Rob Woodall

Rob Woodall

GEORGIA's 7th DISTRICT

Woodall Applauds Senate For Sending USMCA to President’s Desk

2020/01/16

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Rob Woodall responded to news that the Senate passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by a vote of 89 to 10. The USMCA updates the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the more than two decade old trade deal that allows for duty free trade between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

“Today is a great day for American workers, manufacturers, and employers. President Trump promised during his campaign to renegotiate NAFTA and bring it into the 21st Century, and today, with the Senate’s approval of the USMCA, he keeps his promise and signs what I believe is the best trade deal of my lifetime,” said Congressman Woodall.

“This agreement saves Georgia’s manufacturers between $352 million and $1.5 billion in extra taxes on goods exported to Canada and Mexico – our two largest export markets. That means more exports, which means higher wages and more jobs. To say the USMCA is a big deal to Georgians, especially those in the agriculture industry, would be a tremendous understatement. With this new deal in place, I expect our Georgia producers to put there foot on the gas, and that’s good for all Georgians.”

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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Reps. Gomez & Woodall: Korean American Day – Let's skip the politics. Congress needs to take these actions

2020/01/13

During a cold winter 117 years ago on January 13, over one hundred Korean immigrants arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii. After a long and dangerous voyage, these immigrants finally found a better life here in the land of opportunity. And for over a century, our communities have been made richer by our Korean American friends and neighbors.

Korean American Day is an opportunity for all of us to recognize the countless contributions the Korean American community has made to American life, from the private and public sectors to the world of art, food, education, and entrepreneurship. Since arriving in our nation in 1903 – starting off as farmworkers, wage laborers, and section hands – the story of Korean immigrants and the subsequent success of their descendants and other immigrant groups is one that many Americans can relate to.

As the congressional representatives for some of the largest Korean American communities in the country, we take great pride in the diversity of our districts. And we find ourselves fortunate that these proud Korean Americans have woven their heritage into ours. We celebrate together, break bread together, and learn about our respective cultures together.

With help from local organizations like the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles and the Korean American Association of Greater Atlanta, which empower Korean Americans in our neighborhoods and communities, and national networks like the Korean American Grassroots Conference, through which thousands of grassroots members nationwide advocate for their communities, the voices of Korean Americans ring out across the country.

As members of Congress, we play a unique role in amplifying those voices to ensure they’re echoed in the House of Representatives. It’s a valuable reminder that we’re blessed to live in a country where all can be heard, one that strives to grant everyone the opportunity to live free and succeed. It’s a testament to our democracy and the American dream.

Yet, with every democracy comes the risk of partisan entrenchment. Here in Washington, we’ve certainly seen our fair share, and too often we’ve witnessed its paralyzing effect, preventing meaningful legislation from becoming law. But on Korean American Day, we call on our congressional colleagues to put aside politics and take decisive action to address some of the problems that impact our country’s Korean American community.

For example, according to Divided Families USA, roughly 100,000 Korean Americans have been separated from their family members since the Korean War. 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.

In March, the Congressional Korea Caucus endorsed H.R. 1771 – the Divided Families Reunification Act of 2019 – directing the U.S. Department of State to consult with South Korean officials 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 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. Sadly, these families have been separated since the Korean War and they deserve to see their loved ones again. Americans with relatives in North Korea are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s. Time is not on their side and it’s the role of Congress to provide relief for them and their loved ones.

Another piece of bipartisan legislation which Congress needs to pass is H.R. 2731 – the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019. According to the Adoptee Rights Campaign, between 25,000 and 49,000 children adopted to American households between 1945 and 1998 lack citizenship. And most of them weren’t even aware of their citizenship status until well into adulthood.

In the past, American families who adopted children from abroad were required to go through a lengthy and costly process to naturalize and gain citizenship for their adopted children. The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 eliminated the need for adoptive families to apply to naturalize their newly-adopted children. However, the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 only applied to adoptees who were under the age of 18 when it was enacted; it didn’t apply retroactively to adoptees who faced the same dilemma but aged into adulthood before the law took effect.

The Adoptee Citizenship Act would correct this problem by providing automatic citizenship to foreign-born children lawfully adopted by American families who turned 18 years old before the effective date of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. The Korean American community includes tens of thousands of adoptees that lack eligibility for citizenship despite their legal entry and life-long residency here. This legislation will close this loophole and grant the adoptees the right to citizenship they need and deserve.

Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much these days, but if the two of us can come together to support these proposals, surely our colleagues can follow our lead and help us enact meaningful reform to support the communities we represent. In 2005, both parties united to unanimously pass legislation recognizing the contributions of Korean Americans and make January 13th “Korean American Day” in honor of the arrival of the first Korean immigrants. Now, let’s honor their descendants by prioritizing policies that improve the quality of life of Korean American families and the communities they call home.

 

Rob Woodall represents Georgia’s 7th congressional district as a Republican in the United States House.

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Washington Watch - 1/13/20

2020/01/13

WELCOME BACK CONGRESS

The House of Representatives reconvened last week, marking the beginning of the second session of the 116th Congress. With every new year comes new possibilities, but our legislative priorities remain unchanged. In my final year in office, I am determined to see the USMCA trade deal signed into law and pass other meaningful legislation, like bills to lower prescription drug costs, end surprise medical billing, and improve our country’s transportation. I am also hopeful to repeat our USMCA victory and pass a prosperous trade deal with China.

These goals can only be achieved with a bipartisan approach. I encouraged my colleagues last year to treat our divided government as an opportunity. Now is the time to pass legislation that has the fingerprints of every member—Republican and Democrat. Now is the time when we can best serve our constituents and help every American across our nation.

I look forward to renewing this call for bipartisanship in 2020.

 

CELEBRATING KOREAN AMERICAN DAY

During a cold winter 117 years ago today, over one hundred Korean immigrants arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii. After a long and dangerous voyage, these immigrants finally found a better life here in the land of opportunity. And for over a century, our communities have been made richer by our Korean American friends and neighbors.

Today, Gwinnett and Forsyth counties are home to over 25,000 Korean Americans—nearly half of the entire Korean American population of Georgia. There are many groups representing the interests of our Korean American friends and neighbors, including the Korean American Grassroot Conference. I had a chance to speak at their Youth Leadership Summit last week about the importance of cultural diversity and community engagement in shaping the future of our nation.

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Rep. Rob Woodall meets with young people from across the U.S. for the Korean American Grassroots Conference in Washington, D.C.

Additionally, I joined my colleague, Congressman Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), in authoring an op-ed about the importance of Korean American Day and why Congress needs to pass vital legislation like the Divided Families Reunification Act and the Adoptee Citizenship Act. You can read that article below.

 

A DECADE OF CONTINUOUS JOB GROWTH

In the past 80 years the U.S. Department of Labor has collected employment data, it has never recorded ten straight years of uninterrupted job growth – until now. With the release of the Bureau of Labor and Statistics report on Friday, the U.S. economy closed out the month of December with 145,000 jobs added and the unemployment rate holding at 3.5%. The number of jobs added met economists’ expectations, contributing to an unemployment rate that hasn’t been seen in nearly 50 years. Last year was a strong year for job growth, and with USMCA finalized and Phase One of the China trade deal soon to be implemented, I am excited for the greater gains we should expect to see this new year.

