Washington Watch - 6/24/19
As you read in last week’s newsletter, the House continued its work on the FY20 appropriations process. On Tuesday, we completed the amendment process for H.R. 2740 (the first package of spending bills) and voted on its final passage. Following H.R. 2740, the House began consideration of H.R. 3055 (the second spending package).
Before getting into the details of H.R. 3055, I want to provide you with an update on the outcome of H.R. 2740. The bill passed the House on a vote of 226-203, with seven Democrats joining all Republican members in opposition. As I shared with you last week, H.R. 2740 was an almost $1 trillion spending bill that provided no funding to address the humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border, rolled back pro-life provisions, and perpetuated duplicative and unnecessary spending for many programs. As such, I could not support the bill.
Immediately following passage of the first spending bill, House Democrats brought the second spending package, which includes funding bills for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, Agriculture, Interior, Defense, Transportation, Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development as well as the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. Similar to H.R. 2740, the second spending package also violates current law mandating federal spending levels. In fact, H.R. 3055 would put the federal government on track to add nearly $2 trillion to our annual deficits over 10 years. I have supported several efforts to rein in spending during the amendment process, but the Democratic majority has defeated these attempts.
That said, I expect the House to continue the amendment process for H.R 3055 when we gavel into session today. I will work to advance the funding priorities of our friends and neighbors throughout the duration of the FY20 spending process.
Last Wednesday, Mexico’s Senate passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), making it the first country to ratify the new North American trade pact. If passed, the USMCA will:
• Increase GDP by $68.2 billion
• Create 176,000 jobs in the U.S.
• Support farmers and ranchers
• Protect innovators
Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs to end her partisan obstruction and bring the USMCA to the floor for a vote. Click on the image below to watch my interview with Varney & Co.
From the Cannon Rotunda, Rep. Woodall discusses why Speaker Pelosi should work with President Trump on a 21st Century trade deal
Last week, the Electric Membership Co-Ops of Georgia brought 115 students from across Georgia to Washington to visit our nation’s capital, where these young adults experienced democracy and governance first hand.
Thank you, Georgia EMC, for inviting me to speak at your Electric Cooperative Youth Tour town hall and for arranging my meeting with the next generation of leaders from the Seventh Congressional District. I hope it was a fun and productive trip!
Rep. Woodall meets with the some of the brightest minds from Gwinnett and Forsyth counties
The 116th Congress is the most racially and ethnically diverse in our nation’s history, and that’s great news for developing public policies that serve the vast and disparate communities we are blessed to have in America. However, it is also important to consider the diversity of Congressional staff who do much of the groundwork for policy making, which is why the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress held a hearing last week titled “Cultivating Diversity and Improving Retention Among Congressional Staff.” At the hearing, we spoke about what diversity means and how we gauge success in diversifying our staff. One of the witnesses, Ms. Laura Liswood, spoke about factors of diversity that are beyond race and ethnicity that can offer value to one’s team, including socioeconomic status, marital status, military service, educational background, and even age. We also heard from Dr. Kwasi Mitchell who shared with the Committee best practices for recruitment of diverse staff, and Dr. Alexander Alonso who talked about how Congress could make changes that would help retain staff and preserve institutional knowledge.
These issues are not unique to Congress, and I’m sure many of you have addressed similar challenges in your own businesses. I believe there is a great deal we can learn from these experts that will move us a step closer to having more perspectives represented in the legislative process. If you’d like to watch a clip from the hearing, click the photo below.
Rep. Woodall questions witnesses at the House Select Committee on Modernization of Congress Hearing entitled “Cultivating Diversity and Improving Retention Among Congressional Staff”
Many of you have contacted me to share your frustration about receiving unsolicited robocalls.
Hugh from Duluth:
I’m urging you to pass the strongest possible legislation to end robocalls, and to make sure that any anti-robocall technology is offered FREE to consumers. I don’t want robocalls, and I shouldn’t have to pay to not get them!
Deborah from Norcross:
What can be done about the telemarketers, that start calling at 8:00 AM up to 10:00 PM regularly, for the most part? I’ve gotten calls as early as 5:00 AM. I don’t know what the answer is, but something needs to be done, as these calls/texts are very annoying.
Like Hugh and Deborah, I think it is important we take steps to curb unlawful phone intrusions, specifically those calls where bad actors seek to defraud and harm families by robbing them of their hard-earned dollars or personal information. If you would like to learn more about how this issue is being handled in Congress, you can CLICK HERE.
What’s more, you will be pleased to hear that I am a cosponsor of H.R. 2015, the “TRACED Act,” which not only works to improve enforcement actions against bad actors, but also requires providers adopt call authentication technologies to enable a telephone carrier to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before they reach consumers’ phones in the first place. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has also taken steps in this area, recently issuing a declaratory ruling ensuring that providers may aggressively block calls based on reasonable call analytics.
We are taking steps in the right direction, and I will keep you updated as Congress, the FCC, and the private sector develop innovative ways to curb the invasiveness of unlawful robocalls.
I had the pleasure of presenting Manas Mudunuri with the Congressional Award last Thursday. Congressional Award recipients are among America’s top student leaders and Manas embodies the very best of Forsyth County. Through perseverance, dedication, and an eagerness to better himself and his home in Cumming, his hard work has improved the lives of his friends, family, and community.
The Congressional Award is the only award Congress gives to young Americans. Participants in the program set and meet goals in four program areas: Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration. Based on time commitments, each participant can earn Bronze, Silver, and/or Gold Congressional Medals and Certificates. I know that the entire 7th District is proud of Manas’s service. Congratulations!
Manas Mudunuri and his father Raju meet with Rep. Woodall
- Forsyth County News. This Forsyth County student earned the highest award given by Congress to young Americans
Going to high school can certainly be a challenge, but going to high school in another country is an adventure! Will Dent from Suwanee came up to our office this week and met our staff. Will has just returned from Germany where he was enrolled in a German high school and stayed with a host family. Will did this through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), which is a program for motivated high school students who want to be fully immersed in German culture. Will gained many great traits from his 10 months overseas, and I know our community is going to be better for his experience. Welcome home Will!
As you read at the beginning of this week’s newsletter, the House is going to complete consideration of H.R. 3055. After that, we will move on to debating and voting on H.R. 3351, the “Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act,” which will be the 10th appropriations bill that the House will consider this month. While that’s good news, the bad news is that Speaker Pelosi still hasn’t come to the negotiating table with the Senate and the White House to work out a spending caps deal that will allow any of these bills to be considered in the Senate or signed by the President.
And after nearly a month of begging from the White House and from the Republican side of the aisle, Speaker Pelosi is expected to finally bring up an emergency funding bill that will provide critical resources to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. While I am pleased that she is finally spending time on this issue, it’s unfortunate that the Speaker is doing so absent bipartisan consensus. The Senate passed its bipartisan bill in the Senate Appropriations Committee by a vote of 30-1. This House bill hasn’t been marked-up at all in the House Appropriations Committee and doesn’t give nearly enough money to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to ensure that we are stopping future humanitarian crises. Moving a bill to solve the humanitarian struggle at our border is important, but what’s more important in the long-term is to keep it from happening again, and I fear this bill falls far short of that goal.
Member of Congress