Bob Goodlatte

Bob Goodlatte




WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson demanding answers about changes made to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that encourage fraud and abuse, and information about the scope of the program. Earlier this summer, Obama Administration officials quietly made several changes to DACA, including weakening the educational requirements and stating that for any documentary evidence provided by an applicant to meet DACA requirements, officials “may verify information,” as opposed to actually verifying the veracity of the documents.  

Since USCIS is not regularly verifying the validity of the documentary evidence provided to it, Chairman Goodlatte and Senator Grassley write that “applicants will undoubtedly take advantage of this fraud loophole.” They further state that “the American people deserve to understand why their own government would be encouraging fraud and potentially even helping some who want to do us harm game the system in order to do so.” 

In the letter, Chairman Goodlatte and Senator Grassley ask 25 detailed questions about the DACA program, including the number of applications that have been approved, rejected, and denied as well as information about what immigration benefits DACA applicants have received. Of particular importance is obtaining information on the individuals who received DACA but later had the benefit terminated. Additionally, Chairman Goodlatte and Senator Grassley ask if gang members have benefited from DACA and if taxpayer dollars are being used to cover the cost of the program. To read the letter, click here.

Changes to the DACA program can be found on USCIS’ website in the FAQ section.  

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte released a statement today announcing an agreement that will bring WHSV back to Comcast customers in Page County. Last month, Congressman Goodlatte announced a similar agreement that will allow DirectTV customers in Page County to receive WHSV content. 

“This week I learned that Comcast will once again carry the signal of WHSV in Page County. Starting on October 29, customers should be able to view local content from the Harrisonburg station. This is a positive development for Page County customers. I have heard from many constituents regarding this issue, and I am pleased that this agreement has moved forward. I thank both companies for their willingness to resolve this issue. I hope to continue working with other carriers to ensure that local television content is available for viewers in the Sixth District.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently approved a final regulation to lift a longstanding prohibition on Libyans coming to the U.S. to attend flight school, to work in aviation maintenance or flight operations, or to study or seek training in nuclear science. The final regulation has been approved by OMB and can be signed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson.  

The prohibition was originally put in place in the 1980s after the wave of terrorist incidents involving Libyans.  Not even two years after the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, the Obama Administration justifies lifting this ban by claiming the United States’ relationship with Libya has since improved. However, the terror threat continues and numerous news reports document recent terror-related activities coming from Libya. Recently, the employees at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli were evacuated due to violence between rival militias near the facility. Since then, many foreign governments have closed their embassies in Libya and evacuated staff as the violence has spread throughout the country. 

Earlier this year, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security held a joint hearing on this issue. Mr. Alan Bersin, who testified on behalf of DHS, promised to provide documents that are required under the regulation’s review process to the House Judiciary Committee. However, these documents were never provided to the Committee.  House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) issued the statements below criticizing the Administration’s policy reversal.  

Chairman Goodlatte: “The Obama Administration is turning a blind eye to real terrorist threats that exist in Libya today by carelessly forging ahead with its plan to allow Libyan pilots and nuclear scientists to study in the United States. Just weeks ago, Americans working at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli were evacuated due to rival rebel groups battling each other for control of the area. And less than two years ago, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked by terrorists, leaving four Americans killed. 

“The House Judiciary Committee has repeatedly sought information about the Administration’s policy reversal but political appointees at the Department of Homeland Security have stonewalled the Committee’s requests and have not articulated why it is in Americans’ best interests to change policy. Given the ongoing volatility in Libya, it is unconscionable and completely irresponsible that the Administration plans to lift a longstanding policy that protects Americans and our national security from threats in the region. I urge Secretary Johnson to stop this dangerous plan from taking effect.”

Subcommittee Chairman Gowdy: “The burden of proof for advocating a change in the status quo lies with the Administration. Is post-revolutionary Libya secure enough to change the rules? Why now? What evidence does the Administration have to assert the relationship between Libya and the US has indeed normalized? It is extremely concerning that DHS is moving forward with these plans, but has not provided information on the policy change despite repeated requests from Members.”

Congressman Chaffetz: “It is unbelievable that this Administration is willing to put Americans in harm’s way by lifting a decades-old security ban on a country challenged by instability. This makes no sense. None.  Recent events – such as the 2012 attack on our U.S. Consulate in Benghazi – do not indicate a nation where things have been ‘normalized.’  Rather they seem to be ingredients of a failed state in the making. Training Libyans in nuclear sciences and aviation maintenance overseas can be an effective alternative. I encourage DHS to consider options that ensure the safety and prosperity of both countries involved.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives today approved legislation (H.R. 5230) by a vote of 223-189 to provide targeted, narrow funding for border security, enforcement of immigration laws, and illegal immigration deterrence through the end of Fiscal Year 2014 in order to meet law enforcement’s immediate needs at the U.S.-Mexico border. The bill is paid for through reductions of existing funds within federal agencies and will result in no new or additional spending of taxpayer dollars. The bill also includes changes to a 2008 law so that unaccompanied alien minors who do not have a credible fear of persecution or have not been trafficked can be sent home expeditiously. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte issued the statement below following House passage of the bill. 

