Lawrenceville, GA – On Saturday, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (GA 07), hosted a reception for the annual Artistic Discovery art competition for 7th District high school students and their families. Each year, students from across the region create and submit pieces of two-dimensional artwork to be evaluated by a panel of local judges. The First Place winner was awarded a $3,000 annual scholarship from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and a $12,000 scholarship from The Art Institute of Atlanta dependent on attendance. Second and Third Place finalists are also offered scholarships from the Art Institute of Atlanta.
This year, the top three finalists came from three different high schools with Ellie Soh of Peachtree Ridge earning First Place honors, Reina Lee of North Gwinnett taking Second, and Brady Graham of Brookwood bringing in Third.
Rep. Woodall pictured with art competition participants and attendees at reception
“I’m always amazed by the talent of our young people in this district, and as I told them today, I’m so appreciative that they’ve chosen to share it with the rest of us,” said Rep. Woodall. “Artistry matters not only in our individual lives, but also in our communities across Georgia and the entire country. I look forward to this event every spring.”
Though the Artistic Discovery competition has concluded for 2017, any 7th District high schoolers interested in entering future events should visit https://woodall.house.gov/services/art-competition or call Rep. Woodall’s local office at (770) 232-2005 to learn more.
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.
There’s a long list of things to love about spring in the 7th District, and one of my favorites each year is our annual art competition – an Artistic Discovery – for high school students throughout our community. This year is no different in that regard, and the talent on display is as good as ever. The most difficult challenge of this great event is always selecting just three finalists from so many impressive pieces, but as they do every year, our local judges adeptly took on that task. I’m glad I didn’t have to choose!
Rep. Rob Woodall meets with the 7th District Artistic Discovery finalists and their families
Of those who were selected by the panel of judges, three different high schools in the district were represented with First Place being awarded to Ellie Soh of Peachtree Ridge, Second Place to Reina Lee of North Gwinnett, and Third Place going to Brady Graham of Brookwood. We’re fortunate to have both the Art Institute of Atlanta and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) partner with us and offer finalists scholarship opportunities.
I had a wonderful time visiting with these young artists and their families on Saturday as we celebrated each and every one of them. The nature of these events requires that we select finalists, but as I said to the group on Saturday, irrespective of the outcome, artistic expression is so important. It’s something the world needs, and I’m grateful to them for sharing their passion and talent with us. Congratulations once again to all the participants – especially First Place winner Ellie Soh who will have her work displayed in the Capitol over the next year. If you know any young people who might be interested in competing in the future, you can find all the details here. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Artistic Discovery!
One of the things my colleagues in Washington have grown accustomed to is the way in which I am always bragging about our community. You all make it so easy! Every week there is something new to share; some new initiative addressing a challenge; another way to help those in need; and the list goes on and on. As this District work period drew to a close, I had the opportunity to see the most recent developments going on at Rainbow Village in Duluth. I’ve been fortunate to witness their impact in the past, but every time I visit, they are doing even more to serve our neighbors in need.
Rep. Rob Woodall visits Rainbow Village in Duluth
If you’re not familiar with the great work they’re doing, Rainbow Village is a local non-profit organization committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness by empowering participants with the tools they need for self-sufficiency in the long-term. Their approach has been tremendously successful not only by offering struggling families quality transitional housing, but most importantly by committing a dedicated team of caring individuals to their success. The program requires participants to demonstrate the same commitment, and that partnership is at the core of why they’re so successful. From top-notch apartments, to child care, to financial counseling and education, it’s a full-service program that returns families to independence, and I couldn’t be prouder to have them here at home leading by example.
Tax reform has once again become a hot topic of conversation in Washington, and that means I have been doubling down on what I believe to be the right alternative to America's terrible tax code – the FairTax. I am feeling the momentum for a tax revolution like never before! I just added two new cosponsors in the last week, I wrote an editorial explaining the benefits of the FairTax, and supporters recently made the trip all the way to Trump Tower in New York to press the FairTax with the President. With your partnership, we will maintain this momentum and continue building support for the biggest devolution of power from the government to the people in our lifetime.
FairTax supporters outside Trump Tower in New York City on Tax Day 2017
Without a doubt, the conversations we have when I’m back home are critically important to representing you effectively in Washington. Over the last two weeks, I’ve had the chance to sit down with many of you one-on-one in my local office or at your business, school, or civic organization. Last week alone, I was able to spend time with the Duluth and Forsyth Rotaries, Duluth-Norcross and Suwanee Kiwanis Clubs, witness the amazing things going on in the SPIRE program at Peachtree Ridge High School, and join a panel discussion of local leaders at Central Gwinnett High School to field questions from a great group of seniors. That’s just to name a few!
Each one of these opportunities is invaluable. I often say the best part of my job is that really smart people are willing to come by the office or invite me out to share their wisdom. Getting the chance to exchange ideas with so many different folks – age, background, profession, and ideology – is what makes our part of the world work so well, and I’m grateful to be able to partner with you as we carry that voice to Washington.
As the Senate returns to work this week, it's expected to consider the confirmation of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as the next Secretary of Agriculture. While I do not have a vote as a Member of the House of Representatives on Governor Perdue’s confirmation, I did join other House Members in the Georgia delegation in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) demonstrating our bipartisan support for his confirmation. I’m so pleased the Georgia delegation was able to come together to show their support for such qualified candidate. I have absolute certainty that Governor Perdue is more than capable of leading the Department of Agriculture, and know that he will undoubtedly serve as an asset not only to the Department, but also to farmers throughout the state and country.
Despite what you may be hearing in the news, President Trump and Congress are fulfilling – one by one – the promises we made to the American people in 2016. We've repealed nearly $70 billion in Obama-era red tape, approved major new infrastructure projects to put Americans to work and increase our energy security, and just last week, the President signed veterans legislation that will increase veterans’ access to healthcare. S. 544 improves the Veterans Choice program and will allow veterans the option to see doctors closer to their home rather than driving for hours to get to a VA facility. If you're satisfied with your VA healthcare, and I know many of my veteran constituents are, don't worry because this won't change your care. But for those who are frustrated with being forced to travel long distances or wait in long lines in order to receive healthcare, this new law will give you more choices. America will be judged on how we treat those who have answered the call of duty, and I look forward to continuing to work with the President to make life better for our great veterans.
