Washington Watch - 7/27/15
The tragic events leading to the murder of an innocent woman in San Francisco earlier this month at the hands of an illegal immigrant who had been deported multiple times -- but was still allowed to walk America’s streets thanks to a wrong-headed “sanctuary city” policy -- has angered law-abiding citizens around the country. Last week, the House passed H.R. 3009, the “Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act.” This bill would prohibit any federal funds from the State Criminal Alien Assistance program, the Community Oriented Policing Services program, and the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program from going to any state or locality that has a sanctuary city policy in effect. We are a nation of laws, and it is incumbent upon Congress to ensure that our immigration laws are followed by all jurisdictions.
- Washington Post. House votes to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities
- Fox News. House OKs bill to crack down on sanctuary cities, White House threatens veto
While there’s nothing that we can do now to reverse the senseless violence that resulted in the deaths of five brave Americans in Chattanooga two weeks ago, at the very least, we have to do all that we can to make sure that tragic events like this don’t happen again. That’s why, last week, I joined several of my colleagues in cosponsoring H.R. 3139, the “Securing Military Personnel Response Firearm Initiative Act,” which authorizes personnel working at military recruitment centers to carry a service-issued sidearm while on duty. While it’s a small step, it’s certainly a step in the right direction for ensuring our servicemen and women at recruitment centers have a means to defend themselves should the unthinkable happen again. I will talk with my colleagues in Congress, defense officials, and other experts in the coming weeks to explore other appropriate steps to ensure our brave men and women in uniform—and every American for that matter—are safe from senseless acts of violence.
- CNN. Congressmen push for arming troops at military recruiting stations
- The Hill. Lawmakers introduce 'SEMPER FI' bill to arm troops at recruitment centers
The EPA's "Waters of the U.S." rule represents the biggest federal takeover of water resources in American history. Though the Supreme Court has rebuffed the EPA’s attempts to assume control of local water resources on multiple occasions, it is still attempting to regulate virtually any area with a hydrologic connection to downstream navigable waters. This could include man-made ditches, treatment ponds, drainages, and even places that are only occasionally wet. Imagine what life would be like if the EPA came onto your property and asked you to prove what mitigation measures you were taking to ensure that the small creek that forms in your backyard after a large storm wasn’t causing pollution in a local stream or river. That sounds absolutely crazy, and it is! I am committed to preventing this rule from going into effect, and I have voted for the House-passed H.R.1732 and more recently cosponsored H.J.Res 59, which would empower Congress, through the Congressional Review Act, to stop this destructive rule from taking hold.
- McClatchy DC. Water fight revs up as majority of states slap EPA with lawsuits
- Newnan Times-Herald. EPA releases final waters of the US rule, to strong opposition
Last Monday, the White House formally transmitted the Iran nuclear deal to Congress for consideration, thereby beginning the 60-day clock within which Congress may pass a resolution disapproving of the deal. My fellow members and I had the opportunity to speak with the Secretaries of State, Energy, and Treasury about the details of the deal last week, and while I believe wholeheartedly that they worked to negotiate a deal that they believe is in the best interests of the American people, I continue to be skeptical of the Obama Administration’s notion that any deal is better than no deal at all.
It is clear to me that effectively deterring the Iranian nuclear threat is one of the seminal issues of our time, not just for America, but for our allies around the world, especially those in the Middle East who fear the radical actions of a nuclear-powered Iran. In fact, the House Armed Services Committee is holding a hearing this Wednesday entitled the “Potential Implications in the Region of the Iran Deal,” that will take an in-depth look into how this deal will affect the Middle East. As Congress prepares to vote on the resolution of disapproval in September, it is important that you and I keep the lines of communication open.
- Yahoo News. Iran policy against arrogant US won’t change
- Wall Street Journal. Iran inspections in 24 days? Not even close
- New York Times. Who got what they wanted in the Iran nuclear deal
This week the House is expected to consider two bills that will reform our nation’s bureaucracies to make them more responsive to the American people’s needs: H.R. 427 and H.R. 1994.
- H.R. 427, the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015,” increases transparency and accountability in the Administration’s regulatory process so that unelected bureaucrats can no longer pass regulations that have billion-dollar effects on American entrepreneurs and workers without Congressional approval.
- H.R. 1994, the “VA Accountability Act of 2015,” improves Congressional oversight of the VA and provides the Secretary of Veterans Affairs with more tools to remove poor performing employees like those who were responsible for keeping so many of our nation’s veterans from receiving proper medical care.
On Tuesday, the House Budget Committee will hold a hearing on budget process reform. Though we’ve had some success in reining in federal spending over the last few years, I agree with Budget Committee Chairman and fellow Georgian Representative Tom Price (R-GA) that the chips are stacked against us when it comes to congressional budget procedures.
On a similar note, I’m pleased to report that I reintroduced the Baseline Reform Act (BRA) last week. As many of you may recall, the BRA would end the statutorily required practice of assuming that the federal government will spend more next year than it spends this year, a practice that allows folks in Washington to spend more this year than they did last year and then claim doing so is actually a spending “cut.” Passing the BRA is one of several things Congress could to make the budget process function more like you and I know that it should, and I hope you will tune in to next week’s hearing and then share your thoughts and ideas with me!
On Wednesday, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee is holding a hearing to review the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) licensing process. You may know that Georgia’s very own Plant Vogtle is the first major nuclear power expansion project in the country, and construction is on track to be completed on time. Streamlining the NRC’s licensing process will only help create an atmosphere where more nuclear power plants can be built and expanded, affording Americans greater access to clean, reasonably-priced energy.
Thank you for all that you do.