Washington Watch - 5/13/19

May 13, 2019
E-Newsletter Archive
This Infrastructure Week, Look to Georgia’s Success as a Model for Reform


I hope everyone had a Happy Mother’s Day! Yesterday, we celebrated the unconditional love my mom and mothers throughout the world have for their children. Mothers come in many forms -- birth mothers, step mothers, adoptive mothers, godmothers, and those special women in our lives who have stepped-up to act like a mother and guide us through life.  I’d like to thank my mom and every Georgia mom who is a guiding light for their family.



This week, community leaders, stakeholders, and policy experts from around the country are gathering in Washington, D.C., for the 2019 Infrastructure Week to discuss innovative solutions in the name of improving our nation’s infrastructure systems – which includes roads, bridges, ports, railroads, and airports – and to ensure that these systems can meet the demands of today’s users and future generations. As I’ve previously shared, one my favorite things about working on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is that most of the policy decisions that come out the Committee tend to do so in a bipartisan manner, and the good news is that I cannot find a single lawmaker who doesn’t want to craft solutions that will make smart, targeted investments in communities across the country.

In fact, I recently highlighted in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinion piece how our great state of Georgia serves as a model for transportation reform, and I believe it is critical for lawmakers to examine the successes of their respective states and then work to follow their lead. I look forward to doing just that as Congress begins examining our critical infrastructure systems, and I hope you’ll take the time to read my opinion piece in the AJC and to share your thoughts with me.



I had the pleasure of appearing on “Making Money” hosted by Fox Business’ Charles Payne.

As elected representatives, it’s our job to bring people together to move America forward, and we can. President Trump said in his State of the Union address that he wants to preside over the highest level of legal immigration in history. We can all agree that immigration built America and that immigration is the key to growing America for generations to come, but we should also be able to agree that violating immigration law is wrong. Click on the image below to watch our full interview.

From the Cannon Rotunda, Rep. Woodall discusses the ongoing crisis at the border



I had the pleasure of ending last week with a hearing in the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress entitled “Opening Up the Process: Recommendations for Making Legislative Information More Transparent.” Our witness panel included Deputy Clerk for the U.S. House of Representatives Mr. Robert Reeves, leader of Demand Progress Mr. Daniel Schuman, founder of GovTrack.us Dr. Joshua Tauberer, and University of Maryland professor Dr. Frances Lee. Much of the hearing was focused on how technology can aid both Members and constituents in learning about and understanding legislation being considered, and Committee is focused on that goal.  Dr. Lee spoke about how transparency misapplied is used by special interests to exploit and manipulate the legislative process.  The Committee is also committed to curbing those unintended consequences.  Universally, our witnesses observed that the 24-hour news cycle and a camera in every committee room and every back pocket has led to an explosion of “messaging speeches” at the expense of “collaborative discussion,” and our witnesses observed that this was never the intended goal.  I spoke to Dr. Tauberer and Mr. Schuman about ways we can bridge transparency and productivity while maintaining the integrity of the legislative process. If you would like to see our exchange, click the photo below.

On the bipartisan Modernization Committee, Rep. Woodall seeks answers on the benefits of making legislative information more accessible



Despite several rounds of negotiations, the United States and China remain in a trade dispute. The most recent chapter in this trade war was this past Friday when talks between our two countries broke down without a deal, and in response President Trump raised tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of goods from China and has instructed our trade officials to prepare $300 billion more. In retaliation, China raised tariffs on more U.S. good this morning. Residents in Forsyth and Gwinnett counties have written to me both in support and opposition to the Administration’s tariffs:

Ivan from Lawrenceville:

America's steel and aluminum industries are under attack from unfairly traded imports. President Trump took action after the Commerce Department's nearly 11-month investigation found that surging imports threatened to impair our economic and national security.

Communities across America are hurting and key defense industrial base capabilities are at risk. Traditional trade measures are not up to the task and years of global talks have accomplished little but empty promises. We need bold action to support American steel and aluminum.

I'm asking you to stand with steel and aluminum workers, and oppose any legislation that undermines the Section 232 tariffs that are a critical step to restoring sanity to global markets and putting our world-class manufacturers on a level playing field.