 

HOUSE TAKES BIPARTISAN ACTION TO MOVE POLICY SOLUTIONS FORWARD

As I frequently note, the bipartisan work that unfolds in the House chamber tends to do so without catching the attention of the media. That’s primarily because bipartisan action occurs when lawmakers roll up their sleeves to fix a policy issue that may not be exciting for broader audiences, which is why I want to take a moment to highlight some of those policy issues that lawmakers worked across the aisle last week to resolve. These include ensuring federal inmates have the knowledgebase necessary upon release to enter the business world and an amendment I worked on with Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) to reduce the probability of PFAS contaminants being released on airfields across the nation.

Generally speaking, small business issues tend to garner significant bipartisan support, especially since each and every lawmaker represents entrepreneurs and small businesses, and I was pleased to see lawmakers rally around a handful of bills that advance the interests of the small business community. Specifically, the House passed four small business bills last week in a bipartisan manner, which include:

  • H.R. 5078, the “Prison to Proprietorship Act” sponsored by Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and H.R. 5065, the “Prison to Proprietorship for Formerly Incarcerated Act” sponsored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), would require the U.S. Small Business Administration to work with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to require women’s business centers, small business development centers, and SCORE to provide entrepreneurial skills, training courses, and tools to individuals currently and formerly incarcerated in federal prisons. Sponsors of these bills hope that by providing such services to these individuals, we can reduce recidivism rates among this population by giving them the tools to actively participate in the business community and give back to others.
  • H.R. 5130, the “Capturing All Small Businesses Act of 2019” sponsored by Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) doubles, from one to two years, the length of time used to determine the average number of employees of a manufacturing firm for purposes of determining whether the firm is a “small business.” This is a rather small but technical fix that will ensure certain small businesses have sound capital, infrastructure, and a work model in place, allowing them to successfully compete in the open marketplace.
  • H.R. 5146, the “Unlocking Opportunities for Small Businesses Act of 2019” sponsored by Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) requires federal officials to consider any past performance of a firm applying for a contract, including work the firm may have fulfilled while working on a federal contract as either a joint venture or as a first tier sub-contractor. This will allow small firms to demonstrate their capacity to successfully work on federal contracts and contract officers the opportunity to better analyze the capacity of the firm’s work outside of the larger projects previously worked on.

The House also considered H.R. 535, the “PFAS Action Act,” a bill to designate PFAS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability (CERCLA) Act of 1980. As I stated in the Constituent Spotlight section of last week’s newsletter, lawmakers are committed to reducing the presence of PFAS, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, in our environment. The good news is that Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike share this commitment. In fact, that is why I joined my fellow Rules Committee and Transportation and Infrastructure colleague, Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), in offering an amendment to the bill. Our bipartisan amendment ensures state and local building code inspectors and fire marshals are at the guidance-making table as we work to minimize the use of PFAS in fire-fighting foam and other related equipment. I hope you will click the photo below to learn more about the amendment I offered with Rep. DeSaulnier and why lawmakers from both sides of the aisle offered their support. I look forward to keeping you in the loop on bipartisan successes as the second session of the 116th moves forward.

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Rep. Rob Woodall (GA-07) speaks during amendment debate for H.R. 535

 

MONITORING TENSIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Further conflict with Iran appears to be avoided after a tense week between the country and the U.S. In the aftermath of the death of Qassem Soleimani, Iran retaliated by striking two military bases in Iraq housing American and allied forces. While it resulted in no casualties, the attack marked a serious escalation of tensions. In a speech the following morning, President Trump called to de-escalate the hostilities, saying that the U.S. would not respond militarily. Iran, in return, appears to be standing down. However, the President remained firm in his commitment that Iran would never acquire nuclear weapons and announced further sanctions.  

On Capitol Hill, the strike was predictably divisive, and House Democrats introduced a nonbinding resolution to restrict the President’s use of military force to attack Iran or any part of its government or military unless otherwise authorized. The resolution purports to forbid the use of force against any part of Iran’s government or military, even as Iran consistently threatens and attacks the U.S. and allied forces, civilians, diplomats, and shipping vessels, both directly and indirectly through its proxies. No matter who is sits in the oval office, our President must have the ability to respond to threats to the American people and our interests. As such, I opposed the resolution that was largely symbolic and will likely not be taken up in the Senate.

After years of allowing the hostile regime in Tehran to cross red line after red line, the strike against the head of the terrorist-designated Quds Force of the IRGC not only served to prevent the further loss of American and Iraqi lives, but also to deter Iran from further action. The U.S. does not want war with Iran, but Iran’s countless transgressions and interference in the region has exacerbated the instability of the region, if not the principal cause of much of it for decades.

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: ANIMAL TESTING FOR COSMETICS

I commonly hear from folks back home who are passionate about animal rights and want to ensure animals are treated humanely. Below are a few messages I have received about a bill that was recently re-introduced in the House related to this endeavor: H.R. 5141, the “Humane Cosmetics Act.”

Ronnie from Norcross:

Please support the Humane Cosmetics Act. We no longer need to test products on animals to prove their safety. Please end this cruel practice immediately by passing this bill.

Jennifer from Buford:

I am writing to urge you to co-sponsor the Humane Cosmetics Act which will end animal testing for cosmetics in the United States. This is a common-sense bill that will benefit industry, consumers, and animals. In the last 20 years cosmetics companies have reduced their use of animals for cosmetics testing in favor of modern non-animal alternatives that are often cheaper, faster and more predictive for humans. Polls show that the American public overwhelmingly supports alternatives to testing cosmetics on animals and that a majority believe that testing cosmetics on animals is unethical.

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The Humane Cosmetics Act – which was reintroduced during this legislative session this past November – would prohibit, in most instances, cosmetic testing on animals in the United States as well as prohibit the sale and transport of those cosmetics or any ingredients in those products that are tested on animals.

Today, with respect to the cosmetics industry, there is no federal regulation either requiring animal testing to demonstrate safety or prohibiting it. Companies are free to adopt alternative means for testing the safety of their products, and as Jennifer mentioned, more and more companies are eliminating animal testing for their products on their own accord, largely in response to demands from the American public that those products be “cruelty free.” The economic benefit that companies gain from not testing on animals is powerful, and consumers are certainly influencing the market in this area in a measurable way.

While this piece of legislation focuses on cosmetic testing, efforts to limit animal testing in all areas continue to move forward. For instance, U.S. Environmental and Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler issued a directive in September requiring the agency to prioritize efforts to reduce animal testing. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has continually supported the development and use of animal testing alternatives as well as strict adherence to the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service Policy of Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals which govern the treatment of animals in these settings. Further, three states have already taken action on this issue, enacting legislation largely prohibiting animal testing for cosmetics.

At the federal level, the Humane Cosmetics Act has been introduced in three congresses and always in a bipartisan manner. Each successive effort has garnered more support than in the past. As you know from so many newsletters over the years, I always have reservations about using the hand of government to regulate in an arena where consumers and the free market are already moving swiftly and effectively, so I have not cosponsored this legislation. But, knowing of the constituent interest in this issue, as a member of the Rules Committee which sets the agenda for debate on the floor of the House, if this bill comes to Rules, I will definitely support moving it to the floor for a free and open debate where all constituent voices and concerns can be heard.

