YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As Valley Congressman Bill Johnson prepares for his seventh term in Washington, he said though majority control will be changing, many of the fundamental issues remain the same.
“The cost of food at the grocery store — so inflation is still a really big issue. The cost to heat homes and cook food — energy costs are still high,” he said.
Johnson sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and expects that members will be working on the factors impacting those prices.
“We’re gonna be focused on developing an energy strategy that puts Americans back in the green, where their energy costs are concerned,” Johnson said.
With Republicans in the majority in the next session of Congress, Johnson predicts that he may have a bigger role to play in putting those policies together.
“There’s a significant shake-up in energy and commerce at the senior level, so I’m the next senior guy moving up,” he said.
Even beyond looking for ways to boost the development of domestic energy resources, Johnson said Republican lawmakers will also be focusing on reducing government spending, which he says has been “reckless” at times. To get there, however, Johnson predicts that with slim majorities in both the House and the Senate, Democrats and Republicans will have to find ways to work together.
“I’m hoping that it’ll see them in a more compromising mood when it comes time to negotiate the really important issues,” he said.
He added that any kind of sustainable solution will require lawmakers on both sides to work together.
Although President Joe Biden has said he has no plans to change any of the programs that he has put in place, Johnson expects lawmakers will bring pressure on the White House.
“Obviously, it’s gonna require at some point for the president to reverse course on some of those policies that he’s got out there,” Johnson said.
In the meantime, Johnson admits that members of his own party are still at odds over who should become the next Speaker of the House. Johnson said current Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will have his hands full winning the position, but the congressman said he is supporting him.
“Over the 12 years that I’ve been there, he understands the institution. He understands what it takes to get legislation across the finish line,” Johnson said.
For now, Johnson said he and other lawmakers have already been working to create new legislation to boost U.S. energy production once they take control.
“Because energy is at the center of all of this inflation stuff. It takes energy to get anything to market,” Johnson said.
It is something that Johnson hopes will be among the first issues that Congress takes up.