District Connection - 4/29/19
On Friday, we learned that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for the first quarter of 2019 soared high above expectations. GDP grew by 3.2%, far past the expected 2% or less that many experts predicted. Pro-growth policies like the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act free American workers and businesses to prosper and grow. We must not take economic growth for granted, however. With oil prices rising and consumers feeling it at the pump, Congress and the White House must come together to continue streamlining regulatory burdens and foster innovation.
This two-week district work period has been eventful and full of visits with local health care providers, Rotary clubs, amazing student artists, and more, but the work period culminated with my annual Military Service Academy Day at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, where I had the pleasure of meeting our nation’s future leaders. Georgia’s Service Academy Day is one of the largest events of its kind, and I’m always so proud and honored to join Senator Johnny Isakson, Senator David Perdue, other Representatives from across our great state, and of course our men and women in uniform, in meeting and speaking with the many talented young adults from across the state who want to serve our county and defend our freedom, as well as pursue their educational dreams at one of our top-notch military academies. Academy Day is such a wonderful opportunity for prospective students and their families to visit with representatives from all five of our prestigious service academies in one location to learn more about each academy’s admissions process, student life, and ask any outstanding questions. Seeing the excitement and dedication in the eyes of these young men and women as they speak with admissions officers, members of our Armed Forces, and other prospective students, always serves as a reminder to me that America’s brightest days are ahead of her. Undeniably, mapping out your future after high school is no easy task, but doing so while knowing that you want to serve your country requires courage, commitment, and, patriotism, all of which were prominently on display in each of the students I visited with.
Rep. Woodall greets students who would like to serve
Each year, I have the honor of appointing the best and brightest from our community to attend one of our service academies. I have no doubt that this year’s class of appointees will go on to accomplish great things at their respective academies, and I always enjoy monitoring their progress along the way. In fact, two appointees from our community were recently voted among their peers to serve as captains of the Naval Academy’s football team. So not only are these young men and women pursuing their dreams and representing the communities, they are selflessly and bravely serving their country, and it’s an honor to watch them do just that.
If you have a family member or know of a student who is interested in learning more about attending one of our service academies, please do not hesitate to reach out to my Lawrenceville office, as my team and I would be more than happy to answer any questions and connect you with service academy representatives.
Click on the image below ot watch WSB-TV's coverage of the event.
I recently hosted my annual Congressional Art Competition Exhibition and Reception at The Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for Art & Learning in Duluth. We truly have the best students in Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. It always makes me proud to celebrate the creativity and talent of our high school artists. Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s competition.
Jacob Yu, from Collins Hill High School, came in first place with “Knock Knock.” The first-place entry will be hung for a year in the U.S. Capitol, along with works by other student artists across the country.
Ashley Kim, from Peachtree Ridge High School, came in second place with “The Aftermath.” Deborah Kug, also from Peachtree Ridge High School, came in third place with “Georgia.” For the first time, I posted all of the entries online before the competition and introduced the “Constituents’ Choice Award” to allow residents in Georgia’s Seventh Congressional District to select a winner. This year’s Constituents’ Choice Award went to “A Martyr” by Rachel Long from Parkview High School.
Jacob Yu’s “Knock Knock” came in first place
Rachel Long’s “A Martyr” won the Constituents’ Choice Award
Rachel Long receives the very first “Constituent Choice” award
When most of us think of Goodwill Industries International Inc., we rightly think of their retail stores and donation centers, but what we might not realize is that Goodwill does so much more. Since its founding over a hundred years ago, Goodwill has provided various resources to underserved populations. Even today, Goodwill offers skills training and employment opportunities for youth, seniors, veterans, the disabled, and special needs individuals. They help folks reach their highest potential, allowing them to work towards self-sufficiency and independent lifestyles. Whether it’s offering English language classes or teaching the skills for a career in IT or banking, Goodwill is there for those who need it. That is why I was honored to receive Goodwill’s 2019 Policymaker Leader Award. Goodwill has done – and continues to do – great work for our community, and I am proud to partner with them to ensure everyone with the desire to work and contribute to their community has the tools to do so.
