THE GREATNESS OF AMERICA
The greatness of our country is the freedom for people to try, and sometimes fail, but in many cases, to succeed beyond our wildest dreams. At the time of America’s founding, self-government was revolutionary. Our Founders believed that authentic liberty occurred when individuals were unconstrained by government. That freedom, matched with the amazing talents and abilities gifted to our citizens, has led to a prosperity unparalleled in human history. Unleashing the American spirit has fostered innovation, ideas, solutions, and enhancements spanning all walks of life.
In recent years, the federal government has clearly grown too big, weighing down the ingenuity and possibilities of Americans. That is an injustice. The cost of this overgrowth goes beyond the decreased productivity and loss of creativeness—it’s nearly bankrupted our country.
We currently face many challenges as a nation: From cutting regulations to eliminating wasteful spending to providing oversight of taxpayer dollars, as your congressman, I have led the fight in Washington to rein in the government to let Americans try and flourish once again.
OUR NATION’S DEBT
At nearly $30 trillion, our national debt is perhaps the greatest threat to our children and grandchildren’s future. Cutting the federal debt has been one of my top priorities in Congress–and I have consistently opposed bills that continue to recklessly spend without concern for our children and grandchildren’s future debt.
As long as I’m your congressman, I will continue to stand against Washington’s reckless spending. That’s why I sponsored the Balanced Budget Amendment, and call on Congress to pass it. The federal government must be subject to the same spending restraints as our states are. As a businessman myself, I understand that you either increase revenue, or you decrease spending if you want to fix a debt problem. We don’t have a revenue problem in America—we have a spending problem. The government needs to start living within its means, and cut unnecessary and wasteful programs.
THE U.S. ECONOMY
The booming economy until the coronavirus hit is proof that cutting taxes and rolling back the regulatory state lead to prosperity. Government first and foremost needs to get out of the way. Small businesses are the economic engine of America, and should be unleashed from the burdensome regulations. Regulations weigh the economy down by as much as $2 trillion annually, hampering productivity across industries.
We must continue to cut taxes at all levels of government to let businesses across the country innovate, invest, and hire more people. I’m proud to co-sponsor multiple bills in Congress to cut more taxes and let Americans keep more of their hard-earned dollars. I am a firm believer in the Laffer Curve: Revenue increases with decreased taxes. In Tennessee, as a state senator, I’ve led the fight to lower taxes and successfully passed the repeal of the Hall Income Tax, making our state one of only two states to have ever repealed an income tax of any kind.
SECURITY, STABILITY, AND SAFETY
There are three levels of threat facing the United States and each requires a unique preparedness. As a combat veteran in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I understand the global challenges we face firsthand. Every overseas relationship, every dollar spent in the federal budget, and every leadership decision made should be evaluated for its impact on each of these:
Security: The future security of the United States is most threatened by Russia and China. China’s expansion in the South China Sea, Belt and Road Initiative, and aggressive military posture toward U.S. allies are great concerns. America must lead the Free World in standing firm against China’s rising aggression. Russia continues to undermine the legitimate government in Ukraine, and their continued occupation of the Crimean Peninsula warrants strong sanctions.
Stability: Between safety and security lies a third threat: stability. Both Iran and North Korea, the two emerging dangers from the Axis of Evil, intend to exert their capabilities to destabilize U.S. interests in regions they influence. While both have interests that go beyond instability, their current capabilities do not permit success–yet. A nuclear-capable North Korea threatens the westernmost parts of the United States and our allies in the Pacific. We must confront the advancement of delivery systems in North Korea before a missile is launched. Iran’s efforts throughout the Middle East designed to destabilize the region have been effective. President Trump was right to pull the U.S. out of the Iran deal, and sanctions must be reinstated and expanded on Iran. I also oppose the efforts of the Biden Administration to renegotiate with Iran as long as they continue to be the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
Safety: Our greatest safety threats are from terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda. Our special operations forces, having taken this fight to the enemy for nearly 20 years, are the experts. We need to resource them, continue to train them, and let them do their jobs abroad and at home. The Joint Force’s senior leaders in counter-terrorism operations have the skills and need to be trusted to get it done.
