Columns

Judiciary Committee Agenda Promotes a More Competitive and Free America

f t # e
Washington, February 24, 2017 | Beth Breeding (202-225-5431) | comments
Earlier this year, I was honored to begin my third term as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee is one of the most active in Congress and plays a particularly critical role in advancing pro-growth policies and protecting the individual liberties of hardworking Americans. Under my leadership in the 115th Congress, the Committee will continue to advance an agenda focused on making America more competitive and free.

When the American economy is thriving, there are more job opportunities, higher wages, and lower prices for consumers. As Chairman, I will seek to restore accountability for, and provide relief from, the excessive red tape facing our nation’s small businesses and job creators. Furthermore, to increase our competitiveness Congress must get our fiscal house in order. The federal debt is nearly $20 trillion. That’s over $61,000 per person! For years, the government’s mantra has been “borrow, spend, rinse, and repeat.” One good first step is to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment, which I have introduced in the House since 2007. The current path is unsustainable, and we must end runaway government spending.

The Judiciary Committee also has the solemn responsibility to ensure our laws are fair, efficient, and enforced. The Committee will advance an agenda that ensures our federal criminal laws are designed to appropriately punish wrongdoers, are effectively and appropriately enforced, safeguard civil liberties, increase public safety, and work as efficiently as possible. I remain committed to passing bipartisan criminal justice reform. We must rein in the explosion of federal criminal laws, protect innocent citizens’ property from unlawful seizures, and enact forensics reforms to identify the guilty and quickly exonerate the innocent. 

The Judiciary Committee also has jurisdiction over our nation’s immigration laws, which nearly everyone agrees need to be improved. We will continue working to restore the rule of law and make the immigration system work better for our country. We must strengthen the interior enforcement of our immigration laws and remove the ability of any President to unilaterally shut down immigration enforcement. We need to ensure criminal aliens are detained and deported and end dangerous sanctuary policies that jeopardize public safety. We must also improve the legal immigration system, including a workable agricultural guestworker program.

Lastly, I want to make clear that the Judiciary Committee will continue its important oversight work. The Committee has a duty to conduct vigorous oversight of both the executive and judicial branches. We must ensure that they are bound by their constitutional limits so that we protect individual liberty as well as the separation of powers now, and for generations to come. 

It is truly an honor to serve our nation and Virginia’s Sixth District as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. I am excited about the prospect we have before us to make America more competitive, deliver more jobs to hardworking Americans, protect our national security, defend individual liberties, and make Americans more free.