 

GWINNETT POLICE SHOP WITH SPECIAL OLYMPIC ATHLETES

Here in the 7th District, law enforcement officials not only protect our community from harm, but they also go above and beyond to bring us closer together. Last week, on National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, the Gwinnett County Police Department spent the day celebrating others. A group of 19 officers gathered outside Academy Sports + Outdoors and took Special Olympics athletes from South Gwinnett High School shopping for new sports equipment. On the eve of the State Indoor Winter Games in Cobb County, this was a great opportunity for athletes to buy equipment they previously had to borrow.

I would like to recognize these officers for donating their time to help these athletes. The 7th District is grateful for your service and we thank you all for risking your lives every day to keep us safe.

 

REMEMBERING FORSYTH COUNTY FIREFIGHTER LARRY MITRO

Each one of our brave first responders is invaluable to our community. I was deeply saddened to hear about the loss of local firefighter Lawrence Mitro, who passed away on Christmas morning following a battle with cancer. Mr. Mitro was a 56-year-old Air Force veteran and became one of Forsyth County’s first fulltime firefighters. Those close to Mr. Mitro said he “lived a life of loyalty, duty and dependability.”

I would like to express my sincerest condolences to Mr. Mitro’s family and friends. His dedication to public service will be remembered for generations, and I would like to thank him for all his contributions to our community here in Georgia.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week the House will consider a number of measures, including H.R. 1230 and H.J.Res. 76. The first bill, H.R. 1230, purports to protect older Americans from age discrimination in the workplace. But in reality, it simply makes it easier for high-powered lawyers to make money. Under the measure, should the defendant prove that he or she would have fired the employee for reasons other than the employee’s age, then the employee would only receive declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and attorney’s fees and costs. Should the employee win his or her suit outright, they would receive compensation and so would their attorneys. As such, win or lose, the measure ensures that attorneys get paid, even if the plaintiff doesn’t receive a dime in monetary damages. That’s a give-away to the trial lawyers’ lobby, and it will harm employers and employees.

H.J.Res. 76 is a resolution of disapproval that would eliminate a new U.S. Department of Education regulation called the “Borrower Defense Institutional Accountability” rule. The Borrower Defense rule updates an Obama-era rule allowing student loan borrowers to discharge some of their student loan payments should the borrower’s higher education institution misrepresent material facts about the institution that financially harmed the borrower. This seems like a common-sense regulation to me that protects borrowers who were lied to by their colleges for any number of reasons and are experiencing an inability to pay back their loans because of those distortions. The Obama-era rule didn’t distinguish between intentional fraud by colleges and universities and simple mistakes; this new rule does. Because no distinction was made, higher education institutions were hit with huge federal fines, which of course leads them to have fewer resources to invest in students, teachers, and campus life. Disapproving this rule isn’t about helping students, it’s about politics and about opposing the Trump Administration at all costs.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Washington Watch - 1/6/20

2020/01/06

PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS ROBOCALL LEGISLATION INTO LAW

Partisanship in the House prevented commonsense measures from moving forward in Congress for too much of 2019. However, the log-jam has finally begun to clear. Legislation to curb illegal robocalls, many of which originate from overseas, has made its way to the President’s desk.

The “Traced Act” passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. This legislation requires telecommunications providers to adopt effective call authentication technologies at no additional cost to the consumer in order to limit the amount of fraudulent calls that reach consumers’ phones. Additionally, this legislation increases the statute of limitations during which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can pursue scammers and increases the amount in fines the agency can levy for certain infractions. The Senate came together to pass this bill shortly thereafter, and President Trump signed this bill into law this past week.

While the Traced Act is just one solution to curbing those illegal robocalls, it stands to alleviate the burden these calls have placed on Americans and their families. Coupled with continued action from the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and telecommunications providers, these actions will continue to move us forward in our goal of halting illegal and unwanted calls. As with passage of any new legislation, you can be sure I will follow how it works to achieve this goal in practice as we work to fully implement its provisions.

 

BAGHDAD: U.S. EMBASSY EVACUATED AFTER IRANIAN TERRORIST LEADER KILLED

The Department of Defense announced late last week that the U.S. military conducted an airstrike near Baghdad International Airport in Iraq, killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. Soleimani, dubbed “a truly evil figure” by General David Petraeus, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, contributed to much of the violence and discord in the Middle East over the past twenty years, leading attacks against American military personnel and innocent civilians in the region, and was actively planning to attack Americans in Iraq and the Middle East. Shortly after the strike, the State Department urged all U.S. citizens to leave Iraq immediately due to the heightened tensions in the country. Additionally, the U.S. is planning to deploy some 3,000 plus soldiers from the 82nd Airborne to the region to ensure U.S. personnel and facilities are protected from any threats.

The recent developments in Iraq and the Middle East will no doubt be a topic of interest as the House begins its second session of the 116th Congress. While greater conflict would do little to benefit any party or the people of the Middle East, the U.S. will not allow the callous killing of innocent civilians and its servicemembers. We must hope that the absence of Soleimani’s deadly influence will lead to greater stability in the region.

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: ADDRESSING PFAS CONTAMINATION IN OUR EVERYDAY LIVES

Many of you may have already heard about PFAS, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, while others may have not, and as such, I want to take this opportunity to share with you what PFAS are and what steps are being taken at the federal level to mitigate PFAS contaminants.

Laura from Duluth

PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances) are contaminating our air and water across the country, an issue with serious health implications for our communities and our families. We have no information about who uses these dangerous chemicals, or where — and in what quantities — they are being released. We deserve to know. I urge you to hold industry accountable and require companies to report all PFAS on the Toxics Release Inventory.

Patricia from Cumming

It’s time to get PFAS chemicals out of our environment and our bodies. These chemicals have been linked to serious health risks like cancer and thyroid disease. Right now, our laws and public institutions are failing to protect us.


As is telling from Laura and Patricia’s correspondence above, many in our community have grave concerns about the effects and presence of PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals in our everyday lives, and I certainly appreciate their outreach on this important matter. For that reason, I appreciate this opportunity to share with you some of the action plans already in place both to research and to combat PFAS.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PFAS are a group of synthetic chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s. There are nearly five thousand known PFAS that have been used in a wide-range of products, from water-repellent clothing and cookware to shampoo and firefighting foams. While U.S. manufacturers have largely phased out the production and most uses of PFAS, some types are still in use today in important capacities without a ready substitute. For example, the Department of Defense (DoD) and many civilian airports use firefighting foams that contain PFAS to quickly put out fires and firefighters have not yet found a viable, effective alternative. That said, the recently enacted National Defense Authorization Act included several PFAS provisions, including one that would prohibit the use of firefighting foam at military installations after October 1, 2024, further incentivizing the search for an alternative firefighting tool.

