Millions of Americans have been touched by the gift of life in the form of organ donation. Deciding to be an organ donor can be a tremendously difficult decision to make for some, but it is also an unparalleled gift to our friends and neighbors in need. Thankfully, in our part of the world, many Georgians have made the life-saving choice to be organ donors, and in 2015, Georgia donors generously gave nearly 250 livers for transplant. That’s 250 loved and cherished family members – moms, dads, grandparents, children, aunts, and uncles – who were given a second chance at life. And our local hospitals – Emory University Hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Piedmont Healthcare – are some of the most successful organ transplant centers in the country.
Unfortunately, liver donors aren’t as plentiful in others areas of the country as they are in Georgia, and as such, folks in other parts of the country – like the northeast and the west coast – are waiting longer for transplants. To help them, the United Organ Sharing Network (UNOS), which governs all organ transplant procedures in the United States, has proposed to change the way livers are distributed.
Right now, if a liver becomes available for transplant in Georgia, the first attempt is to match it with a person in need in the southeastern region. Should there be no match in the immediate area, then the search parameters widen and the liver might be sent elsewhere in the country. Under the newly proposed regulations, Georgia would be placed in a new regional area that spans the entire eastern seaboard from Georgia to Maine. While this new regional classification will bring more livers to the northeast, it will take livers away from Georgia. While I appreciate what UNOS is trying to do, it’s not fair to hold Georgians accountable for the low donor rates in New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. Instead, we should be working to increase liver donations across the country.
I was proud to join with all of my Georgia Congressional colleagues – House and Senate, from both sides of the aisle – in sending a letter to ask that UNOS reject its proposed changes and that the Department of Health and Human Services carefully review UNOS’ proposal.
If you haven’t thought about organ donation before, I encourage you to do so now. There are over 4.7 million Georgians who have registered with Donate Life Georgia to be organ and tissue donors, and I hope that the thought of saving someone’s life will spur all of us to give the gift of life to our neighbors.
On October 31st, the State governments of Georgia and Florida will convene for a trial regarding the long-running “water war” that involves withdrawals from the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers. Although Georgia lays claim to 98 percent of the population and 99 percent of the economic activity in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river basin, Florida contends that their State is entitled to more water to revive its struggling oyster industry. Florida is suing to return Georgia’s water withdrawals to 1992 levels—when metro Atlanta was half its current size. Representatives from Florida recently attempted to circumvent the legal process—three times—by trying to insert language directly in the recently passed Water Resources Development Act, but luckily, I led our Georgia Congressional delegation is beating back those cynical attempts. I expressed my position to our leadership that my colleagues and I in Georgia would never accept an end-run around the ongoing discussions between the states' governors to resolve the dispute, and we were able to defeat all three attempts. However, this remains a critical issue for our State, and I will continue to monitor it closely in the coming weeks and months.
With all the world-class universities and the multi-national businesses that call the Atlanta metro area home, it’s easy to forget that we have a top-notch college right in our backyard; Gwinnett Technical College. And just this past week, one of those multi-nationals, Mercedes-Benz, announced a new partnership program with Gwinnett Tech to confer a two-year degree in automotive technology. If you’re anything like me, you used to spend time tinkering with your car and fixing problems yourself. But recently, many cars, especially luxury cars like those made by Mercedes-Benz, are almost entirely run by computers and high-tech components that require specialized automotive training to diagnose and fix. It’s fantastic that Mercedes-Benz has come to our district to find those highly-educated young people to keep American moving.
A federal court ruled last week that the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is unconstitutional. As you likely recall, the CFPB was created by the 2010 passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, and it was established as an independent federal agency with a single director who, in the opinion of a federal court, largely answers to no one. The CFPB isn’t accountable to Congress because it operates outside of the appropriations process, and the CFPB isn’t accountable to the President because its director may only be removed for cause, rather than at will. What’s more, the court found that the CFPB’s director has more unilateral authority than any other officer in the any of the three branches of the U.S. government except the President. I was pleased to see a federal court agree with what House Republicans have being arguing for years: concentrating so much power in a single director who “possesses enormous power over American business, American consumers, and the overall U.S. economy” is “a grave threat to individual liberty.” While the CFPB can continue to operate under this court decision, I fully expect Congress to continue working next year to bring the CFPB's financial operations under our control and to hold the CFPB's leadership to the same standards as other quasi-federal agencies. A rogue agency with unconstitutional powers simply cannot be allowed to continue operating without appropriate oversight, and I'm happy to say that my colleagues and I won't allow it to.
Last week, more news about the Obama Administration’s troubling policy towards Iran was unveiled: the U.S. Department of the Treasury released updated guidance clarifying that it won’t sanction foreign banks and businesses that conduct transactions in U.S. dollars with sanctioned Iranian entities. This move represents yet another instance of this Administration going above and beyond the requirements of the already dangerous Iran nuclear deal to appease Iran. And, like the other recent instances, such as the heavy water purchase and possible hostage ransom payment, this new guidance has dangerous implications as well. By removing a barrier and giving the green light to international banks to conduct business with Iranian entities, many of which are controlled by leaders of the infamous Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), this move only serves to strengthen the IRGC and empower it to continue conducting nefarious activities such as supporting Hamas and Hezbollah.
News of this guidance is a fresh reminder of the importance of passing H.R. 5461, the “Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act,” which would provide crucial information to Congress, the American people, and the world at large that sheds light on what assets bad actors in Iran like the IRGC have and how they are using them. While this legislation won’t reverse all of the damage done by this Administration with regards to Iran, it is an important transparency tool that the American people—and the world—need and deserve.
