If you turn on the cable news or scroll through social media, you will hear and read about the dysfunction in Washington. My first day in office was during a partial government shutdown, so I understand this frustration. While the shutdown may have ended, the dysfunction certainly hasn't. Just this summer, instead of tackling our 22 trillion-dollar debt, Congress passed hundreds of billions in federal spending increases.
Faced with these challenges, some choose to throw up their hands and walk away from our problems. That is not my approach. I have chosen to try to cut through the usual Washington dysfunction and begin addressing some very real issues facing our part of the country.
In my first eight months in office, I've found that there are areas where we can find common ground to achieve our goals. Since coming to Washington, I have focused on getting things done with my colleagues across the aisle, rather than scoring political points. By taking a principled and pragmatic approach, we can accomplish results for families and workers in Wisconsin.
I serve on the House Financial Services Committee. Our Committee focuses on a range of issues from increasing access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs to addressing misguided bank regulations. We have been working in a nonpartisan way to reform and reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, and strengthen our efforts to stop money laundering. We also passed the SAFE Banking Act, which ensures regulators cannot penalize a financial institution for serving a business legally operating in their state. Financial institutions should not be caught in the middle when state and federal laws conflict.
I was also appointed to the Task Force on Financial Technology. This bipartisan group looks at how technology is changing the financial services industry. Financial technology, or fintech, has the potential to revolutionize the payments, banking, and investment industries.
Earlier this year, I worked across the aisle to pass legislation that will expand investment and job creation in Wisconsin small businesses. Along with my Democratic colleague from Texas, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, I introduced the Expanding Investment in Small Businesses Act. This bill requires regulators to examine whether existing mutual fund rules make it harder for small businesses to gain access to capital and invest in communities. The House passed the Expanding Investment in Small Businesses Act by a vote of 417-2. You wouldn't have seen this headline leading the nightly news, but it is just one example of collaboration from both sides of the aisle.
This is a small win that supports our economy and builds the bipartisan trust that we will need in order to tackle the big challenges our country faces. In order to do my job effectively, it is important for me to meet with workers, entrepreneurs, and families in Southeast Wisconsin to get their input. Partnering with organizations like the Wisconsin Bankers Association allows me to see how federal policy impacts financial institutions in our community.
I look forward to continuing to work with all of you as Congress addresses ways to grow our economy, fix federal regulations, and create good paying jobs in Wisconsin.
Steil (R-WI) currently serves as the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 1st congressional district.