Rob Woodall

Rob Woodall

GEORGIA's 7th DISTRICT

WASHINGTON D.C. TOUR UPDATE – OUTDOOR CAPITOL TOURS

2020/09/22

As you may know, several popular tourist sites continue to be closed to the public due to concerns about COVID-19. While the White House recently opened for tours on Fridays and Saturdays with limited visitor capacity, the U.S. Capitol Building, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Library of Congress, and Supreme Court remain closed to the public until further notice.

My staff and I miss welcoming visitors from the Seventh District, and together we have explored safe and creative ways to welcome our friends and neighbors back to Washington as it begins to reopen. To accommodate the Capitol’s COVID-19 safety guidelines, I would like to officially announce the launch of outdoor tours of the Capitol Hill grounds. Visitors will have the chance to see and learn more about the history of Congress and the U.S. Capitol in an hour-long outdoor tour led by a member of my personal staff. The tour will be conducted using appropriate social distancing, mask wearing, and hand sanitizing procedures.

There is truly no better way to learn about our government than a visit to Capitol Hill, which is why I look forward to safely welcoming visitors back to DC in the coming days.

If you would like to request a tour of the White House or Capitol Hill grounds, please visit the tour page on my website.

 

If you have any questions regarding this update, please do not hesitate to reach out to my staff at 202-225-4272.

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Washington Watch - 9/21/20

2020/09/21

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE GINSBURG PASSES AWAY AT AGE 87

This past Friday, I was saddened to hear the news that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away after a long-fought battle with pancreatic cancer. Small in stature, but a giant among her peers, Justice Ginsburg was undeniably a trailblazer, with a unique ability to reach our youngest generations with a fervor that matched that of our oldest. She served for nearly three decades on our nation's highest court, where her imprint won't soon be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers remain with Justice Ginsburg's family, friends, colleagues, and those across the nation mourning this profound loss of a leader who was an icon to so many. 

 

RECOGNIZING FIRST RESPONDERS IN WAKE OF HURRICANE SALLY

Last week, Hurricane Sally made landfall as a Category 2 Hurricane, bringing significant and devastating flooding to large parts of Alabama, Florida, and even here in Georgia, as the slow-moving storm continued its path through the Carolinas and much of the Southeast. President Trump has approved emergency declarations for states including Florida and Alabama which were the greatest impacted, having received up to 30 inches of rain in areas along the Gulf Coast.

FEMA is continuing its work to offer assistance, and as relief efforts continue, we must not forget to highlight the incredible efforts of our first responders, linemen, and volunteers who have worked to rescue individuals from areas with significant flooding, restore power to homes, and donate their time and resources to serving those affected. Thank you for all that you do.

 

CALLING FOR BIPARTISANSHIP DURING HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE

While I’m disappointed that our work in the House Chamber last week wasn’t one to move forward a COVID-19 relief package, I had hoped we would come together to move forward the pieces of legislation that were brought to the floor in a bipartisan manner. And to some extent, last week the House did a better job of that than other times in recent memory. For example, one bill the House considered and debated this week H.R. 2694, the “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act -- which you can read more about in the constituent spotlight below -- was the product of good faith negotiations between Republicans and Democrats to work together to strengthen protections for pregnant workers.

However, opportunities to move forward in a bipartisan fashion two of the other bills brought to the floor from the House Committee on Education and Labor – H.R. 2574 and H.R. 2639 – were simply yet another missed opportunity. For example, instead of dooming H.R. 2639 to largely partisan passage in this Chamber that will stop well short of being enacted into law, Republicans joined to support an amendment offered by Representative Allen (R-GA) that would have expanded an existing federal grant structure – the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG) established under the Every Student Succeeds Act – to allow school districts to use funds to reduce racial or socioeconomic isolation in schools. These grants are already authorized on a bipartisan basis, and the SSAEG received $1.21 billion in Fiscal Year 2020 funding.

When managing the Rule for the bills being considered this week, I echoed those calls to join together to do what we were sent here to do: send bills to the President’s desk. While the Allen amendment was ultimately not adopted, allowing for its merits to be discussed on the House floor was a welcome step. I hope House leadership will continue to allow for more free and open discussion amongst the whole House by allowing for amendments to be offered and debated on the floor.

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Rep. Rob Woodall Manages Rule Debate for H.Res. 1107 which provided for consideration of H.R. 2574, H.R. 2639, H.R. 2694, and H. Res. 908

 

HOUSE CONDEMNS ANTI-ASIAN BIAS AMID COVID-19 PANDEMIC

As frequent readers of this newsletter will recall, I joined my colleagues in leading a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr requesting that the Department of Justice stands firmly against the uptick of anti-Asian discrimination in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and provide the House with the latest data on anti-Asian attacks across the country. Our friends and neighbors of Asian-American heritage have been wrongly associated with the spread of COVID-19 and have been victims of discrimination and violent incidents as a result. In an effort to combat this trend and set the record straight, the House voted last week on H.Res. 908, to condemn all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19. I was pleased to join my colleagues in voting for this resolution and standing against all discrimination against our brothers and sisters of Asian heritage.

 

GULF STATES FORMALIZE RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL

Back in August, I had shared with you the news that Israel and the United Arab Emirates had agreed to formalize diplomatic relations – a historic move that made them only the third Arab state to do so since Israel’s founding. Since then, the Abraham Accords – as they are referred to – have since added another nation to that list, the Kingdom of Bahrain.

This agreement, facilitated by President Trump, was commemorated at a signing ceremony at the White House last week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan. The hopes I shared previously that the Abraham Accords would precipitate further formalization of relations with Arab states have already culminated with the addition of Bahrain, which makes me even more hopeful that more nations in the region will follow suit. This agreement should serve as an encouraging moment in history, setting us on a pathway for peace in the Middle East.

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: STRENGTHENING PROTECTIONS FOR PREGNANT WORKERS

As I mentioned earlier, the House considered H.R. 2694, the “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act” last week, a bill aimed at ensuring pregnant women in the workplace are better protected against discrimination. Over the course of the 116th Congress, I have heard from many of you on this topic, and I want to share a few of the messages I have received below. 

Laura from Duluth:

No one should be forced to choose between a healthy pregnancy and a paycheck. It is time for Congress to recognize the stakes for pregnant workers and their families and pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act without delay.

Donald from Lilburn:

Far too often, pregnant workers are fired and discriminated against simply for asking to have reasonable workplace accommodations like an extra bathroom break or a bottle of water. It is imperative that we close the loopholes that jeopardize pregnant workers’ livelihoods and civil rights.

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No woman should face discrimination at work for bringing a new life into our community. While in 1978 Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to provide protections to female employees for this exact purpose, the implementation and interpretation of this law over time has created an unclear framework and complicated burden of proof that has led to confusion amongst both employers and employees. H.R. 2694 would remedy that confusion by requiring employers with 15 or more employees, as similarly defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to provide reasonable and temporary accommodations to pregnant employees who have expressed the need for them.

And on an issue as important as this, I am grateful that my Republican and Democrat colleagues on the House Committee on Education and Labor engaged in a good faith negotiations to improve upon this bill and iron out concerns with the legislation as it was initially proposed. Evidence of those extensive negotiations can be seen throughout the Committee process. The changes, which include ensuring that employers who act in good faith to make reasonable accommodations will not be liable for damages, are example of the ways in which this bill works to better serve both the employer and employee, and are evidenced by the larger support this bill has gained among organizations throughout the business community. While there was one missed opportunity to make this bill a truly bipartisan effort - the adoption of the Republican Motion to Recommit which I supported that would have added an amendment certifying protections for religious entities – it is important to remember the bill does not eliminate longstanding religious protections already in place under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (CRA) for religious entities.

As evidenced by the over 100 Republican Members who joined me to support this measure, H.R. 2694 is an example of what the legislative process should look like. Its larger, bipartisan passage would not have been possible without Republicans and Democrats working hand in hand to make the final product the best it could be, and I was glad to support it. I hope we will see more examples of this approach to legislating in the days and weeks to come.

 

HIGHLIGHTING FOOD ASSISTANCE EFFORTS IN OUR COMMUNITY

Our community has always been home to countless service-minded individuals and organizations who never fail to recognize when their neighbors are in need of a helping hand. As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently extended flexibilities for certain child nutrition programs through the end of 2020. That flexibility has allowed Gwinnett County Schools to offer food assistance to anyone ages 18 or younger who is in need.

Additionally, there are a number of nonprofit and charitable organizations in our community committed to the noble cause of addressing hunger in our communities. FoodFinder - one such nonprofit with roots in our community whose efforts I recently highlighted in a previous newsletter - has now caught the attention of Lay’s thanks to its efforts to direct people to resources for food assistance closest to the them. As part of the Smile with Lay’s campaign, benefitting the international charity Operation Smile, FoodFinder’s CEO Jack Griffin has been recognized as one of 30 " 'ordinary' people doing extraordinary things in their communities" who will be featured on the bags of several Lay's chips in grocery stores across the country.

In these most challenging times, it has been a great honor to witness the selfless work that the people of the Seventh District offer to our community. Thank you to all of you who have made life easier for those struggling through this pandemic, including the excellent efforts of Gwinnett County Public Schools and the FoodFinder team.

