Washington Watch - 1/3/17
A new year is upon us, and we all know just how much promise 2017 holds. I am proud to tell you that your Congress isn’t wasting any time getting started. The U.S. Constitution allows the new Congress to begin moving legislation as early January 3rd, so we are convening today and beginning to move bills forward.
The first thing that we’ll do this week is to fulfill our Constitutional duty to convene the 115th Congress. On Tuesday, 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 members of the Senate are going to take the oath of office, and for the 115th time, our nation will see a new Congress go to work. If you are interested, I encourage you to tune-in to CSPAN today. The session will begin at noon with prayer and the pledge. At about 2pm we will elect a Speaker of the House, and at about 2:30pm, the Speaker will administer the oath of office to the full House. I can tell you without reservation that standing on the House floor and promising to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” is one of the greatest privileges of my life, and I thank you for allowing me to be your voice to Congress.
- Washington Examiner. The new Congress: housekeeping, then right to Obamacare repeal
This week, the House will begin taking up some important legislation. The House will begin by passing new rules for how we will conduct our business for the next two years – something that we do at the beginning of every new Congress. Then we’ll move to a bill that we’ve passed before in the House, but that the Senate and the President have never before supported – the REINS Act. This bill, which is sponsored this year by my very good friend, Representative Doug Collins from Georgia’s 9th District, ensures that any big and expensive regulations coming from the executive branch will go into effect only if specifically approved by Congress. You’ve heard about some of these massive regulations in the past – like the waters of the United States rule, the clean power plant rule, and more – that did not follow Congressional intent and thus had dramatically negative economic consequences for our nation. With the REINS Act, Congress is ensuring that your elected representatives—rather than unelected bureaucrats—are making the final decisions about how regulations affect your businesses and your livelihoods.
- AJC. Georgia rep's bill could be among first taken up by Congress in 2017
- Washington Examiner. House could take up regulatory reform on first day
I also expect that the House this week will pass a resolution to make a serious and needed statement about President Obama’s recent decision to turn his back on our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel. You might have heard that the United Nations’ Security Council passed a resolution condemning the existence and continued construction of Israeli settlements in areas that Israel took control of after the 1967 war, including settlements in East Jerusalem. Instead of vetoing the resolution – as the United States has done many times before – President Obama’s United Nations Ambassador abstained from voting altogether. The issue of control over Jerusalem is one that must ultimately be decided bilaterally between Israel and the Palestinians as they continue to work toward a peaceful solution. The United Nations, with the acquiescence of the United States, is putting its collective thumb on the scale in favor of the Palestinians, and that is wrong. I’m happy to say that the House will certainly come forward to support Israel now and in the future.
- CNN. What the UNSC resolution means for the US and Israel
- Washington Post. How the U.S. came to abstain on a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements
- CNN. House first votes in January: Condemning UN-Israel vote
As we look forward to the first few weeks and months of this new Congress, I know that all of my colleagues are ready to work hard for the American people, and we have some important legislation that needs to be addressed right away. Very quickly, we will complete the fiscal year 2017 (FY17) budget process, and shortly after that, we will take up the FY18 budget process, ensuring that Congress and our new President will not encounter unnecessary delays. Both of these budget bills will be followed by “reconciliation bills”—bills that allow Congress to avoid the filibuster on measures that will save American taxpayer dollars and balance spending on our mandatory spending programs, like Obamacare. Many of these early bills will help to add confidence to a growing American economy, and I look forward to your continued counsel as Congress works to restore more freedom and opportunity.
Every four years, Washington, D.C., comes alive on Inauguration Day. Whether it’s sunny and bright or snowing and cold, Inauguration Day is something that every American can be proud of. It’s a celebration of America’s continued experiment in self-governance; an experiment that began with the inauguration of our very first president in 1789, and continues to this day. On January 20th, we will come together as Americans from across the country to celebrate our 45th President, and I hope that you will tune in to participate.
While the limited number of tickets available to view the Inauguration have all been given out, you can view the Inauguration from the National Mall on giant television screens without a ticket, if your family wants to be present. Additionally, my office is hosting an Inauguration Day reception in Room 2043 of the Rayburn House Office Building directly across the street from the U.S. Capitol on January 20th from 8:00am-3:00pm. If you’re going to be in Washington, D.C., and you’d like a warm place to gather for a moment or even to stay and watch the festivities on TV, please RSVP to Laney Copeland on my staff at InaugurationReception.GA07@mail.house.gov with the total number of guests in your group along with each attendee’s full name, address, and phone number by January 6th. While watching from your living room is a powerful experience, watching from the Mall or from the Capitol office buildings is powerful too. If you are thinking of taking your family north for the event, please let me know so that we will have an opportunity to visit.
For more information about the Inauguration, please visit the 58th Presidential Inauguration Committee’s website or call my office at (202) 225-4272.
I hope that your new year is off to a wonderful start. 2017 will be full of opportunities, and together, we will ensure that we seize each one!
Member of Congress