Rob Woodall

Rob Woodall

GEORGIA's 7th DISTRICT

District Connection - 8/7/17

2017/08/07

LOCAL SCHOOLS CREATE NATIONAL STANDOUTS

We all know how wonderful our Gwinnett and Forsyth schools are, and it’s great to see that our success is being recognized on a national level. Last week, Tommy Welch, the principal of Meadowcreek High School in Norcross was named as one of three finalists for the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Principal of the Year award. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Meadowcreek High School a number of times, and I can tell you that Principal Welch is leading a great team of teachers, parents, and students, and everyone I spoke with had so many positive things to say about his leadership. Meadowcreek hasn’t always been the success that it is today, and much of that success is thanks to the team that Principal Welch has built around him. Six years ago, when Mr. Welch became principal, the school’s graduation rate was 47 percent. Now, it’s 73 percent. That success doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen because of just one person, but it would have been impossible without the strong leadership of Principal Welch and his commitment to hard-work and results for all his students. I know everyone in the 7th District joins me in wishing Principal Welch good luck. 

And moving from great leaders of today to great leaders of tomorrow, I had the honor of meeting with Abhiram “Abhi” Kapaganty last week, who was this year’s Georgia Association of Educators state spelling bee champion. At just 11 years old, Abhi’s win qualified him to compete in the most prestigious spelling bee in the world, the Scripps National Bee in Washington, D.C. Out of over 250 contestants, Abhi tied for 41st place. That’s simply amazing!  And he aspires to do even better next year.


Rep. Rob Woodall and Georgia Spelling Bee champion Abhiram Kapaganty

They say you can’t achieve success without hard work, and after spending time with Abhi and his parents, I know that’s true now more than ever. Abhi and his family should be commended for their dedication, determination, and discipline in achieving this dream. And the best part is when I asked Abhi what comes next, he told me he is already preparing for more competitions. It gives me great pride and joy to know that the 7th District is home to some of the best and the brightest in our country; young people who know that success comes through hard work and that the greatest victories come from showing up again and again until your dreams are realized. 

SEVENTH DISTRICT COMPANIES ARE INDUSTRY LEADERS 

Being back home in the 7th District means a lot of great things, but one of those is having the opportunity to visit our local businesses and job creators to hear about their successes as well as the challenges they face. It’s through these meetings that solutions are often hatched for problems that may have flown under the radar to many, but greatly affect those in a given industry. For example, National Vision Inc. is the fastest growing optical chain in the country, and it calls the 7th District home. With not only the retail support center in Duluth, but also an optical lab and distribution center in Lawrenceville, their impact on our local economy is significant – employing nearly 600 people in these locations alone, and nearly 1,200 in Georgia.


Rep. Rob Woodall visits with the National Vision team in Duluth

We talked about health care, taxation -- particularly the complexities of a Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) (which Congress and the White House recently abandoned) -- human resource challenges, corporate philanthropy, and more.  Having a leading optical care company headquartered right here at home not only provides great jobs, but also provides me with immediate access to answers when questions that require expertise like that found at National Vision arise.

LOCAL INNOVATOR UTILIZING TECHNOLOGY TO MAKE TRAVEL SAFER

I’ve said it before, but the truth is there is an expert in the 7th District for just about every field you could imagine. The best part of my job is that really smart people take time from their busy schedules to visit with me and share what they know, and another example of national expertise located right here at home is Applied Information Inc. in Suwanee. Bryan Mulligan, President of the company, offered to show me first-hand the amazing ideas on the horizon in the field of intelligent transportation systems – in particular, the TravelSafely app that Applied Information is developing.  

With decades of experience in the industry, Bryan and his team are now focusing on ways in which they can put their expertise to use to make travel of all kinds safer, more reliable, and more efficient for everyone. In fact, the Gwinnett County schools are using this technology right now to help keep school children safe by remotely monitoring school zone traffic signals. In Marietta, the company's cloud and web-based technology enables communication between traffic signals and first-responder vehicles equipped with the systems, which has led to a dramatic reduction in emergency response travel times and accidents. You might not know it, but traffic-related accidents have historically been the second leading cause of death to firemen on the job, and Applied Information’s technology has the potential to save lives on every emergency call. 


Rep. Rob Woodall with Bryan Mulligan, President of Applied Information Inc.

While certainly important to us all, the benefit of the technology isn’t limited to just first-responders.  Once completed, anyone will be able to download their smartphone app for free and begin receiving alerts, for example, when traffic signals are about to change or when roadwork is ahead. The list of examples goes on and on, but it offers us a look at the possibilities that lie ahead if we leverage these resources for the public good.  Through my work on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I can assure you that safe, efficient travel – whether flying across the world or walking across a busy intersection – is a shared priority regardless of political party. We’ve seen significant bipartisan successes in recent years in moving crucial legislation, such as the FAST Act, which has invested significantly in intelligent transportation systems development, but the work continues, and partnering with our innovators to put technology to the best possible use is vital to long-term solutions for the challenges we face. I’m excited to see the role Applied Information will play as we move forward, and I’m grateful to the whole team for taking the time to share their vision, passion, and expertise with all of us.  

Being your voice in Washington means understanding these issues, listening to and questioning our local experts, and applying that knowledge and experience in Congress.  If you know of a local business or local expert that I should visit with to learn more and to better serve you, please reach out to me and let me know.

SENATE CONFIRMS ANOTHER GEORGIAN: NEW FBI DIRECTOR

The U.S. Senate came together  last week to confirm Georgia-based attorney Christopher Wray as the new Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The 92-5 vote is an overwhelming endorsement of Mr. Wray’s abilities and a vote of confidence in his new role at the FBI. The FBI is an integral part of America’s justice system. It’s independence from the political process is a hallmark of its success and a tribute to the fairness of American justice. Justice is supposed to be blind to color, creed, background, and political ideology, and Mr. Wray’s stellar background in the law is going to serve America well. I look forward to his leadership, and I’m sure that all Georgians wish his well.

PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS MAJOR SANCTIONS BILL INTO LAW

Last week, President Trump signed into law a major sanctions bill that will hold North Korea, Iran, and Russia accountable for their provocative actions in the international community. The bill was overwhelmingly approved by vast bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate – in fact, only five members in either chamber opposed the measure – and I’m so pleased that President Trump agreed with Congress and put his signature of the legislation. 