Member of Congress
Today, as most of us in the 7th District go to work and take our kids to school, we won’t have to contend with what our friends on the east coast of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina are dealing with – the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Last week, Governor Nathan Deal ordered a mandatory evacuation of Chatham, Bryan, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn, and Camden counties in southeastern Georgia, and voluntary evacuations in an additional 24 counties, which affected some 500,000 Georgians. President Obama declared a State of Emergency for these states as they stared down the barrel of a Category 2 hurricane with wind gusts in excess of 100 miles per hour. We all prayed that there would be no casualties from this storm, but unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Now, as we mourn those who we lost, the clean-up begins of homes, businesses, and schools. Already, it has been estimated that the hurricane has caused at least $6 billion worth of damage to the region, but that number is bound to go up. And that’s not counting the damage that Hurricane Matthew did in the Caribbean, where it devastated portions of Haiti, the Bahamas, and Cuba, killing hundreds and levelling entire neighborhoods.
I’ve seen first-hand how generous the people of the 7th District are when tragedy strikes, whether at home or abroad. And now is the time for us to remember how lucky we are and to help those in need. If you would like to help with hurricane recovery efforts, I hope that you’ll reach-out to any one of the dozens of charitable organizations that are working to make life better for those affected. Whether it’s a monetary donation to an international aid organization or joining with your neighbors in praying for those who have lost their homes and their loved ones, every bit of love and support helps those in need.
Enabling access to quality healthcare and affordable health insurance for all Americans continues to be a priority for both sides of the aisle across the country, and just last week the issue was brought to the forefront by former President Bill Clinton as he criticized Obamacare’s inability to deliver on its lofty promises. His criticism – that Obamacare has left many hard-working Americans behind – is accurate, however his proposed solution is misguided. President Clinton and many on the left have suggested that the solution lies in moving even more Americans to government-controlled programs like Medicare and Medicaid, but in the House Republican Conference, we have a different view. We believe the solution is to empower individuals with choices while incentivizing competition and innovation in the marketplace. We believe Washington’s policy should not be to dictate a so-called “solution,” but rather to enable the real thing – which cannot be done through a one-size-fits-all mandate. We’ve outlined our vision not only for healthcare, but for many challenges facing our country here, and I encourage you to take a look for yourself. I hope you will also take the time to provide your feedback, ideas, and suggestions on how we can make it better and move America forward.
From the collapse of 17 of its 23 co-ops – leaving over 800,000 Americans searching for insurance – to the more than doubling premiums in regions across the country, to the drastic reduction in competition leaving some areas with only one insurer, Obamacare has not been the solution America needs or deserves, and taking it a step further towards government-control is certainly not the remedy. Individual choice, competition, and innovation aren’t just buzzwords; they are the principles that make America second to none, and if we leverage those traits together, we will absolutely overcome any challenge we face.
More good news came out the 7th District last week as Forsyth County was named the top county in the state for incoming investment for a second straight year. As you can read here, the honor was the result of a study that examined counties across the nation on the basis of local business growth, gross domestic product growth, new building permits issued, and municipal bond investment. In addition to placing first in incoming investment, Forsyth County took top honors for the state in new building permits issued and finished second in business growth. And the good news for 7th District counties didn’t stop there. Gwinnett County finished ahead of all but one county in the GDP growth category. I’m truly honored to represent this tremendously vibrant part of the country, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Washington to replicate the successes we are having in our part of the world in more counties across the nation.
There is nothing that fills me with optimism quite like being back home and spending time with our next generation of leaders. Last week I had the opportunity to visit with a great group at the 21st Century Leaders (21CL) fall summit and was energized by what I saw from these young people. Whether our U.S. Service Academy nomination process, stopping by a high school social studies class, speaking with organizations like 21CL – and the list goes on and on – I often say it reassures my belief that America’s best days are ahead. I’m reassured because I see their passion and am fortunate to witness their commitment in action.
Rep. Rob Woodall meets with the 21st Century Leaders summit
Their generation is one that has known a difficult time for our country – from the War on Terror to severe economic recession – yet they’ve chosen to set their eyes on how they can make America better as they assume those positions of leadership throughout our communities, businesses, and government. They understand that America is absolutely still a land of opportunity and remains what we as the American people make it. These days, there is no shortage of pessimism throughout the media and in the news, and if we let that define our outlook, it would certainly shape a future to match. The good news, however, is that these young people and so many others know better. They’re intelligent; they’re driven; and they believe in the promise of America. From future entrepreneurs, Armed Forces members, public officials and so much more, they’re more than competent, and I’m excited to see what’s in store for them and our great country. The future is bright!
Today marks the beginning of the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur – also known as the Day of Atonement. As the holiest day of the year in Judaism, it is traditionally observed with fasting and prayer in an effort to ask God for forgiveness for personal sins. It is a solemn day, and one that is being recognized throughout the world by millions of our friends and neighbors. And when Yom Kippur ends at sundown tomorrow, the community will rejoice in thanks and in celebration for all the good things that will happen in the year ahead. I wish everyone in the 7th District a blessed Yom Kippur.
Member of Congress
Forsyth County students interested in attending any of the U.S. Service Academies are running out of time for a nomination from their congressman.
Students living in the state’s seventh congressional district have until Oct. 7 to get paper work to Rep. Rob Woodall’s office to be considered for a nomination to attend the academies. All but one of the academies require a nomination from their U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, or the Vice President of the United States.
“Every year I’m fortunate to nominate intelligent and hard-working Seventh District students for appointments to the U.S. Service Academies, and I’m excited to see what this class holds as we enter into the nomination process,” Woodall said in a news release. “I’m always inspired by their passion for service, and am confident this year will be no different.”
All paperwork needs to be submitted to Woodall’s office in Lawrenceville by 5 p.m. on Oct. 7.
The five service academies are: Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.; Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.; Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.; and Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
Only the Coast Guard Academy does not require a nomination.
The 7th District covers the southern portion of the county and contains Lambert, Forsyth Central, South Forsyth and West Forsyth high schools.
