Don’t believe what you hear.
Congress hasn’t gone completely to the dogs. It has gone to the cats, too.
This week, U.S. Reps. Roger Williams, R-Austin, and Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, teamed up to work on a project — pet adoption.
The two filed a resolution to designate April 11 as National Pet Adoption Day and the month of April as National Pet Adoption Month. They hope to encourage people to adopt pets from animal shelters and rescue efforts.
“As a lifelong pet owner and animal lover, I am calling on President Trump to issue a proclamation calling upon the American people to observe the importance of animal adoption,” said Williams, whose district stretches from the edges of Tarrant County through Austin.
“I want to thank my friend, Congressman Veasey, for joining me in this effort to encourage families to bring these animals under their roofs.”
In an effort that proves bipartisanship still exists, the two note that about 8 million animals are put in shelters across the country each year.
More than 20,000 animals end up at local shelters each year, according to the city of Fort Worth.
The announcement from Veasey and Williams comes as the Fort Worth Animal Shelter holds an “Adopt Love” adoption weekend.
That means that, through Sunday, adoptions fees — which include ra abies vaccination, micro-chipping, city license and spay/neuter services — are just $10 at the Chuck Silcox Animal Shelter, Hulen PetSmart, Alliance PetSmart and Watauga PetSmart.
Veasey said he hopes the resolution he and Williams are carrying is successful.
“I know firsthand the amount of joy and companionship animals bring to our lives,” Veasey said. “I’m proud to join Congressman Williams in recognizing the importance of pet adoption as a way to help local animals find their forever homes.”
KILLEEN - Operation Stand Down Central Texas has been working to help homeless veterans for three years. When director Joann Courtland was invited to the Texas State Society Black Tie and Boots Ball to bring attention to the work the nonprofit does, she was hoping to make some friends and raise some funds. What she got, besides recognition in front of thousands of people, was a new 2017 Toyota Tundra.
"This is a game changer," Courtland said. "This is really going to help us move people around, move items around, it's really going to get the word out... I really think we can get more support, more donations, and take our organization to the next level."
The truck was provided by Gulf States Toyota in partnership with the office of U.S. Congressman Roger Williams. The chairman of the Texas State Society, congressman Williams put the ball together and wanted to find a nonprofit in central Texas to recognize for the event. The office considered nine nonprofits and Operation Stand Down Central Texas came out on top.
The office also contacted Gulf States Toyota to find out if they would be a sponsor for the event, and the company agreed. They also agreed to provide the $50,000 Toyota Tundra.
"The more we learned about it the more excited we got about the organization," Toyota Government Relations Director Laird Doran said. "To find an organization like Operation Stand Down that is really trying to improve the lives of veterans here in central Texas, it really hits the mark."
Operation Stand Down Central Texas is based in Copperas Cove and works every week to provide clothing, hygiene items, help with paperwork and even showers to veterans in Copperas Cove and in Killeen. The nonprofit also does two major Stand Down events a year, where veterans receive food, clothing, medical care, and services from a variety of organizations in the area.
The next major Stand Down event is April 22 at the National Guard Army in Killeen. They still need volunteer help making that happen and you can contact Operation Stand Down Central Texas on their website if you would like to volunteer.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressmen Roger Williams (R–Austin) and Marc Veasey (D–Fort Worth) this afternoon introduced a bipartisan resolution to designate April 11th as “National Pet Adoption Day” and the month of April as “National Pet Adoption Month” to encourage pet adoption from local animal shelters and rescues.
“As a lifelong pet owner and animal lover, I am calling on President Trump to issue a proclamation calling upon the American people to observe the importance of animal adoption,” said Williams. “I want to thank my friend, Congressman Veasey, for joining me in this effort to encourage families to bring these animals under their roofs.”
Each year, approximately 8 million animals enter animal shelters in the United States.
“I know firsthand the amount of joy and companionship animals bring to our lives,” said Veasey. “I’m proud to join Congressman Williams in recognizing the importance of pet adoption as a way to help local animals find their forever homes.”
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WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Roger Williams (R – Austin), Thursday morning testified before the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies to request support for various projects at Fort Hood.
