Rob Woodall

Rob Woodall

GEORGIA's 7th DISTRICT

House Overwhelmingly Approves Woodall Legislation to Expand Veteran Employment Opportunities

2017/06/26

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill (H.R. 2547) introduced by U.S. Representatives Rob Woodall (R-GA-07) and Julia Brownley (D-CA-26) by a vote of 409-0 that would build upon current law that the two originally authored.  The Veterans Expanded Trucking Opportunities (VETOPPS) Act, signed into law as part of the FAST Act in December of 2015, removed regulatory barriers for military veterans continuing or beginning work in the trucking industry.  Specifically, Woodall’s 2015 provision required the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Veterans Administration (VA) to develop a streamlined process for VA physicians to join the National Registry for Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME), which FMCSA estimated will save VA doctors over $600 on average.

The DOT requires all commercial drivers to be examined by a health professional listed on the NRCME, and while there are more than 50,000 certified medical examiners (CME) nationwide, there were only 25 within the entire VA health system – a mere .0005%.  This forced many veterans to look outside the VA for a medical professional eligible to perform the required physical, possibly having to pay out of pocket as well.  The bill passed by the House today further increases veterans’ access, allowing all qualified VA medical professionals, including advanced practice nurses and physician assistants, to provide physical examinations for veterans using the new streamlined process. 

“Things are getting done in Washington on a variety of fronts, but none make me more proud than what we’re achieving across the aisle for our veterans,” said Rep. Woodall.  “Just last week we saw the Veterans Accountability Act signed into law following enormous bipartisan support, and now this much more targeted measure to help our veterans quickly return to work has moved that much closer to becoming law as well.  I’m proud to lead in this effort, and I’m grateful to Chairman Shuster, Rep. Brownley, and all my House colleagues for their support.”

“Rep. Woodall’s leadership on this issue demonstrates his commitment to improving employment opportunities for our Nation’s veterans, and to effective, commonsense government,” Chairman Shuster said.  “I commend him for his work on this legislation and in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s work to strengthen America’s infrastructure.”

“We need to do more to ensure our veterans are able to successfully transition back to the civilian workforce and support their families when they come home,” said Congresswoman Brownley.  “This bill helps fulfill the trucking industry’s need for skilled, capable drivers by removing bureaucratic barriers for our veterans who are qualified and ready to enter this field of work. I am pleased to see this bill advance to the Senate, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this to the President’s desk.”

The High Points:

  • The original Veterans Expanded Trucking Opportunities (VETOPPS) Act, brought together safety regulators, the VA, truck drivers, and veterans service organizations to craft a solution supported by both sides of the political aisle and was among the many positive reforms included in the Fast Act signed by the President in 2015.
  • The DOT and the VA are now working together to implement the program so that VA physicians can become certified to conduct these DOT physicals without excessive financial and travel requirements. 
  • FMCSA estimates this will save each physician over $600, not to mention the time and money saved by each veteran driver. 
  • The follow-up bill approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this week would allow additional medical professionals in the VA system, such as advanced practice nurses and physician assistants, who are qualified for listing on the National Registry to use this new online training course within the VA system. 
  • Only 33% of certified medical examiners are medical doctors, so opening this program up to the other 67% of qualified medical professionals within the VA system will increase access and reduce wait times for veterans. 
  • Those supporting the measure include the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the American Academy of Physicians Assistants, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the American Legion.  

Last week, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced companion legislation to H.R. 2547 in the United States Senate.  The measure has received broad, bipartisan and bicameral support to this point, and is expected to advance further following House passage today.

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee. 

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Washington Watch - 6/26/17

2017/06/26

A BIG WIN FOR GEORGIA’S CONSUMERS AND FOR AMERICAN-MADE ENERGY

American energy independence is not only essential for our national security in diminishing our reliance on foreign energy from unstable parts of the world, but it is also important as it alleviates financial burdens for our friends and neighbors as we power our homes every day. Part of this effort is our investment in nuclear power, and lucky for us in Georgia, we have two new nuclear power reactors on their way, bringing jobs and cleaner, cheaper energy to meet the needs of our growing state. 

While Georgia is doing its part, at the federal level, we can do more to encourage the success of projects like these and promote their construction in the future. That is why I was pleased when the House passed by a voice vote H.R. 1551, which I co-sponsored along with almost the entire Georgia delegation. The bill removes a deadline for which the nuclear production tax credit (NPTC) can be used and ensures uniformity in eligibility for the NPTC so that non-profit partners in nuclear power facilities – like Oglethorpe Power, which provides power to Jackson EMC in our area, and the Municipal Electricity Authority of Georgia, which serves residents in Buford, Lawrenceville, and Norcross – can use the credit and pass down savings to their customers. Our goal in Congress is to create jobs and move toward complete energy independence in a bipartisan way, and I am proud of the work we were able to accomplish here in the House with H.R. 1551. I am hopeful the Senate will take up this common-sense legislation soon and get it to the President’s desk so that we can all share in its benefits. 

 

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE UNVEILS MAJOR FAA REFORM BILL

The current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization expires in September, and last week, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) introduced a sweeping, bipartisan bill to reauthorize and reform this critical federal agency. The “21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act” is designed to build upon the success of America’s aviation industry in the 20th Century and ensure that both the public and private sectors have the tools necessary to expand upon that success into the 21st Century. 

This figures to be the most comprehensive reform to our nation’s aviation policy since the FAA was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and I encourage you to read the bill yourself or take a look at the section by section summary.  This bill cuts Washington red tape to ensure American manufacturers can get their products to market faster, provide our airports with the resources necessary to be the best in the world, protect access to airspace for general aviation pilots and rural communities, and install new consumer protections to make sure travelers are treated with the respect and fairness they deserve. You can always count on Washington to fight big ideas, and I fully expect the entrenched special interests will fight against this kind of reform.  But with delays mounting, inefficiencies growing, and traveler frustrations reaching a boiling point, now is the time to come together and agree that America can do better. 

 

PROVIDING CARE AND SUPPORT FOR AMERICA’S FOSTER YOUTH AND THEIR FAMILIES

Last week I was proud to join my colleagues in passing four bills – H.R. 2847H.R. 2866H.R. 2742, and H.R. 2857 – which work to strengthen families by providing long-overdue updates to the foster care system, as well as to ensure a smooth transition for young adults moving out of the system. Strong families are the bedrock of our great nation, and I believe that we must take the necessary steps to ensure that families and communities across the country continue to thrive.  As you know, the foster care system is supposed to be a temporary arrangement in which adults provide for the care of a child or children whose birthparents are unable to care for them. However, too many of us often forget that the ultimate goal of the foster care system is to reunite the child or children with their birth families, and when possible, not to separate them at all. While I believe that most foster care issues are best handled at the state and local level, as our neighbors in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties can provide for the needs of children and families in our area better than federal bureaucrats can, I was proud to support these fiscally responsible and bipartisan measures that offer significant benefits, take smart steps to revitalize and uphold the goal of the foster care system, and allow our local officials to create innovative programs to help these kids and their foster and birth families succeed. 

 

10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION DRAWS THOUSANDS FROM AROUND GEORGIA

On Friday, I had the great honor of joining my friends at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn as we welcomed His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, who serves as the global spiritual and administrative leader of the BAPS movement, which has over 100 centers across North America.  The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is the largest Hindu temple in North America and has drawn 1.8 million visitors since its opening in 2007.  I can tell you first-hand that these men and women and their families who worship at the Mandir are such a blessing to our community.  

