Recently in Washington, disruption has been the name of the game. We’ve witnessed protesters climbing statues, disobeying police, screaming at senators in elevators, and chasing them and their wives from restaurants. Amidst the wall-to-wall media coverage of the chaos and divisiveness, one important story has largely gone unnoticed. Congress, under the leadership of President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Milley warns of 'Sputnik moment' for China WSJ publishes letter from Trump continuing to allege voter fraud in PA Oath Keeper who was at Capitol on Jan. 6 runs for New Jersey State Assembly MORE, has delivered results for the American people. We Republicans put our foot on the pedal back in January 2017 and haven’t let off since.
One challenge we immediately faced was the large number of judicial vacancies on courts across the country. We quickly got to work, and the numbers speak for themselves: two Supreme Court justices and 82 other federal judges have been confirmed in less than two years. One out of every six appellate judges has now been appointed by this president.
We have carried this same, full-steam-ahead approach toward strengthening an economy left stagnant under President Obama. We passed the first major overhaul to our tax code in 31 years and rolled back burdensome Obama-era regulations that were stifling businesses and job growth.
Now, months later, unemployment is at its lowest rate since 1969 at 3.7 percent; Hispanic unemployment sits at a record low of 4.5 percent, and joblessness for African-Americans also fell to its lowest level ever under this administration. Not only is hourly wage growth at its highest since 2009, but median household income also hit a new record. And our regulatory reforms have created a savings of at least $50 billion for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Democrats like to shrug off the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by calling the savings mere “crumbs.” But Texans, for one, have bills to pay, and they beg to differ. They and other Americans have seen more money in their paychecks thanks to lower rates. Companies have passed along benefits through bonuses, higher wages, and incentivized investment in economically distressed communities in every state through the opportunity zones program. These are real, and they are significant. Don’t take my word for it; ask Claudia in College Station, Texas, who has hired more employees for her flooring business, provided them with health insurance, and bought expensive equipment that previously she couldn’t afford. Or take Glenda, a retiree with a fixed income from Midland, Texas, who wrote to me to say that “every single dollar makes a difference.”
But Congress hasn’t only been concerned about paychecks and monthly bills. We’ve also answered various calls for help by trying to stop violent attacks and fight drug addiction. After the church massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas, I introduced the Fix NICS Act to fix our broken background check system and ensure that violent criminals can’t get firearms after they’re convicted. And the STOP School Violence Act, also passed into law, provides more training of teachers and improvements to security infrastructure.
Then there’s the nation’s drug addiction epidemic, which killed roughly 72,000 Americans last year, nearly 50,000 of which were opioid related. It has left families in disarray and overwhelmed medical professionals and emergency personnel in many communities. The social destruction has been referred to as “American Carnage,” and that’s no hyperbole. We addressed the epidemic head-on with a landmark opioids law– a collaboration of 70 bipartisan proposals. Among many other reforms, it requires screening of packages coming from overseas for substances like fentanyl, increases access to treatment for people with substance disorders, expands research into developing non-addictive painkillers, and provides more money for enforcement and interdiction.
On top of the opioids bill, we took further steps to better our communities and deliver help to victims. With three new laws, we aimed to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits in forensic labs, assist law enforcement in prosecuting cold cases, and eradicate the scourge of online sex trafficking.
Finally, we provided new resources to the military and to the intelligence community who work together to keep our country safe. The VA MISSION Act gives new health care flexibility to our veterans. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows intelligence professionals to continue to target terrorists overseas and prevent future attacks. And we restored military readiness while giving our troops the largest pay raise in nearly ten years with the passage of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act.
Two years ago, the American people entrusted Republicans with control of government. We’ve worked to maintain that trust and deliver real results by putting money back in the pockets of hardworking families, making our communities safer and stronger, and strengthening our national defense. Americans now face a choice: cut through the noise and recognize a quiet difference in their lives, or buy into the loud, destructive politics of obstruction-at-all-costs.
Cornyn is the Senate majority whip.