As the year comes to a close, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton looks to continue focusing on finance, veterans affairs and health care.
Tipton, a Republican from Cortez, again will represent Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes the Western Slope, all of Southwest Colorado and parts of southern Colorado. He has served the district since 2011, and he defeated Democrat Gail Schwartz in November for a fourth term.
Tipton released a column through his communications office on Dec. 9 highlighting legislation he was involved in over the past year and focus areas he anticipates in 2017.
“My primary focus this Congress has been on advancing policies that grow jobs, spur economic growth, and support health and safety in our communities,” Tipton wrote.
Rolling back regulationsTipton will continue to serve on the House Committee on Financial Services, as well as the Congressional Western Caucus and Small Business Caucus, according to his communications director, Liz Payne.
“Generally, the focus of the new Congress will be to look at regulations that President (Barack) Obama has put forward in the lame duck session and rolling those back, especially ones that step on states’ rights,” Payne said.
Those regulations might include the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, the Bureau of Land Management Planning 2.0 Program and the Department of Labor’s fiduciary and overtime rules, Payne said.
In 2015, Tipton introduced House Resolution 2896, which would eliminate and streamline rules from financial regulatory agencies, including some in the Dodd Frank Act. The resolution intends to allow banks and credit unions to focus more resources on providing services to customers, instead of devoting resources to regulatory compliance, according to Tipton’s website.
“Outside of the Financial Services Committee, my focus has been on protecting our water rights, holding the EPA accountable for its reckless actions in Gold King Mine, and working to find solutions to the opioid epidemic that has devastated so many of our communities,” Tipton wrote in the column.
EPA, BLM accountabilityAmong environmental issues, Tipton said he supports the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. President Obama signed the bill into law on Dec. 16, according to a White House news release.
That bill includes a provision that would expedite the process for states, local governments, and tribes seeking to recoup expenses they incurred after the Gold King Mine spill.
Tipton also is working to advance HR 3189, which would protect private water rights, the column states.
The BLM’s Planning 2.0 program aims to increase public participation in the agency’s land-use planning process, according to the agency’s website.
Veterans and drug abuse top issuesOpioid drug abuse and veterans affairs continue to be priorities for Tipton, Payne said.
This year, Tipton held a series of roundtable meetings around the district to address issues of opioid and prescription drug abuse.
Payne said there has been a lot of progress on that issue at the federal level, and Tipton is working to make sure things he heard at those roundtable meetings also are heard in the Capitol.
The 21st Century Cures Act, introduced as HR 6 by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., addresses opioid abuse, mental health issues and development of cures for 7,000 rare diseases. It passed Congress and was signed into law on Dec. 13.
The bill speeds up the approval process for new drugs and adds funding for research, including the “cancer moonshot” initiative led by Vice President Joe Biden. The funding will also aid research on opioid abuse and brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s, and allocates $1 billion in state grants to supplement opioid-abuse prevention and treatment activities.
Department of Veterans Affairs matters such as quality of care and availability of appointments are perennial issues in the Capitol, Payne said.
The House passed several bills this month regarding the VA, including House Resolutions 6416, 5399 and 4352, according to a release from Tipton’s office.
Those bills focus on increasing accountability within the VA, quality of care at VA facilities, and access to education and rehab services for veterans, the release states.
Improving main streetsAs a member of the Congressional Small Business Caucus, supporting small-town entrepreneurs is important for Tipton.
Tipton sponsored HR 6287, the Making Online Banking Initiation Legal and Easy Act, in September.
“With the House Republicans’ Better Way Agenda as our guide, we have a real opportunity to get our country back on track,” he wrote.
The top focus for the new Congress will be repealing the Affordable Care Act, he said.
“Then we’ll turn our focus to enacting the reforms we’ve developed over the past year to fight poverty, restore constitutional power, allow people to keep more of their hard-earned money, and rebuild our national defense.
“We have a tall task ahead of us, but we’ll hit the ground running in 2017.”