Rob Woodall

Rob Woodall

GEORGIA's 7th DISTRICT

Washington Watch - 6/27/16

2016/06/27

OBAMA’S UNCONSTITUTIONAL "LAWMAKING" BLOCKED BY SUPREME COURT

The U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 last week on the question of whether or not President Obama’s most recent “Deferred Action” program could move forward, which effectively ends the effort altogether. While the New York Times described this decision as a blow to Obama’s “legacy,” I view it as a major victory for the idea of constitutional government.  

No matter where you stand on the issue of immigration, Americans across the political spectrum should celebrate this affirmation by our judicial system that one individual cannot run roughshod over the people’s elected representatives to reshape our nation to suit his or her policy preferences. The White House and its Democratic supporters bemoaned the Supreme Court’s decision today, but you can bet they will be thankful that these critical checks and balances are in place when a future Republican president decides to take his own “executive action.” Laws matter. The Constitution matters. And the people of this great nation are still in charge.

 

DISTRICT COURT DELIVERS VICTORY FOR AMERICAN DEMOCRACY AND FOR AMERICA’S ENERGY FUTURE

Just as with immigration policy, the Article III Courts also halted another example of the President’s overreach last week when the U.S. District Court in Wyoming struck down the Administration’s hydraulic fracturing regulations.  In the words of Judge Scott W. Skavdahl, “Congress’ inability or unwillingness to pass a law desired by the executive branch does not default authority to the executive branch to act independently, regardless of whether hydraulic fracturing is good or bad for the environment or the citizens of the United States.” I could not agree more with Judge Skavdahl, and given that hydraulic fracturing is already heavily regulated by the industry itself and by the states in which it occurs, these regulations would have been an unnecessary impediment to the responsible development of this energy source.  

Hydraulic fracturing has been very important in our nation’s domestic energy resurgence, and it has moved the dial of progress in the right direction for a balanced “all of the above” energy portfolio. While I am a member of the Republican Party, I will never forget that I am an American first, and I applaud the District Court’s decision, not as a victory over a Democratic President, but as a victory for American democracy, American jobs, and America’s energy future.   

 

CONGRESS MOVES FORWARD ON FUNDING ZIKA ERRADICATION EFFORTS

Last week, House and Senate negotiators completed work on a unified conference agreement to provide funding for Zika virus preparation and response efforts. The House immediately passed the Zika virus funding measure, and the Senate is expected to vote on it this week. Building on the nearly $600 million that has already been allocated to combat the Zika virus, the Zika Response and Preparedness Act provides an additional $1.1 billion in federal funding for virus vaccine development, mosquito control and readiness, diagnostic testing, and more. The bill also removes a duplicative federal regulatory hurdle that makes it more difficult and expensive for local governments to spray pesticides that control mosquito populations. I hope you are as pleased with the Zika Response and Preparedness Act as I am, and I invite you to read more about it by clicking here.

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA SIGNS BIPARTISAN PIPELINE SAFETY BILL

On Wednesday, the President signed a bill that my colleagues and I on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee had previously passed. The bill, known as the “Protecting our Infrastructure and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016,” improves the safety of our nation’s 2.6 million miles of pipelines that provide Americans to access critical energy resources. The bill also provides the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) ability to respond to emergencies and widespread incidents. 

During a week that was marred by partisan clashes, it’s important to remember that when we put politics and election cycles aside, we can and do come together to pursue good public policy for the American people. Georgians will benefit from reformed pipeline safety procedures, and I’m proud the President listened to the will of Congress and signed this bill. 

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

House members are back home in their districts this week, but this is one of the few weeks of the year where the House and Senate calendars don’t match-up. The Senate is in Washington, D.C. this week, and I’m happy to say that it will be considering two pieces of House-passed legislation: the Zika conference report that I talked about earlier in the newsletter and a bill to provide Puerto Rico with the tools necessary to reform its failing economic situation.  I’m heartened that the Senate is finally moving forward with critical legislation to protect Americans from the Zika virus and to restore order to Puerto Rico’s economy. 

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress 

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Washington Watch - 6/20/16

2016/06/20

 

CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT AND REFORM IN ACTION

Congress has the crucial role of not only overseeing the Executive Branch and its agencies, but also making certain that any abuse is stopped. As a result of unrelenting oversight efforts led by the House Ways and Means Committee, the IRS recently notified Congress of its decision to further review cases involving improper asset seizure from small-business owners.  The civil asset forfeiture policies in question were never intended to be used as a heavy-handed punishment for hard-working Americans, but rather to help apprehend human traffickers, drug dealers, and other criminals. In 2014, the agency changed its policy to reflect this important clarification, but had not made any attempt to reimburse the men and women damaged by its actions – until now. Thankfully, approximately 700 Americans will now have that opportunity for reimbursement.  While the negative impact cannot be erased, this is an important step in the right direction, and a win for hard-working Americans across the country.

