By Ken de la Bastide
Republicans have to demonstrate to the American people that they can govern in a manner that will benefit all Americans, according to U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th District.
Brooks won election to a second term in the U.S. House on Nov. 4 with 65 percent of the vote in the 5th District, which includes all of Madison County.
During the off-year election, the Republican Party strengthened its majority in the U.S. House and gained control of the U.S. Senate.
During a telephone interview with The Herald Bulletin, Brooks said that the GOP-controlled Congress has to remind the American people that they are not going to give in to everything requested by President Barack Obama.
"There will be tension because of the significant oversight of the executive branch by the Congress," she said. "We have to make sure that the administration through the federal agencies doesn't pass rules and regulations that are hurting America."
Brooks said what legislation is passed through 2016 will depend on how willing Obama is to work with the Republican Party.
"We are preparing for next year," she said of when the GOP takes control of both houses of the Congress. "We're on the same calendar as the Senate. The leadership is working together, which is good for the American people."
She said bills passed in the House will get a hearing in the Senate and won't be delayed as has been the case in the past few years.
Legislation that Brooks expects to be considered early in 2015 is the Keystone Pipeline, which she said has bipartisan support in the House. The bill was defeated in the Senate last week by one vote.
"This is a pro-jobs, pro-economy bill," she said.
Brooks expects the Republican-controlled Congress to tackle tax reform, with Rep. Paul Ryan leading the effort.
"He (Ryan) brokered the deal with the Senate Democrats that ended the government shutdown," she said. "He has a good track record."
Brooks said one area of tax reform that will benefit Indiana is the repeal of the medical device tax, a part of the Affordable Care Act.
She expects changes in the Affordable Care Act but was unsure if there would be one bill to repeal Obamacare or individual bills making changes to the law.
"We will try to repeal it again," Brooks said. "But we have to have a replacement plan attached to it."
Brooks said people are starting to see increases in health insurance premiums.
"This was not a good piece of legislation for the American people," she said of the president's landmark legislation.
Brooks said a change will be a return to the 40-hour, full-time work week, which she said cost people money by employers cutting their hours to 30 hours a week.
Any replacement legislation has to include provisions for people with pre-existing conditions and for allowing a child to stay on their parents' insurance until the age of 26, she said.
Brooks said a high priority will be national security with the continued growth of the Islamic State terrorist group, Ebola and the nuclear capabilities of Iran.
"We're still waiting on the president to conclude negotiations with Iran," she said. "There is also concern about Russian aggression in the Ukraine.
"This is serious times for national security," Brooks said. "We want to have a strong military and no terrorists in our midst."