Rob Woodall

Rob Woodall

GEORGIA's 7th DISTRICT

WOODALL: Tangible tax reform for America

2016/08/22

Tax reform may not be everyone’s passion, but it’s one of those issues that seems to always be at the forefront of our national conversation — certainly in a presidential election year. Whether you’re a teenager receiving your first paycheck, a small business owner weighing the implications of hiring another employee, or the leader of a billion-dollar corporation determining where to build your next manufacturing plant, the tax code impacts you. Irrespective of your politics, it directly affects you and your family in one way or another.

As Americans, we have differing opinions about exactly how we should reform our tax code, but there is agreement that we need a simpler system that rewards hard work and encourages economic growth. So how do we get there? While some advocate nibbling around the edges of a broken and punitive income tax system, I want to replace it entirely with the FairTax (H.R. 25). This is a bill that I introduced to rip our destructive tax code out by its roots, dismantle the IRS as we know it, and implement a simple, one-time national retail sales tax on all new goods and services. The FairTax repeals the payroll tax — the largest tax that 80 percent of American families pay. It repeals estate taxes, corporate taxes, and every single existing tax loophole, exemption and carve-out. By ending favoritism in the tax code we also end Washington’s ability to manipulate the American people through the tax code.

I believe in the FairTax as the foundation for a new era of jobs and prosperity in America. While I don’t currently have the votes in Congress or the support of the President to enact the FairTax, I’m as confident as ever that the day will come. And if you have any doubt, you need look no further than today to see the impact that FairTax supporters across the country have had in shaping the tax reform conversation. Just last month, for example, House Republicans — under the leadership of Ways and Means Committee Chairman and FairTax co-sponsor Kevin Brady — released a tax plan with broad support that has the fingerprints of the FairTax all over it. From dismantling the IRS, permanently repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax and Estate Tax, drastically simplifying tax compliance for American families and more, many core principles of the FairTax are now on the verge of becoming law.

The understanding that businesses don’t pay taxes but rather merely collect them in the form of higher costs to their consumers or lower wages to their employees is a key tenet of the FairTax, and I’m happy to say the House tax reform plan takes an immediate step towards relieving this burden. Small businesses facing a rate as high as 44.6 percent today would see a reduction to 25 percent under the plan, and the full expensing of capital investments would be the norm. The plan ends America’s excessively high, job-killing corporate tax rate and reduces it to 20 percent. I’d certainly prefer a rate of zero so that we could be competitive for even more jobs, but I’m more than willing to move America in the right direction as much as I can today — and then I will come back tomorrow and push for more.

There is no good reason why America should rank last among the world’s developed nations in tax competitiveness, but yet that’s where we stand. While frustrating, America’s plight is far from hopeless. We put ourselves in this punitive position by way of a flawed, misguided tax code, and we can dig ourselves out of this hole by crafting reforms that leverage the American people’s entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic. For too long we have pushed businesses away from our shores; it’s time we welcome them instead. That’s why the House tax reform plan also removes the additional tax penalty associated with American businesses repatriating foreign profits to the United States. Simple, common sense measures such as these will help to unleash the American economic engine, and ultimately benefit everyone on the economic ladder.

We have a tremendous opportunity to accomplish pro-growth tax reform unlike anything we’ve seen in decades, and I couldn’t be prouder of the partnership that has gotten us to this point. I’m excited about what is happening in Washington and all across the country because it reaffirms that the American people are absolutely still in charge. Whether tax reform, national security, or myriad other issues, we as a people are involved; we’re engaging our elected leaders as well as our neighbors; and we’re making a difference in the kind of policies coming out of Washington.

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., represents the 7th Congressional District, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and 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 - 8/22/16

2016/08/22

AETNA TO EXIT GEORGIA HEALTH EXCHANGE NEXT YEAR

As Obamacare failures continue to mount, one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies, Aetna, announced it will end coverage for Affordable Care Act exchanges in another 10 states this year, leaving Aetna exchange plans available to consumers in only 4 remaining states. This means that the roughly 80,000 Aetna customers in Georgia who have purchased these exchange plans will have to find another health insurance option in 2017. And Aetna isn’t alone.  Cigna and United Healthcare have also indicated their desire to leave many state exchanges, including Cigna in Georgia, next year. The dwindling number of available plans will certainly lead to higher prices and fewer choices for Georgians in rural areas of our state who are already struggling to make ends meet and care for their families.  We have more choices than most in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, but for our neighbors in south Georgia, for example, choices may be nearly non-existent.

What’s most concerning, however, is that with state exchanges failing rapidly, the Obama Administration is simply doubling-down on its failed policies rather than recognizing that government-run marketplaces aren’t really marketplaces at all and moving us back closer to a traditional free market-based structure where insurers want to compete for business.  The Administration is being pressed by the left to constrain markets even further, of course, as Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) wants to do away with choices altogether.  But experience shows that single payer health care would only cost us more and provide us less. That’s why even Democrats in Congress rejected this option!

There is a better way, and the House is working together to move in that direction.  As the prices continue to rise and choices continue to shrink in the President’s health care plan, my hope is that if this President—and if not, the next President will work with us on solutions.  Together, with solutions like those in the House GOP’s health care alternative, we can ensure coverage for who need it and choice for those who want it.

