WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, the President signed a bipartisan bill into law that protects sexual assault victims and helps remove criminals from our streets. The Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4323), introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.), reauthorizes a federal grant program for state and local governments to reduce the backlog of rape kits through 2019. The program was set to expire today. The House of Representatives approved this bill by voice vote on April 7, 2014 and the Senate approved it by unanimous consent earlier this month. Chairman Goodlatte praised the enactment of the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act in the statement below:
“On the eve of a critical program’s expiration, I am pleased that the House bill reauthorizing the Debbie Smith Act has been signed into law so that we can continue to expedite the processing of DNA test kits across the country. Each of these DNA test kits represents a life that has been shattered by the horrors of rape. Sadly, we can’t take away the pain and fear these women have experienced, but we can provide necessary resources used to solve these crimes so that they don’t have to live in fear waiting for their perpetrators to be found and brought to justice.
“This federal grant program is aptly named after a brave woman who had the courage to tell her story and advocate tirelessly for other victims of sexual assault. Debbie Smith is a true hero and I am proud that Congress has stood by her and other survivors to ensure that DNA analysis is completed quickly.”
The original Debbie Smith Act was introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) after rape survivor Debbie Smith testified before Congress in June 2001 about using DNA evidence to solve rape cases. In 1989, Debbie was kidnapped from her home in Williamsburg, Virginia, and dragged into the woods where she was raped. As Debbie notes in her letter to Chairman Goodlatte, the traumatic effect of the assault remained with her and her family for over six years, until her attacker’s DNA sample was finally removed from the state’s backlog and included in the national DNA database. The suspect was immediately linked to her rape, convicted of multiple felonies, and then sentenced to two life terms plus 25 years in prison.
The Debbie Smith Act was enacted in 2004 and since then, millions of dollars in federal funding have been appropriated under the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program to process the hundreds of thousands of DNA evidence kits. As of July 2014, the FBI national database included nearly 572,000 forensic profiles from crime scene samples. This information has aided more than 242,000 investigations nationwide, including nearly 9,000 in Virginia alone.
Earlier this year, Debbie joined Chairman Goodlatte and others calling on Congress to reauthorize the Debbie Smith Act; click here for photos.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released this statement following the announcement that Attorney General Eric Holder will resign.
Chairman Goodlatte: “I welcome the news that Eric Holder will step down as Attorney General. From Operation Fast and Furious to his misleading testimony before the House Judiciary Committee regarding the Department’s dealings with members of the media and his refusal to appoint a special counsel to investigate the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, Mr. Holder has consistently played partisan politics with many of the important issues facing the Justice Department.
“I hope that the next Attorney General will take seriously his role as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, working with Congress to ensure that the laws of our land are followed instead of being a roadblock on the path to justice.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Republicans today sent a letter to President Barack Obama demanding that he disclose to the American people the recommendations he has received for the anticipated executive actions he will take to further dismantle our nation’s immigration laws. President Obama originally intended to take more actions to curb the enforcement of our immigration laws by the end of this summer but decided to postpone taking these actions until after the November midterm elections.
The letter, led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, is signed by Representatives Howard Coble (R-N.C.), Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Ted Poe (R-Texas), Tom Marino (R-Pa.), George Holding (R-N.C.), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Jason Smith (R-Mo.), Trent Franks (R-Az.), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Steve King (R-Iowa), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Randy Forbes (R-Va.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Below is the text of the letter.
“Dear President Obama,
“We write requesting that you disclose information to the American people about the anticipated actions you plan to take by the end of the year to further dismantle our nation’s immigration laws.
“In the spring, you asked Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to perform an “inventory” of the Department of Homeland Security’s current immigration enforcement practices “to see how it can conduct enforcement more humanely within the confines of the law.” Within the last week you indicated that you have begun to receive some of these recommendations. You also indicated that you would wait to issue any executive orders or otherwise take action on the recommendations until after the November elections.
“Since you have postponed these executive actions until after the midterm elections, you will have ample time to consider the ideas put forth by Secretary Johnson and others before you make any decisions to fundamentally alter how our immigration laws are enforced, grant immigration benefits to millions of unlawful immigrants, or otherwise modify how our immigration laws are interpreted. You have made clear that you will take such actions without the passage of any legislation by Congress, and therefore without the input of the American public’s representatives. Additionally, it has been widely reported that you and your Administration have been meeting with select interest groups regarding their demands for administrative action on immigration. As a result, the American people have been cut out of a process that could dramatically affect their lives.