 

HOUSE PASSES BILL TO FUND DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Last week, I was very proud to see the House continue to move forward with regular order and the annual appropriations process and pass H.R. 5293, the “FY2017 Department of Defense Appropriations Act,” with a strong, bipartisan 282 to 138 vote. While each of the twelve appropriations bills play an important role in our government, the Department of Defense bill that we passed is arguably the most important because it provides the necessary resources for the federal government to fulfill one of its most vital and fundamental roles: to provide for the common defense of the American people.

This critically important legislation funds everything from troop pay, healthcare, and training to our nation’s ongoing fight overseas against ISIS and other terror groups, sophisticated new weapons systems that give our troops an edge on the battlefield, and everything else in between. For such an important bill, it is equally important that we get the process right for considering it, and with 75 amendments debated on the House floor from both sides of the aisle and many hours of deliberation, I am also very proud of the robust and comprehensive process in which this legislation moved forward. Giving the American people a direct voice into the way their hard-earned taxpayer dollars are spent in Washington could not be more important, and I look forward to continue doing just that with consideration of even more appropriations bills in the coming weeks. 

 

STANDING UP AGAINST IRS ABUSE OF POWER

Last week the House passed H.R. 5053, the “Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act,” which prohibits the IRS from collecting the identity of individuals who donate money to tax exempt organizations. I’ve heard concerns about the IRS from many of you in the few short years that I’ve represented your voice in Washington, and while you have all raised a number of issues in your communications with me, the one thing almost every call and email had in common was a lack of belief that the IRS was working for you rather than against you. I have heard from leaders of non-profits here in Georgia specifically about their concern about the new IRS reporting requirements and their support for a solution like H.R. 5053.

During the debate about H.R. 5053 at the Rules Committee last week, I shared a story about a Seventh District resident who was being audited by the IRS and was concerned that the IRS had initiated the audit because of donations made to a specific charitable organization. The story highlights the troubling perception that folks across our nation have of the IRS. There is a breakdown in trust that must be restored, and H.R. 5053 represents another step towards that goal.

 

CONTINUING THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM

The recent attack in Orlando is yet another truly sobering reminder of the very real impact terrorism already has here in the American homeland and that there’s much more work to be done to thwart terrible attacks like these before they ever happen. In response to these attacks, the House came together last week to pass H.R. 5471, the “Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act,” on a resounding 402 to 15 vote.  While it’s no secret that Washington is divided on a number of issues, the safety and security of American families is absolutely not one of those issues, and I was very proud to see such an overwhelming majority of my colleagues come together and send this legislation to the Senate. 

H.R. 5471 combines three very important bills that the House has already passed separately, but has packaged together in this legislation to facilitate consideration in the Senate so that it advances to the President’s desk for his signature as quickly as possible. These bills provide the Homeland Security Department with new tools to counter the propaganda machine of ISIS and other terror groups, improve the outreach of federal authorities to whistleblowers in communities who often spot signs of radicalization first, and take a variety of other steps with the sole purpose of improving our nation’s efforts to prevent the unthinkable from happening again. While I know that much more work remains to be done to keep American families safe, this package of bills is an important step in the right direction, and I’m looking forward to the House taking up even more common-sense ideas to make our nation safer and more secure. 

 

HOUSE COMMITTEE VOTES TO CENSURE IRS CHIEF

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, on which I served in the 113th Congress, just voted to censure IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for his failure to cooperate with Congress’ investigation into the IRS targeting scandal. This is a step toward full impeachment and could ultimately result in his removal from office and the forfeiture of government benefits such as his federal pension. Democrats in Congress have largely defended the IRS’s indefensible behavior making impeachment look unlikely. However, House Republicans will continue working to ensure that government officials trusted with the public’s business cooperate fully with serious investigations into allegations of wrongdoing and insist on accountability for those who don’t.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week the House is expected to consider a package of bills from the Ways and Means Committee that will provide Americans with more access, greater flexibility, and better choices in their health care. They promote health care innovation and empower individuals and families to make their own decision about health care spending. This is exactly how it should be, and I’m proud we’re bringing these small but meaningful changes to the House floor.

The House is also expected to consider our fourth appropriations bill of the year – the FY17 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act – which provides funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Finally, the House is going to pass H.R. 4768, the “Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2016,” which restores the power of the Judicial Branch to resolve ambiguity in federal legislation without regard to interpretations offered by the Executive Branch.


Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress 

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House Approves Department of Defense Appropriations Act

2016/06/16

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (GA 07) issued the following statement after supporting House passage of H.R. 5293, the “Department of Defense Appropriations Act.”  The most recent of the annual appropriations bills to clear the House, H.R. 5293 provides $575.8 billion in total discretionary budget authority for the Department of Defense for fiscal year (FY) 2017, and includes military personnel, operation and maintenance, procurement, and research provisions.

“It’s always vitally important to ensure those serving and defending America have the resources they need, but as we continue to be confronted with threats across the globe and on American soil, this bill is as much about national security as it is about good government,” said Woodall.  “Allocating these funds through a transparent appropriations process is what our Founders intended, and with 75 amendments to this legislation considered on the House floor from both sides of the aisle and many hours of debate, I am very proud of the robust and comprehensive process in which this crucial legislation moved forward.”