 

FORSYTH COUNTY MOTHER AND DAUGHTER RECOGNIZED FOR DEDICATION TO GEORGIA SPECIAL OLYMPICS

If there’s one thing we certainly don’t lack here in the Seventh District, it’s dedicated individuals who aren’t afraid to put in some hard work to produce incredible results. That’s why I am honored to congratulate Maranda Way and Tina Hillmer for winning Georgia Special Olympics Female Athlete of the Year and Volunteer of the Year awards, respectively.

Typically, these awards are given at the opening ceremony for the Georgia Special Olympics, but these games were cancelled due to concerns about COVID-19. Instead, to reward both remarkable women for their achievements, Special Olympics Forsyth County Coordinator Linda Fitzpatrick organized a drive-by parade and awards ceremony to honor the mother-daughter duo for going above and beyond to demonstrate their commitment to the program over the last few years. Ms. Way has been a Special Olympics athlete for eight years, participating in powerlifting, aquatics and equestrian events with guidance and coaching from Special Olympics volunteers, including her mother, Ms. Hillmer. Although Ms. Hillmer works full-time both as a parent and a real estate agent, she has dedicated her free time to coaching and supporting Special Olympic athletes and has become a go-to volunteer for Special Olympics events.

I know my colleagues in Congress recognize the value of this program in strengthening our community, and I was glad to join a bipartisan letter to House appropriators earlier this year calling on further federal support for Special Olympics programming in Fiscal Year 2021. I am confident that our final FY21 funding bill will heed that call for continued support.

Congratulations once again to this outstanding mother-daughter pair. Your dedication to the Special Olympics program has brought great pride not only to your family and your home district, but also to the state of Georgia. Truly, a job well done!

 

THE WEEK AHEAD 

This week the House is expected to consider a massive, $135 billion energy package, H.R. 4447that rings in at almost 900 pages! It covers almost every corner of the energy sector from requirements for energy efficient buildings to wind, solar, transportation, and nuclear energy, but unfortunately, it’s a grab-bag of proposals with no discernable sense of direction. And what’s more, it ignores the need to update permitting and licensing requirements for financing, building, expanding, and modernizing energy infrastructure. Supporting new types of energy production is short-sighted if we aren’t updating our infrastructure to move that energy to where it’s needed. We need bipartisan energy legislation, but I’m afraid H.R. 4447 isn’t the right answer. 

Finally, the House is going to consider two bills related to supporting the Uyghur minority that is persecuted by the Chinese government. Since 2017, 1.8 million Uyghurs, Kazaks, Kyrgyz, and other members of Muslim minority groups have been arbitrarily detained in internment camps and subject to forced labor and political indoctrination by the Chinese government. As a freedom-loving people who hold our right to practice our religion as we each see fit, it is critical that we support those who are being denied that right. As such, the first bill would ban the importation of items produced or manufactured in China using forced labor, in particular, items from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China where the Uyghur minority is routinely oppressed. It also requires the President to impose sanctions on individuals engaging in or contributing to the forced labor of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China. The second billrequires public companies to file disclosures with the SEC regarding activities relating to Xinjiang and whether any manufactured goods originated in forced labor camps, along with the nature and extent of the commercial activity related to each such good or material, the gross revenue and net profits attributable, and whether the issuer intends to continue with such importation. I have some concerns about using the SEC’s required disclosures for this purpose, but I hope that Republicans and Democrats can work together to figure out the best disclosure method and hold the Chinese accountable for their treatment of Muslim minorities. 

Sincerely,
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Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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WASHINGTON D.C. TOUR UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 2020

2020/09/18

As you may know, several popular tourist sites continue to be closed to the public due to concerns about COVID-19.

Although these sites have temporarily closed their doors to the public, many of these destinations can now be explored through virtual tours and other online educational opportunities. Please see below for more information.

 

WHITE HOUSE

The White House will be open for tours on Fridays and Saturdays between 8:00 AM and 11:00 AM with limited visitor capacity. As such, tour slots are rapidly being filled. Bookings must be submitted within three months before a prospective tour date and no sooner than 21 days beforehand.

You can access virtual tours of the White House at https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/the-white-house.

 

U.S. CAPITOL

The House and Senate Sergeants at Arms have ordered limited access to the Capitol Complex. All tours of the Capitol Building have been cancelled through October 31, 2020. We do not know at this time whether the suspension of Capitol tours will extend beyond that date. We will post more information online when that is available.

Although the U.S. Capitol Building is currently closed to the public, you can still explore the Capitol virtually at https://www.capitol.gov/#.

 

BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is closed to the public until further notice.

To learn more about BEP, please visit their website at http://www.bep.treas.gov/about.html.

 

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

The Library of Congress buildings and facilities will be closed to the public until further notice. Additionally, all Library-sponsored public programs are postponed or cancelled until further notice.

Please note, the Library of Congress is now offering virtual tours at https://www.loc.gov/visit/tours/online-tours/. You can also explore their online exhibits at https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/.

 

SUPREME COURT

The Supreme Court is closed to the public until further notice.

You can access a virtual tour of the Supreme Court at https://www.oyez.org/tour.

 

OTHER TOUR INFORMATION

Information about the operating status of other D.C. tourist destinations (National Archives, Smithsonian Institution, National Park Service monuments, Arlington National Cemetery, etc.) can be found on the individual webpages of those institutions.

 

If you have any questions regarding these closures, please do not hesitate to reach out to my staff at 202-225-4272.

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District Connection - 9/14/20

2020/09/14

HAPPY ROSH HASHANAH

L’shanah tovah u’metukah!

I want to extend my wishes for a happy and healthy new year to all celebrating Rosh Hashanah this weekend. While this year's celebrations are undeniably shaped by the continued public health threat, I appreciate the efforts of all those who are helping us safely observe this new year in our community. As we move from 5780 to 5781, I hope this High Holiday season brings a special sense of joy and renewal to you and your family. 

 

BUDGET COMMITTEE DISCUSSES IMPACTS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ON U.S. ECONOMY AND WORKFORCE

Last Thursday, the House Budget Committee met to discuss the impacts that artificial intelligence (AI) may have on the U.S. economy and workforce both in the short-term, as businesses seek to adapt operations during the ongoing public health emergency, and in the long-term.

As it has done for years, the deployment of new technologies will continue to shape and change our workforce, and with the fiscal challenges we are facing in mind, its importance in furthering our economic recovery by spurring growth should not be overlooked. For all the discussions about the ethical and logistical concerns that come with advancing our AI capabilities on a wider scale, the role of AI must also continue to be viewed through a positive lens that restores efficiency, competitiveness, and progress. You can listen to our full discussion by clicking HERE.

To frame our discussion in the larger context of our nation's fiscal outlook in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, earlier this month the nonpartisan. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its latest financial outlook for 2020 and through the next decade. It paints a concerning image of the fiscal state of our nation, to say the least. As a result of the pandemic and actions taken to mitigate the spread of the virus, CBO estimates that our nation's budget deficit will reach a record $3.3. trillion this fiscal year – more than triple of that in 2019 – and all of our nation's major trust funds will be insolvent within the next 11 years. With spending for these mandatory programs expected to comprise 75 percent of the federal budget by 2030, this minimizes our ability to direct resources to any number of discretionary priorities, including defense, education, research and development, and more. We cannot ignore these facts and maintain the ability to respond to unexpected crises like COVID.  In the absence of a plan to address our fiscal situation, it is only expected to worsen.  I am joining my colleagues to urge the Budget Committee chairman to reconvene and pass a budget that reflects and responds to the challenges America is facing today.

 

USDA EXTENDS CHILD NUTRITION PROGRAMS

Each week we continue to gain more insights into the toll that COVID-19 has placed on Americans. Among those effects is how this crisis has disproportionally harmed lower-income workers and households. With increased food insecurity during this time, I am appreciative of the efforts of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Sonny Perdue, to further the mission to support agricultural producers through its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and to support children and families in need through its Farmers to Families Food Box Program which has distributed well over 50 million boxes of meat, dairy, and produce.

In addition to those channels of support, one of the agency’s most significant actions has been granting flexibility to schools and partnering community organizations that provide meals through its Child Nutrition Programs administered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. These flexibilities have ensured that students continue to have access to meals, even when in-person instruction at their school may be limited or not offered altogether. Recently, USDA announced that it will extend waivers to allow the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to operate through the end of the year. These extensions received broad, bipartisan support, and I applaud this move to promote food access as the public health emergency stretches on.

 

GET COUNTED FOR THE 2020 CENSUS

As many of you know, September is the last month you will be able to complete the census for 2020, as the Census Bureau announced it will cease counting operations by the 30th of this month. While the coronavirus pandemic has presented increased challenges on the Bureau’s data collection efforts, the Bureau is working tirelessly to complete its mission by the deadline. This year’s census – the first decennial census to be largely conducted online – is quick and easy and should only take you a few moments to fill out.

I have heard from a number of you back home about your questions and concerns regarding the 2020 census, which I addressed in my newsletter last month. There are also some local resources to help you respond to the census and understand all the ways your answers help you and our community.

If you have not yet completed your census, you can click HERE to fill it out now. With the deadline fast approaching, feel free to share this link with friends and loved ones so that they are counted as well.