Those living in the 9th District, which contains the northern portion of the county and northeast Georgia, will have a bit longer as 9th District Rep. Doug Collins is accepting applications until Nov. 4.
More information on applying is available at both congressmen’s websites; Woodall.house.gov and DougCollins.house.gov.Read More
Congress often passes bills that don’t make national news but are critical to ensuring America’s economic competitiveness. I led one such bill, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), to passage through the House last week. This is the bill that builds and maintains our nation’s water infrastructure, including the harbors, waterways, and ports that make Georgia one of the top states for business. This bill is critical to those of us who rely on Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River for water to drink, and it is critical for those jobs that rely the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick for commerce. Did you know that Savannah is the fasting growing container port in the U.S. and that Brunswick exports U.S.-made Mercedes Benz automobiles for sale back in Germany? Both are true! Now that the House and Senate have each passed a WRDA bill, I look forward to working together to send this language to the President for his signature.
CLICK BELOW to watch part of my speech on the House floor last week.
For the first time in 10 years, Congress passed and the President signed appropriations legislation before the end of the federal fiscal year. This funding prioritizes certainty for our veterans and for our researchers who are seeking to contain, prevent, and treat the Zika virus here in the U.S. This bill is a good first step toward ending the culture of “continuing resolutions” and “government shutdowns,” but there is much more to do. You can count on me to continue working to restrain spending, and to ensure that those efforts make Congress part of the solution and not part of the problem.
You probably heard that many of the co-op health care plans that were created by President Obama’s health care law have gone bankrupt already and have shuttered their doors. Picture this: you had a health insurance plan that you liked, but the Affordable Care Act (ACA) outlawed it, so you purchased insurance through a new Obamacare co-op. Now, that co-op has failed and you have to find another insurance plan to purchase, and if you don’t do it quickly, the Obamacare law assesses a tax penalty on you for not having insurance.
That’s right, unbelievably, the Obamacare law would not let you keep the plan you had, it forced you into a plan you may or may not have wanted, and now, when that plan disappears or fails, the Obamacare law wants to hit you with a tax penalty because you no longer have insurance. That makes absolutely no sense, and that’s why the House passed H.R. 954, the “Co-Op Consumer Protection Act” last week. This bill insures that no American will be fined by the government for not having appropriate health insurance coverage if their co-op plan is terminated during a plan year. This is simply common-sense, and I’m proud that a bipartisan majority of my colleagues in the House came together to make the health insurance marketplace more fair and more workable for our fellow Americans.
Last week, I joined several of my colleagues from the Georgia Delegation in sending an important letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald about an issue that directly affects Georgia’s veterans. The VA recently unveiled a new eye screening pilot program, called Technology-Based Eye Care Services (TECS), which it has begun to employ in the Atlanta VA Medical Center system. While it does allow veterans living in places outside of Atlanta to be screened in several local clinics rather than having to drive into Atlanta, there are serious quality concerns about how many eye-related conditions the new TECS system may fail to detect. The letter we sent asks some very reasonable questions of Secretary McDonald: is TECS meant to replace the traditional comprehensive eye exam, or just supplement it? If so, are Georgia veterans being informed of this policy change? Why is the VA pursuing this experimental program when there is an ongoing clinical study to determine the quality of the TECS exam? If the VA has fundamentally altered the way in which it delivers eye care, Georgia’s veterans absolutely have a right to know, and that’s why I’m glad several Georgians in Congress partnered together to figure out exactly that.
While I’m glad several in the Georgia delegation sent a powerful message to the VA regarding our shared concerns about this new program, I am a firm believer that actions speak louder than words, and I’m pleased to report to you that the House also took some much-needed actions last week on behalf of all of America’s veterans. Three important veterans bills passed the House last week: H.R. 5162 would improve the Veterans Choice Program by making it easier for the VA to share health records with private medical providers in the program, H.R. 5392 would make a number of crucial reforms to resolve ongoing quality issues with the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL), and H.R. 3216 would ensure that no veteran can be turned away from receiving emergency medical care when they arrive at a VA hospital. While these three bills certainly represent progress on behalf of America’s veterans, I know that much more work remains to be done, and you can count on me to continue working hard in this crucial area of policymaking.
The House’s committee hearing schedule last week was very full, but there was one especially interesting hearing that has major effects on Georgia that I want to take the time to highlight for you. The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled “The U.S.-Republic of Korea-Japan Trilateral Relationship: Promoting Mutual Interests in Asia” last Wednesday. We don’t often think about Georgia’s relationship with foreign countries, but our state’s economic growth is certainly tied to our trading partners in Asia, especially Japan and South Korea. Not to mention the rich cultural, familial, and defense ties that our state and our nation have with these critical, democratic allies.
In 2015, South Korea and Japan were in the top 5 of Georgia’s import partners. So far this year, the Port of Savannah’s second largest trading partner was South Korea – with over $3.4 billion worth of goods coming into our state – and Japan was number four – with over $2.9 billion worth of goods. As a gateway to the southeastern United States, Georgia’s ports bring economic vitality to the region, including thousands of jobs. I’m heartened that the House Foreign Affairs Committee has taken such an interest in our trilateral relationship, and I’m certain that with the support of Congress, that relationship will grow even stronger in the years to come.
For the first time since President Obama took office, Congress successfully used its Constitutional authority under Article I, Section 7 to overturn President Obama’s veto of S. 2040, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. The bill overwhelmingly passed the House and Senate, and after the President’s veto, received the necessary votes to become law. While I know that there are disagreements about the merits of the legislation, I am proud that Congress came together to show the President which branch of government truly holds the legislative power. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the future to continue asserting Congress’ Article I Constitutional prerogatives.