CLICK BELOW as Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) discusses the tenets of our Republican health care plan and why it’s better than the failed ACA. 

 

ANOTHER DANGEROUS FOREIGN POLICY DECISION BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

Another week has gone by, and with it came yet another troubling foreign policy decision by the President. Last week, the President released 15 dangerous prisoners from the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, into the custody of the United Arab Emirates, marking the single largest transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo under the President’s watch. Ever since he took office, President Obama has dogmatically pursued his vision to close Guantanamo Bay, and it has become increasingly clear that attempting to fulfill a 7-year old campaign promise has come at the expense of good policymaking and will jeopardize American lives and national security in the process. This isn’t simply an empty assertion, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has reported that 30 percent of former Guantanamo prisoners are confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorism, and there have been recent reports of former detainees being involved in an ISIS-affiliated terror plot and rejoining Al Qaeda’s leadership

The simple truth is that these detainees were placed in Guantanamo Bay for a good reason. Georgia, and specifically the Atlanta metro area, is a target for terrorism. We are the largest, most economically productive region in the southeast, and with major events -- from sports competitions to trade shows -- brining millions of people from around the country and the world to the metro area every year, Georgians should be especially concerned about this short-sighted, unsafe strategy by the President. The American people deserve a President whose top priority is national security; not fulfilling a campaign promise at the expense of it.  

 

TANGIBLE TAX REFORM FOR AMERICA

Tax reform may not be everyone’s passion, but it’s one of those issues that seems to always be at the forefront of our national conversation – certainly in a presidential election year. Whether you’re a teenager receiving your first paycheck, a small business owner weighing the implications of hiring another employee, or the leader of a billion-dollar corporation determining where to build your next manufacturing plant, the tax code impacts you. READ MORE FROM MY RECENT EDITORIAL ON THE PROGRESS WE’RE MAKING TOGETHER.

 

STATE DEPARTMENT ACKNOWLEDGES IRAN PAYMENT WAS ‘LEVERAGE’ FOR PRISONER RELEASE

From the time the Wall Street Journal first reported that the Obama Administration sent what amounted to a $400 million cash payment to Iran in an unmarked cargo plane, many have questioned the Administration’s motivation – believing it to be ransom for American hostages. The Administration has repeatedly denied that allegation, claiming there was absolutely no quid pro quo connection between the two events, but last week, State Department spokesman John Kirby acknowledged the money was withheld for ‘leverage’ until the Americans’ release. While we can debate the semantics of the term used to describe the act, the fact remains, this feels an awful lot like ransom and sets a very dangerous precedent.  Despite the President’s own Justice Department raising concerns that the payment would indicate a willingness by the United States to pay large sums for detained citizens, it is now clear that the funds were directly correlated to their release. Not only does this put Americans at greater risk of being detained abroad, but it further damages their trust and confidence in government.  From national security to transparency, the American people deserve better.

 

NEIGHBORS HELPING EACH OTHER IN GWINNETT AND FORSYTH

I want to bring some good news to you this week about how our friends and neighbors in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties are helping each other succeed. We're so blessed in our part of the world to have corporate citizens and community activists that take an active interest in our area and want to make our lives better. But that's certainly the case with Jackson EMC and the Forsyth County Arts Alliance. Last week, both of these groups stepped up to the plate and provided thousands of dollars in grant money to local organizations that are serving our neighbors. The investments that these community leaders are making will last for years to come, and I want to thank them for helping lead the way to a better 7th District.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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District Connection - 8/15/16

2016/08/15

I want to take a moment this week to draw your attention to something that affects every American household and business, including hundreds of thousands of our friends and neighbors in the 7th District of Georgia: taxes. Too often, the farther away from April 15th we get, the less we think about the scourge that is our income tax code, but if you know anything about me, you know that I have a passion for tax reform. 

The U.S. tax code is one of those self-inflicted wounds that restricts the opportunity of every American family and every American small business. The world is getting smaller; money can move quickly from one nation to the next; businesses can move quickly from one nation to the next; and all the while, America is rated as having the single most punitive and destructive tax code on the planet. We both know that America can do better.

The House has already been at work improving the code. In fact, believe it or not, in this Congress, we have been able to make tax cuts permanent that even President Bush couldn’t push through in his tenure. But when America still ranks nearly last among the world’s developed nations in tax competitiveness, and American jobs and investments continue moving to nations with less burdensome tax codes, it’s never been clearer that tinkering with our tax code won’t get us the results we need. It’s time for wholesale reform, and we are closer than ever to achieving that goal!

I’ve long been an advocate for throwing out our current tax code and starting over with the FairTax, which is a tax reform plan that would eliminate our income tax system – along with the payroll tax and every loophole and deduction – and replace it with a consumption tax. While there aren’t 218 votes in the House or the 60 votes in the Senate to pass the entire FairTax bill, there is still some very good and encouraging news to share. Our work has not gone unnoticed, and in fact, the FairTax movement has had an extremely significant impact on the tax reform debate and the tax reform blueprint released by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX). 