What’s more, over the weekend, the United National Security Council, a body that has not always been favorable to U.S. positions on sanctions, passed a strict new sanctions measure aimed directly at the rogue North Korean regime. The resolution was introduced by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and I’m happy to say that all 15 Security Council nations voted for the measure, even Russia and China, the latter having long been an ally of North Korea. The resolution is a key indicator that that world will not accept the nuclear irresponsibility of a North Korean regime that is an increasingly destabilizing force in the Asia-Pacific region. And China’s accession to the resolution is hopefully a powerful statement to North Korea that there is no responsible nation on the planet that will allow it to continue testing missiles. It’s also a reminder that American leadership abroad is more important than ever, and I’m so pleased that Congress and the Trump Administration are working together to further our shared goal of a peaceful world. 

ENGAGING WITH LOCAL LEADERS AT THE SNELLVILLE COMMERCE CLUB 

I had the pleasure of joining members of the Snellville Commerce Club at their monthly meeting last Tuesday. As you all may know, this group is the official business marketing organization of Snellville Tourism & Trade, and it consists of local business leaders and public servants who work together to make Snellville a great place to live, work, visit, and more. On the first Tuesday of each month, members and guests of the Club meet for lunch and discuss the goings on around the city. At this meeting, the group heard from folks like the Chief of Police, members of the City Council, local school officials, and representatives from several local businesses, among others, and the topics ranged from information about recently enacted city ordinances to updates regarding transportation projects that could impact traffic during commuting hours, to name a couple. 

I was invited speak with the group about the latest happenings in Washington, D.C., and to answer questions from folks who are impacted by the work we do on Capitol Hill. Several of the more pressing issues we are dealing with in D.C., including what’s next on health care reform and tax reform, were very popular topics covered both during my remarks and during the Q&A session that followed. While I always enjoy our discussions, I’m always equally impressed by the insightful questions asked in these meetings. For example, many folks were interested in hearing about the ongoing efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and reverse the damage its reforms continue to cause in individual insurance markets across the nation. One member even wanted to dig deeper into specific concerns about the complexities and burdens for individuals impacted by the ACA’s net investment tax. That’s not the most widely known portion of the ACA, but it’s a critically important section of the ACA for individuals who are being over-taxed by the federal government. I’m grateful to this wonderful group of local leaders for what they do in our community and for offering me an opportunity to speak, listen, and learn at their monthly meeting! 

If you are in the area and interested in learning more about the Snellville Commerce Club or attending one of the group’s monthly meetings, I encourage you to click here for more information.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Security cameras OK’d for Lake Lanier private docks

2017/07/31

Security cameras will be allowed on private docks at Lake Lanier, the Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday.

 

“We asked, and you responded regarding the prohibition on security cameras on private docks at Lake Lanier,” the corps, which owns and manages the lake, said in a Facebook post.

Interested parties voted 257 for, seven opposed and five neutral during a 30-day comment period that ended June 16.

“As a result, Lake Sidney Lanier and the Mobile District have removed security cameras from the list of items prohibited on permitted private floating facilities at Lake Lanier,” the announcement read.

The new policy affects the 10,615 private docks at the lake, corps spokesman Tim Rainey told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It does not apply to public land at the lake.

There currently is no more land available for private docks, Rainey said. “I do not foresee that changing anytime soon.”

 

The Lake Lanier Association, which represents homeowners and businesses, wanted the ban to end, according to its Facebook page.

“The Corps of Engineers has stated that the policy was based out of concern for individual privacy while recreating on public land,” according to a Facebook post May 15. “We feel that, given the great majority of persons recreating on the lake in possession of a mobile device with photo and video capabilities, that concern is no longer applicable. We also feel that cameras would benefit public safety and be an aide to protecting personal property.”

Rainey said the push to change the policy came from U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, whose district includes Lake Lanier.

“We replied that we would review our policy,” Rainey said.

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Corps: Security cameras allowed on Lake Lanier docks

2017/07/31

Anyone who owns one of the more than 10,500 permitted docks on Lake Lanier can now put security cameras on them for the first time since 2004.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday they removed cameras from the list of items prohibited on “permitted private floating facilities” at the lake, effective immediately.

The decision follows a 30-day comment period that ended on June 16 where interested parties could give input for or against the use of security cameras.

A ban on cameras on docks had been in place since the 2004 Lake Lanier Shore Management Plan, which guides Corps management of the lake.

District 7 U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, who represents Cumming, south Forsyth and much of Gwinnett County, said while there are some people who are concerned about the cameras invading other property owners’ privacy, the response was overwhelmingly in favor of allowing them — 257 comments were in favor and seven were opposed.

“Those concerns are real when there’s already a camera on every corner,” Woodall told the Forsyth County News Friday morning. “But I can already put a camera in the yard on the lake or put it in my house and point it at the lake, but that’s not as effective of a security mechanism.”

Woodall said constituents and the Lake Lanier Association reached out to him earlier this year to “request assistance, visitors and property on Lake Lanier from the increase in thefts from its docks.”

“Lake Lanier is an incredible resource for our community. Unfortunately, I regularly hear reports from homeowners and visitors of property being stolen or damaged on Corps of Engineers property,” he said.

The ban on security cameras and camera towers was included in the array of items prohibited to protect the aesthetic of lakefront property, Woodall said, including flags and furniture.

Woodall serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and said the “value of good relationships” between the congressman and Corps allowed for the prohibition to be lifted through regulations instead of legislation.

“It doesn’t have to be pulling teeth to bring common sense to government,” he said.

The Lake Lanier Association voiced thanks to involved parties.

“Given the technology commonly available, and given the concerns for both personal safety and property protection, the Lake Lanier Association supports security cameras on docks,” said Joanna Cloud, executive director of the group.

“With the health care bill and those frustrations, that is front-page news,” Woodall said. “But this will make a big difference to a few people.”

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Washington Watch - 7/31/17

2017/07/31

WOODALL LEADS SUCCESSFUL EFFORT TO REPEAL SECURITY CAMERA PROHIBITION ON LAKE LANIER

This spring, I started hearing from constituents near Lake Lanier that more and more of their property on docks was being stolen or damaged.  Dock owners wanted the option of installing security cameras right there on their docks to deter would-be thieves or trespassers and apprehend criminals, so we looked into it and found out that an old 2004 rule from the Army Corps of Engineers prohibited them from installing cameras. So I reached out to Corps leadership and asked them to revisit the policy and hear for themselves what our community and local law enforcement thought about this Federal rule. 95% of the people that responded said, yes, we should allow security cameras.  Last week, the Corps announced that the 13 year old prohibition is gone, and it’s because a group of constituents cared enough to pick up the phone and call me about it. I hope this is an example to everyone in the 7th District. Things can get done in Washington when we all care enough to work together to make it happen! 