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, and former member of the Homeland Security Committee, ensuring the safety of our country has been my top priority in Congress. I have written multiple bills to confront a rising China and have co-led multiple efforts to support our allies in the fight against threats to freedom around the world.
As our unwavering ally in the Middle East, a strong and robust relationship between Israel and America is critical. I have led the fight to continue providing financial and defense support to Israel, confront Tehran’s rising aggression and nuclear ambitions, support Israel in the peace process, and combat movements to delegitimize Israel. Surrounded by adversaries, Israel’s security and ability to maintain its qualitative military edge must be a top priority for Congress. Congress must continue its financial commitment to Israel, especially funding to support its military and defense capabilities. We must also reinstate, and expand, sanctions on Iran, a country whose Supreme Leader has publicly called to annihilate Israel and bring “death to America”.
The U.S. should also support Israel in the peace process by promoting direct bilateral talks, instead of unilateral measures or pressure through international organizations like the United Nations. We must continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas terrorist attacks, and ensure that any aid to the Palestinians is contingent on a commitment to nonviolence. And finally, on both the world stage and at home, we should take the lead in clearly and forcefully recognizing Israel’s legitimacy and its right to exist. In addition to providing this moral clarity, we should continue to leverage trade deals to pressure countries to end boycotts of Israel.
OUR MILITARY AND VETERANS
Military readiness is the acquisition of the right people, with the right leader, right equipment, and right training. During the Trump Administration, the United States military tackled many of the past failures of the Obama Administration. We must continue to rebuild our military, and fight against the Radical Left’s efforts to defund the Pentagon with drastic funding cuts.
The men and women who serve in our armed forces are the greatest among us. Every effort must be made to give them the very best equipment when they fight, the best possible pay and benefits, a secure, well-equipped home base on which to train, and the essential services they deserve as veterans once their duty ends. Not one dollar of foreign U.S. aid or assistance should be offered or awarded until every dollar owed to every veteran is paid.
Having worn the uniform for 24 years, and now having a son in the Army, I have championed legislation to help our veterans in both the State Senate, and now in Congress. In my first year in Congress, I wrote the Protecting Gold Star Spouses Act and Protecting Gold Star Children Act to ensure the children of our brave men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom are taken care of.
In the last few years, I have led the fight to seek justice for our K2 veterans, successfully passing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and advocating for an Executive Order signed by President Trump. I have also introduced a bicameral, bipartisan bill that I am working to get passed by Congress. We must ensure they get the care our nation owes them. I will continue to fight for every service member and every veteran.
Legal immigration is necessary for the continued strength of our economy. However, illegal immigration threatens the safety of individual Americans, the financial strength of the country, and an injustice to those who immigrate legally to our great country and honor our laws. The first and immediate step we need to take is to secure the border. Having visited the border three times in the last few years, I have seen firsthand that we must finish building the wall.I introduced a bill to help with that: the Dollars for the Wall Act, which would allow taxpayers to help directly pay for the border wall. We must also reinstate the Trump Administration’s asylum agreements–and firmly reject the proposals by the current administration that put thousands of families at risk to make a dangerous trek to our southern border.
It is also imperative that we enforce current federal law both at the border and across the country. When I served in the State Senate, I passed an anti-sanctuary cities bill that adds teeth to Tennessee’s sanctuary cities law. I also passed a bill forbidding municipalities from creating their own forms of identification. In Congress, I have also co-led a bill to designate certain Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations. It’s past time we hold them accountable for the violence and destruction they have caused.
We must fix healthcare in America. As a physician and former healthcare CEO, I know firsthand that we need to increase access, we must cut red tape and keep the government from bogging down the system that provides lifesaving care to millions of Americans.