The Seventh District is a wonderfully diverse region, as I’m sure you already know, and I consider myself fortunate to know many of these local leaders personally.  As is their practice with everyone of all faiths, they have welcomed me time and again, shared their expertise and concerns alike, and most importantly, eagerly partnered with me as we work to make our part of the world even better.  I’m grateful for their hospitality and the sincere commitment to serving others that can be found in their belief that it is in the joy of others that we find our own. I can’t think of a better shared principle around which to build good will for people of all faiths and backgrounds. They graciously invited me to share a few words at the ceremony, which you can watch here, and I was honored to accept.  


Rep. Rob Woodall celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn, Georgia, with three young members of our 7th District community

 

SUPPORTING THE AMERICAN DREAM THROUGH THE DIGNITY OF WORK

America has always prided herself on being the land of opportunity, where through hard work, anyone can succeed and live the American dream. You can always count on me to do anything I can to ensure that the American dream is accessible to everyone regardless of their background. That’s why I’m proud that the House overwhelmingly passed two bills to empower Americans to reach for success. H.R. 2842, the “Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act,” allows states to use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds as part of a demonstration program to provide subsidized employment for welfare beneficiaries. These funds go to programs that incentivize and empower the neediest in our country to get employment and provide for themselves and their families. This bill will help put people who are out of work today on the first rung of the ladder of success where they will be able to leave TANF behind permanently.  

To prepare our workers who are already in the workforce for higher-wage, higher-skilled, more in-demand careers, H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act,” authorized federal funds to support local and state career and technical education (CTE) programs. Today’s job market is rapidly changing, and it demands a highly skilled workforce. I’m certain that H.R. 2353 will help hard-working Americans get the skills they need to grow their pocketbooks and better their families. 

The greatest anti-poverty program in the world is a good-paying, high-quality job. Americans have always believed in the dignity of work, and I’m excited about the early achievements of this Congress that have opened up our job market and empowered our workforce to drive America forward.

 

GETTING THINGS DONE:  WOODALL VETERANS EMPLOYMENT BILL MOVES CLOSER TO BECOMING LAW

Last week, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced companion legislation to H.R. 2547, a bill I authored to make it simpler and more affordable for veterans to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).  Federal law requires commercial drivers to have a CDL, and in order to get a CDL, you must receive a medical examination from a certified medical examiner.  However, it’s costly and time consuming for medical professionals to obtain such a certification—thus only 25 medical professionals in the VA system nationwide are certified to perform these CDL examinations.  Because there are so few options in the VA system right now, veterans are forced to look outside the VA system and pay out of pocket for their examination.  My legislation will add more medical professionals in the VA to the list of certified medical examiners and allow veterans to work with their own trusted medical team within the VA system to obtain their CDL examination.  It’s a bipartisan, common-sense reform that I'm happy to say will be on the House floor Monday afternoon for consideration. I’m hopeful that we will get this important legislation to President Trump’s desk in the coming weeks.

 

HARD WORK, PERSEVERANCE, AND BIG DREAMS LIVE IN OUR COMMUNITY

I always like to take the opportunity each week to share with you some of the great stories coming out of our community, and thankfully, there never seems to be any shortage of material. I’d say that’s a direct representation of who we are.  So often the stories of realized dreams or accomplished goals can seem like overnight successes, but we all know better.  There’s a common theme when you dig a little deeper.  None of these individuals got to where they are now by chance – they credit relentless hard work, perseverance, and support from those important people in their lives much more than any specific talent.  Any time we can celebrate the success of our friends and neighbors it’s a good day, but these stories are bigger than that, and they bring us together around a shared principle.  Especially for our young people, these stories are proof that it – whatever it is – is possible.  It’s not easy, it’s certainly not guaranteed, but with hard work and perseverance, we can reach those goals we set for ourselves.  Congratulations, and thank you, to all those doing just that.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week the House is expected to move forward on two bills that improve our immigration laws to ensure that violent criminals are kept off our streets and that local jurisdictions are not allowed to break federal immigration laws. H.R. 3003, the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” and H.R. 3004, “Kate’s Law,” are common-sense attempts to keep Americans safe and to uphold the laws of the United States. I encourage you to CLICK HERE to read more about both of these bills. 

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on which I sit, is marking-up H.R. 2997, the “21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act (AIRR Act)” on Tuesday. I invite you to CLICK HERE to watch the live streaming video. 

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Senate Traction for Woodall Veterans Legislation

2017/06/21

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator and Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced companion legislation, the “Jobs for our Heroes Act of 2017,” to a House bill (H.R. 2547) authored by Rep. Rob Woodall (GA 07) that has already been unanimously approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  The measure expands upon the Veterans Expanded Trucking Opportunities (VETOPPS) Act, which was signed into law in 2015 as part of the FAST Act, and removed regulatory barriers for military veterans continuing or beginning work in the trucking industry.  Specifically, Woodall’s 2015 provision required the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Veterans Administration (VA) to develop a streamlined process for VA physicians to join the National Registry for Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME), which FMCSA estimated will save VA doctors over $600 on average.  The new Woodall/Cornyn legislation builds upon current law to increase veterans’ access by allowing all qualified VA medical professionals, including advanced practice nurses and physician assistants, to provide physical examinations for veterans using the new streamlined process. 

“Serving our veterans is one of those things that brings us together, and I’m very grateful to Senator Cornyn for his partnership on this important issue.  The VETOPPS Act has always been rooted in the shared notion that bureaucratic red tape should not be standing between our veterans and employment opportunities – and if it does, we should work across the aisle and across the Capitol to solve the problem,” said Woodall.  “We quickly found bipartisan, bicameral consensus to do just that in 2015, and we’ve already found that same bipartisanship in moving a common sense concept forward to serve even more veterans now.” 

“We should be making it easier, not harder, for members of the armed forces to be gainfully employed both while they are in the reserves and after they complete their service,” said Sen. Cornyn.  “The servicemen and women who have experience operating large military vehicles should be able to easily apply their skills and knowledge when seeking a commercial driver’s license, and this legislation allows for just that.”

Woodall credits the success of the VETOPPS Act to not only the bipartisan commitment to veterans, but a strong local partnership with constituents in the Seventh District. 

“Not being in the trucking industry myself, the only reason I was even aware of the difficulty is because a constituent took the time to pick up the phone and tell me about how we could do better.  We’re fortunate to have experts in virtually every field imaginable here at home, and by working together to confront challenges, we see this kind of uneventful problem-solving time and again - much more than many realize.”

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee. 

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Washington Watch - 6/19/17

2017/06/19

AMERICA’S PASTIME BRINGS CONGRESS TOGETHER

Zack Barth, Matt Mika, Crystal Griner, David Bailey, and my friend and colleague Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) were all shot as they practiced early Wednesday morning for the Annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.Truthfully, it could have been much, much worse. Agent Griner and Agent Bailey raced toward the gunman as others sought cover and safety, and in doing so, they undoubtedly saved lives. Their heroism was celebrated as the Congressional game went on as planned. Well…almost as planned. So powerful was the outpouring of support from the Washington community that they even raised nearly twice the amount of money expected for great charities like the Capitol Police Memorial Fund, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, the Washington Literacy Center, and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. 