“As a Member of Congress whose district includes Fort Hood, I know that ‘The Great Place’ is the gold standard for the Army, the Department of Defense and our nation’s overall national security posture,” said Williams. “As you begin work on the fiscal year 2018 Military Construction, Veteran Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, I request language be added to ensure Fort Hood remains the gold standard.”
Specifically, Williams requested “action be taken concerning Fort Hood’s Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facilities” that are largely considered failing. Williams also requested funding to replace the Unaccompanied Enlisted Personnel Housing Barracks and expressed support for fully funding a future SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) on the base. He also encouraged more support for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“There are many worthwhile veteran programs that should have our full attention,” said Williams. “Although I am encouraged that President Trump has exempted VA medical staff from the hiring freeze, I think the need to hire qualified doctors to take care of our veterans is now more important than ever. Hiring more doctors would give us the ability to further reduce our VA claims backlog and provide timely care to our veterans.”
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Congressman Roger Williams, R–Austin, testified in Washington, D.C., on Thursday morning to request support for various projects at Fort Hood.
Williams, whose district includes part of Fort Hood, appeared before the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies to request support to improve the barracks and motor pools on Fort Hood.
“As a member of Congress whose district includes Fort Hood, I know that the Great Place is the gold standard for the Army, the Department of Defense and our nation’s overall national security posture,” Williams said. “As you begin work on the fiscal year 2018 Military Construction, Veteran Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, I request language be added to ensure Fort Hood remains the gold standard.”
Williams asked that “action be taken” concerning Fort Hood’s tactical equipment maintenance facilities. There are dozens of such facilities in the post’s many motor pools.
Williams also requested funding to upgrade the barracks at Fort Hood and expressed support for fully funding a future sensitive compartmented information facility, which is a secured room for processing data on the post, according to a news release.
Williams presented no dollar amounts for the projects to the committee.
At a Killeen luncheon Nov. 11, Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, III Corps and Fort Hood commander, said aging barracks and motor pools are a problem at Fort Hood.
Of the 99 barracks at Fort Hood, half are below acceptable standards, he said.
Of the 75 motor pools at Fort Hood, one-third were built in the 1950s for World War II Sherman tanks, not for today’s larger Abrams tanks.
Buildings across the Army post were constructed in the 1980s before information technology supported Wi-Fi and internet connections, so you’ll see “soldiers standing outside” those buildings “trying to get a signal on their Blackberry phones. ... It’s a challenge,” MacFarland said.
Williams also urged more support for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“There are many worthwhile veteran programs that should have our full attention,” Williams said. “Although I am encouraged that President (Donald) Trump has exempted VA medical staff from the hiring freeze, I think the need to hire qualified doctors to take care of our veterans is now more important than ever. Hiring more doctors would give us the ability to further reduce our VA claims backlog and provide timely care to our veterans.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Roger Williams (R – Austin), Tuesday evening introduced a House resolution of disapproval, under the authority of the Congressional Review Act, to block an Obama Administration-era rule that would impact prepaid accounts starting this October.
Williams, who serves on the House Financial Services Committee, has authored previous legislation to chip away at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The committee chairman, Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R – Dallas), praised Williams’ efforts.
“This is just another example of the unconstitutional and unaccountable CFPB making laws instead of simply enforcing them. I applaud Roger Williams for leading this important effort in the House that will help create the kind of fair, open and competitive markets that truly protect consumers,” said Hensarling.
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 34 million American households are either unbanked or underbanked. Roughly 68 million consumers use prepaid cards to financially manage their daily lives.
“While President Obama’s CFPB was marketed as an extra layer of protection for consumers, it has actually cornered millions of Americans who have limited or no access to the products offered by our traditional banking system,” said Williams. “It is my hope that we undo this harmful rule before it takes effect so that all families can go about their everyday lives.”
The resolution, so far, has 34 cosponsors.
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U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis
“It is always prudent to pursue efficiencies and potential cost-saving improvements in the federal workforce,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, whose district includes part of Arlington. “We have many dedicated and able federal employees in Texas, and we should always look for better ways to utilize their skill sets.”
More than that, he and others say, the hiring freeze is just temporary and will just last for a total of three months.
“Congressman Williams has said since he first ran for Congress that the size of government is growing too big, while our economy is not recovering quickly enough,” said Vince Zito, communications director for Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, whose district stretches from the edges of Tarrant County through Austin.
