Utah League of Cities and Towns

Making Life BETTER

Senator Mike Lee (R) – Congress in 2012

What do you intend to accomplish in Congress in 2012 and how will it benefit Utah’s cities and towns?

The American people sent a clear message to Washington in the 2010 election. They were tired of the out-of-control spending, the debt piling on future generations, and the promises made year to year that were never kept. As a result, last year was filled with controversy and conflict as many of us came to Congress insisting on changing the status quo.

In large part we succeeded in changing the dialogue. The conversation was about how much to cut, not if we could cut. Whether or not to raise the debt ceiling became a substantive vote with real consequences. And the President was no longer allowed to ram major pieces of legislation, like ObamaCare, through Congress.

This year is an election year and many have suggested that it will be difficult to succeed in addressing the country’s challenges. I am hopeful that will not be the case.

For starters, most of us agree that the federal government imposes too many rules and regulations on individuals and small business. Last year Congress published more than 80,000 pages of new and updated regulations to the federal register. Compliance costs are estimated to be $1.75 trillion for businesses. We cannot expect American businesses to compete in a global marketplace under that environment.

I am an original cosponsor of legislation to fix this egregious error. The REINS Act would require Congress and the President to approve all major regulations that result in more than $100 million of economic impact before they can be imposed indefinitely on the American people. Through regulation reform we can help hardworking taxpayers become successful and get people working again.

In addition, Congress should push for comprehensive tax reform. Any tax reform bill should remove loopholes, deductions and subsidies, and lower tax rates to make sure any change is revenue-neutral. This approach will save taxpayers billions of dollars a year without decimating the country by imposing massive tax hikes.

I will also continue to push for real spending reductions, budget process reform, and ways of making legal immigration more efficient.

And finally, my office is dedicated to restoring the proper role of the federal government, as well as empowering state and local governments to have more control over their resources.

For example, I have fought to ensure that local communities have a voice when the federal government attempts to lock up lands through wilderness study areas.

Currently, Utahns must go to the federal government, hat in hand, and ask permission to merely dig a well, or to build a road, or to bury cable, or indeed to do virtually anything.

I believe Utahns know what is best for Utah’s land. Congress should not support any new wilderness designations unless the proposal is first considered and approved by the legislature of the state in question.

I hope it will be a busy year for us in Congress. We have a number of challenges ahead and they shouldn’t be ignored for election-year campaigning. I am confident that if we work together, much can be accomplished.