Bob Goodlatte

Bob Goodlatte




WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte issued the following statement today regarding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress:

“Today’s message from Prime Minister Netanyahu presented a challenge to the United States. Do we stand with Israel or do we not? The threat presented by a nuclear Iran is serious for Israel, the Middle East as a whole, and the United States. Iran’s actions continue to prove that it cannot be trusted. Furthermore, the ongoing negotiations with Iran provide little confidence that a workable resolution will be reached. The President, Congress, and the American people should be highly critical of any ‘deal’ that does not truly and transparently cut-off Iran’s access to a bomb. Allowing Iran access to nuclear weapons is completely unacceptable. I agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu that the result of these negotiations is likely to be a ‘bad deal.’ Over the years, Israel has proven to be one of our greatest allies. It is clear that the U.S. must stand with Israel.” 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte released the following statement regarding the announced closure of Sweet Briar College in Amherst County, Virginia: 

“I am saddened to learn of the decision by the Board of Directors of Sweet Briar College to close this historic institution. Sweet Briar College has played an important role in Amherst County for over 100 years – providing jobs, education, and a campus reflective of the beauty of our part of the Commonwealth. While I understand the challenges the school faces today and the difficulty of this decision, it is a true loss for Central Virginia and the alumnae who have fond memories of their time there. Many women have received a quality education from this institution and in that the legacy of Sweet Briar will continue.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below following House approval of a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security for Fiscal Year 2015:

“Senator Reid and Senate Democrats have defied the will of the American people by repeatedly obstructing debate on a House-passed bill that would provide critical funding for homeland security and defund the President’s unilateral actions on immigration. President Obama’s unilateral rewriting of our immigration laws poses a clear and present danger to the Constitution and must be stopped.  The stakes are too high to surrender and we must stand firm to defend the Constitution. Since the bill voted on today by the House of Representatives did not stop President Obama’s lawless actions, I voted against it. 

“This fight is not about immigration; it’s about the Constitution and preserving the rule of law. If we don’t stop President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration, future presidents will continue to expand the power of the Executive Branch and encroach upon individual liberty. We must continue to use all tools at Congress’ disposal to stop the President’s egregious abuse of authority, such as taking legal action and passing legislation. This week, the House Judiciary Committee is considering several bills that strengthen the enforcement of our immigration laws and stop President Obama’s ability to shut down immigration enforcement efforts unilaterally. One of these bills also contains a prohibition on using funds to enact President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. We must do all we can within our constitutional authority to stop President Obama’s lawlessness.”

Background: In December, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte signed an amicus brief submitted to the federal court by the American Center for Law and Justice in support of the lawsuit filed by 26 states challenging President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration. Additionally, Chairman Goodlatte led a letter signed by 170 Members of Congress to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid demanding that he stop censoring debate on the House-passed bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security for Fiscal Year 2015 and defund President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration. 

This week, the House Judiciary Committee is considering four bills to strengthen the enforcement and integrity of our immigration laws. The Michael Davis, Jr. in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act (H.R. 1148), authored by Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), removes the President’s ability to unilaterally shut down the enforcement of immigration laws and defunds President Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions on immigration. 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee today approved by a vote of 20-13 the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1147). This bill, authored by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) preserves jobs for legal workers by requiring U.S. employers to check the work eligibility of all future hires through the E-Verify system.  The Legal Workforce Act is supported by Numbers USA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association, the National Association of Homebuilders, the International Franchise Association, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the Leading Builders of America.

Created in 1996 and operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), E-Verify checks the social security numbers of newly hired employees against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security records to help ensure that they are genuinely eligible to work in the U.S. The program quickly confirms 99.7% of work-eligible employees and takes less than two minutes to use. Approximately 580,000 American employers currently use E-Verify and nearly 6 in 10 of America’s smallest businesses believe every employer should have to use E-Verify.  Additionally, 71% to 85% of Americans support requiring all U.S. employers to use E-Verify. 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) praised today’s Committee vote.