 

HOUSE PASSES NATIONAL SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS PACKAGE 

On Thursday, the House passed the “Make America Secure Appropriations Act,” which includes vital funding for defense, military construction, and nuclear energy programs.  I was proud to support this bill because it fulfills many of the promises we made to the American people over the last 18 months.  For starters, it funds President Trump’s border wall request.  Border crossings have already fallen to a 17 year low under the new Administration, the most violent gang members in America are being brought to justice, and these reinforcements along our border will ensure that we maintain that progress to keep our nation secure.  

This bill also gives our military service members their largest pay raise in eight years and equips them with state-of-the-art weapons, equipment, and infrastructure they need to fulfill their mission and eliminate threats to the homeland.  The bill supports our brave law enforcement officers who defend our nation’s Capitol complex and the millions of Americans who visit it each year and authorizes President Trump to roll-back the Obama Administration’s incredibly harmful attempt to put America’s waterways under EPA control.  Not only is this a bill that the American people can be very proud of, it is one that was considered the right way – with a robust debate in subcommittee, full committee, and with days of debate and amendment opportunities on the House floor. This truly is a product of the House’s collective work, and I hope the Senate will move on this bill swiftly before the end of the fiscal year.

 

CONGRESS LEADS THE WAY ON RUSSIA, IRAN, AND NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS 

Under the Trump/Pence Administration, America is reclaiming its leadership role in the world, and as a result, relations with key allies are improving and terrorist groups are being destroyed.  However, there remain a number of complex geopolitical challenges that threaten America’s interests and our very way of life. For instance, North Korea is developing a nuclear arsenal with the capability to reach America’s coasts.  Russia is continuing to prop up Bashar al-Assad’s despotic regime in Syria and undermine American efforts to build lasting peace in some of the world’s most volatile regions. Iran remains committed to funding terrorism and exploiting unrest in the Middle East to further its own radical agenda. That’s why last week Congress passed—with bipartisan, veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate—a tough sanctions package aimed at holding these countries accountable for their unacceptable behavior and their dangerous trajectory toward war and chaos. These sanctions target human rights abuses, support for terrorism, ballistic missile development, and the vast amounts of money it takes to maintain these treacherous activities.  I look forward to seeing President Trump sign this bill into law.

 

CONGRESS WILL CONTINUE WORKING ON HEALTH CARE REFORM 

If you watched the news or read the newspaper at all last week, you certainly saw story after story about the Senate’s health care negotiations. It all began with a successful procedural vote to initiate floor debate and proceedings on legislation that would repeal and replace portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the back and forth continued throughout the week before ultimately coming to an end early Friday morning when Senate Republicans came within a single vote of advancing the “Health Care Freedom Act”, which was designed to deliver relief from the ACA’s burdensome insurance mandates for millions of Americans. Like many of you, I am incredibly disappointed that the Senate was unable to approve any legislative solution at all to help those struggling under the ACA and the millions more who will suffer when the inevitable comes to bear.  There are some who would like to simply throw in the towel at this point, but I promise you that this will not be the end of the health care reform debate. It’s imperative that we continue working to find a path forward on health care reform, and I remain just as committed today as I’ve ever been to doing just that.  Each year, more and more Americans are losing their Obamacare coverage because insurance companies are leaving the marketplace.  We can and we must do better.

 

MALL OF GEORGIA HOSTING RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE THIS WEEK

There are so many ways we can help one another, and no one does that better than our community. Beginning tomorrow and going through Wednesday, local residents will be able to visit the Mall of Georgia and join the Red Cross in offering a life-saving gift to those in need. Knowing our neighbors the way I do, I have no doubt the turnout will be spectacular. For anyone interested and able to support through donation, you can visit redcrossblood.org to schedule an appointment with the code: moga.  

 

FOCUSING ON SERVICE TO OUR NATION’S VETERANS

It may be hard to believe with all the other votes we had this week, but the House passed even more bills, including a number of important bills for our nation’s veterans. Congress continues to demonstrate that improving the livelihoods and health of our veterans is a priority and not just empty words. Our service members and veterans sacrifice so much for us and face unique hardships that many of us do not. 

Often times, service members are required to move several times during their careers, sometimes in the same year, creating challenges for their families, which is why the House passed H.R. 282, the “Military Residency Choice Act,” to allow the spouse of a service member to claim the same residence as the service member for tax and voting purposes, regardless of when they were married. Another challenging situation that veterans can face is finding child care while they receive VA care. H.R. 95, the “Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act,” addresses that by directing the VA to provide child care assistance to eligible veterans. 

Perhaps the most impactful piece of legislation the House passed last week was H.R. 3218, the “Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act.” The G.I. bill has educated generations of veterans, however, our economy has changed, and the job market has new demands. H.R. 3218 enables veterans to take advantage of these new opportunities, particularly STEM and tech programs that could never have been envisioned 73 years ago when the G.I. bill was first created. Furthermore, H.R. 3218 will allow veterans to use their educational benefits at any time, not just within the 15-year limit currently in place. This is a major expansion of the G.I. bill, and I was proud to support it.

Of course, we are always on the look-out to constantly improve the VA itself, because an efficient and effective VA is the best way to ensure our veterans get the care and benefits they deserve. That’s why the House passed H.R. 1058, the “VA Provider Equity Act” to attract more podiatrists to the VA and H.R. 2006, the “VA Procurement Efficiency and Transparency Act” to improve the procurement process for the VA and save millions of taxpayer dollars.  

I am incredibly humbled and thankful for the sacrifice our veterans have made, above-and-beyond the average citizen, and it’s our duty to assist them with the obstacles they face after they serve.

 

CONGRESS AND WHITE HOUSE MOVE FORWARD WITH TAX REFORM 

Last week, as you all may have read, congressional leaders and President Trump released a joint statement of agreement regarding a set of principles that will guide congressional committees as they start drafting tax reform legislation. The mission of the tax writing committees, as the statement reads, will be to produce a bill that will “protect American jobs and make taxes simpler, fairer and lower for hard-working American families.” If you are a FairTax supporter, those buzz words, “simpler and fairer,” certainly catch your attention. I hope you are as excited as I am to begin the important work of replacing our tax code, as we’ve not made major changes to it since the 1980s. So much has changed in our world in the more than three decades that have followed, and it’s never been more clear that the time has come to scrap our outdated, overly-complex tax code and replace it with a modern tax system that will deliver benefits for hard-working Americans and our businesses – all of which are competing now more than ever in a global economy. Many of you have shared with me in recent months your thoughts about tax reform and your ideas for improving our tax code, and I hope to hear from even more of you as this important work gets underway in earnest. 

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Woodall Partners with Constituents, Corps of Engineers to Bring Added Security to Lake Lanier

2017/07/28

Washington, D.C. – In recent months, a group of concerned citizens including the Lake Lanier Association reached out to U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (GA 07) to request assistance in protecting residents, visitors, and property on Lake Lanier from the increase in thefts from its docks.  Existing Army Corps of Engineer policy prohibited security cameras on the Lake’s docks, but following the partnership of local citizens with Rep. Woodall working directly with the Corps on the issue, that policy has been updated to allow these crucial protections.  The Corps announced the new policy today.

