Rob Woodall

Rob Woodall

GEORGIA's 7th DISTRICT

Washington Watch - 3/18/19

2019/03/18

CONGRESS RECEIVES PRESIDENT’S FY20 BUDGET REQUEST

If you are a budget enthusiast like me, then last week was an exciting time for both of us as the President kicked off Budget Week by submitting his funding request for the 2020 fiscal year.  While it is ultimately the job of Congress to develop the nation’s budget, the President’s request is a chance for us to see where his priorities are for the upcoming fiscal year.

As a member of the House Budget Committee, I had an opportunity to speak directly with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Russell Vought about the President’s budget. In particular, he highlighted the President’s desire to focus funding on fighting the opioid crisis, eradicating HIV and AIDS in the U.S., bolstering our nation’s military, and strengthening our border security and immigration enforcement. The President’s budget also demonstrates the shared desire to shrink our annual deficits from almost 5 percent of GDP in 2020 to under 1 percent by 2029, shrinking America’s spending and getting us to balance within 15 years.

Rep. Woodall speaks with Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought regarding President Trump’s Budget request for FY2020

While the House Budget Committee under the leadership of Chairman John Yarmouth (D-KY) will likely consider its own budget, I am hopeful that we will find shared priorities with President Trump that everyone can support.

Funding the priorities of the American people while addressing our nation’s fiscal challenges is no easy task. It requires collaboration between both sides of the aisle, both chambers of the Capitol, and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Click on the image below to watch my interview with Cheddar Business.

From Statuary Hall, Rep. Woodall discusses President Trump’s budget proposal

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP VETOES LEGISLATION TO TERMINATE EMERGENCY DECLARATION

Last Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted 59-41 to disapprove President Trump’s national emergency declaration regarding border security. Since the House previously passed this resolution, the bill was sent on Friday to the President’s desk, where it was promptly vetoed. I do not expect that either the House or the Senate will be able to override the first veto of this presidency.

Before this bill passed the House, I spoke out against this legislation. Congress expressly gave the President the authority to declare national emergencies, and of course Congress is always free to change that law. But the House did not propose any changes to the law, nor did the House leadership hold or allow to be held any hearings with any judicial or constitutional experts to testify on the emergency declarations and their scope. The drug crisis, human trafficking crisis, and humanitarian crisis at our southern border is real and it is serious. These crises deserve a serious response and serious solutions from the House, but thus far, the new majority has not allowed any to be offered.

Click on the image below to watch my remarks from a few weeks ago.

Rep. Woodall speaks out against terminating President Trump’s emergency declaration

 

HOUSE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE HOLDS HEARINGS ADDRESSING AVIATION, HIGHWAYS, AND TRANSIT      

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held two subcommittee hearings last week, one each in the Subcommittee on Aviation and Subcommittee on Highway and Transit. I serve on both subcommittees.

At the Subcommittee on Aviation hearing, I heard from a diverse panel of witnesses about the future of aviation and what this transportation sector will look like in 2050. From fully integrated Unmanned Aircraft System technologies to hypersonic flight, the witnesses undeniably gave us a glimpse of where the aviation sector is heading. That said, it’s an unfortunate reality that all too often, we see these technologies and forward-thinking efforts get stymied by burdensome federal regulations and outdated laws. As such, it’s important that Congress take steps to ensure that we can partner with these entities in a manner that supports their growth rather than suppresses it, and we must do so in a way that ensures the safety of all Americans along the way.

I have a feeling that you’re going to read a lot about my work on the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit in the coming months, as this subcommittee will not only play an integral role in a potential infrastructure bill, but it will also be central to reauthorizing our surface transportation programs which are currently operating under the FAST Act. With the FAST Act set to expire on September 30, 2020, we must get to work on developing a long-term bill to reauthorize these programs. Many of you will recall that the FAST Act directed early $7 billion to Georgia to improve safety, reduce traffic, and streamline transportation construction in our community. I certainly look forward to working with my colleagues on the Highway and Transit Subcommittee under the leadership of Chairwoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-D.C.) and Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-IL) to modernize our surface transportation programs and ensure that they can meet the needs of the 21st Century, and I want to thank them for getting the ball rolling on this important matter!

Rep. Woodall asks a question during the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Hearing

 

MEMBERS SHARE IDEAS TO MODERNIZE CONGRESS

What legislative gridlock and government shutdowns have shown us is that Congress is in desperate need of reform from within. That’s why I’m so honored to be on the bipartisan Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, which just last week had its first Member Day Hearing where we invited Members of Congress to share their thoughts on ways we can improve the way we do our business.

Rep. Woodall speaks with witnesses during a brief recess of the Member Day Hearing of the Select Committee of the Modernization of Congress.

One of the most common themes we heard throughout the day were reforms that would help restore power to the Article I branch of government. These ideas included ways to increase Congressional staff recruitment and retention, expand our oversight ability of executive branch agencies, increase control over where and how money is spent, and strengthen our technology and cyber security infrastructure.

There is so much we can and must do to bring this institution into the 21st Century, and now the Select Committee is equipped with myriad ideas to work on this year. This is a great responsibility put on this Committee, and I am excited to be a part of it.

If you would like to watch Members testify and share their ideas about how we can modernize Congress, CLICK HERE.

 

THE DIVIDED FAMILIES REUNIFICATION ACT

Last week, Representative Grace Meng (D-NY), myself, and eight other members introduced H.R. 1771. This bill would direct the U.S. State Department to work with South Korean officials to reunite Korean American families with their family members in North Korea, in addition to filling the vacancy in the position of “Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea.” Since the Korean Peninsula was split in to North and South, an estimated 100,000 Korean Americans have been separated from their loved ones who remain in North Korea with little opportunity to reconnect or even know what has happened to them. While North and South Korea have held over 20 reunions for their divided families since 2000, Americans of Korean descent have been excluded. In the past, the House has introduced resolutions to raise awareness about this difficult subject, but H.R. 1771 this bill would compel the State Department to take diplomatic steps to address this tragedy.

 

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL TOWN HALL

Thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy lives to share their thoughts and opinions with me and our local leaders at the Forsyth County community town hall. We all enjoyed answering your questions and diving into different issues that affect you at the state and federal level.

If you could not attend our town hall last week, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C., office or my Lawrenceville office to share your opinion with me.

Rep. Woodall addresses a large crowd from Lambert High School

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: CONGRESSIONAL ART COMPETITION

Each spring, Members of the House hold an arts competition for high school students from across the country. Since 1982, over 650,000 high school students have participated in the competition, with the winning submissions decorating the walls of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. This competition is a great opportunity to recognize and encourage the enormous amount of artistic talent we have not only right here in Georgia’s 7th District, but also around the country. Here is the amazing piece currently hanging in the Capitol from our district:

Tiny Grasps of Happiness by Ellie Soh

The contest is open to all high school students in the 7th District. Artwork for the 2019 Competition must be submitted to Paul Oh in my Lawrenceville by this upcoming Friday, March 22 no later than 5:00 PM. Please note that our office only accepts one entry per student. For more details about the competition, including the rules and how to submit artwork, please visit my website HERE. For any additional questions, please contact Paul Oh at 770-232-3005. 

