Step by step, we are reducing the size and scope of the federal government. Yes, a lot of work remains, but over the last year, we’ve worked with President Trump to cut 1,600 regulations, repeal Obamacare’s onerous individual mandate, and deliver a massive tax cut to the vast majority of Americans. As a result, consumer confidence is at a 17-year high, 1.7 million new jobs have been created, and many families are getting a raise for the first time in years.

It’s beyond encouraging to see the economy boom again, and I’m hopeful that progress will help fuel another round of economic reforms. For instance, I’d like to see us improve our poverty programs, streamline federal agencies, roll back additional Obama-era regulations, and continue cutting regressive taxes, like the Health Insurance Tax (or HIT).

The HIT was put in place by Obamacare. While it is supposed to be a direct tax on health insurance providers for the services they provide, the tax is actually passed on to consumers in the form of substantially higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The HIT also costs jobs. In fact, the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation found the HIT could cost between 152,000 and 286,000 jobs by 2023. Most of those jobs would be lost within small businesses.

I firmly believe Obamacare must be fully and permanently repealed. I fought to see the House pass legislation repealing and replacing Obamacare but was deeply disappointed when the Senate couldn’t pass it as well. So, until we can get a full repeal through both houses of Congress, I’m committed to taking it apart piece by piece, with the next step being a repeal of the HIT.

After hearing from many South Dakota small businesses about the devastating impact the HIT was having on them and their employees, I introduced legislation to repeal the tax. While it seems like everything in government (especially when it involves Obamacare) is partisan, even Democrats could jump on board in support of this repeal. We continue to push this legislation toward passage, but I was thrilled to put the tax on pause for 2019, which will help individuals save as much as $500 on the cost of their healthcare premiums that year.

Ronald Reagan, whose birthday we celebrate in February, famously observed that “as government expands, liberty contracts.” He was right. Big-government taxes and regulations stunt our prosperity and limit our freedoms. Over the course of the last year, that regulatory burden has begun to lift. Families have more money in their pockets because of tax reform. And in 2019, many will reap the financial benefits of a HIT delay. We must capitalize on this momentum, continue to shrink government, and watch liberty expand as a result.

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