As millions of people of the Jewish faith woke up this morning around the world to celebrate Rosh Hashana -- the Jewish New Year -- we pause to remember that just last week, the world lost a defender of democracy, peace, and freedom when former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres passed away. Mr. Peres was the last of Israel’s founding generation of leaders and a man dedicated to maintaining a resilient Israeli state based on democratic values and institutions, while also constantly reaching out to Israel’s Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians, to seek peace. His desire for a peaceful Israel was so strong that he shared a Nobel Peace Prize with former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and former Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasir Arafat in 1994 after the men had come together to sign the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn in 1993. Mr. Peres’ long career serving Israel will never be forgotten – and neither will his dream of ensuring that a strong and democratic Israel could stand beside its Palestinian neighbors in peace.
Member of Congress
(Washington, DC) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5303, the “Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA)” addressing the needs of America’s ports, dams, flood protection, and other water resources infrastructure. The legislation builds upon the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA), restoring the two-year cycle of authorizing water policy and equipping the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers with the tools needed to move forward on billions of dollars’ worth of water projects – including ongoing expansion of the Savannah Harbor and feasibility studies for the Port of Brunswick. Seventh District Representative Rob Woodall serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee responsible for crafting the bill, and successfully led the measure through the House, managing debate for its consideration.
With implications ranging from water reservoir levels to interstate commerce and economic growth, WRDA’s impact is significant. Each year, $1.4 trillion of goods move through U.S. ports, which includes the Port of Savannah as the largest single container terminal and second busiest container exporter in North America. H.R. 5303’s investment in this pivotal infrastructure is an economic boon not only to the state, but the entire southeast region, and sustains a locally driven project proposal process that is reviewed, but not dictated, by Congress.
“There is no resource more essential than clean water, and this bill is a crucial part of ensuring we’re responsibly and efficiently managing it; both from a policy and a procedural standpoint,” said Rep. Woodall. “As circumstances change and needs vary across the country, it’s critically important that we leverage our local expertise while staying true to the regular order of biannual authorizations that provide certainty as well as oversight for the American people.”
“This bill is fundamental to America’s competitiveness, and gets Congress back to the regular business of addressing some of our most pressing infrastructure needs. Rep. Woodall understands how important an efficient maritime and waterways transportation system is to the country’s economy, and I’m grateful for his leadership in getting this crucial legislation passed,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), sponsor of the legislation. “We now look forward to continuing our work with the Senate to get a final bill sent to the President’s desk.”
With the 2014 passage of WRRDA, Congress enacted a number of revolutionary reforms that devolved much of the decision-making on projects across the country to states and regions, and H.R. 5303 continues the trend. It also marks the return of regular order as the legislation is historically passed biannually; however, between 2000 and 2014, only three WRDA authorizations were enacted, and Woodall sees the recent progress as a welcome course correction.
“Here at home, we’ve been leading the way in water conservation efforts and infrastructure improvement for years, and a tremendous example is our robust and very successful water management plan that has produced a 30 percent reduction in per capita water use since 2000,” Woodall added. “We as Georgians aren’t doing that because a federal agency told us to, but because it’s the right thing to do; and as a result, total water consumption in the region has dropped by 10 percent despite adding a million people to the region.”
With an important balance of local focus and broad view, H.R. 5303 continues to move forward with infrastructure investment, but maintains a commitment to fiscal responsibility by fully offsetting all new authorizations and putting a sunset provision on inactive projects. The measure also contains no earmarks, ensuring the legislation is focused on relevant policy.
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.
Last week the House unanimously passed a bipartisan bill that I introduced with my friend Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA). H.R. 4712, known as the “Strengthening the Department of Homeland Security Secure Mail Initiative Act (Secure Mail Initiative Act),” will improve the security of sensitive immigration documents such as green cards and work authorizations to ensure they only get delivered to their intended recipient. I’m proud of this bill, which will hopefully be signed into law soon, because it’s another example of constituents sharing an often-overlooked but widespread problem and my working with colleagues to craft a solution not just for our neighbors but for our entire nation.
Imagine, you or your family member has immigrated to the United States legally; you’ve filed all the appropriate paperwork with the government, you’ve paid all the fees, and all you’re waiting for in order to go to work and help to your family is delivery of a green card or work authorization. But, that green card never arrives because something went awry with the mail. Maybe it got delivered to the wrong address. Maybe it’s been stolen by an identity thief. In either case, you’re waiting for it, the government thinks you have it, but you don’t. So you’re stuck in an immigration limbo that can only be solved by your sending the government another $450 and waiting weeks more; again with no guarantee of delivery the second time around.
This is the scenario that a 7th District resident found himself in, leading him to call my office. The bill I passed last week in a bipartisan way simply allows a constituent to request and pay an additional fee for documents to be sent through a “signature required” service to ensure that the government doesn’t hold them financially responsible for lost or wrongly delivered mail and to ensure that errant mail delivery doesn’t prevent anyone from being able to live and work in America legally. While this bill won’t change the world, it will make a big difference to the many families who have struggled with this problem. Every congressional district has seen this problem, but you and I have finally done something to fix it once and for all. No matter how large or small, if every day we work together in Congress to solve a problem, save money, and make a difference, by the end of the year we’ll find that we’ve accomplished a lot. On your behalf, I try to do exactly that.
Last week the House made another strong statement in America’s continuing push to hold Iran accountable for its corruption and support of international terrorism. There is no greater sovereign state threat to the world than Iran. According to the State Department, Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world and is actively financing terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East. It is our responsibility as a peace-loving nation and leader of the world’s democracies to ensure that Iran’s international financial corruption and support for terrorism are stopped.
The first bill the House passed last week to tackle the Iranian issue was H.R. 5461, the “Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act.” I led the effort to bring this bill to the floor to shine much needed sunlight on the financial assets of top Iranian officials. It’s well known that Iran’s political and military leaders have amassed significant personal wealth through corrupt practices at the expense of ordinary Iranian citizens. In fact, the personal foundations that these leaders direct make up roughly one-third of the entire Iranian economy, including such important sectors as telecommunications, construction, airports, and seaports. Unfortunately, the nuclear deal that President Obama signed with Iran allows many of the entities that are tied to this corruption to be removed from the sanctions list.