Additionally, several federal agencies are currently working to address PFAS and assess the dangers of these chemicals. For instance, DoD has started a PFAS Task Force to address the dangers of these chemicals on military installations and the EPA has released its PFAS Action Plan to identify PFAS, address contaminations, and prevent further contamination on a national level.

We will leave no stone left unturned in the search for ways to curtail PFAS contamination. In fact, this week in Congress the House Rules Committee is scheduled to consider H.R. 535, the “PFAS Action Act of 2019,”  a bill to designate PFAS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability (CERCLA) Act of 1980.

While I have some concerns about Congress preempting the EPA’s deliberate assessment, I look forward to robust debate on H.R. 535, and I do hope you’ll share with me your thoughts on how Congress can appropriately address the challenges PFAS pose to Americans and the environment.

 

NON-PROFIT PROVIDES CARS FOR CUMMING RESIDENTS

Time and again — especially during the holiday season — the 7th District takes to charity to improve the lives of those around us. Right before Christmas, The Place of Forsyth County donated four cars to county residents in need. The nonprofit started this program three years ago to make life easier for those without transportation options, and so far, 15 vehicles have been donated.

I would like to recognize The Place of Forsyth County for all its charitable work this holiday season. Your efforts are admirable and go a long way to make our community a better place to live.

 

DACULA DAD HONORED FOR WORK WITH WHEELCHAIR-BOUND ATHLETES

Sports provide rewarding experiences for our children and help bring our community closer together. During an awards ceremony held last month, Duluth resident Marc Lancaster was named BlazeSports America’s 2019 Triumph of the Human Spirit Award Winner for his outstanding work with wheelchair-bound athletes. For nearly a decade, Lancaster has been volunteering countless hours coaching both basketball and track and field, and mentoring young athletes. He started coaching when his son joined the BlazeSports Basketball league after spinal cord was damaged in an automobile accident when he was five

I would like to congratulate Marc on this outstanding achievement. It is coaches like you, with all of your passion and hard work, that make sports such an enriching experience for children in our community.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week the House returns from our holiday break to begin the Second Session of the 116th Congress. A complete list of the legislation the House will consider is available by clicking here, and I’d like to highlight the legislation that my colleagues and I on the House Rules Committee will be discussing, H.R. 535. As noted in the above constituent spotlight, the bill is a response to concerns that certain chemicals used mainly in firefighting foams and cleaning products, the largest class of which is called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS), are not being regulated strictly or quickly enough by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Most Members of Congress agree that the EPA should appropriately regulate PFAS, as I do. I’m not usually one to praise the deliberativeness of the EPA, but in this instance, the EPA is working to properly assess the scientific evidence to ensure that the health and safety of all Americans is protected.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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District Connection - 12/30/19

2019/12/30

GEORGIA ADVOCATE TESTIFIES HOW CONGRESS CAN BETTER COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Earlier this month, the House Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process held a hearing about how federal, state, local, and community organizations can work together to combat the scourge of human trafficking, and I’m proud to say that the 7th District of Georgia was well represented in the conversation. .

The United States has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in the world, which increases in local communities that are home to major tourist events and heavily marketed attractions. With less than two months before the Super Bowl, my colleagues and I wanted to hear from local experts about how the federal government can partner with state and local law enforcement to raise awareness and potentially save lives.

Bob Rodgers, the President and CEO of Street Grace, a faith-based organization in Georgia which is committed to ending the sexual trafficking of children throughout our nation, testified before our subcommittee where he called for comprehensive solutions. Click on the image below to watch his opening remarks.

I can’t thank Mr. Rodgers and his team at Street Grace enough for their willingness to travel to Washington, D.C., and share their expertise with everyone on the subcommittee. From Pennsylvania to Florida and from Massachusetts to Texas, every member of our committee was moved by the testimony of Mr. Rodgers and his fellow witnesses. Our children cannot be allowed to be used as pawns for sex or labor trafficking, and I know everyone in American is willing to do all that we can to put an end to this disgusting crime.

 

GEORGIA BECOMES SECOND STATE TO RECEIVE APPROVAL FOR COAL ASH PERMIT PROGRAM

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a streamlined federal permitting program for the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR) in surface impoundments and landfills, and it approved Georgia’s permit. This makes Georgia the second state in the nation – following Oklahoma – with an authorized coal ash permit program. This is great news for Georgia, and the talented folks at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, because the EPA’s coal ash permit program is practical, cost effective, and returns environmental protection regulation to the states – instead of a one-size fits all approach.

The State of Georgia is a shining example of how partnerships between local leaders and the federal government can deliver vital results for the American people. I look forward to monitoring Georgia’s successes under the leadership of EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Governor Brian Kemp in managing and properly disposing of coal ash under the permit program, and I am optimistic that the state will continue to pursue innovative solutions to recycling coal ash and limiting waste.

 

IF YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM OPIOID ADDICTION, YOU ARE NOT ALONE

The holidays are a time to spend time with loved ones and celebrate everything we are grateful for. But for many, the holidays are a more difficult time where friends and family suffer from addiction.

More than half of all Americans know someone affected by the opioid crisis. Our families, neighbors, and friends are facing this struggle right here in Georgia.

Together, in a unified push, we can help the millions of Americans affected by the opioid crisis seek proper treatment and begin recovery.

For more information, click on the image below or visit: stopopioidsilence.org

 

GWINNETT RESIDENT HONORED WITH GEORGIA HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION’S “HOSPITAL HERO” AWARD

Northside-Duluth Clinical Nurse Manager Jenine Morgan has been in the nursing profession for nearly 22 years. Two years ago, one of Morgan’s co-workers wasn’t feeling well. Morgan insisted the co-worker receive immediate medical treatment, but the co-worker refused at first. It turned out, had it not been for Morgan’s persistence, the co-worker would have died from her mini-stroke.

Earlier this month, Morgan was named one of the Georgia Hospital Association’s “Hospital Hero” Award recipients for her dedication to saving lives. Congratulations, Jenine! Our community would not be as strong as it is today without you.

 

LOCAL RESTAURANT PREPARES FOOD FOR ELDERLY AND IMPOVERISHED NEIGHBORS

One of the best things about representing the Seventh District in Congress is being able to share all the incredible stories I hear about how our community goes above and beyond to help others who are struggling.

Each year, Brian and Kelly Tam, the owners of Tam’s BackStage, organize a holiday feast for local senior citizens and those in need. Their restaurant served lunch to about 100 seniors and dinner to more than 250 people from various nonprofit organizations like Abba House, Bald Ridge Lodge, and The Place of Forsyth County.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s “Helpings of Hope” event!

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR

With 2019 coming to a close and the new decade beginning in just a few days, we all naturally take time to reflect and to set new goals for the future.

While it’s easy to look at the glass half empty and be pessimistic about the realities of getting things done in a divided Congress, I opt to look at the glass half full. Every man and woman who I serve with in the U.S. House of Representatives believes in making America better tomorrow than she is today through reforming our nation’s outdated infrastructure, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and bolstering manufacturing and trade for U.S. businesses. I know that this will be hard work, but as Americans - not as Democrats or Republicans - we can set an example for our children and grandchildren and bring about that positive future.

As we turn the page to 2020, I wish you and your family a happy and healthy new year!