Chairman Goodlatte:  “The Legal Workforce Act brings our nation’s employment eligibility system into the 21st century. Rather than relying on the current paper-based I-9 system that is susceptible to fraud, this bill requires all U.S. employers to use a web-based system, E-Verify.  This program takes less than two minutes to use and easily identifies whether or not a new employee is allowed to work in the United States. 

“Expanding E-Verify nationwide is a critical component to the interior enforcement of our immigration laws and will help maintain the integrity of our immigration system for the years ahead. In contrast to the 1986 immigration law, the Legal Workforce Act provides a tangible way to make sure our laws are enforced.  Under the Legal Workforce Act, present and future administrations will no longer be able to turn off immigration enforcement efforts unilaterally. Instead, the bill ensures that where the federal government fails to act, the states can pick up the slack by empowering them to help enforce the law.”

Components of the Legal Workforce Act: 

Repeals I-9 System:  The Legal Workforce Act repeals the current paper-based I-9 system and replaces it with a completely electronic work eligibility check, bringing the process into the 21st century.  However if an employer chooses to keep using the paper-based I-9 system they may do so.  

Gradual Phase-In:  Phases-in mandatory E-Verify participation for new hires in six month increments beginning on the date of enactment.  Within six months of enactment, businesses having more than 10,000 employees are required to use E-Verify.  Within 12 months of enactment, businesses having 500 to 9,999 employees are required to use E-Verify.  Eighteen months after enactment, businesses having 20 to 499 employees must use E-Verify.  And 24 months after enactment, businesses having 1 to 19 employees must use E-Verify.  Allows a one-time six month extension of the initial phase-in.   It also provides that employees performing “agricultural labor or services” are subject to an E-Verify check within 36 months of the date of enactment.  

Voluntary Use:  Allows employers to use E-Verify to check the work eligibility of their current employees as long as they do so in a nondiscriminatory manner and of all employees who are in the same geographic location or in the same job category.   

States as Partners:  Preempts duplicative state laws mandating E-Verify use but gives states prominent roles in enforcing the law.  Specifically, it retains the ability of states and localities to condition business licenses on the requirement that the employer use E-Verify in good faith under federal law. In addition, the bill allows states to enforce the federal E-Verify requirement and incentivizes them to do so by letting them keep the fines they recover from employers who violate the law. 

Protects Against Identity Theft: The bill allows individuals to lock their Social Security number (SSN) so that it can’t be used by another person to get a job.  It also allows parents or legal guardians to lock the SSN of their minor children.  And if a SSN shows a pattern of unusual multiple use, DHS is required to lock the SSN and alert the owner that their personal information may have been compromised. 

Safe Harbor:  Grants employers safe harbor from prosecution if they use the E-Verify program in good faith, and through no fault of their own, receive an incorrect eligibility confirmation.     

Strengthened Penalties:  The bill raises penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants in violation of the requirements of the bill. The bill also creates a penalty for individuals (employees or employers) who knowingly submit false information to the E-Verify system.  

Identity Authentication Pilot Programs:  The bill requires DHS to conduct at least two pilot programs aimed at using technology within the E-Verify system to help further prevent identity theft in the system.    

In a short video, Congressman Smith explains how to use E-Verify. Learn more about E-Verify here and the House Judiciary Committee’s work on immigration here.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and several House Republicans have unveiled four pieces of legislation to strengthen the interior enforcement of our immigration laws, remove the ability of the President to unilaterally shut down immigration enforcement, ensure jobs are preserved for legal workers, reform the United States’ asylum laws, and make sure unaccompanied alien minors who make the dangerous trek to the United States are safely returned home. These four bills will be marked up by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 3 and Wednesday, March 4, 2015. 

Chairman Goodlatte said the following on the importance of these pieces of legislation.

“There are many issues plaguing our nation’s immigration system but the biggest problem is that our immigration laws are not enforced. While presidents of both parties have not fully enforced our immigration laws, President Obama has unilaterally gutted the interior enforcement of our laws. Additionally, Obama Administration officials consistently exploit weak asylum standards to approve baseless claims.