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: UNDERSTANDING THE MORATORIUM ON EVICTIONS

While the unemployment rate has continued to fall each month, down to 8.4 percent in August from 10.2 percent in July, that number is still staggeringly high, and many folks are struggling to cover normal monthly expenses, including rent and housing expenses. Here is what I have heard from some of you about the federal government’s actions to address housing security for families during this time.

Ann from Peachtree Corners:

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it is issuing an Agency Order halting all evictions throughout the country for the remainder of the calendar year. This applies to all renters regardless of whether the property they are living in is financed by private or government-backed loans. While I can appreciate that the administration believes the CDC Order is necessary to ensure the safety of tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic, it also accelerates the need for emergency rental assistance to stabilize the multifamily housing market. Already, many bipartisan Congressional leaders have called for emergency rental assistance to support our nation's renters and maintain our overall economy. Please support efforts to provide rental assistance to tenants in need as quickly as possible.

Andrew from Alpharetta:

The eviction moratorium recently imposed by the CDC, together with Congress' failure to act on an emergency rental assistance plan, places the stability of the entire rental housing sector in danger. Without rental assistance, the real estate industry is being mandated to shoulder an unrecoverable financial burden that could lead to the greatest rental housing crisis of our lifetime.

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Americans’ immediate and widespread need for assistance during the onset of the pandemic led Congress to include provisions in the CARES Act passed in March that provided certain protections for millions of Americans facing eviction. These included a moratorium on evictions for nonpayment for those residing in federally assisted properties through July 24 and mortgage relief provisions in the form of forbearance that allowed households to temporarily pause or reduce payments. Additionally, the CARES Act included an additional $12.4 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support its existing rental assistance programs, which included $5 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program which supports housing access for lower income individuals, as well as $4 billion for HUD’s Emergency Solutions grants whose funds can be used for emergency shelter, short term rental assistance, and other support services. And even though the CARES Act moratorium expired in July, several state and local governments have enacted their own moratoriums, prolonging these protections.

While negotiations on the next COVID-19 have remained stalled, President Trump issued a number of executive orders last month with the intention of meeting Americans’ needs for continued relief. Among those was a directive to federal regulators to investigate the necessity of a federal moratorium on evictions. Although the order itself did not halt evictions directly, based on that directive, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a notice on September 4th that would bar evictions from any U.S. property for the remainder of the year. To benefit from this moratorium, renters at risk of eviction must submit a declaration, among other requirements, before they can receive protections. Renters should also understand that while the CDC’s notice orders protections for renters from being forced out of their homes through December 31st because of an inability to pay, it does not forgive renters’ obligation to pay their rent and does not offer rental assistance to meet that obligation.

Again, as previously expressed, I have significant concerns with these executive orders. I don’t question the sincerity of the President or the Administration in working to find a solution to provide Americans with security at a time when that is needed most, but as Ann and Andrew mentioned, undeniably, a broad and sweeping order such as this has already created legal uncertainty and confusion and may have the unattended consequence of doing more harm than good. If housing providers, small owners in particular, are required to provide housing with no form of financial backing, many may be unable to meet their own financial obligations to provide what is being required of them. If an idea is worth implementing, it is also worth paying for, and any federal intervention in this manner should come from Congress and be properly paid for.

Ultimately, it will take a convergence of efforts from federal, state, and local authorities throughout the country to provide solutions to those facing the threat of eviction. We have already seen some of the setbacks that come with federal intervention, and I hope states and communities will continue to lead in this area and Congressional leaders will put aside their differences to move forward a smart and targeted package to provide much-needed relief.

 

PRUDENTIAL ACCEPTING STUDENT APPLICATIONS FOR 2021 SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY AWARDS

Last week, Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) invited Georgia students to apply for this year’s Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. An annual program open to students from across the country, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is the largest awards program in the country exclusively dedicated to recognizing youth volunteerism and community service. Any student in grades 5 through 12 who has volunteered in our community is invited to apply, and thousands of dollars of scholarships are awarded to each year’s winners recognized for their exceptional degree of community service. Additional information can be found on The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards’ website, and applications close on November 10th.

The importance of volunteerism is a long established ideal in our communities, and last year I was proud to share that Anish Bikmal, a 2019 graduate of South Forsyth High School, was one of two Georgia students to receive this incredible national honor. I encourage all young people with a commitment to using their time and talents to others to apply. We are truly made better by your service.

 

JACKSON EMC FOUNDATION AWARDS LOCAL NONPROFITS FOR SERVICE TO COMMUNITY

We have an abundance of nonprofit organizations in our area that go above and beyond to make our community a better place to live. Last month, the Jackson EMC Foundation awarded $15,000 in charitable grants to some of our incredible Gwinnett County nonprofits during their August meeting. The Foundation, which is funded by almost 200,000 households that donate the remaining change up to the last dollar of their monthly electric bill, has already put more than $15 million back into our region since 2005. This month’s Gwinnett County grant awardees include Adventure Bags, which provides comfort bags to children experiencing crisis, and the Burn Foundation of America, which financially assists patients dealing with serious burn injuries.

I would like to commend all participants in the Jackson EMC Foundation’s Operation Round Up program for their generosity, Adventure Bags for their service to at-risk children, and the Burn Foundation of America for their service to those dealing with such painful injuries in our area.

 

CUMMING NURSING HOME HOLDS PARADE FOR FAMILIES

In a time where our senior citizens are at increased risk during this public health emergency, I appreciate all those who have dedicated their time and energy to making sure they are supported during this difficult time. Last week, Cumming Health and Rehab, a local nursing home, held a parade for its residents and their families to celebrate their first in-person visit since March. Held at the Cumming Fairgrounds, friends and family drove by in their decorated cars at a safe social distance. While keeping residents healthy has been a top priority for the nursing home, the incredible importance of in-person meetings between loved ones was evident, and I would like to commend Cumming Health and Rehab and its residents for its continued efforts to prioritize health and safety while taking these actions to support the emotional well-being of its residents.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week the House is back in session, though I’m sad to say that we’re not addressing either of the most critically important issues in America: COVID-19 or funding the federal government. Instead, Speaker Pelosi is moving bills that will likely be ignored by the Senate. You can see a full list of the legislation we’ll be considering by CLICKING HERE.  I don’t doubt the good intentions that the Speaker has with these measures, as we all support inclusion and fairness for workers, but at a time when Americans need additional COVID-19 relief and our government is only 2 weeks away from shutting down, it is irresponsible for the Speaker to ignore those realities. Putting off for next week or the week after what should be done today isn’t the right way to run the House of Representatives. I look forward to the House returning to responsible legislating soon.

Sincerely,
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Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

 

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District Connection - 9/8/20

2020/09/08

HIGHLIGHTING THE AMERICAN WORKFORCE THIS LABOR DAY

To usher in the fall each year, we gather to celebrate the American worker—the foundation of our communities, families, and economy. While concerns about COVID-19 may have altered the way that you celebrated this year’s Labor Day relative to years past, the importance of this time to honor the American workforce is clearer than ever. As our nation begins its economic bounce back, we have our workers to thank for their grit, creativity, and determination as they continue to serve during the public health emergency.  

With that, I hope that you and your family had a safe and happy Labor Day.

 

AUGUST JOBS REPORT SHOWS STEADY ECONOMIC RECOVERY

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest jobs report, revealing 1.4 million jobs added in the month of August, dropping the unemployment rate to 8.4% from 10.2% the month prior. This is the first time that unemployment has been below 10% since large scale shutdowns began in March. Last month’s job growth was greater than economists had anticipated, with both the retail and hospitality sectors helping to lead those gains as storefronts and restaurants continue to reopen, and additional modest gains in manufacturing.

We can only expect to see such positive economic recovery continue if we beat back the coronavirus. As such, I urge you to continue following CDC’s health and safety guidelines as well as state and local social distancing ordinances. Americans are ready to get back to business, and together we will defeat COVID-19 and achieve that goal.

 

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES WORKS TO DEPLOY RAPID COVID-19 TESTING

Many of you are familiar with the work of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – which includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based here in Georgia, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) – in coordinating much of the public health response to combat COVID-19. Some of HHS’s central efforts have centered on accelerating the development and deployment of medical countermeasures such as vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics to address this ongoing viral threat. Just recently, HHS announced a partnership that will deploy 150 million rapid point of care diagnostic tests that deliver results in 15 minutes or less. Included in those locations targeted for distribution are nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home health centers, which are at increased risk from COVID-19. 

I appreciate these steps to prioritize some of our most vulnerable populations. And even as schools come back in session and a return to normalcy seems ever closer, I can’t help but reiterate the importance of following public health and social distancing guidelines to limit transmission of this virus. We must continue to do so to protect our friends and neighbors who are most at risk. 

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: CALLS TO ADDRESS PENSION PLAN SOLVENCY

Even before the onset of the public health emergency, I have heard from many of you about the impending insolvency of certain pension plans, particularly multiemployer pension plans. As with programs like Social Security and Medicare that are approaching insolvency much sooner than previously expected, pension plans, too, have not escaped the financial toll levied by COVID-19. Below are some of the most recent messages I have received from constituents on this issue.