Democrats and Republicans came together in sport and in prayer to support those who were injured by the attack and to redouble our efforts to work as one unified body. Too often we are focused on what divides us in this nation, but in reality, we are united in our shared desire to serve the American people and make this country great. I hope you will join me in continuing to pray for the speedy recovery of Majority Whip Scalise and former staffer Matt Mika, and the safety of the Capitol Police Officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve this legislative body. 

 

CONGRESS INCREASES HEALTH CARE ACCESS FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS

As you all know, the House and Senate have been working together for months on health care reform, and though the American Health Care Act (AHCA) has gotten most of the attention as this important debate has moved forward, the House has moved several stand-alone solutions for health care issues that Senate rules prohibit Congress from addressing in the AHCA, which is being advanced via the budget reconciliation process. Last week, the House approved three more health care reform bills with bipartisan support, and I was pleased to support each of them and would like to share a few details about them with you all.

The first bill, H.R. 2581, the “Verify First Act,” seeks to ensure that federal dollars provided to individuals pursuant to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or the AHCA are only sent to those who are legally eligible to receive them. This common-sense solution will safeguard our limited resources and help us eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse. A second bill, H.R. 2372, the “VETERAN Act,” would allow veterans who are eligible for VA health care but choose private health insurance instead to receive the same federal financial assistance as other Americans under the ACA or AHCA. Though an existing Treasury regulation provides such parity for veterans who participate in the ACA, H.R. 2372 will make the practice permanent law going forward and extend the parity to AHCA’s tax credits.  Finally, H.R. 2579, the “Broader Options for Americans Act,” would permit the use of AHCA’s advanceable, refundable tax credits to cover the cost of COBRA insurance coverage. This particular reform will make COBRA a much more affordable option for Americans who find themselves between jobs and temporarily in need of a health insurance coverage bridge.  

All these common-sense reforms to our health care system are positive signs to me that we can work together across the aisle to fix problems for the American people. I hope that we can continue down this path of success together. 

 

NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER SUPPORTS APPRENTICESHIPS AND TRAINING FOR AMERICAN WORKERS

As you may know, the President declared last week to be “Workforce Development Week.” As our economy continues to grow and more jobs are created each month, it is paramount that our citizens are well equipped to capitalize on those new opportunities. That is why I was so pleased last week when President Trump signed a new Executive Order to promote and direct funding to affordable education and training apprenticeship programs that teach the relevant skills needed to drive our economy. 

The new Executive Order comes at a perfect time as we see the cost of higher education ever increasing and our many job training programs failing to provide the skills to fill 6 million vacant jobs in the United States. I know you’ve witnessed, just as I have, how this shortage of skilled labor has affected our district. Business leaders in our community often tell me how much they would love to employ more people and provide good paying jobs to our neighbors, but the labor and necessary skill-sets are just not there. I hope that this new investment in skilled labor will modernize our Federal job-training programs and bring Americans the success they deserve. 

 

BIPARTISAN VETERANS REFORM HEADING TO THE PRESIDENT’S DESK

It’s easy to get bogged down in the latest media speculation or story of the day and feel like nothing good is going on, but I have some great news that received almost no press coverage.  Last week, I voted to send S. 1094, the “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017” to President Trump’s desk for his signature. This new law, which increases accountability at the VA and protects whistleblowers, is the kind of reform we have been working toward for years now. Though blocked for years, we have a White House, a Senate, and a House that all agree that serving our veterans is more important than protecting the paychecks of the lowest performing federal employees. To be clear, most employees in the VA and throughout the Federal government do wonderful work for much less pay than they could make in the private sector. However, there are unquestionably some—and if you are a veteran, you know this—that are simply there to collect a paycheck and clock out. The stakes are too high at the VA to accept even one employee who isn’t 100% committed to treating our veterans with the care and the respect they have earned, and this bill is going to give the Secretary the authority to reward great employees and fire terrible employees while preserving due process rights in the event of a wrongful termination and expanding protections for whistleblowers who courageously report misbehavior to their superiors. 

Specifically, the bipartisan "Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017" will:

  • Create a new streamlined and efficient process to remove, demote or suspend (for longer than 14 days) any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct with a concrete shortened timeline, while still protecting employees’ due process rights, and would provide them with the right to appeal the action.
  • Provide expanded protections for whistleblowers and would specifically bar VA from using this removal authority if the employee has an open whistleblower complaint/case with the Office of Special Counsel.
  • Provide the Secretary with the authority to reduce an employee’s federal pension if they are convicted of a felony that influenced their job at VA; recoup a bonus provided to an employee who engaged in misconduct or poor performance prior to receiving the bonus; and allow the Secretary to recoup any relocation expenses that were authorized for a VA employee only through the employee’s ill-gotten means, such as fraud waste or malfeasance.
  • Authorize the Secretary to directly appoint individuals to the positions of Medical Center Director and Director of Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) if they have a demonstrated ability in the medical profession, health care administration or health care fiscal management. This will make it easier to fill these critical positions quickly.

Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, all working together to serve our veterans with honor and dignity is a victory for America. 

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP AND CONGRESS EXPRESS SOLIDARITY WITH THE CUBAN PEOPLE

On Friday, President Donald Trump traveled to Miami and was joined by Vice President Pence, several Cabinet secretaries, and members of Congress from the Florida delegation. The purpose of this trip was to make clear to the Cuban people and their many friends and relatives in the United States that now—under the Trump Administration—America stands with them, not their oppressive, anti-American, anti-democracy regime. Former President Obama made the controversial decision late in his tenure to legitimize and befriend the autocrats in the Castro family who have mercilessly ruled over the Cuban people for decades. It was wrong, and as many of my colleagues and I predicted, it did not lead to a freer Cuba. President Trump announced during his speech that he was instituting a new policy that prevents taxpayer dollars from funding the deplorable behavior of the Cuban regime, weakens its militaristic control over the Cuban people, and promotes free enterprise and democratic ideals. I am encouraged by the President’s decision and stand with him in challenging the Cuban authorities to return to the international table to end the violence against its own people and move steadfastly toward a safe and prosperous Cuba that can be fully welcomed to and embraced by the global community.

 

FORSYTH TALENT DRAFTED BY MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

As many of you likely know, the Major League Baseball Draft took place recently. Now with summer officially beginning this week, I’d call that fitting timing because summer and baseball go together about as well as our community and excellence, and during last week’s draft, two of Forsyth’s own – Danny Edgeworth of Lambert High School and Andrew Gist of Forsyth Central – were among those selected. This is no small achievement, and I know Danny and Andrew are celebrating with their families as they look ahead to what’s next. It’s a time when years of work and dedication culminate not in the end-goal necessarily, but rather in earning the opportunity to continue that work and dedication. The notion that hard work pays off is true, and no place teaches that principle better than we do in our part of the world. I’m always excited for those putting it to use. Congratulations to these young men and all the many, many others working to make your dreams a reality! 