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Washington Watch - 12/24/19

2019/12/24

HOUSE IMPEACHES A PRESIDENT FOR THE THIRD TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY

A sad mark in history was made on Wednesday, December 18th, as the House of Representatives approved two Articles of Impeachment against President Donald Trump, making him the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. The vote — which I did not support — added our President to the list with President Andrew Johnson and President Bill Clinton. As I have said many times before, impeaching a duly elected president is a serious undertaking that demands fairness, careful examination, and bipartisan support. Speaker Pelosi has said as much many times but changed her mind this Fall as the House violated each of these principles and made a mockery of our Constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight. In the end, the only thing bipartisan about the impeachment was the opposition to it.

As you may have read in previous newsletters, like you, I do not believe that the President’s words on his July phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky were perfect, but in the end, while pursuing a confusing and at times counterproductive foreign policy with respect to Ukraine was not in our nation’s best interest, I also do not believe that it rose to the level of impeachment or of tearing our nation apart for the sake of politics.

And now, having put America through impeachment in the House, for reasons I cannot explain Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is now refusing to name House managers and refusing to send the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate. Instead of sending the Articles to the Senate immediately, as Republicans did in 1998 and as the Founding Fathers clearly intended, House Democrats have chosen to drag-out this process further and to inject even more political poison into it. We can do better, and I hope that after a holiday spent with constituents that my colleagues will return to the House in January in full agreement with me that we must.

 

HOUSE PASSES USMCA IMPLEMENTING BILL; LANDMARK TRADE DEAL HEADS TO SENATE

Last Thursday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5430, the implementing legislation for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). I have long been a supporter of free trade, and I have repeatedly expressed confidence in the United States Trade Representative’s ability to modernize the more than two-decade old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) without doing harm to U.S. industries, workers, and consumers who rely on these agreements. The landmark USMCA does just that, and I was thrilled to finally cast a vote in favor of the trade deal. The International Trade Commission estimates that this trade deal, once fully phased in, will generate over $68 billion in new economic activity and more than 170,000 new jobs here in America. As such, it is my sincere hope the Senate will take up the agreement and pass it without delay so that communities across the nation can begin to reap the deal’s benefits.

 

CONGRESS PASSES AND PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS FY20 SENDING BILLS TO AVERT SHUTDOWN

As Capitol Hill faced another funding deadline last week, Congress and the Administration crafted an agreement to fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020.

Some of the biggest wins for Georgia incorporated in these spending agreements include $130 million for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP), funds that will see this critical infrastructure project remains on schedule to completion, and nearly $1.8 billion shared among eight states to go towards helping communities rebuild in the aftermath of natural disasters like Hurricane Michael. Other successes in the FY20 spending bills include $1.2 billion for the Department of Education’s Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education program, $425 million for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, and $41.6 billion to the National Institutes of Health to fund critical biomedical research programs, just to name a few notable provisions that stand to benefit students, companies, and workers across the country.

Lastly, I’ll note that the spending agreement delivers some of the biggest legislative changes to America’s retirement system in more than a decade. That’s because it incorporated the SECURE Act of 2019, a bipartisan bill that allows families and individuals the opportunity to save more of their hard-earned dollars to prepare for retirement and to cover life’s big events. Specifically, the provision would make it easier for small businesses to join together to offer retirement plans for their workers by authorizing multiple employer plans, allow Americans to save longer by repealing the maximum age (70½) for contributions to a traditional IRA, and allow the portability of lifetime income, just to name a few. Additionally, the bill includes a provision that would allow families to make penalty-free withdrawals from their retirement accounts for the birth or adoption of a child.

As we now turn to funding for FY2021, it is my sincere hope that lawmakers in both chambers will begin working together in examining each federal program and agency in the name of reducing unnecessary and duplicative discretionary spending.

 

MODERNIZING CONGRESS TO WORK BETTER FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

With each passing year, Congress continues to spend more money than it brings in, misses key budget deadlines, and lacks a coherent vision for addressing our growing debt. Each year, hundreds of bills passed by the House — regardless of the party in power — are left at the doorstep of our colleagues in the Senate, never to be taken up. Increased partisanship and a breakdown in civility have slowly engulfed the most important deliberative body in the world. Members are continually admonished on the House floor for violating rules of decorum, and committee hearings seem more focused on soundbites for social media than thoughtful public policy. All the while, constituents struggle to navigate the legislative process and are often unable to find clarity on the issues most important to them.

The frustration with Congress is palatable both for those on the outside and those from within the institution itself. That is why, amidst the government shutdown in the first days of the 116th Congress, Republicans and Democrats came together to form the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, a Committee made up of an equal number of Members from both parties dedicated to addressing Congress’ outdated practices and norms.

Since then, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress has held 14 hearings ranging from congressional reform efforts of the past to cultivating diversity today to improving constituent engagement tomorrow. The Committee has become the first of its kind to issue rolling recommendations – 45 in fact including those passed during last week’s business meeting – all of which were voted unanimously out of Committee.

Among the most important recommendations are those that increase Congress’ transparency with the American people. We are proposing a substantial expansion of Congress’ website to make it easier to track legislation, see the impact on current law, and learn how your member voted. We are also working to add transparency with a feature for people to find out who is lobbying Congress and for what.

The first round of these recommendations were written into H.Res. 756, the “Moving Our Democracy and Congressional Operations towards Modernization,” or “MODCOM,” and I expect these on the House floor soon.

Congress recently reauthorized the Modernization Committee through next year, showing confidence and allowing us time to delve deeper into Congress’ more complex issues and devise new solutions to modernize and strengthen our Article I authority. Common knowledge would have you believe the inefficiencies of Congress are inherent to our republic. I reject that interpretation entirely. Through the hard work of the Modernization Committee and the enthusiasm of my colleagues, Congress can be brought into the 21st Century and restructured to better serve the American people.

 

BIPARTISAN GROUP IN HOUSE TIRES TO LEGISLATE EVEN DURING IMPEACHMENT THEATRICS

While a majority of the time on the House floor was taken up by partisan posturing last week, the House still found time to pass eighteen bipartisan and commonsense bills. Those bills included some relatively simple pieces of legislation including technical fixes like H.R. 4920, the “Department of Veterans Affairs Contracting Preference Consistency Act,” which corrected conflicting preferences for the VA to award contracts to veteran small businesses and those with disabilities, or H.R. 722, the “Miracle Mountain Designation Act,” which was named a mountain near Elk Ridge, Utah. There were also more substantial bills like H.R. 3530, the “Improving Confidence in Veterans’ Care Act,” which will make sure medical staff and health care professionals at the VA have current and up to date credentials.

All hope is never lost in the people’s house, no matter how divisive it may appear, and it is my hope that we continue to do the people’s business as we begin the second session of this Congress.