While H.R. 5461 won’t put a stop to the nuclear deal, it will force the U.S. Department of the Treasury to publish online a comprehensive list of the financial assets of these Iranian leaders so that everyone in the world will know where they get their money and how it’s being spent. That way, even though the President may support lifting sanctions, Americans in all sectors of the economy will know if they’re doing business with a corrupt Iranian official, and the Iranian people will know how their leaders are fleecing the Iranian economy.
The second bill, H.R. 5931, the “Prohibiting Future Ransom Payment to Iran Act,” makes it illegal for the U.S. government to make cash payments to Iran until such time as the President certifies that Iran is no longer a primary money laundering concern or a state sponsor of terrorism. The bill also states that is the formal policy of the United States to never pay ransom or release prisoners for the purpose of securing the release of a U.S. citizen taken hostage abroad. I’m proud that both these bills passed with broad bipartisan support, and I hope that the Senate will pass these bills soon.
Last week, we had another great hearing in the House Budget Committee. It was the next in a series of hearings related to the Committee’s “Restoring the Trust” initiative, and the focus was on what Congress can do to improve the lives of American families and working age adults. Among the many topics of discussion were education, health care, jobs and wages, and housing, to name a few, and I was surprised to learn that there is so much common ground between members on both sides of the aisle on a group of issues that can often be contentious.
For example, there was near universal agreement that we should focus less on simply ensuring Americans have access to education and more on ensuring that Americans have access to education that will actually benefit them in the long-term. We’ve been succeeding with innovative models in Georgia like dual-enrollment for high school students who want to get college credit from Gwinnett Tech while they’re still in high school. This makes getting a college degree cheaper and faster, and it gives our students an amazing leg-up when it comes to landing quality jobs. The same is true for finding ways to ensure that hardworking Americans see their wages increase as their productivity increases. I very much enjoyed the thoughtfulness of both the witnesses and members at this hearing, and I invite you watch the hearing by clicking the below link and share with me any feedback or ideas that you may have.
Last Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held its third hearing regarding an issue many of you back home have expressed concern about; the allegations of misconduct and possible impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. There’s no disputing that some in the IRS engaged in a targeting campaign against certain groups seeking tax-exempt status, and ever since this targeting came to light in 2013, many Americans have felt uneasy with the IRS’ power. Not only that, but with the subsequent erasure of hard drives containing documents linked to the targeting scandal, it’s only natural that the American people would want answers and would want someone held accountable. I’m pleased that Commissioner Koskinen answered all the committee members’ questions and even expressed regret that the IRS failed to preserve all the information congressional investigators sought in their probe. I look forward to further action by the Judiciary Committee in this matter.
This week the House is going to vote on the 2017 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). We’ve spoken before about how critical this legislation is to Georgia – for our water supply, our ports, and our water infrastructure – and I’m so pleased that we are spending time this week on debating and passing this bill. I also expect the House and Senate to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government’s operations through December 9th.
Member of Congress
(Washington, DC) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed bipartisan legislation introduced in March by U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) to provide new choices for those receiving official documentation regarding their immigration status from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Currently, USCIS refuses to send sensitive documents through any mode other than the U.S. Postal Service, and if those documents are lost in the mail, USCIS assumes the constituent is at fault and bills them for what can be hundreds of dollars to begin the document production and delivery process again.
H.R. 4712, the “Strengthening the Department of Homeland Security Secure Mail Initiative Act (Secure Mail Initiative Act)” stems from an issue brought to Woodall’s attention by constituents directly affected by the problem and offers recipients the ability to choose signature-required delivery once their application has been approved and completed. The measure imposes no cost on taxpayers and ensures tracking and accurate delivery for the documents.
“As well as being a solution to a problem facing members of our communities, this is also a national security bill,” said Rep. Woodall. “Ensuring these documents reach the men and women to whom they belong is certainly the goal, and by achieving it we can be certain they aren’t falling into the hands of those with ill intent. When I received calls from constituents who never received the documents for which they paid – not to mention rightfully earned – I went to work on a common-sense solution. I’ll always work to sort things out on a case by case basis, but this bill aims to keep it from happening in the first place, and I’m proud to partner with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get it done.”
“I am heartened to see that the gridlock that has waylaid so many of our efforts in Congress has given way for the passage of this important piece of legislation. This bill will not only help the people in dire need of receiving these sensitive documents, and who frequently suffer great financial burdens and emotional turmoil when they are not delivered, it will also help to strengthen our national security as many of these items can be used by terrorists, human traffickers, and other criminal elements to wreak havoc here at home,” said Rep. Speier. “This was an easy fix for a complex problem that has affected people within my District and across the country and I am grateful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to support this bill.”
Existing law requires permanent resident cards, travel documents, and employment authorization documents to be sent using U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail with delivery confirmation via tracking number, however, that does not guarantee delivery. The “Secure Mail Initiative Act” offers applicants a simple and voluntary way to ensure they – and no one else – receive their documents.
“I always ask constituents to bring their concerns and their solutions whenever they see challenges or opportunities in the federal government,” Woodall added. “I tell them that we can work together to solve problems and make government operate better—not just for the one constituent family, but for all American families. H.R 4712 is one of those success stories, and together – one family and one concern at the time – we will create many 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.
I want to draw everyone’s attention to an issue that is becoming more and more prevalent around the country: IRS telephone scams. I’ve heard from a few of you recently about this issue, and I want to highlight it for everyone else so that you’re all prepared if contacted by a scammer.
