This is a crucial time in America. So much is going on in the world that the 24/7 news cycle can’t even keep up. And as a result of the partisan gridlock plaguing Washington, too few of the problems facing our nation have been adequately addressed. But as the world’s sole superpower and the greatest country in the history of mankind we have a responsibility to rise above the chaos, come together and act. Congress can’t allow important issues to simply fall by the wayside.

As our economy fights to get back on stable ground, millions of Americans are still struggling to find jobs and provide for their family.  Washington must put an end to reckless, out-of-control spending, encourage confidence in our markets and pursue pro-growth policies that foster the advancement of the private sector.  

Congress can begin by reforming our tax code and replacing it with a growth oriented tax system to encourage investments. I support lower marginal rates, investment tax credits to stimulate jobs and a corporate tax structure that prevents US multinationals from sending money abroad to avoid paying higher taxes at home.

We must curtail government spending, starting with irresponsible grant and "stimulus" programs. Government agencies should be put under a microscope to uncover waste, duplication and fraud.

While some government regulations are beneficial, there are far too many that are unnecessary and excessive.  Federal agencies are preventing Wisconsin businesses from hiring. Complying with the myriad of rules and red tape requires time and costs, which negatively impacts companies’ bottom lines and stifles growth.  

Safety nets, such as Social Security and Medicare, were established to protect Americans in their greatest times of need. But they will soon be insolvent without significant reform.

I am profoundly concerned by the government’s abuse of its intelligence gathering authorities. The fact that agencies such as the NSA have been secretly collecting the communication records of American citizens is inexcusable and unlawful. While provisions in the PATRIOT Act have been important in identifying terrorists, bulk collection of millions of innocent Americans’ data goes too far. The USA FREEDOM Act would protect privacy without compromising our national security. It was passed by the House and I hope the Senate works expeditiously to send it to the President’s desk.

It is now abundantly clear that ISIL is far more than a JV-level threat. It is a highly-structured terrorist network that has taken over large areas of Iraq and Syria and holds important cities and border crossings in the region.  Not only has its murderous rampage left a wake of death and destruction that is holding innocent civilians in complete fear, but if it succeeds in creating an Islamic state it will provide a safe haven for terrorists who would be able to launch attacks on Americans and our allies.  ISIL is well-funded and much better equipped with high tech weaponry than Al-Qaeda was 13 years ago. We cannot simply watch from the sidelines.  Therefore, I am pleased that the U.S. has been building a coalition of partners to combat this threat.

The longer we take to destroy ISIL, the more America and its allies are at risk. But, while Iraqi security forces and Syrian opposition are incapable of neutralizing this threat, we must have a defined goal and an end-game to prevent "mission creep" before we put our brave men and women in harm’s way. The President should present Congress with a comprehensive plan that forces ISIL from the cities and villages that it controls and brings its leaders to justice. I cannot support a response that relies on shaky alliances with rebel forces that are fighting the Assad regime and each other for control of Syria.

In the same corner of the world, rockets have been fired into Israeli towns by terrorist organizations hiding in the Gaza Strip and Israel has retaliated to protect its sovereign territory and civilian population. Israel, like every other sovereign country, has a right to defend its territory and citizens from terrorist attacks.  And as our most important ally in the region, we must ensure their confidence in our commitment to them.   

The Ebola crisis has already claimed thousands of lives.  And while the fight against this disease must be led by the countries most affected and international organizations, I am pleased that President Obama has provided American assistance.  Although I am apprehensive about spending taxpayer money on aid to other countries, helping fight the Ebola virus to prevent it from spreading is crucial, as it has already reached America.  We must prevent it from infecting people across our country and across the globe.  

While Obamacare can't be fixed, healthcare in America can be improved. But first, the President’s healthcare law must be repealed so we can create a plan that doesn't hurt patients and health care providers, diminish the quality of care and cause premiums to skyrocket.

The United States is quickly approaching energy independence because of increased oil and natural gas production.  I am hopeful that one day we will no longer be reliant on energy from the Middle East, Venezuela, Nigeria and other countries.  

Wisconsin’s economy directly benefits from fracking because the special sands available in the state are used in the process.  As the US continues to produce natural gas, I will support efforts to increase liquefied natural gas exports to American allies and friends.  Exporting American products increases the number of American jobs, and as the leader of the free world we can confront hostile countries who use their energy reserves to hold America’s allies and friends hostage.  

The President’s weak-kneed response to the influx of illegal immigrants at our southern border is troubling. It is time to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws. We’ve tried amnesty in the past, and it failed because it only encourages further illegal immigration. We must turn off the magnet to enter our country illegally by utilizing the E-verify program and protect our national security by ensuring our borders are not a welcome sign to those who wish us harm.

We can’t let any of these crucial matters, or the many not mentioned here, be lost in the clutter. I would like to know what issues are most important to you and how you feel about them. After all, I am here to represent you and all the residents of the Fifth District of Wisconsin. Please go to my website ( or send a letter to my DC office (2449 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515-4905) to share your thoughts.