Washington Watch - 5/6/19
By any assessment, economists’ projections of 190,000 jobs added and a 3.8% jobless rate for April are positive, but according to the latest jobs report, our economy preformed even better than those expectations. We added 263,000 jobs in April and dropped our unemployment rate to 3.6%, the lowest it’s been since 1969! Wages also grew last month, bringing the average hourly earnings to $27.77.
While the new House majority hasn’t yet focused on much more than partisan messaging bills, America continues to reap the benefits of the economic policies passed by President Trump and the last Congress. The new majority in House of Representatives can continue the positive economic legacy of the past few years. President Obama and numerous Republican Congresses were able to work together, and I know that Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump can do the same. There are Members on both sides of the aisle who are driven to find solutions, and I look forward to working with them to further strengthen our nation.
Last week, the House Committee on Rules held the House’s first legislative hearing on H.R. 1384, the “Medicare for All Act of 2019.” The Rules Committee is a unique committee in the U.S. House of Representatives because it is usually the final destination before legislation advances to the House floor for a vote. The Speaker of the House is able to direct each movement of this one committee, so for the Rules Committee to hold the very first legislative hearing on “Medicare for All” indicates that government-run health care is the Democratic Party's highest priority in the 116th Congress.
At the hearing, House Republicans revealed that “Medicare for All” puts Medicare as we know it at risk. It is “Medicare” in name only. It requires at least $10,000 per person tax increases per year; it outlaws employer sponsored insurance, which would take policies away from 150 million Americans; and it eliminates Medicare Advantage, which serves millions of America’s seniors. Click on the image below to watch my interaction with the panel.
Rep. Woodall joined his colleagues in raising concerns about a one-size-fits-all, government-run health care system
Health care solutions are only possible when Republicans and Democrats work together to tackle the complex issues that affect our communities. We need to remember that there is more that unites America than divides us. I went on Varney & Co. to discuss how Republicans are committed to strengthening Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. You can watch our full interview by clicking on the image below.
Last week, I welcomed the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce to our nation’s capital for its annual advocacy trip.
On Wednesday, I arranged for the Gwinnett Chamber to visit the White House, and meet with Kevin Hassett, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. At their meeting, Chairman Hassett explained how President Trump is committed to cutting burdensome government regulations that stifle job creation and innovation and how that will bolster businesses in Georgia.
Rep. Woodall and the Gwinnett Chamber on the steps of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building
On Thursday, the Gwinnett Chamber met with Senator Isakson, Senator Perdue, and Congressman Hice to discuss how health care, transportation, and education all contribute to a strong business environment in Georgia’s Seventh Congressional District and throughout the state.
The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce meets with Senators Isakson and Perdue
Representative Hice speaks to the Gwinnett Chamber
Later in the day, I introduced the Gwinnett Chamber to Ben Gilbert, a Senior Cybersecurity Adviser for the Department of Homeland Security, who talked about how cyber threats are increasing every day and how the federal government is addressing this security challenge to prevent hacking and letting personal information fall into the wrong hands.
Ben Gilbert addresses the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce
- Gwinnett Daily Post. Gwinnett chamber, community leaders meet representatives in Washington
I’ve said in the past that if you really want to know how to reform places like the Pentagon, don’t ask someone who works there now; ask someone who left just yesterday! The same could be said about the House of Representatives, and that’s why we held a former Members day hearing at the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. We were fortunate enough to have before the Select Committee former Representatives Tom Davis, Vic Fazio, Martin Frost, Reid Ribble, Tim Roemer, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who combined have over a century’s worth of experience in this institution. They spoke to us about everything ranging from structuring the Congressional calendar and committee assignments to staff retention and technological upgrades. I had a chance to speak with them about how we got to the place we are and the different proposals that could be achieved this Congress to reverse some of the negative trends we’ve seen over the years.
As you all may be aware, on June 1, 2017, President Trump announced the United States would not adhere to the requirements set by the Paris Climate Agreement. However, the U.S. could not technically withdraw before November 4, 2020, according to the terms of the accord, which is 5 years after enactment of the Agreement. The focus of last week’s legislative activity in the Capitol was a bill called H.R. 9, the “Climate Action Now Act,” to reverse that action. This bill would prohibit President Trump from taking any action to withdraw the United States from the “Paris Agreement,” and would direct the President to develop a plan for the United States to meet the emission targets agreed to by President Obama. Constituents have written to me both in support and opposition to the bill:
Earl from Buford:
The Climate Action Now Act would ensure that the United States meets its commitment to cut global warming pollution by at least 26 percent by 2032 as part of the international Paris Climate Agreement. The science of global warming is clear -- we have no time to spare, and the stakes could not be higher. We must ratchet down carbon pollution from the burning of fossil fuels as soon as possible.
I urge you to vote for the Climate Action Now Act - H.R. 9.
