Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) issued the following statement on the President’s tax reform plan that was released today:
“I am grateful to work with President Donald Trump and House Republicans to provide tax reform that will create jobs, simplify the tax code, and growth the economy. I am very encouraged by proposals to provide critical tax relief to middle-income families by doubling the standard deduction and reducing the number of tax brackets. Additionally, I look forward to providing strong tax reform for American businesses—decreasing the tax rate and making America competitive in the global economy to promote jobs.
“I am confident that by working together, we can deliver comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform for American families.”Read More
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) issued the following statement after joining President Donald Trump as the President signed the Education Federalism Executive Order:
“I am grateful that President Donald Trump shares my commitment to restoring educational decisions to those who know best—state and local governments. For too long, unelected Washington bureaucrats have instituted top-down educational mandates that failed to consider the needs of individual students and communities. I look forward to working with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to continue our work to restore educational decisions will be returned to those who know the needs of students best—parents, teachers, administrators, locally elected school boards, and state Boards of Education.”
Congressman Joe Wilson is Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Last Congress, he introduced the Local Control of Education Act. Read more about his work to remove federal overreach in education here.
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) testified before the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment about the importance of completing the licensing process on Yucca Mountain. From his testimony:
“I hope we recognize a national perspective when it comes to managing and storing nuclear waste. Today, there are currently 121 communities across 39 states that are grappling with the limitations of storing nuclear waste while our country lacks a permanent geological repository... Each of the 121 communities has been forced to store nuclear waste while they wait for the federal government to honor its promise by providing permanent storage at Yucca Mountain.
“We have a duty to work towards a permanent repository for nuclear waste.”
Chairman John Shimkus made the following statement:
“I want to thank Congressman Wilson for bringing a national security perspective to this debate. The reality is that defense nuclear facilities across the country helped win WWII, and later the Cold War, on behalf of our entire nation – not just the states still holding the legacy waste from those activities. The federal government, on behalf of all Americans, has both a fiscal and moral responsibility to expedite the environmental cleanup of facilities like the Savannah River Site. I appreciate Congressman Wilson’s testimony highlighting these important points, and I’m pleased his legislation is included in the discussion draft the subcommittee is considering today.”
Read Congressman Wilson’s full testimony as prepared for delivery:
Chairman John Shimkus, Ranking Member Paul Tonko, thank you for having me here today. I am grateful to have the opportunity to testify before Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment.
As the former Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Energy during the Reagan Administration serving with Secretary Jim Edwards, I know the Department has very competent personnel and we are fortunate for the leadership of Secretary Rick Perry.
In January, I introduced the Sensible Nuclear Waste Disposition Act and appreciate that it has been included in the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendment Act of 2017. The Sensible Nuclear Waste Disposition Act is common-sense legislation that simply requires that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission make a licensing decision, one way or the other, about Yucca Mountain before the Department of Energy can consider other options for long-term waste disposal.
I appreciate the concerns of Nevada, while I hope we recognize a national perspective when it comes to managing and storing nuclear waste. Today, there are currently 121 communities across 39 states that are grappling with the limitations of storing nuclear waste while our country lacks a permanent geological repository. Communities in my home state of South Carolina, in the Chairman’s state of Illinois, the Ranking Member’s state of New York—in the home states of the majority of members of the committee all store nuclear material. Each of the 121 communities has been forced to store nuclear waste while they wait for the federal government to honor its promise by providing permanent storage at Yucca Mountain.
While the nuclear material is currently being safely stored across the country, we are in desperate need of a long-term, viable solution. Having a single, permanent repository for high-level nuclear waste is critical for our national security. Right now, in the absence of a permanent repository, nuclear material is stored all over the country—making it difficult and costly to secure. Having a single location, 1,000 feet underground, is far more effective and secure for the environment with one location instead of 121 across the nation.
Additionally, completing the licensing process for Yucca Mountain is fiscally responsible. The federal government has dedicated enormous resources to completing the nuclear storage facility at Yucca Mountain. American taxpayers have invested over $3.7 billion into Yucca Mountain. Additionally, energy utility ratepayers from across the country have contributed over $30 billion to the Nuclear Waste Fund which can only be used towards the construction and operation of Yucca Mountain, with citizens from South Carolina, Illinois, New York, and more each having over $1 billion invested. Starting over with another project would cost billions from taxpayers and ratepayers alike, and would take decades to complete—leaving 121 sites across the country as de facto dumping grounds for nuclear waste.
