Rob Woodall Committee Assignments In The House
Arena Profile: Rep. Rob Woodall
Born and raised in Georgia, Rob Woodall's story is one of tireless public service. The first of two children, Rob graduated from Marist School in 1988, and went on to attend Furman University before returning home to earn his law degree from the University of Georgia, and ultimately going to work for his hometown Congressman, John Linder.
During law school, Rob spent the summers of 1993 and 1994, working on energy and health care policy at a Washington, D.C., law firm, when the top items on legislative agendas were the infamous Clinton Tax Bill and Hillary Health Care Plan. Frustrated by these proposals and their potential impact on his family, friends and neighbors in Georgia—and consumed with a need to do more to defeat these policies—Rob dropped out of law school after the summer of 1994 in order to begin his public service in Washington with Congressman Linder. Rob finished law school in 1998, attending at night while working in the Linder office during the day.
Despite offers over the years to return to the private sector, and a larger paycheck, Rob chose to commit the last 16 years of his career to serving the people of the Seventh District as a Member of Congressman Linder's staff, ultimately becoming the Congressman's Chief of Staff in 1999.
During that same year, Rob and Congressman Linder commenced work on drafting, introducing and advocating for H.R., 25, known to most as the FairTax Bill. Rob was responsible for crafting the bill's legislative language; making him the "man behind the man" in introducing the FairTax at the Congressional level. What started as small bipartisan bill with only two co-sponsors has now burst into the national spotlight as both a grassroots effort and one of the most popular pieces of legislation in the country to date. Rob is not only responsible for the legislative language of H.R.25, he is a coauthor of the second FairTax book, FairTax: the Truth, and has become a name synonymous with championing the FairTax.
Rob's legislative resume does not stop with the FairTax. During his time working with Congressman John Linder, Rob served as the Congressman's lead staff on the Speaker's Health Care Task Force, the Speaker's Medicare Task Force, the Speaker's Tobacco Settlement Task Force, the House Rules Committee, the House Administration Committee and the Elected Leadership Committee. Above all else, however, Rob has taken pride in helping Seventh District constituents on a one-on-one basis through casework, and has been instrumental in creating a congressional office that functions for the people, assisting thousands of individuals and their families throughout the years.
When Congressman Linder abruptly announced his retirement in February, 2010, Rob began searching for someone in the Seventh District who would be able to simultaneously champion the FairTax, freedom and public service as passionately as Congressman Linder. It occurred to Rob as he searched however that if he truly believed in the principles of freedom and wanted to see change, it was his responsibility to ensure this change. At that point, a mere fifteen weeks from Election Day, Rob resigned as Congressman Linder's Chief of Staff, entered the race to become the Seventh District's next U.S. Representative and ultimately won the seat.
After being sworn in to Congress, Rob was appointed to the House Committee on Rules where he will promote reform-minded approach to bringing legislation to the House Floor. Â·Rob also re-introduced H.R. 25, The FairTax, as his very first piece of legislation and plans to continue Linder's legacy of championing fundamental reform of our nation's tax code.
Rep. Rob Woodall's Recent Discussions
Open Mike, May 12-13
There is one lesson to be learned from the French election: voters don’t like forced austerity measures. The good news for America, however, is that with some fiscal discipline today, America can avoid forced austerity measures tomorrow. The past two budgets that the House has approved would, if properly implemented, not only cut billions of dollars in waste but also foster an environment of economic growth and prosperity.”
America tried "stimulus" — it didn’t work. In 2008, an optimistic American public chose a president who promised job growth and renewed prosperity through a “borrow and spend stimulus” approach. Within two short years of taking office, the president exploded our debt by over $3 trillion and sent our unemployment rate over 9 percent. Millions of Americans rose against this president’s "stimulus" policies and, two years ago, exercised their vote in electing one of the largest freshman classes to Congress in history. As one of these new members, I can say from firsthand experience that what I hear most from the Americans that I represent is a call for the government to cut back as much as possible. Spending even more taxpayer money as the president proposes — when so much of it goes to waste on excessive government bureaucracy every day — is something they find repulsive and destructive. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has cautioned against any further stimulus measures. France waited too long to act. America must not repeat that mistake. We must not delay.See more
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Washington Watch - 3/12/18
NATIONALLY RENOWNED GEORGIANS SHARING THEIR EXPERTISE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Last week proved to be a busy one for my office in D.C. as many folks from the Seventh District and the rest of the state made the trip to discuss policies that are most important to them. Georgia legends, Coach Vince Dooley and Herschel Walker, stopped by to speak about preserving our nation’s battlefields and the importance of physical fitness to America’s children, respectively. I was also visited by another local superstar, the 2016 ACTE National Teacher of the Year Cindy Quinlan from Brookwood High School, who came with other members of the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education to share their successes with their career and technical education programs and the incredibly positive impact those programs have had on their students. I also had some of our neighbors from the Georgia School Nutrition Association speak to me about the benefits of nutritional assistance programs for the neediest folks in our community and how important it is for our kids to have proper nutrition in order to learn. And this is just a snapshot of the issue-packed days I have with constituents at the Capitol.