“Lake Lanier is an incredible resource for our community.  Unfortunately, I regularly hear reports from homeowners and visitors of property being stolen or damaged on Corps of Engineers property,” said Rep. Woodall.  “I asked the Corps to consider changing the policy to better serve all those who enjoy the Lake, and I’m grateful for their quick response.  This is yet another example of constituents bringing a concern to me that we were able to work together to resolve, and it underscores the kind of action-oriented community we have here at home – irrespective of the issue.”

"We are very pleased with this outcome,” a statement from the Lake Lanier Association said. “Given the technology commonly available, and given the concerns for both personal safety and property protection, the Lake Lanier Association supports security cameras on docks. We appreciate Congressman Woodall's involvement in getting this policy reviewed. We also appreciate the Corps of Engineers being responsive to public commentary."

The change is the latest win for Lake Lanier and the community after legislation ushered through Congress by Woodall was signed into law late last year to prevent congressional control over the Lake’s water supply. The issue centered around the removal of language that had been added in previous water resources legislation to insert Congress into interstate water disputes.  Woodall serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and led the charge to remove the harmful language.  Additionally, earlier this year the Corps of Engineers finalized the new Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Water Control Manual which includes further protections of Lake Lanier’s water supply from neighboring states, marking another victory for the community.

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 - 7/24/17

2017/07/24

TOWN HALL MEETING TONIGHT

It’s been a busy month in Washington, D.C., and this week is going to cap-off another long stretch of legislative work. I hope that you can join me tonight at 7:45pm for a Telephone Town Hall Meeting so that we can discuss where we’ve been and where we’re going for the second half of the year. 

Monday, July 24th
7:45PM – 8:15PM
Dial-In: 877-229-8493
Passcode: 17849

Please call-in and join the conversation! 

 

HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE ADVANCES FY2018 BUDGET: BUILDING A BETTER AMERICA

Early last week, I stood beside Chairman Diane Black (R-TN) and other Members of the House Budget Committee as we announced the 2018 Budget entitled “Building a Better America.” In it, we include a total of $6.5 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years, producing a $9 billion surplus by 2027. We also include reconciliation instructions that pave the way for much needed, critical tax reform to help families overwhelmed by our tax code and promote job growth throughout the nation. Additionally, our reconciliation package takes a bold step in addressing our out-of-control mandatory spending. We instruct the 11 authorizing committees in the House to find at least $203 billion in mandatory savings in the next decade. I think this is a great start as we plan to use reconciliation next year, and the year after that, and every year after that to rein in mandatory spending to preserve our nation’s fiscal future for generations to come. After a lengthy markup on Wednesday, the budget was passed favorably out of Committee, and I am hopeful it will be considered on the House floor soon. I am so proud of the hard work of our Committee Chairman Diane Black (R-TN), and I am incredibly pleased to work beside her to pass a responsible, pro-growth budget. 

Click on the video below to watch the Budget Committee’s pre-markup press conference.

 

CELEBRATING AMERICAN MANUFACTURING IN WASHINGTON

Last week was “Made in America Week” in Washington, D.C., and American business owners from across the country traveled to Washington to showcase their hard work and share their expertise. On Wednesday, the White House hosted a diverse and talented group of entrepreneurs – including the Seventh District’s own Okabashi Brands, Inc. As you all may know, Okabashi manufactures footwear products right here in Buford, Georgia. I’ve been fortunate to be able to see their operation in person at their Buford location, and last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Okabashi CEO Sara Irvani while she was visiting D.C. I’m grateful for all that Okabashi is doing in our community and very much enjoyed seeing one of our local manufacturers share their story at the White House. I look forward to working with my House colleagues in the coming weeks and months to advance legislative solutions that will empower companies like Okabashi and all of our local manufacturers to do even more great work!

 

HOUSE PASSES THREE ENERGY BILLS THAT DRIVE AMERICA TOWARDS ENERGY INDEPENDENCE AND SUCCESS

The House passed three bills last week that bolster America’s energy independence and infrastructure through smart and targeted reforms.  Two of those bills – H.R. 2883 and H.R. 2910 – seek to update the federal government’s permitting and siting policies for oil and natural gas pipelines.  The United States is one of the most blessed countries in the world when it comes to its supply of natural resources. However, we lack the critical infrastructure to get those environmentally friendly, affordable, and abundant resources to American families across the country due to the burdensome permitting process and bureaucratic red-tape. 

The good news is that H.R. 2883, the “Promoting Cross Border Energy Infrastructure Act” restructures the permitting process for pipelines that cross international borders to make it a more transparent, efficient, and effective process, which will lower costs for consumers and create additional jobs in the energy field. The second bill, H.R. 2910, the “Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act” strengthens the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s lead agency role and brings greater certainty, accountability, and transparency to the siting process for interstate natural gas pipelines to meet our growing demand for natural gas. Together, these two pieces of legislation are a step in the right direction for American families, businesses, and workers, and I look forward to continue to support legislation that drives America towards energy independence. 

In addition to H.R. 2883 and H.R. 2910, the House also passed H.R. 806, the “Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017.” Too often, we see the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implement new standards before the previous standards are met, and I hope you’d agree with me that such a practice doesn’t set America up for success, but instead leads us down a volatile and dispiriting path. The good news is that H.R. 806 puts an end to that poor practice by giving states the necessary tools to meet new and upcoming ozone and other air quality standards by ensuring that the EPA’s rules are clear. This allows state officials to successfully develop plans to meet ozone standards rather than being forced to change their plans every few years – all of which is done without rolling-back protections on air quality or public health and without unnecessarily burdening our economy. It is my hope that the Senate quickly takes up all three of these bills so that we can move the needle towards success for the American people. 

 

 

TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE IS COMMITTED TO BUILDING A 21ST CENTURY INFRASTRUCTURE FOR AMERICA

Last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held two separate hearings on road safety and water infrastructure as part of our effort to build a 21st Century infrastructure for America. 

The first hearing examined the multitude of ways our 2015 law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, addressed the alarming number of deaths and serious injuries on our nation’s roads.  For example, we increased funding for federal transportation safety programs, reformed NHTSA safety programs, consolidated nine existing FMCSA grant programs into four, streamlined program requirements to reduce red tape and improve flexibility for states, and incentivized the adoption of innovative truck and bus safety technologies. One witness testified that, in addition to the tragic toll on human life, the economic consequences of car accidents amounts to over $800 billion annually.  I’m hopeful that the continued focus on improving safety on our nation’s roads will prevent tragedies and save taxpayer dollars.  