This week in Washington, D.C., will be busy with a number of bipartisan bills. When I travel around the 7th District, I have the opportunity to speak with many innovative business people who have availed themselves of our U.S. copyright system. H.R. 1695, which the House will consider this week, seeks to make the U.S. Copyright Office work better and more efficiently, and hopes to bring it into the 21st Century with a focus on digitization so that Americans can better search the office’s archives.
The House is also expected to pass H.R. 1694. The bill would subject Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As you might know, FOIA is a law that allows any American to request certain information of a federal government agency, and since any failure of Fannie and Freddie puts American taxpayers on the hook for trillions of dollars in mortgage liability, it is essential that their records be open to the public.
Finally, you’ve probably seen in the news that Congress will have to pass a bill this week to fund the government for the remainder of FY17 and that House members are continuing to work collaboratively to come to a consensus on a path forward for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. As legislation comes together, I will see it in the Rules Committee and we will post it on rules.house.gov so you can easily read and review it if you desire. I encourage you to keep in touch with me throughout the week for future legislative updates!
Member of Congress
Local congressmen praised Georgia Department of Transportation officials for their work to quickly rebuild and re-open Interstate 85 in Atlanta after a tour of the construction site on Friday.
Two of Gwinnett’s three U.S. representatives, Hank Johnson and Rob Woodall, visited the site with Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., to get an in-person look at how the rebuilding work is going. Johnson and Woodall are members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee.
“The I-85 bridge rebuild is an example of what could be happening across our nation to improve our infrastructure and put people to work with good paying jobs, which helps invigorate our economy,” Johnson, D-Ga., said. “It is great to see Georgians out here working and getting the job done.”
Woodall, R-Ga., wrote on Facebook after the visit: “I’m very encouraged by the progress being made already. The incredible work began, however, literally moments after the fire broke out with our first responders acting quickly and heroically.”
The tour came days after state officials announced they would offer the company that rebuilding the bridge up to $3.1 million to get the interstate re-built and re-opened by as early as May 21 — or possibly sooner. GDOT officials had previously said they wanted to get the interstate re-opened by June 15.
After Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., visited the site on Wednesday, GDOT said the columns for the new bridge had been poured and construction crews were working on the bridge caps. They also said at the time that one-third of the 61 beams needed for bridge had already been made.
“We hope that the next time we invite you all, we will be cutting the ribbon on the re-opening of this section of the interstate,” Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said in a statement released by Johnson’s office.
“This critical project has been all hands on deck since the beginning. It is really important for us to get this interstate open as soon as possible.”
Tax Day is fast approaching and tax reform conversations are once again front and center in households across the country. Millions of Americans busily sort through the excessively complex, often punitive tax code while thinking there must be a better way — and there is.
Tax reform is about much more than rates, receipts, and deadlines, though. It’s about economic growth. It’s about freedom and opportunity for all Americans to pursue what they wish to achieve. It’s about making sure our tax code works in concert with the American spirit rather than in conflict with it.
So naturally, any tax reform proposal should start with these principles and work outward to reach that goal. That’s how the FairTax (H.R. 25) began; it’s why I introduced it in the U.S. House and have passionately pursued it since; and it’s why support continues to grow across the country and on Capitol Hill as a result. The FairTax has never been a Washington solution — it’s an American solution.
The FairTax is a complete replacement of the current income tax system — elimination of all the loopholes, costs, and Washington control — with a transparent, one-time, inclusive, federal sales tax on new goods and services. Under the FairTax, there would be no more annual filing; no disclosure of personal information to the IRS; no more tax withholdings from your paycheck, and so on. Productivity would no longer be punished, and April 15 would be just another beautiful spring day.
While tax reform is a common refrain in Washington, the tone of this Congress is noticeably different. With a willing partner in the White House, we have a very real opportunity to move tax reform through the House and Senate, and to the president’s desk for signature. It is a priority for President Trump, and it remains a priority of mine. That’s not to say President Trump is ready to sign the FairTax into law tomorrow, but I believe he’s open to good ideas, and he has a great team surrounding him — which includes Vice President Mike Pence, who was a co-sponsor of H.R. 25 during his time in the U.S. House.
It’s no secret that I want tax reform to be the FairTax in full right away, but I’m willing to get there a piece at a time if I have to. In fact, today you can see the fingerprints of the FairTax are all over the House Republican tax reform proposal led by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady. As a supporter of H.R. 25 himself, Chairman Brady understands the “three yards and a cloud of dust” principle needed to move America closer to our end goal.
If we can incorporate the FairTax principles of simplicity, transparency, and creating a level playing field for our job creators into the reform on which we agree now, America will benefit, and we’re that much closer to implementing the FairTax in the long run.
The big ideas take time; and sending power from Washington back to the American people — as the FairTax does in a way we haven’t seen in decades — absolutely meets the criteria of a big idea. The current tax code is by far the most effective political tool for politicians to manipulate the behavior of the American people, and it has been used as such for far too long. H.R. 25 puts that power back in the hands of the American people, so institutional Washington tends to be a bit reluctant.
That’s why the strong foundation built by FairTax supporters across the country is so important. It doesn’t always capture headlines or trend on social media, but let me tell you, the untold Herculean efforts and tireless work done by the grassroots all across America is what separates FairTax passion from countless other ideas. Many things come and go in a time of rapid news cycles, but H.R. 25 is a constant, and remains the most widely supported fundamental tax reform bill in Congress. That matters.
It matters because as has been said, success is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. I believe we’re on the cusp of one of those opportunities, and I’m eager to move the ball forward. From national security to health care to tax reform, America’s to-do list has no shortage of items, but unleashing the power of the American economy is a shared goal at the top of everyone’s list.
U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., represents the 7th 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.
We all think of April 15 as “Tax Day,” but the actual deadline to get our tax returns filed with the IRS varies slightly year-to-year. This year, that deadline is tomorrow, April 18…but those extra three days don’t take the dread out of “tax season.” Millions of Americans are as focused on trying to comply with obscure tax policy during the month of April as they are on their children’s baseball game or dance recital, and that just isn’t right. The annual hoops we’re forced to jump through always remind us that there has to be a better way.