“Whether it’s now or November, it is never acceptable for the Executive Branch to ignore the Constitution and unilaterally give amnesty to unlawful immigrants. Regarding actions you are planning that you believe would comply with the Constitution, the least the Administration can do is give Americans the opportunity to see the recommendations that you are considering before you take any actions. Rather than attempt to hide these actions from the American people until after the midterm elections, Americans should be given the chance to come to their own conclusions as to the merits of these recommendations. They can then exercise their constitutional right to petition the federal government and let you know their opinions.
“We therefore ask that you immediately release to the public all the recommendations that you have received for administrative action – from Secretary Johnson, from Attorney General Holder, and from the interest groups with whom you and your Administration have met. And we ask that you continue to release additional recommendations as you receive them. This could go some way toward repairing the damage to the American political process caused by the secrecy with which your Administration has considered changes to our immigration system.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte released a statement today congratulating Warren County on the Avtex deal. He will participate in the Avtex Community Day and Commemoration Ceremony at the former Avtex Fibers Superfund site in Front Royal on Saturday:
“Saturday’s Commemoration Ceremony is, without question, a long time coming. Many have worked diligently over the past 25 years to make this a reality, including Front Royal and Warren County government and community leaders that I had the opportunity to work with on this project. I thank them for their dedication. It certainly was not easy, and I know that there were many obstacles to overcome before reaching this day. It is good to know that this property, which was once unusable, is now prepared to serve not only as a prime site for new business, but also as a place for the community to enjoy. I look forward to the redevelopment process and the new economic development and job opportunities that this is anticipated to bring to Warren County.”
Background: Following Congressman Frank Wolf’s work for many years to help restore the Avtex site, Congressman Goodlatte worked on behalf of Warren County and Front Royal to navigate federal red tape and see that the stakeholders reached an agreement to redevelop the former Superfund site.Read More
Congressman Goodlatte’s remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 2, the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act (as prepared):
Energy is vital to every aspect of American life. Working families, retirees, and businesses large and small are all dependent upon reliable and affordable energy. An unwelcome increase in the electric bill leaves many families no other option but to cut elsewhere. For businesses, higher energy costs mean less money to invest in jobs or expansion. As business costs increase, so does the price of goods down the line, triggering a chain reaction felt throughout the economy.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration’s policies are contributing to the rise in energy costs by discouraging exploration of domestic resources, imposing additional regulatory hurdles on energy creation, and attempting to bypass Congress to implement economically devastating policies like cap and trade.
Today, Congress reminds the Obama Administration about what they seem to have forgotten - that America’s economy is intrinsically linked to affordable energy. This bill encourages us to expand energy production. I am particularly pleased that it includes provisions I have worked on for a long time to move forward -- a lease sale off the Virginia coast. This sale will provide necessary energy resources for our nation, while providing a significant boost to the economy of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It also includes other important provisions, like the Judiciary- approved, RAPID Act, which cuts through the government red tape impeding development of our resources.
Today’s bill helps to ensure that America is an energy leader, utilizing our resources to strengthen the reliability and affordability of energy for American consumers. During this economic slow-down we must encourage more legislation like the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act, adopting policies that seek to rebuild our economy and create more jobs. I urge all members to vote for this legislation that ensures our energy security while boosting our economy.
House Passes Judiciary Committee Bill in Comprehensive Energy Package
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the House of Representatives passed the American Energy Solutions for Lowest Costs and More American Jobs Act, the House’s comprehensive energy package comprised of 14 bills with bipartisan support that previously passed the House this Congress. A Judiciary Committee bill was included in the package, H.R. 2641, the RAPID Act.
The RAPID Act recognizes that delay and uncertainty in the review process for new construction permits undermine job creation, wages for hardworking Americans, and economic growth. This bill streamlines the approval process for federally-funded and federally-permitted infrastructure, energy and other construction projects and delivers faster approvals.
Chairman Goodlatte: “Unnecessary red tape means fewer jobs for hardworking Americans, higher energy prices and a less competitive America. The RAPID Act, passed today in the House’s comprehensive energy package, sets hard deadlines for federal construction permits, cracks down on prolonged lawsuits, and streamlines the permit approval process. By making these necessary reforms, the RAPID Act acts as a job creator for Americans across the country and opens opportunities for Americans to find work while building our nation’s infrastructure for the future.”Read More
Congressman Goodlatte’s remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 4, the Jobs for America Act (as prepared):
In every state across this country, and most certainly in the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are folks still looking for good, full-time jobs, and businesses who want to hire them but can’t for fear of government imposed regulations that increase expenses. The Administration’s tax, regulate, and spend response to this problem hasn’t worked and it is incumbent upon us to enact necessary reforms to restore the American economy.
