WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement upon the passing of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia:
“I am deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of Justice Scalia. His death is a shock to the nation. During his 30 years on the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Scalia was a steadfast defender of the Constitution, and a firm believer in the principles of our nation’s system of justice. His time on the highest court in the land will be marked by his fairness to those who presented their cases before the justices, and his passion when deciding the most pressing constitutional questions of our time. Justice Scalia was an inspiring figure to those who believed that the principles and values embodied in the United States Constitution set our great nation apart from the rest of the world. My prayers are with the Scalia family as they cope with this sudden loss.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, today introduced the Safe Harbor for Reporting Violent Behavior Act of 2016 (H.R. 4532) to protect employers who accurately report violent behavior of past employees to their potential future employers. The bill’s original cosponsors include Rep. Robert Hurt (R-Va.), Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.), and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).
To encourage employers to volunteer accurate reports of violence or threats of violence to potential future employers, the Safe Harbor for Reporting Violent Behavior Act would provide a safe harbor from lawsuits to those who, in good faith and based on objectively reasonable suspicion, make such reports. The legislation is directly modeled on bipartisan legislation, signed into law in 2007, which provides a safe harbor from lawsuits to those who report suspicious behavior on public transportation systems.
Congressman Goodlatte issued the following statement upon introduction of the legislation:
“Employees and employers alike need to know they are safe in the places they work. The time we spend in the workplace is time away from our families and friends, and we all deserve to know that our work environments are safe from those whose behavior may cause us harm in the future.
“The need to address this issue was highlighted after the tragedy which occurred on August 26, 2015, when a former employee of Roanoke television station WDBJ killed two employees while they conducted a live interview for the station’s morning broadcast. Various reports indicate the perpetrator had a history of violent behavior with previous employers, but that history was not shared with his future employer, WDBJ.
“Employers need to be empowered to make and receive honest reports regarding employees, and prospective employees, who pose a threat of physical injury, including behavior resulting from mental illness, so others will not be needlessly put in danger.
“A more truthful dialogue between employers will mean greater protections for hardworking Americans against those who pose a risk of violence in the workplace. This legislation will give employers, employees, and their families peace of mind knowing their workplaces will be safer.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today sent a letter to thirty-three public colleges and universities requesting a response to a previous letter sent by the House Judiciary Committee in August, urging the schools to update their speech codes.
The original letter was distributed to 161 public colleges and universities following a report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which listed public colleges and universities that received a “red light” rating. FIRE classifies a “red light” institution as “one that has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.”
A small number of institutions have not yet responded to the original letter. In the letter today, Chairman Goodlatte urges these institutions to respond in order to assess how Congress may address the free speech issues occurring on the campuses of public colleges and universities.
The Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing in June of 2015, entitled, “First Amendment Protections on Public College and University Campuses,” which addressed many of the issues brought forth in the report issued by FIRE.
Below is the text of the letter. A copy of the signed letter can be found here.
Dear Presidents, Chancellors, and Staff,
On August 14, 2015, your institution received a letter from the Committee regarding your school’s “red light” rating from of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (“FIRE”). The Committee requested a response to the letter by August 28, 2015.
According to FIRE, a “red light” institution “is one that has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.” FIRE defines a “clear” restriction as a policy that on its face is a threat to free speech and “does not depend on how the policy is applied.” FIRE defines a “substantial” restriction as a policy that is “broadly applicable” to speech on campus.
Since August, the Committee has received responses from more than 100 public colleges and universities. Your institution is among the small number of institutions that has not yet responded. The Committee again requests a response on this important matter.