A summary of H.R. 5293 can be found here, with key provisions including:

  • Funding for crucial readiness programs preparing troops for combat and peacetime missions.
  • Fully funds the authorized 2.1 percent pay raise for troops.
  • Denies the President’s proposed troop reductions to maintain a strong, robust active and reserve force.
  • Supports our key allies, such as Israel, Ukraine, and Jordan, to resist aggression.

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee. 

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House Acts to Protect Taxpayers from IRS Overreach

2016/06/14

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (GA 07) voted in support of H.R. 5053, the “Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act,” as it was approved by the House of Representatives.  The bill would eliminate the Schedule B requirement that non-profit, tax-exempt organizations disclosure personal donor information, and reassert the right of individual Americans to support the organizations of their choice without fear of retaliation by the Internal Revenue Service.  Rep. Woodall issued the following statement with regard to the legislation.

“For too long the IRS has been far too powerful, and sadly in recent years we have seen the misuse of that power for political gain,” said Rep. Woodall. “Ultimately, we need to scrap our broken federal tax code altogether and replace it with a transparent, consumption-based system that grows our economy, transfers power back to the American people, and ends these abusive IRS practices for good.  Since coming to Congress, I have introduced legislation – H.R. 25, the FairTax – a bill that will do just that.  Slowly but surely, hundreds of thousands of FairTax supporters are gaining traction and influencing the tax reform debate in this direction.  H.R. 5053 is another victory for those of us who want to scrap the current code, and another small step closer to eliminating the intrusive IRS.  I would prefer to make the transition all at once, but I’m willing to get there one small piece at a time if necessary.”   

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee. 

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Washington Watch - 6/13/16

2016/06/13

HOUSE WELCOMES PRIME MINISTER MODI OF INDIA

Last week, Congress had the honor of hosting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a Joint Meeting of Congress. As two of the largest democracies in the world, the United States and India share many common values and goals, and it was very reassuring to hear Prime Minister Modi call our nation an “indispensable partner” in our combined efforts to defeat terrorism, grow our economies, contain a more assertive China, and promote freedom and liberty around the world. We will always be much more successful in ensuring the world is a safer and freer place when working together with likeminded nations, and I’m glad that the United States has India as a partner in that crucially important effort.  

 

REMEMBERING D-DAY AND THE HEROES OF WWII

A few days ago, we marked the 72nd anniversary of the Normandy Beach invasion by Allied Forces, which proved to be the turning point of World War II in Europe. The incredible American bravery of that day was a crucial moment in the restoration of liberty to an entire continent, and the impact of their selfless actions is still felt today. Throughout our history, the American people have always risen to the challenge, defended freedom, and overcome adversity. There is no better example than those harrowing acts of June 6, 1944; and from Normandy Beach to the Pacific, it was the unwavering commitment of American service members that saved the world from tyranny. 


Rep. Rob Woodall meets with Mr. John Bridges and his family on June 6, 2016

Our community is full of this spirit, and I was honored to visit with one of those remarkable men in person on such a special day. John Bridges was 17 years old in 1944, and while not a part of the D-Day invasion, he saw combat in the Pacific theater. He went on to serve as a pilot in the newly formed U.S. Air Force and fly the F-84 Thunderjet in the Korean War. I’m incredibly humbled by the service of men like John, and it was such a privilege to share a conversation with him and his family.  

 

HOUSE PASSES BIPARTISAN PUERTO RICO REFORM AND REORGANIZATION BILL

This past Thursday, the House rejected a taxpayer-funded bailout of Puerto Rico and approved a conservative response to the decades of failed liberal policies that have destabilized Puerto Rico and saddled it with more than $70 billion in debt. The legislation, H.R. 5278, the “Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act,” puts in place a strong oversight board to impose fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets on the leaders of the U.S. territory. The Board is also empowered to institute government and economic reforms that will promote growth on the island, which has been locked in an economic recession since 2006 and has an unemployment rate above 12%. Additionally, the Board can oversee a debt restructuring process should voluntary negotiations with creditors completely break down. What’s most important to you and me, however, is that the bill specifically prevents any federal funds from being used to pay any debt owed by Puerto Rico. While it’s necessary for Congress to intervene in order to prevent a crisis on an island that 3.5 million Americans call home, I’m pleased that we were able to advance a conservative solution that does not call on taxpayers to foot the bill for the fiscally irresponsible actions of the Puerto Rican government.    

 

ROBOTICS CAUCUS CO-CHAIR MARKS 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF NATIONAL ROBOTICS INITIATIVE

Despite America’s many challenges, we live in a remarkable time of innovation and progress. On Thursday, I had the opportunity to speak to a room packed with scientists, engineers, students, and others about the transformational potential of the robotics industry at an event designed to highlight the 5th Anniversary of the National Robotics Initiative. Today we have “robots” that have advanced far beyond our traditional conception of what a robot looks like and what it is capable of doing. We have robots that can fix cracks in a highway in milliseconds, allow paralyzed veterans to walk again, and help those with vision impairments travel safely. Much of this technology is being developed and deployed right in our backyard at Georgia Tech. I am proud to be the co-chair of the Congressional Robotics Caucus, where we continue to promote amazing technology that can change lives and save tax dollars for generations to come.


