SALT LAKE CITY—As 2024 begins, U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) released a report detailing the policy and constituent services highlights from the past year. Major legislative highlights included enactment of Romney bills that equip the U.S. to better counter the rise of China, bolster the role Utah plays in our national defense, and advance efforts to bring a passport agency to Salt Lake City. Senator Romney also pushed forward legislation to rein in federal spending and stabilize the national debt, protect children from the harmful effects of social media, and address water and wildfire challenges facing Utah and the West.
The Romney team assisted with nearly 2,800 constituent casework claims, helped Utah communities secure hundreds of millions of dollars in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding, responded to more than 48,000 pieces of constituent mail, and met with more than 1,000 Utahns and businesses throughout the state.
Keep reading for a brief recap of 2023’s highlights and a look ahead at 2024 priorities, written by Senator Romney for the Deseret News.
“Looking back on this past year, our country and the world faced great challenges. Here at home, inflation continued to make daily life more expensive for families. Illegal immigration reached historic levels, overwhelming communities and jeopardizing our national security. Bitter partisanship stymied legislative progress in Washington and continues to weaken our society’s critical institutions. Abroad, Ukrainians continued to defy the odds as they defended themselves against Putin’s illegal invasion. And one of our closest allies—Israel—endured unconscionable and inhumane attacks by Hamas terrorists.
“In spite of these challenges and difficulties, we must not overlook the blessings in our lives—and we must not take for granted the freedoms and liberties we have as Americans. I remain grateful for the opportunity to represent Utahns in the Senate and work to tackle some of these complex challenges.
“Around the world, democracy and freedom are under attack, and no entity seeks to benefit from that more than the Chinese Communist Party, which has set in motion a plan for China to become the global superpower in the coming decades. This past year, I secured into law several provisions to help protect the United States from this growing threat by bolstering our domestic critical mineral capabilities, addressing our military recruiting crisis, exposing the true extent of China’s defense-industrial build-up, prohibiting the government purchase of drones from China, and working to end China’s unfair international advantages. I also continued pushing the Administration to develop a comprehensive China strategy, which they are required to do by law.
“To reinforce the important role Utah plays our national defense, I secured into law measures to bolster the Sentinel Program—a critical part of our nuclear deterrent efforts—and support the work being done at Dugway Proving Ground. I also supported our annual defense bill, which provided $4.7 billion in funding for new F-35A fighters for the Air Force and authorized new military construction projects at Hill Air Force Base.
“The negative impacts of social media on the wellbeing of our children have become more and more evident. In tandem with Governor Cox’s efforts in Utah, I worked to reduce the harmful effects of social media on our children and limit cellphone use during instructional time. Two of my bipartisan provisions to help us better understand the impact of smartphones in the classroom—on students’ GPAs, their mental health, and more—advanced out of committee this past year and it is my hope they will be considered by the full Senate in short order. I also introduced legislation to comprehensively address the ongoing threat of technology, like TikTok, from foreign adversaries.
“The bipartisan infrastructure bill continued to benefit Utah this past year, with our state receiving hundreds of millions of dollars to improve its bridges, roads and highways, public transit, broadband, and water infrastructure. The Wildland Fire Commission, established by the infrastructure bill, also released its report in September. My team and I will be working with our Western colleagues this year to act on some of the Commission’s most promising recommendations to prevent, mitigate, suppress, and manage wildland fires.
“In a continued effort to bring a passport agency to Salt Lake City, I was able to help enact a requirement that the State Department produce a strategy to provide urgent, in-person passport services for Americans who live more than a five-hour drive from the nearest passport agency. I’m proud that in 2023, our Utah team was also able to assist nearly 2,800 constituents with casework claims, helping Utahns navigate the federal bureaucracy for these passport services, veterans’ benefits, and much more. We will continue to fight for priorities that are critically important to our citizens as we enter this next session of the 118th Congress.
“Top of mind for 2024 is getting our country on a solid economic footing. Excessive spending in Washington has fueled inflation and led to a staggering $34 trillion in national debt. The interest on our debt alone—$659 billion last fiscal year—is now our fourth largest budget expenditure. I am leading a bipartisan bill—the Fiscal Stability Act—to create a fiscal commission to stabilize our public debt and strengthen our fiscal health. Getting this commission stood up will be one of my top priorities in the coming months. I also hope we can make headway on meaningful policies that help Utah families, mitigate the risks of artificial intelligence, and prevent federal overreach—especially when it comes to our public lands.
“It is an honor to serve the people of our state. If you have suggestions and counsel for me, please do not hesitate to call our office or write me via my website.
“As begin anew in 2024, I wish you and your family the very best for a healthy and prosperous year.”