In 2010, the previous Administration halted the licensing process for Yucca Mountain for political reasons. We should not allow political reasons to continue to impede progress. Rather, we should allow the facts to speak for themselves, like the fact that officials in Nye County, Nevada, where Yucca Mountain is located, support the repository. Countless, non-partisan, fact-based studies have determined that the underground geological repository of Yucca Mountain far exceeds the highest safety ratings.
I am confident that the rigorous, fact-based, non-partisan examination by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will result in a favorable result for Yucca Mountain’s license. I am equally confident that the thoroughness of the process will allay the technical and scientific concerns of my colleagues from Nevada. I urge the Committee to pass the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, to ensure we see the licensing process on Yucca Mountain to completion before abandoning it for any other alternative. The federal government should finish what they started—or, at the very least—should make an official decision on Yucca before spending billions of dollars on a duplicative facility.
In addition to making progress on a permanent repository, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act should consider amending the way we classify nuclear material by updating our standard to classify waste by composition rather than point of origin. This would expand the Department of Energy’s ability to designate waste that was previously only eligible for Yucca Mountain to other disposition sites. While that doesn’t eliminate the urgency of completing Yucca Mountain, it does expedite the environmental cleanup mission at dozens of defense nuclear facilities across the country. I am grateful that my constituent, Aiken County Council Member Chuck Smith testified in support of the reclassification of nuclear waste before the subcommittee in 2015.
We have a duty to work towards a permanent repository for nuclear waste. The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act does an excellent job of strengthening the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and advancing our shared goals of protecting national security and promoting our national environmental clean-up mission.
Thank you again for the opportunity to testify before you today, and thank you for your time and attention.Read More
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) announced the 2017 Congressional Art Competition today:
“I am grateful to announce that the office is now accepting submissions for the 2017 Congressional Art Competition. For 35 years now, the inspiring art from students across the country have decorated the U.S. Capitol—showcasing the incredible talent in every Congressional District.
“South Carolina’s Second Congressional District is home to so many incredible young artists. I encourage all high school students to participate and I look forward to seeing the entries.”
Wilson is a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and is a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus. He served as chairman of the Congressional Art Competition last year.
Entries for the 2017 Congressional Art Competition are due to Congressman Wilson’s district offices in the Midlands or Aiken-Barnwell by close of business on May 1, 2017.
Criteria for the 2017 Congressional Art Competition is available online at www.joewilson.house.gov/art-competition. Questions? Contact Josh Grant in the Midlands office at 803-939-0041.Read More
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) held a town hall at Aiken Technical College yesterday, answering questions on a range of issues, including national defense, health care, North Korea, and immigration. Congressman Wilson clearly outlined issues he’s consistently advocated for throughout his service in Congress for limited government and expanded freedom.
After a brief congressional update, the Congressman took questions that constituents submitted on index cards. The cards were drawn randomly. Constituents that did not have their questions read during the event will receive a written response to their question from the Congressman.
Question: How can we get our defense the budget they need? The men and women, they defend us, deserve our support.
“By having continuing resolutions, it puts our military in a situation where they cannot plan day to day, month to month. It particularly affects the equipment they have so that they can be proficient to protect the American people.
“As Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, I am working for a full budget for the Defense Department so that we can have the ability to provide for the defense of the American people.”
Question: The next question simply says health care.
“The question of health care…we need to replace Obamacare. The best way to have better health care is to reduce government involvement.”
Question: What should be done by the President and by Congress to combat the threat North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles?
“The whole concentration of their dictatorship has been to now build a miniaturized nuclear capability and build ICBMs which would hit the United States…
“I have been working with a resolution last week—it was bipartisan. We came up with proposals to further sanction the dictatorship in North Korea…It actually passed with bipartisan support, 398 to 3.”
Question: Immigrant families are being torn apart across this country. What are you doing to protect them?
“In my law practice, I have represented persons who have come to the United States legally…I have worked with persons to be here because we know immigrants who are legal immigrants who come are very beneficial. I’m so excited as I see the success of immigrant families who come to the United States legally.”Read More
Congressman Joe Wilson’s bipartisan resolution condemning North Korea and calling for all available sanctions passed the House tonight by a vote of 398 to 3.
Earlier today, Congressman Wilson spoke on the House Floor urging its passage:
“I visited North Korea on a Congressional delegation in 2003 with House Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Eliot Engel. While there, we witnessed a regime obsessed with appearance and preservation to the detriment of their own citizens. After seeing the devastation of the people at the hands of the totalitarian regime, I have been even more invested in the need to hold the regime in Pyongyang accountable for threatening neighbors.
“In early February, I introduced this bipartisan resolution in response to North Korea’s threat to test an intercontinental ballistic missile. Their threat is concerning because an ICBM has the capability of reaching the West Coast of the United States.
