It is a great honor to serve in Congress. This year has been an exciting and busy one. I promised that I would introduce a series of bills: repeal Common Core; Grant’s Law to prevent catch-and-release immigration programs, require Congress to balance a budget or forfeit salary; require Congress to live under the same laws that it requires all Americans to live under (such as Obamacare); divide Arizona out of the uber-liberal 9th Federal Circuit and join other Western states in a new 12th Judicial circuit; and the REINS Act to reduce onerous federal regulations.
I kept my promises by sponsoring or cosponsoring each of the six bills. Those weren’t my only legislative initiatives. It’s time for me to report to my constituents on my work.
Every bill, every piece of legislation, every law has impacts on real people. Here are some people and their legislative stories.
Steve Ronnebeck: Steve’s son, Grant, was working the graveyard shift in a QuikTrip store. After a dispute over a pack of cigarettes, an illegal alien with a violent criminal record murdered Grant. This individual should have been deported, or at least held in custody until deportation, but due to our federal government’s dereliction of duty, he was released on the streets to wreak evil on innocent people.
Grant’s dad, Steve, has fought tirelessly to pass Grant’s Law, a bill mandating that criminally-violent illegal aliens are held in custody until deportation. This legislation would have saved Grant’s life, and it can save countless others. The House passed this bill in June, and we are waiting on the Senate to consider the bill.
I sponsored this bill, and it was incorporated into a bill banning sanctuary cities, and Sarah’s Law. This version of the bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee (of which I'm a member) and by the full House. It is awaiting action in the Senate.
Pamela Foster: Pamela’s daughter, Ashlynne, was murdered in 2016 after being abducted and violently abused by a stranger. Eleven-year-old Ashlynne might still be alive if not for a gap in our AMBER Alert system.
I was shocked that the original AMBER Alert legislation failed to include Indian tribes, preventing these communities from using the system. Thankfully, Congress is acting to ensure that all of our nation’s children have equal protection under the AMBER Alert program. No child, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, or birthplace, should be outside the protection and jurisdiction of such a vital resource.
This year, thanks in large part to Ms. Foster’s efforts, the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate approved this bill. Once the full House approves this legislation, it will be sent to the president’s desk to be signed into law.
I sponsored this bill, and a companion bill was passed out of the Senate. The bill was cosponsored by Democrats as well as Republicans. It passed out of the House Judiciary Committee unanimously. I have requested that leadership put this important bill on the floor for a vote as soon as possible.
Jordan McLinn: Jordan is a seven-year-old boy with an incurable disease called Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This disease could paralyze Jordan in the next five years and eventually turn fatal. Jordan and his parents know of a drug that could greatly improve his prognosis, but as of right now, he does not have the right to try this medication.
As if the disease weren't bad enough, Jordan and his parents are fighting bureaucrats in Washington to give him the right to try to save his life. It’s the same fight that millions of people share around the country – each with their own story. They ask for one thing: hope. Hope to save themselves, a family member, or a friend.
I have worked to pass Right to Try legislation through the House, but the fight is slowgoing. The Senate has passed their version, and I pray that the House quickly follows suit.
My predecessor, Rep. Matt Salmon, sponsored this bill, and I took it up this year. I have worked with Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., to get this bill enacted into law. Vice President Mike Pence has indicated that this is one of his priorities, and I have been promised a floor vote in January.
In addition to those three important bills, I recently voted to give Americans much-needed relief from our arcane and harsh tax system. In the coming year, we have many more initiatives to tackle. I am confident that bills such as Right to Try and Amber Alert in Indian Country will be passed and enacted into law.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., represents Arizona's 5th District in the U.S. Congress. You can follow him on Twitter: @RepAndyBiggsAZ