By: Curt Yeomans
WASHINGTON — U.S. Reps. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) want to stop a congressional privilege that is older than the Declaration of Independence.
The pair introduced the Ending Special Mail Privileges for Congress Act this week. The bill repeals a federal law which allows congressmen to use their signature in the corner of mailed envelope in lieu of using stamps.
The perk, known as the franking privilege, has been around since it was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1775, according to Woodall’s office. Millions of dollars worth of mail is sent out by congressional offices each year, and they aren’t required to follow a traditional pre-payment requirement because of the privilege, his office added.
“The franking privilege is an outdated practice that should have stopped long ago,” said Rep. Woodall. “To finally eliminate it once and for all would be a small but historic step towards rebuilding trust between the American people and their representatives in Washington.
“I’m thrilled to see this commonsense bill already receiving such broad, bipartisan support from across the country, and look forward to building on its success,” he added.
The privilege has been repealed before in 1873, but it was restored after a couple of years, according to Woodall and Duckworth’s offices.
Isakson campaign raises nearly $2M in three months
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) raised $1.6 million in the first quarter of the year for his 2016 re-election effort, according to an announcement from his campaign.
Georgia’s senior senator has $3.75 million cash on hand for the campaign after the haul, which was collected over 90 days. He officially kicked off his re-election effort last November.
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(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Representative Rob Woodall (R-GA-07) and U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-08) introduced H.R. 1873, the "Ending Special Mail Privileges for Congress Act." This bipartisan legislation repeals a federal law, known as the franking privilege, that allows Members of Congress to use their signature in the corner of an envelope as postage. Originally adopted by the Continental Congress in 1775, the process still exists today, and enables Congressional offices to send millions of dollars' worth of mail through the USPS each year without the typical pre-payment requirement.
"The franking privilege is an outdated practice that should have stopped long ago,” said Rep. Woodall. “To finally eliminate it once and for all would be a small but historic step towards rebuilding trust between the American people and their representatives in Washington. I’m thrilled to see this commonsense bill already receiving such broad, bipartisan support from across the country, and look forward to building on its success.”
“As Members of Congress, we lead by example,” said Duckworth. “This legislation will take an important step in making Members of Congress accountable to the taxpayers. I am pleased that Members on both sides of the aisle are working together to hold Congress to the same standards as our constituents.”
First introduced last year during the 113th Congress, H.R. 1873 has attracted and sustained the bipartisan support of multiple government watchdog groups spanning the political spectrum. The organizations include Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Common Cause, National Taxpayers Union, Public Citizen, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, U.S. PIRG, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, and the National Legal and Policy Center. The coalition also issued a statement on the bill.
“The bipartisan legislation – ‘Ending Special Mail Privileges for Congress Act’ – deserves Congressional support. The legislation would make it clear to both constituents and Congress alike that franked mail costs taxpayers, and thus encourage greater self-restraint and more accurate accounting by Members of Congress. We applaud the efforts of Reps. Woodall and Duckworth to rein in some of the costly abuses of the franking privilege.”
The bill number, 1873, carries an historical context that highlights the need to repeal the archaic franking privilege. The law was repealed once before, on January 31, 1873, but only a few years later, Congress restored the “free mail” program. H.R. 1873 seeks to eliminate it once and for all.
Rep. Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. He serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, while also serving on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, as well as Budget Committee.
On April 15 – Tax Day – U.S. Representative Rob Woodall and U.S. Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) issued the following statements in support of H.R. 25 and S. 155, the FairTax Act of 2015. A proposal to remove all aspects of the current income tax code and replace it with a system based on consumption of new goods and services, the FairTax has been introduced and championed by Representative Woodall since coming to Congress, with Senators Perdue and Moran now leading the charge in the U.S. Senate. With 74 supporters, it remains one of the most widely supported fundamental tax reform bills in Congress.
“Whether to encourage economic growth and productivity or to rein in the size and scope of the federal government, fundamental tax reform is long overdue,” said Representative Woodall. “The FairTax offers that reform, but is so much more than just another effort to adjust the existing tax code. It does what no other proposal in Congress does – it removes our broken and oppressive system by its roots – replacing it with an approach consistent with the American spirit of innovation, and the American principles of freedom and opportunity. By rejecting the notion that Washington knows best, and returning that power to the American people, we can unleash our economy while protecting individual liberty, and providing taxpayers with a simple and transparent process. Under the FairTax, April 15 would once again be just another spring day.”