“The rapid pace of North Korea’s growing offensive nuclear weapons development is alarming to the United States and our allies. In just a few short months, North Korea has appeared to successfully test an ICBM, launched a satellite, tested four simultaneous ballistic missiles—three of which landed in Japanese territorial waters, had a failed missile launch, and tested a ballistic missile engine. The regime also claims it is planning another nuclear test for later this month.
Sadly revealing, the regime in North Korea recently released a propaganda video depicting a missile striking a U.S. aircraft carrier and calling for the destruction of the American people.
“North Korea is rapidly advancing their capabilities, working to miniaturize nuclear technology to deliver a nuclear weapon anywhere in the world. Sadly, eight years of “strategic patience” only enabled the dictatorship. We cannot afford to stand by as this regime grows in power and influence—threatening the United States and our allies.
“I am grateful that President Donald Trump is taking the regime and its threats seriously. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently visited our allies in South Korea and Japan, and US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has led the efforts for strengthening international sanctions against North Korea.
“The Administration has also demonstrated peace through strength by backing up their commitments to our allies with action. We’ve begun deploying the THAAD missile defense system, recently resumed our annual military training exercises with South Korea, and deployed attack drones to support our service members stationed in the region.
“As we work to check the growing influence and missile capability of North Korea, Congress too has a vital role to play—starting by passing H.Res 92, to forcefully condemn North Korea for these recent actions and to call for the consideration of all available sanctions on the regime and the individuals or businesses that sustain it. We are clear – the United States must stand strong against North Korea for American families and South Korean allies.
“I appreciate the consideration of H.Res. 92, and I urge my colleagues to vote in support.”Read More
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) issued the following statement after introducing a resolution in the House supporting civics education in primary and secondary schools:
“I’m grateful to introduce this resolution today to highlight the importance of civics education for students in South Carolina and across the country. By encouraging the advancement of curriculum on government and American history, we can bring Congress to the classroom and engage young Americans in discussions of current events and the democratic process. I still cherish my dedicated high school civics teacher, Miss Sara Bookhart, who inspired me to serve the public.”Read More
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) issued the following statement after the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed H.Res. 92, a resolution Congressman Wilson introduced to condemn North Korea’s ballistic missile program and calling for the applicability of all available sanctions:
“North Korea’s increasingly aggressive actions mean it is imperative that Congress send a strong, bipartisan message—testing ballistic missiles and expanding nuclear capabilities will not be tolerated by the United States. As one of only two Members of Congress who have visited Pyongyang, I have seen firsthand the destitution and persecution of the North Korean citizens who deserve to live in such a dynamic democracy as South Korea with its vibrant capitalist success.
“I am grateful that the House Foreign Affairs Committee positively reported my resolution, and I look forward to it being considered on the House Floor.”
Congressman Wilson also spoke in the committee urging the passage of the resolution. Watch his remarks here.
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) announced the names of his nominees to the United States Military Academies for the class of 2021. After an extensive application process, the candidates were interviewed by an independent panel, whose members include retired military officers, ROTC leaders, and academy alumni from the Second Congressional District.
“These remarkable students have demonstrated their commitment to their country and their community. Each has excelled in school, service, and has been a positive reflection on their community.
“As a veteran and the father of four sons who have served in the military, I know firsthand the benefits of military service. It is uplifting and inspiring to see so many young adults with a strong desire to serve their country.
“Congratulations to these distinguished young men and women for receiving the honor of a nomination to our Military Academies.”
U.S. Naval Academy
U.S. Air Force Academy
U.S. Military Academy
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
Any constituent seeking a Congressional nomination in the future or for more information regarding the application process should visit Congressman Wilson’s website here.Read More
The new chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee says he’s determined to help increase the size of the military and boost readiness from historic lows under President Donald Trump’s plan to expand the force.
Specifically, South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson says he supports the $640 billion Defense Department budget for fiscal 2018 that's being promoted by the chairmen of the Senate and House Armed Services committees, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas).
"We’ve had enemies from around the world increase threats," said Wilson, a former Army colonel and National Guardsman. "They have taken our reductions in force and built up threats to the American people. As a Reaganite, I am a strong believer in peace through strength."
Another legislative priority for the new chairman is securing passage of the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act that would eliminate the so-called Widow’s Tax, which requires surviving spouses of service members killed in action to forfeit the survivor benefit pension annuity.
Thornberry recently wrote of his support for the measure, which Wilson has introduced in every Congress since 2011, urging House Budget Chairman Diane Black (R-Tenn.) to support the repeal.
As co-chairman of the Kurdish-American Congressional Caucus, Wilson also is recommitting his support of a measure to authorize directly arming the Iraqi peshmerga in the fight against the Islamic State.
