Washington Watch - 6/13/16
Last week, Congress had the honor of hosting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a Joint Meeting of Congress. As two of the largest democracies in the world, the United States and India share many common values and goals, and it was very reassuring to hear Prime Minister Modi call our nation an “indispensable partner” in our combined efforts to defeat terrorism, grow our economies, contain a more assertive China, and promote freedom and liberty around the world. We will always be much more successful in ensuring the world is a safer and freer place when working together with likeminded nations, and I’m glad that the United States has India as a partner in that crucially important effort.
- CNN. Modi addresses Congress as U.S.-India ties bloom
- Wall Street Journal. India’s Narendra Modi Emphasizes Security Ties in Address to Congress
A few days ago, we marked the 72nd anniversary of the Normandy Beach invasion by Allied Forces, which proved to be the turning point of World War II in Europe. The incredible American bravery of that day was a crucial moment in the restoration of liberty to an entire continent, and the impact of their selfless actions is still felt today. Throughout our history, the American people have always risen to the challenge, defended freedom, and overcome adversity. There is no better example than those harrowing acts of June 6, 1944; and from Normandy Beach to the Pacific, it was the unwavering commitment of American service members that saved the world from tyranny.
Rep. Rob Woodall meets with Mr. John Bridges and his family on June 6, 2016
Our community is full of this spirit, and I was honored to visit with one of those remarkable men in person on such a special day. John Bridges was 17 years old in 1944, and while not a part of the D-Day invasion, he saw combat in the Pacific theater. He went on to serve as a pilot in the newly formed U.S. Air Force and fly the F-84 Thunderjet in the Korean War. I’m incredibly humbled by the service of men like John, and it was such a privilege to share a conversation with him and his family.
This past Thursday, the House rejected a taxpayer-funded bailout of Puerto Rico and approved a conservative response to the decades of failed liberal policies that have destabilized Puerto Rico and saddled it with more than $70 billion in debt. The legislation, H.R. 5278, the “Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act,” puts in place a strong oversight board to impose fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets on the leaders of the U.S. territory. The Board is also empowered to institute government and economic reforms that will promote growth on the island, which has been locked in an economic recession since 2006 and has an unemployment rate above 12%. Additionally, the Board can oversee a debt restructuring process should voluntary negotiations with creditors completely break down. What’s most important to you and me, however, is that the bill specifically prevents any federal funds from being used to pay any debt owed by Puerto Rico. While it’s necessary for Congress to intervene in order to prevent a crisis on an island that 3.5 million Americans call home, I’m pleased that we were able to advance a conservative solution that does not call on taxpayers to foot the bill for the fiscally irresponsible actions of the Puerto Rican government.
Despite America’s many challenges, we live in a remarkable time of innovation and progress. On Thursday, I had the opportunity to speak to a room packed with scientists, engineers, students, and others about the transformational potential of the robotics industry at an event designed to highlight the 5th Anniversary of the National Robotics Initiative. Today we have “robots” that have advanced far beyond our traditional conception of what a robot looks like and what it is capable of doing. We have robots that can fix cracks in a highway in milliseconds, allow paralyzed veterans to walk again, and help those with vision impairments travel safely. Much of this technology is being developed and deployed right in our backyard at Georgia Tech. I am proud to be the co-chair of the Congressional Robotics Caucus, where we continue to promote amazing technology that can change lives and save tax dollars for generations to come.
Rep. Rob Woodall speaks with attendees at the Congressional Robotics Caucus Event at the U.S. Capitol on June 9th, 2016
For months, House Republicans have been working on common-sense, bottom-up solutions to the most vexing problems facing our country. Speaker Paul Ryan recently debuted some of these solutions as a part of a new initiative called “A Better Way.” From fighting poverty and growing jobs, to national security and retirement security, I have been listening to experts from across our district and across the country. Working with my colleagues, we have collected the very best ideas from the real world and we are going to make them a reality in Washington. I encourage you to go to https://abetterway.speaker.gov and read for yourself about the solutions that we can achieve together.
- National Review. A Better Way
- CBS News. Paul Ryan releases national security plan
- USA Today. Paul Ryan starts unveiling plan for ‘better GOP’
As we concluded a very busy and productive week in Washington, the House passed the FY17 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, the third of twelve required funding bills and the one which provides funding for Congressional member offices, the Library of Congress, the U.S. Capitol Police, the Architect of the Capitol, and the General Accountability Office. I’m happy to say that since Republicans took over control of the House in 2011, we have reduced spending on the Legislative Branch by nearly 14 percent. Thrift begins at home, and the FY17 bill continues that fiscal discipline by ensuring that members of Congress see no salary increase next year. It also ensures that Congress can continue to fulfill its critical constitutional oversight responsibilities. Detractors said that this year's appropriations process could not succeed, but this bill is another in a series of victories that American taxpayers can be proud of.
This week the House is going to move forward with considering the FY17 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. This bill provides funding for our nation’s critical defense, operations, and readiness programs and supports our military men and women at home and abroad, including health and quality of life programs for our troops and their families. I expect a robust debate on this bill and the many dozens of amendments that I’m sure my colleagues will offer.
Member of Congress