Rep. Rob Woodall speaks with attendees at the Congressional Robotics Caucus Event at the U.S. Capitol on June 9th, 2016

 

A BETTER WAY

For months, House Republicans have been working on common-sense, bottom-up solutions to the most vexing problems facing our country. Speaker Paul Ryan recently debuted some of these solutions as a part of a new initiative called “A Better Way.” From fighting poverty and growing jobs, to national security and retirement security, I have been listening to experts from across our district and across the country. Working with my colleagues, we have collected the very best ideas from the real world and we are going to make them a reality in Washington.  I encourage you to go to http://abetterway.speaker.gov and read for yourself about the solutions that we can achieve together.

 

HOUSE PASSES ANOTHER BIPARTISAN APPROPRIATIONS BILL

As we concluded a very busy and productive week in Washington, the House passed the FY17 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, the third of twelve required funding bills and the one which provides funding for Congressional member offices, the Library of Congress, the U.S. Capitol Police, the Architect of the Capitol, and the General Accountability Office. I’m happy to say that since Republicans took over control of the House in 2011, we have reduced spending on the Legislative Branch by nearly 14 percent. Thrift begins at home, and the FY17 bill continues that fiscal discipline by ensuring that members of Congress see no salary increase next year. It also ensures that Congress can continue to fulfill its critical constitutional oversight responsibilities. Detractors said that this year's appropriations process could not succeed, but this bill is another in a series of victories that American taxpayers can be proud of. 

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week the House is going to move forward with considering the FY17 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. This bill provides funding for our nation’s critical defense, operations, and readiness programs and supports our military men and women at home and abroad, including health and quality of life programs for our troops and their families. I expect a robust debate on this bill and the many dozens of amendments that I’m sure my colleagues will offer. 

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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District Connection - 6/6/2016

2016/06/06

When I share with you what I am working on in Washington, I often talk about bills or amendments that I am passing or laws that are being signed. Certainly, moving legislation is important. But also tremendously important is Congress' role in providing oversight for the work being done by the Executive Branch. This week, I want to highlight some recent efforts that will have a particular impact here at home.  

 

HOLDING THE IRS ACCOUNTABLE

There probably isn’t another federal agency that I hear more complaints about than the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). That’s not an indictment of the good folks who work there, but it is an indictment of the IRS’ tremendous mismanagement over the past few years. When news first broke about former IRS Director Lois Learner’s controversial directive to allegedly target conservative organizations filing for tax-exempt status, it brought a brand new fear to light – that government workers who should be above reproach would use their power to further their own political agendas. 

Though current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was brought in to turn around the IRS and restore trust to the American people, he has seemingly become part of the problem instead of the solution. As such, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on May 24th examining allegations of misconduct against Commissioner Koskinen, including his failure to comply with a congressional subpoena and the possibility that he made false statements during congressional testimony.

Because the IRS is so involved in the lives of every American citizen through the individual and corporate income tax codes, the Judiciary Committee must take allegations of misconduct seriously.

 

PROTECTING CONSUMERS FROM SKYROCKETING ELECTRICITY RATES

On May 26th, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Environment delved into the ways that that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plant rule will negatively affect states and rate-payers across the United States. President Obama pledged at the Paris climate agreement conference to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050, and the Clean Power Plant rule is the cornerstone of his regulatory agenda to make this pledge a reality. 

Of course, the reality is much different for American families than it is for liberal environmentalists in a conference room in Paris. Georgia’s families could see average annual price increases of 14 percent on their electricity bills, with prices jumping 22 percent in peak years. And that’s a relatively modest increase compared to what the estimates are for West Virginia and North Dakota. The economic models say that West Virginians could see an average annual electricity price increase of 33 percent, with a peak year price increase of 45 percent. In North Dakota, the peak year electricity price increase could be as much as 62 percent. Imagine what you’d have to sacrifice in your household budget in order to spend 62 percent more on electricity! Unfortunately, the Obama Administration’s EPA doesn’t seem to care about your budget or mine. Instead, the EPA is focused entirely on promoting a plan that will satiate a radical "no fossil fuels, period" agenda, cost Americans billions of dollars, and fail to significantly make an impact on the Earth’s temperature. We can do better for American families, and I’m pleased the House is working hard to ensure that hard-working taxpayers come first. 

 

DRAGGING GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACY INTO THE 21ST CENTURY

With the prevalence of a dynamic, internet-based, technology economy taking hold of our nation, it’s almost impossible to believe that parts of the federal government are still running on computer systems that were designed and deployed more than 50 years ago – but it’s true. The House Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee held a hearing on May 25th examining why many parts of the federal government are so woefully inadequate in making technological progress. 

According to the Government Accountability Office, the Department of the Treasury is using a 56 year old computer system to store its master data file on individual taxpayer accounts, and there’s no plan to replace it. The Department of Veterans Affairs uses a 51 year old system to store its claims data that was written in a programming language called COBOL – which only runs on an IBM mainframe and was developed in the 1950s. The Department of Defense is still using 8-inch floppy disks on a 1970s era computer to coordinate operational function for U.S. nuclear forces. If you think this is beyond ridiculous, it’s only because it is! 