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: FURTHERING OUR HEALTH PRIORITIES IN THIS YEAR’S APPROPRIATIONS PACKAGES

As I mentioned earlier, this past week Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, two appropriations packages to fund the government through the end of the next fiscal year in September 2020. As that process moved forward, I heard from many of you about the importance of furthering our nation’s health and related interests. Here are just a few of the messages I received:

Victoria from Cumming:

As a constituent and parent of a child affected by cystic fibrosis (CF), I urge you to finalize full-year funding increases for the NIH and FDA before funding expires on December 20. These institutions are vital to continued progress in research, development, and approval of treatments for CF. When stopgap measures are used to appropriate funds, it creates inefficiencies and uncertainty for the NIH and FDA that can slow research and development. I urge Congress to finalize appropriations for FY2020 before the deadline and to enact full year-increases for both agencies.

Richard from Buford:

I am writing to urge you to vote yes for the year end spending deal that includes a full repeal of the Cadillac/excise tax and the health insurance tax.


Like Victoria, I agree that the cutting-edge scientific research undertaken at our federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is worth a significant financial investment. That is precisely why earlier this year I joined my colleagues in Congress in sending a letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies requesting that they provide ample funding to the agency so that we can ensure they are best equipped to combat a number of diseases and disorders. I know Victoria and others will be pleased to learn that our collective call-to-action was heeded, and the final bill provided roughly $41.7 billion to the NIH (a $2 billion increase from Fiscal Year 2019), $8 billion to the CDC, including its public health programs and activities, and $5.7 billion for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including increases for food safety activities. Additionally, the package extends funding for the Special Diabetes Program, the Community Health Centers Fund, the National Health Services Corps Fund, and Graduate Medical Education programs.

Further, Richard will be glad to hear that the final enacted legislation permanently repeals three taxes levied under the Affordable Care Act (ACA): the medical device tax, the “Cadillac” tax, and the health insurance tax. These taxes were originally implemented as pay-for-mechanisms to fund the costly mandates created by the ACA, but these taxes always stood to be passed on to employers and consumers in the form of increased costs of healthcare services and insurance. After years of Congress working together to delay these taxes, I am pleased that my Democratic colleagues recognized the dangers of these taxes and worked with Republicans to repeal those once and for all.

While I am glad to share that this year’s appropriations packages included several of these important public health victories for the American public, I hope that Congress can get back to “regular order” and pass all 12 annual appropriations bills individually. In a divided government, consensus may be more difficult to achieve, but it is not out of reach; it demands that we take a serious look at our priorities and work to achieve bipartisan solutions.

 

GWINNETT POLICE OFFICERS PURCHASE HOLIDAY GIFTS WITH CHILDREN

It is always special to see how the holiday season brings our community closer together every year. Last week, about 80 police officers gathered at the Hamilton Mill Walmart for the Fraternal Order of Police Gravitt Everett Davis Lodge 66’s annual Cops and Kids Christmas event. Officers were paired up with financially disadvantaged children to help them shop for Christmas. Children under 4 got to purchase gifts up to $75, and others aged 4-15 got up to $125. In the end, more than 58 families were helped by the program.

I would like to thank all these officers for their continued effort to help our community. Not only do they keep our community safe during crisis, but they also make kind-hearted gestures to help those in need and bring us closer together.

 

THOUSANDS OF TOYS COLLECTED IN FORSYTH TOY DRIVE

There was plenty more holiday cheer to go around the 7th District last week. In Forsyth County, the seventh annual Lily’s Toy Drive was held at Vickery Village where an estimated 8,000 gifts were collected for patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This event commemorates 11-year-old Lily Anderson who passed away from cancer on Dec. 15, 2012. Her family started this toy drive to benefit other children battling medical issues. At the end of this year’s event, it took two 24-foot trailers to collect toys and bring them to storage. This year’s 8,000 toys are the most that has ever been collected.

I hope you will all join me in recognizing the effort undergone to organize this wonderful event. Through this act of kindness, this will be a special holiday for hundreds of children here in Georgia.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HANUKKAH

This week, billions of people around the world will gather with their families and friends to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, and it is my hope that all of them will be filled with love and laughter. I know that after a very long year in Washington, D.C., I am very grateful to spend time with my family. As Americans, we need to remember that there is much more that unites us than divides us — and I’m sure you feel the same. We should take a moment to reflect on how truly blessed we are to be living in the greatest country on Earth where we are free to express ourselves, free to worship, and free to commemorate our holidays in whatever way we wish. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah!

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Woodall Supports Trade Deal that will Bring Back Jobs and Bolster the American Worker

2019/12/19

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Rob Woodall joined his colleagues and voted in favor of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which passed the House in a vote of 385 to 41. The USMCA updates the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the more than two decade old trade deal that allows for duty free trade between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

“21st Century farmers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs need a modern trade deal that addresses the realities of a 21st Century economy,” said Congressman Woodall. “USMCA is the best trade deal I’ve seen in my adult lifetime. Today, it passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. It is my sincere hope that the Senate will swiftly take up and consider the agreement so that Congress can deliver on President Trump’s promise to reinvigorate local economies and bring back jobs to the hardworking men and women who embody the very best of our nation’s values.”

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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In Historic Vote, Rep. Woodall Opposes Impeachment

2019/12/19

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. The Articles of Impeachment, accused the President of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress and will now move to the U.S. Senate for trial. Three Democrats joined House Republicans in opposing the charge that the President obstructed Congress, and two Democrats voted against the article that stated that the President abused his office.

“Impeaching a duly elected president is a serious undertaking that demands fairness, careful examination, and bipartisan support,” said Congressman Woodall. “The majority party in the House violated these principles and made a mockery of our Constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight. In the end, the only thing bipartisan about impeachment was the opposition to it. I am confident that the Senate will treat this process with more sincerity and bring conclusion to this saga. Perhaps, then, we can return to our promised work on behalf of the American people.”

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At Rules Committee Hearing, Rep. Woodall Speaks Out Against Unfair Process Surrounding Impeachment

2019/12/18

WASHINGTON, DC – In a party line vote of 9 to 4, the House Rules Committee voted to advance Articles of Impeachment. At today’s hearing, Representative Rob Woodall spoke out against the bitter partisanship which has consumed Capitol Hill. In his closing remarks, Rep. Woodall called for civility and understanding among his Republican and Democratic colleagues.

“We're talking today about reversing America’s last election. Candidly, I have every bit as much concern about the time that we will reverse the next election or the election after that,” said Congressman Woodall. “It is not more divided in this Congress today than it was in 1998 when folks found a process on which they could work together. As much as we cared about the presidency then, we cared more about the Constitution later. We found a way to move forward in a bipartisan way then, and moving forward in a partisan way today is going to have serious repercussions. I truly believe America will judge us harshly because of the process that has come forward.”

Click on the image below to watch Representative Woodall’s closing remarks at today’s Rules Committee hearing.

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 - 12/16/19

2019/12/16

HOUSE PASSES PARTISAN DRUG PRICING PACKAGE THAT WOULD JEOPARDIZE CURES

House Democrats last week brought Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug pricing bill – H.R. 3, the “Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act” – forward for a vote on the House floor. While Democrats and Republicans share a passion to curb ever-increasing prescription drug costs and ensure that folks don’t have to make tough decisions between filling prescriptions and putting food on the table, the unfortunate reality is that this bill will put in place a process that could leave many patients across the country with unmet medical needs. Under H.R. 3 the federal government would have the ability to enact onerous price controls on pharmaceutical manufacturers that would stifle innovation and biomedical research and thus inhibit cures from being brought to market. In fact, the Council of Economic Advisers finds that H.R. 3’s price controls would affect as much as one third of drugs under development. That means that out of 300 projected new medicines that would otherwise be approved over 10 years by the Food and Drug Administration, 100 could be severely delayed or never developed at all. Additionally, the California Life Sciences group has estimated that in that state alone, H.R. 3 will result in an 88% reduction in the number of drugs brought to market by small and emerging companies, jeopardizing more than 80,000 biotech and research jobs.