Kelli from Suwanee:

I am writing to ask for your support in immediately passing bipartisan legislation in the next stimulus bill to solve the current multiemployer pension crisis. Congress must stop the devastating effect it will have on essential workers across America and on a struggling economy. Inaction will result in the pending collapse of hundreds of multiemployer pension plans and the insolvency of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) which guarantees the benefits of countless retirees and essential American workers including those on the front lines of the trucking, construction, and grocery sectors.

Mayu from Cumming:

The economic crisis caused by COVID-19 is now making the situation significantly worse for multiemployer plans. Strong action cannot wait. Please include assistance for multiemployer pension plans in your next response to COVID-19.

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I share Kelli and Mayu’s concern. As many of you know, while some multiemployer defined benefit pension plans have sufficient resources to pay out promised benefits, many multiemployer pension plans have been at risk for years and continue to face insolvency. At least 800,000 Americans are in plans that are projected to have insufficient funds to pay out the benefits promised by 2030.

When pension plans become insolvent, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) - a federally chartered corporation - is tasked with providing for the continuation of benefits, up to a statutory maximum. The demand for PBGC assistance continues to grow from year to year, and in 2019, the PBGC provided $160 million in financial assistance to 89 insolvent multiemployer plans, up from the previous year’s payments of $153 million to 81 plans. Unfortunately, like many of the pension plans that it bails out, the PBGC is also in poor financial condition, reporting a record $65.2 billion deficit for Fiscal Year 2019. The latest projections suggest the PBGC will be insolvent by 2025. 

Legislation enacted by Congress in 2014 gave plans certain authorities in order to stave off insolvency, but House leadership this year has worked to reverse these changes that failed to stabilize failing plans in the long-term. The only proposal from the House leadership is to write a blank check from the general fund of the Treasury for such purposes. Obviously, that is not a serious solution. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) previously estimated that such a check could easily approach $50 billion in the next ten years alone.

I support efforts to right-size multiemployer pension plans and set them on a more financially stable path so that Americans can have a better sense of security when it comes to their retirement. The sooner we take such action, the less painful it will have to be. While I cannot support a plan that simply seeks a federal bailout without addressing the underlying reasons that led to these pensions’ prior failings, I also cannot support inaction. Last Congress, the House and Senate tried to work together on a solution, but partisan politics got in the way. This year, we are trying again, with proposals similar to the TRUST Act, which you can read more about HERE, that would set up a bipartisan process to address the impending funding shortfalls of numerous financially-strapped programs. I am committed to a bipartisan process that allows us to address pension plans’ and the PBGC’s serious financial shortcomings, and I will vote to support any bill that moves us in that positive direction.

 

NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR GOVERNOR’S AWARDS FOR ARTS AND HUMANITIES

Many individuals and organizations in our community have provided decades of service to make the Seventh District the vibrant, community-oriented stronghold that it is. Each year, the Office of the Governor in partnership with Georgia Humanities and the Georgia Council for the Arts work to recognize those who have excelled in long serving our community through the humanities and the arts. While these individuals and organization rarely seek recognition or affirmation, they deserve both. If you would like to nominate an individual or organization who has made outstanding contributions in our state in these fields for the 2020 Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities⁠, you can do so through September 15th. You can read nomination guidelines HERE

 

FORSYTH COUNTY NAMED BEST IN COUNTRY TO WORK FROM HOME

While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought major changes to our day-to-day lives, our community has shown to be incredibly resilient. Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) recognized that resilience by naming Forsyth County the best county in the United States to work from home. Factoring in metrics such as Internet connectivity, pre-pandemic work-from-home availability, and housing prices, this announcement came after the completion of NAR’s in-depth study of counties across the country. Among its achievements, Forsyth County stood out to NAR for its existing work-from-home workforce—11.3 percent of the population—and impressive broadband infrastructure—99 percent of homes in the county have access to at least three internet service providers. 

I hope you will join me in celebrating this truly outstanding achievement. The Seventh District never fails to exceed all expectations when difficulties come our way.

 

GWINNETT CHAMBER HONORS LOCAL BUSINESS LEADERS

Last week, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce honored exceptional business leaders in our community at their annual Moxie Awards, an event which celebrates women paving the way across the private and public sector in our community. This year’s awards winners include a number of CEOs and women in education, nonprofit, and public service work. With a specific focus on women who are bold in business, this year’s awards featured an educational panel with corporate and public sector executives who spoke to the critical importance of female leadership in the professional world. 

I hope you will join me in congratulating this years’ recipients: Joy Mitchell, Linnea Miller, Gale Higginbotham, Claire Gordon, Amanda Sutt, Melanie Connor, and Dr. Jann L. Joseph for their incredible work in growing our community. 

 

THE WEEKS AHEAD

House Committees are at work this week preparing more legislation for the House floor. As you may remember, the federal fiscal year ends on September 30, which means funding for federal agencies ends on that date. Work is ongoing to provide funding through the end of the calendar year and beyond. With Labor Day celebrated this week, the House is also preparing a host of labor-related bills for consideration next week. I also expect to see an intelligence reauthorization bill and an energy bill arrive on the floor. 

Sincerely,
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Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

 

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District Connection - 8/31/20

2020/08/31

FORSYTH CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL HOSTS SECRETARY OF EDUCATION DURING HER VISIT TO GEORGIA

It’s not every day that a Member of the President’s Cabinet stops in for a visit in our community, but that was just the case last week when the nation’s top education official, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, visited Forsyth Central High School on Tuesday.

Schools across our community serve as models of academic excellence not only in our state but across the nation. And even during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency when providing for instruction comes with an increased set of challenges, Forsyth County schools have continued to lead by example to ensure the safety of students, teachers, faculty, and staff as schools reopen for the 2020-2021 School Year.

I joined Secretary DeVos, Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden, administrators, teachers, parents, and state educational leaders for a roundtable discussion about the district’s reopening, as well as classroom visits to speak with students about what the return has been like for them.

As many of you know, when Forsyth County resumed school operations this fall, parents and students were given the option to choose what type of educational approach worked best for them: whether that be in-person learning, virtual instruction, or a mixture of both. While many in Forsyth County Schools have opted to return for in-person instruction, it is also true that this option may not be best for everyone. I have appreciated the rigorous efforts of folks like Dr. Bearden and Forsyth Central High School Principal Mitch Young, who districtwide and in individual schools, respectively, have worked to implement a targeted and personalized approach to reopening to provide instruction based on students’ individual needs.

The COVID-19 crisis has not affected communities in quite the same way, and this localized, collaborative approach gives schools the ability to be adaptive should new rates of infection increase. Roughly 1.6% of students and staff participating in in-person learning have been ordered to isolate at home, and while this rate remains low, it is important schools have tools at the ready to be able to continue providing instruction should the need arise, as well as policies in place that ensure public health protocols are being followed.

We all know just how remarkable our teachers and students are, and I am glad that this opportunity served as one to elevate the tremendous work of public schools in our community to those who coordinate our educational policies at the highest level. If schools in our community could serve as a larger example, students nationwide would surely be all the better for it.

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Rep. Woodall Joins Secretary DeVos and Superintendent Bearden for a Panel Discussion at Forsyth Central High School

 

ADDITIONAL FEDERAL SUPPORT DIRECTED TO NURSING HOMES

I appreciate the efforts of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to continue to direct critical relief provided by Congress to those who need that support the most. Following action earlier this month that directed $1.4 billion specifically to children’s hospitals, HHS announced last week that it will distribute $2.5 billion to nursing homes to support testing, staffing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) needs, with another $2.5 billion allocation expected soon to follow. This is on top of the nearly $5 billion skilled nursing facilities received in May to combat the effects of this virus.

As we all know, our elderly populations and those with underlying and chronic health conditions are at increased risk from COVID-19. This means that nursing homes are disproportionately at higher risk and must be increasingly supported. This action, coupled with a 1.5 million targeted N95 respirator distribution to these facilities beginning last Friday and the new creation of a National Nursing Home COVID Action Network to prevent greater spread through increased training and mentorship, are crucial steps to furthering much-needed support.

 

CARES ACT RELIEF FOR FORSYTH COUNTY BUSINESSES

The CARES Act passed by Congress back in March continues to provide much-needed relief to the American people, including right here in the Seventh District. Through the CARES Act, Forsyth County was able to establish the CARES Small Business Relief Grant Program, administered by the Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce. Under this program, qualifying businesses with 499 employees or fewer will be eligible for $2,000-$10,000 in relief to use towards operational and overhead expenses. With more than 600 local businesses having submitted grant applications totaling $2,765,000, around 300 grants are expected to be selected. I am pleased to see Forsyth County’s successful implementation of this grant program and the commitment to transparency in the selection process.

While there is still much relief authorized by Congress yet to be disbursed, I am hopeful that we will see negotiations restart in earnest in the coming days and weeks.

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: EXAMINING THE NATIONAL COIN SHORTAGE

The effects of the COVID-19 crisis have stretched far and wide in more ways than may initially come to mind. One of those consequences has been a national coin shortage resulting from the shuttering of the economy during the onset of the pandemic, the increased use of non-cash payments, and the temporary decrease in production at the US Mint. Here is what some of you had to say about this issue.

