Washington Watch - 2/13/17
Last week, the House voted to overturn two more Obama-era regulations that would have significantly expanded the federal role in K-12 education. The first resolution, H.J.Res. 57, nullifies a federal Department of Education (ED) regulation that would have imposed new requirements on states as they work to develop education accountability plans. As you all may know, state and local education leaders in Georgia, including representatives from Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, have been working diligently since last summer to develop an education accountability plan that will serve the interests of students in our state. Unfortunately, ED’s accountability plan regulation, which was issued in closing lame duck weeks of President Obama’s administration, proposes to substitute the judgement of federal bureaucrats in Washington for that of the best and brightest education minds in our district and state. That’s contrary to the core principles of the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bill which devolved much of the K-12 decision making authority to state and local education leaders and the bill that the regulations were inexplicably purported to implement. I’m glad the House took a stand on this issue, and I expect to see the Senate follow suit in the coming days.
The second resolution, H.J.Res. 58, nullifies a federal regulation that mandates certain requirements that states must use when evaluating the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs. Ensuring that our classrooms are filled with highly qualified educators is an idea that we can all get behind, but we don’t need one-size-fits-all Washington metrics to determine whether our teachers are being adequately prepared to serve our students. The continued educational successes we’ve enjoyed in our part of the world are proof that what we are doing in the Seventh District is working, and our successes are not thanks to federal rules and regulations. They are in spite of those rules and regulations, and I will continue to do what I can to keep as much local control over K-12 decisions right here in our state and local communities.
- Education Week. House votes to overturn ESSA accountability, teacher-prep rules
- Forsyth County News. Protecting Forsyth County schools, American jobs
Much of what the House of Representatives has been doing since the start of the 115th Congress is to ensure stakeholders at the local level, who have the knowledge and expertise regarding a certain issue area, have their input considered and implemented in the rules by which they are governed. The House vote on H.J.Res. 44 to reject the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) “Planning 2.0” rule was a move to do just that. Planning 2.0 sought to strip much of the power reserved to state and local authorities in land planning and management and give it to unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. and special interest groups with deep pockets across the nation. It also neglected to establish a process for these local entities to discuss or challenge BLM’s decision on how the land can be used. I absolutely support efforts to protect our land and safeguard our environment, but efforts to do so should not be at the expense of people’s livelihoods. Sharing authority between the federal government and those closest to the land is how we will ensure a balanced approach to environmentalism and responsible land development.
- The Hill. House passes bill to block Obama land planning rule
- KTIC Radio. Cattlemen hail U.S. House passage of resolution to repeal BLM’s Planning 2.0 rule
Last week, the Senate voted to confirm Ms. Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education, Senator Jeff Sessions as the Attorney General, and Dr. Tom Price as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. I truly believe that all of these talented individuals will serve our nation proudly and will give all Americans the opportunity to succeed. I’m of course especially proud of my good friend, Dr. Price. Tom Price has been a friend and mentor for many years, and as the long-time representative from the neighboring 6th Congressional District, I’ve learned so much from him about how to serve constituents and be your voice in Washington. I’m sure that all Georgians wish him well in his new position, and I know that I will certainly be doing all that I can to support him and ensure that the most important issues facing the Department of Health and Human Services – how best to repair Obamacare, how to ensure that Medicare is available for future generations of Americans, how to promote our public health agencies, and how to bolster health research and innovation – receive the kind of attention that they deserve.
- AJC. Senate confirms Tom Price as health chief
- Washington Post. “Students first”: new education secretary Betsy DeVos seeks common ground
- FoxNews. Sessions confirmed as Attorney General after contentious debate
As you may know, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a ruling made by federal district judge James L. Robart who blocked key parts of President Trump’s Executive Order temporarily restricting travel from countries identified first by the Obama Administration as security threats. The 9th Circuit’s ruling did not decide on the legality of the Executive Order, but it does restrict its enforcement until a final decision is made at the lower court. While some may be dismayed at the 9th Circuit’s decision, it is important to remember that this process is exactly what our Founding Fathers intended when establishing our constitutional republic. To that end, I have faith that our court system will rule in a way that upholds our laws. After all, during the Obama Administration, I sought help from the courts to restrict actions of President Obama that I thought were contrary to the law or his authority, so it is no surprise to me that opponents of President Trump are seeking judicial action today.
- New York Times. 6 Highlights From the Ruling on Trump’s Immigration Order
- Yahoo News. A look at what comes next in the Trump travel ban case
- CNN. Key lines from the travel ban ruling
Just a few years ago, there were no commercial space launches from the United States, and it looked as though we would fall behind our global competitors in the race to return to space. Now, America leads the world in commercial space launches and America, specifically Georgia, is working hard to capitalize on this $300 billion industry. Last June, my Subcommittee on Aviation held its first hearing dedicated solely to commercial space transportation in many years, and on Wednesday, I had a chance to speak at the 20th annual Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Space Transportation Conference.
When you hear folks talk about the “next big thing,” you can’t help but put commercial space transportation in that category. We are living in a historic moment, and our great great grandchildren will one day read about the foundation that we will have laid for the next great American industry. Before long, we’re going to be moving people and things from one side of the planet to the other in a matter of hours. Folks will be booking commercial space flights the way we book train tickets and flights today. As commercial space transportation continues to mature and evolve, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will continue to exercise its oversight responsibilities while ensuring that Congress and the Executive Branch facilitate the growth and expansion of this promising new mode of transportation.
As you know, the 115th Congress is already working hard for the American people, and part of my service to you is taking time to hear directly from you on a regular basis. This Wednesday, February 15th at 6:35pm, I will be hosting another telephone town hall meeting. This is an opportunity for us to talk about the important issues facing our nation and our 7th District community. I hope that you will be able to take some time to call in and talk with me.
Telephone Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
6:35pm – 7:05pm
Dial-In: (877) 229-8493
I do realize how difficult it is to make time out of a busy day, so if you can’t make it this Wednesday, please know that there will certainly be additional opportunities for us to gather in the future. And as always, if you have an issue that you’d like to discuss with me in a more personal setting, I hope that you will contact my office at (770) 232-3005 or at email@example.com and schedule a one-on-one meeting.
This week the House is expected to complete consideration of our package of regulatory disapproval resolutions. We will vote on 5 more resolutions that disapprove of unnecessarily burdensome regulations from the last few weeks of the Obama Administration: H.J.Res. 42, H.J.Res. 43, H.J. Res. 66, H.J.Res. 67, and H.J.Res. 69. All of these regulations were passed at the 11th hour, and instead of doing good for the American people, they harm our economic growth and make life more difficult for American families.
Member of Congress