Washington Watch - 6/26/17
American energy independence is not only essential for our national security in diminishing our reliance on foreign energy from unstable parts of the world, but it is also important as it alleviates financial burdens for our friends and neighbors as we power our homes every day. Part of this effort is our investment in nuclear power, and lucky for us in Georgia, we have two new nuclear power reactors on their way, bringing jobs and cleaner, cheaper energy to meet the needs of our growing state.
While Georgia is doing its part, at the federal level, we can do more to encourage the success of projects like these and promote their construction in the future. That is why I was pleased when the House passed by a voice vote H.R. 1551, which I co-sponsored along with almost the entire Georgia delegation. The bill removes a deadline for which the nuclear production tax credit (NPTC) can be used and ensures uniformity in eligibility for the NPTC so that non-profit partners in nuclear power facilities – like Oglethorpe Power, which provides power to Jackson EMC in our area, and the Municipal Electricity Authority of Georgia, which serves residents in Buford, Lawrenceville, and Norcross – can use the credit and pass down savings to their customers. Our goal in Congress is to create jobs and move toward complete energy independence in a bipartisan way, and I am proud of the work we were able to accomplish here in the House with H.R. 1551. I am hopeful the Senate will take up this common-sense legislation soon and get it to the President’s desk so that we can all share in its benefits.
- The Hill. House passes nuclear energy tax bill
- Atlanta Journal Constitution. House lawmakers OK rescue for nuke projects’ tax credits
The current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization expires in September, and last week, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) introduced a sweeping, bipartisan bill to reauthorize and reform this critical federal agency. The “21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act” is designed to build upon the success of America’s aviation industry in the 20th Century and ensure that both the public and private sectors have the tools necessary to expand upon that success into the 21st Century.
This figures to be the most comprehensive reform to our nation’s aviation policy since the FAA was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and I encourage you to read the bill yourself or take a look at the section by section summary. This bill cuts Washington red tape to ensure American manufacturers can get their products to market faster, provide our airports with the resources necessary to be the best in the world, protect access to airspace for general aviation pilots and rural communities, and install new consumer protections to make sure travelers are treated with the respect and fairness they deserve. You can always count on Washington to fight big ideas, and I fully expect the entrenched special interests will fight against this kind of reform. But with delays mounting, inefficiencies growing, and traveler frustrations reaching a boiling point, now is the time to come together and agree that America can do better.
- Bloomberg BNA. House FAA Reauthorization unveiled, includes air traffic proposal
- Fox Business. House presented with bill calling for sweeping FAA reform
Last week I was proud to join my colleagues in passing four bills – H.R. 2847, H.R. 2866, H.R. 2742, and H.R. 2857 – which work to strengthen families by providing long-overdue updates to the foster care system, as well as to ensure a smooth transition for young adults moving out of the system. Strong families are the bedrock of our great nation, and I believe that we must take the necessary steps to ensure that families and communities across the country continue to thrive. As you know, the foster care system is supposed to be a temporary arrangement in which adults provide for the care of a child or children whose birthparents are unable to care for them. However, too many of us often forget that the ultimate goal of the foster care system is to reunite the child or children with their birth families, and when possible, not to separate them at all. While I believe that most foster care issues are best handled at the state and local level, as our neighbors in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties can provide for the needs of children and families in our area better than federal bureaucrats can, I was proud to support these fiscally responsible and bipartisan measures that offer significant benefits, take smart steps to revitalize and uphold the goal of the foster care system, and allow our local officials to create innovative programs to help these kids and their foster and birth families succeed.
- Washington Examiner. Congress can help foster children find a loving home
On Friday, I had the great honor of joining my friends at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn as we welcomed His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, who serves as the global spiritual and administrative leader of the BAPS movement, which has over 100 centers across North America. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is the largest Hindu temple in North America and has drawn 1.8 million visitors since its opening in 2007. I can tell you first-hand that these men and women and their families who worship at the Mandir are such a blessing to our community.