Chairman Goodlatte:  “The crisis at our southern border is a disaster of President Obama’s own making. The Obama Administration’s lax immigration enforcement policies have given confidence to parents who are in the U.S. illegally that they can stay and now they are finding ways to bring their children, who are still in Central America, to the United States unlawfully. Although President Obama has many tools at his disposal to stop this surge at the border, he refuses to use them and instead proposes to make the situation worse by taking more unilateral actions to stop the enforcement of our immigration laws. 

“Since President Obama won’t take the actions needed to quell illegal immigration at our border, I am pleased the House acted today to provide law enforcement agents on the ground targeted resources to assist them in doing their job of securing the border and enforcing our immigration laws. While the bill is not perfect, it does provide law enforcement many things they have requested. For example, while I was in the Rio Grande Valley earlier this month, Border Patrol agents cited environmental restrictions that bar access to federal lands as a significant stumbling block to securing the border. The House-passed bill prohibits the Administration from preventing Border Patrol access to federal lands so that they can stop drug traffickers, human smugglers, and unlawful immigrants from exploiting these gaps along the border. It also corrects a law that has exacerbated this crisis to ensure all unaccompanied minors can be sent back to their home countries safely and quickly.

“While the House acted today to provide targeted and narrow funding to meet urgent needs at our southern border, it is ultimately up to President Obama to end this crisis by reversing his policies that created it.”

Background: Earlier this month, Chairman Goodlatte led a bipartisan delegation to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to examine this crisis and seek solutions on how best to stop it. During the trip, members of the House Judiciary Committee toured federal facilities and met with those dealing with this problem firsthand at the border, including law enforcement officers and federal officials from the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Health and Human Services. Key findings from the trip can be found here. Chairman Goodlatte’s op-ed outlining actions President Obama could take now to end the border crisis can be found here

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives today approved legislation (H.R. 5272) by a vote of 216-192 to ensure President Obama cannot take sweeping unilateral actions to shield entire categories of deportable aliens from removal. Specifically, the bill effectively prevents the Administration from using any taxpayer dollars to: approve new applications under the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program or any similar memorandum or policy; authorize a new deferred action program for any class of aliens; and authorize work permits for unlawful immigrants.

In June 2012, the Obama Administration created the DACA program to grant certain unlawful immigrants a two-year legal status and work authorization. As of March 2014, over 550,000 unlawful immigrants have been approved under DACA and only 20,000 have been denied. President Obama has threatened to take more unilateral actions to stop immigration enforcement this year. Since the implementation of DACA, the number of unaccompanied alien minors seeking to enter the U.S. illegally has risen dramatically. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Immigration Statistics estimates that the illegal migration of minors will grow from 6,500 in FY 2011 to an estimated 142,000 in 2015. DHS estimates it will apprehend 90,000 unaccompanied alien minors in FY 2014, representing a 1,381% increase since 2011. 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte issued the statement below following House passage of the bill. 

Chairman Goodlatte:  “Throughout his presidency, President Obama has used his pen and his phone to effectively stop the enforcement of our immigration laws and shield entire categories of unlawful immigrants from removal. As a result of President Obama’s unilateral actions, word has spread around the world that our immigration laws are not enforced, which has enticed tens of thousands of kids, teenagers, and families from Central America to come to the U.S. illegally with the hope of staying here. Rather than take the actions needed to stop the crisis he created, President Obama proposes to take more unilateral actions this year to stop immigration enforcement. Such actions will only encourage more people to make the dangerous trek north. It’s clear that immigration enforcement is key to ending the crisis at the border and preventing similar situations in the future. 

“While there are varying opinions on how to improve our immigration system, the Constitution grants Congress, not the President, the power to write our immigration laws. The President does not have the authority to amend, suspend, and rewrite our immigration laws on his own terms. Today’s vote in the House sends the strong and clear message to President Obama that Americans’ elected representatives do not approve of his abuse of power. I urge the Senate to put politics aside and stand by our Constitution by supporting this legislation.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bob Goodlatte, joined by Congressmen H. Morgan Griffith and Robert Hurt, sent a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe requesting the United States Postal Service to reconsider the proposed closure of the Roanoke Processing and Distribution Center.  The letter also expressed concerns about the effect of this proposed closure on service for rural constituents. If the Roanoke facility closes, Southwest, Western, and Central Virginia will be without a mail processing center. 