Too often, people believe that a congressional week is mostly spent with D.C. lawyers and lobbyists. But they’d be wrong. The best information comes from our local experts – individuals directly impacted by federal policy – and I am grateful that these impassioned Georgians come to my office to share their expertise with me. Public policy is made better when these folks take time out of their busy schedules and contribute their voices to the policy. Thank you to everyone who came to D.C. last week!
HOUSE CLEARS LEGISLATION TO HELP LOCAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, President Obama signed H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This legislation, which has since become known colloquially as “Dodd-Frank,” has had a very significant effect on America’s banking industry. The nearly thousand-page law was so sweeping and complex that federal agencies are still to this day trying to fulfill all of the law’s mandates and directives almost a decade later. While some of the consumer protections in the law were necessary to prevent future catastrophes and financial recklessness in the banking industry, many of the requirements in Dodd-Frank have proven to be ineffective, duplicative, or downright harmful to folks who had nothing to do with the crisis.
That’s why I joined a bipartisan majority of my colleagues in the House this week to pass a targeted set of amendments to federal law that will help consumers and the financial institutions they rely on, like their credit unions and community banks. These institutions help millions of Americans navigate the home buying process, purchase a car, save for retirement, start their dream business, and more, and once the Senate acts on similar legislation, they will be even better position to help their customers succeed. The House Financial Services Committee provided a helpful guide of the four individual bills we considered, which you can read here:
- H.R. 4607, the “Comprehensive Regulatory Review Act,” sponsored by Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), amends the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 (EGRPRA) to now include the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). The legislation also requires these reviews to be held every seven years, instead of every ten years as is current policy. This bill passed 264-143.
- H.R. 2226, the “Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act,” sponsored by Representative Andy Barr (R-KY), amends the Truth in Lending Act to allow certain mortgage loans that are originated and retained in a portfolio by an insured depository institution or an insured credit union with less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets be considered as qualified mortgages. This bill is based on Section 516 of H.R. 10, the "Financial CHOICE Act of 2017." This bill passed by voice.
- H.R. 4725, the “Community Bank Reporting Relief Act,” sponsored by Representative Randy Hultgren (R-IL), amends the Federal Deposit Insurance Act to direct federal banking agencies to issue regulations that allow a reduced reporting requirement for depository institutions with $5 billion in consolidated assets or less, and that meet certain other criteria when making the first and third report of condition for a year. This bill is based on Section 566 of H.R. 10, the "Financial CHOICE Act of 2017." This bill passed by voice.
- H.R 4768, the “Strategy for Combating the Financing of Transnational Criminal Organizations Act,” sponsored by Representative David Kustoff (R-TN), requires the President, through the Secretary of the Treasury, to develop a national strategy to combat the financial networks of transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) not later than one year after the enactment of this Act and every two years thereafter. In particular, the strategy will assess the most significant TCO threats and the individuals, entities, and networks that provide financial support or facilitation to those TCOs. It also reviews current goals, priorities, and actions against TCOs’ financial support networks and will recommend new ways to deter and prosecute those who financially enable TCOs. The bill passed by voice.
PRESIDENT TRUMP IMPOSES TARIFFS ON STEEL AND ALUMINUM IMPORTS
As you’ve likely heard, President Trump last week followed through with another one of his long-held promises to the American people – to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that he believes threaten America’s manufacturing base. In a recent report to the President, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross explained that the “global excess capacity [of steel] is 700 million tons, almost 7 times the annual total of U.S. steel consumption.” For too long, we have allowed China to repeatedly flood our markets with its excess steel, which “alone exceeds the total U.S. steel-making capacity.” Undeniably, the U.S. steel and aluminum industries and workers have been negatively affected by the large excess of these products in our markets, and I have previously expressed my support to implement remedies in a targeted manner in order to avoid any unintended negative consequences to the U.S. economy, consumers, and workers. That’s because I certainly understand that there are instances in which we must act to ensure that products coming into our markets do not jeopardize our nation’s security and undermine our military’s readiness and our workers. However, I continue to believe the future of America’s economic well-being is in ensuring our products have access to foreign markets.
