District Connection - 4/17/17
We all think of April 15 as “Tax Day,” but the actual deadline to get our tax returns filed with the IRS varies slightly year-to-year. This year, that deadline is tomorrow, April 18…but those extra three days don’t take the dread out of “tax season.” Millions of Americans are as focused on trying to comply with obscure tax policy during the month of April as they are on their children’s baseball game or dance recital, and that just isn’t right. The annual hoops we’re forced to jump through always remind us that there has to be a better way.
Well, there absolutely is a better way, and this year we have a very real chance to reach it. I’ve long advocated for replacing our broken, convoluted, and punitive tax code with the FairTax (H.R. 25), and I’ve done so for two main reasons: (1) to end the complexities of the tax code and thus the power/fear of the IRS and (2) to end the “made in America” tax that punishes American manufacturing with higher prices while rewarding those goods made overseas with lower prices. Even though there are those who may not be fully on board with the FairTax, we can all agree that our current tax code needs drastic reform and that the two goals above should be a big part of it. Ten years ago, it seemed like tax reform of this magnitude was just a dream, but now I can see the pathway. I recently wrote more on this topic, and why I introduced H.R. 25, the FairTax, as the blueprint to bring reform.
I have worked hard to make tax reform a bipartisan—and even non-partisan—goal, and we are closer than ever, thanks to all of the hard work that has gone on at the grassroots level all across America. I’m not going to over-promise. There is still much hard work to be done and there are still many special interests who want to see us fail. But I see reason for great hope this tax season—hope that this may be the last season ever of its kind.
Tax reform is a common talking point from those in Washington, but the tone this time around is noticeably different. President Trump has made it clear that tax reform is one of his top priorities, and it is certainly one of mine. With a willing partner in the White House, this Congress has a very real opportunity to usher serious tax reform through the House and Senate to the President’s desk for signature. It’s no secret that I want tax reform to be the FairTax in full right away, but I’m more than willing to get there one piece at a time to move America forward now.
On Friday I had the opportunity to visit the site of the I-85 bridge collapse and hear from Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) officials about the progress being made to rebuild it. I was amazed at how much has already been done towards restoring this vital piece of our infrastructure, and as I told GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry, I remain committed to ensuring an efficient and effective federal partnership for Georgia’s leaders throughout the rebuilding process.
Rep. Woodall pictured with GDOT Commissioner McMurry on the I-85 Bridge Site
I was with the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, as news of the fire and the collapse first began to come in. By morning, as estimates for the cost of repairs began to come in, she and I spoke with Commissioner McMurry and committed $10 million in emergency federal funds—less than 24 hours from the start of the fire. The Secretary and her entire team from the start through today have been tremendously helpful and responsive, and I’m grateful. It’s amazing what can get done both in federal government and in infrastructure construction when everyone is working together with a sense of urgency and a common goal.
Governor Deal, the City of Atlanta, and of course our remarkable first responders were exemplary from the moment the fire began, and in fact, many of those local public servants were honored at the White House by President Trump last week for their outstanding work. They're second to none in what they do, and I congratulate them on receiving the recognition they so rightly deserved.
- AJC: I-85 collapse: Atlanta police, firefighters going to White House for heroism honors
- WSB: Trump: I-85 first responders 'amazing people'
Constituent service is the cornerstone of my office, and it comes in many forms. Whether individual casework to resolve issues with a federal agency, answering questions about pending legislation, or just visiting with you on your family vacation to Washington, it’s your office, and it exists to serve you. That’s why I’m always so glad to see folks taking full advantage of our resources, like almost 1000 of you did when you brought your family to Washington for Spring Break this year. Any time you’re able to come by and visit is a good time, I’d say, but springtime is certainly one of the most popular family times in DC for good reason. With Spring Break providing a week off from school, cherry blossoms adorning the city, and summer just around the corner, there’s a very unique energy. If you haven’t ever taken advantage of the opportunity, or simply didn’t know it existed, I hope you’ll reach out to my office in the future and let us help make your visit a special one. From Capitol tours to White House tours and more, your 7th District office can help. If you need any convincing, though, here are just a few of the families that joined us in recent weeks this year. If it looks like we were all having a great time, we were!
Every time America picks a new Administration to lead in Washington, we have an opportunity to put a fresh set of eyes on longstanding issues. That’s why my colleagues in the Georgia delegation and I took the opportunity to send a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Chao and Secretary of State Tillerson regarding America’s Open Skies policy. You may not be familiar with Open Skies unless you’re involved with the commercial aviation industry, but this policy is a collection of international agreements that serve to keep our skies open for business. It ensures travelers reliable access to routes all over the globe and protects fair competition within the industry. Unfortunately, studies have demonstrated that some nations may be skirting the agreements and hurting the American workers who play by the rules. As you can imagine, Atlanta has a lot to lose if the rules aren’t enforced fairly, so I am proud to take a lead in the effort. You can read the letter we sent here, and you can listen to a recent committee hearing wherein I discussed the issue further.
It’s another busy week in the 7th District, and I’m looking forward to seeing many of you out and about as we talk about what’s important to you. I’ll be joining several local civic groups, schools, and businesses across the community, and as always, visiting one-on-one with constituents. Next week I’ll be returning to Capitol Hill as voting resumes, and I will be taking all that I hear and learn here at home with you back to Washington in hopes of making an even bigger difference. Thank you for your continued partnership.
Member of Congress