REP. DIANE BLACK
On April 14th, my freshman colleagues and I celebrated our first 100 days in Congress. While the day was much like the 99 before it, filled with votes and meetings, I was able to mark my 100th day by going down to the House floor and supporting my first piece of legislation—a bill to deny federal funding to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States.
As a nurse for over 40 years, I spent my career protecting life and I am proud that my first bill was to protect those who are the most vulnerable. On my 100th day in Congress, I saw my bill to defund Planned Parenthood pass the House by a vote of 241-185.
But there was little time to celebrate, because soon after I was back on the floor as a member of the House Budget Committee, speaking out in favor of our proposed 2012 Budget. Called “The Path to Prosperity,” our budget takes real steps to get our country’s finances back on track, focusing on economic growth and job creation. In supporting this budget, I voted to cut $6.2 trillion in government spending and put America on a path to pay down our massive debt and reduce our deficits.
Throughout my first 100 days, I have been proud to vote many times to stop out-of-control federal spending and shrink the size of government. So far, the new House majority has banned all earmarks, voted to cut our administrative operating budget by 5 percent, and voted to repeal ObamaCare. Unfortunately repeal has stalled in the Senate, so now piece by piece we are defunding the law. To date we have voted to repeal the $17.75 billion “slush fund” and the job-killing 1099 provision in the health care law. Most important, we continue to change the conversation in Washington—from how much can you spend to how much can you cut.
We are going after wasteful and damaging programs every day. Just a few examples, so far I have voted to cut funding for National Public Radio, voted to end the taxpayer funding of presidential election campaigns and party conventions, and voted to end the wasteful mandatory printing of bills introduced in Congress. In the first 100 days in Congress, I have voted to cut $801.1 billion in spending—and we are ready to move from cutting billions to cutting trillions. Beyond the cuts, we are looking to enact permanent, structural changes so Washington’s big spending does not get this out of control again.
Back home in Tennessee, I am working hard to stay in touch with residents and job creators in all of the 15 counties. One of the things I enjoy most is meeting with small business owners and touring the big facilities in the district that employ so many. Frequently I ask what I can do to help, and the refrain more often than not is, “Washington get out of the way.” I completely agree!
Getting feedback from the district is so important. In order to see how Washington is impacting local communities, I have met with elected officials from all 15 counties. As different as each of these communities are, there are three issues I have consistently heard about in these meetings, and will continue to monitor over the coming months: water issues, methamphetamines and unfunded mandates from Washington. Additionally, it is my goal to host a town hall in each county. So far I have held nine meetings in Cookeville, Lebanon, Livingston, Lewisburg, Springfield, Celina, Carthage, Shelbyville and Lafayette. Hearing from you all is so important to the work I do in Congress, so come by and share your ideas. Changing the way Congress does business will not be easy, and it will not happen overnight, but I am determined to get our finances back on track with ideas and feedback from all of you.
I encourage you all to stay in touch with me through my website www.black.house.gov, where you can sign up for my weekly newsletter, as well as follow me on Facebook or Twitter, for instant updates on legislation or events. And as always, my offices in Cookeville, Gallatin and Murfreesboro are open and ready to serve you!