No one said that striking a balance between implementing remedies and maintaining our free trade relations so that our exporters can continue to sell their American made goods around the world would be easy. While I commend the President for staying true to his word, I joined my colleagues in sending a letter to the White House urging the President to take into consideration a number of factors to minimize negative consequences as he moved forward with crafting his final decision. I was pleased to learn that the President heeded a number of our concerns in his final decision by choosing to exclude Mexico and Canada from the outset, as well as expressing his willingness to discuss excluding other countries with which we have close relationships. You can be sure my colleagues and I will closely monitor the economic impacts of these new tariffs and that we will continue working with the Administration to apply these tariffs in a targeted manner.
CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: LETTERS OF THE WEEK
I tell 7th District residents often that it’s critical to share your opinions with me because when I hear directly from you, I’m able to represent all of our neighbors better. And you responded to the tune of over 93,000 letters, emails, faxes, and phone calls last year! So that you will know even more about what your neighbors and I are sharing with one another, this week I want to include just one of the many issues that were shared with me last week.
Last week, a number of people wrote in about H.R. 644, the “Conscience Protection Act.”
This is from Sandy in Cumming:
As you are considering the budget, I would appreciate you voting for the Conscience Protection Act. I would also appreciate giving NO money to Planned Parenthood as they are using taxpayer money to fight for their cause and against mine and many others. Thank you.
This is from George in Lawrenceville:
Please work to ensure that the Conscience Protection Act (H.R. 644) is enacted into law as part of the final FY 2018 funding bill. Please also communicate your support for the CPA to House leadership. Most doctors and nurses are unwilling to participate in abortions and should not be forced to choose between violating their consciences or being driven from the healing professions. It is wrong for government to force Americans to violate their deeply held convictions about respect for human life.
I know the issue of abortion is a deeply felt issue, but one thing I am sure most Americans can agree on is that no one should be forced to violate their own religious, moral, or conscientious objections by being required to provide or participate in abortions. While the Weldon Amendment prevents the government from discriminating against hospitals, doctors, nurses, and insurance plans that decline to provide or pay for abortions, we have nonetheless still seen instances where health care professionals have been retaliated against for their religious beliefs and their only recourse is to file a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services. The “Conscience Protection Act” would close this loophole by giving health care providers the ability to file a civil suit to seek relief from discrimination, and permanently codify the prohibition against any discrimination or penalty for a health care professional who refuses to involve themselves in or provide an abortion.
I have been proud to support the “Conscience Protection Act” in past Congress’ and look forward to supporting it this Congress. In fact, this past week I signed a letter asking our House leaders to include the bill in the upcoming FY18 spending bill, just like George mentioned in his letter. You can read the letter I signed HERE.
In the coming weeks, I will share more correspondence from our neighbors. Understanding each other better can absolutely lead to better solutions for us all.
PRESIDENT TRUMP OPEN TO MEETING WITH NORTH KOREAN REGIME
The White House made a surprising and important announcement late last week: President Trump has agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by May of this year to discuss permanent denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should certain conditions be met by North Korea. This meeting would mark the first time a U.S. President has officially met with a North Korean leader and could be a significant step towards normalizing relations with a denuclearized North Korea, easing tensions on the Korean peninsula, and providing all our allies in the Asia-Pacific region with peace of mind that a rogue actor has been peacefully disarmed.
The invitation to talk is certainly an encouraging sign that North Korea may be willing to change its dangerous ways, but I’m pleased that President Trump has said he will remain tough on the Kim Regime by maintaining sanctions and continuing with our annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises until an agreement is completed. There is no doubt that reaching any agreement will likely be a long process with many obstacles, but this development is a positive step forward, especially in light of the recent nuclear and missile tests that have been directly targeted at the U.S. and our allies. It’s important that America does not stand by as rogue nations threaten our global security. By maintaining American leadership in the world and confronting these challenges head on with sanctions and other measures, we are beginning to see progress.
SECRETARY CHAO TALKS TRANSPORTATION WITH HOUSE MEMBERS
Last week the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a timely hearing on the challenges facing our nation’s infrastructure and the Trump Administration’s solutions. Our guest was Secretary Elaine Chao, who heads the Department of Transportation and has been promoting President Trump’s infrastructure initiative. She came to our committee to make her pitch and answer questions about the President’s priorities.
I took time to first show my appreciation for her partnership and quick assistance in helping rebuild I-85 after the fire last year, and then sought clarity about the Administration’s proposal to reward communities that invest state and local dollars into their own infrastructure. As you well know, Georgia taxpayers have stepped up to the plate and led by investing our own dollars into priority projects through bonding, user fees, SPLOSTs, and other means. As the Administration works with Congress to craft our infrastructure package, one of my top priorities will be ensuring that this leadership is recognized and encouraged by our federal partners. Constructing a regulatory review process that makes quicker decisions and allows for long-term planning and certainty by state and local officials will be another priority. In fact, Secretary Chao mentioned during our conversation that her department has saved taxpayers and businesses $800 million already simply by streamlining duplicative or unnecessary red tape, and I look forward to building on this success.