Well, there absolutely is a better way, and this year we have a very real chance to reach it. I’ve long advocated for replacing our broken, convoluted, and punitive tax code with the FairTax (H.R. 25), and I’ve done so for two main reasons: (1) to end the complexities of the tax code and thus the power/fear of the IRS and (2) to end the “made in America” tax that punishes American manufacturing with higher prices while rewarding those goods made overseas with lower prices. Even though there are those who may not be fully on board with the FairTax, we can all agree that our current tax code needs drastic reform and that the two goals above should be a big part of it. Ten years ago, it seemed like tax reform of this magnitude was just a dream, but now I can see the pathway. I recently wrote more on this topic, and why I introduced H.R. 25, the FairTax, as the blueprint to bring reform.
I have worked hard to make tax reform a bipartisan—and even non-partisan—goal, and we are closer than ever, thanks to all of the hard work that has gone on at the grassroots level all across America. I’m not going to over-promise. There is still much hard work to be done and there are still many special interests who want to see us fail. But I see reason for great hope this tax season—hope that this may be the last season ever of its kind.
Tax reform is a common talking point from those in Washington, but the tone this time around is noticeably different. President Trump has made it clear that tax reform is one of his top priorities, and it is certainly one of mine. With a willing partner in the White House, this Congress has a very real opportunity to usher serious tax reform through the House and Senate to the President’s desk for signature. It’s no secret that I want tax reform to be the FairTax in full right away, but I’m more than willing to get there one piece at a time to move America forward now.
On Friday I had the opportunity to visit the site of the I-85 bridge collapse and hear from Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) officials about the progress being made to rebuild it. I was amazed at how much has already been done towards restoring this vital piece of our infrastructure, and as I told GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry, I remain committed to ensuring an efficient and effective federal partnership for Georgia’s leaders throughout the rebuilding process.
Rep. Woodall pictured with GDOT Commissioner McMurry on the I-85 Bridge Site
I was with the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, as news of the fire and the collapse first began to come in. By morning, as estimates for the cost of repairs began to come in, she and I spoke with Commissioner McMurry and committed $10 million in emergency federal funds—less than 24 hours from the start of the fire. The Secretary and her entire team from the start through today have been tremendously helpful and responsive, and I’m grateful. It’s amazing what can get done both in federal government and in infrastructure construction when everyone is working together with a sense of urgency and a common goal.
Governor Deal, the City of Atlanta, and of course our remarkable first responders were exemplary from the moment the fire began, and in fact, many of those local public servants were honored at the White House by President Trump last week for their outstanding work. They're second to none in what they do, and I congratulate them on receiving the recognition they so rightly deserved.
Constituent service is the cornerstone of my office, and it comes in many forms. Whether individual casework to resolve issues with a federal agency, answering questions about pending legislation, or just visiting with you on your family vacation to Washington, it’s your office, and it exists to serve you. That’s why I’m always so glad to see folks taking full advantage of our resources, like almost 1000 of you did when you brought your family to Washington for Spring Break this year. Any time you’re able to come by and visit is a good time, I’d say, but springtime is certainly one of the most popular family times in DC for good reason. With Spring Break providing a week off from school, cherry blossoms adorning the city, and summer just around the corner, there’s a very unique energy. If you haven’t ever taken advantage of the opportunity, or simply didn’t know it existed, I hope you’ll reach out to my office in the future and let us help make your visit a special one. From Capitol tours to White House tours and more, your 7th District office can help. If you need any convincing, though, here are just a few of the families that joined us in recent weeks this year. If it looks like we were all having a great time, we were!
Every time America picks a new Administration to lead in Washington, we have an opportunity to put a fresh set of eyes on longstanding issues. That’s why my colleagues in the Georgia delegation and I took the opportunity to send a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Chao and Secretary of State Tillerson regarding America’s Open Skies policy. You may not be familiar with Open Skies unless you’re involved with the commercial aviation industry, but this policy is a collection of international agreements that serve to keep our skies open for business. It ensures travelers reliable access to routes all over the globe and protects fair competition within the industry. Unfortunately, studies have demonstrated that some nations may be skirting the agreements and hurting the American workers who play by the rules. As you can imagine, Atlanta has a lot to lose if the rules aren’t enforced fairly, so I am proud to take a lead in the effort. You can read the letter we sent here, and you can listen to a recent committee hearing wherein I discussed the issue further.
It’s another busy week in the 7th District, and I’m looking forward to seeing many of you out and about as we talk about what’s important to you. I’ll be joining several local civic groups, schools, and businesses across the community, and as always, visiting one-on-one with constituents. Next week I’ll be returning to Capitol Hill as voting resumes, and I will be taking all that I hear and learn here at home with you back to Washington in hopes of making an even bigger difference. Thank you for your continued partnership.
Member of Congress
By a vote of 54 to 45, Judge Neil Gorsuch was confirmed on Friday as the 113th Justice to the United States Supreme Court. This long awaited vote did not come without contention; however, I am pleased it turned out favorably for Justice Gorsuch. It is abundantly clear Justice Gorsuch possesses the knowledge, experience, and demeanor to serve as a Supreme Court Justice as demonstrated through his hearing, his rulings on cases during his tenure on the bench, and the thousands of pages of documents provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee by the U.S. Department of Justice. This confirmation reassures me that the Supreme Court will now be able to perform its responsibility at full capacity and serve our nation as intended. His Constitutionalist perspective will have a welcome place on the bench, and I look forward to his work on the court in the years to come.
On Tuesday, the United States government learned that President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a horrific chemical weapons attack on his own people, killing 85 and wounding many more—including nearly two dozen children. In response to this cruel, barbaric act, President Trump and his national security team made the decision to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars at the al-Shayrat airbase in Syria—the same airbase Assad is suspected to have used to deploy his chemical weapons.
