My top priority is promoting job creation and economic growth here at home in Southwest Michigan. I am working to ensure that our region has a seat at the national table on issues of importance to Michigan families and businesses.
Helping Michigan Drug and Medical Device Manufacturers Compete
As a major life sciences innovation corridor, Southwest Michigan is a national leader in healthcare research and manufacturing. In 2011 and 2012, I led the way in the House for the successful reauthorization of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) user fee programs for prescription drugs and medical devices. By improving the federal evaluation and approval processes, we significantly help Michigan manufactures like Perrigo, Pfizer, and Stryker better compete with companies overseas, allowing them to bring their life-saving products to patients faster. My FDA reform bill also supports advancements in generic drugs and biosimilars, helps prevent future drug shortages, and promotes treatment options for children with rare diseases.
My Energy and Commerce Committee has since advanced legislation to modernize the review process for new and generic animal drugs as well. This bipartisan animal health legislation (H.R. 1407) was signed into law in June 2013.
My bipartisan initiative 21st Century Cures also includes provisions that help American companies compete in the research and manufacturing sector. By investing in these efforts here at home, we can keep American jobs from going overseas.
Protecting Small Businesses from Harmful Regulations
Unnecessary regulations and red tape unilaterally imposed by un-elected Washington bureaucrats are cutting into the bottom line of Michigan employers, making it more costly for them to do business and harder to create jobs. I am an original cosponsor of the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which provides relief for local business by requiring agencies to submit all major regulations to Congress for approval and guaranteeing no major rule can become effective until Congress approves it. Congress recently approved this legislation and it now awaits action in the U.S. Senate.
Affordable and reliable energy is also critical for a growing economy. I have led the fight to protect jobs and keep energy costs down by preventing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies from imposing costly new regulations on U.S. manufacturers and energy producers. The Energy Consumers Relief Act (H.R. 1582) would ensure that there is greater transparency, review, and oversight of EPA’s billion-dollar energy rules.
Keeping our Great Lakes Harbors Open
Ensuring our harbors remain open and ready for business is essential to job creation and economic activity in Southwest Michigan. I have continued to help lead the bipartisan effort to ensure that federal revenues derived for harbor maintenance dredging are fully used for their intended purpose – maintaining our ports, harbors, and waterways. I have also long been a leading supporter of seasonal dredging projects in Southwest Michigan to ensure area harbors remain open to commercial and recreational traffic, which thousands of local jobs and countless businesses are dependent upon.
Promoting Michigan Exports
To bolster Michigan business, I supported the successful passage of free but fair trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. By removing barriers to U.S. exports, we can grow our economy here in Southwest Michigan. The three agreements are expected to increase Michigan agriculture exports by nearly $45 million per year. The medical device industry also stands to benefit from these agreements, which would be a huge boon to employers in our region.
Making Essential Investments in Transportation Infrastructure
I was a senior House negotiator on the 2012 Highway Bill, which reflects our commitment to jobs, safety, and smaller government. By eliminating bureaucratic red tape and focusing taxpayer dollars on high-priority projects, this agreement will support American jobs and infrastructure projects to improve the safety of our nation’s roads and bridges. What’s more, it includes commonsense reforms to ensure that taxpayer dollars are wisely spent and that critical infrastructure projects are not needlessly delayed by the regulatory process. I was also a conferee on the landmark, bipartisan highway bill that was signed into law in 2015.
Supporting the Harbor Shores Development Project
Working with local officials and community leaders, I helped lead the way for the Harbor Shores development project, including the cleanup of the former industrial site. This project is already beginning to yield tremendous dividends in Benton Harbor through new public green space, a growing local tax base, and revived economic development.
Shielding Business Owners from New Health Care Mandates
Michigan small businesses should be focused on local job creation, not complying with costly, burdensome mandates coming out of Washington. I support full repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and also voted for legislation to delay both the law’s employer (H.R. 2667) and individual mandates (H.R. 2668) to provide tax penalty relief for Michigan families and employers.
I proudly helped lead the successful and bipartisan charge to eliminate an onerous tax reporting provision hidden within President Obama's healthcare law. Specifically, the law required that every business file separate paperwork with the IRS for every single business-to-business transaction that exceeds $600 over a given year, such as fuel, utilities, and office supplies.
Chemical Safety Reform
Working with my colleagues on the other side of aisle, we were able to pass the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act by a margin of 403-12 before it was advanced by the U.S. Senate and then signed into law by President Obama in 2016. This bipartisan bill will bring the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) into the 21st century, as we are making the first updates to the law since 1976. We came together to improve chemical safety by clearing up the hodgepodge of state rules, reducing risks for consumers, and making chemicals and products that are used every single day safer for all Americans. This bill will have a positive impact for commerce, the environment, and public health.