You can view our entire exchange here.
FORSYTH COUNTY NAMES 2018 TEACHER OF THE YEAR
With so many phenomenal educators in Forsyth County, selecting a Teacher of the Year isn’t an easy task, but I sure am grateful we as a community make the effort to recognize these outstanding individuals! Our teachers are among the very best in the state, and this year we had another impressive group of finalists. On Friday, Mr. Jonas Streck, who teaches German at South Forsyth High School, was chosen as the 2018 Forsyth County Teacher of the Year, and I’d like to congratulate him, as well as thank him for his service. When you listen to the passion each of the finalsts has for their students, it’s just not possible to be anything but inspired, and I would venture to say that that sincerity and dedication is as contagious to their students as it is to me. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll watch the brief piece below on each of the three finalists. Again, thank you all, and a special congratulations to Mr. Streck!
THE WEEK AHEAD
This week the House is going to consider a number of measures from the Financial Services Committee that reform aspects of the Dodd-Frank law that regulates financial companies. Many of these measures already passed the House as part of the “Financial CHOICE Act” last year, but as the Senate is taking-up its version of Dodd-Frank reform right now, the House is once again trying to persuade the Senate to take real action on helping our nation’s small banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions better serve Americans.
I’m also very excited that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment will be holding a hearing Thursday morning to consider a number of Chief’s reports from the Army Corps of Engineers, including one that I have long advocated for that will support the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). The hearing will also delve into the future needs of our nation’s water resources infrastructure and how Congress can continue working with the Corps to serve the American people.
Member of Congress
Woodall Statement Following First Meeting of Joint Select Committee on Budget Process Reform
WASHINGTON, DC –Today, U.S. Representative Rob Woodall (GA 07), House Budget Committee Chairman Steve Womack (R-AR), House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), and fellow appointees to the bipartisan, bicameral Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform held their inaugural meeting to identify and recommend reforms to the budget and appropriations process. The newly-formed panel was created by a provision in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. Rep. Woodall, a member of the House Budget Committee and Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process was selected to serve as one of the 16 members.
"Budget dysfunction is neither the goal nor the fault of any one party. But the responsibility for solving it falls on us all,” said Woodall. “Having avoided reform for more than 40 years, the Congressional budget process needs to be reexamined from the ground up, and both parties in both chambers have selected incredibly thoughtful and serious delegates to pursue that goal on this joint select committee. I am honored to be among the four House Republicans chosen, and I believe my selection reflects the 'just get it done' reputation for which our Georgia district is known. This panel is a unique opportunity to restore faith in, and the function of, the federal budget process. I’m encouraged by what began today, and I’m eager to continue our work until we deliver a finished product that puts America on secure financial footing."
“Today’s meeting marks the start of an important dialogue,” added Republican co-chair Steve Womack. “While there is much to consider as a group, I am encouraged that we share the desire for a budget and appropriations process that works in Congress and for the American people. And I look forward to more discussions about how we can achieve that common goal together.”
- The committee is comprised of 16 members, equally divided between the House and Senate. Four members each were appointed by the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader, the House Democratic Leader, and the Senate Democratic Leader. House Budget Committee Chairman Steve Womack and House Appropriations Ranking Member Nita Lowey were tapped to lead as co-chairs of this panel.
- The select committee is required to hold public hearings and report recommendations and legislative text by November 30, 2018. The select committee will be dissolved no later than December 31, 2018
Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee.
Washington Watch - 3/5/18
SAVANNAH HARBOR PROJECT CONTINUES MOVING FORWARD
Completing the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) is our state’s top economic priority, and with the announcement last week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed the deepening of the entrance channel, we are closer than ever to delivering this project and all its benefits to our state and nation. I’ve worked tirelessly with my Georgia colleagues—Democrats, Republicans, House members, Senators—to focus federal attention on the project, which stands to provide hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of annual economic benefits to America.
This year, the President committed nearly $50 million to SHEP, and I will work to see that any infrastructure bill that the President signs gives our state an opportunity to compete for the other $50 million we need to keep this project on track. This project is a great deal for taxpayers, a great deal for the state of Georgia, and it supports nearly 30,000 jobs in the 7th District. Now that we’ve reached the halfway point, I look forward to doing my part to get SHEP over the finish line once and for all.