The legislation we consider today includes many provisions to combat excessive regulations that have already been passed by the House of Representatives and await action in the Senate, including provisions to restore the 40 hour work week; to permanently ban taxation of Internet access; to prevent secret settlement deals between federal bureaucrats and pro-regulatory plaintiffs in lawsuits; to require bureaucrats to consider the costs of regulations to small businesses; to require agencies to adopt the least costly method of implementing the law; and to require federal agencies to submit major regulations to Congress for approval. We know these provisions will help spur our economy and create jobs.
America’s labor force participation rate has essentially remained stagnant for the past several months and job creation and economic growth continue to fall short of what is needed to produce a real and durable recovery in our country. It is imperative that we again take action to pass these common-sense reforms, return discouraged workers to full-time jobs, and restore America to prosperity. I urge the Senate to stop stalling and to join us in this effort.
HOUSE PASSES THE JOBS FOR AMERICA ACT
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the House of Representatives passed the Jobs for America Act, the House’s bipartisan jobs package comprised of 15 bills that previously passed the House this Congress. Six Judiciary Committee bills were included in the package. Together, these Judiciary Committee bills would place a ban on Internet access taxes, encourage accountability in government by requiring Congressional approval for new major regulations, and reform government by reducing unnecessary red tape.
Chairman Goodlatte praised today’s vote by the House of Representatives: “I am pleased that the House passed six Judiciary Committee bills in the jobs package today. America needs these solutions. The effects of excessive, unnecessary regulation and taxes are real for American families who are impacted by high prices, fewer job opportunities and a less competitive American and who feel the government digging deeper and deeper into their pocketbooks. I urge the Senate and President Obama to take action on the jobs package and make these important bills the Law of the Land.”
More information about these bills may be found below.
H.R. 3086, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act: Introduced by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), this legislation permanently bans state taxes on Internet access and multiple or discriminatory state taxes on e-commerce. Over the past 16 years, Congress has temporarily extended this ban on states taxing Internet access on multiple occasions. The measures have been met with enormous bipartisan support – only five “no” votes were cast in the history of these renewals in the House and Senate. This bill makes this ban permanent. Without this legislation, the ban would end this year.
H.R. 2122, the Regulatory Accountability Act: Introduced by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), this legislation requires federal bureaucrats to think through new regulations better and with more public input and to adopt the least costly method of effectively implementing the law.
H.R. 2542, the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act: Introduced by Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), this legislation requires federal bureaucrats to better consider and lower adverse impacts on small businesses before they issue new regulations.
H.R. 367, the REINS Act: Introduced by Congressman Todd Young (R-Ind.), this legislation requires federal agencies to submit major regulations to Congress for approval and guarantees that no major regulations become effective until Congress approves them. This bill holds federal bureaucrats accountable for imposing burdens on America’s economy and strengthens our system of checks and balances.
H.R. 2804, the All Economic Regulations are Transparent Act: Introduced by Congressman George Holding (R-N.C.), this legislation requires bureaucrats to provide more timely, detailed information and greater transparency regarding planned or proposed regulations and prevents new rules from taking effect if they fail to do so.
H.R. 1493, the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act: Introduced by Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.), this legislation prevents secret settlement deals between federal agencies and pro-regulatory plaintiffs that result in new federal regulations for everyone.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte issued the following statement in honor of Constitution Day:
“Two hundred twenty-seven years ago on this day, September 17, 1787, the founders of our country signed the United States Constitution that laid the foundation for our freedoms today.
“Thanks to the 39 delegates who stood up for freedom and democracy, this document has stood the test of time, and continues to safeguard America by providing the necessary checks and balances for our country hundreds of years later.
“This year on Constitution Day, we are concerned whether the President is adhering to his constitutional duty of ‘faithfully executing the laws’ in light of laws he has circumvented or refused to enforce. The Constitution is very clear: it is Congress’ job to write our laws and it is the President’s duty to enforce them.
“As an elected representative in Congress, I have taken a solemn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. Also, as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that has jurisdiction over issues pertaining to the U.S. Constitution, I have held hearings on this issue and cosponsored a bill that the House passed to stop the President’s power grab and to restore the balance to the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution.
“As we reflect with reverence on the oldest written constitution still in use today, let’s also not forget the dangers of an unchecked executive branch.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following pressure from House Judiciary Committee Republicans, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson announced today at a congressional hearing that he will not lift a 30-year old regulation banning Libyans from coming to the United States to attend flight school, work in aircraft maintenance or flight operations, or to study or seek training in nuclear science. The prohibition on Libyans from studying nuclear science or training as pilots in the United States was originally put in place in the 1980s after the wave of terrorist incidents involving Libyans. A year ago, the Obama Administration began the process of lifting this longstanding regulation, claiming that the United States’ relationship with Libya has since “normalized.”
