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Real solutions come from the people

In addition to pushing back against a Washington-centric tax-and-spend plan that would add trillions more onto our national debt, I spent the month of August connecting with the people who live and work in communities across Pennsylvania’s 12th District so that our team can best represent them in Congress.

Their message was clear. Americans should define their government; the government should not define them. Unfortunately, Washington Democrats’ $3.5 trillion proposal to radically expand the scope of the federal government in almost every aspect of Americans’ lives would lead to more government control, less individual freedom, and fewer opportunities for our kids and grandkids to succeed.

During the August work period, our team met with local farmers, workers, veterans, retired individuals, students, and job creators — working together on solutions to the issues that matter most to them. In communities across our Commonwealth, families are working hard to rebound from the economic effects of the pandemic. Still, we’re seeing prices soar across the board due to worsening inflation, and small businesses are struggling to hire enough workers.

As we emerge from this pandemic, our focus should be squarely on rebuilding the world’s greatest economy. Prior to the pandemic, Americans enjoyed record-high employment numbers, historic economic gains, and a growing middle class thanks to President Trump’s policies of lower taxes, fewer onerous regulations, and increased local control.

By contrast, one of the greatest threats to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic has been an ever-expanding federal government unwilling to relinquish control over its citizens. Even now, government mandates threaten to undermine the progress that has been made to reopen our schools and businesses.

Going forward, the key to recapturing America’s pre-pandemic prosperity will depend on getting the government out of the way and allowing the American people to do what they do best: work hard, earn a living, provide for their families, and support their communities.

In Congress, our team is advocating for policies that put Pennsylvanians first. That means supporting homegrown energy production, advocating for our veterans, protecting American jobs, and eliminating burdensome red tape for our farmers.

This year, we’ve worked on the POWERS Act to prioritize American energy by expanding our capacity to produce and distribute natural gas, instead of relying on foreign oil from countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia.

When we discovered that half a million veterans’ vital records requests were being delayed due to the pandemic shutdown of the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), we introduced the RECORDS Act, compelling the NPRC to immediately and fully reopen. This critical legislation would take steps to ensure that service members and their families have timely, uninterrupted access to benefits they have earned.

In support of our local farmers, I introduced the GIVE MILK Act to boost demand for Pennsylvania dairy products and offered an amendment which would exempt small family farms from being forced to comply with excessive federal workplace regulations that shouldn’t apply to them.

I also supported the American Broadband Act, which would promote the development of high-speed, broadband internet infrastructure across the nation — especially in rural communities like ours.

The common thread between all of these policies is that they focus on making the government more efficient in working for you, while empowering the private sector to lead the way through innovation and growth. To the extent that our businesses, workers, and families succeed, so does our nation.

This view contrasts sharply with that of the Biden administration, which consistently sees more government as the solution rather than the problem. Over the past several months, we’ve seen the failures of this approach take center stage in the form of wasteful, big-government spending which threatens to send inflation spiraling out of control.

From the gas pump to the grocery store, Americans are now paying more and getting less. This inflation is a tax on every family in America, and it is directly traceable to the Biden administration’s insistence on spending your money on items we cannot afford and do not need.

Not only does inflation constitute a tax, it’s also a pay cut. Americans who managed to keep their jobs over the past year have seen their real wages decrease by almost two percent when adjusted for inflation. Consider the effect of this inflation on our senior citizens, many of whom live on fixed incomes: This year, Social Security recipients got a modest, 1.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment, but consumer prices have risen by more than 5 percent over the same period.

Instead of addressing these problems, Washington Democrats are currently plowing ahead on trillions more dollars of wasteful spending, coupled with a tax plan that would raise the burden on working Americans.

It is always an honor and a privilege to spend time in central and northeast Pennsylvania, visiting county fairs, touring small businesses, and talking to working people who truly understand the value of a dollar. When the House returns to session later this month, I will ensure that your voices and ideas are heard in Congress. After all, the real solutions to our nation’s problems don’t originate in Washington come from the people.

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller is a Republican serving much of our region.

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