A PDF version of the letter is available here. Text of the letter is below:

The Hon. Patrick Donahoe

Postmaster General

United States Postal Service

475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW

Washington, DC 20260

Dear Mr. Donahoe,

We are writing to express our concern about the proposed closure of the Roanoke, Virginia Processing and Distribution Center. 

On June 30, 2014, the Postal Service announced its intention to move forward with its network rationalization of mail processing operations plan and placed 82 Postal sites on its list of facilities to be closed or consolidated.  The Roanoke Processing and Distribution Center was included on this list and its operations scheduled to be consolidated with those of a similar facility in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

We understand that the Postal Service must find ways in which to improve its current and future financial condition and that the financial problems now facing the Postal Service warrant concern. However, we do not believe the closure of the Roanoke facility will bring about a favorable result for the Postal Service’s financial situation.  The closure of this facility will bring about the end of Overnight First-Class mail delivery by the Postal Service to the area, leaving local businesses with no choice but to choose other vendors to serve their shipping needs.  This loss in revenue will hardly prove beneficial to the Postal Service and will likely serve as an impetus to drive even more customers toward private shipping companies.  

In addition, we are concerned about the effect of this closure upon our most rural constituents.  Unlike those in urban areas, these individuals will not have the ability to send and receive First-Class mail under the same time frame and do not have access to competitors who could ensure timely delivery, and therefore will be unfairly impacted by this plan.  Furthermore, the whole of Central, Western, and Southwest Virginia will be devoid of reliable mail processing under this closure since the Lynchburg, Virginia, Bristol, Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, and Bluefield, West Virginia facilities are now closed.  

Lastly, we are concerned about the ability of the Greensboro facility to process and distribute the amount of mail that will be required of it following this closure. Considering the large volume of letter and package mail currently processed by the Roanoke center, we find it doubtful that the Greensboro facility will be able to adequately manage such an addition to its present processing and distribution responsibilities. 

It is for these reasons that we respectfully ask that you reconsider your present course of action and find other ways in which to address the fiscal problems facing the Postal Service. We await your prompt reply.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte released the following statement today after voting in support of the Conference Report on the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, which must also be approved by the Senate before heading to the White House: 

“Our veterans have sacrificed greatly to serve this nation. These men and women who have fought in defense of freedom deserve a VA system that actually works.  Under the legislation approved today, if a veteran cannot get an appointment at their local VA facility in a timely manner, or lives more than 40 miles away from the nearest VA medical facility, they can seek private care.  It establishes a Congressional Commission on Care to further evaluate the standards of care at VA facilities as well.  The bill would also provide more accountability by giving the Department of Veterans Affairs greater authority to fire senior employees who have failed to serve patients.  

“The substantial delay in service experienced by veterans across the nation is completely unacceptable.  We cannot turn back time to make up for this lapse of care; however, we can move forward today with legislation that will help improve conditions now and in the future. I am pleased that the House and Senate have come together in support of this bipartisan agreement to ensure better access to care for our veterans.  Thank you to our veterans for their service and sacrifice.” 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – By a vote of 225-201, the House of Representatives today approved H.Res. 676, a resolution authorizing the House to enter into litigation against President Obama’s failure to faithfully execute the laws. Specifically, the lawsuit will challenge the two instances in which President Obama unilaterally extended the deadline to implement the employer mandate in his signature healthcare law. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte praised the passage of the resolution in the statement below. 

Chairman Goodlatte: “The Constitution is very clear: it is Congress’ job to write our laws and it is the President’s duty to enforce them. However, President Obama treats our laws as mere guidelines, picking and choosing among them which to enforce, which to ignore, and which to effectively rewrite. As President Obama’s signature healthcare law has proved to be unworkable and unpopular, he unilaterally delayed the implementation of the employer mandate until at least after the next federal elections. While I oppose Obamacare and support its repeal, President Obama does not have the authority to strike and rewrite the law’s mandates on his own. 

“President Obama’s pattern of waiving, amending, and suspending our laws violates the Constitution and is devastating to political accountability in our Republic. If the President is allowed to change laws by himself, he and future presidents can be expected to change more and more laws that impact the rights and obligations of all Americans. As Americans’ elected representatives in Congress, we have taken a solemn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. Today, the House has kept this promise to the American people by authorizing litigation to restore political accountability and enforce the rule of law. The stakes of inaction are high and we must do all we can to preserve the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution.” 