The second hearing discussed the impact that the two most recent Water Resources Development Acts have had on America’s water infrastructure.  You may remember in the 2014 WRDA bill we advanced critical port initiatives in Georgia. Georgia’s ports may be a long way from the Seventh District, but they have a huge economic impact in our community, supporting more than 25,000 local jobs.  I used this opportunity to inquire as to why the White House continues to underfund the Savannah Harbor deepening project, despite the incredibly promising cost-benefit ratio and the importance of this project to our region and our nation. I will keep doing my part to move this vital project forward every chance I get, including in the upcoming appropriation bills that will be on the floor in the near future.

 

BUILDING A BETTER MANUFACTURING COMMUNITY

It’s been a great week for Georgia and Seventh District manufacturers to say the least.  Beyond the excitement of one of our own being invited to the White House for “Made in America” Week, the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance (GMA) joined Governor Deal here at home as he officially proclaimed July as “Buy from Georgia” Month.  If you aren’t familiar with the amazing things these folks are doing not only in the Seventh District, but across the state, I would definitely encourage you to learn more about it at http://www.georgiamanufacturingalliance.com/.

GMA got its start right here in Lawrenceville, and I couldn’t be prouder of what they do day-in and day-out.  Once again, these men and women show that our community unites around building each other up and making tomorrow better than today.  If you’re interested in supporting your local manufacturers – which I highly recommend – you can find all kinds of information at www.buyfromga.com to do just that.

 

NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARS NAMED FROM FORSYTH

Reading about all the great things our young people are doing never gets old.  From service academy appointees, to aspiring athletes and actors, to award-winning entrepreneurs and students, they’ve already reached remarkable heights, and they’re just getting started.  After last week, we can add two more South Forsyth High School graduates to that list as they were named National Merit Scholars.  Matthew McCusker received a scholarship from Northeastern University, and Nicolas Devereaux was named a National Merit Scholar at Auburn University, and for those familiar with the process, it doesn’t just happen.  These young men began their competition with 1.6 million other high school students during their junior year, and after many test scores, application filings, essays, leadership evaluations, and personal recommendations, they are among approximately 900 who received this prestigious scholarship.  Congratulations, gentlemen, and best of luck!

 

HOUSE REAUTHORIZES CRITICALLY IMPORTANT DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

For the first time since it was created, Congress reauthorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Our country’s youngest Executive agency was created in the aftermath of the tragedy of 9/11 to consolidate our domestic efforts to protect the United States, including the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), the Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) amongst others. This reauthorization is an opportunity to reorganize the department and reexamine programs and sub-agencies that have not been reauthorized since their creation. Not only is it an improvement for the department itself, but also for Congress, which previously reauthorized the agencies and programs piece by piece between eight different House committees until agreeing this year in a memorandum of understanding to their respective roles in reauthorizing the department. 

Reform comes in many forms – both noticeable and less obvious. Some of the more noticeable changes to DHS included in the reauthorization are modifications to TSA screening and security activities to give you a safer and better traveling experience, and enhanced border protections on our maritime borders by authorizing the acquisition of more Coast Guard cutters and the use of advanced unmanned technologies. Less visible but nonetheless important improvements are provisions that will give FEMA the flexibility to provide emergency and terrorism-prevention grant money to those that need it in a more efficient manner, to establish a new Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate allegations of misconduct involving USCIS personnel, and to expand intelligence information sharing, all making our country just that much safer. 

Improving our government is always a priority for our citizens, but it is even more so when our country’s safety and security is involved. Thankfully this is an effort everyone can get behind, and the reauthorization passed with broad bipartisan support by a 386-41 vote. I look forward to this bill moving through the Senate soon and onto the President’s desk for his signature.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week the House is moving forward for the American people. It is our Constitutional duty to fund the federal agencies that serve Americans, and this week, the House is considering a spending package that includes legislation to fund the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Legislative Branch. This is the first step in a long process to fund the government’s essential functions, and I’m pleased the House is moving forward in plenty of time for us to work with the Senate to get these appropriations bills to the President’s desk before the end of the fiscal year. I expect a robust amendment process on this package of bills, so check in with me and the House Rules Committee throughout the beginning of this week to learn more about these important measures. 

The House is also expected to consider H.J.Res. 111, which provides for the Congressional disapproval of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s (CFPB) “arbitration agreements” rule. This rule is highly controversial and will increase substantially the number of class action lawsuits and costs to financial service companies. The CFPB’s own analysis admitted that this rule would force 53,000 companies to redraft their standard consumer contracts and prepare for additional class action litigation. The CFPB’s bureaucratic red tape and insistence on ignoring the real-world negative effects of its regulation is staggering, and I’m pleased that the House is taking a stand.                   
                       

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Washington Watch - 7/17/17

2017/07/17

HOUSE UNITED IN FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Last week, the House unanimously passed three bills that will bolster federal efforts to combat human trafficking and support those who’ve been impacted by the horrific crime. The first bill, H.R. 2664, the “Enhancing Detection of Human Trafficking Act,” will provide federal labor officials with the tools and resources they need to better detect trafficking cases as well as assist law enforcement officials in trafficking prevention and prosecution. A second bill, H.R. 2480, seeks to ensure that states and localities can access federal law enforcement grants for programs that fight human trafficking. And, finally, a third bill, H.R. 2200, the “Frederick Douglas Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017,” updates and reauthorizes through 2021 the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which is the law that created many of our nation’s most successful anti-trafficking tools and programs, including the annual Trafficking in Persons Report and country Tier Placements – which is a compilation of nations that meet or don’t meet our nation’s anti-trafficking standards. 

The issue of human trafficking sometimes feels far away from our lives – something that is happening in foreign countries – but the reality is that trafficking is close to us. Atlanta, because of its vast transportation resources and its status as having one of the busiest airports in the world, is a prime location for human trafficking. Our local law enforcement personnel are working hard to end this scourge, and I was pleased to join my colleagues in supporting each of these bills so that they have the tools they need to stop trafficking in its tracks. I look forward to seeing these measures move through the Senate and on to the President’s desk. 

 

HOUSE OVERWHELMINGLY PASSES NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT

Each year, in order to fulfill our Constitutional obligation to “provide for the common defense,” Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act. This year’s bill specifically focuses on rebuilding and reforming America’s Armed Forces to increase our readiness and efficiency.  After a decade of slowed funding despite continual war fighting and missions across the globe, we have seen our military readiness decline.  Most of the funding has gone directly to the mission today, meaning too few dollars were allocated to training and developing the men and women of our armed forces for tomorrow. The NDAA authorizes an increase in defense spending by 10 percent, an increase that not only provides a much needed pay raise for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines, but also increases size of our nation’s fighting forces, all to ensure that our military has every resource necessary to successfully complete the mission. 

