In an op-ed appearing on FoxNews.com, Representative Diane Black (R-TN-06) announced Wednesday she will step down as House Budget Committee Chair in time for the Republican House Leadership to select a new Chair in January. While she will no longer be in that leadership role, she will continue to serve in Congress as she campaigns to be Tennessee’s next Governor.
“What a difference a year makes,” she begins:
Twelve months ago, the country was ending one of the most fiscally irresponsible presidencies of the modern age. Now we’re wrapping up a year of bold fiscal leadership from President Trump and conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives.
I became chairman of the House Budget Committee one year ago and have been proud to serve in that role along with our new president. He has pushed an agenda of action – responsible budgeting, repealing ObamaCare’s worst mandates, and aggressive tax-cutting to get our economy going. This has been exactly the kind of work I came to Congress to do and we have done it.
But my heart has always been at home. This why today I’m announcing that I will now step down as chairman of the House Budget Committee, while continuing to serve in Congress, to devote more attention to my next challenge: seeking the governorship of Tennessee.
Black – who replaced Representative Tom Price (R-GA-06) after he was tapped to serve as President Trump’s HHS Secretary before resigning under a cloud of overspending on department travel expenses – is the first woman to be elected as the powerful committee’s chairman.
During her tenure, Black banked a number of accomplishments, though many of them were ultimately of little consequence as the bills passed by her committee, and subsequently by the House, went on to sit unaddressed in the Senate under the leadership of fellow Republican, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The most dramatic example was a bill to repeal part of the health care leviathan, Obamacare.
Last spring, I sponsored the American Health Care Act (ACHA), to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Our bill would have brought down health-care costs by putting patients and doctors – not the federal government – in charge of health-care decisions.
While the House of Representatives passed the AHCA, the Senate let us all down.
Since the Senate’s initial failure, we successfully repealed ObamaCare’s individual mandate in our tax reform bill, to reduce this burden on middle-class Americans. This provision is the foundation of ObamaCare’s entire flawed scheme. With its repeal, the rest of the law will now be much simpler to dismantle.
But the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 in the House–the most significant tax reform in three decades–went through the House Budget Committee she chaired, made it through the Senate, and was signed into law by the President.
After a number of near misses, Black delivered a huge win for President Trump, and, by most accounts, for American businesses and taxpayers.
What is the next agenda item Black recommends to tackle?
In a distinct departure from President Trump’s ‘to-do’ list, she does not mention infrastructure or immigration, or even welfare reform as it relates to the budget, but rather mandatory spending – another term for ‘entitlements.’
“It is now up to the U.S. Senate and future Congresses to follow our lead on mandatory spending. If we don’t address mandatory spending programs, our country is headed for a sovereign debt crisis – and believe me, this crisis is closer than most will admit,” she writes.
Thanks to the passage of tax reform, Black’s tenure as the House Budget Committee Chair is considered a success by most Republicans and many in the media. Voters in Tennessee are likely to be reminded frequently of her accomplishments as chairman of this powerful committee by the Black campaign between now and the Republican gubernatorial primary in August 2018.