The way IRS telephone scams usually work is that you are contacted by an individual claiming to be an IRS agent, and it’s possible that the individual has spoofed the IRS toll-free number and will provide a fake IRS badge number. In many cases, the scammer will have already gained access to some of your personal information, including your name, address, employer, family members, education, and/or the last four digits of your Social Security Number, which will be used to convince you that the call is real. Usually, the individual either demands immediate payment for delinquent taxes and threatens to have you arrested if you refuse to pay or tells you that you are due a tax refund and simply need to provide your bank account information to collect it. If you receive a phone call like this, chances are it’s not the IRS, especially if this is the first time you’ve heard about the delinquent tax bill or tax refund in question, and you should hang up the phone immediately and report the call to the IRS Treasury Inspector General. If you are not comfortable calling the IRS, feel free to reach out to my office for assistance.
Below is more information from the IRS about these telephone scams, including information that will help you spot them and report them to the proper authorities.
It is important to know that the IRS:
Characteristics of IRS telephone scams include:
Remember, the IRS will NEVER call you to demand immediate payment for a tax liability!
Just days after the 15th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, the House took a strong stand against President Barack Obama’s plans to release dozens of terrorists being held in military prison at Guantanamo Bay. On Thursday, the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5351, which prohibits the transfer of any individual detained at Guantanamo Bay for the remainder of the President’s term in office, by a vote of 244-174. It probably sounds crazy to you that the President would willingly allow terrorists out of prison to return to the battlefield and fight against America and her allies, but that’s exactly what he wants to do.
I’m proud that the House has rejected the President’s ill-advised plan, and I hope that the Senate will follow suit soon. Until that time, however, I remain optimistic that the White House will see the error of this plan and ensure that dangerous criminals who want to terrorize Americans and our allies are kept behind bars where they belong.
The President’s health care law increased taxes on millions of American families and businesses while simultaneously increasing insurance deductibles and making it harder for so many hard-working moms and dads to provide quality health care for their families. But last week, the House passed a bill to eliminate one of the many Obamacare taxes that are harming American families and seniors. Before Obamacare, Americans were able to deduct from their taxes the cost of their healthcare if that cost was equal to or greater than 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income. This was meant to help folks who had very high health costs, and it was working.
Unfortunately, in order to squeeze a little more money out of the American people, President Obama increased the 7.5 percent threshold to 10 percent. That tax hike is going to hurt Americans across the board, and it’s especially going to hurt those who can least afford it. The majority of households claiming this credit make under $100,000 – and since the average wage earner in the metro Atlanta area makes roughly $50,000 – you can expect that many of our friends and neighbors are going to benefit from this legislation.
I have the opportunity to speak with America’s veterans regularly, and what I’ve been hearing lately is that while most veterans are happy with the care that they are getting at our VA medical centers, especially from the dedicated health care providers at our local VA clinics and hospitals, there’s always room for improvement. And that’s why the House passed H.R. 5620, the “VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016.” The bill allows the VA Secretary to hold those employees accountable who have engaged in misconduct, specifically by firing or demoting them. It might be impossible to believe that this wasn’t the law before, but thanks to this bill, some employees who are convicted of felonies that influenced their job performance can now have their pensions reduced accordingly. And that’s the right thing to do. If a VA employee kept a veteran from getting the care that he or she deserved through some sort of misconduct, that employee should be punished. Our veterans deserve our respect and our support, and I’m proud to have joined with over 300 of my colleagues in passing this measure.
On Thursday, the Senate passed S. 2848, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 by a vote on 95-3. Working in the House on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I have already passed a companion bill, and it is ready to be taken to the floor. Though the Senate and House bills are very different, both contain important provisions that will benefit the State of Georgia -- our water infrastructure projects and our critical ports. That’s why I called on Speaker Paul Ryan and House leadership to bring our House bill up for a vote as soon as possible, so that we can pass it and begin the conference committee process to negotiate a final product.
This week the House is expected to move forward on two bills that continue moving forward with our important plan to hold Iran accountable for its actions: H.R. 5931, the “Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act,” and H.R. 5461, the “Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act.” It’s also possible that the House will consider a Continuing Resolution to fund the government until December when Congress can hopefully come together and pass regular appropriations legislation.
The House Judiciary Committee is also expected to hold a hearing on Wednesday with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to discuss articles of impeachment against him. I appreciate the work that the Judiciary Committee has done so far investigating this situation, and I am certain that my colleagues on the committee will hold a fair and complete hearing.
Member of Congress
This week I led a group of friends and colleagues on the House Floor to push H.R. 25, the FairTax. In fact, even though the bill is already the single most popularly cosponsored piece of fundamental tax reform legislation in Congress, just this past week I added two additional cosponsors to the bill! For too long, the tax code has been the go-to mechanism for Washington to manipulate the behavior of the American people, and as Chairman Mike Conaway – who also happens to be a CPA – pointed out during our time on the floor, one of the biggest benefits of the FairTax is that it eliminates every special interest exemption and loophole found in the current convoluted code. With your continued partnership, I’m confident we’ll reach our goal of making April 15th just another beautiful spring day. You can hear our FairTax discussion by clicking the picture below.
Right now, the tax writing committee in the House, the Ways and Means Committee, is putting forward its vision for tax reform. The Chairman of the committee, Congressman Kevin Brady from Texas, is a FairTax cosponsor and supporter, so under his direction, the Committee has crafted a proposal closer to a FairTax consumption tax model than anything that we have ever seen before. Is it the FairTax in its entirety? No. Does it move us closer than ever before? Absolutely. Will it use FairTax principles and policies to grow American jobs, build the American economy, and end America’s reign as “Worst and Least Competitive Tax Code on the Planet?” Most certainly. Again, it is the best effort I have ever seen come out of the Ways and Means Committee. Why? Well, one reason is that the power of the tax writing committee comes from adding “wisdom” to the tax code through special deductions, credits, carve outs, and exemptions.