POLITICO sat down with the congressman in his Capitol Hill office to discuss the defense budget, his goals for his subcommittee and the key issues under this jurisdiction.
The below excerpts have been edited for length and clarity.
Can you provide your thoughts on the president’s defense budget proposal?
While I support the funding level of Chairman Thornberry and Chairman McCain of $640 billion, this is a clarification of the budget at $603 billion. And I’m just very grateful for President Trump’s clear affirmation of rebuilding our military.
What is your view of the president’s proposal to raise the defense spending caps rather than eliminate them? Could you support that proposal?
Yes. I know that he is focused on trying to be fiscally responsible and address defense, homeland security and veteran's issues. And it’s a very delicate balance.
I just really believe … the threats to the American people are rising every day. In particular, we see the threats with North Korea with additional missile testing, the boasts of their ability of miniaturization of nuclear warheads. It should never be forgotten that it was last year that they successfully launched a satellite.
That is a clear indication of the capability of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which could strike the West Coast of the United States, but already put at risk Hawaii and American territories — and obviously the American bases. It’s almost inconceivable to me that we’ve had testing ... clear missile testing by a unit which is designated to strike and eliminate American bases in Japan. Good gosh, how clear is the threat?
You introduced a resolution related to North Korea in this session, could you tell me a little bit about that?
I’m really grateful that we have a resolution with 107 co-sponsors, including [House Foreign Affairs] Chairman Ed Royce and ranking member Eliot Engel. So, it’s a bipartisan resolution. It restates the different levels of threats that North Korea is to the United States and our close allies of South Korea and Japan.
What needs to be done ... is to expand the sanctions to encourage, if not pressure, China. This should be in China’s interests. I’ve actually been to Beijing, where I saw the foreign embassies there have double fences. And the reason for the double fences is … people defect from North Korea and then jump a fence into a foreign embassy compound to claim asylum. And so they know how unstable that regime is, and to me, it should be in the interest of China.
Returning to the budget, in addition to the president’s fiscal 2018 proposal he also offered a budget amendment for fiscal 2017. What are your thoughts on that measure?
Well obviously I’m grateful that is proceeding, again with an emphasis on defense.
What do you think of the specifics of the measure? For example, it contained significant funding for procurement in the view of some analysts. Do you think it struck the right balance?
I do. Readiness involves military personnel, training and certainly the most modern equipment, and maintaining the equipment we have. So there’s so many legs to readiness that need to be addressed.
Are there specific areas of readiness that you want to focus on as subcommittee chair?
We need to maintain the equipment that we have so that we can then have proper training. The flight time is just critical for our personnel. I’ve had the experience myself in the National Guard of training at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. in the Mojave Desert. I know how important that training is, because it was a precursor for the unit that I was in, the 218th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, to be deployed for a year to Afghanistan. It was that initial training … that gave confidence to our military.
The training also has such an incredible impact on equipment. We learned that equipment that gives the perception of being very serviceable, once you go through a training you find out it needs to be superseded by multiple generations of improvements. With vehicles, we certainly learned that. When I trained, it was a long time ago. It was a pickup truck going through the dessert. Well, we learned that was not the way that you travel.
You have introduced the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act to Congress several times. Please tell me about the bill and why this Congress should adopt it.
It’s correctly identified as the “Widow’s Tax,” and I have actually adopted this from my predecessor, the late HASC Chairman Floyd Spence. He had previously introduced this legislation. A survivor of a deceased personnel receives a DoD benefit. Sadly, from that is deducted the Veterans [Affairs] benefit, which can be up to a $1,000 a month deduction, for a $12,000 deduction. What I believe was intended was for people to receive survivor’s benefits — full survivor’s benefits.
Col. Trane McCloud, was in our office. … He was a military fellow. Sadly, he was killed in an accident in Iraq. I know so many families personally who have been effected. We have the Gold Star Mothers with us, who come by and explain, give real-world meaning to how this impacts on their lives, for themselves and their children. These are children of deceased military persons, people who have given their lives proving freedom is not free.
As chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee you have jurisdiction over BRAC [base realignments and closures]. What is your position on the possibility of a new round of BRAC?
I appreciate the discussion very much and I know that our state has really gotten prepared to be in a military-friendly state. We have Gen. George Goldsmith leading the efforts in the Fort Jackson community. Bill and Paula Bethea are leading a state commission on promoting state laws that are being adjusted in the event of a BRAC.
I think it’s very legitimate that this be taken into consideration — how military-friendly a community and state is. And I look forward to working really with Chairman Mac Thornberry and his perception of how we should proceed.