“By refusing to enforce the laws against illegal immigration, President Obama’s immigration policies collectively undermine the integrity of our immigration system and send the message to the world that our laws can be violated with impunity.  The bills introduced by Representatives Gowdy, Smith, Chaffetz, and Carter end many of the Obama Administration’s disastrous polices that wreak havoc on our immigration system and strengthen the interior enforcement of our immigration laws. We must ensure enforcement of our immigration laws before we can address other broken aspects of our immigration system, such as high-skilled visa reform and addressing our broken agricultural guestworker program.”

The Michael Davis, Jr. in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act is authored by Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). This legislation ensures that the President of the United States can’t shut down immigration enforcement unilaterally by granting states and localities specific congressional authorization to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law. It also strengthens national security and protects American communities by improving visa security, facilitating the removal of dangerous criminal aliens, and barring terrorists from entering and remaining in the United States. A summary can be found here.

“For decades, Americans have been promised a secure border and an immigration system that works for all Americans,” said Subcommittee Chairman Gowdy. “Those promises have not been kept and both political parties bear responsibility for that. This legislation allows state and local governments to assist in the enforcement of our federal immigration laws. By doing so, we remove the ability of this or future Presidents – of either party – to systematically shut down portions of the law to suit their political purposes.”

“If we are serious about finding a long term solution to our immigration system, we must address interior enforcement,” added Gowdy. “This bill, which is one part of the Committee’s step-by-step process to address our broken immigration system, will ensure we do not repeat the mistakes of the past and help us earn back the trust of the American public.”

Science, Space, and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced the Legal Workforce Act to ensure jobs are preserved for Americans and legal workers. This bill requires all U.S. employers to use E-Verify, a web-based system that checks the Social Security numbers of newly hired employees against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security records to help ensure that they are genuinely eligible to work in the U.S. A summary can be found here

“The Legal Workforce Act is crucial legislation that puts legal workers first and enjoys broad support with the American public. It is also free, quick, easy-to-use and effective,” said Congressman Smith.

“Almost 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. Meanwhile, seven million people are working in the United States illegally. By expanding the E-Verify system, this bill will ensure that new jobs only go to legal workers,” Smith concluded. 

Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, is author of the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act. This bill closes loopholes in current law that encourage illegal immigration, such as weak standards for asylum claims that enable the Obama Administration’s rubberstamping of fraudulent applications and policies, and effectively ends “catch and release.” A summary can be found here

“Even before the President’s promises of amnesty went into effect, our borders were being inundated with unaccompanied children and teens responding to the incentive of a broken asylum policy,” said Congressman Chaffetz. “This incentive, combined with President Obama’s promise of executive amnesty, continues to lure ever increasing numbers of immigrants across our borders. Congress can respond decisively with resources to swiftly process asylum seekers. The Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act not only addresses the immediate concern with unaccompanied children, but closes long-exploited holes in our asylum practices.  

“Additional judges, attorneys, and other resources will ensure children are processed, reunited with their families, and sent home as swiftly as possible,” added Chaffetz. “Just as importantly, the bill addresses the delays that have enabled people to game the asylum system. We can expedite the removal process by reducing the multi-year waiting period and strengthening standards for those who claim ‘credible fear’ for adjudication of asylum claims.”

Chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee John Carter (R-Texas) introduced the Protection of Children Act to ensure unaccompanied alien minors who make the dangerous journey to the United States are safely returned home. For those who stay with a sponsor in the United States while awaiting their immigration hearing, the bill provides for greater transparency and safety of these minors to ensure they are not inadvertently delivered into the hands of criminals or abusers. A summary can be found here.  

“For far too long drug smugglers have continually used loopholes in our nation’s immigration law to make billions, all while preying upon the weakest in our society.  The Protection of Children Act of 2015 stops this abuse and removes the loophole human traffickers have used for years,” said Congressman Carter on the introduction of this bill. “Last year, we saw the affect these loopholes have on our country and southern border when tens of thousands of juveniles marched across the border and into our cities, all at the taxpayer’s expense. The great state of Texas has felt this burden, probably more than any other state. This Administration needs to stop ignoring the obvious problem, burdening the American public and putting innocent lives at risk.”   

