Washington Watch - 3/6/17
Another week in Congress has yielded a new batch of much needed regulatory reforms, helping to alleviate our nation’s economy from politically motivated and unnecessary burdens unilaterally placed on it over the past eight years. Specifically, the three bills the House passed last week will address regulations at every stage of the rule making process. H.R. 998, the “Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome (SCRUB) Act,” will set up a bipartisan group to look back on regulations issued over the past ten years to see which ones are failing the American people, and it will force agencies to evaluate new rules going forward. H.R. 1009, the “OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act,” will codify the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and its mission to regulate the regulators – including those at independent agencies – serving as the first line of defense to prevent unjustified, unnecessary, duplicative, and overly burdensome rules from being promulgated. And finally, H.R. 1004, the “Regulatory Integrity Act,” which will mandate that agencies publish information about the drafting of a regulation online in an unbiased way and prevent them from soliciting outside groups to advocate for or against a proposed rule.
Federal agencies serve a vital role in our nation to make sure our environment is clean, our food and drugs are safe, and our financial system is fair. No matter who occupies the White House, that important public trust must continue. No president likes to be told what do by Congress, but that is the system our Constitution created. I worked to fulfil that duty with President Obama in the White House, and I am working now to accomplish it with President Trump. The bills passed last week will lay the foundation to ensure the transparency, accountability, efficiency, and efficacy of our nation’s regulations and provide needed consistency and predictability for those affected by those rules, regardless of any future president’s ideology.
During the final years of the Obama Administration, the EPA attempted to federalize most of our nation’s water through a regulation called “Waters of the United States (WOTUS).” It would have meant that in addition to navigable waters – like large lakes, canals, and rivers – we would have seen backyard creeks, golf course ponds, and even farm puddles fall under federal control. Previous overreaches of this nature had been struck down by the Supreme Court, and I supported multiple legislative attempts to roll back WOTUS as well. Fortunately, President Trump, in keeping with his promise to un-chain Americans from federal red tape, has directed agencies to scrap this incredibly destructive rule and go back to the drawing board. Contrary to what the previous Administration believed, America can protect her most precious environmental resources while growing economic opportunity for the families who enjoy them, and under President Trump’s leadership, we are demonstrating just that. This is a big win for the citizens of Forsyth and Gwinnett and for our local leaders who are such great stewards of local water and all of our natural resources.
Every year, the President of the United States makes his way down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the U.S. Capitol to speak to Congress and the nation about his plans for the upcoming year. This year, President Trump set out a hopeful vision, highlighting how we can work together for the betterment of America, and taking aim at those issues he promised in his campaign to tackle. Irrespective of your political view, President Trump had a vision to partner with you. From his commitment to American jobs and infrastructure to his gratitude for and investing in our nation’s armed forces to his focus on doing the incredibly difficult work of lowering health care costs and providing access to those who have been left behind, President Trump let America and the world know that American exceptionalism is alive and well.
Hartsfield-Jackson is the busiest airport in the world, and of course, we’re all very familiar with this airport. But did you know there are more than 100 airports across the state of Georgia? Many of these smaller airports are critical economic life-lines for local communities. On Wednesday, my Aviation Subcommittee discussed the need to make all of our airports—from Briscoe Field to Hartsfield-Jackson to Savannah/Hilton Head—first-rate facilities that not only match but exceed their competitors. In 2015, the FAA reported that nine of the country’s largest airports will be capacity constrained by 2030, even if all planned improvements are implemented. That means we have a lot of work to do to make sure all of our airports can accommodate the expected passenger growth and provide convenient and enjoyable experiences for travelers. This year, during the upcoming FAA reauthorization process, we will focus on infrastructure, but also on how our improvements impact consumers. From quieter plane engines to shorter security lines to improved aircraft fuel efficiency and more, FAA reauthorization will give me and the Transportation Committee an opportunity to make the conversations and ideas that we have here at home a reality.
There’s hardly a day that goes by in our part of the world where you won’t find an uplifting story in the papers with folks helping one another in our community. It’s just a way of life for those of us who call the 7th District home, and I never grow tired of highlighting that service. Just this week, we heard of Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity completing their 132nd build or restoration, and we heard the new homeowner describing those at Habitat for Humanity who have walked her through the process as “father-figures.” That’s the kind of one-on-one care that genuinely changes lives, and I’m so proud that it happens daily across our district.
We also saw local businesses in Forsyth County come together to ensure those serving as foster parents have all the resources they need to care for the children. As one of those local business owners said, “We’re always looking for a place to make a difference.” I can’t think of a better way to capture the sentiment, and I’m quite certain it’s working. I often say one of the most wonderful things about our community is that when it comes to making a difference through service to others, your politics don’t matter, your race doesn’t matter, and your religion or family background doesn’t matter. All that matters is showing up to help a friend, co-worker, or neighbor. I’m grateful we have so many who take that to heart time and again, and there’s no doubt that this leadership-by-example approach is directly responsible for our shared success.
This week the House is going to move forward on a number of bills that were recently approved by the House Judiciary Committee to ensure that average Americans are better able to avail themselves of our federal judicial system and that high-powered special interests aren’t able to manipulate the system to their benefit, at the expense of the American people. In addition, the House is expected to pass a final version of the FY17 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill that will fund the Pentagon’s needs through the end of September 2017.
You can see a comprehensive list of every bill that the House will consider this week at https://docs.house.gov/floor. The website is updated regularly throughout the week, so as events change, you’ll know exactly what the House is considering in real-time.