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American people’s check-and-balance back in Congress

With 2023 upon us, I’m incredibly honored to begin serving my new term as your representative to Congress. I’ve always preferred ‘representative’ over ‘congressman’ because my job is just that: to represent you and to serve as your voice in the People’s House.

As we return to Washington, my Republican colleagues and I control the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time since 2018. That is a responsibility I take very seriously.

We are prepared to tackle an agenda that works for the American people. During the 2022 campaign, our new Speaker of the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., introduced the Commitment to America. This road map outlines where House Republicans plan to go in the new Congress. Those four pillars are “An Economy That’s Strong,” “A Nation That’s Safe,” “A Future That’s Built on Freedom,” and “A Government That’s Accountable.”

I want you to know that I’ve already been hard at work introducing bills that fulfill my promises to you.

Just weeks after the election, I introduced legislation that will hold the Internal Revenue Service accountable to the American people. In the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden administration infused the IRS with $80 billion of new funding without any real oversight. My bill, the IRS Funding Accountability Act, would give Congress a direct say in how this new funding could be spent, further hold the IRS accountable, and provide more transparency for the American people.

Shortly after my bill was introduced, we learned that the private information of more than 112,000 American taxpayers was breached — again.

That’s why during our first night in session in the new Congress, the U.S. House went one step further by passing Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act. Similarly, this bill would rescind all new IRS funding included in the Inflation Reduction Act for the agency's 87,000 new agents. This legislation is so important. It will ensure the IRS cannot shakedown hardworking Americans and that taxpayer information is protected.

Starting this Congress, I will begin serving as chairman of the Ways & Means’ Subcommittee on Tax, which oversees tax policy and how the federal government collects and spends tax dollars. This position is incredibly significant to Western Pennsylvania and to the country at large.

As chairman, I will work tirelessly to make sure your tax dollars are spent as effectively as possible. The inflation rate over the last two years remains a combined 13%. Washington doesn’t need more of your money. You do, and I am fighting to make that happen.

Energy prices continue to be a concern for so many across our region. Natural gas prices, for example, are expected to jump 28% this winter. That’s on top of last winter’s price spike.

In November, I also introduced the “Pipeline Permitting for Energy Security Act.” This legislation is my latest effort to create regulatory certainty for the natural gas industry and lower energy costs for Pennsylvania families. Pennsylvania is the second-largest natural gas producing state in the country. I’m committed to making sure the Keystone state can continue to serve as an energy leader in the United States and around the world.

Last week, House Republicans took historic action to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve after President Biden drained it by 40% in less than two years. Republicans are once again ensuring those reserves are used during emergencies.

I envision our Republican majority in the U.S. House will serve as the much-needed check-and-balance the American people have been asking for over the last two years. The majority of voters made it clear: they are done with runaway spending, open borders, and shortsighted energy policy.

In a divided government, where Democrats still control the U.S. Senate, passing legislation will be understandably difficult. After all, Republicans now control just one half of one-third of the federal government. But it’s possible if we work together.

I welcome my Democratic colleagues to work with me and my Republican friends as we aim to craft common-sense legislation to lower inflation, secure our borders, and reduce federal spending.

From my years in the automobile business, I know just how important customer service really is. That is why as the 118th Congress begins, our three district offices and our Washington, D.C., office are once again ready to serve you. I know navigating the federal government can be difficult, but our team is just one call away.

As we begin the new year and a new Congress, unity — not division — is what will guarantee success. To me, this isn’t about red or blue. This is about red, white, and blue. I look forward to seeing you in the community.

Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly represents the 16th Congressional District, which includes all of Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Lawrence, and Butler counties, and part of Venango County. He is the chairman of the Ways & Means Subcommittee on Tax.

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