In fact, there are a number of fundamental FairTax principles in his plan. The plan even refers to the abolition of the IRS exactly as it’s envisioned in the FairTax plan, labeling the FairTax as one of several “serious ideas for pro-growth tax reform.” On the individual side of the code, the blueprint consolidates the current seven tax brackets into three. The blueprint takes a page out of the FairTax plan by totally eliminating the estate and gift taxes, the alternative minimum tax (AMT), and every itemized tax deduction except those for mortgage interest and charitable contributions. The House blueprint also alters the treatment of capital gains, dividends, and interest income in an effort to encourage – rather than punish – savings and investment, and it simplifies tax filing for families by merging the five basic family deductions into two and streamlining the more than one dozen current education tax benefits. The blueprint’s elimination and consolidation of so many tax credits and deductions should enable Americans to file their taxes on a form the size of a postcard. The next step is to pass the rest of the FairTax and eliminate the postcard too, and we are making real progress toward that goal. 

FairTax supporters understand that business taxes are simply hidden taxes on consumers, and it’s exciting that the House tax reform plan embraces that logic. By reducing these hidden taxes on consumers, Americans will see stronger economic growth, more jobs, and higher wages. The blueprint begins by reducing the tax rate on small businesses organized as pass-through entities from a rate as high as 44.6 percent to 25 percent and provides immediate, full expensing for the cost of capital investments. It then tackles our job-killing corporate tax system by reducing the overall rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, repealing the corporate AMT, and eliminating every business tax credit except the R&D tax credit. The House tax reform plan also enacts a deemed repatriation for all deferred corporate profits at a one-time rate of 8.75 percent and moves the U.S. to a fully territorial system, meaning U.S. companies could bring foreign earned profits back home to invest without paying additional U.S. taxes.

I hope that you will take a closer look at the House tax reform blueprint and share your feedback. And if you are a fellow FairTax supporter, you should feel affirmed that the fingerprints of the FairTax are all over this reform plan. Like me, many people want all of the FairTax right now, but I’m willing to get it a piece a time as well. It’s certain that in the coming months, folks from Main Street to K Street will come to Capitol Hill in an effort to reclaim abolished exceptions, exemptions, carve outs, and favors. Resisting that pressure and preserving the FairTax-principled victories in the House blueprint is essential if we are going to ensure that America keeps moving forward. 

As such, I encourage you to "save the date" on your calendars now for my next telephone town hall meeting on September 6th at 7:30pm. We will discuss the House tax reform blueprint, the FairTax, and any other tax reform ideas that you have. You can find further information on my website soon. Please join me! 

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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District Connection - 8/8/16

2016/08/08

MORE EVIDENCE OF FLAWED FOREIGN POLICY WITH IRAN UNCOVERED

Another week is in the books, and with it, another troubling revelation in the news about the Obama Administration’s dangerous foreign policy with Iran.  Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iran’s release of four American prisoners coincided with the Obama Administration’s shipment of the equivalent of $400 million in cash to Iran on an unmarked cargo plane.  While the Administration has denied that the airlifted payment had any connection to the prisoner release, it feels remarkably like a ransom payment to Iran.  Not only does a payment of this nature set a very dangerous precedent with Iran that the U.S. will pay a high price for any Americans Iran decides to detain—a concern that the President’s own Department of Justice raised, but was ultimately overruled—it also means Iran now has $400 million more in cash at its disposal to finance terror, develop ballistic missiles, and commit more human rights abuses against its own population.  

At the same time, this payment to Iran also means there’s $400 million less that our nation has that could’ve gone towards strengthening security at our borders, improving the screening of those entering our nation, or a host of other laudable national security purposes.  In the increasingly dangerous world that we live in, every national security dollar absolutely counts.  This is a topic that I care deeply about, and I am grateful to all of you who took the time to participate in my national security telephone town hall late last week.  While our discussions during the town hall were informative and productive, too often I fear that the actions of the Obama Administration, such as this one, represent a step back in advancing our nation’s security.  In this situation and others, I also fear that national security is not only jeopardized, but the trust of the American people is too.  The Administration should be frank and open with the American people about its dealings with Iran, and when Congress and the American people learn about situations such as this one from newspaper headlines instead of from the President himself, the trust and confidence of the American people in their government is damaged.  This is unacceptable, and the American people absolutely deserve better.   

 

WORKING TOGETHER TO FIGHT THE SPREAD OF ZIKA

It’s nearly impossible to turn on the news these days without hearing about the Zika virus’ spread in Florida. I know how concerning it is, especially for expectant mothers and fathers, to know that Zika is spreading in the United States. The good news is that even though President Obama is continuing to erroneously suggest that Congress is hampering our ability to fight Zika – that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Congress has appropriated nearly $600 million to fight Zika so far, and the House has approved an additional $1.1 billion bill to fund Zika eradication efforts. What’s more, the medical community is already working on developing vaccines for Zika that could – thanks to Congress – be fast tracked through the FDA approval process. The animal testing phase of the vaccine development process is reportedly going very well, and if we can convince the President and Senate Democrats to support the House-passed funding bill, I’m sure we can make a real difference for all Americans. 