Kim from Lawrenceville:

Mr. Woodall, I’m concerned with a lot of businesses that are not taking cash now, only cards for forms of payment. Also, I’ve also heard that banks aren’t even required to have cash on hand. What is going on here? I would like an explanation on this and for this to stop.

Sandra from Duluth:

I recently emailed Kroger to ask them why they won't give me change from my purchases. I've pasted their response below which I find a little hard to believe. Can you please tell me if it's true?

The Federal Reserve is experiencing a significant coin shortage across the U.S., resulting from fewer coins being exchanged and spent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Over the last several months, many of you likely have encountered situations similar to that of Kim and Sandra during your trip to the grocery store or when picking up dinner, with vendors asking that you pay with exact change or only accepting electronic forms of payment. That is because the U.S. remains in the midst of a national coin shortage crisis that is posing ongoing challenges to the American economy, especially as businesses begin to reopen on a wider scale.

To better explain, what we are referring to as a national coin “shortage” is really one of diminished coin “circulation.” With widespread closures of businesses and non-essential services in the early months of the public health emergency, the flow of funds through the economy, including coin transactions, dropped dramatically.

As I mentioned above, businesses and retailors across the country are feeling those effects. As a result, many are having to require exact change or to round costs to the nearest dollar amount, not giving out any change in some instances; some are accepting only non-cash payments. Banking institutions have also been greatly affected as Americans have largely stopped using coin trade-ins for cash, further limiting the available coin supply because coins are simply sitting untouched in Americans’ homes. And with lower overall coin inventory at the Federal Reserve, there is an increased challenge in their ability to fulfill coin orders and meet immediate customer demand at these banking institutions. 

In an effort to combat this issue and ensure a more equitable balance of coin circulation as well as new coin production, the Federal Reserve announced the creation of a U.S. Coin Task Force with industry leaders back in June to come up with solutions to mitigate the negative impacts of this crisis. Additionally, the U.S. Mint has been operating at full production capacity since mid-June and is on pace to produce 1.65 billion coins per month, 650 million more coins than usual, to help meet immediate demand. The Federal Reserve has also placed restrictions on banks to preserve and protect coin flow, including temporary caps on coin orders to ensure even distribution of coins throughout the country. Some banks and businesses have also developed solutions on their own to provide relief during this time by incentivizing coin trade-ins for cash payments and instituting loyalty programs for using exact change. Even with these efforts, the crisis requires the help of everyday Americans - the engine of the U.S. economy - to get the coin flow back to pre-pandemic levels.

Now for some, the coin shortage is only a minor inconvenience for those who can easily utilize a non-cash payment option. But there are over 8 million American households without bank accounts who are at-risk because of the massive shift towards cashless payments. Without sufficient coin circulation and options for cash payment, these so-called “unbanked” Americans are finding it more challenging to purchase goods and services in cash.

I encourage you all to answer U.S. Mint Director David Ryder’s call to action by using exact change in stores or using your bank’s coin trade-in programs to stimulate coin circulation in the national economy. Together, we can protect Americans and American businesses alike and preserve access to cash payment options for those who rely on them.

 

FORSYTH COUNTY 11-YEAR-OLD NAMED HONORARY MAYOR OF CUMMING

Our community is full of individuals looking for ways to serve, even at a young age. Recently, one such member of our youngest generation, 11-year-old Charlie Westbrook, earned his official title as honorary Mayor of Cumming. Charlie has long been known in Forsyth County for his larger-than-life personality and penchant for introducing himself with a strong handshake to new friends and neighbors. A future leader in the making with an eye for public service, Charlie was not only named honorary Mayor for his 11th birthday, but also earned the distinction of having August 18th named as “Charlie Westbrook Day” in Cumming. A surprise birthday gift from Mayor Troy Brumbalow, Charlie’s mom said the day’s honors “meant so much to us.” I hope you will join me in celebrating Mayor Charlie and commending him on this great honor!

 

GWINNETT COUNTY VOLUNTEERS REFURBISH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PLAYGROUND

There are so many businesses and organizations across our state who go above and beyond in working to ensure our communities are well-served. In that endeavor, employees from the Georgia United Credit Union spent the day volunteering at B.B. Harris Elementary School in Duluth, working to refurbish the school’s outdoor play areas for the upcoming school year. B.B. Harris, which serves roughly 800 students in Grades K-5, was in need of a makeover before its students returned this fall. The Georgia United volunteers painted B.B. Harris’s signature Wildcat paw prints on the sidewalks, repainted the basketball court, and added activities for students on the school’s walking trail, among other touch-ups around campus. A part of the credit union’s “School Crashers” charitable program, B.B. Harris Elementary is now one of the 50 schools in the state that Georgia United has assisted in the last 7 years since the program began.

Sincerely,
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Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

 

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Washington D.C. Tour Update August 2020

2020/08/28

As you may know, several popular tourist sites continue to be closed to the public on a precautionary basis due to concerns about COVID-19.

Although these sites have temporarily closed their doors to the public, many of these destinations can now be explored through virtual tours and other online educational opportunities. Please see below for more information.

 

WHITE HOUSE

Out of an abundance of caution, all White House tours have been temporarily suspended until further notice. At this time, we do not know when the White House will reopen for tours. We will be in contact with you when more information is available.

You can still access virtual tours of the White House at https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/the-white-house.

 

U.S. CAPITOL

The House and Senate Sergeants at Arms have ordered limited access to the Capitol Complex. All tours of the Capitol Building have been cancelled through September 30, 2020. We do not know at this time whether the suspension of Capitol tours will extend beyond September 30. We will be in contact with you when more information is available.

Although the U.S. Capitol Building is currently closed to the public, you can still explore the Capitol virtually at https://www.capitol.gov/#.

 

BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is closed to the public until further notice.

To learn more about BEP, please visit their website at http://www.bep.treas.gov/about.html.

 

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

The Library of Congress buildings and facilities will be closed to the public until further notice. Additionally, all Library-sponsored public programs are postponed or cancelled until further notice.l  

Please note, the Library of Congress is now offering virtual tours at https://www.loc.gov/visit/tours/online-tours/. You can also explore their online exhibits at https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/.

 

SUPREME COURT

The Supreme Court is closed to the public until further notice.

You can access a virtual tour of the Supreme Court at https://www.oyez.org/tour.

 

OTHER TOUR INFORMATION

Information about the operating status of other D.C. tourist destinations (National Archives, Smithsonian Institution, National Park Service monuments, Arlington National Cemetery, etc.) can be found on the individual webpages of those institutions.

 

If you have any questions regarding these closures, please do not hesitate to reach out to my staff at 202-225-4272.

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Washington Watch - 8/24/20

2020/08/24

HOUSE VOTES OVER WEEKEND ON PARTISAN POSTAL SERVICE BILL

While we all know Congress should be restarting negotiations over a new coronavirus relief package, the House was instead working through the weekend on a hastily drafted and politically motivated Postal Service bill, H.R. 8015, the “Delivering for America Act.” This partisan, unilaterally drafted bill aims to drive home the false narrative that the Trump Administration is attempting to sabotage the United States Postal Service (USPS) before the November election.

Is the USPS undergoing reform?  Absolutely, but a close inspection will show that many of the changes being conducted by USPS are routine adjustments to reflect the reality of service needs community by community. This includes eliminating or relocating seldom-used blue collection boxes, a practice performed thousands and thousands of times by the Obama Administration and before, and decommissioning hundreds of underused mail-sorting machines as demand continues to fall, also a practice performed hundreds of times under the Obama Administration. Other changes implemented by our new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, changes like limiting unauthorized overtime pay, were meant to help stem the billions of dollars lost each year by the USPS.

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Rep. Rob Woodall (GA-07) speaks during the rule debate on H.R. 8015, the “Delivering for America Act.”

However, last week, swamped by a massive politically motivated fear and misinformation campaign about these changes, Postmaster General DeJoy announced that USPS will suspend any additional changes until after the election to eliminate even the suspicion of impropriety.

Additionally, the Treasury Department and USPS recently finalized terms to allow the USPS to access $10 billion from the CARES Act in the event of unforeseen needs.  To date, the USPS has not accessed any of those funds and has $15 billion cash on hand.  Nevertheless, the House Majority continued to peddle the false narrative of Postal Service days from financial collapse.

In case you have any friends or neighbors who are still concerned about election mail, remember this: the USPS delivers more than 8 billion pieces of mail each month and there are fewer than 250 million registered voters.  Even if every single voter used the USPS to vote, the spike would be lower than the average annual Christmas card and package spike.  Postmaster General DeJoy made clear in Senate testimony last week that the USPS was fully capable of handling the influx of election mail this November and that he is “extremely highly confident” in the ability of the Postal Service to carry out its duty.  I am confident he will tell the House that very same thing in a hearing oddly scheduled for today, 48 hours too late to improve Saturday’s bill. 

Now that yet another partisan messaging bill is out of the way, I continue to hope we will return to the people’s business and begin to pass meaningful legislation for the American people.