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee approved in a bipartisan vote the Protecting the Homeland Act (H.R. 5401) – a bill authored by Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and Oversight and Government Reform National Security Subcommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) – to stop the Obama Administration from lifting this longstanding prohibition.
Chairman Goodlatte, Subcommittee Chairman Gowdy, and Congressman Chaffetz praised Secretary Johnson’s decision in the joint statement below:
“We are pleased that Secretary Johnson has chosen common sense over the Obama Administration’s foolish plan, but this should never have been a hard decision to make. Given the ongoing terrorist activity in Libya, there is no reason that the Obama Administration should have ever contemplated lifting a decades-old ban on Libyans coming to our country to train as pilots or nuclear scientists. The fact is that Libya’s government remains unstable today and the country is becoming more dangerous as rival rebel groups battle each other for control of Libya’s cities. It’s necessary that we keep this ban on Libyans in place so that we protect Americans and our national security from threats in Libya. Despite assurances from Secretary Johnson that he won’t lift this ban any time soon, the House plans to move forward with legislation to prevent future Administrations from changing this policy.”
Last week, the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA), which represents 51,000 pilots who fly for 31 airlines in the U.S. and Canada, expressed concern about the Obama Administration lifting this regulation from the books. In their letter to Chairman Goodlatte, Captain Lee Moak notes the dangerous conditions in Libya and states that “given the political instability in Libya and the transitory nature of the government, ALPA is concerned that information relevant to a background check on Libyan nationals would be unreliable if not entirely unavailable.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte, a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, named Patrick and Judy Wheeler of Roanoke the Sixth District of Virginia’s 2014 “Angels in Adoption.” The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s Angels in Adoption Program is designed to celebrate individuals, couples, or organizations from across the nation that have made an extraordinary contribution on behalf of children in need of homes. Members of Congress have the opportunity to honor one nominee from each congressional district per year who is making a difference in the lives of children.
“Patrick and Judy Wheeler have a passion for adoption and a true heart for children in need,” said Congressman Goodlatte. “It is my honor to recognize them as this year’s ‘Angels in Adoption.’ Mrs. Wheeler recently said that ‘most people were thinking of retirement, but our hearts are with these children.’ Despite many challenges and long adoption processes, the Wheelers have blessed 11 young children with the loving home and opportunities they deserve. I am thankful for their willingness to bring these children into their family. This selfless act is truly to be commended.”
Patrick and Judy Wheeler, who reside in Roanoke, have adopted seven children from China and three from Vietnam as well as one child from the Roanoke area. Eight of their adopted children are cleft affected and the Wheelers have ensured that these children receive the surgeries, treatment, and loving care that they need. The Wheelers also have two biological children and four grandchildren.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte released the following statement today in remembrance of the lives lost in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya:
“September 11th is a day that we reflect with profound sadness and reverence upon the lives lost in terrorist attacks against the United States. These are lives that were taken from us all too soon and they will not be forgotten. My prayers are with their families. And yet, in this sadness, there is also a reminder of an intrinsic quality found in Americans – wherever there is tragedy, we see the law enforcement community, first responders, and even strangers on the street coming together to help those in harm’s way, just as we did in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.
“As we mark this somber anniversary, it is a reminder that we must also remain vigilant in the face of renewed threats to our nation. It’s true that this is a different world from the one we knew just 13 years ago. The attacks against our country both at home and abroad have changed our way of life in many ways and many American lives have been lost in the fight against terrorist threats and in the defense of our freedoms. But what has remained steadfast is the resilience of the American people and the truth that this nation will remain a beacon of freedom throughout the globe.”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, age 61, 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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House Bill that Protects Sexual Assault Survivors Signed into Law: I'm pleased that the bill reauthorizing the Debbie Smith Act has been signed
It's good to see a Lexington landmark brought back to life! Attended the re-opening of the Robert E. Lee Hotel last night. More here: http://goo.gl/KBKZxP
Enjoyed my time at the Sunnyside Apple Butter Festival this weekend at the at Sunnyside Retirement Community in Harrisonburg!
Last Saturday, I attended the Avtex Community Day and Commemoration Ceremony in Front Royal to celebrate an effort 25 years in the making. It
Check out my weekly column on the need for greater transparency and accountability at the Federal Reserve. Let's Audit the Fed.