As the 117th Congress gets underway in Washington, U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) said he’s working hard on issues such as rural broadband, protecting and creating jobs, and limiting government regulations.
Williams, who represents the 25th District of Texas, which includes Burnet County, held an online town hall Friday, Feb. 12, where he highlighted some of his priorities for the current session and took questions from attendees.
A significant change going into the 117th session is the makeup of the elected government. Democrats hold a majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as control of the White House. Before the November election, the Republicans held the Senate and the White House.
Williams said he’s willing to work with Democrats but not at the cost of his conservative principles and values.
“I always try to find ways to make deals,” he said.
Williams pointed to how he and Republicans last year worked with Democrats on the Save Our Stages Act, which became part of the COVID-19 relief package passed in December. The act provided funding for independent live music venues, movie theaters, and similar businesses that were among the first to close during the pandemic and the last to open.
Williams believes he can also work with Democrats on improving broadband internet access in rural communities. High-speed internet has become more of a necessity in recent years for businesses and schools, especially during the pandemic.
Another place Williams believes Republicans and Democrats can find common ground is upgrading the nation’s infrastructure.
“We need to fix our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our ports,” he said.
However, while he is willing to work across the aisle, Williams said he’ll take a stand against what he sees as counter to his beliefs or damaging to the country. Williams pointed to President Joe Biden’s recent curtailment of the XL Pipeline, which would have brought oil from Canada to U.S. refineries, and the new administration’s overall energy plan, which seems to limit the oil and gas industries.
The energy sector and economy were “rocking along” under former President Trump’s policies, Williams said.
Now, the future for both are uncertain, he added.
The congressman also comes down on the other side of the immigration issue than most Democrats and President Biden. Williams believes the border wall is a great impediment to illegal immigration. He added that those who are following the rules on immigrating to the United States are more than welcome to come here to pursue the American dream.
He acknowledged that the U.S. immigration policy needs work.
“We have people standing in line to become citizens — 12 years in some cases — and we need to change that,” Williams added.
When asked about another COVID-19 relief package, Williams said he expects the Democrats will get one through Congress and to the president’s desk, but not one he likes. He believes the $1.9 trillion package called for by the Democrats is too much and doesn’t focus on getting funds and services to those who need it the most.
He did point out that previous COVID-19 relief packages have been fruitful for Texans. The federal Paycheck Protection Program included in previous packages has helped save more than 58,000 jobs and several thousand small businesses in the 25th District alone, Williams said.
A main focus of Williams is small business. As a member of the Small Business and Financial Services committees, he said he’ll continue to work to limit government regulations and federal overreach.
Too much regulation, Williams said, hurts businesses and working people.
“(I will) continue to help small businesses so businesses can start and stay open,” he added.
Contact the congressman through his Austin office at 512-473-8910 or his Cleburne office at 817-774-2575. He can also be reached through is website.