Kate from Suwanee:
I am writing to urge you to vote “no” on the Climate Action Now Act (H.R. 9). The Climate Action Now act stops President Trump from completing the U.S.'s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement by prohibiting federal funds from being used to do so. This bill also includes language forcing the President to create a plan for how the U.S. will meet the strenuous and unrealistic pollution reduction goals agreed to in the Paris Agreement by President Obama. On top of costing the country $3 trillion, it also will significantly reduce employment.
Please vote in the best interest of the American economy and oppose H.R. 9.
Despite my opposition, H.R. 9 passed the House by a vote of 231 to 190. I am a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. This bipartisan group of legislators is dedicated to finding viable solutions to our climate problems without sacrificing American prosperity and innovation. That goal is exactly why I believe H.R. 9 was the wrong path forward on combatting climate issues.
Specifically, H.R. 9 requires a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025 and confirmation that other parties to the agreement with major economies are fulfilling their announced contributions. However, estimates from the Heritage Foundation say that pursuing such a plan would result in an overall average shortfall of nearly 400,000 jobs; an average manufacturing shortfall of over 200,000 jobs; a total income loss of more than $20,000 for a family of four; an aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) loss of over $2.5 trillion; and increases in household electricity expenditures between 13% and 20%. This negative hit to our economy sacrifices our prosperity.
The United States is already leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that’s without us being part of the Paris Agreement. In fact, according to the International Energy Agency, the United States’ emissions remain around the same level today as they were in 1990 (14% below their peak in 2000), making it the largest absolute decline among all countries. Last year, an EPA report found that the combined emissions of the six main kinds of pollutants decreased by 73%, even as the U.S. economy grew substantially over the past nearly 50 years. Without the Paris Agreement, the U.S. is doing a tremendous job addressing climate change.
Then why not re-join the Agreement and do even better? Because the Agreement isn’t binding and the rest of the world isn’t really committed to it. The reality is that the vast majority of signatories of the Paris Agreement are off-target in meeting their emissions goals. In fact, countries like China, India, and Russia have increased greenhouse gas emissions even though they’re signatories to the Agreement. Together, China and India accounted for nearly half of the increase in global carbon emissions in 2017 according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. The fact is, even if the United States and the rest of the developed world cut their carbon dioxide emissions to zero, it would still not offset the emissions from China, India, and the developing world. The non-binding Paris Agreement does nothing to bring a reduction in emissions to the countries where it matters most. We can continue to reduce our emissions and advancing clean energy technologies without subjecting ourselves to plans that disadvantage our country, economy, and citizens. I am committed to pursuing those effective paths forward.
I know none of us are surprised that our communities’ reputation of excellence in education extends far beyond our home, and in case you missed it, I want to highlight U.S. News & World Report’s latest rankings which recognized the best high schools across the country. Among the more than 17,000 public high schools listed in this report, the Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology in Lawrenceville was ranked as the number 6 high school in the country! What’s more, several schools from Forsyth County were ranked in the top 15% of schools nationwide, including Lambert which was recognized in the top 1% of schools. Keep up the good work!
- Gwinnett Daily Post. GSMST ranked No. 6 high school in the country by U.S. News & World Report
- Forsyth County News. Forsyth County high schools among top 15 percent in US, report says
- Patch. U.S. News Best High Schools 2019: Forsyth Schools Make List
The Forsyth County Fire Department is joining more than 100 fire departments across our state in holding an annual drive to benefit the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation. You may have already seen them out in the community this past weekend, and if you are interested in taking part, you can find them at local storefronts this upcoming Friday and Saturday, as well as May 18th and 19th. I know we are all grateful for those who work so hard to give back to our friends and neighbors, and you can learn more about this fundraiser in our area by clicking the link below.
This week the House will once again consider a disaster relief bill, H.R. 2157. This bill is similar to previous disaster aid bills that have passed the House, though this one also includes funding for midwestern states that have been hit by this spring’s floods, as well as additional money for Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, the bill’s sponsor, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) chose not to include some important provisions for farmers in Georgia and other southern states that could have helped them better recover from Hurricane Michael. While this bill isn’t everything that Georgia’s farmers need, I’m happy that we’re talking about their needs once again on the House floor. I also look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate as they plan to move another, complementary disaster aid bill that will hopefully get the support of the White House and bring the essential aid that is needed to our neighbors in south and middle Georgia.
In addition, the House will vote on H.R. 986. This bill is an attempt by some to take away health insurance options from Americans in an effort to bolster House Democrats’ one-size-fits-all narrative that single-payer health care is the only solution to our heath care challenges. The Trump Administration has allowed innovative health insurance plans, like short-term plans, to be offered as an affordable way for folks to attain basic insurance while they are in a period of transition. More choice should be a bipartisan goal. Unfortunately, this bill turns its back on that bipartisanship with a blatantly political attempt to take away choice and affordability.
Member of Congress