 

LOCAL NONPROFIT IS WORKING TO CURB WORLD HUNGER

When folks question whether their individual contributions and efforts make a difference, I would say just look at the work of From Hunger to Hope: a local nonprofit organization aimed at fighting world hunger. Through its ninth annual, four-day long “MobilePack Event” that wrapped up at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds this past weekend, and because of the tireless efforts of thousands of volunteers, the group is expected to send 1.3 million meals to children and families in need around the world! That is an incredible achievement, and I know we all couldn’t be prouder of those in our community who are committed to serve those in need— one packed meal at a time.

 

GWINNETT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RECEIVES NATIONAL RECOGNITION

We come from a community of individuals who time after time are recognized for their achievements, and because of that tradition of excellence, it may seem as if these successes are automatic. But of course, these continued successes are the result of the hard work of the folks in both Gwinnett and Forsyth Counties, each and every day, and the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce’s work to better our community is just one example. In fact, the Gwinnett Chamber recently received a 4-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its outstanding contributions to benefit our local community. This is the second-highest distinction in the Chamber’s accreditation program. With nearly 7,000 chambers across the country, the Gwinnett Chamber is now one of 211 chambers in the nation that are currently recognized with this honor. Congratulations to all whose work led to this great distinction!

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

After spending almost every week of the past two months in Washington, D.C., I’m happy to be back home this week with a very full schedule of meetings and events with constituents from across the 7th District. From elementary schools to colleges, and from local business needs to international trade, there are so many issues that our neighbors in Forsyth and Gwinnett counties are concerned about that the federal government has a hand in deciding. Having taken part in my first in-person town hall meeting of the year last week, it’s clear to me how many of you have great ideas for how we can make America better for the next generation, and weeks like this are exactly the time for you to share them with me. Too often, folks believe that the time I spend in the 7th District is time wasted and that I should spend all my time in Washington. It’s true that time in Washington is important, but everything I do in D.C., is informed by what I learn here at home. You are the boss, and I am grateful for your counsel.

If you would like to schedule a meeting with me or invite me to an event, please CLICK HERE, and a member of my staff will get back to you as soon as possible.  

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Representatives Woodall and Meng Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Reunite Korean Families

2019/03/14

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Rob Woodall (R-GA) and Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced the Divided Families Reunification Act of 2019. H.R. 1771 directs the U.S. Department of State to consult with South Korean officials on how to reunite Korean American families with family members in North Korea, as well as to fill the vacancy in the position of “Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea.” While the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a number of resolutions that have raised awareness about this difficult subject, this bill would compel the State Department to take diplomatic steps to address this tragedy. 

Since the Korean War, an estimated 100,000 Korean Americans have been separated from their family members. While the United States and North Korea do not have a formal reunification program, North and South Korea have held over 20 reunions for their divided families since 2000. However, American citizens of Korean descent have been excluded from such reunions. 

"Too many Korean Americans died not knowing what happened to their parents, their siblings, and their children. Imagine saying goodbye to a loved one, thinking you would reunite after the war concluded. Nearly seventy years later, you still haven't been able to see your family," said Congressman Woodall. "It's time for Congress to build on the President’s diplomatic efforts with North Korea and find a resolution." 

“There are so many American families who desperately want to reunite with their loved ones in North Korea and my bill would go a long way towards making that happen,” said Congresswoman Meng. “These families have tragically been separated since the Korean War and that separation has been long and painful. These families deserve to see their loved ones again. Americans who have relatives in North Korea are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s. Time is not on their side which is why we must immediately pass my bill to provide much needed relief for these divided families.”

“The tragic legacy of the Korean War has left a generation of families divided without knowing if they will ever see their loved ones again,” said Eric Kim, President of the National Unification Advisory Council’s Atlanta Chapter. “I welcome any efforts to peacefully resolve the division on the Korean Peninsula and urge the President and Congress to take the necessary steps to increase dialogue and engagement so that these families may be reunited and a lasting peace and prosperity emerges for Koreans everywhere.” 

Key Facts: 

  • The Republic of Korea, often referred to as “South Korea,” and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, often referred to as “North Korea,” remain divided since the armistice agreement was signed on July 27, 1953.
  • The division on the Korean Peninsula separated more than 10,000,000 Korean family members, including some who are now citizens of the United States.
  • The number of more than 100,000 estimated divided family members in the United States last identified in 2001 has been significantly dwindling as many of them have passed away.
  • To date, there have been 21 rounds of family reunions between South Koreans and North Koreans along the border since 2000.
  • Congress signaled its interest in family reunions between United States citizens and their relatives in North Korea in section 1265 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, signed into law by President George W. Bush on January 28, 2008.
  • The summit between North Korea and South Korea on April 27, 2018, prioritized family reunions.

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes significant portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. He currently serves on the Rules Committee, the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and the Budget Committee.

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Washington Watch - 3/11/19

2019/03/11

 

NEW HOUSE LEADERSHIP CONTINUES PARTISAN THEATRICS

On Friday, the House of Representatives voted on H.R. 1, a bill number reserved each Congress by the Speaker of the House for the most important agenda item of the year. Speaker Pelosi reserved H.R. 1 to address election campaign reform and election integrity, issues that are important to absolutely everyone. But then she proceeded to write a bill with no expert testimony, bipartisan input, and no serious committee consideration. Imagine that: this is supposed to be the most serious issue of the year; 10 committees were assigned to all work together to gather testimony and craft solutions, and yet nine of those committees hadn’t even had time to hold a mark-up on the legislative language before the Speaker rushed the bill to the floor. And only one committee, the House Administration Committee, which is the smallest committee in the House, only considered about half of the bill.  Imagine that: this is a bill that completely rewrites state election law for all fifty states, yet the one committee that did have a mark-up on the legislation only heard from one state election official. That doesn’t sound like a very serious effort at legislating, and it wasn’t. Democrats pushed the bill through the House of Representatives in a party-line vote with every Democrat voting yes and every Republican voting no. As has sadly become a pattern this year, what could have been a bipartisan bill that would have made a difference for the nation was hijacked to become a liberal messaging document with no chance of becoming law.

Obviously, with Republicans controlling the White House and the Senate and Democrats controlling the House, bills must be bipartisan if they are to become law. And to be bipartisan, bills must contain good public policy that is broadly agreeable.  H.R. 1 did not pass that test. For example, many Americans believe that political campaigns spend too much money running too many ads for too long.  H.R. 1 proposed to spend even more money in the future by collecting new federal taxes and beginning to subsidize every federal political campaign in the country.  Who believes federal candidates need a taxpayer subsidy?  Who believes federal campaigns need to spend even more money? Apparently, every Democrat in the House does. But I don’t know one person in the 7th District who believes that we need more tv ads, more mailers, and more robocalls, but that’s what you’ll get should H.R. 1 become law…and the federal government would be paying the new bill. Nonsense!

Campaign finance reform and election integrity are serious issues, and they deserve a serious response. H.R. 1 wasn’t one. I tried to improve the bill. I tried to bring my colleagues together around more common-sense reform, but the new House leadership wasn’t willing to move an inch. So, sadly I am reporting another missed opportunity this week, though I continue to hope that each such report will be the last.

