As he eases into his new job as congressman, U.S. Rep. Blake Moore isn’t sensing an abundance of political discord among Washington, D.C., lawmakers.
For now, at least, the focus has been on the nuts and bolts of committee work, taking part in hearings and keeping up on the details of the work to be done. He serves on the House Armed Services and Natural Resources committees.
“Plenty of good back-and-forth dialogue going on,” the freshman Republican lawmaker told the Standard-Examiner on Wednesday. “To me, like I said, doing my part to create good discourse and I’m seeing plenty of it that encourages me.”
Moore’s view counters the common narrative of Washington, D.C., as a broken place, with Democrats and Republicans seemingly always at war. Maybe it’s because lawmakers are more focused, for now, on their committee assignments, not larger potentially divisive issues, he suspects. Either way, it’s the sort of tone preferred by Moore, who seems to take a more congenial approach to politicking.
“It’s helpful to have committee work going on so folks can work together better. I’m optimistic in seeing a good working environment. I’m excited about adding to that,” he said. He spoke to the Standard-Examiner by phone from his Salt Lake City home, taking a break from a committee hearing he was attending virtually.
Moore’s tone is a contrast to that of his predecessor, former Rep. Rob Bishop, a Republican from Brigham City. Bishop, who opted not to seek reelection after nine terms, precipitating Moore’s election to the 1st District House post last November, was known for his sarcastic, sometimes cutting wit. Like Moore, though, Bishop always remarked that he thought Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C., got along more than portrayed in the press.
The current seeming calm in House operations stands in contrast to the tumult and heat of Moore’s initial days in Congress. He was sworn in to office on Jan. 3, three days before supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building, forcing a temporary halt in congressional proceedings. Later came the vote on Jan. 13 on whether to impeach Trump. Moore voted no, though he favored a measure to censure the ousted leader.
Though sounding a message of amicability, Moore offered up a dose of criticism toward President Joe Biden, a Democrat. Moore cited Biden’s use of executive orders, in part to counter similar actions taken by Trump when he was in office. According to the Federal Register, Biden had signed 30 executive orders through last Wednesday.
“The big item that everybody wants to talk about is the sheer number of executive actions that he’s done and I don’t agree with it,” said Moore.
Moore’s approach, though, won’t be to complain only if a Democratic president takes such action, he said. He doesn’t like the practice of governing via executive order, whether the president is Democratic or Republican. “I want to be somebody that can help Congress work together better. If Congress can better do their job, then we won’t have a president constantly going in and just undoing what the previous president’s done,” Moore said.
Moore paid a visit Tuesday to Hill Air Force Base, visiting with top Air Force brass there as well as pilots and airmen. He’s already versed in the priorities of the military installation — maintaining and reinforcing its F-35 and ground-based strategic deterrent initiatives, among other things. “They were just giving us more context,” Moore said.
Moore noted the strong showing by several Utah areas in the Best-Performing Cities 2021 report released by the Milken Institute. Within the 1st District, the Ogden-Clearfield area ranked ninth nationally among large cities while Logan ranked second among small cities. Provo-Orem, Salt Lake City and St. George, Utah cities outside the 1st District, also ranked high.
But he contrasted those locales’ showing with the “tougher economic time” faced by the Uintah Basin area in the more rural eastern part of the 1st District. “That’s an area I want to keep focusing on,” Moore said.
Moore said he’s scheduled to return to Washington, D.C., next week.