- Goodwill Industries International Inc. Eleven Policymakers Awarded by Goodwill® at Annual Advocacy Event
2018 was a tragic year for many parts of the country, with 14 separate billion-dollar disaster events with a total coast of $91 billion according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). From Hawaii to California to Georgia, families and businesses across the country are still recovering from these terrible disasters. Here in Georgia, farmers have struggled to recover from Hurricane Michael, which destroyed billions of dollars’ worth of crops. Here is what I’ve heard from constituents about the situation:
Kate from Suwanee:
Why aren't the farmers in South Georgia not receiving much needed disaster relief so that they can plant?
Debra from Lawrenceville:
Representative Woodall, I was in southwest Georgia over the weekend and saddened to hear repeatedly from friends and residents of Colquitt, Donalsonville, Blakely and Bainbridge, that federal assistance promised after the hurricane has not met expectations of businesses, homeowners and the area as a whole. Though these communities have bent over backwards to help out their neighbor, their homes and businesses remain covered with blue tarps, pecan groves lay in ruins, cotton fields remain unpicked and unplowed while waiting. This region relies on agriculture to employ the residents and it is big business for our state. When can they expect to have promises fulfilled. Now we have another disaster in other communities in Georgia and in neighboring Alabama. How are those residents to believe any of President Trump's promises made in the past few days, when promises made months ago have not been fulfilled? As a Georgia citizen, this affects our economy and the GDP of the USA.
Ming from Duluth:
As a Feeding America supporter, I'm asking you to support the disaster relief bill in Congress that includes Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) funding for Puerto Rico. NAP funding will ensure that those still suffering from the effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 can meet their basic food needs. Unlike the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which serves the 50 states and has special provisions to provide food aid after a disaster, Puerto Rico's nutrition aid through NAP is a fixed block grant program. That means that when disasters or hard times strike, Congress must approve additional funds in order to meet the nutrition needs of those struggling to feed their families.
The President and Congress provided additional NAP funding immediately after the hurricanes to better meet increased food needs and to slightly expand the program to more needy households, including many workers. The NAP funding has run out, forcing Puerto Rico's Department of the Family to cut spending on basic food aid by $100 million per month. The forced direct cuts to food assistance are affecting more than 1.3 million Puerto Ricans, including more than 300,000 children, who receive NAP benefits. Benefits will remain at these reduced levels until policymakers approve additional disaster relief.
We are urging you to support the disaster bill to ensure that states and Puerto Rico will receive the aid they need. This support must include the full $600 million in proposed NAP funds to Puerto Rico so that millions of Americans can access the food they need.
As Debra pointed out, the devastation to the farms in South Georgia is not just a Georgia problem. Agriculture is Georgia’s number one industry, and Georgia is the number one producer of peanuts and pecans in the United States. Our state is the second largest producer of cotton, has the fourth largest amount of total forest land area, and 24.4 million acres of available timberland for commercial use. All of these agricultural industries have a prominent presence in the areas affected by Hurricane Michael, and the effects of the hurricane will be felt across the country.
In Congress, the Georgia Delegation has been diligent in advocating for disaster relief. As a delegation, we united to ask House Leadership to move legislation to provide relief for not only Georgia, but for other areas impacted by hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, and other natural disasters during 2018 before the end of last Congress. Representatives Austin Scott and Sanford Bishop, who represent Georgia’s 8th and 2nd Districts respectively, have offered amendments to bills on the House floor to provide that aid. However, policy disagreements unrelated to Georgia have stopped this much needed aid. Last year, it was the disagreement over border security funding. This year, Senate Democrats refused to accept a compromise solution offered by Georgia Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue. It is time to put politics aside and help the businesses and farms that have been devastated and the families left without homes. In the next couple weeks, the House will likely consider a Democrat proposed disaster relief package that will include help for all those affected by the 2018 disasters and the assistance for Puerto Rico that Ming wrote in about. It is my hope that the House can have a frank discussion, free of unnecessary politics, as it considers this proposal, and finally get Georgia families the help that they need.