“Rep. Williams supports shrinking the size of government and using that money to help our veterans, rebuild our military and reimburse the taxpayers.”
Edwards — who grew up in Irving, where his mom still lives — said he realizes how lucky he was.
First he was frustrated because he didn’t get the job he had accepted, and had turned down other interviews and job offers after landing the position in Port Aransas.
Then he was so grateful for the help he received from Veasey’s office and the National Parks Service liaison in regaining the job, which is part of the government’s Pathways Internship Program.
Fortunately, he and his wife had enough savings that the job delay didn’t wipe them out financially. And he learned that he really did have a job after all right before his daughter Elena Catherine was born.
“It has been a whirlwind of emotions,” he said. “We’ve gone from the lowest to lows to getting what amounts to a dream job. Then our child was born.
Cody Edwards, who was told he lost his job because of the federal hiring freeze
“My wife and I shed a few tears,” Edwards said. “It worked out — thank God.”
Countless other North Texans may be directly impacted.
At the Naval Air Station, for instance, officials say they don’t have a total of how many jobs will remain vacant because of the hiring freeze. They do note that some positions will be exempt because of public safety and national security needs.
Jobs openings at the base are still being advertised online at usajobs.gov. Anyone hired before Jan. 22 with a “confirmed start date” for no later than Feb. 22 should head to work on their assigned day, said Karin Krause, a spokeswoman for the base.
But any positions where new hires didn’t have that confirmed start date will be reviewed and possibly revoked.
“NAS JRB Fort Worth’s mission is national security, and our entire civilian workforce contributes to the accomplishment of that national security mission,” Krause said. “However, the Secretary of Defense has determined that implementing these temporary hiring limitations ensures that our workforce is aligned to our highest priorities, and resources are allocated in a manner that promotes effective and efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”
Trump on Jan. 23 implemented an immediate hiring freeze to stop efforts to fill vacancies, including seasonal jobs, at federal agencies throughout the country.
Some jobs involving national security, the military and public safety were exempted, as well as some posts at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Other posts exempted include those focusing on cybersecurity, nuclear reactors, contingency planning and treaty enforcement.
Trump indicated that his three-month hiring freeze, which was mentioned in his “Contract with the American Voter,” is geared to keep the federal government from swelling before his budget director can put forward a plan to reduce the number of federal employees across the country.
Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents federal workers across the country, including those in the local chapter that serves employees of Fort Worth and North Texas.
But some federal workers say they are already understaffed.
“The whole premise of the hiring freeze is that there are too many federal workers,” said Kevin Tinker, an immigration service officer and president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3377. “We’ve always been too little for too much work. We’ve been overworked and overstressed and the premise is wrong.
“We’re trying to do our best to get the work done and we need more employees, not less.”
Trump’s memo asked that workers “seek efficient use of existing personnel and funds to improve public services and the delivery of these services.”
It also stated that the hiring freeze “does not prohibit making reallocations to meet the highest priority needs and to ensure that essential services are not interrupted and national security is not affected.”
The number of federal jobs in Tarrant County has dropped through the year in every period since the fourth quarter of 2013, BLM statistics show.
“The American people rely on the work that federal workers do to protect our food, medicines, our air and water, to safeguard our nuclear weapons and our economy, to assist the most vulnerable senior citizens and young children, and to ensure taxpayers have the help they need,” said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents federal workers across the country, including those in the local chapter that serves employees in Fort Worth and North Texas.
“Empty desks, dormant computers and ringing telephones don’t deliver vital public services and safeguard our nation,” he said in a statement to the Star-Telegram. “Federal workers do.”
When President Trump told Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly recently that the rollout of a Republican health-care plan would “maybe . . . take till sometime into next year,” he contradicted many congressional Republicans who have promised a swift repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
And they followed what has become an uncomfortably common routine: making sense of his words, figuring out how they mesh with their own promises — and getting back to work.
“I don’t really know what he’s referring to in terms of a year,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), the No. 2 Senate leader. “Hopefully we will get our replacement plan in place well before that.”
Said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the Republican conference chairman: “When I heard that timeline, I was like, ‘Okay, well, that’s — that’s another timeline.’ We’ll factor that in.”
Said Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi (R-Ohio), chairman of a key subcommittee assembling the health plan: “He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, with respect to the legislative process.”