Georgia is a global hub of the electronic payments industry – an industry that uses high speed internet connectivity and cutting-edge technologies to move money around the world in a matter of seconds. With our private sector innovators right here at home, we have a lot of experience and know-how in tackling complex technology problems that we can share. With the OGR Committee tackling this difficult issue, I look forward to working with them to ensure that Georgia’s technological know-how can inform the federal government’s transition to the 21st Century economy we all want to support. 

 

SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST ADMINISTRATION OVERREACH, AGAIN

Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court struck another blow against the Obama Administration’s reckless overreach, this time over the Clean Water Act.  The question before the Supreme Court was whether or not a private landowner can challenge the federal government’s claim to jurisdiction over private land under the Clean Water Act before the time-consuming and costly permitting process takes place.  In a win for private landowners, the Supreme Court almost unanimously decided that challengers “need not assume [enforcement risks] while waiting for EPA to 'drop the hammer' in order to have their day in court.”  Since you sent me to Washington, I’ve worked with my colleagues to fight against this Administration’s unprecedented lawlessness using any and every tool possible, and we’ve had success.  For instance, the American people have halted Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions on immigration.  We’ve reversed the President’s unconstitutional union appointments.  We’ve blocked his historic power grab over our nation’s water.  We prevented the President from implementing a de facto ban on popular ammunition.  We’ve done even more, and though there is still much work to do, don’t believe those who say the Congress and the American people are powerless to make progress. One step at a time, together, we are restoring our constitutional order.

 

LACK-LUSTER ECONOMIC GROWTH SHOULD BE PRESIDENT OBAMA’S TOP PRIORITY 

As many of you have likely heard, President Obama spent much of last week touting the economic gains Americans are experiencing under his policies, and though he is correct that the economy has added many jobs since he took office and the unemployment rate has fallen below 5 percent, there’s much more to the economic story, and last Friday’s job report is proof. According to the report, the U.S. economy added only 38,000 jobs in May, which is the fewest number of jobs created in five and half years and marks the third straight month the economy added fewer jobs than it did the month prior. What’s more, the two previous months’ jobs reports were revised downward by a combined 59,000 jobs, and on top of all of that, the labor participation rate, which measures the share of working-age Americans who are either employed or looking for a job, fell to 62.6 percent, its lowest level this year.  

Rather than hitting the trail for a “victory lap,” President Obama could work with Congress to jump-start our economy by reforming our broken tax code and repealing some of our many, overly-burdensome, job-killing regulations.  If he wants to do something that would immediately add thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy, he could rethink his decision to veto a number of job creation bills already passed by Congress, including the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.  

While Congress will no doubt continue to press the President on the abovementioned legislative priorities, I want to call your attention to Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady’s statement on this month’s job report in which he promises to roll out a number of pro-growth solutions to our nation’s most pressing challenges.  I encourage you all to take a look at those ideas when they are released this week and share your thoughts with me. 

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week the House is expected to consider our third annual appropriations bill. The appropriations process has been broken for years, yet it is the primary constitutional method for Congress to exert its power. I have been working with both the left and the right to get this process back on track, and I am pleased to see this progress.

The house will also consider a bill directing the government of Puerto Rico to reform its economic condition and restructure its massive, multi-billion dollar debt. For months, I have been insisting that the American taxpayer not be on the hook to bailout Puerto Rico from its profligate spending. This legislation is the result of months of hard-work between Republicans and Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee, and while no bill is ever perfect, this one is a common sense measure that will help Puerto Rico reform its economy for the future without sending one penny from the U.S. Treasury to Puerto Rico. 

Finally, I’m honored to again be visiting with the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, on Tuesday evening. As India grows into its new role in the 21st Century, it is both a critical economic partner and a critical security partner. Prime Minister Modi, the governments of India and the United States, and the U.S.-India Business Council have a strong and lasting relationship that has improved the economic well-being of both our nations. In partnership with our vibrant Indian-American community here in the 7th District, I know that we will continue the deep friendship between our two nations for years to come.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Woodall calls water resources bill a ‘positive step for Georgia’

2016/06/02

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., told constituents on Tuesday that he hopes the Water Resources and Development Act of 2016 passed by the House Transportation Committee last week will lead to better governance of water ways and infrastructure.

Woodall, a member of the committee, called the $5 billion bill a step toward passing a water infrastructure bill once every two years. He said that frequency is needed to provide over-site of projects while stopping obsolete projects and ensuring “more responsible stewardship” of tax payer dollars.

“This bill is a positive step for Georgia, and for several reasons, it’s also a positive step for Congress,” Woodall said in a newsletter to constituents. “First of all, it restores the biennial process of approving a water resources bill.

“For years, the needs of America’s harbors, ports, dams, and other infrastructure were mired in the same gridlock that consumes much of Washington.”

The House version of the bill is several billion dollars smaller than the $9.4 billion bill passed by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. That is reportedly due to the fact that the Senate committee has broader jurisdictional powers to tackle issues, such as the Flint water crisis, that the House Transportation Committee lacks the authority to handle.