 

CHILDREN’S HOSPITALS RECEIVE ADDITIONAL FEDERAL SUPPORT

As many of you know, Congress to date has directed $175 billion to the Provider Relief Fund – a fund Congress created during the onset of the pandemic to reimburse providers for health care related expenses or lost revenues directly attributable to COVID-19. That funding stream has served as a critical source of relief for a number of medical providers, including safety net hospitals treating our most vulnerable populations, rural hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and Medicaid and Medicare-supported providers. It has ensured that hospitals can keep their doors open amid revenue shortfalls and facilities can continue to serve as crucial lines of care during the continued public health emergency.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that it will be distributing $1.4 billion in additional relief dollars through this funding mechanism specifically for children’s hospitals. This follows repeated, bipartisan calls to action to HHS from myself and my colleagues in Congress on the issue, and I am glad to see that call heeded, which is estimated to direct $33 million to those qualified facilities in our state! And as we all are aware, the public health threat posed by COVID-19 is ongoing, and we must continue to look for ways to best support our esteemed medical professionals in their ability to provide quality treatment and care.

 

U.S. CONTINUES EFFORTS TO AID INTERNATIONAL COVID-19 RESPONSE

With over 22 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, this crisis has surely illuminated how the consequences and effects of this virus stretch across borders. Providing for the long-term stability of our citizens’ health as well as a fuller economic resurgence is dependent on the ability of those across the international community to address new rates of infection, and that is why our foreign operations and humanitarian efforts are increasingly timely. I appreciate the coordinated efforts of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to support our international partners and non-governmental organizations by directing roughly $1.6 billion in emergency health and humanitarian assistance over the course of the pandemic, as well as its work to leverage the generosity of businesses and groups across American industry to help support global response efforts.

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: CALLING ON HOUSE LEADERSHIP TO MOVE FORWARD COVID-19 RELIEF LEGISLATION

As states across the country continue to grapple with new confirmed cases of COVID-19, and even amid a wider economic reopening, it is clear that many are still in the process of recovery and in need of additional support. Many of you have contacted my office over the last few months to share what you think should be included in the next relief package, as well as to share ways we can better restructure lines of support. Here are a few examples of what some of you had to say:

Diane from Duluth:

Everyday people are the engine of our economy: when they have no money to spend, they – and our economy as a whole – suffer. As millions face eviction, as schools and universities are faced with an impossible task, and as states consider slashing budgets, one thing is certain: The federal government must secure the average American’s place in the economy before it's too late. Investments in everyday people right now will lead to better economic outcomes for everyone down the road, and millions can’t wait around while Congress refuses to act.

David from Norcross:

Unemployment should not pay more than work. This will inevitably lead to less people working and undermine economic recovery. It is also a basic fairness issue, because it is indefensible that people working hard make less than their peers sitting at home.

The Congressional Budget Office said that under the House-passed extension: "Roughly five of every six recipients would receive benefits that exceeded the weekly amounts they could expect to earn from work during those six months."

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I share Diane and David’s sense of urgency.  When Speaker Pelosi unexpectedly convened an emergency session, I expected it would address America’s serious needs. However, as you have read above, the emergency Speaker Pelosi identified was not the need to act on repeated calls for Congress to provide additional relief to Americans. It was not to provide greater certainty to Americans in the wake of executive orders issued earlier this month that are facing legal uncertainty. It was not to finalize an agreement to provide additional support for those who are unemployed, as David mentioned, or bolster support for schools as learning institutions begin instruction for the 2020-2021 school year. Nor was it an effort to bring the House together to pass the Chamber’s remaining appropriations bills needed to fund the government before funding runs out on September 30th.  These unmet expectations are not simply mine, Diane’s and David’s.  Nearly half of House Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer urging them to act on COVID-19 relief measures during this past weekend’s session, but that call to action was also ignored.

Across the Capitol, in an effort to get the ball restarted on relief talks, Republicans in the Senate announced a streamlined proposal of $500 billion in relief that would include funding for the Postal Service, schools, and COVID-19 testing, as well as provide much-needed protections from frivolous lawsuits related to the coronavirus to those including businesses, schools, and healthcare providers. The bill would also provide a new round of additional federal unemployment insurance at $300 per week. Of course, there is room for disagreement and negotiation, but House leaders simply ignored this opportunity for our Chamber to act on efforts made in good faith to bring leaders to the table to reach a solution.

I cannot think of a more important, pressing matter for Congress to act on in this moment than the continuing health and unemployment impacts of COVID-19, and yet, Speaker Pelosi is not leading the House any closer to moving a final bill across the finish line.  Both Republicans and Democrats will continue to urge her to return to the negotiating table, but the House remains a Speaker-led institution.  As long as Speaker Pelosi maintains power and refuses to move a bill, no bill can be moved across the House floor.

 

FORSYTH COUNTY SMALL BUSINESS HELPS RESIDENT IN NEED

Small businesses serve as the bedrock of our economy, but they also serve our community when our neighbors are most in need. Recently, Forsyth County’s Hopewell Roofing & Restoration answered the call to serve after hearing about a Cumming resident whose roof was at risk of caving in. After hearing that the homeowner did not have the resources to fix the roof herself, Hopewell got to work, replacing the entire roof within one day, free of charge. Once confined to just her living room, the resident now has access to her full home, which her father built in 1965. When asked about Hopewell’s renovations, “I think my dad would love it” were the words the homeowner had to share.

I hope you will join me in commending Hopewell Roofing & Restoration for their service in a time when that support was needed most. Our small businessmen never fail to represent the ingenuity, hard work, and generosity that the Seventh District has to offer.

 

GWINNETT SCHOOL BUS DRIVER HONORED FOR SERVICE TO COMMUNITY

Our community has no shortage of individuals who dedicate their lives to serving others. Last Monday, the Rotary Club of Gwinnett County honored one of those community members who embodies that commitment to service—Dacula school bus driver Michele Bourdonnay. For the past three years, Ms. Bourdonnay has spent her days driving Gwinnett County special needs students to and from school, earning the trust and love of the students’ families. While off from work, she dedicates her time to serving food and distributing clothing to at risk-youth and adults experiencing homelessness as a volunteer at the Atlanta Dream Center, a local non-profit.

For her dedicated service to our community, the Gwinnett Rotarians awarded Ms. Bourdonnay a check for $500 during a surprise visit to her doorstep last week. Even though she is now training to become a classroom teacher, Ms. Bourdonnay is not sure she wants to make the full-time switch: “I really love my special needs children,” she said.

I would like to congratulate Ms. Bourdonnay for being chosen as this year’s Hidden Hero Award recipient. Her efforts to serve students and at-risk members of our community is truly something to admire.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

The most high-profile event happening in the House this week is the Oversight and Reform Committee’s hearing with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Robert Duncan. The hearing began this morning at 10 a.m., and you can watch that by clicking here.

The U.S. Postal Service has been a hot topic of discussion in the past few weeks, as it was in the House Rules Committee on Friday and on the floor this past Saturday. That’s because the House passed a bill on Saturday, H.R. 8015, which prohibits the USPS from making any changes to its services until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. If your first thought is – why would they pass a bill before holding a hearing to figure out what’s happening and how we can work together to solve the problem – you’re not alone.

Instead of holding the hearing, then crafting legislation, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wrote the bill last week, long before asking any questions. I want the USPS to work well; every American does. But it’s ludicrous--and another example of rank partisanship--to reach your conclusion about USPS activities before asking any questions. For that reason, I voted against H.R. 8015 on Saturday.  But today I will be pleased to hear what we can do together to improve the USPS for this year and beyond.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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District Connection - 8/17/20

2020/08/17

ISRAEL AND UAE TO FORMALIZE DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS

One of the biggest breakthroughs to come of last week was the announcement of the Abraham Accord, formalizing relations between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This makes the UAE the third Arab state – Egypt and Jordan have already formalized relations with Israel – and the only Gulf Arab state to do so. The deal, brokered by President Donald Trump, was a culmination of months of hard work and talks between the parties who were able to reach an agreement last week.

In the joint statement issued by the White House, Israel, and the UAE, it was announced that they will be creating a path forward to begin bilateral cooperation regarding “investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies, and other areas of mutual benefit.” The deal to formalize relations was finalized after President Trump was able to secure a commitment from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt the annexation of Palestinian territory in the West Bank. With such a historic move from the UAE, there are hopes this will precipitate a larger move for Arab states throughout the region to follow suit and rightfully recognize Israel’s right to exist.

 

INCREASING BROADBAND ACCESS TO RURAL COMMUNITIES

In the wake of virtual learning, so many individuals moving to work-from-home schedules, and healthcare facilities implementing telehealth protocols, it has become even more vital for homes to have access to reliable broadband. That is why Congress included a provision in the CARES Act to increase access to broadband for those who lacked proper connectivity. However, the funding provided to states under the CARES Act only allowed for the establishment of temporary internet access programs.

There has been a need for broadband connectivity that preceded the COVID-19 pandemic, and given the lack of certainty of when we will be able to return to business as usual, I joined my colleagues in a letter to leadership urging them to restructure the broadband aid provided under CARES to establish permanent internet access to the communities in need.  

If we are to ensure a generation of students do not lose out on their academic experience and desire our economy to regain its strength through those with the capacity to work remotely, broadband access is essential for our nation’s post-COVID recovery.

