Woodall, Hice favor bill mandating refugee screening
U.S. Reps. Rob Woodall and Jody Hice, both R-Ga., praised a house bill that requires screening measures for refugees seeking sanctuary in the U.S. this past week.
The issue of refugee screening, particularly for Syrian refugees, has been a focal point for politicians in the aftermath of recent terrorist attacks in Paris. Woodall said screenings were necessary to “prevent a ruthless enemy from exploiting American goodness and generosity.”
The House approved the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act by a 289-137 vote on Thursday. The majority of votes in favor of the bill came from 242 Republicans, who were joined by 47 Democrats. Meanwhile 135 Democrats and two Republicans voted against it.
Woodall and Hice voted in favor of the act while Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., voted against it.
“The horrific attacks in Paris last week are a painful reminder of the enemy’s resolve — and underscore the need for a clear strategy from the President to defeat ISIS,” Woodall said in a statement. “Congress and the American people have asked repeatedly — and most recently in the National Defense Authorization Act sent to the White House just days ago — for that strategy, and now is the time.”
President Barack Obama has reportedly threatened to veto the bill if it reaches his desk, but Hice urged him to rethink that idea.
“As a Nation that has historically welcomed immigrants, we cannot let our reputation for kindness serve as a weakness,” Hice said in a statement. “Today’s bill would ensure that no current or former fighters in Iraq or Syria would be able to gain admittance to the United States until such a time when new vetting processes are in place.
“The most important job of the American government is to protect the American people. It is my hope the President will step up to the plate and act in the interest of our citizens’ safety.”
Unterman named ‘Champion of Children’
State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, received a second award this year for working on children’s issues, this time for her work on legislation dealing with issues surrounding temporary power of attorney for kids.
The Foundation for Government Accountability presented its 2015 Champion of Children Award to Unterman on Thursday for her work on the Supporting and Strengthening Families Act. The bill sets up a procedure that lets parents create, authorize and revoke temporary powers of attorney so another adult can be responsible for their children.
It is intended to be used when parents have to temporarily waive their parental rights because of situations such as military deployment or substance abuse treatment.
“I am honored to receive the Champion of Children Award from the Foundation for Government Accountability,” Unterman said in a statement. “Being a voice for Georgia’s children is a top priority of mine, and I look forward to persistently working with my colleagues in the 2016 legislative session to generate legislation that will continue to improve the lives of children and families all over Georgia.”
The Supporting and Strengthening Families Act is still pending in the state House of Representatives, which has until the end of the 2016 legislative session to pass it.
Isakson to help in reauthorization of education act
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s office announced this past week that the senator has been picked to be one of the Republican negotiators from the Senate in talks on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Members of both the Senate and House of Representatives have been picked to serve on the conference committee to negotiate a final reauthorization bill for the act. The committee held its first meeting this past Wednesday.
“I look forward to working as a member of the conference committee to put education progress and decisions back in the hands of parents, teachers, and state and local governments,” Isakson said in a statement. “I also look forward to working to make sure this agreement includes an amendment that I sponsored in the Senate-passed measure that ensures parents have the information needed to make decisions on their children’s education, including their rights to opt their children out of mandated testing.”
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.