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Washington Watch - 5/31/16

2016/05/31

HONORING THE LEGACY OF OUR FALLEN HEROES

While reflecting on the sacrifice of those who have lost their lives in service to America and the defense of freedom, James A. Garfield once said, “For love of country they accepted death.” In this brief yet poignant statement, we find a reverent truth that captures the essence of Memorial Day. As Americans, we have always cherished freedom and – even more so – the ones who gave their lives to deliver it. Throughout our history, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, friends and loved ones have all been willing to put their own lives and responsibilities on hold to ensure liberty was preserved and passed on to the next generation. They understood it wasn’t promised; they were aware of the personal risk; and for love of country they were undeterred. On Memorial Day we honor the legacy of those men and women who did not return home. For their country, for their fellow Americans, and for the sake of freedom across the globe, they gave their lives in service to others. 


Forsyth County Memorial Day Ceremony

The Seventh District has been home to many of these heroes, and I’m humbled by their sacrifice and the strength of their families. Our community is a remarkable place with remarkable people – none more so than those we honor today. I am forever grateful.

 

TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE MOVES FORWARD WITH A NEW WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT ACT 

Last Wednesday, my colleagues and I approved the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) of 2016. This bill is a positive step for Georgia, and for several reasons, it’s also a positive step for Congress. First of all, it restores the biennial process of approving a water resources bill. For years, the needs of America’s harbors, ports, dams, and other infrastructure were mired in the same gridlock that consumes much of Washington. We would be happy to pass a bill every few years. Unfortunately, that prevented Congress from deauthorizing obsolete projects, effectively overseeing ongoing work, and authorizing important new work. Getting back on track to pass a bill every two years will lead to better governance and more responsible stewardship of our tax dollars. Secondly, this bill will help create and maintain jobs and enable our water infrastructure to remain competitive in our global economy. I’m looking forward to moving this bill to the House floor and clearing it in short order for the president’s signature.

 

HOUSE AND SENATE WORKING TOGETHER TO COMBAT ZIKA

Last week, the House voted unanimously to go to conference with the Senate to work on a unified funding bill to combat the Zika virus. As you all may know, both the House and Senate recently passed separate Zika funding packages, and now both chambers will get together to iron out the differences in their respective bills. The product of the conference committee will be a single funding bill that provides additional resources on top of the roughly $600 million that’s already been allocated to various federal agencies charged with preventing, and if necessary, responding to a Zika outbreak in the U.S. I hope to see members of the Zika conference committee and their staffs begin work immediately so that a final bill can be quickly passed when both chambers return to Washington after this District work period.

 

HOUSE CONTINUES OVERSIGHT OF OBAMA AMINISTRATION’S FLAWED IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

Amidst all of the other legislative activity last week was an important hearing held by the House Foreign Affairs Committee entitled: “Iran Nuclear Deal Oversight: Implementation and its Consequences.” The nuclear agreement with Iran, in which President Obama traded permanent sanctions relief for a temporary delay in Iran’s nuclear program, is dangerous for our nation’s security and erroneously assumes that Iran is telling the truth about its past and current nuclear program.  That is why it’s essential for the House to continue keeping tabs on an emboldened and increasingly aggressive Iran and to draw attention to the misguided choices of the Obama Administration, which has gone above and beyond the four corners of the nuclear deal to accommodate Iran by purchasing excess heavy water. 

And I want to point out that it’s not just Republicans who are concerned about the Obama Administration’s concessions to Iran. The highest ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY), said “we need to make sure it’s [Iran nuclear deal] implemented to the letter.” I couldn’t agree with him more. Iran cannot be allowed to shirk its responsibilities under the nuclear agreement, and our country must hold Iran accountable for its continued aggression in the Middle East. 

 

LONG LINES, SHORT PATIENCE: LOCAL PERSPECTIVES

The Transportation Security Subcommittee held a hearing on Thursday addressing the issue of long TSA check-point wait times at our nation’s major airports. Since our hometown airport here in Atlanta is also the world’s busiest airport, long wait times have a particularly oversized effect on us. The easy answer from some of my colleagues is to throw more money at the problem; but the TSA’s funding was already increased in FY16. Clearly, more money doesn’t mean better service. What we need is a commitment from TSA to do better, and I’m pleased that the committee held this hearing to show TSA how it can hold itself to a higher standard and best serve the travelling public. 

The good news for those of us who use Hartsfield regularly is that the airport is already experimenting with a new screening procedure that will shorten wait-times for passengers. And the TSA is expected to launch its new My TSA App in June to provide passengers around the country with real-time updates on wait times. What’s more, this might be a great time for Hartsfield to consider moving away from TSA security and towards privatization. We know that airports with privatized security screeners – like San Francisco and Kansas City – have shorter wait times and are more efficient and effective. But even before that might happen, I’m happy to say that the House Homeland Security Committee is already taking steps to address the TSA problem with a new bill, the “Checkpoint Optimization and Efficiency Act of 2016.” I look forward to this bill coming to the House floor soon. 