 

CELEBRATING GEORGIA'S ECONOMIC SUCCESS STORIES

In our part of the world, we know the important roles that education, transportation, and budgeting play in our local economy, and we work hard to keep our community great.  That work was highlighted in a recent nationwide survey of top counties for investment in the local economy.  I got to experience some of that success firsthand this week during my visit to ENERVEX, a Danish company that is the world's leading supplier of mechanical draft systems and integrated venting design solutions located in an 80,000 square foot facility right here in Forsyth County. I’m incredibly proud to represent Forsyth, and I am heartened to see that the tough choices and real sacrifices we make to protect our quality of life is serving as a model for other counties around the nation.

And local economic success isn’t just at the county level; it’s at the state level as well. I’ve spoken about our Georgia Congressional Delegation’s success in getting federal investment for the expansion of the Port of Savannah, and I’m happy to report that the State of Georgia is using that federal support to its best advantage. Just last week Governor Deal announced a brand new, multi-million dollar partnership between Kia Motors, the State, and Cordele Intermodal Services to move Kia products to and from the Port of Savannah more efficiency and effectively. We’re talking about more than 15,000 jobs in the West Point, Georgia area that are supported by Kia’s manufacturing base. That’s real economic opportunity and it’s exactly the type of public-private partnership and investment in our local economy that can be achieved in the wake of continued federal support for large infrastructure projects like the Port of Savannah. 

 

THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING IN MY TOWN HALL MEETING

I want to thank everyone who participated in my national security telephone town hall meeting last Thursday. We had a tremendously productive discussion with House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-TX) that stretched from what to do about Iran to how to best screen refugees to how we can fight and win against ISIS. When polled, 87% of the people on the call said they don’t feel safer now than they did 8 years ago, and that’s a serious problem for our government. It shows that we must have a coherent national policy to defeat ISIS, not the hodge-podge of policies advocated by the White House. Chairman McCaul spends every day working to protect our homeland from terrorism, and I am so grateful that he decided to take time out to speak with us in the 7th District. 

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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District Connection - 8/1/16

2016/08/01

WORKING TOGETHER TO SUPPORT OUR TROOPS AND PROMOTE PEACE AROUND THE WORLD

It's no secret that we are living in a dangerous world, and one in which our allies around the globe are looking to the United States to lead a coalition of peace-loving nations overcome the brutality of violence and terror. To do that, however, the U.S. military must continue to be the greatest, strongest, and most feared fighting force we have ever known. And that means Congress and the President have to work together to provide our military with certainty of purpose. The House has worked hard this year to provide the means to put purpose into action. 

In June, the House passed, with wide bipartisan support, an FY17 Department of Defense Appropriations bill that increases funding for our troops and the Global War on Terrorism. And in July, the House amended the Senate's National Defense Authorization Act and began negotiations on a final version of the measure. Unfortunately, action on both bills has largely been stymied by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), but I'm hopeful that when the Senate returns to Washington in September, after having heard from folks back home about how critical both these bills are to our national security, that Senator Reid and his fellow Senate Democrats will lift their objections and join with the House in sending these bills to President Obama's desk. 

But there's so much more that we can do right here in Georgia to support both our national security and our military. For example, last week in Lawrenceville I met with local representatives of the Navy League, which is a civilian organization comprised of over 40,000 citizens across the country who add their voice of support for our nation’s maritime services – the U.S. Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and the Merchant Marine. President Ronald Reagan believed in a doctrine of “peace through strength” where our ultimate goal was to never go to war, never to have to fire a missile, and never to have to send a young man or woman home with a broken body or spirit. I too believe in this doctrine, and so does the Navy League.  I look forward to working with the League and all members of our community to promote peace through a strong national security posture. 

 

ICYMI: NATIONAL SECURITY UPDATE

In the wake of increased terrorist attacks in France, Turkey, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia, to name a few, it’s clearer than ever that our national security is of upmost importance. The good news is that we’ve been able to move a number of important bills to the President’s desk that will keep America safe. 

And if you’re as concerned about our national security as I am, I invite you to call-in to my next Telephone Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, August 4th at 7pm to share your thoughts with me. 

 

CONGRESS MOURNS FALLEN POLICE OFFICERS

Last week I stood with dozens of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in sharing our heartfelt condolences with the Baton Rouge Police Department and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. We all know about the terrible murder of three Baton Rouge police officers on July 17th who were targeted specifically because they were serving Americans as law enforcement officers. Our nation’s law enforcement personnel deserve our respect and our support. They put their lives on the line for us every day, regardless of our race, creed, nationality, or political persuasion. This isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue; all Americans should be able to come together to mourn the sacrifice of these officers, and the many others who have been killed this year in the line of duty protecting and serving their communities. 

In fact, I'm so proud that right here in Forsyth County, our community is making a difference and honoring those who serve us. On Thursday, July 28th, people gathered at the McDonald and Son funeral home in Cumming to celebrate Forsyth Lives Matter. The event showed support for our local law enforcement officers and first responders who so often put their personal safety on the line for us. And it gave all of us a chance to honor those officers who have fallen this year in the line of duty. We owe a debt to them and their families that can never be fully repaid, but which can be honored and respected every day. 