STOPPING AND PROSECUTING PERPETRATORS OF ONLINE SEX TRAFFICKING
With Atlanta being one of America’s major human trafficking hubs, we Georgians are especially focused on ways to combat this epidemic. Just last month, Mayor Keisha Bottoms and Attorney General Chris Carr marked “Human Trafficking Awareness Month,” outlining initiatives focused on at-risk communities and identifying human trafficking as it happens. And here in Washington, we are taking steps to combat sex trafficking on the Internet with H.R. 1865, the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act,” or FOSTA. The bill allows states and private citizens to sue websites that host content which violates federal sex trafficking laws. While the vast majority of websites are not liable under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act for third-party content that is posted on the site, other sites like Backpage.com that knowingly assist and support users who propagate sex trafficking will no longer be able to claim that protection. Not only will this help crack down on websites that currently enable sex trafficking, but it will also act as a deterrent for any site that considers facilitating this heinous crime. Sex trafficking affects too many young Americans – boys and girls – as well as susceptible young adults. As technology continues to evolve, Congress will continue to adapt our laws so that we may protect the most vulnerable among us.
AMERICANS ARE BULLISH ON THE ECONOMY
If you’ve had the opportunity to spend time with our local business leaders over the past few months, you won’t be surprised to hear that consumer confidence in our economy is at its highest level in nearly 20 years. That’s right. At no time since the beginning of President George W. Bush’s presidency have American consumers felt so positively about America’s economic performance and our plans for future growth.
I think that has a lot to do with how much success we’ve had in Washington and around the country lately. With the most comprehensive tax reform in over thirty years just now passing its second month, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act continues to put more dollars into the pockets of our hardworking American families. Just about 10 days ago, Atlanta Gas Light announced that because of the tax law, it was proposing a rate reduction of approximately $16 million for its customers across the metro region. And This is real money in our pockets, and it’s another example of how good public policy can lead to great economic growth.
I am proud of the combined efforts of Congress, the Trump Administration, and our state and local communities that are working to create an even stronger job market and maintain a record rate of low unemployment. Consumers’ rising confidence is indicative of their faith in a brighter future, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to continue to build upon this success.
HONORING THE SERVICE OF OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS
It would be all too easy to take for granted the safety and peace of mind we enjoy throughout our community, but the truth is, that’s not our style. We are so fortunate to not only have the men and women who wear the uniform and put themselves in harm’s way on our behalf, but we are also blessed to have countless neighbors who value that service just as we do. I certainly hope our law enforcement officers feel that gratitude on a daily basis, but I’m especially grateful to this special group who was honored recently for their acts of bravery. Their willingness to act in such ways is a part of simply going to work for these folks, and while none of us ever wants to have to call on that courage, those who possess it and dedicate themselves to service are invaluable here at home and across the country. I attended the event and each story was moving. One story at a time, Sheriff Freeman noted the lives saved--the sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, still with us today—because of the extraordinary sacrifices and bravery of our deputies. Congratulations once again to each recipient, but just as importantly, thank you for what you and your colleagues do each and every day to protect and serve the 7th District.
THE WEEK AHEAD
This week the House will consider two bills that roll-back unnecessary regulatory barriers: H.R. 1917, the “Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2017,” and H.R. 4607, the “Comprehensive Regulatory Review Act,” which was introduced by our Georgia neighbor Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA). The House will also consider H.R. 1119, the “Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment Act,” which ensures that coal refuse can continue to be recycled and used in power plants.
Two weeks ago I mentioned how excited I was to be asked by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to serve on the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform. Now that all 16 members of the committee have been appointed by the Speaker, Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, and House Minority Leader, the committee will have its first meeting this Thursday. This initial meeting will be an opportunity for my colleagues and I to get to know one another better and begin our discussions about how we want to make the budget and appropriations process work better for the American people.
Member of Congress
District Connection - 2/26/18
TRANSPORTATION TAKES CENTER STAGE IN FORSYTH COUNTY
The Transportation Summit in Forsyth County on Wednesday provided an excellent discussion regarding the progress we have made in improving our infrastructure and the outlook for President Trump’s new infrastructure proposal. I'm grateful to the Forsyth Chamber of Commerce for inviting me out to help lead that discussion. As you may know, the President has proposed a historic $1.5 trillion boost in infrastructure spending, bolstered by $200 billion in direct federal investment, with most of the funding coming from state, local, and private sources. This approach is consistent with the current funding balance, since the federal government is only responsible for roughly 14 percent of America’s total transportation spending.
While the federal government is responsible for only a small minority of funding, it is to blame for the vast majority of regulatory headaches. That’s why we’re seeking to pair this significant new investment with a fresh approach to the federal regulatory process that will result in more projects being completed on-time, on-budget, and delivering benefits to taxpayers much quicker. On average, it takes nearly five years to get a highway project approved, and it can take twice as long as that in certain cases. That’s wholly unacceptable, and we want to bring that period of time down to a maximum of two years. We also discussed the more difficult—but equally important—side of the conversation: how do we pay for it? These are conversations that are happening as you’re reading this, and I invite you to share with me your thoughts on regulatory reform, infrastructure pay-fors, and anything else that is on your mind.