While these increases are essential to our success, the bill also emphasizes the need to reform how the Pentagon does business by introducing important oversight in the defense acquisition process and cutting bureaucracy to save the American taxpayers billions of dollars in the coming years. The most efficient, agile, and advanced military is what the American people deserve and demand, and this year’s NDAA takes the crucial steps to do that. Working with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle on this critical piece of legislation, I can tell you our country’s defense should never be a partisan issue.

 

FORSYTH AND GWINNETT COUNTIES: EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION

Not to sound like a broken record, but the same song keeps playing: good things are going on throughout our community!  Everywhere you look we seem to be excelling here at home.  Last week, one more accolade found its way to the Seventh District in the form of top credit ratings from Moody’s Investors Service for both the Forsyth and Gwinnett County school systems.  Now to put that in perspective, only four systems in the state – 77 in the entire country – earned the top rating, and two of those were ours! That’s remarkable, and like so many things that earn recognition, a great deal of work was done behind the scenes to get there. We’re not simply lucky; we simply have families and public servants who are willing to do the very hard work that it takes to succeed. The significance of these credit ratings goes far beyond just a certificate or number.  It allows our community to leverage real-world results and success to benefit even more families.  Excellence really is a way of life for those who call our part of the world home, and I’m grateful for the many individuals who put others before themselves to reach our shared goals.

 

GWINNETT COUNTY JUDGE NOMINATED FOR FEDERAL COURT SEAT

In recent weeks I’ve shared with you some of the prominent positions Georgians have assumed in the President’s Administration, and last week, Judge Billy Ray from right here in Gwinnett County, was nominated by the President to serve as a federal judge.  From Secretary Tom Price (HHS), to Secretary Sonny Perdue (USDA), to Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald leading the CDC, and now this new appointment; it makes me proud to see those who have worked so hard for Georgians for decades use their skills to make our entire nation the very best that it can be.  Far beyond just being a point of pride for our communities, as well as making our voice that much more effective in Washington and federal matters, it’s also a great thing for America.  Judge Ray is a proven servant-leader, and that’s exactly the kind of person we need assuming this crucial responsibility.

 

HOUSE COMMITTEE BEGINS HEARINGS ON MODERNIZING NAFTA

This week the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade is holding a hearing on modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which went into effect in 1994 and allows for duty free trade between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  As you know, modernizing NAFTA has been on President Trump’s “to do” list since his time on the campaign trail, and I absolutely believe that he wants the best deal for America’s workers and businesses.  In the globally competitive world that we live in, we must find ways to ensure that American workers, companies, and goods can compete with their international counterparts on a level playing field.  With more than 95 percent of the world’s population and 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power outside the United States, future economic growth and jobs for both Georgia and America increasingly depend on expanding U.S. trade and investment opportunities in the global marketplace.  Trade agreements can be a tool for growing U.S. workers, manufacturers, and farmers through new opportunities and markets, however, a failed deal could do exactly the opposite. 

In Georgia, more than 1.2 million jobs are supported by trade – an increase of 132% from 1992 to 2014 – and any action we can take to support this job growth and opportunity in our great state is a step in the right direction, because if we fail to succeed in building trade partnerships, other countries, such as China and India, will certainly rush to fill any voids.  American workers and businesses deserve a fair deal, and I am thrilled to see that the Ways and Means Committee is looking for ways in which NAFTA can be modernized and updated to better address issues affecting U.S. workers, businesses, and consumers in today’s economy.

 

GEORGIA: AMERICA’S BUSINESS POWERHOUSE

The nation is beginning to realize what we in Georgia already know: our state is an incredible place to live, to raise a family, and to do business. In fact, CNBC has just ranked Georgia second in its study of America’s Top States for Business, bumping our state up six spots from last year. The study showed that Georgia’s economy was the best in the nation, thanks to great prudent fiscal policies in at the state capitol and solid economic growth. With the extensive regulatory rollbacks I supported signed into law at the beginning of the year to unburden businesses from bureaucratic red tape, I anticipate even further economic growth in the near future as businesses begin to feel relief. 

The same study also ranked Georgia’s infrastructure at number four in the nation. That fact is no better exemplified than by our state’s quick and thorough response to the I-85 bridge collapse. I’m proud the federal government was able to step in to provide $10 million in emergency assistance, but I’m even prouder in the Georgia Department of Transportation’s ability to utilize those funds effectively and target them in a way that got the roadway finished ahead of schedule. Our state gives us a lot to brag about, and I am so pleased to represent such a fine state in Washington, D.C.  Georgia’s success can be a beacon for other states to follow. 

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week the House is expected to consider a number of pro-American energy and responsible environmental stewardship bills: H.R. 2883, the “Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act,” H.R. 2910, the “Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act,” and H.R. 806, the “Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017.” 

The House Budget Committee is also expected to consider the FY18 Budget this coming Wednesday. I have been working with my colleagues on the House Budget Committee for many months to craft a budget for our federal government that provides adequate resources for our nation’s many commitments – from the Defense Department to the National Park Service to the State Department and more. In addition, this budget will provide reconciliation instructions so that we can move forward with transformational tax reform and with reining in our mandatory spending so that we can put American on solid financial footing for the future.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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House Clears Bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Delivers Pay Raise for Troops

2017/07/14

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved H.R. 2810, the “2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA),” a bipartisan bill injecting much-needed resources to America’s Armed Forces.  It increases defense spending by 10% from previous levels and provides the largest pay raise for troops in eight years while allocating additional funding for missile defense research and development.  The measure cleared the House Armed Services Committee by a vote of 60-1, and was approved by the entire House 344-81. 

“If you like to see folks working together for a common goal, I sure hope you paid attention to what was happening on Capitol Hill this week.  You may not hear a lot about the serious bipartisan efforts going on in Congress to move America forward, but they happen every day, and this bill is a great example,” said Rep. Woodall. “Supporting the men and women of our Armed Forces and  keeping America safe isn’t a partisan idea, and we saw evidence of that not only in today’s vote, but all week as we worked our way through 210 amendments made in order.”

Passage of NDAA builds upon policies and initiatives that began in a government funding bill passed by the House in May, and further delivers on the commitments made by both Congress and the Administration to rebuild and reform America’s military and defense systems.  The NDAA addresses important readiness shortfalls that go beyond the President’s requests, including $7.9 billion for Aviation Readiness, $5.9 billion for increased Naval presence, $5.7 billion for Ground Forces, $2.3 billion for facilities maintenance, and $2.5 billion for Missile Defense.