 

RAINBOW VILLAGE: TRANSFORMING LIVES FOR MORE THAN TWO DECADES

When I think of those in our community who not only make a positive impact on the people around them, but in fact make us better as a whole, Nancy Yancey is without a doubt among them. Nancy has been at the helm of Rainbow Village for the last 24 years. She is a visionary leader who understands that in service to others, we are all stronger. I’ve had the honor of watching Rainbow Village grow, develop, and serve more and more members of our community over the years, and all the while, there’s Nancy with her steady leadership guiding a truly inspiring team of individuals. The pride she feels for every family who has transitioned from homelessness to independence is infectious. If you don’t believe me, just ask her to tell you any one of a number of stories and you’ll never be the same. Now if news of her retirement makes you concerned about the future of Rainbow Village, here’s what I can tell you from my personal interaction with her team: their mission – and success – will absolutely continue. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Nancy would be the first to tell you it’s always been a team effort. I’m grateful for her and her team, I wish her all the best in what’s next, and I look forward to seeing what the good folks at Rainbow Village continue to do for our neighbors and community.  

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week the House is moving forward with two bills that cut federal red tape and one bill that follows-up on President Trump’s Workforce Development Week proposals. 

H.R. 1654, the “Water Supply Permitting Coordination Act,” provides that the federal Bureau of Reclamation will be the new “one-stop-shop” and lead agency for the permitting process for surface water storage projects on federal lands. Instead of dealing with half-a-dozen federal agencies and endless bureaucracy, this bill streamlines the permitting process so that we can complete critically necessary environmental reviews and cost/benefit analyses in a timely manner. Red tape for the sake of red tape harms our economy and the American people, and I’m happy this bipartisan bill is moving forward. 

H.R. 1873, the “Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act,” is another effort to cut unnecessary red tape. If you’ve never travelled out West, you may not realize how much land the federal government owns in western states and how much of that land is covered by forests that need constant resource management. H.R. 1873 provides a streamlined process for removing hazardous forest overgrowth that is near electric transmission and distribution lines so that we can reduce the threat of wildfires and ensure our electric grid reliability. 

H.R. 2842, the “Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act,” allows states to use some of their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to incentivize private employers to hire hard-working Americans who are receiving TANF benefits. The federal government spends billions of dollars every year fighting poverty, but we’re not winning the fight as we should be, and part of the problem has been our inability to get people back to work. By creating a pathway for folks on TANF to learn new skills and re-enter the workforce, we will be lifting people out of poverty and putting them on the path to success. I’m so proud that this bipartisan bill is going to pass the House this week, and I hope the Senate will act on it soon. 

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Accountability for our Veterans

2017/06/13

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved S. 1094, the “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act,” which will now go to the President’s desk for signature.  The legislation provides the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with the authority to expeditiously remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee, including Senior Executive Service (SES) employees, based on performance or misconduct. It is estimated by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that, on average, it takes six months to a year to remove a permanent civil servant in the Federal Government – and in many cases could take longer if achieved at all.

“There are a great many things on which we as Americans agree – irrespective of our differences – and delivering on the promises we’ve made to our veterans is one of those shared beliefs,” said Woodall.  “As its name suggests, this bill is about accountability and procedural integrity, and it’s an enormous step in the right direction.  The overwhelming percentage of employees at the VA are remarkably committed public servants, so that makes it all the more important to ensure that they are not also harmed or hindered by the negligent actions of a few.  I’m proud of the bicameral work that’s been done to get us to this point, and I look forward to seeing the President sign this measure into law soon.”

S. 1094 builds upon the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability (Choice) Act, which was signed into law in 2014 to address systemic flaws in multiple VA facilities, by codifying additional policies that are currently being implemented at the regulatory level. The action is one Woodall sees as critical to delivering long-term certainty and peace of mind for veterans, employees, and taxpayers alike.

“Federal red tape should never stand between a veteran and the best possible care, and it certainly shouldn’t protect misconduct.  Today’s vote moves these common sense principles one step closer to the finish line,” Woodall added.

Having cleared both the House and Senate, the measure is expected to be signed into law by President Trump.

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee. 

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Washington Watch - 6/12/17

2017/06/12

WORKING TO INCREASE CHOICE AND OPPORTUNITY FOR AMERICAN CONSUMERS 

Last week, the House continued its push to advance pro-growth legislation by approving H.R. 10, the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which will repeal and replace the failed Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. As you know, Dodd-Frank was Congress’ knee-jerk reaction to the 2008 financial crisis. While some of the law’s reforms were needed and admirable, such as those that restricted risky trading practices at our nation’s largest investment banks, much of Dodd-Frank has proven to be a vast expansion of government regulation.  It has done very little to actually prevent a future financial crisis or help consumers, yet has unfortunately done a great deal to harm smaller financial institutions and our economy. The “Financial CHOICE Act,” on the other hand, contains a number of important reforms that will both benefit American taxpayers and reinvigorate our economy, including providing regulatory relief for community banks and credit unions, instituting tougher penalties for those who commit financial fraud and insider trading, and making bankruptcy code changes to prevent bailouts of failing financial institutions while insulating our economy in the event that we experience another major financial crisis, to name just a few. I was pleased to join my colleagues in supporting the “Financial CHOICE Act,” and hope that the Senate will act quickly to send these needed improvements to the President’s desk.

The Financial Choice Act

Executive Summary
Claims vs. Facts
Legislative Text

 

SUPPORTING OUR NATION’S BORDER SECURITY OFFICERS

It is no secret that the men and women charged with securing our border are stretched thin as staffing shortages continuously plague the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Department of Homeland Security. That is why I was proud to partner with my colleagues in the House to pass H.R. 2213, the “Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017.”  Among the important provisions of the bill, it will help to speed new, highly trained officers into service.  With this bill, CBP will be able to streamline the application process for the most qualified candidates so that we can expeditiously fill the vacancies that are currently leaving our borders vulnerable.  Among those affected would be current law enforcement officers who have been granted a security clearance at the local or federal levels, and military officers who have also been granted a security clearance, and are trying to transfer to the CBP.  I am pleased the House has taken steps to meet the shared goal of Congress and the President to secure our borders and keep our nation safe while putting our nation’s servicemen and first responders to work.  I look forward to continuing that mission moving forward.

 

CELEBRATING INFRASTRUCTURE WEEK ACROSS AMERICA

Last week was dedicated to rolling out President Trump’s plan to fulfill his campaign promise to fix America’s infrastructure.  It was a busy week to be sure. We started on Monday, and I joined President Trump, Vice President Pence, Transportation Secretary Chao, and a number of my Congressional colleagues at the White House for the announcement of his plans to bring the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) into the 21st Century. For decades, the FAA has struggled to modernize its equipment and technology due to outdated and burdensome rules and regulations regarding federal procurement. This inefficiency has led to flight delays for travelers and wasted fuel for airlines and pilots. If you’ve ever missed a connecting flight, waited on the tarmac, or spent extra time in the sky circling the airport waiting to land, you know what I’m talking about.  


Rep. Rob Woodall joins President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of Transportation Chao, and fellow members of Congress at the White House to kick-off Infrastructure Week.

On Wednesday, the President explained his plan to empower state and local governments to make critical improvements to our nation’s inland waterway system. And on Thursday, Secretary Chao spent several hours testifying before my House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to further explain the problems with our aviation system and the President’s proposed solution.  

Secretary Chao, who in 1989 was the Transportation Department’s Deputy Secretary, mentioned that she is encountering the same technology problems today that she encountered nearly thirty years ago. We are literally still using little strips of paper to keep track of planes landing while other nations are using state-of-the-art digital displays and automated systems! This was an eye-opening revelation, and it is totally unacceptable for the great engine of American innovation to be stifled by arbitrary red tape. But we are going to fix it!