Rep. Woodall questions House Administration Committee Chair about the real costs of H.R. 1

In addition, I spoke against H.R. 1 on the floor of the House. Click on the picture below to watch my entire speech.

Rep. Woodall speaks out on the undemocratic nature of H.R. 1

 

SUPPORTING SEASONAL BUSINESS GROWTH IN GEORGIA

As warmer weather will soon be returning, industries throughout our state have begun looking to staff-up their teams for the upcoming summer season. Small businesses like Landmark Landscapes in Norcross exhaust all venues looking for American workers to fill vacancies on its team to meet the growing demand from customers in our district. However, when those efforts fail, businesses are at risk of losing market share. Rather than forego opportunities that help their businesses grow, seasonal businesses are offered the ability to apply for H-2B visas, which allow American employers to temporarily hire foreign workers, for a few months at a time, to fulfil peak-season demand in labor, once they have certified that they cannot recruit Americans to perform the same job.

This year, given our low unemployment rate, which is at 3.8% and which further shrinks the candidate pool for these seasonal jobs, the H-2B visa program has been put under tremendous pressure to deliver. That is why I signed a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen requesting that she use the power granted to her by Congress to provide additional H-2B visas for Fiscal Year 2019. Businesses should not have to go under because they cannot find employees to do the work that they require. I’m proud to have partnered with my colleagues across the aisle and across the Capitol to support this visa program that helps Georgia businesses flourish.

Whether we need foreign workers and how many we need will always be a topic for debate and discussion, but whether those workers who come to America should come legally or not should never be open to debate.  The H-2B program when successful both brings a small number of people to the country legally and provides the incentive to thousands more to wait in line for their opportunity to come next.  Immigration reform has two components: solving legal immigration and solving illegal immigration.  My H-2B effort does a little for both.

 

TRANSPORTATION SUBCOMMITTEE ON WATER RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT KICKS OFF IT’S FIRST HEARING OF THE 116TH CONGRESS

Last week, the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing to examine our nation’s clean water and wastewater infrastructure systems. We heard from a panel from witnesses about the need to ensure and maintain affordability and access to clean water in communities across the country, while simultaneously making long overdue and dire repairs to infrastructure so that it can function appropriately with today’s technology and meet the demands of its community. While it’s no secret that folks have differing opinions about how communities should go about making much needed investments to better manage water resources infrastructure without sending water utility rates sky high, I continue to believe that allowing cities and communities to pursue innovative solutions that work best for them and their residents is the best path forward, as our local county and city officials don’t want anything more than to provide for and meet the needs of their communities.

However, doing so is no easy task, and while some communities might be able to replicate the success story that Mayor David Condon of Spokane, Washington, shared with the subcommittee, who’s community invested $350 million and saved $150 million along the way, other communities cannot for various reasons, often because of the strings that burden federal dollars intended to help. As such, it’s important that we not only embrace communities looking to pursue creative solutions, but also ensure that federal funding opportunities and partnerships acknowledge innovative approaches without zeroing out the economic benefits of such solutions. Undeniably, we all want to be good stewards of our environment and our precious resources, and I wholeheartedly believe that implementing environmentally responsible and innovative solutions and ensuring financial sustainability and affordability for consumers do not have to be mutually exclusive. 

Click the image below to watch my question and portion of the hearing.

Rep. Woodall discusses how economic incentives can improve water resources infrastructure with City of Spokane Mayor David Condon.

 

LOCAL LEADERS VISIT CAPITOL HILL

I had the pleasure of visiting with two of our five Forsyth County Commissioners last week who were in town for the National Association of Counties’ 2019 Legislative Conference. Commissioners Dennis Brown (District 2) and Cindy Jones-Mills (District 4) kindly took time out of their busy visit to provide me with an update on happenings across Forsyth County as well as to share with me the important work that is being undertaken to bolster and support our flourishing communities. One of my favorite parts about serving you in Washington is partnering with our state and county officials to deliver solutions to our friends and neighbors, and I thank the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners for the work they do in making Forsyth an outstanding county. I look forward to partnering with both Gwinnett and Forsyth County officials to deliver even more solutions in the 116th Congress. 

Rep. Rob Woodall visits with Forsyth County Commissioners Dennis Brown (District 2) and Cindy Jones-Mills (District 4) in Washington, D.C.

I also had the pleasure of meeting with the Boys and Girls Club during their visit to D.C. While I’m sure we all know their name in the after-school space, folks may not readily be aware of the variety of programs they offer to better serve our nation’s youth. From youth mentoring programs, opioid preventive initiatives, and workforce readiness programs, the Boys and Girls Clubs, particularly our two local chapters in Lawrenceville and Norcross, are going even further. While I will continue looking for ways to support their mission in Congress, undeniably, their success could not be possible without their dedicated team of program directors, volunteers, staff, and mentors who are on the ground serving our youngest generations daily.

Rep. Woodall discusses how Congress can bolster the outreach of the Boys and Girls Club

Among the other groups I met with this week included farmers and veterans from across the state. Farmers with the Georgia Farm Bureau came in to share their experiences recovering from the damage of Hurricane Michael. The hurricane brought catastrophic damage to our agricultural sector—the largest industry in Georgia—and these farmers took valuable time out from running their businesses to advocate for their industry. Senators Isakson and Perdue are leading the charge in the Senate to pass a broad disaster aid package, and I’m hopeful that the House will be able to follow their lead.

Veterans with both the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) came to the office to provide updates on how the VA has changed since important reform laws, like the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act and the VA MISSION Act, have passed. They emphasized the need for the VA to work with Congress and veterans’ groups as it begins to implement important changes to the VA healthcare system, and I couldn’t agree more. Our Veterans deserve the best care and benefits possible, and it only makes sense that the VA gets it right the first time, instead of requiring, yet again, more changes.  

 

ENSURING AIRPORTS HAVE THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL

I had the pleasure of visiting with representatives from Hartsfield-Jackson Airport last week, along with a few other airports from across the state, who were in town to share with lawmakers their legislative priorities for the new Congress. With more than 275,000 passengers a day, direct daily flights to more than 70 countries, and Atlanta within a two-hour flight of nearly 80% of the United States’ population, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport undeniably plays a key role in generating economic growth across our great state and southeast region. As the busiest airport in the world, Hartsfield-Jackson has certainly set the bar high when it comes to operational efficiency, improving passenger experience, and partnering with airlines and concessionaires to deliver top-notch services.

That’s not to say that the world’s busiest airport has mitigated and overcome all challenges, because it has not. In fact, implementing new technologies, working with federal agencies, prioritizing passenger safety, and raising capital for much needed infrastructure improvement projects are challenges that face all airports, including Hartsfield-Jackson, each day. I certainly appreciate the important economic role our airports play in communities across the country, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to ensure that airport officials have the support and tools needed to be successful.