“When the process is sound, so is the product,” Woodall added. “Beyond all the noise many of us hear these days, there is still a great deal that brings us together in a productive way.”

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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District Connection - 7/10/17

2017/07/10

CELEBRATING INDEPENDENCE IN THE SEVENTH

Summer is in full swing, and you don’t have to look far to see the examples this time of year.  Last week we celebrated Independence Day with so many wonderful events across the 7th District.  From the annual running of the Star Spangled 4th at Mall of Georgia, to the annual 4th of July Fireworks at the Cumming Fairgrounds, and all of the local parades and fireworks in between, I hope each of you found the right setting for you and your family.  Summer is always an exciting time, and the Fourth of July in the 7th District is always a highpoint for me where we share those things that unite us – which absolutely outnumber any differences.

 

GEORGIAN TO LEAD CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

While it’s no secret to those of us who call Georgia home, we are fortunate to have truly amazing leaders in our state and throughout our communities.  Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. is one of those individuals, and she has been leading the Georgia Department of Public Health since 2011. She will now be taking her expertise and leadership to the federal government as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  As the third Georgian to take a prominent role such as this, we now have more members of our community serving in the Presidential Cabinet and leading federal agencies than we did when a Georgian – Jimmy Carter – was President.  That makes me proud, but more importantly it also provides us with a tremendous opportunity to affect public policy for the better. I’m excited about what’s to come as we put that voice to use.  Congratulations to Dr. Fitzgerald, and thank you for your continued service!

 

MOVING FORWARD WITH OUR LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

Congress returns to Washington, D.C., this week, and I’m happy to say that our House committees are hitting the ground running. The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is holding a hearing on assessing the capital asset needs of the VA. So often we spend time working on ways to help our veterans by providing more services, hiring more health care professionals, or cutting bureaucratic red tape – as we’ve done with my bill H.R. 2547 – but a less mentioned, though very important part of serving our veterans is providing them with appropriate facilities. If you’ve even been to the Atlanta VA medical center in Decatur or any of the VA clinics around the area, you know that even though the facilities are high-quality, there is always room for improvement. Our veterans deserve the best that we can provide, and I’m so proud that the VA Committee is taking this charge seriously. 

Another huge issue that most Americans don’t think about until they retire is the status of the Social Security trust funds. You might know that there are two Social Security trust funds: the Federal Disability Insurance (SSDI) trust fund and the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund. Each is funded by payroll tax contributions, and each is supplemented by the interest derived when trust fund securities are cashed-in to the general fund of the Treasury. Beginning in 2034, however, those securities will be depleted and incoming payroll tax revenue will only be sufficient to pay about three-quarters of scheduled Social Security and SSDI benefits through 2090. 

This looming fiscal cliff for America’s seniors has been ignored for far too long. Instead of continuing to ignore the problem, I’m heartened that the Ways and Means Committee is looking for ways to solve the problem. While I would advocate for renegotiating the Social Security contract for younger workers – those under age 40 or 45 – who have decades left in their working lives to adjust to any changes that we need to make, I know that there will be many ideas for how to maintain Social Security for years to come, and I’m looking forward to learning about those innovative ideas. Too many young people don’t believe that they’ll ever see a Social Security check when they retire, so this is an opportunity to us to change their minds and provide them with some retirement security while also helping current seniors and those close to retirement maintain the financial security that they have planned for. 

 

JOB GROWTH IN JUNE OUTPACES PREDICTIONS

Last month the U.S. economy added 222,000 jobs, which was 43,000 more than the 179,000 economists had anticipated.  The unemployment rate held steady at 4.4 percent, but the labor participation rate also increased to 62.8% during the same time with 170,000 more individuals in the labor force.  There’s absolutely more work to be done to ensure sustainable, long-term growth that creates opportunity for those across the economic spectrum, but things are moving in the right direction, and I’m excited about what will happen as we push ahead with the pro-growth agenda that has seen great progress this year.  Continuing the work that has already been done to reduce excessive and redundant federal regulations while moving forward with permanent tax reform is all a part of the process to empower entrepreneurs and small business owners in our communities.  

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

As part of the House’s continued effort to fulfill our promise to keep America safe and support our troops, this week we are going to consider the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA authorizes the Department of Defense, the nuclear weapons programs of the Department of Energy, and the defense elements of our Intelligence Community. It is a critically important measure that has long enjoyed broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, and I hope that this year’s bill will follow along that path. I fully expect there to be a robust, days-long debate on this bill, including the many dozens of amendments that the House will certainly consider. 

On the other side of the Capitol this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee is going to hold a confirmation hearing on Wednesday for FBI Director nominee, and fellow Georgian, Christopher Wray. Mr. Wray has had a long and distinguished career in the law, and I look forward to his approval and his nomination moving forward to the full Senate for a vote. 

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Washington Watch 7/3/17

2017/07/03

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY

Throughout history, those who have risked everything in order to obtain or preserve freedom have often had the most insightful perspective on its value. As Commander of the Continental Army, Founding Father, and our first President, George Washington certainly belongs in that category. His belief that “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth,” perfectly captures our American story. It was those like him who established the roots that took hold to see us through not only the remarkable growth and success he predicted, but the challenges and difficulties as well.  

On Independence Day, we celebrate the sum of those parts, because ultimately the freedom and opportunity that we all cherish comes with a great deal of unknowns along the way. The American spirit has always embraced that reality. We long to live independently and bear the full weight of our choices, our successes, and our failures. The acceptance of both the weight and value of liberty is what makes the American Dream possible, as well as endless.   

The Fourth of July – Independence Day – is our day more so than any other throughout the year. It’s a time we celebrate who we are as a people and take stock of the freedom afforded to us by the brave sacrifices of so many. That’s reason enough to celebrate, but the celebration isn’t just a remembrance of these things. It is an active act of gratitude, and that’s why it’s so important in our communities across the country. The Fourth of July isn’t a day; it’s a feeling, a reality, and the emblem of a gift bought with tremendous courage and vision. It brings us together with a shared sense of humility and patriotism that never gets old and which reinvigorates us all. 

When we come together around our American ideals and principles, those things on which we may disagree seem to get much smaller and put into perspective. It’s not that we’re unaware of our differences, we’re just reminded that there is in fact much more that unites us, and that is where we place our focus. Our strongest and proudest moments as Americans have always come when this is the case.  

In a land where freedom prevails, one would expect varying opinions on many issues, but we’re all a part of an American family, and that is always especially clear on the Fourth of July. We remember our humble beginnings, acknowledge our ups and downs along the way, and optimistically look ahead while standing shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors. The roots that took hold 241 years ago run deep, and are stronger than ever. As Washington anticipated, we’ve grown a lot – and we’re still growing – but we’re a sight to see. Happy Independence Day!             