The President ended his week, again with me, at the Department of Transportation, where we were joined by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. This event was focused on perhaps our most glaring infrastructure problems like roads, bridges, and rail. The fundamental goal of all of our transportation infrastructure projects is to move people and things safely and efficiently. Unfortunately, in many parts of the country we are achieving neither of these goals. The President said, “the American people deserve the best infrastructure anywhere in the world.” I couldn’t agree more. The President culminated Infrastructure Week with an Executive Order to reduce the time it takes to permit a major infrastructure project, which could generate trillions of dollars in economic benefits. I am very excited to partner with the President and my colleagues in Congress to answer the call of making America’s infrastructure great again, and we’re going to use every tool in our toolbox to make this happen.

 

CELEBRATING OUR JEWISH COMMUNITY MAKING HISTORY IN FORSYTH COUNTY

Last week, Forsyth County celebrated the opening of its first Jewish Synagogue, and while votes in Washington kept me away, I couldn’t be happier to extend my congratulations and celebrate with them. To quote Rabbi Mentz, “A good community has the ability to change lives,” and I couldn’t agree more! No one accomplishes that goal better than we do here at home – in so many ways – and his congregation has long been an invaluable partner. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting with Rabbi Mentz in person, and I’m so impressed by his passion, leadership, and dedication. Our community is better because of the folks who will now have a wonderful new place to worship together. We root for each other in this part of the world. We celebrate with our friends because we understand that those victories make us all stronger. I’m thrilled that the new home of Chabad of Forsyth is a reality, and once again, I congratulate my friends as they begin this exciting new chapter.

 

SETTING THE STAGE FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH POLICIES

One of the takeaways from this past election is the desire of the American people to take our nation’s fiscal policy in another direction, and now that we have a unified government, I am optimistic about delivering sound fiscal policy and common sense tax reform to you. Part of that mission is ensuring the right climate for businesses and entrepreneurs to start and grow right here in the United States, which is why last Wednesday, the House Budget Committee held a hearing on the Economic and Fiscal Benefits of Pro-Growth Policies. 

I talk to 7th District residents all the time who are working hard to solve real problems in our community, and so many of them would gratefully give their last dollar to help someone in need, to serve a veteran, or to put a first-generation American through college. What folks in our community don’t want to do is give the federal government more money when they believe that what they’ve already given has been thrown away on wasteful spending. That’s why I focused my questions at the Budget hearing on figuring out how to best spend the limited dollars that we have. Is it better to spend more money on loans for 4-year college degrees, or is it better to funnel more people through skilled apprenticeship and 2-year technical colleges? Is it more effective for us to spend money on the interstate highway system or on railroads? Answering these important fiscal questions is what we rely on economic experts to help us decide, and I’m thankful that so many of them have come to the Budget Committee to help us with that task. 

The voters have demanded that we change the status quo, and I anticipate doing just that. I believe we can do better by undoing the failed economic policies from the past administration and enacting our common-sense, pro-growth agenda to bolster our nation’s economy. 

Please CLICK BELOW to watch my questions at last week’s Budget hearing.

 

FORMER FBI DIRECTOR COMEY TESTIFIES AT SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE

Though we didn’t hear much new information, former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony last week in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee certainly made headlines. Whatever side of the political aisle you might find yourself on, the hearing was certainly “must see tv” in Washington, D.C. and around the country. In the end, the public testimony wasn’t as explosive as I’m sure some of the President’s detractors would have hoped for, and I’m glad about that. I never wanted President Obama to fail because it meant that America had failed, and the same goes for President Trump. If we have a failure of leadership in the White House, those failures will certainly snowball throughout the government, and that’s going to hurt American families. I look forward to the FBI, Congress, and the Justice Department completing their various investigations in short order so that we can get back to the challenging but rewarding work of helping American families succeed. 

 

HONORING OUR FALLEN HERO

Cherishing the memory and sacrifice of our American heroes, like Specialist Etienne Murphy, who gave everything in service to America is something our community takes very seriously, and I’m grateful we make it a priority throughout the entire year. No words can sufficiently express our gratitude for Specialist Murphy, but I hope we’ll all keep his family in our prayers now and in the future.  On Friday, Governor Deal ordered that all flags on state buildings and grounds be flown at half-staff in honor of this passionate public servant.  Such events are always somber. We wish they were not needed at all, but I thank the Governor for his leadership and example in paying tribute to this remarkable young man who made our community proud and served a grateful nation. 

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

Next week the House is going to move forward with what we’ve called “Phase 3” of our plan to reform health care. Phase 3 includes targeted pieces of health care legislation that aren’t meant to reform the entire system at once, but that are absolutely critical to millions of Americans, and solve smaller problems that the Affordable Care Act has ignored over the past few years. 

Under the current Affordable Care Act, and under the American Health Care Act, should it become law, individuals who are eligible to receive premium assistance and who are also eligible to receive health care from the Veterans Health Administration, but are not enrolled in a veterans’ health plan, are barred from taking advantage of the premium assistance. This bill changes that ill-conceived law and allows veterans to have a choice of either taking part in the VHA or purchasing a health insurance plan of their own using the same premium assistance that other Americans receive. This bill is about fairness for our veterans, and I know we all support that outcome. 

This measure will address a loophole in the law that would penalize responsible individuals who are purchasing COBRA health insurance coverage. The House believes that anyone who is making the very responsible decision to purchase COBRA coverage, and is doing so without any subsidy from their former employer, should be commended for making that decision and should be eligible to receive premium tax credits. Helping people who have made the choice to stay insured is a common good for our society, and I’m happy that we’re moving forward with this common-sense bill. 

This measure ensures that only individuals with legal status in the United States who have a Social Security Number are allowed to receive an advanced premium tax credit under the current Affordable Care Act or the American Health Care Act, should it become law. This is a common-sense reform that ensures American taxpayer dollars are used to support Americans and legal residents, not those who want to perpetrate a fraud on our health care system. 

The House is also expected to concur with a Senate-passed bill that will make it easier for VA employees to report inappropriate actions and for VA leaders to discipline or fine employees who are derelict in their duties. S. 1094, the “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act,” honors the sacrifices of our former military men and women by ensuring that they are provided with the high quality care and benefits that they have earned. 

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Choice Matters

2017/06/08

Washington, DC –  Today, the U.S. House of Representatives took another large step in its ongoing regulatory relief efforts by passing H.R. 10, the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which among other things, significantly reins in policies implemented by the Dodd-Frank Act.  While originally presented as a safeguard against future economic crises, the Dodd-Frank Act instead codified the idea that certain financial institutions were “too big to fail” and made them even bigger while placing unsustainable regulatory burdens on America’s community banks and credit unions – the lifeline for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and economic growth across the country.  The “Financial CHOICE Act” not only offers smaller lending institutions an off-ramp from the Dodd-Frank policies hindering their ability to serve America’s risk-takers and small businesses, it also directly prohibits the practice of taxpayer bailouts.  U.S. Representative Rob Woodall (GA 07) praised the measure as a victory for American workers and job-creators alike.‎

“Whether in financial matters, health care, or more, consumer choice is crucial to a healthy economy.  Irrespective of intent, the Dodd-Frank Act debilitated Main Street rather than defend it, and it resulted in fewer financial choices for American workers and businesses,” said Woodall.  “It made the federal government larger and the small business owner smaller.  To the tune of one per business day – including some right here at home – Dodd-Frank has driven far too many local lenders to close their doors, taking with them an irreplaceable commitment to the men and women with which they share their community.  We can do better, and this bill is an enormous step in that direction.” 