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: PROMOTING CIVICS EDUCATION

As some of you may know, I recently introduced H.R. 849, the “Civics Learning Act of 2019,” with my friend Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL). The bill will authorize $30 million in grants to innovative and evidence-based civic learning and teaching programs. Since its introduction I’ve heard some feedback from some of you:

Henry from Snellville:

Please rescind your support for the Civics Learning Act. I and I am certain others would not only rather make educational decisions locally but would also not want additional taxes to support the Act on a national level.

Krista from Lawrenceville:

Congressman Woodall, I am a mother of 3. I have had all my children in public, private and even home schooled. I know how important education is. However, sponsoring a bill for 30 million for a civics class is an utter waste of money. As a small business owner who is struggling to pay my high-end health care bill and you want to spend it on civics. Last I checked, all school systems teach civics. To graduate one must pass Government and Economics. When I was homeschooling my youngest in the fourth grade through a state-run online school, he was taught weeks of civics. He could not even pronounce legislative and executive branch and yet he was learning about it. We do not need to pour more money into something that already exists.

Much like Henry, I have long supported local control of education, and I have fought against attempts to impose federal, top-down mandates such since I have been in Congress. So, I am pleased to tell those who have concerns about a federal curriculum being pushed on our locally controlled schools that the “Civics Learning Act” will never do that.  Instead, it will provide access to new resources for schools that choose to expand their civics education programs at all grade levels—especially to those schools that are underserved and otherwise not able to provide a quality civics education. Too often, resources are strained at schools across the country and with the number of other priorities we want our students to study, a quality civics education can get lost.  How often has you heard of supporting the arts?  How often have you heard of supporting math and science?  How often have heard about supporting athletics?  How often have you seen us focus on good citizenship?  Exactly!


Krista is right that in most schools there are requirements for government and history classes, and many schools do a fantastic job.  Citizenship is much more than that, of course, but students need a firm foundation, and the evidence shows that what they are getting today isn’t enough. In 2014, only 23 percent of U.S. eighth graders performed at or above a proficient level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress Civics Exam. The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania found that only 32 percent of Americans surveyed could name all three branches of government, only 30 percent knew the Senate is in charge of confirming Supreme Court nominees, and only 37 percent could name any of the rights guaranteed under the Constitution's First Amendment.  For a self-governing people, those results are alarming.

Understanding that the needs in every community are different, the goal of the Civics Learning Act is to find model programs, like those developed in our area and elsewhere, and share them with underserved communities throughout the nation. To quote the bill, “a lack of knowledge on the basics of the structure of our democratic republic creates an increasingly ill-prepared electorate which overtime has, and will continue to, contribute to a weakened democracy.”  Our local leaders in Georgia have long seen this need, and we are lucky to be led by Georgia’s State Superintendent of Schools, Richard Woods.  He said, “We have roughly 180 school districts and 2,300 schools. The needs look different going from school to school and district to district, so I think having that flexibility is very welcome, but it also builds upon our civic engagement diploma seal for our high school students as well and really allows us to address some issues at the lower elementary level, as well.” My hope is that with the assistance and support of our state and local educators, we can empower Americans to be more engaged in their government.

 

SOUTH FORSYTH STUDENT RECEIVES NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR EXCEPTIONAL VOLUNTEERISM

I am sure it is no surprise that our youngest generations are continually recognized on a national level for their achievements. Our community is unique, not in that there are so many hardworking men and women who each day strive to make a difference, but because they continually succeed in doing so. Anish Bikmal, a senior at South Forsyth High School, was recently awarded the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for 2019. This is one of our nation’s largest programs that recognize outstanding achievements in volunteer efforts among our youth, and Anish was honored for his outstanding volunteer work through his non-profit organization, the Motivate and Inspire Academy, which works to address world hunger as well as give back to our community by offering tutoring programs for local students. He is 1 of only 2 students in our state to receive this honor, and I hope you will join me in congratulating him for this great achievement!

 

GWINNETT’S BUSINESS-FRIENDLY STATUS CONTINUES TO ATTRACT NEW BUSINESSES AND JOBS

The word is out that our community is a great place to do business! As you may know if you are a frequent reader of my weekly newsletter, in these first few months of the new year, we have seen business after business decide to expand in our own backyard and invest in the skilled and creative workforce that has led to our state’s continued economic growth and success. Companies like CarMax, Academy Sports, and Souto Foods are set to join the ranks of so many others, like Boehringer Ingelheim, who have decided to invest in Georgia and the Seventh District. I look forward to continuing to partner with the people of Georgia to support policies that ensures our state remains as the #1 state in which to do business.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week the House is going to consider H.Con.Res. 24. As I’ve said dozens of times already this year, I’m saddened that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has taken potentially bipartisan bills and made them partisan exercises. Unfortunately, H.Con.Res. 24 is quickly becoming another failed opportunity at bipartisanship.

This measure is supposedly an attempt by the Democrat majority to ensure that the American people can read the entire report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that will be submitted to the Attorney General.  That certainly seems to be a common-sense goal, but the Democrat majority know full-well that sections of the report, like grand jury testimony, are required by law to be redacted. It was true in Ken Starr’s Clinton report, and it is still true today. If Democrats wanted to change that law, they could, but H.Con.Res. 24 isn’t an attempt to change anything. Why? Because this type of measure – a House Concurrent Resolution – can’t become law. That’s right. It is simply a “communication” from the House that restates the current law. I wish Congressional Democrats would focus on issues where we can work together to solve problems for our constituents instead of introducing partisan resolutions that are designed to divide our nation. 

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Congressman Woodall Partners with Forsyth County Leaders for Town Hall Event

2019/03/08

WASHINGTON, DC – On Thursday, March 14, elected officials from Forsyth County, including Congressman Woodall, will host a town hall meeting in an effort to provide constituents with first-hand information about what is happening in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as under Georgia’s Gold Dome and locally in Forsyth County. The event will include elected officials from each of Forsyth County’s various levels of government and the opportunity for residents to get updates and provide feedback to their elected officials. The collective effort is designed to provide Forsyth County residents a one stop shop for their questions and concerns.

“This town hall will be an opportunity for Forsyth County residents to share their thoughts and concerns with us and to let us know how we can better serve our constituents,” said Congressman Woodall. “A constructive dialogue with those whom we represent makes representative government work, and I look forward to visiting with my constituents and answering their questions.”

“The most enjoyable part of representing Forsyth County is spending time hearing from and getting to know our citizens. This Town Hall provides an excellent opportunity for our wonderful community to let us know what is on their mind,” said State Senator Greg Dolezal.

“We are excited to meet and speak with our constituents about federal, state and local issues. Each of us appreciates the opportunity to serve and represent you. We hope to see you this Thursday evening,” said State Representative Todd Jones.

“As someone who has lived in Forsyth County for nearly 40 years, I understand the importance of communicating with our friends, family, and neighbors. I look forward to discussing everything that the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office is doing to keep our community safe and secure,” said Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman.  

“Please plan to join us for a comprehensive exchange of dialogue and ideas with your representatives from county government, the school board, public safety, state legislature, and U.S. Congress. We want to hear from you - and to share our perspective on the future of Forsyth County," said Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Laura Semanson.