Photo Courtesy of the Forsyth County News
WOODALL ASKED TO SERVE ON SELECT BUDGET COMMITTEE BY SPEAKER
On Friday, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) named me as one of four House Republicans to the Joint Select Committee on Budget Process Reform. This committee was created by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, and its purpose is to work across the aisle and across Capitol with Democrats and members of the Senate to come up with a new budget process that will allow Congress to pass its annual appropriations bills on time and avoid the seemingly never-ending budget stand-offs that threaten to shutdown our government all too often. I am honored by this appointment and by the Speaker's confidence in me. I am committed to working hard to make this reform a reality, and I look forward to bringing our 7th District values to the committee.
SMALL BUSINESSES: BIG IMPACT AND BRIGHT FUTURE
Last week, I met with the Lilburn Business Association to discuss the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and its effect on small businesses and what to expect when people pay their taxes in April 2019. For too long, the complex and overly burdensome tax code resulted in too many small businesses focusing on simply trying to keep up rather than focusing on getting ahead. The good news is that the TCJA provides our main street companies and “mom and pop” shops with the tools they need to invest in their employees and grow their companies by offering the first-ever 20% tax deduction to businesses organized as a pass-through entities. Furthermore, the TCJA allows the expensing of capital investments for certain purchases, like machinery and equipment, and increases the Section 179 small business expensing limit to $1 million. As a result of these positive changes to the tax code, small businesses across the country “are not only reporting better profits, but they’re also ready to grow and expand” explained Juanita Duggan, the CEO and President of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). In fact, the NFIB recently released the January report of their Small Business Optimism Index, which showed that America’s small businesses are at a 45-year year high when asked if they were optimistic about their economic futures.
Rep. Woodall discussing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act with the Lilburn Business Association.
And I can tell you that the Lilburn Business Association is feeling that same optimism. I heard directly from many small business owners about the ways in which they plan to grow their companies, and I’m so impressed and excited for what’s coming to Lilburn thanks to these amazing entrepreneurs. Lilburn is fortunate to have these hard-working leaders who are eager to grow their businesses and reinvest into our community, and I truly appreciate the Lilburn Business Association for having me.
MEETING WITH AMAZING 7TH DISTRICT STUDENTS
There is arguably no better way to begin my day than by meeting with our community's young people. Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with students at Cornerstone Christian Academy, Simpson Elementary, and Lambert High School. We had a wonderful discussion about how can we work together to make our community a better place. Whether a third grader at Cornerstone Christian Academy, a fifth grader at Simpson Elementary, or a graduating senior at Lambert High School, they all share the same level of enthusiasm for working together to solve problems and help one another. They care about their communities and they want to support each other and make those communities into spectacular places to live, learn, and grow. I am encouraged by their passion, and I thank the students and teachers for inviting me to begin my days with them. If you ever think that America’s best days are behind her, I encourage you to meet with these students, and you’ll quickly be displaced of that thought. America’s best days are ahead, and these students are going to help us shine.
Rep. Woodall meets with students and teachers at Cornerstone Christian Academy in Peachtree Corners
TRUMP TO EASE RULES ON SHORT-TERM HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS
President Trump signed an Executive Order in October 2017 to make our nation’s health care system work better for all Americans. Specifically, the Executive Order called on federal agencies and departments to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance to boost competition, increase consumer choice, and increase access to lower cost, high-quality care on our health care marketplaces. And last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in conjunction with the U.S. Treasury and U.S. Department of Labor rolled out a new rule to do just that.
Newly confirmed HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced that the Departments have issued a proposed rule that seeks to expand the availability of short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans by allowing consumers to purchase plans that provide coverage for any period of less than 12 months. As you may recall, President Obama restricted the period of coverage of short-term plans to a period of less than 3 months just prior to leaving office in 2016. Because short-term, limited-duration plans are exempt from the definition of individual health insurance coverage under the ACA, this proposed rule, if enacted, would not only give consumers more flexibility when it comes shopping for a plan that is right for them at a price that is more affordable than ACA compliant plans, but it would also provide those Americans who are between jobs for longer than 3 months or are unhappy with their current plan with the certainty they need.
