Opinion Pieces

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter reflects on first 100 days

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Washington, May 19, 2015 | comments
Representing the First Congressional District of Georgia has been one of the greatest honors of my life. It has been just over 100 days since I took the oath of office.

Over these last several months, I have been working diligently to promote conservative values and deliver results.

I am proud to have been a part of one of the most productive starts to a congressional session in recent history.

What follows is a snapshot of our ongoing work to unshackle our economy and increase opportunity in America.

My first act as a member of Congress was to co-sponsor the fair tax, which would create a simpler, fairer and flatter tax code to build a stronger economy.

With the highest corporate tax rate in the world and an overly complex tax code, scrapping the IRS is one of the best moves we can make to empower all Americans to achieve the American Dream.

As the only pharmacist in Congress, I have seen firsthand the devastating impact Obamacare is having on health care in America, and I am working diligently to repeal the law once and for all.

I voted in February to repeal it in its entirety and replace it with market-oriented solutions to repair our health care system by getting government out of the way and empower patients with more choices, lower costs and better services.

For the first time since 2009, Congress passed a joint budget agreement that cuts $5.5 trillion in wasteful spending, balances the budget, begins paying down the debt in less than 10 years and provides real solutions to grow our economy.

It shields our troops from devastating cuts that threaten our national security and could leave us unable to defend ourselves against threats from around the globe. It also sets the stage for Congress to overcome a vocal minority obstructing our efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare and all its mandates, taxes and regulations with patient-centered reforms.

We have acted to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources often hostile to our national interests, and we have achieved the first entitlement reform in two decades that will protect seniors’ access to health care.

I have fought to ensure the four military installations in the First District and all our brave servicemen and servicewomen have the resources they need to make them the best equipped, most well trained and highly cared for soldiers in the world.

I’ve also worked to take care of our veterans and make sure they are getting the care and attention they need.

Those who have served so honorably deserve nothing less.

Beyond the legislation I have been proud to support, I would also like to reflect on some of the many things I have learned during my first 100 days.

I’ve learned that sleeping on a cot in my office isn’t all that bad.

Although hopefully it won’t be long term, I have chosen to sleep in my office in the Cannon building and it has really proven to be a great opportunity to create important friendships and camaraderie with other members who are also sleeping in their office.

I’ve learned the similarities of running a congressional office and a business.

When I took office, we didn’t get new equipment. The office uses equipment left from my predecessor as the equipment belongs to the First District of Georgia, not its elected representative.

Additionally, congressional offices are required to balance a budget, just like businesses and municipalities all across Georgia. If the office exceeds our allotment, it is my personal responsibility to pay for any overages, not the taxpayer.

Needless to say, we will not have any overages in this office.

I’ve learned that, despite the rumors, members of Congress do not receive a full salary in retirement after one term.

Members of Congress pay into retirement plans like everyone else.

We also do not receive special health insurance plans beyond those offered to federal workers. I thought this was important to share because a colleague of mine light heartedly jokes that he is still working on convincing his mother that this is true.

Rest assured, it is.

I’ve learned that there are good and smart people in Washington who want to move this country forward, both Republicans and Democrats.

I have been pleasantly surprised that I have met truly exceptional representatives who travel to Washington to fight for the people they represent then go home to be with their family, community and constituents.

These are the people I have chosen to associate with at the Capitol, and I hope to continue in their footsteps.

Finally, I’ve reaffirmed what we knew already: Our nation faces enormous challenges.

However, my first 100 days in office have also reaffirmed my belief that America’s greatest times lie ahead of us, and I’m ready to continue the fight.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Buddy Carter was elected in Georgia’s First Congressional District in November 2014 to succeed former congressman Jack Kingston who held the post for 22 years.

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