We must put free market principles back into health care. That’s why I’ve introduced the Medicaid Improvement and State Flexibility Act, which allows states to implement a patient-centered and patient-controlled pilot program for Medicaid patients similar to what I passed as a state senator. Simply put, it’s a medical expense swipe card with a reduced amount of dollars available for medical purchases coupled with a catastrophic insurance plan. The recipient is told the card is for healthcare expenses and the card is only usable at allowed facilities—and any money they do not use comes back to them with their earned income credit, thus incentivizing them to shop for lower prices and save money.
I have also introduced two bipartisan bills in Congress to repeal arcane rules that are killing our rural hospitals. Until we put free market principles back into healthcare, we cannot fix it. Consumer-centered health care shifts control of choice, decisions and payment to the patients and their providers, removing the power of the insurance companies and the government.
THE SANCTITY OF LIFE
As a physician, I know firsthand that life begins at conception, and it’s our moral responsibility as humans to protect the most vulnerable among us. As one of only seven countries that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks in the world—in the company of North Korea—passing the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act should be an easy first step. I was proud to co-sponsor the bill as well as the Born Alive Survivors Protection Act.
We also must prioritize defunding Planned Parenthood, a fight I am also proud to help lead. There are over 13,000 community health clinics that can provide the women’s services that Planned Parenthood purports to provide. It’s well past time to defund Planned Parenthood. We need to protect doctors and nurses from being required to perform abortions, as well as ensure that taxpayer dollars never fund abortions. The Hyde Amendment must stand and I’m proud to take up that fight.
K-12 education is the future of our country, and in order to best serve our students, education should be completely controlled by states and local governments– not the federal government. The federal Department of Education has no business in our children’s education and should be abolished. Until it is shut down, and the money in the department budget returned to the states, I am proud to champion legislation like APLUS to start dismantling the Department’s control on education funding and requirements and give that money back to the states as block grants.
As a strong supporter of parental choice in education, I have signed onto legislation to expand school choice in Congress, including our military families. In the State Senate, I supported every attempt to create and advance school choice, but not at the expense of K-12 education. I was also proud to write the Tennessee Teachers’ Bill of Rights, to ensure our tireless educators had everything they needed to teach our state’s future generations.
I am also proud to sponsor the Kids to College Act, which would help our college students pay off their student loan debt–without the government.
THE 2ND AMENDMENT
The Constitution protects the right to bear arms, but neither the document nor the government gives us that right. The right to protect ourselves–and our families—comes from our Creator, which is why government cannot take it away. I am proud to fight against all efforts to chip away at our 2nd Amendment in Congress, including an effort by Democrats to stack the Supreme Court. That’s why I introduced a Constitutional amendment to limit the number of justices at nine.
When I served in the State Senate, I led the fight to expand gun rights to law-abiding citizens and championed the constitutional carry bill in the state. I defended each of the freedoms in the Constitution when I went to Iraq and Afghanistan, and you can continue to count on me to keep fighting for the Second Amendment.
SEPARATION OF POWERS
From our nation’s founding until the 1950s or so, the analysis of the Constitution was intended to be the original meaning of the words contained in the document. Today, however, instead of a legislative branch that makes laws, the new “lawmakers” of the land have become the whim of nine judges on the Supreme Court. They can easily create and restrict rights according to what they believe the Constitution “ought to say” in today’s setting.
The Judiciary has overtaken the legislative branch, and the greatest battle in Washington is now picking who the next justice will be. The impact of the living interpretation of the U.S. Constitution has led us down a path of destroying the very separation of powers envisioned by our Founders, and disrupted the elected voice of the people. Activist judges now single-handedly overturn the voice of duly-elected representatives. This concentrates power in the hands of the few, restricting who has a say in our system.
Our Founders wisely mistrusted power in the hands of the few, and I believe the great experiment known as America has thrived in large part because no one individual has had too much power. But, unfortunately, over the years, politicians, bureaucrats, and judges have forgotten the Constitutional limits of their power. I have fought to restore the separation of powers as intended by our Founding Fathers in Congress, and will continue to lead that fight.
The solution today is to restore federalism in America–and return the vast majority of power to the states. I write about what we need to do to save our country in an op-ed for Fox News.