 

HIGHER EDUCATION CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

If you're a parent of a college-bound student, or maybe even a college-bound student yourself, you probably know how expensive a good college education can be. Nearly half of all 18-34 year olds have at least one student loan for themselves or their family members, and total student loan debt has ballooned from $240 million in 2003 to more than $1.3 billion in 2016. Soaring student loan debt levels have tremendous effects on future economic growth as well, as young professionals put off buying homes and cars for fear of taking on more debt. While the federal government has been focused on loans to students, we all know that the State of Georgia has been investing in the HOPE Scholarship. In fact, just a few weeks ago we learned that the Georgia Lottery raised more than $1 billion last year to fund our state's pre-kindergarten and HOPE Scholarship programs -- the first time ever that the lottery has raised over $1 billion.

But the local support for students doesn’t end with state government.  Literally scores of local groups are working to make education accessible to our young people.  Kiwanis, for example, is one local group dedicated to helping with scholarship funds. I learned while visiting with the North Gwinnett Kiwanis Club this week that this one club alone is helping 21 different students.  What an amazing difference this club is making!


Rep. Rob Woodall attends the North Gwinnett Kiwanis Club lunch on July 26th

 

7TH DISTRICT BUSINESSES ARE PROTECTING AMERICA'S CYBER SECURITY

Sophisticated computer hackers and cyber terrorists from around the world are stealing hundreds of billions of dollars worth of data from American citizens. We're not just talking about pirated movies and illegally downloaded music—we're talking about merger and acquisition data, pricing information, the results of expensive research and development, and more, and when you consider that our nation's critical infrastructure—from our waterways to our electric grid—is equally susceptible to a massive, well-coordinated cyber attack, it becomes clear that the threat is real. 

The good news is that the House of Representatives has passed a number of important cybersecurity bills this Congress, including: H.R. 1560, the "Protecting Cyber Networks Act," H.R. 1731, the "National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act," H.R. 3490, the "Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act," H.R. 3510, the "Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Strategy Act," and H.R. 3878, the "Strengthening Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Coordination in Our Ports Act," to name a few. The bad news is that the legislative process moves slowly, and cyber criminals move quickly. While the FBI is already working hard to keep our cyber systems safe, with unscrupulous nations and lone-wolf hackers attacking us daily, we need more than just the government to be on guard. 

You may have heard of some of these programs and solutions coming from Congress, but what you may not know is that experts are doing cutting-edge research on cyber problems and crafting world-class solutions right here at home. The men and women at the Duluth Honeywell Cybersecurity Lab are world renowned leaders in the process security field. As you sit in the brain center of the lab right here in our own backyard, you feel like you’re sitting on the movie set of a Hollywood spy thriller.  Honeywell has long been a leader in personal and business security, but given the growth in threats in this area, the role it plays in protecting our transportation systems and infrastructure cannot be overstated.  We should all be proud of the contribution to security being made right here at home by our friends and neighbors.

 

LARGE EMPLOYER SPOTLIGHT:  RYDER TRUCKS MOVING FREIGHT AND POLICY

Small business owners across the country are succeeding in buoying our economy, but the government can and must do more to support them. I spent some time last week visiting the Ryder Shared Service Center in Alpharetta. If you’re my age, you think of the Ryder truck the college student rented to move his stuff up to campus. That time is no longer. Ryder today is a Fortune 500 company with nearly 232,000 trucks, over 800 locations in the 5th and 7th Districts of Georgia, and more than 33,000 employees, of which more than 650 of them are right here in Georgia. Despite Ryder’s size and success, however, they still wrestle with the same issues that all 7th District businesses tell me about every day: labor shortages, the unpredictability of fuel prices, and crippling regulatory burdens. One of those regulatory burdens stems from individual states enforcing a patchwork of meal and rest break rules instead of following the federal hours-of-service guidelines, despite a federal law that preempts states from enforcing laws affecting the price, route, or service of any motor carrier.  

If you know me, you know that I am a strong proponent of federalism. California, and indeed any other state, should be largely free to pass any law it sees fit to deal with intrastate issues, as long as they are consistent with the Constitution. However, certain interstate issues must be guided by federal standards. Imagine if every state had different rules for commercial aviation; it would be virtually impossible to fly anywhere. Interstate trucking is in a similar spot; it would be virtually impossible to transport affordable food, clothes, and other goods if every state enforced different requirements.  That’s why we included a provision in the original House FAA reauthorization and reform bill to fix this misguided court ruling and reaffirm Congress’s intent. While it wasn’t included in the short-term extension, I expect this issue to return next year when we take up another FAA bill. Ensuring American businesses can actually do business is a top priority in the House, and hearing first-hand how we can do better at the Federal level is an invaluable tool.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This Thursday, August 4th, I am hosting a Telephone Town Hall Meeting. While the event is focused on national security policy, I encourage you to call with any questions or comments that you might have. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to discuss those issues that are most concerning to you and your family, and for me to learn from you what you want to see achieved in Washington, D.C. 

I’m also pleased to have been invited this week to speak with the folks at the Lawrenceville Kiwanis Club and the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. As always, if you have a community organization, church group, or business that you’d like me to visit, please contact my office at woodall@mail.house.gov to set-up an appointment. I’m a better representative for you when I’m able to learn from you. 

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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WOODALL: America still works together for national security

2016/08/01

As Americans, we’ve shown time and again throughout our history that above all else, we unite around what matters. We come together to accomplish remarkable things, protect each other, and act as an ambassador for freedom and opportunity around the world.