Knowing the projected impacts to patients that would be brought on by H.R. 3, I voted against the bill on the House floor. Instead, I was pleased to offer my support to an amendment offered by Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR), Kevin Brady (R-TX), Doug Collins (R-GA), and Virginia Foxx (R-NC), that if adopted would have replaced the entirety of H.R. 3 with a bipartisan alternative, H.R. 19, the “the Lower Costs, More Cures Act.” In fact, all provisions in H.R. 19 have been supported or previously passed by both Republicans and Democrats at one point in time since the drug pricing debate began, and it incorporates many provisions of drug pricing proposals introduced in both the House and Senate.

Specifically, H.R. 19 would improve drug pricing transparency across the board, redesigns the Part D benefit to limit out of pocket costs for our nation’s senior citizens, and reforms the patent and drug approval processes to bring generics to market faster. H.R. 19 would work to reduce drug pricing costs without reducing innovation and research – an ideal solution for all Americans and lawmakers alike. I was proud to fight for it in the Rules Committee and on the House floor.

Unfortunately, even though H.R. 19 received bipartisan support, Speaker Pelosi steered most of her Democratic Caucus away from the compromise proposal — a proposal that could have been taken up in the U.S. Senate and signed into law — and towards her partisan solution that will do nothing more than collect dust in the Senate clerk’s office. Given the importance of this issue, I know that you share my frustration. The House could have made a bipartisan difference, but instead it chose to make a partisan point. My commitment to you, however, is that I will work to make sure that this partisan effort isn’t the final word on drug pricing and availability. We can get this done together, and I will work to ensure we do.

 

HOUSE LEADERSHIP FINALLY AGREES TO MOVE BIPARTISAN TRADE DEAL TO REPLACE NAFTA

After much negotiation and deliberation, House Democrats finally signed off on President Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). As I’ve previously stated, the USMCA is the best trade deal I’ve seen in my adult lifetime. I know that it would have passed with overwhelming bipartisan support had it been brought to the floor at any point since all parties signed off on the deal last year, but while disappointed by the year-long delay I am pleased that the USMCA is now on track to be brought before the House before the year’s end. It is my sincere hope that the Senate will swiftly take up and consider the agreement once it passes the House so that we can deliver on the President’s promise to rebalance trade among the three countries. I had the opportunity to discuss this historic trade deal on FOX Business last week with Jackie DeAngelis, and I hope you’ll take a moment to listen to my thoughts.

From the Cannon Rotunda, Rep. Woodall offers his thoughts about how USMCA bolsters American workers

 

ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT APPROVED BY HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE DEMOCRATS

What began as a goal of the partisan few even before President Donald Trump was sworn into office is just one step away from the House floor. Articles of Impeachment (H.Res. 755) were approved on a party-line vote by the House Judiciary Committee on Friday morning. Without calling a single fact witness and fully accepting the flawed partisan investigation conducted by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Judiciary Chairman Nadler chose to move forward. The Committee’s Democrat Members passed two articles: Article I charges an abuse of power by the President alleging that he used the power of his office to solicit the interference of a foreign government in a scheme conditioning military aid upon the announcement of an investigation into a 2020 Presidential election opponent, and Article II charges that the President obstructed Congress by directing Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officers not to comply with Congressional subpoenas related to the impeachment investigation. Though some are taking pleasure in this outcome, I am not. This vote marks a sad chapter in American history, and it’s one that I know we could have avoided.

What we have learned after years of investigation is that the Democratic majority in the House was going to keep investigating and calling things “impeachable” until it found something it thought it could contort to stick.  The articles passed by the Judiciary Committee do not include any of the so-called impeachable offenses that fringe voices in the Democratic House has been asserting for years.  Instead, the articles focus on a single phone call, and after months of investigations—and the insistence by President Trump that the call contents be made completely public—we know this: U.S. government officials who were on a July phone call — and some who were not — had different views about what the call between President Trump and President Zelensky meant and whether it was or was not concerning. We also learned that instead of one, unified foreign policy toward Ukraine being carried out by U.S. government officials, there were high-level officials inside the Administration and some folks from outside the government entirely, working at cross purposes, or at the very least, not in concert with each other. Ensuring the stability of a strong, prosperous, free Ukraine is important for the United States, and anything that undermines this is misguided foreign policy. I fully admit that. Such a misguided policy would harm our credibility with our foreign allies and play directly into the hands of the Russian government. Clearly, such an outcome is undesirable, and while I wish the President’s directions had been different, I am glad that American foreign policy decision makers and implementers are now all on the same page. But that confusion, while regrettable, is not impeachable.

This week, the House Rules Committee, of which I have been a member since my very first day in Congress, will hear from Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Judiciary Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) about H.Res. 755, and I fully expect that we will see the Articles of Impeachment on the floor by mid-week. Again, I regret this outcome. I wish that cooler heads had prevailed on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and I hope that the American people will be able to look beyond this chapter of our history and remain optimistic about our Republic’s future.

 

THE HOUSE VOTES TO “PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE”

After weeks of negotiations, members of the House and Senate Conference Committee reached an agreement on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020, and the Conference Report passed the House. It is expected to pass the Senate and be signed into law sometime this week, and despite some partisan hurdles, this would mark the 59th consecutive year that Congress has passed the NDAA.

This bipartisan bill is the blueprint for our national defense policy and reaffirms our nation’s priorities, such as ensuring the livelihood of men and women of our Armed Forces, keeping America safe, and preserving our global leadership. This year’s NDAA authorizes in total $738 billion for our national defense programs at the Pentagon, Department of Energy, and other agencies. The report also authorizes an additional $5.3 billion emergency funding for disaster recovery for North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, California, and Nebraska.

These authorizations will provide the necessary resources for our military to rebuild and prepare for our future national defense needs. Our readiness issues have been most evident in recent accidents, with the most recent one of note being the death of three soldiers this past October in a training accident at Fort Stewart near Savannah, GA. It also includes the modernization of our nuclear forces, invests in emerging technologies like hypersonic, AI, and 5G, and establishes the newest military branch: the U.S. Space Force. On the personnel side, the Conference Report authorizes a 3.1% pay-raise for servicemembers — the largest increase in a decade — phases out the so-called “Widow’s Tax,” significantly reforms military housing, and provides up to 12 weeks of Paid Parental Leave for federal employees.