Chairman Brady is trying to end that practice exactly as the FairTax eliminates it. You and I and the millions of others who believe that there is a better way than our current tax code must stand with Chairman Brady and push back against efforts to adulterate his proposal with a new round of exceptions and exemptions. President Ronald Reagan simplified the tax code in 1986, but pressure over the subsequent 30 years for a deduction here and a carve out there led to the complicated, convoluted mess that we have now. It’s tempting for each of us to advocate for a particular tax break that is particularly useful to our lives, but following through on that temptation is what’s given us the absolutely mess that we have today. I hope you will stand with me and Chairman Brady against efforts to further pollute this FairTax-inspired blueprint for tax reform.
I voted for a bill last week that you may not have heard much about, but it’s a critical plank of the House Republican agenda to restore accountability and trust in government. It’s called the “Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act,” and it prevents the Department of Justice from requiring, as a condition of a settlement, a corporation or individual to make a donation to an outside group. It may sound innocuous, but what the Obama Administration has been doing is essentially using the law to compel a private business or citizen to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to private ideological groups to advance its liberal agenda.
For instance, the Department of Justice reached an enormous settlement agreement with some of our biggest banks that included $11 billion in “consumer relief”—purported to help struggling homeowners who were harmed by the Great Recession. But in fact, much of the money was allocated to outside groups like La Raza and the National Urban League. This is money that should have gone to the U.S. Treasury to benefit taxpayers, but is instead going to organizations that focus on lobbying, community organizing, and voter registration for Democrats. The bill we passed this week will end this abuse of government power, and I hope the Senate will vote to pass this bill without delay.
The more time that passes by, the clearer it becomes that the Obama Administration’s policy of “strategic patience” towards North Korea has been a strategic failure. The North Korean regime’s latest ballistic missile tests that landed dangerously close to Japanese shores and last Friday’s nuclear test are just the latest examples in a long line of many dangerous and irresponsible acts by the regime. This sort of behavior not only poses a direct threat to North Korea’s neighbors, such as Japan and South Korea, but to America as well. If the international community is going to effectively counter this threat, it absolutely must coordinate its efforts and work together as a team. That’s why I was pleased to see the House unanimously pass H.Res. 634 last week, which emphasizes the importance of the U.S., Japan, and South Korea working together to address the common threat posed by the North Korean regime. While I was happy to see the House send this powerful message of cooperation, it is of the upmost importance that we translate these words into action.
Last week, the National Small Business Association (NSBA) released its 2016 Mid-Year Economic Report, and while there were some positive findings in the report, I was troubled to learn that 41 percent of small business owners said that a lack of capital is hindering their ability to grow or expand operations. When small businesses aren’t growing and creating jobs, the U.S. economy and American families pay the price. As noted in the NSBA report, capital is the lifeblood of any small business, and that’s as true for a small business operating in a major west coast city as it is for a small business operating in the smallest city in the Seventh District. The good news is that the House passed a couple of bills last week that will make it easier and less-expensive for small businesses access to much needed capital.
The first bill, H.R. 2357, will simplify the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission’s registration and reporting process for small businesses in an effort to reduce compliance costs and increase flexibility during the securities offering process, and it will also establishe a registration exemption for small securities offerings in which the company owners and officers have an existing relationship with potential investors. Another section of H.R. 2357 will prevent the SEC from adding new regulatory burdens on small companies working to raise capital under a simplified securities offering process established by Congress in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012.
The second bill, H.R. 5424, will update the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 to lift costly and duplicative regulatory restrictions on private investment funds, like private equity funds, which are an important source of capital for American businesses. Last Wednesday, a constituent from Lawrenceville visited my office to discuss the positive impact that private equity funding has had on her Lawrenceville-based compression garment manufacturing business, Marena, and as it turns out, Marena isn’t the only Georgia business benefiting from private equity funding. Georgia businesses receive more private equity investment than business in all but four other U.S. states. I’m confident that the positive, pro-growth reforms in H.R. 5424 will spur even more private equity investment in our part of the world and across the nation, and I was pleased to see it pass with strong bipartisan support.
Last week, the Budget Committee held a hearing to discuss a number of issues associated with a federal government office that most folks who aren’t in the medical profession have probably never heard of, but which has enormous power and influence over Medicare and Medicaid policy – the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). CMMI was tasked under the Affordable Care Act with developing and testing health care demonstration projects that could improve patient outcomes and reduce costs, and as health care costs continue to climb, it’s hard to argue that finding innovative ways to deliver quality health care services for less is a bad idea. However, as discussed by several members at the hearing, past demonstration projects have resulted in limited access to health care and medical supplies for some seniors. What we learned at this hearing is that if Congress moves a bill to reverse a demonstration program that is harming seniors, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) would score it as a cost to taxpayers. What’s more, CMMI recently began requiring health care providers and patients to participate in demonstration projects. By mandating participation, CMMI is effectively changing the direction of federal health care policy without approval from Congress.
A very recent example that could impact folks in our district, given that it will apply to 75 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries, is CMMI’s new Medicare Part B payment demonstration program, which will modify Medicare reimbursements to physicians for drugs administered in outpatient settings. Should this demonstration program negatively impact Medicare beneficiaries’ access to medication, CBO scoring will make it much harder for Congress to intervene. That’s why it’s so important for Congress to investigate this issue now and find ways to hold CBO and CMMI accountable for ensuring that these projects don’t harm seniors. I encourage you to click on the link below to listen to the hearing and learn more about these issues.
I am always surprised when I meet someone who doesn’t remember exactly where they were or what they were doing on 9/11, but school has restarted and my experience is that almost no child in school this year will remember. Even seniors in high school this year will only have been two years old in September of 2001. So it is up to us to teach them.