CHOICE Principles:

  •          End taxpayer bailouts of financial institutions – and no company should be “too big to fail.”
  •          Accountability for both Wall Street and Washington.
  •          Simplicity must replace complexity.
  •          Economic growth must be revitalized through competitive, transparent, and innovative capital
  •          Every American, regardless of their circumstances, must have the opportunity to achieve financial independence.
  •          Consumers must be vigorously protected from fraud and deception as well as the loss of economic liberty.
  •          Systemic risk must be managed in a market with profit and loss.

CHOICE Action:

  •          Retroactively repeal the authority of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to designate firms as systematically important financial institutions (SIFIs).
  •          Repeal Title VIII of the Dodd-Frank Act, which gives the FSOC authority to designate certain payments and clearing organizations as systemically important “financial market utilities” (FMUs) with access to the Federal Reserve            discount window, and retroactively repeal all previous FMU designations.
  •          Prohibit the use of the Exchange Stabilization Fund to bailout financial firms or creditors.
  •          Impose enhanced penalties for financial fraud and self-dealing and promote greater transparency and accountability in the civil enforcement process.
  •          Increase the maximum criminal fines for individuals and firms that engage in insider trading and other corrupt practices.
  •          Make all financial regulatory agencies subject to the REINS Act, and place them on the appropriations process so that Congress can exercise proper oversight. (Exception: Fed monetary policy.)
  •          Impose an across-the-board requirement that all financial regulators conduct a detailed economic analysis of all proposed and final regulations to ensure the costs imposed are outweighed by the benefits.
  •          Repeal sections and titles of the Dodd-Frank Act, including the Volcker Rule, that limit or inhibit capital formation.
  •          Incorporate almost two dozen Committee or House-passed capital formation bills, including:
    •    H.R. 79 – “Helping Angels Lead Our Startups Act” (115th)
    •    H.R. 910 – “Fair Access to Investment Research Act” (115th)
    •    H.R. 1219 – “Supporting America’s Innovators Act” (115th)
    •    H.R. 1312 – “Small Business Capital Formation Enhancement Act” (115th)
    •    H.R. 3868 – “Small Business Credit Availability Act” (114th)

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee. 

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District Connection - 6/5/17

2017/06/05

THE CALL TO SERVICE IN OUR COMMUNITY

There are many ways to serve our community, and last week, I had the opportunity to see all kinds of service. From those more formal community organizations like the Buford North Gwinnett Rotary and Georgia Highlands Medical Center that are serving our local community every day, to the dozens of individuals who came to my office last week to speak with me about how they want to partner with the federal government to make our Georgia community more resilient, I know that the spirit of service is strong in our part of the world. 

But what was most humbling was the honor I felt in recognizing the brightest and finest young men and women from the 7th District who are headed to our nation’s service academies at our annual Service Academy Appointee Salute. This event is one of my absolute favorites for many reasons, but most of all, it’s a reminder of just how bright America’s future is because it’s in the hands of these tremendous young people. 


Rep. Rob Woodall meets with the 7th District's service academy appointees

This year, our community produced a record-breaking number of students headed to our service academies, which serves as a testament to how outstanding our schools and communities are in the 7th District. These exceptional young people are not only pursuing rewarding careers in serving their country, but they will graduate with the academic and life skills to lead the next generation of America. I am excited for these young men and women to embark on this new beginning, and I hope you will join me in wishing them the best as they leave home in the coming weeks to begin their service to our great nation. 

Click here to learn more about service academy nominations. 

 

BUILDING A 21ST CENTURY INFRASTRUCTURE IN GEORGIA

One of the reasons the 7th District is so special is the sheer volume of expertise and passion that we possess right here in our own backyard. You can find a world-class expert on nearly any policy challenge within the borders of our district.  Last week, with President Trump’s infrastructure package on the horizon, I sought out experts in transportation in particular.  First I visited with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce – an organization that has helped transform our region from a southern metropolis to a booming international hub for business and travel. We discussed broad strategic themes of what it means to have a 21st Century infrastructure plan and the kind of federal support and public-private partnerships we’ll need to achieve it. Next it was on to the Georgia chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, who were more than ready to discuss the tools and policies necessary to actually engineer that infrastructure.  I’m blessed to represent a community that sees a problem and sets out to solve that problem, and I can’t wait to join forces with them to help fulfill one of President Trump's main campaign promises to make America’s infrastructure second-to-none in the world.


Rep. Rob Woodall discusses economic growth and infrastructure investment with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

 

SIEMENS: AN INTERNATIONAL COMPANY WITH A STRONG LOCAL FOCUS

If you’ve ever driven down 400, chances are you’ve seen the giant Siemens tower. What you may not know unless you work underneath it, and what I learned last week, is that the tower represents one of Siemens’ most critical facilities. More than 500 of its employees work right here on projects of national and even global importance. International companies like Siemens that invest in jobs in America are going to be an integral part of our nation’s economy for many years to come. That’s why in Congress I’ve worked to make it easier for these companies to grow, hire, produce, and innovate right here to the great benefit of our community and our state.  We’ve cut billions of dollars in federal red tape and saved millions of hours of paperwork already with President Trump’s help, and we’re just getting started. 


Rep. Rob Woodall tours the Siemens facility in Alpharetta

We need to support responsible businesses like Siemens that have made truly local commitments. And if you’ve spent any time recently with a Georgia Tech student, you might have heard about Siemens’ recent expansion into Georgia Tech’s “Technology Square” initiative. Combining Georgia’s best and brightest technology students with one of the world’s most innovative companies is a win for our community. Good neighborhood businesses are making big contributions to our district, and I’m so thankful that Siemens is one of those companies that is committed to building a better Georgia. 

 

SUPPORTING NORCROSS-BASED SOLAR CELL PRODUCER 

As you all likely heard, President Trump followed through on a campaign promise to pull America out of the Paris climate accord last week. While the decision was certainly welcome news to many, it was clear that many Americans were disappointed by the announcement. Regardless of where you come down on the President’s decision or the merits of the accord itself, my expectation is that U.S. companies will continue to pursue innovative renewable energy solutions in the decades to come, and as your voice in Washington, I will work to ensure that these companies are able to compete fairly within the renewable energy industry both at home and in the global marketplace. 

To that end, my colleague Dan Kildee (D-MI) and I sent a joint letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission last week in support of a global safeguard petition recently filed by Norcross-based solar cell manufacturer, Suniva. As you all will recall, Suniva was recently forced to seek bankruptcy protection after a surge of cheap solar panel imports made it all but impossible for domestic solar panel producers to keep up. As a result, many Americans employed by Suniva, including some of our friends and neighbors in the Seventh District, now find themselves out of work. Ensuring that foreign competitors are playing by the rules is essential to protecting and expanding our American manufacturing sector and to supporting cutting-edge clean energy capabilities. I’m so proud to join hands across the aisle to support American ingenuity, and I hope that this commitment to American clean energy jobs will continue. 

