If you are like me, you welcome the fresh start a new year brings. We’ve weathered a difficult political year, yet our country remains the best in the world. I am proud and thankful to be an American despite our challenges and whatever uncertainty lies ahead in Washington.

It is my hope that Congress wastes no time addressing what I see as our 2018 to-do list, starting with our most basic responsibility as lawmakers: funding the government. Come January 19, the federal coffers will run dry and we must negotiate a bipartisan deal to avoid a government shutdown. A shutdown would be disastrous for our country and especially the Second District, which is home to tens of thousands of federal workers who could be without pay to support their families. Negotiations must include an end to the dangerous budget caps that threaten our national security.

I will continue to look for ways to stabilize the health insurance market and lower premiums. And we must find a long-term solution to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides care to 9 million vulnerable kids and pregnant women, including 140,000 here in Maryland. A short-term fix approved before the holidays ends in just three months.

The President has long promised an infrastructure investment plan, and I am eager to see his ideas to create new jobs and rebuild our nation’s aging roads, bridges and pipelines. I hope this will be an issue both Republicans and Democrats can get behind for the good of our country and our economy.

Of course, many of my personal priorities remain the same year-after-year, including championing our nation’s veterans, ending the opioid epidemic and fighting for resources for the Second District. My commitment to the citizens of the Second District will never waver and my door is always open to assist with any federal issue. Please do not hesitate to contact my Timonium Office for casework or my Capitol Hill office to express your position on legislation.