Click here to read the previous letter sent by Chairman Goodlatte.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The murder of a 19-year-old in Massachusetts by at least two teens with suspected ties to the MS-13 gang has prompted questions about how the suspects entered the country. Seventeen-year-olds Jose Vasquez Ardon and Cristian Nunez-Flores are charged with the murder. According to media reports, Nunez-Flores is originally from El Salvador, where his parents remain; raising questions about how the teens were able to enter and remain in the United States. Authorities are still searching for a third suspect in the crime.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are seeking details on the teens’ immigration and criminal histories, as well as whether immigration authorities had any knowledge of the alleged gang ties. The lawmakers are also asking if immigration authorities requested cooperation from state or local law enforcement and what action immigration authorities will take if the request is not honored.
Grassley and Goodlatte’s questions follow reports that criminal networks based in Central America are using lax border enforcement and recent surges of unaccompanied minors crossing the Southern border to establish and broaden operations in the United States.
Below is the text of Grassley and Goodlatte’s letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. A copy of the letter is available here.
February 9, 2016
The Honorable Sylvia Burwell
Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, DC 20201
The Honorable Jeh Johnson
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Dear Secretary Burwell and Secretary Johnson:
On January 2, 2016, Omar Wilfredo Reyes was murdered on a bicycle path in Malden, Massachusetts. Two teenagers and suspected MS-13 gang members, Jose Vasquez Ardon and Cristian Nunez-Flores, have been arrested and charged with Reyes’ murder. Authorities are still searching for a third suspect. Reyes was allegedly lured away from his girlfriend by Ardon on the night of the murder. Surveillance cameras show Reyes walking with the three suspects to the bicycle path. These same cameras later show the three suspects leaving without Reyes. Reyes was found after midnight by police with a fatal gunshot wound to the head.
News reports give the impression, but do not clarify, that Jose Vasquez Ardon and Cristian Nunez-Flores are both unaccompanied alien minors. One report notes that Nunez-Flores’ parents are still in his home country of El Salvador. If these suspects were in fact unaccompanied alien minors, this would be yet another example of the Administration wantonly creating a public safety threat by releasing minors that were members of one of the nation’s most violent Central American gangs into the community. Such reckless behavior has already resulted in multiple homicides and other crimes of violence by these criminal street gangs and put the public into serious danger.
For a more thorough understanding of the incidents surrounding the shooting, please provide the following information not later than February 26:
1. Did either Jose Vasquez Ardon or Cristian Nunez-Flores enter the United States as an unaccompanied minor? Please explain.
a. When did each alien enter?
b. How were their respective statuses as unaccompanied minors determined?
c. How long were they in the custody of a resettlement contractor, if any, before being released to their respective sponsors?
d. To whom was each alien released, and were those sponsors interviewed by officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or contractors with those Departments? Please explain.
e. Were either Jose Vasquez Ardon or Christian Nunez-Flores issued a Notice to Appear? If so, did either attend their immigration hearings? If not, were the respective sponsors for each alien held accountable for their failure to appear in immigration court?
f. Have the sponsors sought any immigration benefits?
2. Were Jose Vasquez Ardon or Cristian Nunez-Flores previously arrested or charged with crimes? Were they convicted? If so, please provide the relevant documentation.
3. Have Jose Vasquez Ardon or Cristian Nunez-Flores been previously removed? If so, when?
4. Did U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ever place a detainer on Jose Vasquez Ardon or Cristian Nunez-Flores or request that it be notified of the release from custody of either alien? Please explain.
5. Was Jose Vasquez Ardon or Cristian Nunez-Flores a member of, or associated with any criminal gang? Please explain.
6. Was DHS or HHS aware that either Jose Vasquez Ardon or Cristian Nunez-Flores was a member of, or associated with a criminal gang? If so, when were DHS and HHS aware? Please explain.
7. What percentage of detainers or requests for notification of release placed by ICE in each of the past five fiscal years has Middlesex County, Massachusetts honored?
8. If a local law enforcement agency declines to honor a detainer or notify ICE when an alien or suspected alien is in its custody, what action will DHS take to ensure that these two aliens are not released from custody and allowed to reoffend?
9. Did either Jose Vasquez Ardon or Cristian Nunez-Flores ever apply for any immigration benefits, including deferred action? If so, was any application approved? Please provide copies of any applications that either alien may have submitted.