Click on the image below to read about how the Georgia Congressional Delegation has unified to help our farmers.
Thanks to the dedicated student body we have in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, it’s always easy and exciting to share their stories of success. Our students are continually being recognized for their hard work, and one such example can be found at South Forsyth High School, where Alyssa Freyman was recently selected as the 2019 Georgia Champion Journalist. Alyssa was recognized by the Georgia Scholastic Press Association and the Journalism Education Association for her work as the Editor-in-Chief of her school’s newsite, The Bird Feed, and received our state’s highest honor in the competition. Additionally, Brookwood High School placed first at the Georgia Science Olympiad, earning the top spot amongst 30 competing teams from across our state. They will go on to represent Georgia at the national competition in New York next month. Our reputation of excellence in scholastics would not exist without their hard work, so please join me in congratulating these students!
- Patch. South Forsyth Senior Named Top High School Journalist In State
- Gwinnett Daily Post. GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Brookwood High retains winning streak in state Science Olympiad
We all know the critical role that the specialized care and support services our community’s non-profits play in better serving our friends and neighbors, and there is no shortage of philanthropic efforts in the Seventh District. For over 40 years, one such organization, The Place of Forsyth, has excelled in serving individuals in our area who have experienced financial hardship and are in need of emergency assistance. This group was once again recognized for their good work, and I know we are all honored to have such passionate leaders in our community who have lent their time and energy to ensuring this program’s continued success.
- Forsyth County News. The Place of Forsyth earned the top rating for nonprofits again
You may remember that when President Trump took office, one of his first actions was to announce the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. This non-binding agreement was signed during the Obama Administration, but it was never ratified by the Senate, meaning that while it is not a formal treaty with enforceable provisions, it voluntarily commits each party to the agreement to determine, plan, and regularly report on the contribution it is making to mitigating climate change. Now, the Democrat-led House is attempting to force the President to put us back in the agreement with H.R. 9 this week. I support shared efforts to combat pollution and climate change, and I support U.S leadership in every global effort. But H.R. 9 isn’t the way to accomplish that goal. A non-binding, unenforceable agreement that hurts our economy and raises domestic energy prices while allowing the world’s biggest polluters – China most especially – to continue their profligate polluting ways isn’t a serious attempt at fundamental or lasting change. We can do better.
On Tuesday morning the House Rules Committee will be center stage as we hold the first – and likely only – House hearing on H.R. 1384, the “Medicare For All Act.” You’ve probably heard a lot about “Medicare For All,” since it’s supported by a number of Democratic Presidential front-runners, and hopefully you know by now that it’s a misnomer; it really means Medicare for none! H.R. 1384 will eliminate Medicare as you know it. That’s right. Should this bill become law, your Medicare would disappear. Your employer-provided insurance would be outlawed. Medicare as you know it, Medicaid, TriCare, and all private insurance would be canceled in favor of one, single-payer, federally-controlled, national health plan that every American would be forced to use. Just as the Affordable Care Act promised to be cost-effective and let you keep your doctor and your health insurance – which proved to be the “lie of the year” in 2013, Medicare For All is poised to be a future “lie of the year” should it ever become law.
We have many opportunities to unite and create better health outcomes for American families. I regret that rather than being able to focus on those goals, the Democratic House Leadership is more interested in creating wedge issues that solve nothing and only serve to divide. America deserves better, and Congress can do better. I expect you will hear exactly that message this week from Republicans and moderate Democrats who are discouraged by the distraction of an increasingly radical Democratic left wing.
I will be working to refocus the House away from these divisive issues and back toward solutions, like aid to our South Georgia families hit by disaster. I tell you regularly that I know that Congress can unite to do better for America. I am not alone in this belief. It is one that productive Democrats and Republicans share, and we will continue to work to get there.
Member of Congress