While it’s undeniable that some Americans have benefitted from the ACA, and those successes should be celebrated, it’s equally undeniable that the ACA did more harm than good for many other Americans, and it will harm many, many more if we do nothing. In fact, approximately half of the counties across the nation only have one insurance carrier to choose from, and monthly premiums in Georgia have increased 106% from 2013 and 2017. There are so many of our 7th District neighbors and friends who deserve to have access to an efficient and effective health care system, and while I am committed to working to create a legislative solution worthy of all Americans, I simply cannot accept “just wait” as an answer. For that reason, I support this proposed rule, as it is a step in the right direction to ensure that those individuals and families who do not have access to a plan that meets their needs or who cannot afford the skyrocketing cost of their premium can have more choices and control over their health care dollars and decisions. The Administration is currently seeking comments on the proposed rule, and if you feel passionately one way or the other about this rule, I’d encourage you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
A WEALTH OF DIVERSITY AND AN ABUNDANCE OF COMMUNITY
For many of us, we were fortunate enough to be born and raised in this part of the world. For others, they were fortunate enough to relocate to our wonderful community, but what we all share is a love for the place we choose to call home. Whether we chose to stay, return, or relocate here doesn’t matter. We all take ownership of what it means to be neighbors, friends, co-workers, and beyond, and together we do amazing things. Forsyth County has grown and changed in some big ways over recent years, but I’d argue that the core of what makes it appealing to all of us has always been here, and it is a reflection of who we are. It is our character.
You can find so many wonderful examples of that character. In individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, spiritual leaders, and so much more. The list is long, but last week the Forsyth County News highlighted a leader in our community that I’ve been blessed to get to know – Rabbi Levi Mentz. The work Rabbi Mentz is doing within Congregation Beth Israel, Chabad of Forsyth, and far beyond is inspiring, and the partnership he has offered along with so many in the Jewish community is invaluable. Across all faiths, backgrounds, and viewpoints, I’m grateful to be surrounded by those who understand there is far more that unites us as a community than divides us.
GEORGIA GWINNETT COLLEGE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS EARNS INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION
Irrespective of one’s age or level of education, one of the many things that makes our community so successful is the way in which we offer opportunity after opportunity to learn the skills that will help folks achieve their goals. From award-winning and standard-bearing schools across the district, to ever-increasing post-secondary opportunities right here locally, the Seventh District is again leading the charge. As you may have heard, Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) was just recognized with international accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business! Since opening its doors to students in 2006, GGC has continued to grow and offer more opportunities for those from all walks of life not only in our community, but throughout the region and state. With just under 12 years since welcoming its first students, to be catching the eye of those evaluating institutions across the globe is indicative of the effort and commitment put forth by everyone from the students themselves, to the dedicated educators, to the leaders casting the vision. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting with many of them over the years, and I couldn’t be prouder of the work they’re doing and the success that comes with it. Congratulations, and keep up the great work!
THE WEEK AHEAD
Violence against women and girls happens too often in our society, and for too many vulnerable individuals, the violence goes unnoticed because it’s happening in the darkest parts of the Internet. This week, the House will consider H.R. 1865, the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.” The bill will make it easier to combat online sex trafficking by allowing law enforcement and state officials to prosecute website owners, like those of Backpage, who purposely provide a platform designed to facilitate prostitution and sex trafficking.
The House will also consider two Financial Services Committee bills: H.R. 4296 and H.R. 4607. These bills cut through red tape and address overregulation of the financial industry and unnecessary paperwork burdens that only serve to increase costs on American consumers and businesses.
Finally, the late Reverend Billy Graham, who died last week at the age of 99 and who many past Presidents called-on as a spiritual advisor, will be honored by the United States Congress on Wednesday, February 28th and Thursday, March 1st. Reverend Graham will lie in honor in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. Since 1852, the Rotunda has been considered as the most suitable place for Americans to pay a final tribute to our most eminent citizens – Presidents, Members of Congress, and military heroes. This honor has only been given to three other private citizens in the history of the United States: in 1998 to Capitol Police Officer Jacob Chestnut and Detective John Gibson who were killed in the line of duty protecting the Capitol, and in 2005 to Rosa Parks, the distinguished civil rights pioneer who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus. This week, Reverend Graham will join that distinguished list of private citizens, public officials, and military heroes who have given the full measure of their lives in service to a grateful nation. Members of the public are invited to pay their respects at the Capitol on Wednesday and Thursday, and if you’re in D.C. this week, I hope you will join this historic event.
Member of Congress
House Speaker Selects Woodall for Joint Select Committee on Budget Process Reform
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that Rep. Rob Woodall (GA 07) will be one of four House Republicans appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Budget Process Reform – a bipartisan, House-Senate select committee that will pursue reforms to the budget and appropriations process. The joint select committee was established under the recently enacted Bipartisan Budget Act. Speaker Ryan’s appointees, announced during this morning’s House session, serve on committees with legislative jurisdiction over these issues. Rep. Woodall, who serves on the House Budget Committee and as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, issued the following statement in response.
