By Gabe Licht
WASHINGTON, DC It’s been a busy week for Rep. Tom Emmer.
The Delano Republican officially took his seat in the United States House of Representatives Tuesday after a whirlwind leading up to being sworn in as Minnesota’s 6th District representative.
“I look forward to getting into the job because the logistics of family, friends, and supporters in the first couple days is almost as challenging as running a campaign,” said Emmer.
His six children drove to Washington, DC, to witness their father being sworn into office. He took the opportunity to spend time with his family, walking the city with them three or four times.
Once he was sworn into office, he went to work voting for Speaker of the House John Boehner and in favor of the Hire More Heroes Act.
“This important legislation, of which I was proud to be an original co-sponsor, protects veterans who already receive healthcare through TRICARE or the VA by exempting them from the Obamacare 50-plus employee mandate,” Emmer said, pointing to a 10 percent unemployment rate among veterans as motivation for the bill.
Emmer and fellow Republicans are also targeting the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for employers to provide insurance for any employee working 30 hours weekly or more.
“A lot of our employers and unions are not pleased with that,” Emmer said. “The debate is, ‘Do you want to put a definition of full-time employment in the law?’ That should be between the employer and employee.”
Emmer supports changing the requirement to cover those who work 40 hours weekly.
He used his first speech on the House floor to show support for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, after first thanking his constituents for the opportunity to serve.
“The construction of this pipeline will create thousands of jobs and increase our GDP by nearly $3.4 billion,” Emmer said. “Keystone will continue to decrease our dependence on Mid East oil. In the fastest growing region of Minnesota, this pipeline will alleviate rail and road congestion currently plaguing cities like Anoka and Elk River. This pipeline will also bring stability to our energy system and help stimulate growth in our economy.”
In addition to those issues, Emmer expects the Homeland Security reauthorization bill to be hotly contested.
Republicans have control in the House and Senate, and Emmer expects the House to be aggressive in passing bills.
“You’ll see a lot of these things come out of the House,” Emmer said. “A lot of them have been passed out of the House before, but were never debated in the Senate because the majority leader (Democrat Harry Reid) didn’t take up a lot of these things. They’re looking to get Republican and Democrat buy-in. If it’s a good idea, hopefully the president will want a legacy of leadership.”
Personally, Emmer said his political perspective hasn’t changed.
“The federal government should be living within the contract of the Constitution and its enumerated powers,” Emmer said. “In the future, a more state-based focus will be necessary.”
He believes a one-size-fits-all, top-down approach was not what the founding fathers intended and does not work because each state is different.
Moving forward, he wants to be as connected with his fellow representatives as possible.
“I have to figure out who I am most closely aligned with so I can start building relationships with them so when it’s time to make a difference with our perspective, I’ll have a coalition,” Emmer said.
He also wants to hear from constituents. They may call his office at (202) 225-2331. A link to his website may also be found at www.delanoheraldjournal.com.
Planning a trip to DC? Don’t be afraid to visit.
“This door is always open,” Emmer said. “I’m honored to have an opportunity to serve in this seat for two years. It belongs to the citizens of Minnesota. Anybody can stop by 503 Canon. We joke we’re in the penthouse. If you get to the roof, you’ve gone too far.”
He also pledged not to become a stranger to Delano as he plans to commute to Washington on a weekly basis.