We defend liberty passionately, and that all starts with the safety and security of the American people. In recent months we’ve seen terrorist attacks not only overseas, but tragically, here at home as well. The attackers seek to destroy freedom, create division, and stoke chaos. As they are wrong about so much, so too are they wrong in their estimation of our national character. As Americans, we don’t panic; we don’t point the finger of blame amongst ourselves; we do not divide. Rather we unite to confront challenges, and we defeat the enemies we face as one nation.

The activity on Capitol Hill can often seem far removed from our communities or overshadowed by politics, but even Congress is united around national security. Even in divided government, Congress is moving measures forward and having them signed into law by the President; measures that are now making a difference for Georgians and Americans throughout the country.

An immediate example can be found in H.R. 2029, the “FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act” – now the law of the land – which contained legislation increasing our investment in border security surveillance technology. That technology was at the forefront of the capture of Taliban-linked individuals first reported by the Washington Times just this June. A group described by federal authorities as “involved in a plot to conduct an attack in the U.S. and/or Canada” had reportedly entered underneath a border fence, but thanks to the added surveillance technology we apprehended them within miles of their entry point.

The “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act” is another example and has been fully implemented as of April 2016 according to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. As a result of this legislation, all travelers from Visa Waiver countries to the U.S. must have an e-Passport. The e-Passport contains the security feature of an electronic chip, which holds all of a passenger’s information including name, date of birth and other biographical information.

The e-Passport prevents identity theft travel fraud, and travelers who do not have an e-Passport from a Visa Waiver country must obtain a visa to come to the U.S. In addition, any traveler who has visited an area known for terrorist activity such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya, will receive a more rigorous security check before being allowed to enter the U.S. This law is the result of our focus on the direct threat of foreign fighters, and reflects our determination to keep them off our shores.

Our commitment to neutralize foreign fighters doesn’t stop there, though. We’ve begun implementation of another bill, H.R. 2835, the “Border Jobs for Veterans Act of 2015,” requiring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to grow its partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD) to utilize the skills of returning veterans in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Since enactment, CBP has participated in 651 veteran recruitment events and has a target of 1,000 events for FY 2016. CBP has already experienced an improvement in applicant awareness and engagement and is currently partnering with the DoD transition offices across America to provide information sessions and workshops for service members transitioning back to civilian life.

One early success of the CBP and DoD partnership is the CBP Recruiting Center on Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, which entails the DoD Transition Assistance Program Office providing space for CBP’s frontline agent and officer recruiters who offer information to transitioning service members on a full-time basis. As the first of its kind, I’m eager to see the program’s success continue and be replicated in states across the country. By these agencies working together, we are able to better protect Americans and better serve those who have sacrificed so much to serve each of us.

I want America to be proud of these improvements and proud that there is still more that unites us than divides us in America today. But make no mistake: no amount of legislation will keep America safe; only the selfless sacrifice of those thousands of U.S. citizens serving on the front lines here at home and abroad does that.

We as a citizenry and we as a Congress must continue to support those who protect national security and give them the tools to succeed, for we know anger and blame don’t keep America safe; their hard work does. Thank a veteran; thank a law enforcement official; and thank God as He continues to bless the United States of America.

Congressman Rob Woodall (R) 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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America still works together for national security

2016/08/01

As Americans, we’ve shown time and again throughout our history that above all else, we unite around what matters. We come together to accomplish remarkable things, protect each other, and act as an ambassador for freedom and opportunity around the world.

We defend liberty passionately, and that all starts with the safety and security of the American people. In recent months we’ve seen terrorist attacks not only overseas, but tragically, here at home as well. The attackers seek to destroy freedom, create division, and stoke chaos. As they are wrong about so much, so too are they wrong in their estimation of our national character. As Americans, we don’t panic; we don’t point the finger of blame amongst ourselves; we do not divide. Rather we unite to confront challenges, and we defeat the enemies we face as one nation.

The activity on Capitol Hill can often seem far removed from our communities or overshadowed by politics, but even Congress is united around national security. Even in divided government, Congress is moving measures forward and having them signed into law by the President; measures that are now making a difference for Georgians and Americans throughout the country.

An immediate example can be found in H.R. 2029, the “FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act” – now the law of the land – which contained legislation increasing our investment in border security surveillance technology. That technology was at the forefront of the capture of Taliban-linked individuals first reported by the Washington Times just this June. A group described by federal authorities as “involved in a plot to conduct an attack in the U.S. and/or Canada” had reportedly entered underneath a border fence, but thanks to the added surveillance technology we apprehended them within miles of their entry point.

The “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act” is another example and has been fully implemented as of April 2016 according to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. As a result of this legislation, all travelers from Visa Waiver countries to the U.S. must have an e-Passport. The e-Passport contains the security feature of an electronic chip, which holds all of a passenger’s information including name, date of birth and other biographical information.

The e-Passport prevents identity theft travel fraud, and travelers who do not have an e-Passport from a Visa Waiver country must obtain a visa to come to the U.S. In addition, any traveler who has visited an area known for terrorist activity such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya, will receive a more rigorous security check before being allowed to enter the U.S. This law is the result of our focus on the direct threat of foreign fighters, and reflects our determination to keep them off our shores.