10. Please provide a complete copy of the alien file for Jose Vasquez Ardon and Cristian Nunez-Flores.
11. Please provide any other information collected or maintained by DHS and HHS regarding either Jose Vasquez Ardon or Cristian Nunez-Flores.
12. Does either Jose Vasquez Ardon or Cristian Nunez-Flores meet the requirements to be considered a priority for removal under the Priority Enforcement Program? If so, please provide the exact reason for such consideration. If not, why not?
As you know, the Privacy Act authorizes disclosure of information to Committees of Congress. If you cannot fully respond to each and every request for documents or information set forth above, please identify the specific item requested to which you cannot fully respond and explain why you cannot respond.
Should you have any questions, please contact Kathy Nuebel Kovarik at (202) 224-5225 or Tracy Short at (202) 225-3926. Thank you for your cooperation.
Charles E. Grassley Bob Goodlatte
Senate Committee on the Judiciary House Committee on the JudiciaryRead More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Obama released his proposal for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget. Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released the following statement in response to the President’s wish list:
“Presenting a vision for how best to protect our nation and grow our economy is what a president’s budget is supposed to do, and, on both accounts, President Obama has failed with his proposal today. Like me, the folks in Virginia’s Sixth District are concerned about a lack of control over our borders and threats to our very way of life from hostile groups like ISIS. But his budget once again prioritizes the threat of climate change over winning battles against the enemy and does nothing to strengthen our nation’s border security.
“Furthermore, the economy isn’t anywhere close to where it needs to be to get hardworking Americans back to work and help the private sector create new jobs. Instead of common sense policies like repealing Obamacare, enacting a balanced budget amendment, auditing the Federal Reserve, passing the REINS Act, reducing taxes on working Americans, or cutting wasteful government spending, the President has once again doubled down and proposed higher taxes, more regulations, and a bigger government. The past seven years have shown his policies and vision for America have not worked, which is why his budget proposal is dead on arrival in the House of Representatives.
“I look forward to working alongside House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price to craft a fiscally responsible budget that reflects the values of this great nation, keeps us safe from terrorist threats, and protects our individual freedoms and liberties.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released the following statement on H.R. 27, the Tax Code Termination Act, which recently gained its 100th cosponsor:
“For years in Washington there has been a growing rumble about the need for comprehensive tax reform. And the American people have long asked for a simpler, fairer tax code. The time for tax reform is now. The Tax Code Termination Act provides the push needed to move comprehensive tax reform forward. Now, with over 100 bipartisan cosponsors, it’s clear that there is mounting support to scrap the tax code and start work on a new tax system.
“It has become all too clear that the current code is broken beyond repair and cannot be fixed – we must start over. While I have yet to hear an argument for maintaining our current tax code, I hear argument after argument for why we need a new one. Comprehensive tax reform will not happen overnight, but we should not delay taking a first step forward. Setting a date certain for a new tax system will provide a real timeline for action. I urge my colleagues to sign on in support of the Tax Code Termination Act, and provide the spark needed to bring real tax reform across the finish line.”
Background: The Tax Code Termination Act (H.R. 27), introduced by Congressman Bob Goodlatte, would sunset the current tax code by December 31, 2019, forcing Congress to approve a new federal tax system by July 4, 2019. While the bill does not recommend one tax system over another, it does outline a framework for a new tax system – one that applies a low rate to all Americans, provides tax relief for working Americans, protects the rights of taxpayers and reduces collection abuses, eliminates the bias against savings and investment, promotes economic growth and job creation, and does not penalize marriage or families.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) announced today that he will host a Veterans’ Resource Fair on Thursday, February 18 in Staunton:
“Our veterans have stood guard on distant battlefields and here at home to protect the liberties at the core of the United States. Because of this, we owe them a debt of gratitude and our deepest respect. That’s why I am hosting a Veterans’ Resource Fair to help better connect veterans to the many programs and services available in our region. The event will feature a variety of education, health care, employment, and housing resources – just to name a few – for local veterans. It is free of charge and anyone with an interest in veterans’ issues is encouraged to attend. The Sixth District of Virginia is home to thousands veterans of all ages who have served in numerous capacities, and I hope these men and women will find this event to be a helpful resource for them.”
