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Rep. Mike Pompeo: Allow Kansans to work, innovate

  • Published Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, at 12 a.m.

While a number of challenges face a divided Congress, the resourcefulness of the American people has gone overlooked.

Hard work and creativity are far more likely to be the key to freedom and prosperity than any Washington solution during these tough economic times, particularly for Kansas families living on a budget, as well as Kansas energy production and manufacturing. If there’s one area for bipartisan agreement, it’s that Americans are America’s greatest resource.

That’s why Washington can’t be allowed to stand in the way of everyday people trying to take care of their families and their communities. From Obamacare to wasteful mandatory spending programs to obsolete and unnecessary job-killing regulations, we need to roll back Washington’s control in our lives. To help, I’ve worked to advance legislation that would reduce government interference and allow Kansans to do what they do best: work hard and innovate.

Take general aviation, which is a very important part of life in south-central Kansas. An outdated and clunky general aviation certification process from the 1970s slows down new innovations in safety and manufacturing, and it raises costs. In response, I introduced the Small Airplane Revitalization Act, which would update and streamline these regulations, making American aviation even more competitive. The bill has passed both the House and Senate, and I expect President Obama’s signature to come this week.

That’s not the only place where Washington could get out of the way. America is undergoing an energy renaissance that has been a boon for Kansas households and manufacturers – the United States is on track to be the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. But building the infrastructure to transport that natural gas has become a massive boondoggle, because federal regulators have little incentive to meet clear deadlines. This has created needless scarcity leading to higher utility costs for households and factories alike. I wrote a bill that reforms this process, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, which would ensure that pipeline construction could have a clear timeline, preventing projects from waiting in limbo. It passed the House with bipartisan support last week and now awaits action in the Senate.

Kansas families and small businesses can lead the way if left alone by Washington’s interference. We just need to give them the opportunity to shine.

The amazing men and women at McConnell Air Force Base are another source of inspiration. Based on McConnell’s excellence, the Air Force selected the base as the primary choice for the new KC-46 tanker that will keep Americans safe for decades. While many localities competed for this honor, the leadership shown by people at all levels in our community – state, local and federal – made clear that McConnell is truly a national treasure. The Air Force agreed.

We don’t need top-down Washington-based solutions to help our sputtering economy out of our current rut. Instead we need to pass bills to cut red tape and recognize that the American people hold the keys to America’s success.

Despite the divergent views we face in Congress, each one of these efforts has garnered bipartisan support. Maybe that’s because legislators are increasingly realizing that hardworking people working together, not Washington deal-making, can make life better.

Mike Pompeo is a Republican member of Congress from Wichita.

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