"I look forward to seeing you at this town hall and hearing your ideas regarding how we can work together for continuous improvement. Thank you for your efforts to take Forsyth County to the next level," said Board of Commissioners Member Dennis Brown.

Details are as follows:

Thursday, March 14

Time: 7:00 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Location: Lambert High School, Auditorium

805 Nichols Road

Suwanee, Georgia

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes significant portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. He currently serves on the Rules Committee, the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and the Budget Committee.

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Woodall Urges Trump Administration to Increase Number of H-2B Visas

2019/03/06

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Rob Woodall joined a bipartisan, bicameral letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen requesting that the Trump Administration use its discretion granted by the recently passed funding package to release additional H-2B visas for Fiscal Year 2019. This program allows American employers to temporarily hire foreign workers, for a few months at a time, to fulfil peak-season demand in labor, once they have certified that they cannot recruit Americans to perform the same job.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019, which was signed into law last month, authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, to release up to approximately 69,320 additional H-2B visas for the remainder of the fiscal year.

“Right now, seasonal businesses in Georgia are struggling to find the workers they need to meet the demand from their consumers. Rather than forego opportunities that help their businesses grow, employers use H-2B visas to offer services that are crucial to bolstering Georgia’s vibrant economy,” said Congressman Woodall. “I am confident that the Trump Administration will respond to our bipartisan letter and will understand the importance of increasing H-2B visas.”

“Given the near historic low unemployment rate, the constant oversubscription to the program and its importance to our local economies, we strongly urge you to use the discretion afforded your office in the most recent appropriations bill to release, without delay and to the greatest extent allowed by law, additional H-2B visas sufficient to meet the certified demand of our seasonal employers,” the members of Congress wrote. “If significant H-2B cap relief is not provided, there will be severe consequences for seasonal businesses and our economy generally.” 

Click here to read the full text of the letter.

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes significant portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. He currently serves on the Rules Committee, the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and the Budget Committee.

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Washington Watch - 3/4/19

2019/03/04

PURSUING REAL SOLUTIONS TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE

Last week, the House of Representatives passed two pieces of legislation, H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112, which purported to address gun violence. As happens so often with so-called “gun control” measures, however, this legislation would make life harder for law-abiding Americans, overrule state laws which are already protecting law-abiding Americans, and do very little − if anything − to prevent criminals from gaining access to firearms. As a result, I opposed both measures. If you watched any of the debate on the floor last week, you would have seen the new House Leadership and Majority celebrating simply doing anything that restricts gun sales to anyone. Not only does that sentiment run counter to the U.S. Constitution, it fails to offer any protection against any of the headline grabbing violence that we see across our nation.

Of course, we do have real problems that need real attention. I am devoting my energy to supporting bills that will target criminals who illegally possess firearms and will identify and catch those who would do violence before they commit heinous acts. I joined with my friend and fellow Georgian, Representative Doug Collins, as an original cosponsor of H.R. 1339, the “Mass Violence Prevention (MVP) Act,” which enhances penalties for theft of a firearm and establishes a Mass Violence Prevention Center, based off the very successful National Counterterrorism Center. This new fusion center could eliminate the information sharing failures of the past, and by focusing on the select few who raise red flags rather than on the millions of law-abiding gun owners who pose no danger, we will have a real chance to prevent tragedy before it strikes.

Another bill that could make a real difference is H.R. 838, the “Threat Assessment, Prevention, and Safety (TAPS) Act.” This bipartisan bill creates a task force of threat experts who will assist in the creation of a national strategy to prevent targeted violence through threat assessment and management. This successful program, which already exists at the federal level to protect federal officials and foreign dignitaries, can be expanded to provide resources, training, and assistance in establishing and operating locally driven threat assessment and management units throughout the country.

We all agree that we must do what is in our power to prevent gun violence in this nation. Penalizing lawful gun owners is never the right answer. Creating a federal network of experts engaging our state and local law enforcement officials to identify threats before they happen is the right answer. I’m proud to support both the MVP Act and TAPS Act as they are real solutions that take us closer to preventing the next tragedy from taking place.

 

ASSESSING TAX REFORM IMPACT ON AMERICAN FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES

Last Wednesday, the House Budget Committee held a hearing entitled “2017 Tax Law: Impact on the Budget and American Families.” The evidence so far is clear: record revenue growth; 80 percent of tax filers receiving a tax cut; and businesses paying out billions in bonuses to employees, increases to worker pay, and investments in new equipment and facilities. I had a chance to speak with one of the witnesses at the hearing — Lana Pol from Pella, Iowa — who is the president and owner of Geetings, Inc. about the real effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. She testified about the investments she has been able to make in her business thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and how she has been able to give her workers the benefits they deserve.

Fortunately, Ms. Pol’s story is not unique. In fact, right here in the Seventh District, Boehringer Ingelheim, an animal health sciences firm, has chosen to bring 75 high-paying jobs to Duluth. That’s out of the 225 total jobs they will be bringing to our state along with an investment of over $120 million. I had a chance to highlight their success and speak with Ms. Pol about her business’s growth during that hearing. If you’d like to see my exchange with Ms. Pol, click the picture below.

Rep. Rob Woodall discusses the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act with Geetings, Inc. President, Lana Pol

 

DEMOCRATS EXAMINE AMERICA’S INFRASTRUCTURE UNDER PARTISAN LENS OF THE GREEN NEW DEAL

Last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held its second full committee hearing to examine the readiness and resiliency of our nation’s infrastructure in an ever-changing climate. As many of you know, one of my favorite things about working on this committee is that most of the policy decisions that come out the committee tend to do so in a way that often transcends political divisiveness. That’s because our infrastructure and transportation systems play critical roles in districts across the country as they connect each of our constituents to their loved ones and places of employment, develop and sustain communities and neighborhoods, and most importantly, uphold our country’s place as a global leader in the efficient movement of goods and services from sea to shining sea.

That said, as Georgia’s leading voice on transportation and infrastructure matters, I frequently hear from folks who are eager for lawmakers in Washington to work together in the new Congress to develop and pass an infrastructure package that will effectively rebuild our outdated infrastructure and make smart and targeted investments in new technologies. Undeniably, we must discuss innovative solutions that will not only prolong the life-span of our current and future infrastructure projects, but also ensure that our committed investments can meet the demands of future users as well as any changes in climate patterns and severe weather events. I believe that these are laudable goals held by members on both side of the aisle, but as we’ve seen happen too many times in Congress over the years, and already numerous times under Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, opportunities for bipartisan progress can quickly, and too easily, be stifled by partisan politics.

Unfortunately, such partisan focus was injected into last week’s hearing with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle — pushing their multi-trillion dollar “Green New Deal” instead of focusing on common sense investments which would provide the most value to all Americans. Rather than allowing partisan rhetoric — rhetoric that I believe only stands to jeopardize the years of bipartisan policymaking infrastructure has enjoyed — I submit to you that I will continue working across the aisle to deliver realistic and innovative solutions to achieve our shared goal of building a better and brighter tomorrow for future generations.