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and members of the House Judiciary Committee today sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman (FCC) Tom Wheeler expressing deep concern with the FCC’s approval of net neutrality rules that regulate Internet service providers under Title II of the Communications Act. The members signing the letter also noted that the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the impact of the FCC’s rule change on March 17, 2015. In the letter, the members invited Chairman Wheeler to testify at the upcoming hearing and noted that legislation might be necessary to ensure antitrust laws are the preferred enforcement method against anticompetitive conduct on the Internet. 

In addition to Chairman Goodlatte, the  letter was signed by Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Steve King (R-Iowa), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Ted Poe (R-Texas), Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), Dave Trott (R-Mich.), and Mike Bishop (R-Mich.).

Below are excerpts from the letter. To read the entire letter, click here

“The Commission’s actions today threaten the future viability of the Internet and America’s ability to compete in the global technology marketplace.  Today’s rules do not offer an enduring solution, only a partisan headline for a partisan initiative that is destined for years of litigation, generating years of debilitating uncertainty.  

“The assertion that these rules will ‘foster innovation and competition’ lacks factual or historical support.  Witness testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on this very issue detailed the many instances in which regulation of the kind manifested by Title II and the Commission’s new rules stifled competition, including in the context of both railroad transportation and long-distance telephone networks.  Indeed, it was antitrust law, not regulation, which ultimately introduced competition to the long-distance telephone market.

“We are also troubled by the manner in which the ‘Open Internet’ rules were formulated.  On November 10, 2014, President Obama urged the FCC to impose Title II regulations on the Internet. Shortly thereafter, you began making statements in support of a Title II approach.  Certainly, the timing of your support for Title II following the President’s recommendation calls into question the degree, if not the existence, of the FCC’s independence from the White House.  

“We will not stand by idly as the White House, using the FCC, attempts to advance rules that imperil the future of the Internet.  We plan to support and urge our colleagues to pass a Congressional Review Act resolution disapproving the “Open Internet” rules.  Not only will such a resolution nullify the ‘Open Internet’ rules, the resolution will prevent the FCC from relying on Title II for any future net neutrality rules unless Congress explicitly instructs the FCC to take such action.  

“The Committee on the Judiciary will take every action necessary to ensure that the Internet remains a free, competitive marketplace.”

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THE HILL: College ratings plan not the answer

By Reps. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) - 02/26/15 08:00 AM EST

Do engineers matter more than the science teachers who fired their imaginations? Are accounting majors more valuable to our society than someone studying theology? Should a university receive less financial aid because their students choose humanitarian service instead of high paying jobs? How can these incomparables be measured – and should we try?  The Obama administration raises these important questions with its Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS) for colleges and universities. In December, the Administration unveiled its proposed framework, but many questions remain.

We, a Republican from Virginia and a Democrat from Massachusetts, have been skeptical of these efforts since they were first announced more than a year ago. We’ve heard concerns from many in the higher education community. Last summer, in response to these concerns, we introduced a resolution, H. Res 614, expressing support for the quality, value and diversity of our nation’s higher education institutions and strong disagreement with the Administration’s plans to implement a college ratings system.

Now that the Department of Education has released its draft framework for rating post-secondary education, we are renewing efforts to build support for our resolution, introducing it in the 114th Congress as H. Res 26.

The criteria that federal education officials would use to create a ratings system – “access, affordability and outcomes” – illustrate the problems they will face. All of these benchmarks are certainly important considerations, but there will be enormous and unavoidable difficulties in comparing institutions based on these criteria. Perhaps more importantly, where are the benchmarks that consider an individual’s personal determinations of value? One size certainly will not fit all.

An Ivy League university cannot be compared with a small rural college on the basis of alumni income. Nor should one compare completion rates for a selective private college with a large state university that admits, and in some cases may be required to admit, many local high school graduates with widely varying levels of academic preparation. Unless the criteria are developed in a way that accurately accounts for the academic diversity of America’s colleges, the data will be misleading and ineffective.