I hope your Memorial Day was a special one. We are truly blessed to be Americans.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Washington Watch - 5/23/16

2016/05/23

SUPREME COURT CITES AFFORDABLE CARE ACT OVERREACH, AGAIN

Last week, the Supreme Court unanimously decided to remand Zubik v. Burwell to lower federal courts for resolution, marking a win for religious liberty, and further highlighting a long list of objections the American people have with Obamacare. The case centers on the Obamacare requirement that employers provide employees with healthcare benefits that include contraceptive coverage even if it violates the principles of the employer’s faith to do so. Many Catholic charities and religiously-affiliated employers have expressed deep concern over the mandate’s intrusion on their religious beliefs, and they have sued the government to protect their religious freedom.  

As Americans, we certainly don’t agree on everything, but irrespective of our differences, protecting our shared principles and constitutional rights should always be our first priority. It’s my hope that we will soon see a solution prioritizing the religious liberty we all cherish, and I will certainly continue to monitor the case closely. In times of divided government, we have a wonderful opportunity to build the consensus needed to move America forward in a way that doesn’t silence the voice of millions of people. Sadly, that’s the approach with which Obamacare was crafted and passed, and consequently as a nation we’re still sorting through the aftermath.  

 

HOUSE SHOWS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR OUR NATION’S TROOPS

Last week, the House passed one of the most important bills that I have the opportunity to vote on each year with strong bipartisan support: the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This year’s NDAA provides crucial resources to address our nation’s readiness shortfall so that our men and women in uniform can succeed in their very important missions, blocks the President’s attempt to reduce our troops’ annual pay raise, includes important reforms to the Pentagon to make it run more efficiently and effectively, and includes many other provisions that help ensure our nation’s all-volunteer force remains the greatest and strongest in the world. And, it’s not just the bill itself that I’m proud of; the process in which it was considered last week is just as impressive. No less than 180 amendments from both Republicans and Democrats were offered on the House floor and debated.  The end result of such a robust and inclusive process is a better bill for our men and women in uniform and a better bill for American democracy.  

One amendment in particular that I’d like to highlight started as a stand-alone bill that I am proud to cosponsor. My colleague on the House Rules Committee, Representative Alcee Hastings, authored legislation that says, “If you’re a low-income veteran receiving a pension from the VA, you shouldn’t be punished for receiving medical compensation for an accident that was no fault of your own.” Currently, medical compensation that a veteran may receive is seen by the VA as regular income, even if it simply being provided to reimburse the costs of medical care, causing a veteran to potentially become ineligible to receive pension payments that so many rely on for day-to-day expenses. The amendment to the NDAA offered by Representative Hastings rights this wrong, and I’m pleased to say that it passed the House unanimously. Making sure our nation’s military remains the best in the world is no easy task, but I, for one, am proud of the House’s work on this year’s NDAA and was proud to join many of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in supporting it and making it that much closer to becoming the law of the land.  

 

HOUSE PASSES THE FIRST OF TWELVE ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS BILLS

The House, last week, also kicked off this year’s appropriations process by debating and passing the first of twelve annual appropriations bills: the FY2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act. As is tradition, before considering or debating the appropriations for any other part of the federal government, the House’s top priority is ensuring that veterans’ benefits and healthcare programs have the funding they need to serve our nation’s veterans. Taking care of those who have served us could not be more important, and I am very proud of this tradition and this year’s bill. At a time when many other agencies and departments are seeing their funding cut, this year’s bill increases discretionary spending on veterans’ programs by $2 billion and also contains a number of provisions that help hold the VA accountable to the veterans that it was created to serve and the American taxpayers that provide its funding. The House got off to strong start with this year’s appropriations process, and I am eager to continue work on the remaining eleven bills in the coming weeks.  

 

WORKING TOGETHER TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH

The House took another step forward last Wednesday to combat the Zika virus and prevent it from spreading in the U.S. The bill, H.R. 5243, the “Zika Response Appropriations Act,” provides more than $620 million for several federal agencies charged with assisting states and local communities with efforts like mosquito control, disease surveillance, and outbreak response and preparedness. A portion of the funding is also targeted for Zika virus research and development activities, including the development of vaccines and diagnostic tests, and for international mosquito control efforts, which will help keep the Zika virus from spreading to new areas. I hope to see the Senate quickly pass H.R. 5243, as it will bring the total FY2016 funding for the U.S. Zika virus response to $1.2 billion. In the coming weeks, as we continue to work through the FY2017 appropriations process, I expect the House to approve additional funding to both protect Americans from a Zika virus outbreak and ensure adequate resources are readily available should one occur. 

