Washington Watch - 3/7/16
Each year that I’ve been entrusted with your voting card, the House has successfully produced a budget resolution that reaches balance without raising taxes. While I expect no different this year, the House Budget Committee’s job will be tougher thanks to lackluster economic growth under President’s Obama’s leadership. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) most recent Budget and Economic Outlook, U.S. GDP is now expected to average 2.1% over the next decade. 2.1% growth is well below the historical average, and this year’s projection continues the troubling downward trend we’ve seen in recent years. We all know that slower growth means fewer jobs and less opportunity, but it’s also important to understand that just a 0.1% sustained decrease in GDP over the next decade will add $327 billion to the federal deficit, according to CBO. My colleagues and I on the Budget Committee went to the House floor to discuss the challenge of balancing the federal budget this week, and I chose to focus my few minutes of remarks on the need to jump start our economy.
CLICK ON THE CHART BELOW TO WATCH MY SPEECH
Too often with this President, the motto is "ask for forgiveness rather than permission," as he usurps the will of the American people through regulatory fiat. He knows, as you and I do, that by the time the courts are able to come along and reverse his Administration's egregious regulations, that the money has already been spent and the damage has already been done. The House passed a bill last Thursday to try to prevent this from happening again with H.R. 4557, the “Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act.” This bill targets an Obama Administration rule that would force the brick industry to spend up to $100 million on compliance with no guarantee that this rule will ultimately hold up in court. The bill doesn’t remove environmental safeguards, and it doesn’t even repeal this rule—it simply requires the Obama Administration to wait until the courts decide whether or not this latest example of regulatory overreach can stand the scrutiny of our judicial system before compliance starts costing dollars and jobs.
- The Business Journals. Brick manufacturers would get reprieve from EPA rule under House-passed bill.
Among other activity in Washington last week was a hearing held by the House Armed Services Committee entitled “World Wide Threats.” The Committee spoke with Lieutenant General Vincent R. Stewart, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and examined the top threats against our nation and what the best course of action is to combat them. The world is a more dangerous place than it was just a few years ago, especially with the emergence of ISIS and the persistence of other terror groups, and knowing the nature of the top threats against our nation will be invaluable as the Committee begins drafting the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which will contain policies that direct our nation’s defense efforts where they are needed most. I look forward to following the Committee’s progress in drafting this essential legislation in the coming weeks.
- Defense News. Pentagon official decries Russian flights over US
Last week, the House passed a bill, the “Ensuring Terminated Providers are Removed from Medicaid and CHIP Act,” which prohibits physicians who have been thrown out of a state’s Medicaid system for fraud from practicing medicine in another state. This bill will not only save American taxpayers millions of dollars, but it will ensure that some of the most vulnerable Americans – especially low income women and children – will never have to worry about being served by a physician who is “state shopping” and continuing to defraud taxpayers.
While this bill is a major success story for good governance, I bet you didn’t hear much about it in the news. That’s unfortunate because the bill passed the House by a vote of 406-0. This type of bipartisan compromise and commitment to working together to solve real problems and make the lives of American better is what should make the front page of the newspaper. I was proud to join with my colleagues in passing this important legislation, and I look forward to the Senate and President Obama approving it as well.
- The Ripon Advance. House leadership touts bill to eliminate Medicaid fraud
- Americans for Tax Reform. ATR supports legislation to improve Medicaid care and efficiency
I hear from some of my fellow members of Congress from the other side of the aisle too often that Republicans just don’t care about those in need. That kind of rhetoric could not be farther from the truth. In fact, the House Agriculture Committee held a critically important hearing last Wednesday examining the Food Stamp program – referred to officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – and looking at ways to make that program work better for Americans. Click here to watch the hearing.
Ensuring that hard-working Americans who are struggling to put food on the table for their families are able to do so and remaining faithful to our commitment to America’s taxpayers that we are using their hard-earned money wisely is the responsibility of the federal government. What the committee learned is that there are some amazing SNAP programs happening at the state level that we can certainly replicate and take advantage of. I know that Georgians are able to take care of their fellow Georgians, and I support efforts by the federal government to empower local communities to serve each other.
On Tuesday, March 8th, I will be hosting a town hall meeting in Suwanee. I know how difficult it can be to take time away from your families to attend an event like this, so I want to say thank you in advance if you’re able to make it out to the Suwanee City Hall. And if you can’t make it, you’ll have many opportunities in the future to attend another in-person town hall meeting or you can take part in one of my telephone town hall meetings.
Gwinnett County Town Hall Meeting
March, 8th, 2016
7:00pm – 8:00pm
Suwanee City Hall
330 Town Center Avenue
Suwanee, Georgia 30024
On Sunday morning, many of us woke up to the sad news that former First Lady Nancy Reagan passed away. Mrs. Reagan’s contributions to her husband’s long career in politics and her advocacy for Alzheimer’s research and finding a cure for that terrible disease are lasting legacies. Her devotion to her husband, their work together, and his legacy will never be forgotten: nor will the love and strength that she showed caring for President Reagan as he fought Alzheimer’s disease. Mrs. Reagan will certainly be missed by her friends and family, but also by a grateful nation who thanks her for her service to the American people.
- USA Today. Nancy Reagan, protector of former president’s legacy, dies at 94
- NBC News. Nancy Reagan: shrewd adviser, devoted wife, committed advocate
I’m happy to be back in Georgia this week spending time with my friends and neighbors around the 7th District. On Tuesday morning I have the pleasure of visiting with the innovative people at Suniva in Norcross. Suniva is a Georgia success story that started as a project idea at Georgia Tech and has now grown into one of the largest solar cell manufacturers in the United States. We’re proud to have Suniva in Gwinnett County, and I look forward to telling you more about their cutting-edge business in next week’s newsletter!
Member of Congress