“We are in a full-blown fiscal crisis, and we need to take bold steps to get our country back on track,” said Senator Perdue. “We can’t just tax our way out of this crisis, and we can't just cut our way out. We must grow the economy, and the FairTax is an important step in the right direction. The FairTax will help level the playing field and encourage American innovation and investment to make our economy more competitive. That kind of thriving economic activity is a necessity if we are ever going to pay down this outrageous debt and make life work better for Georgians and American families.”
“The inefficient and burdensome tax filing process each April serves as an important reminder to Americans that our tax system is fundamentally flawed and in need of significant reform," Senator Moran said. "Fortunately, there is a better way: the FairTax. By removing existing income taxes and associated loopholes, exemptions and credits, the FairTax would end the convoluted tax-filing process, boost the economy, and make the tax code so simple that we could eventually close the IRS for good. The economic need for a leaner and fairer tax code has never been greater and adopting the FairTax should be a Congressional priority."
Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties. He serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, while also serving on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, as well as Budget Committee. Senator Perdue (GA) serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee; Budget Committee; Foreign Relations Committee; Judiciary Committee; and the Special Committee on Aging. Senator Moran (KS) serves on multiple Committees including: Appropriations; Commerce, Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; and Veterans’ Affairs.
By Curt Yeomans
LAWRENCEVILLE — America’s leaders can accomplish a lot before President Barack Obama leaves office next year, but it will take a spirit of unity on everyone’s part, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) told local Rotarians on Monday.
Woodall focused on the nation’s budget during one of his biannual Washington updates to the Rotary Club of Lawrenceville this week. But there was an underlying message about the need for leaders to work across party and branch lines dispersed among his responses to queries about Iran, the Keystone XL Pipeline, health care and the final 21 months of Obama’s presidency.
“While I would like to pass tax reform, or I would like to shore up Social Security for the next three generations, I don’t have to have that over the next 21 months to call those 21 months a success,” Woodall said. “We’re going to have to set our sights on smaller things. If they rise to the level where they show up in somebody’s campaign speech, they’re going to be too big to get done.”
Woodall’s candor about the need for what he called “principled compromise,” or agreeing to compromise without giving up a person’s principles, was a switch from some of the partisan rhetoric that has been prevalent in national politics in recent years.
Where the nation’s executive and legislative branches may find common-enough ground to bring about change are smaller issues such as defense spending and passing a law that re-establishes a 40-hour work week as a full-time work week.
He conceded that Senate Republicans lacked the votes needed to override a presidential veto on bills pertaining to the pipeline or new sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. Both are issues that have simmering for weeks and years in national showdown between Republicans and Democrats.
The lack of the needed two-thirds majority vote may not stop the Senate from trying to override likely vetoes though, at least on the long-debated Keystone issue, according to Woodall.
“We may go through the motions to override the veto just to test that theory,” he said.
Iran is likely a different story all together. The Obama administration is in the process of trying to negotiate a deal with Iran that will keep it from developing nuclear weapons. Woodall told the Rotary Club that Iran could further destabilize the Middle East and be a “game changer for the world” if it develops nuclear weapons.
Whether the tougher sanctions proposed by Congress go into affect will ultimately depend on what the president sees at the end of the day, the congressman said.
“He’s going to need to believe the negotiations have come to an end as well,” Woodall said.Read More
View pictures of Congressman Woodall in the Seventh District here.Read More
View photos of Congressman Woodall in Washington, DC, here.Read More
1725 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
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.
Thanks again to all the folks at the Lanier Forsyth Rotary Club for letting me speak to your group this week. Your leadership and commitment
Congratulations to the Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology (GSMST) for again earning Georgia’s top spot in national rankings!
Congratulations to a remarkable group of students at Meadowcreek High School for winning Best in Region of the 2014-2015 Verizon Innovative App
Happy to have re-introduced this bill. One step at the time, we can build trust and increase accountability.
The first 100 days of America’s new Congress have been busy, but we have moved the ball forward on many of the issues that matter to American