Moreover, and even more troubling, earned income should be no measure of the contributions that individuals make to society. This will easily incentivize colleges and universities to encourage students to choose majors such as pre-med or computer science over social work and education.  A perfect example of how this rating could negatively impact a university can be found in President Obama himself. He chose to work as a community organizer after graduating from Columbia, a position for which he would have been modestly compensated. His lower income could have negatively impacted Columbia’s rating, if such a rating system existed in 1983. Surely we would not value anyone’s work solely based on their salary. We do not want federal policy to discourage public service.

Another concerning aspect of the proposal is the linking of ratings to eligibility for financial aid. Schools with a mission to serve low-income or first-generation college students may, for reasons quite apart from the excellence of their teaching, show lower rates of completion and lower alumni earnings. These schools, however, provide crucial opportunities for many young people. If the financial aid available to them were limited by poor ratings, their essential mission would be jeopardized.   Higher education would become unattainable for many underserved students.

Our nation boasts a rich history of student-choice in higher education. For some individuals, a city school is preferred over a rural school, for others extracurricular offerings such as music or sports may be important. The Department of Education in its own proposed framework does not claim “at this time” to have “metrics” for those aspects of education they admit are “intangible.” If a characteristic is intangible it is by definition abstract and impossible to quantify.  No one can place an arbitrary value on an individual’s experience at an institution, tie federal funding to that value, and expect to have accomplished some measure of accountability.

Everyone agrees we must address issues of college affordability and student debt. We agree that taxpayer dollars should be spent responsibly and effectively.  We also agree that prospective students should have data available to help them make informed decisions and provide as much objective information as possible towards that end. Federally rating our colleges and universities is not the way to do this. Such a divisive and subjective ratings system, with too many unintended consequences, will threaten the special characteristics and diversity that make our postsecondary system the best in the world today.

We stand ready to work with those interested in protecting that diversity while ensuring that taxpayer dollars are wisely spent and anyone who wishes to go to college has the opportunity to do so.

Goodlatte has represented Virginia’s 6th Congressional District since 1993. He is chairman of the Judiciary Committee and also sits on the Agriculture Committee. Capuano has represented congressional districts in Massachusetts’ Boston area since 1999. He sits on the Ethics; the Financial Services; and the Transportation committees.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (VA-06) testified today before the House Budget Committee as a part of the Members’ Day Hearing, an opportunity for Members of the House of Representatives to testify before the Committee on their suggested policies and priorities for the Fiscal Year 2016 budget. Below is the text of Congressman Goodlatte’s testimony, as prepared, as well as video.

Click here to view the video.

House Committee on the Budget

Members’ Day Hearing: FY 16 Budget – February 25, 2015

Testimony of Congressman Bob Goodlatte

Chairman Price, Ranking Member Van Hollen, I appreciate the opportunity to testify before the Committee today.  The American people have entrusted us with great responsibilities.   One of those responsibilities is outlined in Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution, which calls for a “regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money… [to be] published from time to time.”  That is what you set out to do in this Committee.  Yet, there are two problems that I, and I believe most Americans, have noticed in this regard.  

The first is that while we are called upon to publish a federal budget, unlike those we represent, the Congress does not often balance that budget.  Despite attempts to rein in federal spending, our national debt has continued to skyrocket to well over $18 trillion dollars.  It was Thomas Jefferson who warned us of the consequences of out-of-control debt when he wrote: “To preserve [the] independence [of the people,] we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.”

Experience has proven time and again that Congress cannot for any significant length of time rein in excessive government spending.  The annual deficits and the resulting debt continue to grow due to political pressures and the ever-increasing expansion of government programs.  In order for Congress to be able to consistently make the very tough decisions necessary to sustain fiscal responsibility over the long term, Congress must have an external pressure to force it to do so.  For this reason, I have introduced balanced budget constitutional amendments every Congress since the 110th.   While I appreciate this Committee’s work in the past to produce budgets that balance in the future, I believe it is time that we make an institutional reform to ensure that all Congresses, regardless of political party control, produce budgets that consistently balance.  I would encourage this House Budget Committee to add report language recommending that Congress propose a balanced budget constitutional amendment to the states for ratification. 

