The newly sworn in Congressman for Missouri’s 7th District brought the leaders of his Washington, D.C. staff to southwest Missouri on Monday, Jan. 16, to show them the district and to meet with area community leaders.
Congressman Eric Burlison met with State Rep. Brian Seitz, Branson City Administrator Cathy Stepp, and local business, charitable, and entertainment leaders at Vasken’s Deli in Branson. The group discussed the needs of the area, the importance of tourism, and how Burlison could help area businesses with tax issues and other difficulties they feel are created by Washington bureaucracy.
“I want to bring the values of Southwest Missouri to D.C.,” Burlison told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “I plan to keep a close tie with the district and I encourage residents to reach out to me with their concerns or questions.”
Burlison spoke to Branson Tri-Lakes News about a variety of subjects, including the unusual vote for Speaker of the House which took 15 ballots, the fifth highest in House history and the longest vote for speaker since 1860. Burlison supported Kevin McCarthy from the first vote, but said he was working with the 20 members who did not support McCarthy and his vote wasn’t a way to follow the crowd.
“I voted for him because of the rules changes that McCarthy agreed to,” Burlison said. “I don’t trust anyone in the position of speaker. Based on my experience in the Missouri House and the MIssouri Senate, I’ve seen the best of characters get beaten into submission by the lobbyists and the swamp. The fact he was willing to accept rules which had never been in place in the history of the House demonstrated to me he was willing to do it.”
The rules included all bills will be required to be about a single subject and all items related to a particular bill must be germane to the bill’s purpose, fiscal restraint measures, and the reversal of a policy instilled by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which blocked non-leadership House members from being able to call for essentially a no confidence vote in the speaker.
“The motion to vacate [the speaker] had been in place for over 100 years,” Burlison said. “The fact Pelosi essentially voided that shows a real sad state of the House of Representatives and I’m glad to see Speaker McCarthy bringing it back.”
While some Republican critics called the multiple ballots before McCarthy’s election a sign of dysfunction, Burlison said it was actually good for the country.
“We’re not Russia, we’re not China, and people don’t have to operate in fear,” Burlison said. “This is a nation where people have differing opinions and I’m glad people were able to see a caucus of people who are not threatened by a leader, who are not pounded into submission through intimidation, and in the end it was an agreement which brought changes which are good for the American people.”
Burlison said the stoppage of omnibus bills will be a huge benefit for Americans.
He said the movement of a pro-life bill in the first week of the Congressional session pleased him.
“Even when you have the national narrative attempting to intimidate those who support life feel intimidated over the Dobbs decision or be afraid politically, I’m proud we had a pro-life vote the first week,” Burlison said. “We even had a Democrat support the Born Alive Protection Survivor Act (which required life-saving measures for a baby born alive despite an attempted abortion.) Even if you’re a Democrat, I can’t see why anyone can justify allowing a child that survived an abortion, which is outside it’s mother’s womb, that it’s OK to somehow end that child’s life. That child should have doctors do everything they can do to keep it alive.”
Burlison also spoke about the House defunding the tens of thousands of additional IRS agents Democrats passed through the House at the request of the Biden administration.
“The nation can’t afford it,” Burlison said. “We know statistically the lower and middle income taxpayer are more likely to be audited by the agency. At a time when inflation is hurting everyone’s pocketbooks, we don’t need to be throwing the dogs at everyone.”
Burlison said he was amazed while the nation was dealing with major issues like the border crisis, Biden and Democrats were focused on things like adding more IRS agents.
“It’s a way to fund pork projects they were doing,” Burlison said.
He noted the Senate won’t pass the bill, but when must-pass bills like the debt limit or national defense authorization acts come to the floor, McCarthy would fight to keep money from funding the IRS.
Burlison one of his biggest priorities in Washington during this term will be infrastructure and bringing federal funds to the district to help continue to repair and improve roads and bridges. He also said there are a lot of regulations harming trucking companies based in southwest Missouri and he wants to eliminate them.
Burlison was added to three House committees: Transportation & Infrastructure, Oversight, and Education & Workforce. He said he was eager to get to work with his colleagues in those committees.
Burlison added he is looking for opportunities to speak and meet with groups in the district, and encourages local charitable groups and civic organizations to reach out to staff at 3232 E. Ridgeview St. in Springfield, or calling 417-889-1800.