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week the House is expected to pass a fundamental reform of the over-reaching, over-regulating, economy-depressing Dodd-Frank law that has made it harder for banks to lend money to small businesses and hard-working Americans. H.R. 10, the “Financial CHOICE Act,” will help community banks by rolling back unnecessary red tape that was meant to regulate Wall Street juggernauts, not our local banks in Georgia. It will help consumers by allowing banks and credit unions to bring back consumer perks like free checking accounts. And most of all, it will bring back common-sense financial regulation which treats different types of financial institutions with the deliberate approach necessary to ensure that we’re creating the appropriate regulation for the appropriate institution instead of taking the easy way out – as we’re doing now – with one-size-fits-all policies. 

You can learn more about H.R. 10 and watch the Rules Committee hearings on this measure by visiting http://rules.house.gov

The House is also expected to pass H.R. 2213, the “Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017.” Ensuring that we have a well-trained and properly staffed border is critical to our nation’s border security. Unfortunately, with an understaffed Customs and Border Patrol, we need to find ways to make boosting staff numbers easier. H.R. 2213 does that by allowing CBP to waive the federal polygraph requirement for state and local law enforcement officials who have already passed a polygraph, federal law enforcement officers who have already passed a background investigation, and veterans with at least three consecutive years in the military who have security clearance and passed a background check. This waiver authority will help move possible CBP agents and officers through the hiring process faster and more efficiency so that we can properly keep our nation’s border safe and secure. 

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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It’s a Record Year for 7th District Service Academy Appointees

2017/06/02

Lawrenceville, GA –  Congressman Woodall:  “Leading by example is nothing new for those in Georgia’s Seventh Congressional District, and that often means breaking our own records.  Each year, young men and women from across the District apply for appointments to America’s Service Academies, each year I have the honor of interviewing these young people and putting the very best applicants forward to the academies, and each year our district produces one of the largest groups of exemplary students in the state.  This year, 23 graduates will be new students at one of the Service Academies this fall.  Today, I had the opportunity to visit with and honor these accomplished young people and their families before they begin this next exciting chapter in their lives.”

“Everyone takes pride in their children and their families, but the numbers don’t lie:  the children and the families in our community produce young leaders at an astonishing level.  Today’s reception is without a doubt one of my favorite events of the year for so many reasons.  It’s a time to celebrate, but also to look forward to new challenges.  It’s an opportunity to visit with these exceptional young men and women and those who helped get them to this point.  I see the pride in their loved ones’ faces, and can’t help but be energized by their passion.  America is unquestionably in great hands, and the best is absolutely yet to come.”

Of the five Service Academies – U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, and Coast Guard Academy – all but the Coast Guard Academy require a nomination from a U.S Representative,  U.S. Senator, or the Vice President in order to obtain an appointment from the service academy.  For the class of 2021, the Seventh District is sending ten individuals to the Air Force Academy, seven to the Naval Academy, and five to West Point.

Forsyth County

Air Force Academy

  • Patrick Sklenka –West Forsyth High School.                   
  • James Lambert –West Forsyth High School. 
  • Jackson Harris –Lambert High School.
  • Matthew O’Rourk –Lambert High School. 

U.S. Military Academy at West Point

  • Jaruvit “Jared” Chulavatr –Lambert High School.
  • Collin Smith –South Forsyth High School.

U.S. Naval Academy

  • Brooke Bogdanovich – Rivers Academy, Alpharetta.  Resides in Forsyth County.
  • Jacob Gregory –Collins Hill High School.  Resides in Forsyth County.
  • Christine McDonnell –Lambert High School.

Gwinnett County

Air Force Academy

  • Sana Daley –Brookwood High School.
  • Clarissa Jolley –Brookwood High School.
  • Sean McKendree –Norcross High School.
  • Mackensie Nechanicky –Peachtree Ridge High School.
  • Michael Sobczyk– Mountain View High School.
  • Bailey Hopkins –Brookwood High School.

U.S. Military Academy at West Point

  • Dayana Dieudonne –Collins Hill High School.
  • Branton Fletcher –Mill Creek High School. 
  • Israel Koker-Thomas –Shiloh High School.

U.S. Naval Academy

  • Ernando Manrique –Mill Creek High School.
  • Caleigh Rowan –Buford High School.
  • Ryan Stark –Norcross High School. 
  • James “Oliver” Thigpen –North Gwinnett High School.

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

  • Dawson Hicks – Marietta High School.     

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee. 

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Washington Watch - 5/30/17

2017/05/30

AMERICANS COME TOGETHER FOR MEMORIAL DAY 

Throughout the past week, we have all been reminded of how incredibly thankful we are for our servicemen and women, because without their sacrifice, our freedoms would not be possible. From Cumming to Snellville, 7th District residents participated in remembrance events throughout the weekend.

My Memorial Day weekend ended yesterday at the Fallen Heroes Memorial in Lawrenceville, but it began last Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery when First Lieutenant Weston Lee was laid to rest. Lieutenant Lee, a Georgia native and graduate of the University of North Georgia, died last month when an IED detonated while he was on a patrol outside of Mosul, Iraq, in support our country’s fight against terrorism. On the cover of his funeral program, the family placed the following quote from General George S. Patton: “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.” This Memorial Day in particular, I thank God for Lieutenant Weston Lee and for Specialist Etienne Murphy, an Army Ranger and South Gwinnett High School graduate who lost his life on May 26.


Memorial Day ceremonies at the Gwinnett Fallen Heroes Memorial

We can never repay the debt that all Americans owe to the families of the fallen or to the brave soldiers themselves, but we can ensure that those who serve are cared for and receive needed support from a grateful nation. This past week, the House passed seven bills to improve veterans’ access to quality health care, instill accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and provide a cost-of-living adjustment for veterans receiving disability compensation.

 

ASSESSING THE PRESIDENT’S FY18 BUDGET

On Wednesday, my former House colleague and current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney came to the House Budget Committee to testify on behalf of the President’s FY18 Budget proposal. As many of you well know, the power of the purse is vested in the House of Representatives, and while we are in the process of drafting our own budget, it is good to know where the President’s priorities are.

Additionally, the hearing allowed Director Mulvaney the opportunity to clarify some misconceptions about several proposals outlined in the President’s budget. We know we can no longer continue down this path of out of control spending, and I am pleased that we finally have a president in the White House who recognizes our need to bring fiscal discipline back to Washington. This is our moment to implement real budgetary reforms and tax relief for the American people, and I am excited that, under the leadership of Chairman Diane Black (R-TN), we at the Budget Committee will be able to put together a budget that does just that. To see my line of questioning to the OMB Director, click on the picture below.

 

 

COMBATTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING 

Last week, my colleagues and I in the House of Representatives sent a clear message to the perpetrators of the abhorrent acts of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, especially the exploitation of children: your days are numbered. Each of the twelve bills brought to the floor last week were overwhelmingly passed in bipartisan fashion, demonstrating our willingness and determination to bring these criminals to justice. No longer will those who engage in sex tourism be able to flout the law, nor will repeat offenders be able to exploit loopholes in our justice system. While I’m saddened that there are people in our world who would exploit innocent children, I’m proud of the work the House was able to accomplish, and I am hopeful our friends in the Senate will consider these bills soon and send them to the President’s desk. We are one step closer to putting an end to one of the most heinous crimes committed here and abroad, and I am confident the House will continue working toward that mission. 

