Congressman highlights his legislative priorities
Swearing in for the 117th Congress was held on Jan. 3.
Although Republicans picked up some seats in the U.S. House after the Nov. 3 general elections, they remain in the minority (222-211). U.S. Rep. Roger Williams was elected to his fifth term in Congress. The Republican represents Texas District 25, which includes Lampasas County.
“If you take aside the presidential race, I think that [Nov. 3] was a real good day for Republicans and conservatives … we really closed the gap,” Williams said.
When interviewed toward the end of 2020, Williams was hopeful there might be a new Speaker of the House this session. Although he was one of 209 Republicans on Sunday who voted for Kevin McCarthy for that position, Nancy Pelosi (D-California) managed to get 216 votes from her Democrat colleagues to remain Speaker of the House.
Two other events this week have garnered much of the nation’s attention:
• the Jan. 5 runoff in Georgia for two seats that will decide which political party has the edge in a closely divided U.S. Senate.
• the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, when senators and representatives will vote on whether to certify the Electoral College results.
Williams, when interviewed about the upcoming congressional session, preferred to focus on several legislative priorities that would apply regardless of who sits in the White House. Those include expanding tele-healthcare and rural broadband internet, defense spending and preserving tax cuts made in recent years. One of the last major bills
One of the last major bills of 2020 was Congress’ passage of an omnibus spending package that included $600 payments to Americans as relief for pandemic-related economic trouble. Opponents of the legislation pointed to the amount of foreign aid included in the bill and expressed concern for the national debt, which was over $20 trillion as of Dec. 21, 2020, according to official U.S. Treasury statistics.
Williams considered an early COVID relief package passed in the spring a major accomplishment of the past term.
“Fifty-eight thousand people had their jobs saved because of [the Paycheck Protection Program] here in the district,” he said. “Six thousand businesses applied for the PPP program.”
Earlier tax cuts signed into law by Trump created “the greatest economy we’ve ever seen … then COVID came,” Williams said. “We took a punch, but [the economy] has recovered pretty good, and the PPP program is one of the reasons for that.”
With the current political climate, Williams does not expect a lot of bipartisan measures to pass soon. But he did mention a couple that passed with his support in the 116th session, including the Save our Stages Act. That legislation authorizes the Small Business Administration to make grants to eligible live music venues, producers, promoters or talent representatives to address the economic effects related to COVID-19 and event cancellations.
Some Republican House and Senate members have said they will object this week to the Electoral College results for states that had their election numbers disputed due to allegations of fraud. Williams, at the time of his interview with the Dispatch Record, did not say if he will object, but he reiterated his support for President Donald Trump.
“I absolutely think the challenges have merit … I fully support him on it,” Williams said. “This election, in my mind, had a lot of problems to it. I think that everything he’s doing through the court system is right. “Without getting ahead of
“Without getting ahead of myself … it’s about fair-and-square elections,” Williams added. “We’ve got to protect our future elections.”