U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe made an appearance in Sherman Wednesday afternoon to receive an award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for his support of pro-business legislation over the past session.
John Gonzales, director of congressional and public affairs, southwest/south central division for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, presented Ratcliffe, a Republican, with the chamber’s Spirit of Enterprise award for his voting record on key business issues. The event was attended by local and county leaders and members of the latest Leadership Sherman class.
“This award embodies the belief that free enterprise principles are key to a prosperous nation,” Gonzales said. “And in 2016 congressman Ratcliffe was one of those recognized.”
During 2016, there were 14 key issues that the U.S. chamber took a stance on. These topics ranged from acts designed to defend trade secrets to ozone standards and chemical safety regulation reforms. In their report card of Ratcliffe’s voting record, the chamber gave the representative a 100 percent rating for 2016 and 83 percent for his entire tenure.
Ratcliffe’s visit to Sherman coincided with an in-district week for the congressman. Ratcliffe spent the week visiting various parts of his districts with visits planned for Texarkana, Rockwall County and Collin County, among others.
In addition to receiving the award, Ratcliffe gave an update on recent legislation and issues that have taken place in Washington.
Ratcliffe said he expects a piece of legislation aimed at increasing funding for digital crime detection training to be signed by President Donald Trump in the coming days. The bill would authorize money to train more police and law enforcement agencies on digital advances and trends in cybercrime. This training would be conducted through the National Computer Forensics Institute, which is located in Hoover, Arkansas and operated by the U.S. Secret Service.
Following the damage that was seen by Hurricane Harvey and other recent storms, Ratcliffe said he is pursuing legislation that would better connect emergency disaster resources with local emergency management coordinators.
“Just in the three year’s I’ve been in office we’ve had four federally declared disasters within my district,” he said. This includes the historic flooding that occurred in Grayson County over the summer of 2015.
“As terrible as Mother Nature can be at times, it is refreshing, I think, for a lot of us to see a restoration and renewal of the faith in the human spirit and people really wanted to do good things and help within their communities,” he said, talking about the efforts to increase efficiency in restoration efforts. “But sometimes when the flood waters recede and the winds go away, that good will goes away.”
Other efforts include efforts to reform the U.S. tax system. The biggest part of these efforts is to cut the business and corporate tax rate, which Ratcliffe said is currently at about 35 percent. Under proposed changes, taxes for many businesses would drop to about 20 percent with the highest bracket at 25 percent.
Ratcliffe was asked about his stance on the proposed Alexander-Murray bill, which would include reforms to health care legislation, including subsidies to insurance providers by the Obama administration. Ratcliffe said the subsidies were never authorized by Congress and instead were a unilateral decision by the president. However, Ratcliffe said would reserve comment as he has yet to see the fine details of the proposal.
“Without seeing the text of the bill, I do not know if it tries to fix things that can’t be fixed,” he said. “I will tell you this, health care is something people generally want to see improved.”