As 2022 comes to a close, I remain grateful for the opportunity to represent Utahns in Washington and help tackle some of the biggest issues facing our great country.

This past year hasn’t been easy for many families — historic inflation is making everyday life more expensive; the COVID-19 pandemic is approaching its third year; illegal immigration is surging; and the devolution of our critical societal institutions seems to make us more divided than ever. Internationally, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unlawful and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine wages on and the Chinese Communist Party watches the global response closely as they evaluate options with regards to Taiwan. 

The United States — and the world — is safest when we stand together with our allies. This year has shown just how vital that is. In the Senate, I supported Ukraine in its effort to defend itself — helping secure emergency aid and the transfer of weapons and air defense systems. In addition, I was proud to support Sweden and Finland’s ascension to NATO, a move that will further strengthen this alliance.

China remains our biggest threat as it seeks to become the world’s economic, geopolitical and military superpower. At every level of government, we must remain clear-eyed about the dangers the regime poses as it seeks hegemony. I led legislation that requires the administration to develop a comprehensive China strategy and to analyze how Russia’s Ukraine invasion has impacted China’s options regarding Taiwan. Further, I supported bills that promote innovation, foster scientific talent, expand U.S. research and break our dependence on China for microchips. I also introduced legislation to ensure the United States secures critical mineral resources to enable American industries to be less dependent on China for vital resources.

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Utah plays an important role in our national defense, particularly in the modernization of our nuclear deterrent systems. This year, I fought against budget cuts for Dugway Proving Ground to ensure it received necessary funding. I also supported our annual defense bill, which fully funded the F-35 program and provided $3.6 billion for Sentinel — formerly called the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent — based out of Hill Air Force Base.

Climate change remains a top area of concern for me as drought and water issues have plagued our state this year. I was proud that two of my bills amplifying the work being done by our state Legislature and governor to save the Great Salt Lake were signed into law. The Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement was also implemented this year, bringing running water to the 40% of Navajo Nation in Utah who lack it. This settlement became a reality with last year’s bipartisan infrastructure bill.

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The infrastructure bill has continued to deliver for Utah, providing funding for vital projects across the state like the Central Utah Water Project, Summit County’s transportation systems and wildfire resilience and fuel management initiatives. My national Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission was also formed this year and two Utahns were selected to serve. I’m hopeful the commission will develop innovative policies and assets to bolster wildfire resilience and to prevent future wildfires from becoming catastrophic disasters in our state and across the West. 

I was proud to see our legislation allowing for the completion of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail enacted into law, along with a measure to help bring a passport agency to Salt Lake City. This year, the team in my Utah offices was also able to assist more than 1,600 constituents with casework claims, helping Utahns navigate the federal bureaucracy for passport services, veterans’ benefits, and much more. In the new Congress, we will continue to fight for priorities that are critically important to our citizens.

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Top of mind for next year is helping alleviate the burden that inflation has placed on so many Utahns. Washington Democrats’ excessive spending bills have driven costs of everything from groceries to housing to historic highs. Unfortunately, we add more than a trillion dollars to our national debt each year, which fuels inflation. Inarguably, this is unsustainable. And it weakens us at the very time we are challenged by China for global leadership.

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Two-thirds of all federal spending is mandatory and thus happens without even a vote by Congress. It is essential that we enact legislation to control our mandatory spending. I continue to promote my TRUST Act to do just that. Without reform, either our national debt will continue to balloon, or Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will be subject to a reduction in benefits. Neither is acceptable. When Congress returns in January, taming mandatory spending, deficits and debt must be a high priority.

It is an honor to serve the people of our state. If you have suggestions and counsel for me, please do not hesitate to write or email me at my website.

I wish you and your family the very best for a healthy, safe 2023.

Mitt Romney is serving as the junior U.S. senator representing Utah.

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