By Phil Roe
Last week, the House was out of session, which means I was home in East Tennessee doing what I enjoy most – listening to East Tennesseans’ views on the many issues facing our country. Learning about what our community needs – from tax reform to health care to immigration to taking care of our veterans – is critical to my work in Congress and to ensuring the views of East Tennesseans are being heard in Washington.
I started the week in Sevier County with a number of our local officials to discuss economic recovery and development after the wildfires that occurred in 2016. I heard from them about some of the challenges they continue to have in helping residents rebuild, and I am grateful for how focused they are on helping the region recover.
I also heard from National Park Service officials about its work to begin implementing some of the recommendations from its review of the Chimney Tops 2. We are hopeful we can use this report to improve preparedness and prevent tragedies like this in the future. Again, I can never thank the first responders and firefighters enough for their efforts to help stop the fires from spreading. What has already been achieved is a testament to the resilience of Sevier Countians, and I couldn’t be prouder of how the community came together in the midst of such tragedy to help their neighbors.
I also had the opportunity to visit with the Camp Creek Medical Center and hear about the work our community health centers are doing. As the debate around how best to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, continues in Congress, it’s helpful to hear from health care providers about what they’re seeing in East Tennessee. Community health centers are taking care of some of our most vulnerable population, and it was good to hear their perspectives.
I was also able to visit several manufacturers in the district and hear directly from them about how regulatory reform will help them create jobs, grow our economy, and make it easier for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. I got a sense of optimism about the direction of our economy when I talk with these job creators, and I am proud of the work Congress has already accomplished this year under the leadership of President Trump. We’ve been able to pass and sign into law 14 bills under the Congressional Review Act aimed at overturning Obama-era rules and job-killing regulations, and the House has passed legislation to open up capital for businesses and startups. Our work to get our economy back on track and empower American families is just beginning.
Lastly, everywhere I went I heard the need for tax relief: from families who could use more take home pay to afford a house or pay for their child’s education, or from job creators who can’t compete with their foreign competitors.
There is no doubt that our tax code is broken and in desperate need of reform. Tax reform will strengthen our economy by allowing individuals and families to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets. Further, it will make our country more appealing to businesses so they stay here and don’t move jobs overseas. Our tax code is far too complex; so complex, in fact, that taxpayers spend $99 billion each year complying with the individual income tax. House Republicans are working to replace our complicated and confusing tax code with a leaner, simplified and more competitive plan than ever before. This new tax plan will create a healthier economy and improve the lives of all Americans, and you can read more about our plan at fairandsimple.gop.
Thank you for the continued honor and privilege of being your congressman. My contact information can be found on my website, www.roe.house.gov.
As always, feel free to contact my office if I can be of assistance to you or your family.