 

LOCAL HEALTH CENTER RECEIVES GRANT FROM DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

The Seventh District is home to so many who work to serve the health needs of our community, and this week I am proud to share the good work of one such center in our community – Positive Impact Health Centers (PIHC). With locations in Duluth, Marietta, and Decatur, PIHC works to engage our community in HIV prevention education, serve the health needs of HIV patients, provide mental health services, and combat substance abuse in our community. Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Special Project of National Significance program, awarded new funding to PIHC for its work furnishing the delivery of health care and support services to underserved populations living with HIV. To support their good work in our state, HHS awarded PIHC with a $360,000 grant award—an outstanding achievement.

When President Trump gave his annual State of the Union Address in 2019, his announcement of Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America stood out as an ambitious but targeted plan to drastically reduce HIV domestically by 2030, with the goal of reducing the number of new infections by 90 percent in the next ten years. Reflecting on the work of these Positive Impact Health Centers in our community, I know their good work brings us one step closer to that goal.

 

POINTED EFFORTS TO ADDRESS FOOD INSECURITY

During the COVID-19 crisis, our federal agencies and nonprofits have played critical roles in directing federal funds and lines of support to Americans and their families in need. 

Since May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has distributed over 50 million boxes of meat, dairy, and produce to families in need through its Farmers to Families Food Box Program. This initiative was launched during the early months of the pandemic as part of USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to support farmers and promote food access at a time when Americans need that support the most. This program has not only been instrumental in combatting food insecurity in the United States, but it has helped shore up farmers struggling to distribute product amid disruptions in their normal supply chains. And just last month, the USDA announced that it will begin a third round of purchases through this program. This program has demonstrated the ways in which we can maximize federal assistance and has highlighted the important role farmers play in addressing hunger in our communities. 

Additionally, non-profits have stepped up to ensure no one goes hungry in our communities. Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with Jack Griffin who in 2014 launched FoodFinder, a mobile app to let families know where food assistance is available nearest to them. With increased demand at local food banks during this time, our nonprofits and charitable organizations have continued to fulfill a critical need, and I am grateful for their efforts to look for ways to go even further.

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: SCHOOLS COORDINATE REOPENING FOR THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR

August marks the beginning of the school year for students in Georgia, and with additional challenges presented by COVID-19, many Americans are concerned for the overall wellbeing of their children. Here is what some of you had to say about schools reopening.

Chad from Suwanee:

You have to know how impossible digital learning is going to be in many households in your district, single working parent families with elementary or middle school students are faced with the choice of either quitting their job in order to stay at home with their children, or find some other workaround if there is such a solution. Same can be said for families of such kids, who cannot work from home, both parents working to feed their families and pay bills. For families with Special Ed children, they are also not going to get the education and social interaction necessary. Schools need to open, and I hope you can use your position of influence in any way possible to be our voice.

April from Duluth:

While I understand that protecting our children from the virus is important, it is our parental duty to raise and nurture them to sustain themselves as adults in the future. Current CDC guidelines and WHO guidelines suggest children need educational environments. They have suggested guidelines to ensure safe in person education. Why are we not allowing our children to attend school, socialize, and learn properly? This is negatively impacting my children’s mental health and therefore the future of this country. 

______________________________________________________________________________

As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the United States, our schools and universities are developing solutions to safely bring students back to their classrooms and other academic spaces. As Chad and April described, our schools are a crucial component in our children’s future success as well as our nation’s return to normalcy.

That said, the number of cases and rates of transmission of COVID-19 differ from state to state, and even county to county. Because the threat of COVID-19 varies so greatly, a solution for one school district to reopen may not be the best solution for a neighboring district, as is the case with Forsyth and Gwinnett Counties.

Forsyth County Public Schools are offering both in-person and virtual learning opportunities for their students, with the majority of students opting to return to the classroom. In contrast, Gwinnett County has a higher case count, and Gwinnett County Public Schools have decided it is not yet safe for students to return to in-person classes. Instead, GCPS proposed a staggered reopening, beginning with only virtual learning on August 12th and gradually offering each grade the choice to come back to the classroom setting beginning on August 26th. By September 9th, students in all grades will be allowed the choice to attend in-person classes, including self-contained special education classes.

It is also important to note that the Georgia Department of Education recognizes the additional challenges posed to students throughout the state with changes to in-person or virtual learning environments. That’s why Governor Kemp and State School Superintendent Woods led Georgia to become the first state to request a waiver of standardized testing and accountability requirements from the U.S. Department of Education. If approved, students would be exempt from testing this year, allowing the limited available funding to go towards improving educational opportunities in classrooms or online, instead of going towards high-stakes tests in such a volatile time in our students’ lives.

Now, as we begin to reopen classrooms and businesses, our return to normalcy will require a collective effort to ensure our nation’s success without further closures. It is up to each of us to recognize the importance of protecting those most at risk in our community by adhering to mask-wearing, social-distancing, and handwashing recommendations. By following these health precautions, each of us can play a part in stopping the spread of COVID-19 so we can finally get America back in business.

 

DISTRICT FAMILIES DONATE HUNDREDS OF SCHOOL SUPPLIES

Here in the Seventh District, our families and students volunteer their time and resources to make our community a better place to live. Recently, preschoolers from Carrington Academy in Forsyth County and volunteers with the North Gwinnett Cooperative donated hundreds of school supply items to students in need. Even amidst the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers found ways to get the job done—holding masked school supply drives and a drive-thru “Book Bag Bash” in Buford featuring a local DJ, plenty of candy, and balloon arches welcoming families to the Co-op. Even as a torrential downpour kicked off the Bash a few weeks ago, volunteers celebrated through the rain, giving out 450 backpacks in the process.

I would like to recognize Carrington Academy and the North Gwinnett Co-op’s volunteers for their charitable work. These acts of kindness will go a long way in helping to ensure that all our Seventh District students are ready to get back into the classroom this fall. 

 

GWINNETT AND FORSYTH HOSPITALS RECOGNIZED FOR EXCELLENCE

The Seventh District is fortunate enough to have outstanding health care services which ensure the safety and well-being of our community. Recently, U.S. News & World Report named both Northside Hospital Forsyth and the Gwinnett Medical Center top-ten hospitals in the state of Georgia. U.S. News calculated its rankings based on achievement across eight medical specialties—cancer, heart surgery, orthopedics, and neurology among them. Using a combination of data and expert opinion, U.S. News assessed nearly every hospital in Georgia, ranking only the top 14 among them. Even among the dozens of high-performing medical centers in our state, U.S. News deemed two of our Seventh District hospitals worthy of this top-ten distinction.

In a time when we count on them most, I hope you will join me in congratulating our medical professionals whose hard work and sacrifice earned them this incredible recognition. Without their dedicated service to our public health, the Seventh District would not be such a safe place to live.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

As most Americans have heard by now, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is calling the House into a weekend session to vote on a bill that would temporarily suspend reforms to the U.S. Postal Service for the remainder of 2020. It remains to be seen at the moment whether that is all the legislation will do, or if the Speaker intends on adding more provisions as the week progresses. For over a decade, we have known that the USPS is in a financial free-fall absent serious reform. While some in Congress – from both sides of the political aisle – have supported making tough choices for the post office, like moving to 5-day mail delivery and allowing the closure of certain postal locations, others have advocated for simply allowing the USPS to borrow more money from the Treasury to bolster operations. I admit that I have long been in the former camp. Before I see the final version of the legislation that will be before the House on Saturday morning, I will withhold judgment on my vote. What I can commit to, however, is supporting postal reform. The USPS simply cannot continue to run as it has been for so many years – with multi-billion deficits, mounting retiree benefit obligations, and absent serious structural reforms. A 19th Century institution cannot survive in a 21st Century world without its leaders and employees committing themselves to change.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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District Connection - 8/10/20

2020/08/10

PRESIDENT TRUMP ISSUES MULTIPLE EXECUTIVE ORDERS

Often I have spoken with you about the need for Congress to act expeditiously in the wake of our COVID-19 crisis, and when we have worked together in the Congress in partnership with the Administration, we have been able to move quickly and decisively. That said, you also know that in the past few weeks, negotiations between Congressional Leaders and the White House on an additional support package have stalled. Because the talks haven’t produced a new package, several provisions of the CARES Act have expired, including those that provided unemployment insurance payments and prohibited evictions.

The continued refusal of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to agree to even the most basic short-term extension of these current benefits while long-term negotiations continue led President Trump to take unilateral action. As you can read in the four Executive Orders that the President signed on Saturday, he is taking this opportunity to make some dramatic changes in payroll tax collection, unemployment insurance, student loan repayment, and housing policy.

I appreciate the concern that President Trump has for struggling American families, and I share his sense of urgency.  We are all working hard to help those families struggling with unemployment and making their rent or mortgage payments when fully 10% of American workers continue to face unemployment and financial uncertainty.  That said, I am also extremely concerned any time any President decides that he or she can make fundamental changes to existing laws without the partnership of Congress. Article I of the U.S. Constitution rests all legislative power within the Congress and ensures that all taxpayer funds are spent according to Congressional direction. The President’s Executive Orders directly circumvent that Article I authority.