“Today’s federal budgeting process—not reformed since 1974—is flawed, and a flawed process can be expected to produce a flawed result. But I represent a district of problem solvers. My district isn’t content with assigning blame; we craft solutions and work to make those solutions a reality. I’m proud to work hard on behalf of Georgians in Congress as an earnest partner seeking solutions to America’s most difficult problems. Earning a seat on this select bicameral committee is a byproduct of those efforts. I commit both to the 15 members of the select committee and the more than 700,000 members of Georgia’s Seventh District that I will do everything in my power to build the bipartisan, bicameral coalition necessary to send budget reform to the President’s desk for the first time in more than four decades.”
- The Bipartisan Budget Act requires the joint select committee to hold public hearings, and vote on their findings and legislative recommendations no later than November 30, 2018. If approved, those recommendations would be submitted for consideration by the House and Senate. The select committee will be dissolved no later than December 31, 2018.
- The panel has 16 members, divided equally between the House and Senate, with four appointees each by the Speaker, the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Democratic Leader, and the House Democratic Leader. Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi’s appointees were named during this morning’s House session.
Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee.
District Connection - 2/20/18
THANK YOU FOR MAKING OUR DISCUSSIONS SO VALUABLE
Over the past three weeks, many of you joined me for our telephone town hall series in which we had the opportunity to discuss everything from legislative updates, to issues of the day across the country and globe, to whatever it was you had on your mind. As I’ve said before, I’m truly grateful for your participation and feedback, as it makes our voice in Washington that much stronger. Being able to share multiple conversations in the last few weeks with hundreds and hundreds of folks back home each time is of tremendous value to me, and I certainly hope you found them to be helpful as well. Moving forward, we’ll certainly do more, so please keep an eye out for those details, but in the meantime, don’t ever hesitate to reach out to me at either my local or Washington office with any questions, concerns, or ideas that you have.
INCHING CLOSER TO A DEAL ON IMMIGRATION
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) lived up to his promise from four weeks ago to bring immigration legislation to the Senate floor when he gave the chamber the opportunity to vote on every immigration bill that was brought up for a vote by either Democrats or Republicans. While we are closer than we have ever been before to an agreement, the Senate failed to proceed with any of the four measures brought before the chamber last week. As you know, there is a 60 vote threshold in the Senate that has been a major roadblock in the past on major pieces of legislation, and that requirement acted once again to keep any measure from getting enough support to pass.
Of course, Senate inaction does not preclude the House from acting, and there are in fact many bills we could consider and send over to our colleagues in the Senate. What is important to note is that progress is being made, and as members begin to accept that neither party will get entirely what they want in the end, we will have an end-product that we can send to the President’s desk. While the Senate may not have been able to find a compromise last week, I am still hopeful we will come up with a solution before the March deadline that President Trump set for Congress.
WORKING ACROSS PARTY LINES TO PROTECT CONSUMER ACCESS TO CREDIT
As you may know, this Congress and administration has been committed to rolling back harmful and unnecessary financial regulations that unduly burden many of our nation’s smaller financial institutions as well as those rules and regulations that negatively affect consumers. That said, Republicans and Democrats worked together last week to pass two financial services bills that work to protect our nation’s consumers – H.R. 3978 and H.R. 3299. I was proud join my colleagues in supporting these two bills, as they work to reduce federal red tape that oftentimes makes it difficult for homeowners and small businesses to access much needed credit and for our financial institutions to operate with certainty. That said, H.R. 3978, the “TRID Improvement Act of 2017," not only requires the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to allow for the accurate disclosure of title insurance premiums and any potential available discounts to homebuyers, but the bill also includes five additional bills that work to make our capital markets more attractive, competitive, and efficient. Those additional bills in include:
- H.R. 3948 – the “Protection of Source Code Act” requires the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a subpoena before it compels a person to produce or furnish to the SEC algorithmic trading source code or similar intellectual property.
- H.R. 1645 – the “Fostering Innovation Act of 2017” extends the exemption available to emerging growth companies (EGCs), giving them more time to financially sustain the legal, accounting, and compliance costs associated with full compliance.
- H.R. 4546 – the “National Securities Exchange Regulatory Parity Act” modernizes Section 18 of the Securities Act of 1933 to exempt securities that qualify for trading in the national market system from state “blue sky” laws.
- H.R. 2948 – a bill “To amend the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 to provide a temporary license for loan originators transitioning between employers, and for other purposes” so that they can continue to originate loans while:
(1) moving from a financial institution to a state-licensed non-bank originator, or
(2) moving interstate to a state-licensed loan originator in another state.
- H.R. 4061 – the “Financial Stability Oversight Council Improvement,” works to facilitate clearer analysis of the methods that the Financial Stability Oversight Council uses to assess the unique characteristics of risk associated with the asset management industry.