When I speak at events across the Third District, I often cite my favorite Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. quote: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?'” This question drove me into public service and has continued to shape my work in Congress, including my recent appointment to the Committee on Ways and Means.

The Committee on Ways and Means is the oldest committee in Congress and is probably best known as the tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives. But we also oversee trade, Social Security, economic opportunity and health care policy. This wide array of issues impacts nearly every aspect of American life and the opportunities folks have to reach for the American dream.

Long before I even thought about running for Congress, I saw my hometown and the surrounding area lose manufacturing jobs. More folks were moving into poverty than into the middle class, and the trap of generational poverty took hold. The American dream was slowly slipping away from an entire generation.

We were able to bring our neighbors and our community back from the brink with some hard-won lessons about restoring the dignity of work and ensuring government is both efficient and responsive so that people could escape the cycle of poverty.

These are the lessons that I bring to work with me every day. And as a member on the Committee on Ways and Means, I now have the opportunity to tackle wide-ranging issues to unleash job creators, lower health care costs and remove barriers to opportunity.

Last Congress, we made great strides for American workers with our pro-growth agenda and the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Now we need to continue building on that success and growing a 21st century economy to make sure America remains competitive on the world stage and that American job creators have the freedom to continue building their businesses. We also have an opportunity to tackle other important issues to American workers, such as retirement security. Americans deserve a secure retirement, and we will continue the momentum begun in the last Congress to pass bipartisan reforms to strengthen retirement security for all Americans.

Looking ahead, I will use my position as a member of the Ways and Means Committee to create an environment of hope and possibility for all. That means removing barriers to opportunity and lowering health care costs.

Our social safety net should be designed to help folks who have fallen on hard times regain their footing and put them on the path to success. But too often that is not what actually happens. Instead, our broken welfare programs trap people in the cycle of generational poverty, stripping them of the dignity of work and the opportunity for a better life.

I am already taking action to help Americans escape poverty and pursue the American dream. I am a cosponsor of recently introduced legislation to reauthorize and strengthen the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program These changes will give hard-working Americans more opportunities to create a better life for themselves and their families.

Likewise, our nation’s broken health care status quo is hurting Americans’ ability to get ahead. Barriers to care and skyrocketing costs threaten to leave Americans without the health care their families depend on. The Committee on Ways and Means has already held a hearing where we all agreed that maintaining protections for patients with pre-existing conditions is vital. And, as we move forward, we will continue to look for ways to ensure Americans can access the health care they need.

I believe that there are innovative solutions to each and every one of these problems, and the Committee on Ways and Means is perfectly poised to tackle them. Working with my colleagues, I know we can create a brighter future that gives every American the opportunity to succeed.

U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-West Point) has served Georgia’s 3rd District since 2017

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