 

BIPARTISAN TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE IS WORKING FOR AMERICA

I’m proud to report that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a meeting to consider a number of bills last week, including a bipartisan one that I authored. My bill – H.R. 2547, or the “Veterans Expanded Trucking Opportunities Act of 2017” – clears the way for veterans who drive commercial vehicles for a living to utilize the full resources of the VA health system for their mandatory physical fitness examinations.  You might recall I authored a bill in 2015 that became law and allowed veterans to see their own VA physicians for this purpose. The new bill expands on this idea and includes, in addition to VA physicians, medical professionals within the VA including advanced practice nurses and physician assistants.  Given that only 25 of the 50,000+ individuals who are able to perform these physical fitness exams are part of the VA right now, this legislation will help cut costs and limit wait time for veterans in the industry.  I was pleased that the committee passed this bill unanimously, and I am hopeful that we can send it to the President’s desk in short order. 

Among the other legislation we amended and approved were measures to reauthorize critical federal programs, streamline government, and help our nation’s veterans get back to work.  And the great news is that we did all of this in a bipartisan way – with Democrats and Republicans working together for the betterment of America. You can read the text of each bill we considered below.

  • HR 2518 - The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017: bipartisan legislation to reauthorize, strengthen, and support the United States Coast Guard in its critical missions to save lives, safeguard our shores, protect living marine resources, and help ensure a 21st century maritime transportation system for America.   
  • HR 2548 - The FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2017: bipartisan legislation to address the rising costs of disasters in the United States, reduce the toll of future losses, and reauthorize the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the first time in the agency’s history.  
  • HR 1684 - The Disaster Support for Communities and Homeowners Act: a bill to require the FEMA Administrator to provide recommendations on how common areas of condominiums and housing cooperatives may be eligible for disaster assistance.
  • HR 2258 - The Active Duty Voluntary Acquisition of Necessary Credentials for Employment (ADVANCE) Act: a bill to exempt active duty military and reserve personnel with qualifying experience from all or part of the skills test when they try to obtain a commercial driver’s license.
  • HR 2593 - The Federal Maritime Commission Authorization Act of 2017: bipartisan legislation to authorize funding for the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and provide reforms to Commission authorities.

 

HONORING RETIREES IN FORSYTH COUNTY SCHOOLS

Our community is the amazing place it is because of the people.  It’s a simple concept, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important to always remember those who give of themselves to make our businesses, places of worship, civic organizations, and schools the standard bearer we’ve come to expect.  Last week, Forsyth County Schools did just that by honoring 66 men and women who have served their neighbors for years, and in many cases, decades.  I’d like to extend my best wishes to these public servants as well, and hope their respective retirements are full of the people and things they love the most.  Any time one chapter closes and another begins, a time of reflection is sure to follow.  I’m quite certain that varies for each person, but there is one thing they should all feel, and that’s the gratitude of a thankful community.  All the best to you and your families! 

 

HOUSE SUPPORTS COMMON-SENSE REGULATORY REFORM

So many of my colleagues hear from their constituents just like I hear from all of you, that Americans are looking for ways to get out from under the thumb of a seemingly superfluous federal regulatory regime. The great news is that H.R. 953, the “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017,” is a solution to that problem.  This bill prohibits the EPA from requiring unnecessary and duplicative pollution permits for certain pesticides. While this might not sound like an important issue, eliminating an unnecessary permitting process will save businesses and local governments money and will ensure that important agriculture treatments are available to American farmers and local mosquito control districts.

For decades, the EPA accepted that a pesticide approved by the EPA under a law called the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) did not need an additional approval from the EPA under the Clean Water Act. In fact, in 2006, the EPA published a rule specifically stating this fact. Unfortunately, court cases since then have required two approvals – one under FIFRA and one under the Clean Water Act. That government red tape is going to make it more difficult for our local governments and the private sector to effectively manage insect and other pest populations that can carry disease. H.R. 953 ensures that if a pesticide is regulated and approved under FIFRA, then it doesn’t have to be approved again under the Clean Water Act. This is common-sense legislation that fixes a court-created problem, not a real-world problem, and I’m proud that it received strong bipartisan support. 

CLICK BELOW to watch my floor speech in favor of H.R. 953.

 

WOODALL RE-INTRODUCES BIPARTISAN, PRO LEGAL IMMIGRATION BILL 

Last week I re-introduced a common sense bill to amend immigration law that cleared the House easily last Congress with strong bipartisan support. Unfortunately, it didn’t pass the Senate before it expired in the 114th Congress, so we are trying again this year.  This bill, H.R. 2595, the “Strengthening the DHS Secure Mail Initiative Act,” is the product of bipartisan negotiation and constituent input. This bill offers recipients of green cards and other important immigration documents the option of signature-required delivery by the U.S. Postal Service at no additional taxpayer cost.  

Over the years, I’ve spoken with many constituents who were left in the lurch after a life-changing document like a green card got lost in the mail.  Something that critical simply can’t be left up to chance. I’m happy to help solve these problems on a case-by-case basis, but my colleagues and I decided to try to solve the problem at its root by establishing new accountability tools for the families depending on these deliveries.  Hearing stories from constituents and turning their problems into legislative solutions is one of my favorite parts of this job, and it’s always gratifying to find those legislative solutions by reaching across the aisle. Because good public policy isn’t partisan; I’m happy to say that my House colleague Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced H.R. 2595 along with me. Together, I fully expect to be celebrating the enactment of this simple but meaningful reform before the end of the year.

 

ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, GO!

The unofficial start to summer is here once again, and that means longer days, hotter weather, and all those things we anticipate about the season.  I remember well this time of year as a child; how you could literally feel the excitement in the air as you looked towards upcoming months filled with sports, summer jobs, family vacations, and much more.  It goes without saying that things are a bit different as we get older, but that excitement is still there.  As long as there’s a new generation experiencing these things for the first time with pride in their accomplishments of the past year, and teachers and parents breathing a sigh of relief with even more pride, we’ll all benefit from that energy. I’d like to wish each and every student a happy and productive summer, and I’d like to thank all the teachers, staff, and administrators at our fantastic schools for yet another year of excellence.  Have a wonderful summer vacation! You’ve earned it!

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

Read More

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Rep. Woodall Manages the Rule for H.R. 953, the "Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017"

2017-05-26 21:07:34


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2017-05-01 16:03:52


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2017-02-02 21:43:29


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2016-12-09 21:53:37


Rep. Woodall Speaks on the Rule for Water Resources Authorization Bill on House Floor

2016-09-30 20:09:11


Rep. Woodall Speaks on Secure Mail Initiative Act on House Floor

2016-09-22 20:46:17


Rep. Woodall Discusses Tax Policy on House Floor

2016-09-09 18:12:51


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2016-09-09 15:26:35


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2016-06-13 14:21:58


Rep. Woodall Speaks on Rule for Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill

2016-06-10 21:34:42


Rep. Woodall Discusses FairTax on House Floor

2016-05-16 12:30:49


Rep. Woodall Testifies on the FairTax at Ways and Means Hearing

2016-05-13 17:40:06


Rep. Woodall Discusses Legislative Successes on House Floor

2016-05-02 13:31:33


Rep. Woodall Testifies on FairTax During Tax Reform Hearing

2016-03-23 16:33:51


Rep. Woodall Speaks at Budget Committee Markup

2016-03-21 15:34:08


Rep. Woodall Discusses Economic Growth on House Floor

2016-03-04 21:28:04


Contact Information

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

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

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

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

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


Serving With

Buddy Carter

GEORGIA's 1st DISTRICT

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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