There are so many lessons from that day.There are so many heroes of that day. I can’t pretend to know what is most important for our children to learn, but I know that the story of Flight 93 is near the top. The 40 passengers and crew on Flight 93 didn’t sign up to be heroes. They were just average Americans – along with a citizen of Germany, a citizen of Japan, and a citizen of New Zealand – on their vacation or on their way to work. Yet, in a small period of just over 30 minutes, those men and women transformed from vacationers and commuters into victims of a hijacking, into comforters of their families far away, and into heroes for an entire nation fighting back.
Some people know that they want to be protectors and stand in the gap between others and harm, and so they join the military or law enforcement or the fire department. Those people are and will always be role models for our children. But while the heroes of Flight 93 did not pursue the role of protector, in the very short window in which they were presented with the opportunity, they seized it. For all of the heart-breaking or inspiring or enraging lessons that our children can learn from September 11, 2001, among the most important to me is that while America’s greatness may be protected by our Constitution, that greatness emanates from the ordinary people who comprise its citizenry. America’s legacy – and America’s future – is one of ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things. I will be forever grateful that such heroes live among us. I will never forget.
This week the House is expected to consider H.R. 3590, the “Halt Tax increases on the Middle Class and Seniors Act.” The bill rolls-back an Obamacare tax increase on hard-working Americans who are spending a significant amount of their income on health care expenses. This bill puts more money back in the pockets of our friends and neighbors.
The House is also going to consider H.R. 5620, the “VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act.” The bill will improve the ability of our nation’s veterans to receive timely and accurate decisions on their disability claims, and it will make it easier to fire VA employees who have engaged in gross mismanagement or misconduct. Our veterans deserve our support, and I’m happy that this bill is coming to the floor for a vote.
Member of Congress
Last week, the United States and South Korea took another step closer in our critically important economic, cultural, and military relationship. You’ve likely read or heard about North Korea’s continued testing of missiles and its nuclear ambitions, and in an effort to protect our close ally and good friend from North Korean aggression, the U.S. has placed an advanced, defensive weapons system – the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) – in South Korea. You may think that extending our defense shield across South Korea has nothing to do with Georgia, but the purpose of THAAD is to deter violence; and the dream of a peaceful Korean peninsula is alive and well in the 7th District.
Gwinnett County is home to nearly half of the Korean-American population of Georgia and dozens of Korean-American owned and operated businesses – like Doosan Infracore America Corporation in Suwanee, Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas in Norcross, Kia Motors America parts and distribution center in Lawrenceville, Mega Mart in Duluth, and Shinhan Bank America in Duluth – which are all examples of how our 7th District community is bolstered by our nation’s special relationship with South Korea and Korean Americans. What’s more, the peaceful and economically fruitful environment that THAAD will hopefully bring to South Korea was echoed on August 28th during the One Korea Festival that was held at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth. The festival featured traditional Korean dancing and music and was a fantastic celebration of Korean heritage and a showcase of everyone’s hope for a more peaceful future for the Korean peninsula.
With the many tremendous business opportunities in our community that are supported by Koreans and Korean-Americans, as well as the close relationship that I have had the pleasure of cultivating with representatives from the Korean Consul General’s office in Atlanta, I know that America’s defense assistance to South Korea will lead to a more peaceful Asia in the future.
Last week I met with a group of our friends and neighbors who work at Mölnlycke Health Care in Norcross. Mölnlycke is an international medical device provider that specializes in surgical and wound care products, and its U.S. headquarters is right here in the 7th District. Visiting Mölnlycke afforded me an invaluable opportunity to discuss and witness first-hand the real world impact that federal laws and regulations, like Obamacare’s medical device tax and the implementation of the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act, are having in our district. I also learned about a product Mölnlycke has developed to prevent hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, which affect more than 1 million Americans each year and add roughly $10 billion per year to the cost of health care in the U.S. This invention could save Americans billions and bolster the quality of care that our seniors receive, and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues to increase the use of these medical devices throughout our health care system.
Rep. Rob Woodall visits with employees at Mölnlycke in Norcross
I’m grateful to the folks at Mölnlycke for the work they do and the time they spent with me last week, and I look forward to using what I learned during this visit and the many others I’ve had over this August district work period to make Washington more responsive to the needs of folks back home.
When it comes to trading ideas and crafting solutions, there’s no substitute for sitting down with local leaders and business owners in our community. Last week I had the opportunity to do just that with some of the folks at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Pruitt Health, Eagle Rock Productions in Norcross, Sawnee EMC, and Georgia Highlands Medical Center in Cumming. As the activity in Washington resumes today, there’s still a great deal we can accomplish together, and that partnership centers around these kinds of discussions. From the need for responsible trade policies to common sense labor regulatory reform, it’s one thing to debate the issues on Capitol Hill, but it is quite another to hear directly from those at home who work day-in, day-out with these policies.
A common thread in my conversations with many of you is the need for tangible tax reform – and there is perhaps no better example of common ground than the desire to make our corporate tax rate globally competitive. This is something President Obama has expressed interest in doing time and again, and it’s certainly something Republicans are eager to accomplish. In fact, the House Republican tax reform proposal leverages that middle ground by proposing a 15% reduction in the overall corporate tax rate. I would much rather eliminate it altogether and bring even more jobs here, but am more than willing to move America in the right direction as much as I can today and coming back tomorrow for more. We have an opportunity to make real progress on these issues, and that’s due to men and women in the 7th District and across the country getting involved, sharing their ideas, and ultimately shaping the policies coming out of DC.
Tonight, Tuesday, September 6th at 7:30pm I am hosting another telephone town hall meeting to share more with you on the topic of tax reform and the process we’re making incorporating 7th District principles into Washington policy discussions. I hope that you will be able to take a few moments to join the conversation.
Telephone Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, September 6th
7:30PM – 8:00PM
Dial-In Number: (877) 229-8493
This week will be a busy week in the House as we work to move bills dealing with small business investment, energy security, litigation reform, foreign policy, and more. Among these bills are large ones and small ones, but each will make a difference for the American economy or for American families. One step at the time, together we are making a difference.
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.
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