The second point I’d like to raise is that of revenues.  Not only do the American people expect Congress to spend their hard-earned tax dollars responsibly, they also expect that government collect those revenues fairly, simply, and in a way that does not hurt job growth.  While the authority for tax reform falls under the jurisdiction of the House Ways and Means Committee, it is important that this Committee also recognize the need for fundamental tax reform so that the revenues side of our federal budget is representative of a fair, simple, tax system that does not penalize marriage or families, and instead promotes job growth, supports savings and investment, and applies a low tax rate to all Americans and provides tax relief for working Americans.  I have introduced legislation in this Congress that would invite lawmakers to have this debate.  The Tax Code Termination Act has twice passed the House of Representatives in the 105th and 106th Congresses, and simply puts a date-certain on the expiration of our current tax code and with a simple structure, directs Congress to establish a new tax system before that expiration.  It is my hope that this Committee will include support for fundamental tax reform in the House Fiscal Year 2016 budget.

I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today and look forward to working with you to create sustainable budgetary policies that the American people support. 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte released the following statement after voting in support of H.R. 529, bipartisan legislation to expand 529 college savings accounts: 

“H.R. 529 helps improve the plans that millions of Americans depend on to help save for college. Many families know how difficult it can be to save for college and the thought of burdensome student loan debt can often be a deterrent to furthering one’s education. These 529 plans incentivize college savings and help families plan ahead for these expenses, allowing more opportunities for those who want to go to college. H.R. 529 ensures that these plans remain tax-free, and it also helps to modernize the rules governing 529s, including allowing funds to be used for computers. I was proud to cosponsor this bill and support it in the House – these are the kind of solutions we need to help grow opportunity.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Reps. Rob Wittman (VA-01), Scott Rigell (VA-02), J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Robert Hurt (VA-05), Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), Dave Brat (VA-07), H. Morgan Griffith (VA-09), and Barbara Comstock (VA-10) joined together in sending a letter to Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine urging them to stop blocking debate on the House-passed Department of Homeland Security funding bill. Recently, these eight representatives were among 170 Members of the House of Representatives who sent a letter to Senator Harry Reid asking him to allow debate on this legislation. The Senate is scheduled to vote on whether to proceed with consideration of H.R. 240, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill, at 5:30 p.m. today. 

Click here for a PDF copy of the signed letter. The full text of the letter is below: 

Dear Senator Warner and Senator Kaine: 

           On behalf of the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia, we urge you to reconsider your votes to protect President Obama’s unlawful executive action by blocking debate on H.R. 240, the House-passed bill which would fully fund the Department of Homeland Security.

           We agree with Senator Warner’s assertion last September: on “a big issue like immigration the best way to get a comprehensive solution is to take this through the legislative process.” We agree with the 22 occasions in which President Obama said to take such action unilaterally would be illegal, unconstitutional and imperial. We also agree with the 170 members of the House of Representatives who signed the attached letter urging Leader Reid to allow the Senate to take immediate action on the appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security and stop the unlawful actions by the President.  

            As representatives of a state whose rich history is intrinsically entwined with our nation’s founding, we regard the President’s recent action as an affront on our power as legislators, and, by extension, the representation promised to our constituents by our founding fathers.

To that end, we believe that to  filibuster a funding bill to protect such action is wrong and profoundly undemocratic.

            This vote transcends policy. There are times when we must reach across the aisle in defense of something greater, when party lines dissolve, disagreements fade, and what is right must triumph. The true threat is that any future President will take this precedent and choose which laws they wish to enforce and ignore the will of Congress and the American people. We have reached a moment of constitutional crisis. We implore you not to give up the power with which our constituents have entrusted us. Exercise your authority, which the President’s recent action seeks to nullify.

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Committee Assignments



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.

Serving With

Rob Wittman


Scott Rigell


J. Randy Forbes


Robert Hurt


Dave Brat


Morgan Griffith


Barbara Comstock


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