 

REP. WOODALL STANDS FOR BORDER SECURITY

During last week’s rules debate, I spoke out against House Joint Resolution 46, which would terminate the President’s border emergency declaration. This legislation didn’t have any committee hearings or expert testimony before it passed the House because Congressional Democrats do not want to talk about the very real problems that the President is trying to address in his declaration.

Congress has repeatedly failed to address the drug crisis, weapons crisis, human trafficking crisis, and now humanitarian crisis at our southern border. Article I of the Constitution clearly states that it is the Legislative Branch’s responsibility to write the immigration and border laws of our nation, and it is the Executive Branch’s responsibility to enforce the laws of our nation. With over 1,600 illegal border crossings per day, it is disappointing that Speaker Pelosi turned what sure be a shared goal along the border into a “me against him” fight with President Trump.

To be clear, I do have reservations any time any President goes around Congress to achieve any goal.  Such steps should not be common, and they have become all too common now in modern presidencies. Every president in my adult lifetime has declared national emergencies, going around Congress, and Congress has rarely taken any steps to reign those presidents in or to solve those real problems with legislative solutions. I applaud the Senate for taking a serious look at this new emergency declaration and comparing the very real need for action along the border with the very real danger of Congress and the executive failing to follow their Constitutionally mandated roles.

Make no mistake, however:  the act of a presidential emergency declaration is never in and of itself the problem. In 1976, Congress — rightly or wrongly — delegated this authority to the presidency.  Congress can rescind that grant, and Congress can disapprove any declaration, but the act of making the declaration is currently authorized by Congress.  I share this as a lens through which to view this very difficult debate.  Too many lawmakers and commentators are making this conversation, as Speaker Pelosi is, about “us against the President.” That isn’t and shouldn’t be the debate.  There are real problems at the border that demand real solutions.  Congress can decide whether they amount to an emergency, but to pretend they don’t exist does a disservice to all Americans. Similarly, there are real concerns about the division of Constitutional authority between the presidency and Congress. To pretend those don’t exist is also a disservice. Listen as the debate continues. Those who focus on President Trump make their motives clear. Those who focus instead on the presidency—and its role in crisis and with Congress—will be the ones who provide thoughtful solutions needed.

Click the picture below to view my remarks.

On the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Woodall opposes H.J.Res.46

 

REP. WOODALL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST “MEDICARE FOR ALL”

Thank you to Stuart Varney for inviting me on his television show to discuss “Medicare for All.” This policy proposal from Congressional Democrats would cost at least $30 trillion and would be a disaster both for middle class families who would have to pay the new bill and for senior families who have been paying into Medicare their entire lives. So-called “Medicare for All” is simply masking an already rejected federal takeover and socialized medicine scheme in the very popular and reliable name of “Medicare.” But the two have absolutely nothing in common.  Medicare promises care to those who have earned it through a lifetime of work and payments. “Medicare for All” promises everyone everything but provides absolutely no plan about how to pay for it. Instead, our goal should be more transparency and consumer involvement to lower health care prices, not less.

From Statuary Hall, Rep. Woodall examines “Medicare For All” and its hefty price tag

 

CELEBRATING THE CENTENNIAL OF KOREA’S MARCH FIRST MOVEMENT

Last Friday marked the 100th anniversary of Korea’s March First Movement that began the Korean people’s path to independence. On March 1, 1919, two million Koreans gathered in Seoul and across the Korean Peninsula to participate in mass demonstrations and read aloud the Korean Declaration of Independence. Inspired by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the declaration called for self-determination, justice, humanity, and dignity for the people of Korea. The March First demonstrations brought global attention to the movement, leading directly to the establishment of a provisional Korean government in Shanghai, and for the next 36 years, the Korean people would fight for their independence from then Imperialist Japan.

Today, March 1st is recognized as a national holiday in both North and South Korea, and in honor of this occasion, I was proud to introduce H.Res. 159. This resolution recognizes the significance of the March First Movement and reaffirms the strong bond between the United States and South Korea. For over 70 years our two countries have worked side by side militarily and economically to our mutual benefit. It is an honor to recognize this important milestone of the Korean people, and I look forward to our continued partnership.   

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: TAX SEASON IS UPON US

The first tax-filing season since the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is now under way. The new law lowered tax rates, doubled the standard deduction, and significantly simplified our tax code. It is estimated that two-thirds of households will see a cut to their tax liability.

While everyone’s taxes will vary, some constituents have written to say that their tax refunds are smaller than they expected, and that will absolutely be true for many families. Tax refunds are a result of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taking too much money out of each of your paychecks based on your withholding allowance, which it then returns to you in April. The tax bill did two things: it lowered tax rates for most individuals and it lowered the amount of money that the IRS takes from each of your paychecks.  The result?  Perhaps lower refunds in April, but lower tax liability overall, and more money in each paycheck.

When you compare a similar income to total taxes from 2017 to 2018, 94% of American families should be doing as well or better this year than last, and that is great news both for families and the American economy!

 

LOCAL EFFORTS RECOGNIZED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP

There are so many people who work hard each day to keep our planet clean and make our community a wonderful place to live. Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, a non-profit whose community-based network consists of volunteers, community leaders, and local organizations, was recently honored at the Georgia State Capitol with the Governor’s Circle Award for their exemplary work in community beautification and environmental sustainability.

In addition, the Georgia Forestry Commission recently announced its 2018 Tree City USA recipients, and 9 cities in Gwinnett have joined more than 3,400 communities across our country in this distinction. To achieve this status, communities must meet four core standards of viable tree management and while this was certainly not a new honor for some, Loganville’s recent addition demonstrates how there are those back home who are committed to doing even more to be responsible stewards of our environment. I know we are all proud of their hard work!

 

SEVENTH DISTRICT PRINCIPAL NAMED ‘GEORGIA PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR’

The Seventh District of Georgia has always led the way in education excellence. Not only does our community boast a dedicated student body, who are using their time and talents to be life-long learners and leaders, we have a team of dedicated administrators, teachers, and parents who are continually supporting their success.

I want to congratulate Collins Hill High School Principal Kerensa Wing for being named Georgia Principal of the Year for 2019! In fact, this is the third time in the past five years that this honoree has hailed from Gwinnett County Public Schools. I know that it is through the efforts of folks like Principal Wing and her team at Collins Hill, and those hard at work throughout our entire school system, that are directly responsible for our community’s tradition of success. 

 

FORSYTH COUNTY WORKING TO CURB OPIOID EPIDEMIC

Last year Congress passed sweeping legislation that included more than 70 measures to combat the ongoing opioid crisis. As the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) works to fully implement those reforms in our state, it is critical that those in our local communities − who are closest to the individuals and families battling opioid abuse and addiction – continue supporting our friends and neighbors back home. The Forsyth County Drug Awareness Council (FCDAC) is one of those organizations working to eliminate substance abuse in our own backyard, including through programs aimed at targeting opioid use among our youth. You can read more about their work below, and can visit their website HERE to learn about ways to get involved.

