Congressional Agenda for the Remainder of 2012

Congress is now back into session, and there are a number of serious issues we’ll need to act on before the end of the year. Our country is facing a combination of automatic spending cuts and tax increases that are collectively being called a “fiscal cliff,” for the effect they would have on our economy if all the changes happen.

The independent firm Ernst & Young found that raising tax rates on small businesses by letting the top two tax rates expire, as President Obama proposes, will cost our economy 700,000 jobs. And the across-the-board defense cuts will endanger our security instead of making the common-sense spending reductions that we need.

This situation is very serious. We must find a solution that does not leave small businesses and middle-class families struggling under higher taxes. I believe the way forward is through pro-growth tax reform with lower tax rates and fewer loopholes for everyone, along with responsible spending cuts and entitlement reforms.

We must also focus on passing a Farm Bill. The 2008 Farm Bill expired in September, and farmers and ranchers in West Texas need new policy in place as soon as possible. The House Agriculture Committee passed a Farm Bill that made real reforms and reduced spending while still ensuring our farmers have a safety net to carry them through bad seasons. We found $35 billion in savings, eliminated or consolidated 100 programs, and moved it to a more efficient, market-based system of crop support. Now it is time to pass a new Farm Bill, and I’ll continue to push for long-term legislation that gives our producers the certainty they need.

Between the tax hike, defense cuts, and Farm Bill, we face some serious challenges before this year comes to an end. I truly hope President Obama and Senate Democrats will work with us to solve them. My promise to you is that I will do all I can to cut our debt and grow our economy.

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