 

HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSES MAJOR FAA REFORM

Last Tuesday, my colleagues and I on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee marked-up and passed the most comprehensive reform of our nation’s aviation laws since President Eisenhower was in office. If you’re not familiar with the “mark-up” process, it’s when the committee of jurisdiction reviews a piece of legislation line by line and every member on the committee is allowed to propose changes as he or she sees fit.  For this mark-up, we spent nine hours discussing and voting on more than 80 separate amendments from both Republicans and Democrats. Some won and some lost, but as a result of this open process that was live-streamed online, we walked out of the committee room with a better product than we started with. In fact, an amendment I proposed to increase transparency and consumer protections for air ambulance customers passed and was included in the final bill that will now move on to the Rules Committee, and eventually the House floor, for further consideration. 

If you’re a frequent reader of my newsletter, you already know about this FAA bill. If you’re new to the newsletter, I encourage you to read more about the changes we’re proposing here. We’re working to reduce flight delays, ensure travelers are treated with the respect and fairness they deserve, and allow American companies to get better aviation products to market faster. You can read the full bill text, review the organizations that are supporting it, and take a look at the key aspects of reform. You can also look at all the amendments we considered to the bill right here. There are some notable differences in the House and Senate approaches to FAA reform, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the Capitol to forge consensus on a final product that will unleash the next great chapter in American aviation.   

 

WOODALL BILL UNANIMOUSLY PASSES THE HOUSE AND MOVES FORWARD IN THE SENATE

On Monday, the House of Representatives approved my bill, the “Veterans Expanded Trucking Opportunities Act,” by a unanimous vote of 409-0! I was excited to head to the floor and discuss the changes we’re making to ease veterans into good-paying jobs in the commercial trucking industry by reducing federal red tape. We also made progress in the Senate, because in addition to passing its own version of the FAA reauthorization, the Senate Commerce Committee approved the Senate-version of my bill that was introduced by Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX). The next stop is the Senate floor and then on to the President’s desk. I can’t wait to get this done!

 

EPA PROPOSES TO RESCIND OBAMA-ERA WOTUS RULE

Local mayors, county commissioners, and governors have been fighting for years to stop implementation of an Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that would have given the federal government control over vast numbers of waterways, lakes, streams, and ponds all over the country, even if those waterways only had a tangential relationship to federally-controlled waters. Congress has been fully engaged in trying to return control from Washington to local government.  The Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule was a classic example of Washington overreach into an area best left to state and local authorities. We all want clean water, but nobody in Gwinnett or Forsyth County needs the EPA telling them how to best keep their ponds clean. The Trump Administration’s EPA rescinded this rule last week and will work with stakeholders and states to develop a better clean water rule that ensures safe drinking water for millions of Americans without infringing on private property rights or over-burdening farmers and small businesses. I’m heartened that we’ve been able to move the Administration to take this issue seriously and do what’s best for America. 

 

SUPPORTING THE RULE OF LAW IS AN AMERICAN VALUE

The Seventh District is home to a rich and culturally diverse immigrant community, of which many have waited years to get their legal status, all the while working hard to contribute to our local economy and making our schools, churches, and community organizations richer in the process. We are truly blessed to be part of this melting pot, and I am lucky to be this District’s representative in Congress because I have the opportunity to bring our values to Washington, D.C. 

What saddens me, however, is when the actions of a few criminal individuals soil the reputation of the millions who came here legally and have contributed to the betterment of our country. I believe we must do everything in our power to ensure the safety and security of our community, which is why I was happy to join my colleagues in the House to pass H.R. 3003, the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” which would defund localities that flout federal immigration law, and H.R. 3004, “Kate’s Law,” named for Kate Steinle who was murdered by a criminal, undocumented alien who had been deported multiple times from the U.S. These bills fulfill the promise made to the American people to pursue immigration reform and enforcement, and we started with common-sense measures with which almost all Americans agree.  We must make sure that violent criminals – who should not be here in the first place – cannot destroy families in the future. I am hopeful the Senate will take up these common-sense bills quickly and send them to the President’s desk for his signature.

 

CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE DAY WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS

If you’re still looking for ideas on how to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday tomorrow, I have good news: there are all kinds of opportunities available close by! From Lake Lanier, to Stone Mountain, to city celebrations across the region, our patriotism will be on full display. Whatever your plans, I hope it’s a safe and enjoyable time for you and your family. To live freely is truly a gift, and on this day we celebrate the legacy of liberty, as well as those who risked everything to make it a reality. Happy Independence Day!

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Rep. Woodall Defends Reconciliation Instructions at FY18 Budget Markup

2017-07-21 14:17:38


Rep. Woodall Manages the Rule for H.R. 953, the "Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017"

2017-05-26 21:07:34


Rep. Woodall Manages the Rule for the Frannie and Freddie Open Records Act on the House Floor

2017-05-01 16:03:52


(Part 2) Rep. Woodall Discusses President Trump's First 100 Days on the House Floor

2017-05-01 15:35:19


Rep. Woodall Discusses President Trump's First 100 Days on the House Floor (Part 1)

2017-05-01 15:11:02


Obamacare Costs in Georgia

2017-02-17 21:22:22


Rep. Woodall Discusses the ACA on the House Floor

2017-02-17 19:30:49


Rep Woodall Building a 21st century infrastructure

2017-02-02 21:43:29


Rep. Woodall Manages the Rule for the Continuing Resolution and the WIIN Act on the House Floor

2016-12-09 21:53:37


Rep. Woodall Speaks on the Rule for Water Resources Authorization Bill on House Floor

2016-09-30 20:09:11


Rep. Woodall Speaks on Secure Mail Initiative Act on House Floor

2016-09-22 20:46:17


Rep. Woodall Discusses Tax Policy on House Floor

2016-09-09 18:12:51


Rep. Woodall Discusses FairTax with Colleagues on House Floor

2016-09-09 15:26:35


Rep. Woodall Discusses Franking Legislation on House Floor

2016-06-13 14:21:58


Rep. Woodall Speaks on Rule for Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill

2016-06-10 21:34:42


Rep. Woodall Discusses FairTax on House Floor

2016-05-16 12:30:49


Rep. Woodall Testifies on the FairTax at Ways and Means Hearing

2016-05-13 17:40:06


Rep. Woodall Discusses Legislative Successes on House Floor

2016-05-02 13:31:33


Rep. Woodall Testifies on FairTax During Tax Reform Hearing

2016-03-23 16:33:51


Rep. Woodall Speaks at Budget Committee Markup

2016-03-21 15:34:08


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

Drew Ferguson

GEORGIA's 3rd 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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