I left my career in business to represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate because I knew I could get results. In my first year in office I visited all of Indiana’s 92 counties, and heard what issues mattered to Hoosiers from all walks of life.
This year, I’ve been proud to weigh in with some real world common sense and notch victories for Hoosiers on the issues that I heard most, like prescription drug prices, Medicare and Social Security, opioids, the climate and trade to name a few.
In 2020, I look forward to continuing this progress. Here are some of my priorities for the new year.
We all agree that health care and prescription drug costs are too high, and there’s one simple thing we can do right now to begin bringing down health care and prescription drug prices: introduce some competition into that market through price transparency.
I believe you should know exactly what prescription drugs and health care services will cost before you pay for them. That’s why I introduced the True Price Act to require health insurers to disclose negotiated rates, putting decision-making power into the hands of American consumers.
This measure was included in an executive order by President Trump forcing hospitals and insurers to disclose their prices to consumers.
But these transparency measures, as well as many of my other proposals to lower health care prices and fix the broken health care industry, need to be signed into law to be fully effective.
My top legislative priority for 2020 is to continue this work to lower costs for services and prescription drugs through transparency, market-competition, and streamlined drug approvals. I think there’s a great chance of a great legislative package coming through the Senate this year.
One promise from the campaign trail I immediately set to keeping was to make Washington, D.C., work more like the real world. My first bill, “No Budget No Pay” would withhold paychecks from Congress if they fail to pass a budget on time, providing an incentive to do the most basic thing that every business and family has to do.
I believe that too many people go to D.C. and get nestled in to the political farm system because of pay and perks — in December, my bill to allow Congress to opt-out of their taxpayer-funded pensions passed the Senate: a good first step to ending them altogether.
I think there is a great chance that No Budget, No Pay and other measures to drain the swamp such as term limits, banning Congress from becoming lobbyists, will gather even more support in 2020.
In my first year in office, I was proud to stand with President Trump on border security. So many problems across the country stem from our porous and dangerously unsecured southern border.
President Trump has taken bold steps to fix our immigration system and secure the border, and I will continue to stand firm in 2020 on this issue.
I believe conservatives should also be conservationists. In traveling the state, I spoke to a lot of farmers who came to me with concerns about the changing climate and Republicans lacking a voice in how to address it.
I heard them, and with Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware I formed the first ever bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus to take the politics out of this divisive issue.
For too long, the debate over environmental issues has looked more like a war, with both sides unwilling to put down their rocks long enough to have a conversation. This caucus is entirely bipartisan, will only act when votes among the members are unanimous, and includes Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio.
I believe the key to preserving our environment long term is engaging the business community and encouraging innovative technologies such as carbon capture, and I look forward to working with the caucus to foster real solutions that can actually be put into action.
USMCA is a fantastic deal for Hoosier farmers and manufacturers. The deal decreases the incentive to move plants to Mexico, incentivizes more production in North America, and makes it harder for Chinese goods to be assembled in Mexico and Canada and shipped to the U.S. tariff free.
I was disheartened to see this important deal being used as a political football, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi waiting until impeachment was a sure thing to give President Trump what might be considered a win. USMCA isn’t just a win for President Trump, though it is that. It’s a win for American workers.
I look forward to confirming this deal and putting it into action for farmers as soon as possible in 2020.
In a dysfunctional D.C. rife with partisan rancor like the Democrats’ impeachment crusade, it’s more important than ever to fix our sights on real issues that matter to folks here in Indiana.
This was written at the request of the South Bend Tribune. Thursday we had the priorities as listed by Indiana's other Republican senator, U.S. Sen. Todd Young.