Our commitment to neutralize foreign fighters doesn’t stop there, though. We’ve begun implementation of another bill, H.R. 2835, the “Border Jobs for Veterans Act of 2015,” requiring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to grow its partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD) to utilize the skills of returning veterans in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Since enactment, CBP has participated in 651 veteran recruitment events and has a target of 1,000 events for FY 2016. CBP has already experienced an improvement in applicant awareness and engagement and is currently partnering with the DoD transition offices across America to provide information sessions and workshops for service members transitioning back to civilian life.

One early success of the CBP and DoD partnership is the CBP Recruiting Center on Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, which entails the DoD Transition Assistance Program Office providing space for CBP’s frontline agent and officer recruiters who offer information to transitioning service members on a full-time basis. As the first of its kind, I’m eager to see the program’s success continue and be replicated in states across the country. By these agencies working together, we are able to better protect Americans and better serve those who have sacrificed so much to serve each of us.

I want America to be proud of these improvements and proud that there is still more that unites us than divides us in America today. But make no mistake: no amount of legislation will keep America safe; only the selfless sacrifice of those thousands of U.S. citizens serving on the front lines here at home and abroad does that.

We as a citizenry and we as a Congress must continue to support those who protect national security and give them the tools to succeed, for we know anger and blame don’t keep America safe; their hard work does. Thank a veteran; thank a law enforcement official; and thank God as He continues to bless the United States of America.

Congressman Rob Woodall (R) 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 - 7/25/16

2016/07/25

ADMINISTRATION’S IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL JUST GOT EVEN MORE DANGEROUS

You may have already seen the news, but the Associated Press covered a confidential document last week that revealed some troubling news about the Iran nuclear agreement: Iran is getting a much better deal than much of the world previously knew. Before the nuclear agreement even expires, the document reveals that, starting on the eleventh year of the agreement, Iran will be allowed to acquire thousands of advanced centrifuges that are up to five times as efficient as its current capabilities. While it was previously thought that Iran’s nuclear “break out” time, or the time it would take it to enrich enough uranium to produce a nuclear weapon, would be at least a year during this timeframe, this new revelation means that Iran could produce a nuclear weapon in 6 months or less—cutting in half the amount of time the world would have to react should Iran pursue weaponization.  

While the document itself is very troubling and only deepens my fears about the dangerous nuclear deal with Iran, I am even more troubled that the President wasn’t fully transparent with the American people about the deal our nation was getting in exchange for billions of dollars’ worth of permanent sanctions relief. The loser in this equation isn’t just international security as a result of an even more dangerous nuclear deal, it’s the trust of the American people who are wondering why their President couldn’t be frank and honest with them about the terms of the agreement. I was pleased to see the House pass three Iran-related bills two weeks ago, including one that would impose a host of brand new sanctions on Iran, and I will continue to be a strong advocate for any future legislation that corrects our nation’s course on Iran.   

HEALTH INSURANCE MERGERS ARE SCRUTINIZED AT HOME AND IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

The Department of Justice last week announced that it was challenging the proposed mergers of Aetna/Humana and Anthem/Cigna in what could be the largest health insurance company consolidations in U.S. history. It would be easy to pit the Obama Administration against the health insurance industry in a partisan political struggle, but that’s not the case here. These health insurance companies are looking at the new health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act and they see that the best way to thrive is to merge. On the other side of the ledger are state insurance commissioners, physicians groups, and the Justice Department that are worried about over consolidation of the industry and how that might affect prices for consumers. 

But this isn’t just an academic argument. These potential mergers have real effects for Georgians. Anthem is the parent company of Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Georgia, and the Medicare Advantage plans supported by Aetna and Humana, if merged, would serve roughly one-third of Georgia’s more than 460,000 Medicare Advantage enrollees. Premium price changes, new physician networks, reimbursement adjustments for physicians, and more are all possible outcomes of these mergers, and as such, it’s imperative that government regulators and the health insurance industry work together to ensure that the mergers – if approved – are in the best interests of consumers. I look forward to following this issue as it continues to move through Washington, and you can follow the issue right here in Georgia when Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens holds a public hearing on the issue on July 26th. 

WOODALL SPEAKS ABOUT HELPING MIDDLE CLASS AMERICANS

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with a fantastic group of folks in Cleveland – including some of our neighbors from Georgia – about how our government can do better for middle class Americans. The event was sponsored by Real Clear Politics and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). 

In fact, I was so happy to be able to take questions from folks in the audience who have never visited our part of the world and to tell them about the success stories that we have in the great Seventh District of Georgia. Our district is a microcosm of America – we have everyone from those who have made it to those who are still trying; we have the middle class, first generation Americans, ethnically diverse neighborhoods, and the young and the old.

When it comes to economic opportunity and success, the question is always, “Can you grab the bottom rung of the economic ladder; and no matter which rung you are on, do you have the tools to reach for the next one?”  We do not live in a “success-is-guaranteed society,” but we do live in an opportunity society.  Seventh District families demonstrate that each day, and I can share those successes nationally in Congress.

GEORGIA LEADS THE WAY IN EDUCATING PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS

Two weeks ago, the House Republican Conference released its A Better Way agenda for the 115th Congress. One of the policy platforms in that agenda is to reform our nation’s health care system. While the House’s proposals are geared toward helping consumers regain control of their health care dollars and choices, an integral part of ensuring that all Americans can receive the health care they deserve is making sure that we have enough physicians to serve them. 

