road. Nevertheless, the House was able to secure $38.5 billion in additional federal spending cuts for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, setting the stage for even bigger cuts beginning with the 2012 budget and beyond.

On April 15, the House passed the Path to Prosperity plan. This budget blueprint, written by Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, has provoked a national discussion about deficit spending and even forced the president to revise his earlier budget plan. However, unlike the president's approach, the House-passed budget reduces the deficit by $4.4 trillion over ten years through spending cuts and reforms, not new taxes.

We've come a long way in 100 days, but, rest assured, we still have a long path of ahead of us. I look forward to keeping you updated on our progress.

My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721.

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