If the Assad regime and its enablers were gauging America’s commitment to peace and justice, they received a clear answer from our nation and our international partners, including the United Kingdom, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Turkey, Germany, and others that publicly supported America’s decision. That said, while America’s leadership changed on January 20th, our Constitution did not. Before acting further, it is vital that the Trump Administration present a decisive strategy to achieve our goals in Syria and work closely with Congress and the American people. I look forward to working with the Trump Administration to further those shared goals.
In a couple of very strong, bipartisan votes last week, the House passed two bills that would update decades-old federal laws in an effort to both increase flexibility and provide greater access to capital for small businesses and startups around the nation. The first bill, the “Encouraging Employee Ownership Act of 2017,” was passed by a vote of 331-87, and it would amend U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation last updated in 1999 to make it easier for companies to offer more employees ownership stakes. Such a change will allow more small businesses and startups, especially those without large amounts of cash on hand, to attract and retain talented employees.
The second bill, the “Supporting America’s Innovators Act,” passed the House by a vote of 417-3, and this bill updates a federal regulation that has been on the books for almost 80 years to allow more individuals to invest in certain qualifying venture capital funds without triggering SEC registration requirements, which are both costly and burdensome. You may recall that Congress made similar changes for individuals investing in private companies by passing the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act in 2012, and my hope is that this important change will spur even more capital investments U.S. businesses and startups. I was pleased to support both of these pro-growth bills, and I hope that you all will join me in calling on Georgia’s Senators to approve them in short order.
The House Rules Committee, of which I’m a member, moved ahead last week with our plan to reform our nation’s health care system. As I’ve said in the past, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is just one step in a long-term plan to remake our nation’s health care system into one that provides greater choices for Americans. There’s been a great deal of concern that the AHCA won’t be able to keep premium prices affordable and care accessible for the sickest patients. That’s why the Rules Committee brought forth a solution to address those concerns – one that’s built on measurable results from the State of Maine.
In 2011, Maine experienced rising health insurance prices and the beginnings of an insurance death spiral with young, healthy folks leaving the marketplace. Instead of panicking and moving toward a more government-centered enterprise, Maine looked outside the box to a new health care innovation, the invisible high-risk pool. Maine’s solution, which has been retooled slightly for use in Alaska, has brought young people back to the marketplace, has kept premiums manageable and reasonable, and has allowed those with high-priced care to get the insurance they need. When the House returns from its Easter/Passover district work period, I expect that we will move this national solution, based on Maine’s great work, to the House floor.
Last week, I supported two House-passed bills to ratchet up the pressure on North Korea’s increasingly dangerous and hostile regime. H.R. 479 urges the State Department to formally designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, and H. Res. 92 calls for an end to its development of nuclear weapons. Before the end of President Trump’s first term, North Korea is expected to become a fully-armed nuclear state with the potential to devastate the United States and our allies in the Pacific Rim. We can never allow this to happen, and I was encouraged to hear Secretary of State Rex Tillerson report that the United States is considering a number of additional responses to North Korea’s international provocations, which have rightly alarmed the global community. I will continue engaging with international partners—including China—to stymie North Korea’s nuclear ambitions once and for all.
Additionally, last week the House passed and sent to the President’s desk, S. 544, which will extend the Veterans Choice program that was set to expire this August. As you know, the Veterans Choice program started in 2014 as a way to allow veterans to receive necessary health care more quickly. Rather than sitting through long waits at a VA health center or clinic, or needing a course of care that the VA could not provide, the Veterans Choice program has helped over 1 million veterans get care in a timely fashion from their local community providers. This, along with bills we passed last month to make it easier for the VA to recruit medical professionals and also to remove bad employees, is just another step in the right direction towards fixing our beleaguered VA health care system and ensuring our men in women overseas come home to the best possible health care available.
If you or a family member are having trouble using your Veterans Choice Card, or are unsure if you qualify for the card, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 770-232-3005 and one of our dedicated VA caseworkers will assist you so that you can get the health care treatment that you need and deserve.
Irrespective of the topic, when I make the case in Washington for local control and community-driven solutions rather than federal intervention, it is the story we have to tell here at home that makes the impression on others on Capitol Hill. And that wouldn’t be the case if it was only words. We have example after example of ways we confronted a challenge in our community and crafted a solution together. This doesn’t happen because we always agree on every issue. It happens because at the end of the day we know we’re on the same team, and acknowledge there’s plenty to learn from one another. You don’t have to look far to see the result of those efforts either.
One such example can be found right here in Forsyth County with the partnership of the University of North Georgia (UNG), Lanier Technical College, and Forsyth County Schools to share ideas and approaches that have been successful in one place, and perhaps implement elsewhere. Leaders from each organization joined in what was the first meeting of its kind recently to have that conversation, and as UNG Foundation Chairwoman Mary Helen McGruder said, “This opportunity was for the schools to come together and see what each one of them is doing and see how they can partner together for the benefit of the students,” McGruder said. “That’s what they’re all here for — to benefit the students in our region, and this was an opportunity for everyone to get on the same page and move forward.” That kind of initiative and cooperation is why we’re successful across the board in our part of the world, and I couldn’t be prouder to carry that message to Washington.
In many ways it’s hard to believe, but spring is here in full force, Passover is upon us, and Easter Sunday is fast approaching. I’ve always loved this time of year for many reasons, and this year is no different. Spring is a time of renewal, and the holidays we celebrate this week share that prevailing message.
This past week was also spring break for students across the Seventh District, and I was thrilled to have many families stop by my office on Capitol Hill for tours or just to say hello. There’s a certain excitement that comes with springtime, and it wouldn’t be the same without sharing that portrait of spring with you all who take the time to visit. We live in a time that certainly has its challenges, and we all lead busy lives with no shortage of obligations each day. It’s easy to get bogged down in the routine, but as spring break concludes and we begin Passover and Easter week, I hope we are all able to take a few moments amid the work that must be done to enjoy a season of renewal. I wish you and your family a very blessed and joyous holiday!
Member of Congress
While the media rarely tells the story, Congress and the White House have been working together on important pieces of legislation, and I am proud of that success. Last week, President Trump signed a number of bills into law, and I’m happy to take this opportunity to highlight a few of them for you.