The Seventh District is a wonderfully diverse region, as I’m sure you already know, and I consider myself fortunate to know many of these local leaders personally. As is their practice with everyone of all faiths, they have welcomed me time and again, shared their expertise and concerns alike, and most importantly, eagerly partnered with me as we work to make our part of the world even better. I’m grateful for their hospitality and the sincere commitment to serving others that can be found in their belief that it is in the joy of others that we find our own. I can’t think of a better shared principle around which to build good will for people of all faiths and backgrounds. They graciously invited me to share a few words at the ceremony, which you can watch here, and I was honored to accept.
Rep. Rob Woodall celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn, Georgia, with three young members of our 7th District community
America has always prided herself on being the land of opportunity, where through hard work, anyone can succeed and live the American dream. You can always count on me to do anything I can to ensure that the American dream is accessible to everyone regardless of their background. That’s why I’m proud that the House overwhelmingly passed two bills to empower Americans to reach for success. H.R. 2842, the “Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act,” allows states to use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds as part of a demonstration program to provide subsidized employment for welfare beneficiaries. These funds go to programs that incentivize and empower the neediest in our country to get employment and provide for themselves and their families. This bill will help put people who are out of work today on the first rung of the ladder of success where they will be able to leave TANF behind permanently.
To prepare our workers who are already in the workforce for higher-wage, higher-skilled, more in-demand careers, H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act,” authorized federal funds to support local and state career and technical education (CTE) programs. Today’s job market is rapidly changing, and it demands a highly skilled workforce. I’m certain that H.R. 2353 will help hard-working Americans get the skills they need to grow their pocketbooks and better their families.
The greatest anti-poverty program in the world is a good-paying, high-quality job. Americans have always believed in the dignity of work, and I’m excited about the early achievements of this Congress that have opened up our job market and empowered our workforce to drive America forward.
Last week, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced companion legislation to H.R. 2547, a bill I authored to make it simpler and more affordable for veterans to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Federal law requires commercial drivers to have a CDL, and in order to get a CDL, you must receive a medical examination from a certified medical examiner. However, it’s costly and time consuming for medical professionals to obtain such a certification—thus only 25 medical professionals in the VA system nationwide are certified to perform these CDL examinations. Because there are so few options in the VA system right now, veterans are forced to look outside the VA system and pay out of pocket for their examination. My legislation will add more medical professionals in the VA to the list of certified medical examiners and allow veterans to work with their own trusted medical team within the VA system to obtain their CDL examination. It’s a bipartisan, common-sense reform that I'm happy to say will be on the House floor Monday afternoon for consideration. I’m hopeful that we will get this important legislation to President Trump’s desk in the coming weeks.
I always like to take the opportunity each week to share with you some of the great stories coming out of our community, and thankfully, there never seems to be any shortage of material. I’d say that’s a direct representation of who we are. So often the stories of realized dreams or accomplished goals can seem like overnight successes, but we all know better. There’s a common theme when you dig a little deeper. None of these individuals got to where they are now by chance – they credit relentless hard work, perseverance, and support from those important people in their lives much more than any specific talent. Any time we can celebrate the success of our friends and neighbors it’s a good day, but these stories are bigger than that, and they bring us together around a shared principle. Especially for our young people, these stories are proof that it – whatever it is – is possible. It’s not easy, it’s certainly not guaranteed, but with hard work and perseverance, we can reach those goals we set for ourselves. Congratulations, and thank you, to all those doing just that.
- Forsyth County News. Getting her shot: Forsyth Central grad lands main role on Law & Order: SVU
- Gwinnett Daily Post. Shiloh grad, Tech standout Okogie makes final USA Basketball World Cup roster
This week the House is expected to move forward on two bills that improve our immigration laws to ensure that violent criminals are kept off our streets and that local jurisdictions are not allowed to break federal immigration laws. H.R. 3003, the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” and H.R. 3004, “Kate’s Law,” are common-sense attempts to keep Americans safe and to uphold the laws of the United States. I encourage you to CLICK HERE to read more about both of these bills.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on which I sit, is marking-up H.R. 2997, the “21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act (AIRR Act)” on Tuesday. I invite you to CLICK HERE to watch the live streaming video.
Member of Congress