Washington Watch - 6/10/19

June 10, 2019
E-Newsletter Archive
Celebrating America’s Brave Veterans on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day

CELEBRATING D-DAY AND OUR HEROES

The United States was founded on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We remain a free country because we have valiant men and women who are willing to lay down their lives to protect our nation.

On the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, I attended a Veterans Memorial Groundbreaking Ceremony in the city of Sugar Hill. Thank you to the Sugar Hill City Council and Mayor Steve Edwards for inviting me to celebrate the brave soldiers who gave everything as they stormed the beaches of Normandy to fight against tyranny. Click here to read the Gwinnett Daily Post’s coverage of the event.

Rep. Woodall participates in the Sugar Hill Veterans Memorial Groundbreaking Ceremony

 

REP. WOODALL RECOGNIZED FOR ADVOCACY ON BEHALF OF CRIME VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS

Protecting victims of violent crimes from the very criminals who perpetrated the crime is our responsibility, and I worked to make that happen.

On Friday, I was honored by “Marsy’s Law for Georgia” for my work in support of crime victims’ rights. Last November, Georgians overwhelmingly voted in favor of Amendment 4, Marsy’s Law. Before the vote, I worked to bring awareness of the issue and push Marsy’s Law across the finish line, which expands legal rights for survivors and victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and gang violence.

This law is a win for all Georgians, especially those who know what it’s like to live in fear, and I am grateful to the many hands that helped push this issue to the forefront and bring Marsy’s Law to fruition.

Rep. Woodall was an early supporter of Marsy’s Law for Georgia which passed by one of the highest margins in state history

 

HOUSE LEADERSHIP REJECTS BIPARTISAN SOLUTIONS ON IMMIGRATION

One party cannot go it alone when it comes to immigration reform. That holds as true today as it has in the past. And yet, rather than take up the myriad immigration bills we know both Democrats and Republicans can agree on, my friends on the other side of the aisle chose to instead take up H.R. 6, the “American Dream and Promise Act,” effectively weaponizing a vote on DACA recipients to use as a partisan messaging tool that has no chance of becoming law.

In the Judiciary Committee, the majority rejected every Republican amendment that would have made it harder for undocumented criminals and gang members to access a pathway to citizenship, and on the House floor, they made sure to prohibit any amendments, even one that would give children of lawfully present visa-holders a pathway to citizenship as they age out of their programs. More importantly, the bill did nothing to address our crisis at the southern border, putting at risk a whole new generation to be caught up in the very same legal limbo facing current DACA recipients.

From the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Woodall urges Democratic Leadership to take up serious bipartisan immigration solutions

We cannot deliver real results to difficult issues facing our country if we continue down this ineffectual path of hyper-partisanship. It is my hope that we come together this Congress to take another shot at addressing immigration reform and find a solution that will finally reach the President’s desk.

After H.R. 6 passed in the House, Rep. Woodall talks about how the bill fails to secure the border and help legal immigrants

 

REP. WOODALL DISCUSSES TRADE AND THE US-MEXICO-CANADA TRADE AGREEMENT

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting with Nouryon, a member of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) with operations right here in the Seventh District of Georgia.

One of the ACC’s top priorities this Congress is working to ensure ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In Georgia, this is especially true, as chemicals ranked among the top three exports to Canada and Mexico in 2017, accounting for $1.1 billion. That said, I’m not just hearing about the desire to responsibly replace NAFTA from the chemicals industry, I’m hearing about it from a whole host of industries, from large multinational corporations down to main street job creators.

As many of you know, the USMCA would restructure the more than two decade-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by making long overdue updates to better serve each nation’s citizens. I’ve long been a big supporter of our free trade agreements and I do believe there’s always room to modernize them and make them even better for American workers, companies, and consumers. While I was pleased to see the Office of the United States Trade Representative move forward with sending a draft Statement of Administrative Action on the USMCA to Congress at the end of last month, which is simply a required procedural step that moves us one step closer towards ratification, there is still much debate to be had, both in the halls of Congress and between official trade negotiators, and I’m optimistic that this Congress can and will move forward with ratifying a deal in the months to come. That’s because lawmakers, regardless of which side of the aisle they sit on, recognize that trade advantages all their constituents – consumers and companies alike – while trade wars advantage no one. I discussed this very notion on Fox Business last week, and you can click the image below to hear more.