Much of what the House of Representatives has been doing since the start of the 115th Congress is ensuring stakeholders at the local level, who have the knowledge and expertise regarding a certain issue area, have their input considered and implemented in the rules by which they are governed. The President’s signing of H.J.Res. 44, which rejects the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) “Planning 2.0” rule, was a move to do just that. Planning 2.0 sought to strip much of the power reserved to state and local authorities in land planning and management and give it to unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. and special interest groups with deep pockets across the nation. It also neglected to establish a process for these local entities to discuss or challenge BLM’s decision on how the land can be used. I absolutely support efforts to protect our land and safeguard our environment, but efforts to do so should not be at the expense of people’s livelihoods. Sharing authority between the federal government and those closest to the land is how we will ensure a balanced approach to environmentalism and responsible land development.
The President also signed two more bills into law last week that overturn two more Obama-era regulations that would have significantly expanded the federal role in K-12 education. The first resolution, H.J. Res. 57, nullifies a federal Department of Education (ED) regulation that would have imposed new requirements on states as they work to develop education accountability plans. As you all may know, state and local education leaders in Georgia, including representatives from Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, have been working diligently since last summer to develop an education accountability plan that will serve the interests of students in our state. Unfortunately, ED’s accountability plan regulation, which was issued in closing lame duck weeks of President Obama’s administration, proposes to substitute the judgement of federal bureaucrats in Washington for that of the best and brightest education minds in our district and state. That’s contrary to the core principles of the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bill which devolved much of the K-12 decision making authority to state and local education leaders and the bill that the regulations were inexplicably purported to implement.
The second resolution, H.J. Res. 58, nullifies a federal regulation that mandates certain requirements that states must use when evaluating the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs. Ensuring that our classrooms are filled with highly qualified educators is an idea that we can all get behind, but we don’t need one-size-fits-all Washington metrics to determine whether our teachers are being adequately prepared to serve our students. The continued educational successes we’ve enjoyed in our part of the world are proof that what we are doing in the Seventh District is working, and our successes are not thanks to federal rules and regulations. They are in spite of those rules and regulations, and I will continue to do what I can to keep as much local control over K-12 decisions right here in our state and local communities.
I’m glad that Congress took a stand on these issues, and I’m proud that President Trump signed them into law.
On Thursday, the Senate Agriculture Committee voted almost unanimously in support of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue’s nomination to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This vote comes a week after Governor Perdue received bipartisan praise from Senators during his cordial confirmation hearing with the Committee. Given that the Department of Agriculture has been without a proper Secretary since January – leaving the agency rudderless and the Trump Administration without the valuable insight offered by Governor Perdue’s unique perspective – I am hopeful that the full Senate will vote on his nomination swiftly. I can’t think of a more qualified, thoughtful, or capable individual who will better serve farmers both in our state and across the country, and I am proud he will soon serve as our nation’s Agriculture Secretary.
On Thursday and Friday, I traveled to Canada with newly confirmed Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster. The goal of the trip was to examine Canada’s air traffic control system, which is substantially similar to the type of corporatized, non-government system that President Trump and Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster have proposed for the United States. Undeniably, the safety, efficacy, and efficiency of the NavCanada system is impressive. The Canadian system covers the second busiest system in the world (second to the U.S.) and the second geographically largest system in the world (second to Russia), so both its challenges and successes can be instructive. I look forward to discussing the issue further with my colleagues and constituents as we consider doing something similar with our own aviation system. Such a change would be the biggest, most transformational reform of our aviation system in more than five decades, so there are still questions to be answered and factors to consider. But what I know now is that the transformation is possible and is working well for our neighbor to the north.
It turns out that my trip with Secretary Chao was timely for another reason as well. By now you have probably heard that a significant portion of Interstate 85 collapsed as a result of a fire. Due to the quick thinking, skill, and professionalism of our first responders, there were no reported injuries. For that I am grateful, because we can always fix things but we can’t restore lost lives. However, being with Secretary Chao, I was able to interface directly with the senior-most transportation leadership of our state and our federal government to ensure that we have the tools we need to get people safely back on I-85 as quick as humanly possible. Secretary Chao approved $10 million to go to work immediately for demolition and operation costs. Construction of the replacement bridges will also qualify for emergency federal funding with a 90% federal and 10% state split. I am appreciative of our federal, state, and local partners working together to make the necessary repairs and get us back on the road.
Thousands of Americans from around the country – and hundreds from Georgia – came to Washington last week to take part in the annual America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference. This is one of the largest gatherings of the year in Washington, and I was proud to see so many of our neighbors in attendance. The special relationship between Israel and the United States is constantly being tested by those who wish to eliminate Israel’s right to exist as a nation-state. We simply cannot allow that to happen. I had the pleasure of meeting with many Seventh District residents who are committed to bolstering the U.S.-Israel relationship and supporting our greatest Democratic ally in the Middle East.
Rep. Rob Woodall and 7th District AIPAC participants meet in Washington, D.C.
The House moved another regulatory relief resolution last week that will overturn a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation that was issued just days before the November 2016 elections. The regulation in question stemmed from a larger effort by the FCC to overtake Internet regulation authority from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has been the primary federal regulator for all things Internet-related for several decades, by reclassifying Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as “common carriers,” a giant power grab that was never anticipated or authorized by Congress. Like many of you, I have watched the Internet thrive in recent decades under the FTC’s watch, and it’s hard to imagine where we would be as a modern society without the transformative impact the Internet has had on our world. The last thing we need is for any federal agency to step in with a “red tape is the solution” agenda and trample on tomorrow’s Internet innovations.
That said, as the Internet plays an increasingly important role in our lives, we must get together to decide how to deal with the issues such interconnectedness raises. There was a great deal of debate about the FCC regulation that would be overturned by Congress’ action last week, as it dealt with rules governing what ISPs can know and disclose about customer Internet usage. As you all are likely aware, many Internet companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and more, collect a great deal of information about Internet users and use that data for things like advertising. The question last week in Washington was not whether that practice should be prohibited or restricted, but whether the FCC could hijack regulatory powers from the FTC. Rather than having different rules from separate agencies to deal with a single issue, I believe a collaborative approach between Congress and federal agencies – one that balances both privacy and freedom – is the best way to address consumer privacy issues, and my hope is that last week’s vote is the first step towards getting it right for American consumers. This is too important an issue for us to get it wrong!