From David from Cumming:

Who knows what will happen on this trade deal. "If" the President's self-imposed trade war fails I am AGAINST any bailouts for U.S. farmers or any other impacted industry. The President built this mess and he can fix it. Taxpayers do not. If the President doesn't fix it he will be judged in the 2020 election. Any bailout would be nothing more than a political move to gain votes. That is totally unacceptable and corrupt. Thank you for your time.

According to reports, our response came after China failed to live up to its previous commitments to put in place laws ensuring intellectual property rights, stopping forced technology transfers, and reducing the subsidies that give Chinese businesses an unfair advantage.  While there is no future date set to continue negotiations, both President Trump and Chinese officials have expressed their optimism that a deal will happen. No deal is better than a bad deal, whether that is with North Korea and nuclear weapons or with China on trade. For far too long, China has been allowed to break the rules of international trade and take advantage of companies around the globe. A fair deal is in the best interest of both of our economies, and I am confident that we will find that middle ground.

Undeniably, America companies and America workers are hurt by a trade war, and they are also hurt by China’s unilateral breech of intellectual property laws and its industry subsidies.  As we work to curb the abuses—not just on behalf of America but on behalf of the world with encouragement from trade negotiators across the globe— pleasure know that short-term pain for our farmers, business owners, and manufacturers will hopefully give way to long-term economic gains from a more fair trade policy.



The important role local industry plays in fostering a vibrant, prosperous community is undeniable, and every time I meet with these industry leaders at home and on Capitol Hill, I can assure you they don’t take that responsibility lightly. Each and every business is critical to the success of our Seventh District community, and we are so fortunate to have a multitude of small businesses, manufacturers, non-profits, and more who are excelling in their respective fields.

The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce recently recognized some of these organizations for their outstanding contributions and service to our state across several industries, including agriculture, education, engineering, healthcare, hospitality, and information technology. The 2019 Overall IMPACT Regional Business Award was presented to Jacobs, a design firm located in the metro-Atlanta area, and you can read more about this year’s winners by clicking the link below.



With this school year drawing to a close and graduation for the Gwinnett and Forsyth class of 2019 fast approaching, it is important that we continue to uplift our students and recognize their success, as our community would not be what it is without their efforts. Joining those individuals just recently recognized for outstanding achievement are two Forsyth County students. In case you missed it, Mason Sheffield, a senior at North Forsyth High School, received top honors at Georgia FFA’s Agricultural Proficiency Awards for his extensive work with eastern hemlock tree conservation. He will move on to compete at the national competition in Indianapolis this fall.  Hannah Lee, who is a junior at Lambert, was selected to join National Youth Orchestra as one of its featured oboists. She is one of roughly 100 students nationwide selected for this honor, and one of three in our state.  The orchestra is set to perform at Carnegie Hall and across Europe this summer. These are certainly remarkable achievements, and should you come across more exciting stories in our community, I hope you will share those with me.



This week the House will consider a number of highly controversial bills, including H.R. 5 and H.R. 987, which will unfortunately deepen partisan divides in the House and be dead on arrival in the Senate. These measures—like so many before them in 2019—are being brought to the floor for the purpose of creating election sound-bites instead of creating public policy.  I keep saying it because it’s true: I’m disappointed that House Democratic Leadership is continuing to pursue a far-left partisan political agenda instead of working together with the Senate, the White House, and House Republicans to bring solutions to the American people.  I don’t expect the Democratic majority to write the same bill that I would, but I do expect it work toward solutions.  To solve a problem, a bill must pass the House, pass the Senate, and be signed by the President.  Anything that fails that test is just a messaging exercise.  I know it to be true that America has a long list of shared problems that we could be solving together.  Just last week at the Rules Committee I talked with my friends at the Energy and Commerce Committee about the problems of balance billing and high deductibles for out-of-network emergency room coverage – two issues that I know we have common ground on – but instead of moving those bipartisan fixes, we’re once again going to focus on divisiveness. I know that we can do better, and I will continue asking my colleagues to join me in getting things done for families across America.


Rob Woodall

Member of Congress