Rep. Rob Woodall discusses USMCA and disaster relief for Georgia farmers with Connell McShane

 

CONNECTING WITH CONSTITUENTS IN THE 21ST CENTURY

One of the most important duties of a Member of Congress is engaging with his or her constituents. That responsibility exists to hold the Member accountable to the voters, but also for the Member to educate constituents about what is happening in Washington, D.C. The way Congressional offices do this currently is through mail, emails, phone calls, town halls, office meetings, and newsletters like this one. However, as technology evolves, it becomes more difficult not only to respond to constituents in a timely manner but also to engage with constituents as effectively as possible. That poses questions like “are constituents reading their Member’s response,” “are Members building trust with their constituents,” and “is the overall conversation constructive to the policy process.”

To evaluate these issues, the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress held a hearing last week entitled “Improving Constituent Engagement,” where we discussed how Congress has evolved over the years to be more responsive to the constituency and areas that are still in need of improvement.

I had a chance to speak with witnesses on the panel about how Members can improve constituent engagement in the most effective way given our limited time and resources. You can watch are exchange by clicking on the thumbnail below.

Rep. Woodall questions witnesses at the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress hearing on Improving Constituent Engagement.

 

REP. WOODALL:  BOYCOTT THREATS FROM HOLLYWOOD HIGHLIGHT HYPOCRISY OF THE RADICAL LEFT

By now you’ve probably heard on local talk radio or read in the local paper how some Hollywood actors and companies are considering boycotting movie and TV production in Georgia should the “heartbeat” law go into effect. I don’t believe our state legislature is trying to control women’s bodies, instead, it’s trying to protect the lives of unborn infants. It’s sad that Hollywood entertainment companies can’t understand why we are against abortion, yet, they’re willing to film in countries that support dictatorial regimes and that commit human rights violations.

It was a pleasure to appear on Varney & Co. last week to discuss this issue. Click on the image below to watch our interview.

From the Cannon Rotunda, Rep. Woodall discusses Georgia’s “heartbeat” bill and Netflix boycott with Stuart Varney

 

CONSTITUENT SPOTLIGHT: SUPPORTING OUR EUROPEAN ALLIES

President Trump spent last week visiting with our allies the United Kingdom, Ireland, and France in an effort to maintain our close relationships and to honor the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings to liberate Europe from Nazi control. These three countries represent some of our closest friends in the world; the “special relationship” between the U.S. and the U.K., the strong cultural ties and heritage that so many Americans have to Ireland, and the recognition that France has been an important partner since fighting alongside the U.S. for our independence. It is important that we maintain the close diplomatic and economic ties that we have forged over the years to our mutual benefit. That is why I wanted to respond to some constituents who wrote to my office about a bill the House passed recently to support those allies.

Donald from Suwanee:

Mr. Woodall, why did you support the European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019?

Lucile from Duluth:

Dear Rep. Woodall I am writing as your constituent, to say how disappointed I am that you voted in favor of HR 1616, the European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019. This bill would increase global dependence on fossil fuels by investing billions of dollars in dirty and dangerous fracked gas infrastructure. We can't afford to spend a penny more on fossil fuels and should instead focus on transitioning our country and the global economy to clean, renewable energy.

We are facing a climate crisis and should not be building any new fossil fuel infrastructure, nor should we be supporting the fossil fuel industry in Europe. I am particularly concerned that if this bill becomes law, it would create more of a demand for fracking here in the United States. Fracking has poisoned people's air and water and is one of the biggest drivers of climate change. An increased demand for fracking would require even more dangerous pipelines, compressor stations and other infrastructure that would lock in our dependence on fossil fuels for decades to come. We need to align our policy and spending priorities with the reality of climate change. That means no more fossil fuels.

Please change your position on this bill and publicly OPPOSE the final passage of HR 1616/S. 704 before it is voted on by the Senate.