Last week in the House we passed two bills aimed at improving the role of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – H.R. 1430, the “Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment (HONEST) Act” and H.R. 1431, the “EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017.” The EPA has gone unchecked for too long, and we have seen instances of federal agencies working hard to find the facts to support their ideological conclusions, instead of using science to inform public policy. As a result, the EPA has become the poster child for government waste, fraud, and abuse in many people’s eyes.
I believe that we can do better, which is why I was proud to support both of these bills as they move us closer to our shared goal of protecting our environment in ways that are consistent with facts rather than political agendas – irrespective of who is in the White House. The HONEST Act ensures that every regulation is based upon sound, publicly available information to guarantee transparency in the rule-making process and will hold the EPA accountable to the people that it serves – the American voters. The second bill, H.R. 1431, reforms the EPA’s Science Advisory Board in an effort to bring diversity to its membership, encourage additional public participation, and provide balance to the advisory process so that it’s not beholden to special interests from the right or the left. Together, these two pieces of legislation are a step in the right direction to make sure that facts and research—rather than political ideology—drive America’s science and environmental policy.
The Seventh District is fortunate to have so many amazing individuals with unique talents, passions, and skills in our community. Jon Richards was one of those individuals. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to him last month, but I was lucky to have a chance to know him. Jon was tireless in his work – and the rest of us benefitted from it. While he was a successful entrepreneur and devoted to so many civic pursuits, Jon is known best by so many for leadership in the world of government and politics, and most importantly, his passion for mentoring young people with that same interest. His expertise was a coveted resource for anyone of any age looking to get a better understanding of public policy – whether in the County Commission Board Room, under the Gold Dome, or on Capitol Hill.
Jon was one of those people that believed if only he worked hard enough for long enough, he could make things better for our community. And he did so in so many different ways. In all the years I knew him, I never saw him do one thing for himself. I can’t count the number of times, however, that I saw him arrive early and be the last to leave an event to help others. So very often Jon sought out the work no one else would do – and he did it with a smile on his face and a friendly word for all. He left a legacy; and as a result, he also leaves a void. There is no replacement for Jon Richards. All who knew him are better for it, and I hope you’ll join me in remembering his family in your prayers.
It’s becoming a trend, but I’m always proud to announce when our community has been recognized for the excellence we’ve grown accustomed to here at home. Each year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute publish health rankings by county for every state, and the Seventh District’s Forsyth and Gwinnett counties have become mainstays in the top listings for Georgia. In fact, our two counties are ranked first and fourth respectively, and it is the fifth consecutive year Forsyth County has taken the top honor! The rankings use local data that includes education, employment, income, and housing, among many other factors. I often brag on Capitol Hill about how we do so many things well in our part of the world, and this really is the culmination of all those efforts. Let’s keep it up!
This week, hundreds of folks from the 7th District are travelling to Washington, D.C., during spring break. Whether you contacted my office to schedule a tour for you or not, I invite you to visit your Capitol Hill office for a respite from your hectic vacation schedule. Please feel free to drop by any time you’re in the DC area from 9am to 6pm in room 1724 of the Longworth House Office Building just across the street from the United States Capitol. The door is always open for you!
This week the House is continuing to push forward with making our government work better for American workers and their families. We are continuing to work across the aisle on a bill that would ensure employee health insurance premiums are affordable with H.R 1304, the “Self Insurance Protection Act.” We are also working hard – Democrats and Republicans – to ensure that employees and America’s job creators are able to take advantage of capital investment to grow jobs and our economy with H.R. 1343, the “Encouraging Employee Ownership Act,” and H.R. 1219, the “Supporting America’s Innovators Act.” I look forward to working with my House colleagues this week to push these bills one step closer to the finish line.
Member of Congress
Lawrenceville, GA – Today, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (GA 07), who serves on the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, issued the following statement regarding the federal response efforts and partnership with Georgia and local authorities to address the Interstate 85 fire and bridge collapse. Rep. Woodall has been in contact with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao throughout the process, and Acting Deputy Director of the Federal Highway Administration Butch Waidelich and Senior Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation James Ray are among those already on the ground in Georgia working closely with Governor Deal and state officials. It was announced this afternoon that Georgia has been granted $10 million in emergency repair funds by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“Above all else, I’m thankful there was no loss of life or injuries, and am grateful to all of our first responders for their tremendous work,” said Woodall. “Their rapid response undoubtedly saved lives. Assessing and repairing damages will take time, but throughout the process I’m committed to assisting Governor Deal, the City of Atlanta, and all those involved in the restoration in every way that I can. I very much appreciate the partnership and quick response of Secretary Chao and all those at the U.S. Department of Transportation.”
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.
As you have likely heard dozens and dozens of times in the last 72 hours, the House pulled the American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill from the floor when it became apparent that the bill would not have enough votes to pass. President Trump was all-in, and I was all-in, but we simply couldn’t find enough votes in the House to pass it.
I believed—and still believe—that this bill represented America’s best opportunity to: (1) save the individual health care market from the destructive death spiral in which it is trapped with Obamacare, (2) escape one-size-fits-all federal solutions and provide complete flexibility to Georgia and other states to craft a Medicaid safety net program that can make an even more powerful difference for its citizens in crisis, and (3) repeal as many of the economically damaging and innovation-draining Obamacare taxes, penalties, and mandates as possible through the “reconciliation process.”
That last sentence is the key: “as possible through the reconciliation process.” Reconciliation is a special process with special rules and restrictions. While it doesn’t allow me the flexibility to pass any language that I choose, it does offer me the certainty of avoiding a Senate filibuster, by allowing the bill to pass the Senate with only 51 votes (not 60), and putting a bill on the President’s desk to become the law of the land. The AHCA was a reconciliation bill, and it was the product of hundreds of hours of committee hearings and votes and thousands of hours of conversation and negotiation. Ultimately, it fell short because every Democratic member committed to vote “no”, and in our Republican majority, a few members on the left of our conference thought it did too much and few members on the right of our conference thought it did too little, leaving us without enough votes to pass it. In the final hours, as negotiations concluded, changing the language to appease one end of the spectrum resulted in lost support on the other end of the spectrum, and vice versa, so without enough votes to pass, the bill was pulled.