I don’t question the President’s sincerity or motivation in issuing these orders, but the duty that every Federal elected official has to uphold both the words and the spirit of the Constitution is paramount and cannot be ignored, even when the country is facing a pandemic. Now is the time for Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer to recommit themselves to working with the White House and Congressional Republicans to ensure that Congress does its job: agreeing on a package that we can send to the President’s desk for his signature.  Nobody wins with shortcuts around Constitutional authority, and the legal uncertainty surrounding the President’s actions will create unnecessary uncertainty in the lives of American families already facing unprecedented obstacles.  President Trump wants to do better, Republicans in Congress want to do better, and I believe Democratic members in Congress want to do better too.  So let’s get it done!

 

SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES IN BEIRUT

When a fire at the port of Beirut ignited 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate being stored at the site, setting off a massive explosion that has killed over 150 people and injured thousands, hundreds of thousands were left homeless as the shockwave from the blast tore through the city. The port of Beirut, one of Lebanon’s biggest economic drivers, was also the site of Lebanon’s grain and wheat reserves, 80 percent of which have been destroyed.

This disaster has caused incredible devastation and, with the coronavirus pandemic still looming, requires an international effort to help the Lebanese people. That is why I have joined my colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting that aid be quickly provided to relief efforts in Lebanon.

There is a long recovery ahead, but I am hopeful that the United States can be a partner in helping the people of Lebanon in the wake of this tragedy.

 

JOBS REPORT SHOWS CONTINUED GAINS

The latest jobs report shows another consecutive month of job gains in the U.S. with 1.8 million returning to employment last month. That’s 300,000 more than economists expected in the month of July. The unemployment rate is now 10.2%, down from 11.1% in June and 14.7% back in April. A third of the job gains came from the leisure and hospitality industry as restaurants and hotels continue to come back online through the U.S.

While this is great news and we should capitalize on this momentum, it is even more important that we continue to follow state and local guidelines on social distancing and mask ordinances. Everyone has a part to play in mitigating the effects of COVID-19. Only when we have the coronavirus under control can we see a wider resurgence of our economy.

 

RECOGNIZING OUR NATION’S COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS

Community Health Centers (CHCs) are an integral part of our health care system, and they have served as critical first lines of care during this public health emergency, conducting roughly 2.5 million COVID-19 tests nationally. For those of you who aren’t readily familiar, CHCs are federally-supported centers that provide medical services, namely primary and preventative care services, to individuals in our community often at little or no cost to the patient. We are so fortunate to have several CHCs in our community, including Four Corners Primary Care, Georgia Highlands Medical Services, MedLink Georgia, and the Center for Pan Asian Community Services, and I am grateful for their continued efforts to provide quality care to those in our community, especially during this time. I was proud to join a coalition of Members in Congress in introducing a resolution commemorating National Health Center Week to recognize their good work and that of the 1,400 CHCs across the country.

And as we take time to highlight our CHC’s efforts to provide quality care to those in need in our community, as I said earlier, we must also remember that one of the best ways we can support our healthcare providers in their mission to protect public health is by following public health and social distancing guidelines. We must all do our part to reduce virus transmission and minimize the risks to our heroes on the front lines who day in, day out are continuing to serve us.

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: PROVIDING FOR THE 2020 CENSUS

The U.S. Constitution calls for a census to count the U.S. population every 10 years. The results of each census are fundamental to making key decisions, including the distribution of federal funds, as well as determining representation in the U.S. House of Representatives and in our state legislatures. Here’s what some of you had to say about the 2020 Census.

Sally from Lawrenceville:

The census happens once every decade, and so much rides on an accurate count of your constituents. The census is in danger, but you can do something to protect it. Support your constituents and infrastructure in your states by backing efforts to extend the deadline for census data collection, which has been greatly impacted by the pandemic -- AND including $448 million in funding for the census in the next COVID-19 response bill. Everyone counts.

Diane from Duluth:

The U.S. census plays a critical role in our democracy. The White House is trying to undermine the census to advance the president's short-term political goals. Congress must step in, safeguard our democracy and protect the U.S. census by adding language to the COVID bill to ensure the census is taken accurately during the pandemic.

________________________________________________________________________

As Sally and Diane mentioned, providing for an accurate count of our nation’s population is not only important for fulfilling our Constitution’s requirement, but also it is critical to ensuring that representation in government is proportionally determined. Also, census data is used in certain formulas that provide for the allotment of billions in federal funds, and an accurate count ensures that states and localities are fairly receiving support based on their populations. Businesses, nonprofits, researchers, and all levels of government rely on this information to make informed decisions. Providing for this undertaking has been years in the making, and Congress has directed billions in annual appropriations to ensure we are successful in completing this goal.

As many of you may know, the 2020 Census has been met with numerous challenges, from challenges in the courts about the inclusion of a citizenship question to concerns about the census’s completion during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite the political contention that has surrounded much of the discussion about the 2020 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau has worked tirelessly to fulfill this critical mission, adapting its operations amid the pandemic. Part of its core mission has centered on how to make the 2020 Census less costly and more efficient, and the Bureau has undertaken initiatives to reduce large costs associated with collecting this information. These efforts included those to increase initial response to the census online, update existing maps to more accurately reflect housing locations, and utilize technologies to reduce the heavy cost burden of in-person follow-ups.

With the deadline for the Bureau to complete the 2020 Census fast approaching, I appreciate the Bureau’s continued efforts to ensure the completion of data collection, including the hiring of additional employees. However, the COVID-19 crisis has undeniably delayed census operations, particularly in-person follow-ups. Should it become evident that we are falling short in our responsibility to make sure persons are counted, we must absolutely take steps – whether that be in additional resources or by providing longer statutory flexibility – to provide for the census’s appropriate completion.

To that end, I encourage any and all of you who have not yet responded to the census to do so before the data collection deadline. And so far, we are nearing previous decennial census’ self-response rates, with the Seventh District boasting a 68.1% self-response rate, compared to the national average of 63.1%. Together, we can ensure the most accurate count of individuals in our community to better guide federal funding and policy decisions. You can respond to the Census online HERE or you can read more information about how to respond by phone HERE.

 

GWINNETT AND FORSYTH COMMUNITIES NAMED BEST FOR FAMILIES

We in the Seventh District know our community is an exceptional place to raise a family, but it always feels great to be recognized for it. Recently, rankings website Niche.com named Forsyth County the second-best county in the United States to raise a family. Likewise, Niche named Sugar Hill in Gwinnett County the second-best place in Georgia to buy a home. The site calculated its rankings based on metrics like public school quality, cost of living, and low crime rates. While we know who is really “Number One,” these accomplishments are truly outstanding. 

We share a remarkable community here in the Seventh District, which is why it comes as no surprise to us that we have been selected for these national honors. Even in these times of uncertainty, I cannot help but reflect on the extraordinary privilege it is to call our community home.

 

GCPD KIDS AWARDED UNIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIPS

We are so fortunate to have so many public-service minded individuals in our community, including our first responders. We are indebted to their families for the sacrifices they make to ensure our community is a safe place to live. Recently, the Gwinnett County Police Foundation awarded college scholarships to the children of six of our Gwinnett County Police Department employees. Wandriona Hale, Ky-Mani Huggins, Slater Carpenter, Chloe Hood, Haley McMenomy, and Bryce Reavis were this year’s scholarship recipients. They will be attending Toccoa Falls College, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Georgia Tech, and the University of North Georgia—excellent Georgia universities where they will continue to make us proud.

I hope you will join me in congratulating this year’s Gwinnett County Police Foundation scholarship recipients for their hard work and success. Our police families represent the very best the Seventh District has to offer.

 

FORSYTH COUNTY NONPROFIT TO OPEN NEW HOME FOR HOMELESS TEENS

Those in our community never fail to heed the call to action when our neighbors are in need. The Place of Forsyth County is celebrating its 45th anniversary by launching “The Place Home,” a renovation project for a home in Cumming that will accommodate up to six girls experiencing homelessness and a house mom, with space to expand in the future. The project has been in the works since 2016 and the home is scheduled to open by September this year. With the home scheduled to open soon, residents across Forsyth County have come together to get the home ready in time. Even amidst a global pandemic and difficult financial times, The Place is working to turn this dream into a reality for Forsyth County and the surrounding community.

I want to commend The Place, its donors, and all volunteers involved in establishing this new home for our youth who need it most.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Contact Information

1724 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4272
Fax 202-225-4696
woodall.house.gov

Rob Woodall serves the 7th district of GA in the U.S. House of Representatives and serves on the House Committee on Rules, the House Budget Committee, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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 has served in a variety of leadership roles during his short time in Congress ranging from Chairman of the Budget and Spending Task Force, where he authored the most conservative budget to come before Congress in the last 5 years, to Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the caucus comprised of the Republican conference’s most conservative Members.

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


Serving With

Buddy Carter

GEORGIA's 1st DISTRICT

Drew Ferguson

GEORGIA's 3rd DISTRICT

Austin Scott

GEORGIA's 8th DISTRICT

Doug Collins

GEORGIA's 9th DISTRICT

Jody Hice

GEORGIA's 10th DISTRICT

Barry Loudermilk

GEORGIA's 11th DISTRICT

Rick Allen

GEORGIA's 12th DISTRICT

Tom Graves

GEORGIA's 14th DISTRICT

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