I appreciate Donald, Lucile, and others for writing in about this bill, but I can tell Lucile that the bipartisan passage of H.R. 1616, the “European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019,” had little to do with the fossil fuel industry or climate change, but rather everything to do with countering Russia’s influence in Europe. As you can read in the bill, it aims to assist “European and Eurasian countries to reduce their dependence on energy resources from countries that use energy dependence for undue political influence, such as the Russian Federation, which has used natural gas to coerce, intimidate, and influence other countries.”  This bill would direct the State Department to prioritize and expedite its efforts to provide support to countries in Central and Eastern Europe to diversify their energy sources and supply routes and increase their energy security.

While many European countries have made huge strides in pursuing green or clean energy, many still depend on Russian energy sources, especially natural gas. In fact, natural gas from Russia alone accounted for roughly 40% of total natural gas imports from outside the EU in 2017. This has become a source of contention as this gives Russia leverage over many European countries, notably Germany and the Baltic states, as Europe’s demand for natural gas increases and existing supplies diminish. This has been exemplified by the conflict in Ukraine where Russia has retaliated against the country by diverting exports through the Baltic Sea and by planning to build a second Liquid Natural Gas pipeline directly to Germany, reducing profits for gas transit in Ukraine by almost 50%. U.S. policy has been to oppose Russian influence in Europe and its efforts to expand its natural gas pipelines, such as the Nord Stream 2. I was pleased to vote in support of this bill in order to help our European allies lessen their dependence on Russia energy sources.

 

TRIPLETS NAMED CO-VALEDICTORIANS FOR WEST FORSYTH HIGH’S CLASS OF 2019

The path to success is paved with a lifelong commitment to learning, and as I have often said, that ideal could not be more representative of the students in the Seventh District. The role our families, friends, teachers, play in contributing to our students’ scholastic success is critical, and as evidenced by our proven track record of excellence in education, it is certainly a responsibility that we as a community do not take lightly. That is why it is so incredible to hear stories, like that of triplets Rommi, Adam, and Zane Kashlan, whose hard work not only led to graduating early at West Forsyth High School, but also being named co-Valedictorians! The Kashlan siblings are set to attend college together at Georgia Tech beginning this summer, and I’m sure we will hear more of their good work in the future.

 

GWINNETT AREA NON-PROFITS RECEIVE $425,000 TO SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY

Our community would not be the beacon of generosity and leader in service that it is without the work our non-profits do to ensure we are best serving one another. It is impossible for our non-profits to excel in that mission without local support and individual contributions, and the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia’s grant awards, totaling more than $425,000 for education initiatives and curbing food insecurity in our area, will surely go a long way toward meeting that goal. The Foundation has a long track record of supporting our community for over thirty years, and I know we are all grateful for their support which ensures others can continue offering theirs.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

The full House of Representatives will be considering a massive, 5-bill package of FY20 appropriations measures including bills for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, Defense, and State, as well as the annual funding resolution for the Legislative Branch. This $1 trillion package represents nearly half of the annual appropriations bills that Congress must pass in order to keep the government running. While I don’t agree with everything in each of these bills – and in fact, there are number of very large problems in these bills – what is most concerning is that the House is moving forward entirely independent of the U.S. Senate. That’s right, without what most people are assuming will need to be a two-year budget caps deal, House Democratic leaders are moving forward with trying to spend money at levels that the Senate and White House haven’t agreed to, and most likely won’t agree to. Once again, instead of working together to pass a bill that could actually become law, Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team are going it alone with a package that highlights partisan barbs and talking points. I hope that the House will change its direction soon and get back to the business of serving the American people.

Unfortunately, the other measure making waves this week is H.Res. 430, which would allow Democratic committee chairmen in the House to initiate or intervene in civil judicial proceedings to enforce subpoenas. While I’m pleased that Speaker Pelosi and Judiciary Chairman Nadler have seemingly paused the breakneck speed at which they were hurdling toward bringing a contempt resolution to the floor regarding Attorney General Barr and former White House Counsel McGahn, this brand-new resolution is still deeply concerning. Instead of working with the Department of Justice to come to a mutually agreeable solution, one that provides Congress with the documents that it needs yet respects the separation of powers inherent in our Constitution, this measure allows committee chairman to take a “my way or the highway” approach to oversight. Threats and recriminations aren’t useful; negotiation and compromise are. 

Sincerely,

Rob Woodall
Member of Congress