Candidly, like many Americans, I’m still pretty upset about the outcome. I’m here for results. I’m here to make a positive difference. I’m here to vote yes or no—not on easy issues but on the incredibly hard ones. That said, recrimination and blame won’t change the law or help any American family. Only hard work can do that. So today, I am right back to it. Last week is defined by missed opportunities, but this week need not be.
Undoubtedly, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) received the majority of attention both in Washington and around kitchen tables across the nation last week, and though we were unable to push it across the finish line in the House, two other health care reform bills moved across the floor last week with bipartisan support. The first bill, H.R. 372, the “Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act,” was passed by a vote of 416-7. H.R. 372 would modify a decades-old federal anti-trust law exemption provided to insurance companies in order to prohibit things like price-fixing, bid rigging, other collaborative efforts that stifle competition and harm consumers, while recognizing that certain types of information sharing remain essential to the operation of functional insurance markets. What’s more, H.R. 372 paves the way for consumers to search for and purchase insurance policies across states lines, a reform that will inject more competition into the insurance market and drive down premiums for more Americans.
The second bill, H.R. 1101, the “Small Businesses Health Fairness Act,” is legislation designed to help more small businesses access better health care coverage at lower prices. Right now, large employers and labor unions have an advantage over small businesses when it comes to purchasing health insurance, as they have larger groups of employees and thus increased bargaining power in the marketplace. H.R. 1101 seeks to remedy this competitive disadvantage by allowing small businesses to band together through association health plans (AHPs) and negotiate as a group for lower insurance prices for their employees. I was pleased to join my colleagues in supporting this bill, and I urge you to join me in encouraging the Senate to take up these bills as well.
One of the highlights of this week was the long awaited confirmation hearing of Georgia’s own Sonny Perdue. I was so pleased when President Donald Trump announced his selection of our former governor as his nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and I am delighted he is finally one step closer to confirmation by the Senate. Although some hearings have been more divisive recently, Governor Perdue received praise from Senators on both sides of the aisle for his experience growing up on a dairy farm and for his unique understanding of the agriculture industry. His qualified perspective was abundantly clear during his hearing as he fielded questions regarding the ailing agricultural economy, commodity exports, and H-2A agricultural worker visas. I am proud Georgia will soon have two Cabinet Secretaries in the administration with Secretary Tom Price already confirmed as the head of the Department of Health and Human Services, and I am hopeful the Senate will take up a vote on Governor Perdue’s confirmation soon.
On the other side of the Hill, my colleagues in the Senate finished up the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Over the past days, Judge Gorsuch was questioned on his judicial philosophy, his past experiences in both the Department of Justice and as a federal judge, and what kind of justice he plans to be. Judge Gorsuch, currently a judge on the 10th Appellate Court, brings with him a distinguished legal career of ruling based on the Constitution, which makes him a perfect replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. We have already felt the effect of Justice Scalia’s vacancy on the Supreme Court with a number of narrowly split and tied decisions by the court in the past term. While I do not have vote in his confirmation, I am excited to fill a staunch defender of our Constitution that will bring back balance to the Supreme Court.
Given that they’re based right here in our own back yard, it might be easy to take for granted the amazing care and service Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) offers to those in Georgia and throughout the region on a daily basis, but I’m grateful our community sees them as the partner they are. Just last week, CHOA celebrated the ribbon cutting of a new urgent care facility in Gwinnett County, and we couldn’t be happier to have them. If the work they do day-in and day-out hasn’t touched your family directly, most of us don’t have to look far to find a friend, neighbor, or co-worker who has turned to them during a difficult time. I often say that our part of the world has the best any industry has to offer, and CHOA is a wonderful example.
There are certain things that bring us together – not as neighbors, Georgians, Americans, or otherwise – but rather, as human beings. Last week in Forsyth at an event for young children honoring their real-life heroes, one local businessman got a surprise visit from a stranger who saved his life. Scott Edwards received a bone marrow transplant over three years ago from a German man named Christian Kewitsch, and the two finally met. These are the kinds of stories that put in perspective much of the others things we discuss, and show definitely that no matter our differences, there is always more that unites us than divides us.
This week the House is will be working hard to move important bipartisan pieces of legislation. The first bill, H.R. 1430, the “Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act of 2017 (HONEST Act),” is a bipartisan bill that requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to publically disclose the scientific information it uses to draft new regulations so that everyone – the American people and the industries that the EPA wants to regulate – can replicate the science and make sure that the regulations make sense. This is the type of common-sense regulation that we can get done in Washington, D.C., if we take the time to work together.
The second bill this week is S.J.Res. 34. This resolution disapproves of a recent Federal Communications Commission regulation that would have created an unequal playing field on the Internet, threatening the basic premise of a free Internet and complicating existing regulations from the Federal Trade Commission. The FCC rule would have imposed strict new regulations on certain broadband companies regarding advertising and use of consumer data, while allowing other Internet companies – like websites and social media networks – to act as they saw fit outside the FCC’s new rules. In addition, current FTC rules would have been complicated by the FCC’s usurping of FTC jurisdiction. As such, this bill ensures that the FCC cannot put its thumb on the scale in favor of certain web companies over others, and I look forward to supporting it.
Member of Congress
Last week the House Budget Committee, on which I sit, became the third House committee to advance the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which represents another step in a multi-step approach of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with patient-centered health care reforms. Before the end of this week, I expect the AHCA will make its way to the House floor for debate and a final passage vote.
As I said, moving the AHCA is one step of many involved in restoring health care markets and choices and making patient-centered care a reality. As you will see in The Week Ahead section at the bottom of the newsletter, the House will consider several additional stand-alone health care reform bills that will complement the many reforms in the AHCA. If you have not done so already, I hope that you will visit www.readthebill.gop to find out more about the AHCA and our multi-step approach to health care reform.