 

HIGHLIGHTING THE NEED FOR COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM

I absolutely value the work of the Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, my friend and colleague, Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), in making a good-faith effort to address the enormity of immigration reform. I know she cares a great deal about this issue and understands the need to build consensus in order to deliver solutions. In fact, there are many immigration priorities that I share with my colleagues across the aisle, from the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act – which I joined with Chair Lofgren in cosponsoring – to the Adoptee Citizenship Act. However, I hesitate in supporting legislation that prioritizes reforming our immigration system for those who came to the country illegally before we have had the chance to reform the system for those who have done everything right – filled out the forms, paid the fees, waited years or even decades for their application to be processed – and yet our system still fails them.

Last week, the House passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act without my support. My concerns about the bill were many, included that it failed to even garner the support of the Georgia agriculture community. Further, I oppose legislation that would prioritize the needs of those who broke our laws before addressing the needs of those who have followed every law and done everything right within our broken system. The bill would allow an expedited path to legal status for those who have been in the country illegally for over ten years while folks right here in the Seventh District who have immigrated the lawful way must wait decades before they get that same chance.

I applaud the bill for its attempt at modernizing the seasonal agricultural worker visa program, and while this proposal fell short from addressing the visa program’s biggest issues, I know that we can come together and get something done.  Whether improving this bill or starting anew, we will continue to work to reform our immigration system to solve the problems that we all know are real.

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: EXAMINING CONGRESS’S EFFORTS TO PROTECT OUR PLANET

I often hear from folks back home who are passionate about good environmental stewardship and want to ensure that the beauty and utility of our planet persists for years to come. Below are some of the messages I have received about the desire to see Congress address issues related to climate change.

Lilliana from Cumming:

I think it’s incredibly important that we focus on conserving our environment and saving our climate before it is too late. We need to keep climate change under control for our future and our children's future.

Maria from Lawrenceville:

Today I am trying to reach you because there is a cause that I believe the needs more of our attention and that is the Climate Change. Our planet is the only thing that we have, and if we don't take care of it, we will soon lose it. In the U.S. climate change has become an issue. Across the U.S. families have experienced rising sea levels, an increase of droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires. The federal government can help us achieve a long-term result that would help normalize the climate.


I share Lilliana and Maria’s belief that we have a responsibility to protect and preserve our environment and Earth’s natural treasures for the next generations. That is exactly why I joined the Congressional Climate Solutions Caucus – a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers who are dedicated to exploring and advancing bipartisan solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change. In fact, the Caucus had two Member meetings over the last month to discuss two important topics: national security issues related to our changing climate and responsible financing proposals regarding sustainability projects. As we all know, true bipartisanship demands that good policy takes precedence over politics, and I am glad that Co-chairs Representative Francis Rooney (R-FL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) have made a commitment to that ideal an inseparable one in this caucus.

We should all agree that any steps we take to address climate issues are met with quantifiable health and environmental returns. As evidenced by the command-and-control regulations of the past administration, implementing numerous regulations amounting to billions of dollars in economic costs to arguably negligible outcomes is not good policy. Rather, we must advance smart solutions that uplift – rather than burden – our economic growth. Equally, we must advance solutions that don’t address the problem in name only, but actually have a discernible impact.

To that end, I am afraid that House leadership’s bill package – H.R. 729 – which moved through the House this week was simply another messaging opportunity that failed to address this issue in a meaningful way. This bill package included ten Natural Resources bills largely focused on programs that impact the U.S. coastline, but in reality, would largely duplicate existing authority already afforded to federal agencies, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Equally concerning, the cumulative cost of this package to the American taxpayer would be upwards of $1.4 billion, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

Also, the fact that these bills were grouped as one measure hindered the House’s ability to move those individual bills in the package that have broader support and that have an opportunity to be passed in the Senate, like Representative Derek Kilmer’s (D-WA) Tribal Coastal Resiliency Act and H.R. 1314 introduced by Representative Dong Young (R-AK). In the future, I hope House leadership will focus less on amassing election soundbites and more on advancing bipartisan solutions that better serve the American public.

 

GWINNETT CHAMBER RECOGNIZES HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS

The 7th District is fortunate enough to have outstanding health care professionals who look out for our safety and well-being. Some of these individuals were honored last week at the Gwinnett Chamber’s annual Healthcare Awards. Twelve winners were selected from a group of 72 finalists. Awards included categories like, “Emerging Executive,” “Dentist of the Year,” and “Volunteer Service.”

I would like to congratulate all the night’s winners on these incredible achievements. Without your dedicated service to public health, our community would not be as strong as it is today.

 

WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA COMES TO THE 7TH DISTRICT

This past Saturday was “National Wreaths Across America Day”— a time when volunteers from all over the country lay wreaths on veterans’ graves to pay their respects. Here in the 7th District, there were ceremonies at East Shadowlawn Memorial Gardens and Sugar Hill Cemetery.

This was a wonderful event for our country, and I am proud there was such enthusiastic support back home in Georgia. As we know, without the dedication of our service men and women, we would not have the freedoms and liberties that we value today.

 

KEEPING FORSYTH COUNTY SENIORS WARM THIS WINTER

The holiday season is an opportunity for our community to come together and support those in need. Last week, Ms. Tiffany Johnson of Forsyth County launched her “Love Your Neighbor Winter Blanket Drive” to supply blankets for low-income senior citizens in the local community. So far, more than 80 blankets have been collected! Ms. Johnson hopes to have more blankets to donate by the end of the drive on February 5. 

I would like commend Ms. Johnson for her charitable work. This act of kindness will go a long way to making this holiday season a special one for the many seniors here in the 7th District.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

Before Congress adjourns for the year, the House of Representatives will vote on H.Res.755, Impeaching Donald John Trump, H.R. 5377, Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act, a package to fund the government for FY2020, and, if everything goes to plan, a vote on USMCA.

The two-count impeachment describes the President’s actions related to a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Both articles argue that the President remains a threat to national security and the Constitution if he remains in office. Should the House pass either article, it would trigger a trial in the Senate, which could remove the President from office if two-thirds of the Senate vote to convict him. If you are interested in hearing the debate surrounding the articles of impeachment, tune into the House Rules Committee’s hearing at 11:00am on Tuesday, December 17.

H.R. 5377 will raise the $10,000 state and local tax, or SALT, deduction cap for 2019, and repeal the limit entirely for 2020 and 2021. Tonight, the House Rules Committee will review the legislation before it advances to the House floor.

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will vote on Fiscal Year 2020 spending bills to fund the government. Last week, lawmakers from both parties announced a “handshake” agreement that would stave off a federal shutdown and split the differences on a number of contentious issues.

Finally, the White House is currently in the process of finalizing the USMCA text, which should be ready for a vote on the House floor later this week.

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress

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Contact Information

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

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

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

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

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


Serving With

Buddy Carter

GEORGIA's 1st DISTRICT

Drew Ferguson

GEORGIA's 3rd DISTRICT

Austin Scott

GEORGIA's 8th DISTRICT

Doug Collins

GEORGIA's 9th DISTRICT

Jody Hice

GEORGIA's 10th DISTRICT

Barry Loudermilk

GEORGIA's 11th DISTRICT

Rick Allen

GEORGIA's 12th DISTRICT

Tom Graves

GEORGIA's 14th DISTRICT

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Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats Have Been Obsessed With Impeaching The President, Instead Of Working To Solve Problems For The American People.