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New Leadership for a New Era

December 5, 2016
Weekly Columns
As President Obama’s days in office come to a close, the specter of significant change is on the horizon. While President-Elect Donald Trump assembles his leadership team, Congress is busy preparing our own agenda to repeal, reform and replace some of the most onerous policies of the Obama Administration. With the right people, Congress and the new President can bring badly needed change to the political atmosphere in our nation and finally begin to get things done.
I’ve been very impressed with the initial choices President-Elect Trump has made for his cabinet. Some are friends I have known for a long time, others are leaders I have admired for their previous service in politics, industry, medicine and the military.  But they are all very talented and highly qualified and are men and women of whom all Americans can have confidence in.
One of our greatest concerns and highest priorities we have as a nation is the state of our national security and homeland defenses. In the past eight years, we have seen growing terror threats and a tentative, unsteady, foreign and military policy. The next Secretary of Defense will have many reforms and changes to make, and must be strong in leading our military. General James Mattis, who has recently been nominated to the position, will be that leader our nation needs to both strengthen as well as streamline the Department of Defense. His extensive record of service and fearless leadership will be crucial in combating our enemies wherever they may be. And I believe he is a choice both Democrats and Republicans can and should get behind. Our military will continue to be the greatest force of strength in the world under General Mattis.
As Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, and Labor, I’ve overseen the budget for many critical programs that effect millions of Americans.  Sometimes, people are affected in a helpful fashion like the Alzheimer’s research being conducted at the National Institutes of Health.  And sometimes, unfortunately, in unhelpful and overly intrusive ways like the Obama Administration’s overtime rule at the Department of Labor.
At the Department of Health and Human Services, we are fortunate to have Congressman Tom Price, the Chairman of the House Budget Committee and former orthopedic surgeon, chosen as the candidate to lead this vast and complicated agency. I’ve had the pleasure of serving in the House with Dr. Price for twelve years, including on the Budget Committee. He has extensive experience in the medical field, and has been a champion for overhauling the Affordable Care Act - a desperate wish for many Americans. He is uniquely qualified to oversee the repeal and replacement of Obamacare and to be the architect of truly patient centered, market driven and affordable health care.
President-elect Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, is an old friend whom I have known for close to twenty years through our work together in party politics.  Betsy is one of our nation’s most active and generous philanthropists, and she is also one of our nation’s preeminent advocates for education reform through the use of school choice, charter schools, magnet schools, opportunity scholarships and her support for home schooling families.  I know she will always put the interests of Americas schoolchildren and their parents above all else.
While the president-elect still has several more important nominations to make, I have also been very impressed with all of his other selections. I am exceptionally pleased that a few of my colleagues like Congressman Mike Pompeo and Senator Jeff Sessions have been tapped to serve as CIA Director and Attorney General, respectively. And other notable choices such as Governor Nikki Haley and Elaine Chao also give me reassurance that a Trump Administration is attracting the best and the brightest. President-Elect Trump was elected with a vision to “Make America Great Again,” and I am looking forward to working with his team to make that happen.