It was only the latest example of Trump making an off-the-cuff statement on a sensitive policy matter that has bewildered the Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are working to implement his — and their — agenda.
In the case of health care, Trump has frustrated GOP leaders who have been struggling to keep their party together on a complicated and potentially disruptive plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — only to watch Trump seem to overpromise and step on their carefully crafted messaging.
There are significant policy disagreements among Republicans on health care and other issues, but Trump’s musings have often served to heighten those conflicts, to GOP leaders’ dismay.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) went to the Senate floor Monday to lash out at “an obsession with advancing a narrative of a deeply divided Republican majority.”
“Sure, there are details that need to be worked out, both on the process and the substance on things like tax reform, trade and, of course, health-care reform,” he said. “But, by and large, Republicans all have the same ultimate goals for these key areas.”
Although the goals may be similar, their language has often diverged. During the presidential transition, Republican lawmakers began speaking about their health-care plans in terms of “universal access” — a positive-sounding alternative to the universal-coverage aims of the ACA.
But in a Jan. 15 interview with The Washington Post, Trump promised “insurance for everybody” — a phrase that evokes the single-payer system Republicans detest rather than the free-market-oriented solutions they have tended to favor.
Trump also, in that interview, warned Congress not to “get cold feet because the people will not let that happen” and said he has a health-care plan “very much formulated down to the final strokes.”
“We haven’t put it in quite yet, but we’re going to be doing it soon,” he said.
The sense of urgency was reflected in a three-pronged plan party leaders presented to the GOP rank and file at a retreat in Philadelphia last month. In laying out a 200-day congressional agenda, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) said that a blueprint would be rolled out within weeks, and that the House would pass a special fast-track bill repealing the ACA and beginning the replacement process no later than the end of March.
Meanwhile, Ryan and other leaders said, the Trump administration would be moving to undo federal regulations tied to the ACA and advancing other pieces of the replacement through congressional committees.
Trump’s remarks to O’Reilly, aired to an unusually large audience before the Super Bowl broadcast Sunday on Fox, seemed to extend that timeline by months.
“Maybe it’ll take till sometime into next year, but we’re certainly going to be in the process,” he said, adding: “I think that, yes, I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year,” he said.
As with Trump’s previous comments on a number of issues including health care, border security and immigration, GOP congressional leaders moved to shoehorn what he had said into their plans.
“I think there’s a little confusion here,” Ryan told reporters Tuesday, suggesting that Trump was referring to the transition period necessary to implement the GOP health-care plan. “As far as legislating is concerned, we’re going to do our legislating this year.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer endorsed that reading later Tuesday: “I think we can have this done legislatively sooner rather than later. But I think the implementation of a lot of the pieces make take a little bit longer.”
A similar dynamic has played out on tax reform, another politically hairy endeavor that has been the subject of intense behind-the-scenes talks between the Trump administration and congressional leaders.
Ryan and other House leaders have pushed a corporate tax model known as “border adjustment,” where companies can deduct the costs of exported goods but not imported goods from their taxable income, as an alternative to the border tariff that Trump has frequently threatened to level on U.S. companies that move production overseas.
On the evening of Jan. 9, Vice President Pence and key Trump advisers including Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, spent more than two hours in the speaker’s office as Ryan made the case for border adjustment. Ryan and aides left the meeting thinking that Trump would come around to the idea.
But a week later, Trump blindsided Ryan and other House leaders when he told the Wall Street Journal that he found the proposal “too complicated.”
“Anytime I hear border adjustment, I don’t love it,” he said. “Because usually it means we’re going to get adjusted into a bad deal. That’s what happens.”
Since then, however, Trump appears to have softened somewhat. The next week, he delivered remarks at the GOP retreat promising a tax reform bill “that will reduce our trade deficits, increase American exports and will generate revenue from Mexico.”
Ryan’s aides pointed to those comments — as well as remarks that day from Spicer pointing to a plan “using comprehensive tax reform as a means to tax imports from countries that we have a trade deficit from” — as evidence that Trump has endorsed border adjustment.
Several Republicans shrugged off Trump’s most recent remarks as the imprecision of a political novice.
Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), a key player in health-care discussions, said he plans to rely on personal interactions he has had with Trump, Pence and their aides to guide legislation rather than Trump’s public pronouncements. “I continue to use that as the basis for my plan,” he said.
Said Rep. Roger Williams (Tex.): “He’s the president, and he’s got maybe a calendar he’s looking at, but I can tell you: It’s our job. I think the emphasis should be on getting this thing done now, because that’s what the American people want.”
Tiberi, chairman of the Ways and Means subcommittee on health, said Trump may not be aware of the political implications of pushing the health-care issue into 2018 — that is, just ahead of the midterm elections.
“There’s a lot of anxiety already out there. I think the longer we wait, the more difficult it becomes, so I think we’d rather do it sooner rather than later,” he said. “Obviously, he’s the president, but you kind of put it in perspective: He’s only in his second full week, and he hasn’t been around this process for very long.”Read More
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Roger Williams (R – Austin), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, on Friday released the following statement after the Trump Administration announced it would begin scaling back the Dodd-Frank Act: sweeping regulation that has blanketed nearly every aspect of the financial sector including large banks on Wall Street and small businesses and community banks.
“When it comes down to policy, Dodd-Frank is one of the most damaging laws to ever come out of Washington,” said Williams. “It is a perfect example of a knee-jerk reaction, authored and implemented by government bureaucrats who have never been in business. From first time homebuyers to mom and pop store owners, Dodd-Frank has made it more difficult to borrow money, it has increased the cost of compliance measures and it has forced community lenders out of business.”
Community banks control a shrinking percentage of the overall banking assets but make almost half of small business loans under $1 million. In Texas alone, more than 150 banks have disappeared in the past five years as a result of these costs and government intervention.
The Trump Administration on Friday announced it would also deliver a memorandum to the Department of Labor, to delay the implementation of the “fiduciary rule.” The rule, which was authored by the Obama Administration last year, would discourage financial advisers from working with smaller savers.
On Friday, Williams drafted an op-ed asking his constituents to share their personal accounts on how they have been impacted by federal regulations and taxes.
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1122 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Roger Williams represents the 25th District of Texas in the United States Congress, a district that stretches from Tarrant County in the North to Hays County in the South and includes much of Austin and the Texas Hill Country.
Prior to his election in November 2012, Congressman Williams served his country in a number of ways and brings a unique background to Congress. He was raised in the Fort Worth area where he graduated from high school and later played baseball at Texas Christian University.
After graduating from college, he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves where he played in their farm system before an injury ended his sports career and forced him to begin his business career. He began working in the family car business and has owned and operated the business for 40 years.
Along the way, he also became involved civically and politically. He served as Regional Finance Chairman for Governor Bush in 1994 and 1998 before he went on to later serve as the North Texas Chairman for the Bush/Cheney 2000 campaign. Additionally, as well as the North Texas Finance Chairman and National Grassroots Fundraising Chairman for Bush/Cheney ’04, Inc. Williams was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2001 as the Chairman of the Republican National Finance Committee’s Eagles Program. He has also served as State Finance Chair for John Cornyn for U.S. Senate, Inc., in 2002 and as the National Director of the “Patriots” program for Senator Cornyn.
In 2005, Governor Rick Perry appointed Congressman Williams to serve as Texas Secretary of State. As Chief Election Officer for Texas, he worked to ensure the uniform application and interpretation of election laws throughout the state. The Congressman worked tirelessly to promote economic development, investment and job creation in Texas. He also served as the state’s Chief Liaison for Texas Border and Mexican Affairs as well as Chair of the state’s 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Response Strike Force.
Congressman Williams was elected to his first term in Congress on November 6th, 2012 and was selected to serve on the House Committee on the Budget, along with the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure.
Had a great discussion with Tarrant County Law Enforcement this afternoon. Looking forward to working together to keep #TX25 safe
Today I was in Burleson, Texas for a round-table discussion with local Johnson County Law Enforcement. Thanks for having me! #TX25
On this day in 1945, marines raised the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima. The photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal later became one of the most iconic photographs
"Rep. Williams and Veasey recognize that Animal Welfare isn’t a partisan cause. It’s especially heartening to see Members of Congress working
Enjoyed an open discussion this afternoon with local law enforcement from Erath County and Tarleton State University. Keep up the good work!