At a recent meeting with the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg, Representative Scott Taylor (VA-2) remarked on his numerous legislative accomplishments during his first term in Congress. The former Navy SEAL and Iraq combat veteran said his primary goals upon getting to Washington in January 2016 were to expand the military, help veterans through post-active duty care and other areas, and to help improve the Virginia Beach and Eastern Shore economy.
Responding quite categorically to his mission, he said, “We’ve done just that.”
When it comes to bolstering the U.S. military, which is a large part of the district’s economy, Taylor’s position as the first freshman legislator in two decades to sit on the House Appropriations Committee has allowed him to effectively guide federal funding towards projects in Virginia’s Second Congressional District.
“We’ve been able to help push hundreds of millions of dollars to this economy,” Taylor said in a report from The Virginia Gazette, adding that bases in the region have benefited from spending that addressed delayed maintenance and construction projects.
The military has been somewhat hollowed out in recent years due to sequestration that began years ago during the Obama Administration. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had previously commented that one of the biggest burdens to readiness on part of America’s fighting and peace keeping forces is sequestration.
“Sequestration and the cumulative effect of continuing resolutions…has really devastated the military,” Taylor said. The U.S. military is a great stakeholder in the Virginia economy as a large portion of defense contracts are awarded to firms within the Commonwealth, namely the Hampton Roads area. Nevertheless, proving a record of accomplishing tasks like he did during his military career, Taylor remarked, “Over the past couple years, of course, we got that cash injection that was necessary for the military.”
The Republican congressman has explained that not passing budgets on time represents a clear danger to national security, all because Washington lawmakers cannot balance the federal checkbook on time. Due to this, Taylor also introduced legislation to stop continuing resolutions during his first term in office.
Following historically-low reimbursement rates from military dental plans, Taylor also called for a congressional investigation into the lack of proper healthcare for veterans and active-duty service members. He also assisted in passing a bill that increased accountability for senior Veterans Affairs officials, requiring the agency secretary approve senior executive reassignments from one post to another “to have a layer of accountability for our veterans.”
He also attached language to one piece of legislation that provides resources for military bases to protect their access roads from sea-level rise. For those living on Tangier Island just off the Eastern Shore, all of whom are met with increasing recurrent flooding, a remedy will be coming soon. At a meeting in Chinoteague in September, Taylor said, “I am happy to say today that the end of the federal approval process has happened. I’m proud to say they are going to start that process finally and construction will begin in 2018 and conclude in 2019,” for a jetty to protect Tangier Island.
This year, Taylor also helped secure funding to provide the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with what they need to protect the coastline from erosion-induced storm damage. “Replenishing Sandbridge Beach is an important project that supports the City of Virginia Beach, its citizens, and businesses by helping to protect the shoreline from future erosion and storm damage,” Taylor said in a press release.
One hot topic this election cycle is the state of healthcare and the affordability and eligibility therein. The freshman Republican also said at the meeting in Williamsburg that he has supported protections for people with pre-existing conditions and cast himself as an “independent voice” in federal government. When asked about his stance on pre-existing conditions, Taylor replied, “I support protecting people pre-existing conditions. And what I voted for actually requires it by law.”
The congressman was also asked about the recent instances of politically-charged violence across the nation, with a member of the Kiwanis Club explaining that he felt the president’s rhetoric is capable of fueling such vehemence.
“I don’t like the rhetoric. I think it’s dangerous,” Taylor said.
“Some of the things the president says are too much. Some of the things that Maxine Waters says is too much. Where I felt it’s appropriate for me to stand up and condemn the remarks made by any leader, to include the president of the United States, I have zero problem doing it,” he added.
Recently, the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University released a poll showing that Congressman Taylor is leading Democratic challenger Elaine Luria by seven points in his re-election bid, with Independents breaking for Taylor by nine points. Less than one week from Election Day on November 6, voters have a chance to send the incumbent Republican back into battle in the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C.