 

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION BEGINS FLURRY OF MIDNIGHT REGULATIONS 

On Wednesday of last week, President Obama’s Department of Labor finalized its federal overtime regulations, which more than double the threshold under which salaried workers automatically qualify for overtime pay. While the President is promising that his new overtime rules will increase the paychecks of millions of hard-working Americans, I’ve heard from small business owners in various industries across our district over the last few months who say that’s simply not going to be the case, as small businesses won’t automatically have more money to increase employee pay. The added business costs associated with the new rules will likely just force small businesses to reduce costs elsewhere, meaning some employees could see a modest increase in their pay checks when the rules take effect in December while countless others lose flexibility with their schedules, be converted from salary to hourly employees, or simply see their hours reduced. It’s also possible that the new rules will have the unintended effect of reducing the number of entry level jobs available in the U.S. or at least the starting salaries for those positions. Despite having a front row seat from which to witness the U.S. economy struggle to deal with the regulatory labyrinth he has created over his two terms in office, President Obama has decided that burnishing his legacy is more important than working with Congress to enact pro-growth policies that will actually benefit American workers.

Above I mentioned the House-passage of the first of twelve appropriations bills. These bill are so important because this is the House opportunity to use the power of the purse to prevent regulatory overreach. Without the votes to override a presidential veto, “no funds shall be used to enforce” language in an appropriations bill is the only way to create a win for family businesses and employees. When you see me working to pass appropriations bills, I’m not working to spend money; I am working to control how the money is spent. 

 

LEGISLATIVE FIX COMING TO REDUCE WAIT TIME AT AIRPORTS

If you have flown recently, you may have noticed that it took a lot longer than usual to get through the security lines. One of the suspected causes of these delays is a lack of communication between local airports and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Poor staffing choices have exacerbated the problem. To that end, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul announced that he will be introducing a bill next week to mitigate this problem and provide some relief for travelers. TSA has also announced that they will be expanding the Pre-Check program to cover more airlines. I look forward to reviewing his ideas and making sure that you and your family can get from Point A to Point B as quickly, as conveniently, and as safely as possible.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week the House is expected to consider its second appropriations bill, the FY17 Energy and Water Appropriations Act. This bill provides funding for our nation’s nuclear weapons program, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Energy, and the Bureau of Reclamation, to name a few. Though it has taken a little longer than originally intended this year to begin our appropriations work, I’m so pleased that the House and Senate are moving forward and doing the work of the American people.

Also coming up this week will be a bill to reauthorize and reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Over 80,000 chemicals are used in commerce in the United States, and TSCA is the vehicle through which the federal government, the private sector, and state and local governments work together to ensure that our health and our environment are treated responsibly and that these chemicals are secured and used appropriately. The House has been working hard to reform TSCA to better serve Americans, and I’m happy that this bipartisan reform will be coming to the House floor. 


Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress 

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Woodall Supports House Passage of Veterans Funding Bill

2016/05/19

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4974, the “Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act,” marking the first of the FY2017 appropriations season.  The legislation prioritizes combatant command needs while increasing discretionary spending for veterans by 3% from FY2016.  Rep. Rob Woodall issued the following statement in support of its passage. 

“It’s through the appropriations process that we are able to effectively and responsibly allocate America’s resources, and there is no more important or fitting place to begin than with the care of our troops,” said Woodall.  “With this bill we are prioritizing the needs of those who have given so much through their service to each one of us, and we’re doing it in a way that increases transparency and accountability.”

Significant provisions of the legislation include measures to address VA disability backlogs, prohibit closure of Guantanamo Bay, and increase medical care for veterans and their families.

  • Includes $52.5B for VA medical services for 7 million patients to care for a sicker veteran population
  • Prioritizes mental health care, suicide prevention, traumatic brain injury treatment, and opioid safety
  • Addresses the disability claims backlog by providing a $118M increase for hiring new staff, digital scanning,
  • and the paperless claims processing system
  • Prohibits the closure of Guantanamo Bay Naval Station and the construction of any facilities to house
  • detainees in the U.S. or its territories
  • Prohibits bonuses for all VA Senior Executive Service (SES) personnel
  • Provides a total of $7.9B for military construction—prioritizing combatant command needs and targeting
  • tax dollars to where they are most needed
  • Includes funding to support and care for 9.8 million troops and families at military medical facilities

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee. 

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Contact Information

1725 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4272
Fax 202-225-4696
woodall.house.gov

Rob Woodall serves the 7th district of GA in the U.S. House of Representatives and serves on the House Committee on Rules, the House Budget Committee, and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Rob also serves as Chairman of the Republican Study Committee’s Budget and Spending Task Force.

Rob was born and raised in Georgia, graduated from Marist School in 1988, attended Furman University for his undergraduate degree and received his law degree from the University of Georgia

Rob first came to public service as a staffer for then Congressman John Linder serving as his Chief of Staff and was elected to Congress in 2010.

Rob’s political philosophy is guided by the principles of freedom, and his proudest accomplishment is helping Seventh District families one at a time through casework and creating a Congressional office that functions for the people.


Serving With

Buddy Carter

GEORGIA's 1st DISTRICT

Lynn Westmoreland

GEORGIA's 3rd DISTRICT

Tom Price

GEORGIA's 6th DISTRICT

Austin Scott

GEORGIA's 8th DISTRICT

Doug Collins

GEORGIA's 9th DISTRICT

Jody Hice

GEORGIA's 10th DISTRICT

Barry Loudermilk

GEORGIA's 11th DISTRICT

Rick Allen

GEORGIA's 12th DISTRICT

Tom Graves

GEORGIA's 14th DISTRICT

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