Cornyn: Senate Had Texas-Sized Legislative Wins in 2017
Last week on the Senate floor, I highlighted the Senate’s many legislative accomplishments in 2017 that will benefit Texans and Americans across the country. Excerpts of my remarks are below, and video of my remarks can be found here.
We've confirmed 19 men and women to the federal bench in 2017, setting a record for appellate judges confirmed during a president's first year in office. Two of them, Jim Ho and Don Willett, I'm pleased to say will serve from Texas on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that sits in New Orleans.
I, along with the entire Texas congressional delegation, helped secure roughly $30 billion for recovery efforts. But the thing I'm most proud of is the way that ordinary Texans responded to their neighbors in need. They weren't waiting around for Washington to act first. They wanted to act to help their neighbors and their community and their state.
I introduced the bipartisan Fix NICS Act. That's Fix the National Instant Criminal Background Check Act, to ensure that existing laws are enforced and convicted felons don't exploit our background check system by lying and buying. I'm going to continue to urge the passage of this important piece of legislation which is, as I say, bipartisan, as it should be.
We completed comprehensive tax reform, a historic overhaul of the tax code and the first in more than three decades. We said originally that our goals were threefold. One is to make the tax code simpler. Second is to make sure that everybody in every tax bracket saw a decrease in their tax liability. And third was to make the American tax code competitive in the global economy.
There’s other important legislation that we passed with little fanfare, but significant impact which I'd like to mention. One is a bill I championed called the PROTECT Our Children Act, which reauthorizes task forces that combat child exploitation online. The second I would like to mention is a bill that tackled elder abuse.
A third, called the SAFER Act...the reauthorization of the SAFER Act is important to keep our commitment to victims of sexual assault that we will do everything in our power to help them identify their assailant and to bring them to justice, and at the same time exonerate people who may be falsely accused because there is no DNA match.
Finally, other legislation I filed and has now been signed into law assists police departments in hiring military veterans. We know our police departments always are in need of good, highly qualified applicants for those important first responder jobs. After signed by the President, it streamlined the process that active duty personnel and reservist members go through to apply for their commercial driver's license.
This last year, we made important strides, but our work is just beginning, and as I said at the outset, there is much that lies ahead. Many Americans and many Texans are still knocking at the door of greater prosperity. I hope we will make it our new year's resolution to open that door a little wider in 2018.