WHEN: Thursday, February 18 from 10AM – 12:00PM
WHERE: Thomas D. Howie Memorial Armory
Gypsy Hill Park
500 Thornrose Avenue
Staunton, Virginia 24401
NOTE: Organizations or businesses wishing to host a table at the Veterans’ Resource Fair should call 540-857-2672. All media questions should be directed to Beth Breeding at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-225-5431. More information can be found at Goodlatte.House.Gov.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released the following statement after voting in support of H.R. 3662, the Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act, in the House of Representatives last evening:
“Much like how bad behavior should not be rewarded, it also should not be ignored. But the Obama Administration is giving Iran a free pass. It is irresponsible to lift sanctions on foreign financial institutions whose actions have knowingly resulted in support for terrorists or have contributed to Iran’s ballistic missile program. Financial institutions that have assisted in transactions that support terrorism are not innocent bystanders, and the bill passed by the House prohibits sanctions relief for these institutions in question.
“Iran is a leading state sponsor of terror and it’s clear that they have no intention of upholding even the weak limits of the Iran Nuclear Agreement negotiated by the Obama Administration. There is nothing more important to the future than protecting the United States from the threats of hostile nations. Americans on all ends of the political spectrum have a shared goal of ensuring the U.S. remains the most powerful nation in the world and safe from the threats of terror. We cannot afford to jeopardize that by handing out more free passes.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee today approved by voice vote a resolution authorizing a specialized task force to examine the historic increase in presidential power and executive overreach, which is distorting the fundamental system of checks and balances the framers enshrined in our nation’s founding document, the Constitution.
The Task Force on Executive Overreach is authorized for six months and will study the impact the increase in presidential and executive branch power has had on the ability of Congress to conduct oversight of the executive branch, the lack of transparency that furthers unchecked executive power, and the constitutional requirement of the President to faithfully execute the law. Additionally, the task force will review the tools at the disposal of the Congress to restore the proper balance of powers and hold the executive branch accountable. It will also make recommendations where there are deficiencies, including legislative solutions.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement on today’s vote authorizing the task force:
“The Constitution is clear: it is the role of Congress to make all laws, the Judiciary to interpret the laws, and the President to enforce the laws. This system was wisely set in place by our country’s framers over 200 years ago because they knew first hand that the concentration of power in the same hands was a threat to individual liberty and the rule of law. In recent decades, however, presidents of both parties have aggrandized their power and usurped Congress to legislate from the Oval Office. This is not a partisan issue; it’s an American issue and touches the very core of our system of government.
“The House Judiciary Committee’s Task Force on Executive Overreach will study this troubling trend and also look for solutions to prevent the executive branch from exceeding its constitutional authority. The separation of powers and its checks and balances are designed to protect individual liberty and we must ensure that it is preserved for future generations. Much work is to be done on this issue and I look forward to the task force’s upcoming hearings.”
Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) will chair the task force and Republican members of the task force are Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Ted Poe (R-Texas), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), and Mike Bishop (R-Mich.). Chairman Goodlatte will serve as an ex officio member of the task force.
Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) will serve as the Ranking Member of the task force and Democratic members of the task force are Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Cedric Richmond (D-La.), and Scott Peters (D-Calif.). Ranking Member Conyers will serve as an ex officio member of the task force.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) voted in support of a measure to override President Obama’s veto of the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, which repeals the pillars of the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, known as Obamacare, and defunds Planned Parenthood. However, this measure failed to garner the 2/3 majority needed to override a veto. Congressman Bob Goodlatte released the following statement:
“With this veto, President Obama has sent a message loud and clear: patient choice is not a priority. Despite the millions of Americans who have lost their health care coverage or are facing outrageous insurance premiums, his veto is reflective of a missed opportunity to work with Congress to enact health care solutions that would benefit the American people.