Georgia has emerged as a model in transportation policy discussions across the nation. That’s why the Chairman of my Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Representative Bill Shuster (R-PA), invited Georgia’s Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry to come to Capitol Hill and tell our state’s story. You may have recently noticed new lanes being built, long-neglected roads being resurfaced, and solutions being implemented all across our community to reduce congestion and make getting around town a little less frustrating. That’s exactly why I helped author the FAST Act, which is going to deliver almost $7 billion for transportation projects in Georgia over the next several years, and I am so glad to see that legislation working in conjunction with a number of state and local solutions to improve our quality of life. I appreciate Commissioner McMurry making the trip to Washington to tout our strong federal, state, and local partnerships and demonstrate what we can achieve when we work together to make a difference.
Last week in the House we passed three bills aimed at improving the lives of American veterans that were crafted by listening to their concerns. We’ve heard that a number of veterans were having their Second Amendment rights revoked due to unrelated VA processes. For instance, if it is determined that a veteran needs a fiduciary to help manage his or her benefits, the FBI could strip that veteran of the right to purchase or own a firearm—even when the veteran poses no threat to anyone. The bill we passed, H.R. 1181, ensures that this policy will only apply to individuals who are legitimate threats to themselves or others, and even then, only after the individual in question has an opportunity to make his or her case before a judge or magistrate. As the bill’s author noted, we should not force our veterans to choose between the benefits they’ve earned and the constitutional rights they have sacrificed so much to protect. Two other important bills, H.R. 1259 and H.R. 1367, are designed to improve the VA’s service to our veterans. These bills will make it easier to fire the bad employees at the VA, reward the good employees, and make sure we are recruiting the best and brightest to serve our nation’s veterans for many years to come.
The early days of this new Administration have been focused on streamlining and fixing the many bloated and broken Federal agencies. I am very excited to see the House embrace this agenda and provide bills like this that empower us to get America's house in order.
The tremendous influence Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has had in shaping our nation and ensuring that the rights of every American are guaranteed regardless of race should never be underestimated. That is why I am proud the House passed H.R. 267, the “Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Act,” sponsored by my fellow Georgian, friend, and civil rights icon Representative John Lewis (D-GA). The bill expands the current boundary of the site to include the Prince Hall Masonic Building, which served as the headquarters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which trained civil rights leaders and for which Dr. King served as the first president. It also provides the site with a “Historical Park” designation, reflecting the physical complexity of the site and granting it the resources of the National Park Service so it may provide expertise in continued maintenance and restoration. At a time when our political climate has become particularly divisive, I relish the opportunity to come together with my colleagues from all walks of life, regions of the country, and ideological passions to support legislation preserving our local civil rights history for future generations.
One of the most encouraging things I get to see when I visit high schools throughout the Seventh District is the vibrant sense of entrepreneurship that exists with our young people. Strong leadership skills go hand-in-hand with this drive, and it is absolutely alive and well in our community. In fact, several local high school students were among Georgia’s top finishers in the DECA State Career Development Conference held last month. DECA is an international organization focused on preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in high school and college for careers in business, marketing, and finance. Georgia’s top finishers are now headed to the International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, California, in April.
Gwinnett County Public Schools recently honored these bright young students for their accomplishments, and I add my congratulations – as well as gratitude – to the mix! Their vision and ingenuity are not only impressive, but also provide the building blocks for America’s continued success for generations to come. From economic growth, to humanitarian aid, to technological innovation, they are putting their big brains to work crafting solutions, and I’m confident great things are yet to come for them and those served by their efforts.
“I’d never built a greenhouse, don’t really know how they operate … so I said, ‘I guess we’ll build a greenhouse.’” Those are the words of South Forsyth Rotary Club President James Daniel, and as you and I know so well, that’s just the way things are in the Seventh District. If it needs doing, we have a community full of folks who will figure it out if they don’t already know how to get it done. Mr. Daniel and fellow members of the civic group recently dedicated the greenhouse they built for Creative Enterprises – a center for adults with disabilities – as a service project, and clients of this wonderful organization will soon be putting it to use. Why a greenhouse, you might ask? Well, simple; it was at the top of Creative Enterprises’ wish-list. So the good folks of South Forsyth Rotary got to work and there you have it. I love that about our community. If you have any passion or expertise in this field, I encourage you to reach out to Creative Enterprises. They’re doing great work and are looking for volunteers!
On Tuesday night, I was heartened that so many Seventh District residents took the time to call-in to my most recent town hall meeting. I’ve said it a lot, and I’ll say it again – I know how hard it is to take time out of your busy day to spend some time with me – and I greatly appreciate it. I do my job as your representative better when I can hear from you directly. If you weren’t able to participate in last week’s town hall meeting, please be sure to continue reading my newsletter and visiting my website at http://woodall.house.gov to learn when I’ll be holding my next town hall meeting. Thanks again to all of you who participated!
This week in the House of Representatives, it’s Health Care Week! House Republicans are moving forward with three bills that will replace the failing Obamacare law. But rest assured, these three bills are only one more step in the long process to ensure that affordable and appropriate health care choices are available to all Americans.
H.R. 1101, the “Small Business health Fairness Act of 2017,” promotes the creation of Association Health Plans (AHPs). AHPs would be created when a number of small businesses are allowed to pool together across state lines to purchase health insurance plans for their employees. Instead of forcing employers to provide insurance that they can’t afford, limiting salaries and hours, and laying off workers, small businesses can use AHPs to keep health insurance costs low for themselves and their employees.
H.R. 372, the “Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act,” would largely eliminate federal anti-trust protection for health and dental insurance providers. While they would retain the exemption for certain collaborative activities, like sharing claims data to ensure that plans cann be appropriately priced, the federal government would be able to prosecute non-competitive and collusive activities that drive up costs on American consumers.
Finally, this week, the House is going to pass the “American Health Care Act.” This reconciliation bill is another step in a long process to repeal and replace Obamacare with a more patient-centered health care law that increases consumer choice and drives down long-term health care costs. Our health care system has certainly been in flux in recent years, and I know that it’s concerning for many of you to see the system being changed again, but my colleagues and I are unwilling to allow hard-working Americans to be harmed by the current failing system.
Member of Congress
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.