Background on Executive Overreach: Earlier this year, the House approved in a bipartisan vote of 233-181 the Enforce the Law Act (H.R. 4138), a carefully crafted bill to rein in the growing problem of executive overreach and restore balance to the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution. The Enforce the Law Act, introduced by Representatives Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and Representative Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), puts a procedure in place to permit the House, or the Senate, to authorize a lawsuit against the Executive Branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws. Since the Senate has failed to consider this legislation, the House passed a resolution today to challenge President Obama’s executive overreach in court. A full summary of the Enforce the Law Act can be found here and more on executive overreach can be found here.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte released a statement today following the passing of former Sixth District Congressman M. Caldwell Butler of Roanoke at age 89:

“Maryellen and I offer our sincere condolences to the Butler family. They are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.  It was a great honor to know, and have the privilege of working for, a man like Caldwell Butler.  Right out of law school, I served as his District Office Manager from 1977-1979 and learned a great deal from him then and over the years, and his guidance and wisdom will be missed by me and many others.  He is remembered for many things, but none more than his service on the House Judiciary Committee at a difficult time in our nation’s history.  He was a strong voice and a sharp legal mind on the Committee and acted with integrity during the Watergate investigation and impeachment proceedings, which ended with the resignation of former President Richard Nixon.    

“Mr. Butler was a public servant in the truest sense of the word.  He has given immeasurably to the Roanoke community, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and our nation. Working for Mr. Butler, I also witnessed first-hand his love and affection for his wife, June, and their four young sons.  That affection was laced with humor. It was not unusual for Mr. Butler to answer a telephone call with ‘Butler's Home for Boys!’  Humor dotted his speeches, as well.  His sharp wit often resonated with listeners a minute or more after the line was delivered.  His willingness to see the humor in what might otherwise be a difficult situation endeared him to his constituents and staffers alike.

“His lifetime of contributions to the betterment of our nation, the Sixth District, and the Roanoke community will surely not be forgotten.” 

Caldwell Butler was a Roanoke native. He attended Roanoke public schools, received his undergraduate degree at the University of Richmond and his law degree from the University of Virginia. After being admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1950, he commenced practice in Roanoke. He also served in the United States Navy.  

Mr. Butler was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates from Roanoke, 1962-1971, and served as minority leader from 1966-1971.  He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1972, in a special election, and served there until 1983.  Upon retiring from Congress, he resumed his law practice in Roanoke. His wife of 64 years, June Nolde Butler, passed away one month ago on June 28, 2014.

At this morning’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, Congressman Goodlatte paused to honor the memory of Congressman Butler – Click here.

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WASHINGTON – The House on Friday unanimously passed bipartisan legislation that would restore the ability of consumers to more easily transfer their cell phones to other wireless carriers, just one week after the Senate approved the same measure. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) coordinated with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) on the issue.  The lawmakers praised Congress’s action to pass the pro-consumer bill, which now goes to the White House for signature.

The legislation approved by the House today, which the Senate unanimously approved last week, reinstates a 2010 rulemaking by the Librarian of Congress so that consumers can transfer, or “unlock,” their cell phones without running afoul of copyright laws. It also directs the Librarian of Congress to consider whether other wireless devices, like tablets, should be eligible for unlocking. 

The chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees began working together on the issue last year after more than 100,000 consumers signed a “We the People” petition calling for a change in cell phone unlocking law. 

“I thank the House for moving so quickly on the bill we passed in the Senate last week and for working in a bipartisan way to support consumers. The bipartisan Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act puts consumers first, promotes competition in the wireless phone marketplace, and encourages continued use of existing devices,” Leahy said. “Once the President signs this bill into law, consumers will be able to more easily use their existing cell phones on the wireless carrier of their choice.”

“With today’s House passage of the bipartisan Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, this important legislation is headed to the President for his signature,” Goodlatte said.  “This law will protect consumer choice by allowing flexibility when it comes to choosing a wireless carrier.  This is something that Americans have been asking for and I am pleased that we were able to work together to ensure the swift passage of legislation restoring the exemption that allowed consumers to unlock their cell phones.”

“The cell phone unlocking bill has a direct impact on Americans as we become more reliant on our wireless devices.  This bipartisan bill is pro-consumer and pro-competition and allows for greater ease in the portability of devices.  It will provide greater competition and more consumer choice,” Grassley said.  “I appreciate the House’s quick action and look forward to the President signing this bipartisan bill.”

“House passage of the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act now ensures this important bipartisan legislation will be signed into law without further delay and consumers can engage in the phone marketplace flexibly,” Conyers said. “During these tough economic times, consumers deserve to have options in what carriers they choose and what phones they want to use.  I applaud the truly bipartisan efforts of both the Senate and House Judiciary Committees in getting this bill to the President’s desk.”

An outline of the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act can be found here, and text of legislation can be found online.

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2309 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5431
Fax 202-225-9681

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, 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.

Serving With

Rob Wittman


Scott Rigell


J. Randy Forbes


Robert Hurt


Eric Cantor


Morgan Griffith


Frank Wolf


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