“But this fight is not over. It’s time for a real, bipartisan conversation in Congress that focuses on strategies that help Americans access the best quality health care at the least cost. The government should foster increased access to quality care based on individual choice, not take away choices from people on the grounds that government knows best. The hardworking men and women footing the bill for this flawed law cannot afford more missed opportunities, and I will continue to support health care reform that puts the American people first.”Read More
2309 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives.
Bob’s service to the people of the Sixth District began in 1977 when he became District Director for former Congressman Caldwell Butler. He served in this position for two years until 1979, and was responsible for helping folks across the District seeking assistance with or encountering problems from various federal agencies. In 1979, he founded his own private law practice in Roanoke. Later, he was a partner in the law firm of Bird, Kinder and Huffman, working there from 1981 until taking office.
In the 113th Congress, Bob was elected to serve as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He is the first Judiciary Committee Chairman from Virginia in the last 125 years. Bob has been an active Member of the Judiciary Committee since arriving in Congress, serving in a variety of leadership positions on the Committee including Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet in the 112th Congress, Vice Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee and Ranking Member of the Task Force on Judicial Impeachment in the 111th Congress, Ranking Member of the Antitrust Task Force in the 110th Congress, and Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property in the 109th Congress. Additionally, Bob also served on the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.
The House Judiciary Committee will certainly be at the forefront of some of the most significant issues facing Virginia and the Sixth District, including protecting Constitutional freedoms and civil liberties, oversight of the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, legal and regulatory reform, innovation, competition and anti-trust laws, terrorism and crime, and immigration reform. It is likely that many of these issues will be the deciding factors in determining the future direction of our nation. The jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee is well-suited to many of Bob’s legislative priorities such as protecting Constitutional rights, including private property and Second Amendment rights, securing our borders through immigration reform, strengthening our criminal laws, decreasing health care costs through medical malpractice reform, and oversight of the Judicial branch and Administration. One of Bob’s top legislative initiatives is his Constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget so that Congress will be forced to control spending. The Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over all proposed amendments to the Constitution.
In addition to serving on the House Judiciary Committee, Bob serves on the House Agriculture Committee. He is a member of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, which is of particular importance to the Sixth District since it is one of the leading turkey and poultry producing districts in the nation. He also serves on the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Nutrition. Bob has served the Agriculture Committee in a variety of leadership roles including Chairman of the Agriculture Committee (2003-2007), Ranking Member of the Agriculture Committee (2007-2008), Vice Chairman of the Agriculture Committee (2011-2012), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry (1997-2003), and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research (2009-2010).
During his time in Congress, Bob has made a name for himself as a leader on Internet and high-tech issues. He is Co-Chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus and the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus as well as Chairman of the House Republican Technology Working Group.
Bob is a graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law, and his undergraduate degree in Government was earned at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He resides in Roanoke with his wife, Maryellen. He and Maryellen have been married since 1974 and have two adult children, Jennifer and Rob.
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Justice Scalia was a steadfast defender of the Constitution & a firm believer in the principles of our nation’s system of justice.
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Happy Birthday to 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, born on this day in 1809. https://t.co/7Wc4nTvs1z
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During his 30 years on the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia was a steadfast defender of the Constitution and a firm believer in the principles of
Employees who are violent on the job shouldn’t be able to hide their actions from future employers. I introduced a bill today that allows a
It was sad news to hear of the passing of Allen Huddleston, the last remaining Bedford Boy. It's an honor to have known some of these men. I
The forest products industry is an important one for Virginia - especially the Sixth District. Glad I could speak with these guys with the pulp
Momentum for tax reform is growing! 100 bipartisan House Members now support my bill, the Tax Code Termination Act, which would scrap the current