December 20, 2018 600 AM
There is a spirit of joy and giving in the air this time of year that goes unmatched, no matter the occasion celebrated. From getting together with family and loved ones to giving back to those in need, the holidays bring out the best in each of us and our nation as a whole. As this season continues, I encourage everyone to take time to reflect on this spirit of the season and carry a perspective of kindness, civility and cooperation into the New Year.
We live in a nation more divided than ever. And although bringing up politics is typically frowned upon at a family gathering, my fear is that we are unable to put our labels of Democrat or Republican aside and work for the common good of our communities. One of the founding principles of our nation is the freedom of speech, or put alternatively, the ability to disagree. Through civil discourse and competition of ideas, we have created a democracy that has allowed Americans to prosper. We must come together as a nation and show the world our ability to disagree civilly, and that more unites us than divides us. For this ‘experiment called America’ to continue to thrive, we must be able to disagree with one another, without being disagreeable.
One of the things I consistently hear when I’m back home crisscrossing South and West Texas is that folks fear our country is on the wrong track. I understand why you all feel this way – I often feel the same after seeing pointless partisan bickering in Congress. However, what I have seen during my time in Congress is that bipartisanship is a real thing, and it is the only way to ensure that everyone’s voices are heard.
For example, last week alone, Congress saw three major bipartisan wins that deliver real results back home, from saving your hard-earned taxpayer dollars and keeping you safe to providing certainty for TX-23’s more than 9,000 working farms and ranches. On Wednesday, I held my final hearing as Chair of the IT Subcommittee in the House, which oversees how our federal government is storing and protecting your information online. Due to bipartisan technology policies that my committee members and I have advocated for, the federal government saved over $714 million in taxpayer dollars this year alone to streamline their IT systems and keep your data safe from hackers. Although my time as Chair has come to an end, I assure you that I will continue to work with my friends on both sides of the political aisle to make sure our government is more efficient and transparent for the American people.
My bipartisan DHS Data Framework Act has also officially been sent to the President’s desk, becoming my thirteenth piece of legislation since 2015 to be signed into law. In today’s interconnected world, it is imperative that our law enforcement agencies can get the right information to the right people at the right time, so we can keep terrorists on the run and off our shores. This bipartisan bill provides the tools to make this happen, allowing the Department of Homeland Security to quickly and safely share information with other law enforcement agencies without compromising our nation’s secrets. I’m glad that my colleagues and I could get this bipartisan initiative to keep Americans safe across the finish line.
Last but certainly not least, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, commonly known as the Farm Bill, is also headed to the President’s desk to become the law of the land for the next five years, providing TX-23’s hardworking farmers and ranchers with strong agricultural policy that provides them with certainty and stability they need to put the clothes on our backs and the food on our tables. I was proud to support this bipartisan legislation and will continue to fight for the 3.75 million Texans employed by the agricultural sector.
The fact of the matter is clear and simple: we work better when we work together. I am excited to head home to Texas after these major bipartisan wins, and I hope that my colleagues also understand that the only way we can continue to get things done is by working together. If we want our nation to be better, each of us needs to be better. That’s why in Congress I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advocate for each of you, whether you voted for me or not, because it’s my job as Representative to find solutions and deliver real results back home.
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A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.