U.S. Representative Buddy Carter received the Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tuesday at a Hinesville Rotary Club luncheon. Each year, the U.S. Chamber recognizes members of Congress with the Spirit award for their pro-business voting records.
Rep. Carter is serving his second term as representative for Georgia’s First Congressional District, and is seeking re-election for a third two-year term. Carter spoke briefly about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the opioid epidemic, flood insurance and the separation of families at the border.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which passed in November 2017, cuts taxes, creates jobs and stimulates the economy, according to Carter’s website.
“That is something we’re very proud of,” Carter said. “These are the best of times as far as our economy goes, and we’re proud of what we were able to do.”
The goal was to simplify the tax system, he said. Tax returns are filed on a postcard now, eliminating the need for 90 percent of America to seek out tax accountants for help, he said. The standard deduction for individuals rose to $12,000 and $24,000 for joint filing, according to Carter.
“We also made sure we kept the child tax credit,” Carter said. “That was something that was very important to us.
With help from the Chamber of Commerce, the act lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, he said. The small business tax rate also dropped to no more than 25 percent, which makes it the lowest rate on small businesses since World War II, according to Carter’s website.
Carter is the only pharmacist currently serving in the U.S. Congress. Carter advocates for bills to combat the opioid epidemic, through the Energy and Commerce committee’s subcommittee on health. The committee has subcommittees that cover everything from telecommunications and healthcare to the environment, he said.
“One-hundred and fifteen Americans die every day due to opioid addiction,” Carter said. Recently, the House passed three different bills introduced by Carter, including: the Special Registration for Telemedicine Clarification Act, the Abuse Deterrent Access Act, and the Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act. These work in harmony to prevent further addiction, and equip officials with the tools needed to educate and combat the epidemic, according to Carter’s website.
“One of the things we can do is to help the 2.5 million people who are currently addicted to opioids, get back on their feet,” Carter said. “To get back to where they can be productive members of our society.” He describes it as a two-part problem; how to control the number of pills and prescriptions, and how to address the 2.5 million people currently addicted.
“This is something that’s an epidemic in our country, and we are addressing it in the health subcommittee of Energy and Commerce,” he said.
Carter addressed the concern of local realtors about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The program was extended through the hurricane season, Carter said, so as to prevent a lapse in coverage.
“We need flood insurance, it’s a national issue,” he said. “We did extend it, and we have to get back to Washington, get our differences worked out, and get that program reformed and extended for a longer period of time.”
Carter answered questions from the audience. When asked his opinion of President Trump’s character and controversies surrounding Trump, Carter replied he supports the president’s policies.
“I support our president,” he said. “There is a difference, and do I always agree with the way he approaches things, no, I don’t.”
Carter said he likes that President Trump supports the economy. The economy is doing great, he said, and that’s important. Concerning the border separation, Carter insisted that not a single member of the House of Representatives has expressed a desire to separate families.
“I will tell you, we have publicly come out against it,” Carter said. In the committees Carter serves on, legislation has passed calling for Health and Human Services to create a plan to reunite the families, he said.
“We’re going to make sure that it is their parents that they’re getting back to,” Carter said.
Jack Standard, Hinesville Rotary Club President, presented Carter with a book that will be given to a local classroom in his honor, and a framed “Four-Way Test” as a gift for speaking at the meeting.