Undoing the hurt
When I first ran for Congress, a reporter asked me what was on my to-do list if I was elected. I said, "I am not going to Washington with a 'to-do' list. I am going with an 'Undo' list. Washington has inflicted bad policies onto the American people, hurting them economically, stifling individual opportunity, and infringing on their freedoms. It is time to roll back those policies and move forward."
Over the years, the American people have been subjected to an executive branch that would stop at nearly nothing to exert control over our lives.
Some of the most egregious offenders include the EPA's "Waters of the U.S." rule, which is nothing more than a massive federal land grab that could see over 99% of Missouri land regulated by the agency; Obamacare, which is continuing to prove itself to be unaffordable and unsustainable; and the Department of Labor's "Overtime Rule," which will cause many people’s hours and wages to be reduced all while increasing the cost of hiring employees.
As I have traveled the district, I have heard from many of my constituents about how these rules and regulations have been hurting them. My colleagues and I in Congress have tried, through numerous pieces of legislation, official correspondence, and a host of other channels available to us, to make these stories known—to show our president—just how these one-size-fits-all mandates are affecting hardworking Americans. Unfortunately, with the former administration, these efforts fell on deaf ears.
With a new administration in place now, I decided to compile a list of the most offensive rules, regulations, and mandates that have been affecting my constituents. Instead of simply listing the policies my constituents want to see undone, I wanted to let their voices be heard. So I asked my constituents to submit their stories. I asked them, “What are the burdensome rules, regulations, policies, and laws YOU would like to see undone? How have they affected you? How would you remedy this?”
The stories poured in. They are real; they are impactful; and one thing was very clear: overregulation from our federal government is having a profound and detrimental effect on the people of Missouri’s Fourth District.
From these submissions, I put together the “MO-4 Undo List,” compiling the stories and quotes that seemed to best summarize the feelings of my constituents. I presented it to President Trump so he could hear from the people themselves, and I was encouraged when he told me he would look at it. It is my hope he will use the list to prioritize his administration’s efforts to undo the burdens imposed by previous administrations.
This goes well beyond my district’s borders. I am certain people all across the country are struggling to manage with the crush of rules and regulations that have been forced on them from Washington. People from all walks of life, from all regions of our great country, are dealing with this, and they are tired of it.
It’s these differences—that communities and people are not the same from state to state or city to city—that one-size-fits-all mandates fail to address. Dodd-Frank, for instance was meant to address the actions of Wall Street banks after the financial crisis. Instead, it has been ravishing local and community banks, reducing access to much-needed capital in our towns and cities. It is foolish to think a bank in Buffalo, Missouri, with a population of just over 3,000, would have the same customers, needs, or requirements as Goldman Sachs, which employs approximately 34,000 people.
Regulations are important. They help protect our health, safety, and well-being, and provide firm rules for us to live by. But taken beyond their initial purpose—and to an extreme—regulations can stifle innovation and make everyday life more expensive and difficult to manage. Subsequently, they also foster a dependency on government that strips away from individual liberties, economic freedom, and personal opportunity.
We need to reverse course. We need to help Americans, not hurt them. And we need to remember that what may be good for one does not make it good for all. We need to undo Washington’s harmful policies, and, more importantly, we need to undo Washington’s intrusion into those areas of our lives better left to state and local governments…or left alone completely. Restoring freedom and local control by “undoing” Washington’s overreach is truly the best thing we could do.