I was concerned that last time we had a BRAC, even though it was beneficial to the military facilities of the district that I represent, it did not save funding as was anticipated.
What would be the threshold to gain your support for a new round? What would the Defense Department have to show?
Well, the department would have to prove to [Chairman] Thornberry that they could address the base realignment issues and achieve saving of funds — actually saving funds, because it still is startling to me that with all of the effort in the last BRAC that it actually did not save money. And then the prior round of BRAC, I’m not sure that saved money either. It would seem like it would, but it’s got to be proven.
You recently spoke with the leadership of the Kurdish Regional Government during a February trip to the region. What are your general impressions from that trip? Also, will you be supporting measures in this Congress to assist the Kurds, such as supporting direct arming of the KRG?
Actually, I do — and I know that there’s strong support in the House and Senate to arming the Kurdish Regional Government. I had a very positive visit with the prime minister and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani in Erbil.
The American people need to know. [The Kurds] have not forgotten that they were protected by the no-fly-zone. They are a very dynamic and economically advanced portion of the Middle East. It’s very impressive to see the economic vitality, the modern civilization that has been developed there. The American people should be proud that it was because they provided a no-fly-zone so that Saddam Hussein couldn’t persecute and oppress the people. And so the Kurdish citizens really are a dynamic part of Iraq.
With the most recent military operations, in Eastern Mosul and also Syria, the Kurdish forces have been very, very helpful backing up and taking the lead in helping to liberate the second-largest city of Iraq - where my oldest son actually received a combat action badge. So, I identify with that.
What additional issues are you looking to address as subcommittee chair?
To me, it’s the trajectory of where we’re going. It was really sad to me, the lack of attention to readiness in our military did two things. One, it reduced the Army to the smallest size since 1939, the Navy to the smallest size since 1916, the Air Force to its smallest size since it was created in 1947.
The consequence of that is that we’ve had enemies from around the world increase threats. And they have taken our reductions in force and built up threats to the American people.
As a “Reaganite,” I am a strong believer in peace through strength. The stronger the United States is, the better for the people of the United States and for our allies.
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From his involvement as a Teenage Republican at the High School of Charleston in 1962 to his current work in Congress, Congressman Joe Wilson has led a life dedicated to public service.
Addison (Joe) Graves Wilson was born on July 31, 1947, in Charleston, South Carolina. After graduating from the High School of Charleston, he received his undergraduate degree from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia and completed his law degree at the University of South Carolina. A real estate attorney by trade, Joe was a founding partner of the West Columbia law firm Kirkland, Wilson, Moore, Taylor & Thomas.
His career in public service officially began when he served on the staffs of South Carolina legends Senator Strom Thurmond and Congressman Floyd Spence. As part of the visionary Ronald Reagan administration, Joe was Deputy General Counsel to the United States Department of Energy Secretary and former South Carolina Governor, Jim Edwards.
Throughout his life, Joe has also had a tremendous passion to serve his country as a member of the United States Armed Forces. After serving in the United States Army Reserves from 1972-1975, he also served in the South Carolina Army National Guard. In the summer of 2003, Joe retired as a Colonel, having served as a Staff Judge Advocate assigned to the 218th Mechanized Infantry Brigade. At the time, he was the only active Guard member serving in Congress.
Before being elected to the United States Congress in 2001, Joe served seventeen years, with perfect attendance, in the South Carolina State Senate where he was elected Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, the first Republican Chairman since Reconstruction.
Today, Joe serves on the House Armed Services Committee – where he is honored to be the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel – the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was appointed by the Republican Leader to the highly influential Republican Policy Committee and works as an Assistant Republican Whip. He is Co-Chair of the Composites Caucus, the Bulgaria Caucus, the Kurdistan Caucus, and the Americans Abroad Caucus. He has also serves on the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.
While serving the Second Congressional District of South Carolina, Joe is committed to promoting peace through a strong national defense, decreasing taxes for all Americans, and limiting the size of the federal government.
Joe is married to Roxanne Dusenbury McCrory Wilson, who continues to offer him strength and support in his every endeavor. They are the parents of four sons, all of whom serve in the U.S. military, and the proud grandparents of four boys and three girls. Alan, his oldest son, is a Major in the Army National Guard who proudly served for a year in Iraq; Addison is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a physician who served a tour of duty in Iraq; Julian is a Captain in the South Carolina Army National Guard who served on a peacekeeping tour in Egypt; and Hunter is a Second Lieutenant in the South Carolina Army National Guard who recently graduated from the Engineer Officer’s Basic Course at Fort Leonard Wood, MO in September 2012. Their four sons are all Eagle Scouts.