For those interested in finding specific programs and facilities for friends or loved ones seeking assistance in our state, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Disabilities (DBHDD) recommends individuals seeking services visit www.mygcal.com to identify adult community-based service providers in their area, or call the toll-free Georgia Crisis & Access Line at 1-800-715-4225.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

If you’ve been reading my weekly newsletter for a while, you know that some weeks are more interesting than others when it comes to the importance of legislation being voted on in the House of Representatives. This week is an especially important week.  The House will be considering one of the most consequential election measures we have seen in decades, and it’s unfortunately a measure that will take a sledgehammer to our Constitution – H.R. 1.

H.R. 1 is Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) most important legislative vehicle, but instead of using it to craft bipartisan solutions to immigration, infrastructure, homeland security, foreign policy, or any of the dozens of other critical issues facing our nation, Speaker Pelosi has crafted a partisan, Constitutionally-questionable bill that will alter our current election process in ways that are solely meant to benefit Democrats. The U.S. Constitution empowers states to control elections – including how to draw Congressional district boundaries, institute voter registration and identification requirements, decide on types of voting systems, and more – but H.R. 1 would federalize all of those powers and more. In the Speaker’s wisdom, she has decided that she knows better than the Georgia Secretary of State, the Georgia Governor, and the Georgia State Legislature in all these areas. Election reform is important, of course, but it’s unconscionable to me that the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives would so pervert our electoral system in such an obviously partisan manner.

The Rules Committee will be meeting on H.R. 1 on Tuesday, March 5th, and I encourage you to CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Representative Woodall Introduces Resolution Commemorating 100th Anniversary of March First Movement

2019/03/01

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Rob Woodall introduced House Resolution 159, which recognizes the 100th anniversary of the March First Movement and Korea’s declaration of independence from the Empire of Japan.

Inspired by the stories he heard across the Seventh District, Congressman Woodall penned a resolution that celebrates the sacrifices and determination of the Korean people. Congressman Woodall was in awe of how approximately 2,000,000 Koreans participated in demonstrations. The March First Movement directly led to the creation of the Korean Provisional government in Shanghai and brought worldwide attention to their calls for independence. In his resolution, Congressman Woodall stresses how over 7,000 Koreans lost their lives advocating for freedom and how the Korean Declaration of Independence was inspired by our nation’s Declaration of Independence.

“One hundred years ago, the people of Korea gathered in their nation’s capital to proclaim, in one voice, that they would no longer be subjected to Japan’s imperial rule. Together, they declared their wish for independence – and everything that comes with self-governance – peace, freedom, justice, and human rights,” said Congressman Woodall. “I’m excited today to congratulate the people of Korea on the 100th anniversary of the March First Movement. The egalitarian values that inspired the March First Movement a century ago are the same values that inspired our nation’s Founding Fathers. It is these shared values that makes the Republic of Korea such an important ally for peace, for prosperity, and for democracy to succeed around the world.”

“Now, 100 years later, the Korean Peninsula has undergone sweeping changes that those protesters could never have foreseen – independence and separation, war, and recovery, with one side of the peninsula rising rapidly out of poverty to become one of the largest economies in the world. Both sides of the peninsula are using this anniversary to look back at that history and honor those who fought for freedom, but also looking forward at the 100 years to come,” said Eric Kim, President of the National Unification Advisory Council’s Atlanta Chapter. “We are so thankful to Congressman Woodall and his staff for assisting with this very important resolution. We greatly appreciate the recognition of this momentous occasion celebrating 100 years of independence from Japanese occupation and his consistent support to the Korean American community in Georgia.”

For over seventy years, the U.S.-Korea alliance has been characterized by political and diplomatic cooperation, healthy economic and trade relations, and a strong friendship. American and Korean soldiers have stood, and continue to stand together, in defense of freedom and shared values as they strive to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region. The United States is home to more than two million Korean-Americans who are celebrating 116 years of immigration to our nation. Gwinnett and Forsyth counties are home to over 25,000 Korean Americans, which is nearly half of the entire Korean American population of Georgia.

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes significant portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. He currently serves on the Rules Committee, the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and the Budget Committee.

 

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Representative Woodall Votes In Favor of Securing America’s Borders

2019/02/26

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Rob Woodall voted against House Joint Resolution 46, which would stop additional funding for border security and create an increase in illegal immigration, human trafficking, and drug smuggling.

“Congress has repeatedly failed to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. Article I of the Constitution clearly states that it is the Legislative Branch’s responsibility to write the laws of our nation and it is the Executive Branch’s responsibility to enforce the laws of our nation. With over 1,600 illegal border crossings per day, it is disappointing that Speaker Pelosi turned securing our border into a political knife fight,” said Congressman Woodall. “Through the National Emergencies Act, Congress has given the President the power to make emergency declarations. However, the responsibility to craft immigration and homeland security policies rest with Congress, and unfortunately, we have not fulfilled our responsibility. The fact that not a single Democrat voted for the immigration bills Congress tried to pass in the past two years is testament to how Congressional inaction has allowed the crisis at our border to persist and pushed the President into taking care of a situation that we should have solved on our own.” 

Congressman Woodall previously spoke out against H.J.Res.46 citing the legislation’s lack of committee hearings and absence of expert testimony.

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes significant portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. He currently serves on the Rules Committee, the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and the Budget Committee.

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District Connection - 2/25/19

2019/02/25

HIGH TECH HEALTH COMPANIES GROWING IN OUR BACKYARD

Our region has long talked about a high-tech jobs corridor running from Atlanta through the Seventh District and out to Athens. With amazing research facilities like the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Emory and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention anchoring the corridor, its creation and growth has seemed inevitable. Now, with our local institutions of higher education producing the very best talent for a 21st century jobs market—institutions like Georgia Gwinnett College, the University of North Georgia, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lanier Tech, and Gwinnett Tech—new employers are able to find the talent that they need.

I visited one-such high-tech start-up last week. AKESOgen was founded in 2011 by Dr. Mark Bouzyk, who has over 20 years in genomic experience and wanted to be able to offer high quality genetics testing in an affordable and efficient manner. Having doubled in size in just the last year, AKESOgen is now one of the largest genetic testing facilities in the nation. We have all seen the direct-to-consumer genetic tests for ancestry and now we are beginning to see them for specific cancers, as well. Every indication is that there is much, much more to come.

Never knowing when the next breakthrough will come or what information may be needed to find it, the Veterans Administration began collecting anonymized blood samples from one million veterans. These blood samples will go into a research database to investigate general diseases like diabetes and cancer as well as military service related illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder. AKESOgen is playing a major role in this effort, having genotyped over 300,000 veterans so far.

I do not know the future of health sciences, but I know that Georgia businesses will play a major role!

In Peachtree Corners, Rep. Woodall learns more about AKESOgen and its work for the federal government

 

PRIORITIZING CIVICS EDUCATION

This past week I had the pleasure of being back at South Gwinnett High School. While I was there as a part of Career Technical Education (CTE) Month, our discussion went far beyond CTE education and into ways we can get more young people involved in civic leadership. It is clear to me that these young folks have a passion for not only ensuring the voices of our youth are represented in government, but also have the desire to ensure that our education system and policies are leaving students in the best position to succeed after high school. I had a similar civic leadership conversation when I met with Cub Scout Pack 146 in Peachtree Corners. Though these young men are only in elementary school, they were keenly focused on the qualities that make one a good citizen and their responsibilities for civic engagement and leadership. Undeniable, organizations like the Scouts do a great job at educating our youth about their civic responsibilities, but their reach is limited to those who participate.