You might not know it, but Medicare is the major funder of graduate medical education for our nation’s student doctors. Unfortunately, population increases in economic powerhouse states like Georgia haven’t been met with the necessary increase in physicians. Too many “sunbelt” states in the southeast and the southwest are lacking a sufficient number of primary care physicians, and that’s a shortage that will ultimately lead to fewer choices for Americans. 

As we work to reform our nation’s health care system, I look forward to working with the State of Georgia, health insurance plans, medical colleges, and hospitals to find new ways to financially support the training of new physicians. Medicare simply can’t be expected to shoulder the entire burden, and I applaud states like Georgia that are tackling the physician shortage head-on and coming up with state and local solutions.

THE WEEK AHEAD

While the Democrats will be meeting in Philadelphia this week to formally nominate Hillary Clinton for President of the United States, I will be back in the Great State of Georgia meeting with our friends and neighbors.  Businesses are opening their doors so that we can talk about opportunities and challenges with their employees, and community groups are opening their doors so that we can talk with their members.  I know a bright future is ahead for America, and working together, we are already at work on that goal today.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Perdue, Woodall call for tougher stance against terrorist groups

2016/07/21

U.S. Sen. David Perdue and Rep. Rob Woodall, both R-Ga., have renewed calls to go after terrorist groups, including ISIS, in the wake of last week’s terrorist attack in Nice, France.

Eighty-four people died after a Tunisian man drove a truck into a crowd at a Bastille Day crowd in Nice. Hundreds more were hurt during the attack. Perdue called it an “unconscionable tragedy” in a statement while calling for American solidarity with France.

But he also said attacks such as this one, and similar incidents in Paris and Brussels, must be stopped by going after terrorist groups in the Middle East and stepping up border security.

“President Obama must reevaluate his strategy to defeat ISIS and other extremist groups,” Perdue said in a statement. “But, while we bolster our efforts to combat terrorism abroad, it is equally important that we strengthen our efforts to protect against terrorism here at home.

“This starts with securing our borders and improving our intelligence efforts, as well as providing our troops with what they need to take on these threats worldwide.”

Meanwhile, Woodall issued similar sentiments on Facebook.

“We are again reminded of an existential threat, and the need to relentlessly pursue the defeat of terrorists wherever we find them,” the congressman said.

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Woodall: FAA reauthorization protects Americans

2016/07/18

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall praised legislation passed by the House and Senate this week that reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration for a little over a year.

The funding bill keeps the FAA running through September 2017. It also tackles several issues such as making air carriers refund paid baggage fees if the luggage is lost or “unreasonably destroyed,” streamlining the approval and cooperation process between agencies for the use of unmanned aircraft during emergencies and improving the process for hiring air traffic controllers to addresses shortages.

Some additional pieces of the bill include mandating some air traffic control towers make themselves more visible to low-flying aircraft; making expedited security screening available to a wider group of passengers and requiring carriers to have flight attendants trained to recognize and help potential human trafficking victims.

“This legislation takes immediate steps to keep the American people safe, and delivers over a year of certainty to consumers and those invested in the industry while ensuring we have the time to iron our remaining differences,” Woodall said in a statement.

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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


Rep. Woodall Discusses Economic Growth on House Floor

2016-03-04 21:28:04


Rep. Woodall Discusses Budget and Economic Growth on House Floor

2016-03-03 13:59:52


Rep. Woodall Discusses Debt Ceiling Legislation on House Floor

2016-02-12 18:58:40


Rep. Woodall Discusses Reconciliation Legislation on House Floor

2016-01-11 18:21:28


Rep. Woodall Speaks in Favor of Budget Reconciliation Legislation

2016-01-07 16:46:39


Rep. Woodall Speaks on Rule for Highway Bill Conference Report on House Floor

2015-12-04 17:02:43


Rep. Woodall Discusses President Obama's Regulatory Overreach on House Floor

2015-11-06 17:36:16


Rep. Woodall Speaks on Cliff Effect at Budget Hearing

2015-11-02 15:24:24


Rep. Woodall Speaks On Reconciliation Bill on House Floor

2015-10-27 12:01:20


Rep. Woodall Discusses Nation's Fiscal Issues on House Floor

2015-10-13 20:11:45


Rep. Woodall Questions Seventh District Witness at Aviation Subcommittee

2015-10-08 17:38:44


Pastor Kevin Myers of 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville Serves as Guest Chaplain of the Day

2015-10-01 19:11:51


Rep. Woodall Honors Constituent Judy Waters on House Floor

2015-07-28 20:04:57


Contact Information

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

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

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

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

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


Serving With

Buddy Carter

GEORGIA's 1st DISTRICT

Lynn Westmoreland

GEORGIA's 3rd DISTRICT

Tom Price

GEORGIA's 6th DISTRICT

Austin Scott

GEORGIA's 8th DISTRICT

Doug Collins

GEORGIA's 9th DISTRICT

Jody Hice

GEORGIA's 10th DISTRICT

Barry Loudermilk

GEORGIA's 11th DISTRICT

Rick Allen

GEORGIA's 12th DISTRICT

Tom Graves

GEORGIA's 14th DISTRICT

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