With the understanding of our nation’s need to expand the reach of learning about our civic duties, I introduced the Civics Learning Act with my friend Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL) so that our schools can create model programs to educate young students on their responsibilities. Though communities like yours and mine—where schools, churches, and civic organizations are all strong—are succeeding in training the next generation of leaders, other communities are not. This bill authorizes funding for innovative and evidence-based civics learning programs across elementary, middle, and high school programs. The goal is to take model programs developed in our area and elsewhere and share them with underserved communities throughout the nation. Click on the headline below to read the full story.

 

 

LOWERING THE COST OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Last week, in his 2019 State of the Department Address, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke about the Administration’s commitment to lowering prescription drug prices, combatting the opioid crisis, reforming the individual insurance market, and transforming our health care system to one that pays for value. Last May, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released “American Patients First,” a drug pricing blueprint to lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket costs. I am confident that the men and women of the Department of Health and Human Services are looking at every facet of HHS’s programs, authorities, and spending to bring immediate relief to American patients while also delivering long-term reforms. For the past two years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been setting records for the number of low-cost generic drugs available through relentless process improvements and new efforts under their drug competition action plan. The FDA set a record for most generic drugs approved in Fiscal Year 2017 and again in Fiscal Year 2018. These are remarkable achievements that will have a significant and material improvement on the health of all Americans.

Our vision for affordable health care reaches beyond the actions of the Executive Branch. This week, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing about affordable prescription drug pricing. On Capitol Hill, lowering the cost of prescription drugs has become a bipartisan issue that has united both Democrats and Republicans. “Drug Pricing in America: A Prescription for Change, Part II” will feature the CEOs from all seven major drug manufacturers.

 

CONSTIUENT SPOTLIGHT: THE DEFEAT OF ISIS AND THE HOPE FOR PEACE IN SYRIA

Last week, the Trump Administration announced that while most U.S. forces in Syria will be withdrawing, some U.S. troops will remain—revising the previous plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria. Considering our history of involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan, many of you reached out to share your thoughts on this:

David from Lawrenceville:

President Trump is right and the Republican Senate is wrong. We should withdraw from Syria and Afghanistan. Our presence in Islamic countries creates more enemies than it kills. The Military Industrial Complex may love having enemies, but I don`t. Pull back. Spare American lives. Borrow less money to fund counterproductive military meddling. Reduce the national debt.

Phillip from Duluth:

I read the alarming news about the withdrawal of US troops from Syria. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, likened such a move to "an Obama-like mistake," and commented further by saying "An American withdrawal at this time would be a big win for ISIS, Iran, Bashar al Assad of Syria, and Russia." Republicans' silence over this matter has been remarkable and unsettling. 


As you can see from David and Phillip’s comments, the discussion of the U.S. effort to bring peace in Syria is discussed in the headlines in “all or nothing” terms. Foreign policy is rarely so black and white. As you may know, the President cited the decisive defeat of ISIS—with 98 percent of territory formerly held by ISIS now liberated—as the basis for the decision to draw down our forces in Syria. The Department of Defense said that this merely “a change in tactics” and it will “continue working our partners and allies” to combat ISIS and other terror groups around the globe. The U.S. and our NATO allies will maintain a force of troops to maintain a safe zone in Northern Syria. While more details on what role our troops will have are yet to come, this force will remain to reduce the risk of further conflict in an area that has, for far too long, been ravaged by war.  

To David’s point above, I applaud the President for keeping his promise to stop engaging significant military forces in endless, ill-defined conflicts, and to partner with our allies to address difficult situations around the globe. To Phillip’s point, I firmly believe that the humanitarian crisis is worthy of our involvement in some capacity. Our involvement to this point has made a positive difference, and I do not want to see those successes reversed.

We see differences like those between David and Phillip in part because the U.S. has not yet spoken with one voice on Syria. It is essential that Congress and President Trump work together to approve and support any long-term U.S. military activities. To date, Congress has given no such approval, not in Syria, not in Yemen, not anywhere since 2001. I believe that we must work to craft a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that addresses the current situation in the Middle East, and I am working to do exactly that.

 

FORSYTH COUNTY TEAM TO COMPETE IN SPECIAL OLYMPICS WORLD GAMES

I am inspired by the folks back home who continue to push the bar even further and achieve success. This year, we are honored to have two athletes, Garrett Ardizone and Wayne Hancock represent Forsyth County and Team USA in unified doubles table tennis at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games. As you may know, the Special Olympics World Games take place every two years, alternating between summer and winter sports, and the 2019 Games are set to take place March 14-21 in Abu Dhabi. You can read more about Garrett and Wayne’s incredible story below, and I hope you will join me in congratulating Garrett and Wayne for this great achievement!

 

GWINNETT COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE WILL HOST BLOOD DRIVE IN HONOR OF FALLEN OFFICER

Officer Antwan Toney was an amazing public servant and role model for our community. For three years, Officer Toney honorably served the Gwinnett County Police Department before he was shot and killed while investigating a suspicious vehicle.  As a part of the continuing effort to honor and remember Officer Toney and his commitment to serving others, Officer Toney’s brothers and sisters in uniform will host a blood drive tomorrow in his memory. While blood drive walk-ins are welcome, appointments are encouraged. To schedule an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor keyword “GCSO” or call (800) 733-2767.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week, the House will consider a number of major pieces of legislation including H.R. 8, H.R. 1112, and H.J.Res. 46. These bills will deal with gun purchases, purchase waiting periods, and the President’s Emergency Declaration. Once again, the House has an opportunity to come together and speak with one voice on gun violence, civil liberties, and Article I powers. Unfortunately, these bills seem devised to divide Congress and score political points rather than unite Congress and solve real problems. I will be making that point throughout the week and I'll try to bring people together on common sense reforms.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Rep. Woodall Introduces Resolution Supporting the Concurrent-Track Approach to the Middle East Peace Process

2019/02/21

Lawrenceville, GA – Today, U.S. Representative Rob Woodall released the following statement after introducing House Resolution 138, which reaffirms support for a two-state solution negotiated between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This resolution urges the Palestinian Authority and regional Arab and Muslim-majority states to engage in negotiations to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and support bilateral relations. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ) joined Representatives Hastings (D-FL) and Woodall in introducing the resolution.

“There is no question in my mind that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people will only be solved when both sides are able to come together and agree on a peaceful, two-state solution. With the unwavering support of the United States and peace-loving countries in the region and around the world, I hope that we can help provide Israel and the Palestinian Authority the opportunity to seize that two-state solution,” said Congressman Woodall. “I am so proud to join my good friend Mr. Hastings in being an original co-sponsor of this resolution. Our long partnership working together on this issue is testament to how important resolving U.S.-Israel partnership is and how bringing lasting peace to the region transcends partisan lines in Congress.”

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes significant portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. He currently serves on the Rules Committee, the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and the Budget Committee.

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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.


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