E-Newsletter: Washington Watch - 5/12/14


House Creates Select Committee on Benghazi

Since the terrorist attack on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012, various House committees have been investigating the incident, but unfortunately, without a willing partner in the White House, these committee's investigations have been stymied. The most recent revelation that the Obama Administration held back important email records even after they were subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has convinced the Speaker of the House that a special Select Committee on Benghazi needs to be formed. This committee will investigate all facets of the terrorist attack so that we can learn why it happened, what we did right and what we did wrong, and how we can protect American diplomats better in the future.

On Wednesday, the Rules Committee, of which I am a member, spent hours debating the creation of this Select Committee.

Bipartisan House Vote Holds Lois Lerner in Contempt of Congress

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of House members voted to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for her refusal to testify about her actions in this scandal. While President Obama continues to insist that there is "not even a smidgeon of corruption," the central figure in the scandal, Lois Lerner, continues to refuse to testify by asserting her privilege against self-incrimination. Parsing the legal opinions in this case regarding whether Ms. Lerner waived her 5th Amendment rights is a job for our judicial system. And that is exactly what the vote last week was all about. If there was no corruption as the President attests, than all of the individuals involved should be happy to testify. If there was corruption -- and the facts presented so far make a very compelling case that there was -- then we must get to the bottom of who ordered it and why and ensure that the appropriate instigators are held responsible.

Oversight Committee investigates EPA wrong-doing

There is broad bipartisan consensus that the Environmental Protection Agency is in need of some major oversight. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing last week in which both Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) voiced their strong concerns that the EPA must reform the way it does business.

Another Bipartisan House Vote Supporting American Workers and Businesses

On Friday, the House voted to permanently extend the Research and Development tax credit. You know that I support a total rewrite of the tax code in favor of the FairTax, but until that happens, we need to provide certainty in the tax code and ensure that our tax code is rewarding growth and job creation. Making the R&D tax credit permanent does just that, and I was happy to support it.

Bipartisan Support for Charter Schools

On Friday, the House passed a bipartisan bill -- H.R. 10 -- by a vote of 360-45 to reauthorize and bolster the federal charter school program. The bill increases the number of high-quality charter schools, makes it easier for underserved children to attend those schools, and ensures that charter schools can share their best practices with traditional public schools.

We have amazing charter high schools in the Seventh District. I was happy to take a few minutes this week to highlight the achievements of two of these schools, the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology and the Maxwell High School of Technology in preparing our community's children for a profitable and fulfilling future. Click the picture below to hear my comments.

Defense Authorization Act Cleared for House floor action

Last week, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) unanimously approved a new bill to ensure that our military and the men and women who serve in it are prepared for any future crisis. The bill forces Congress to address some difficult issues related to troop levels, weapons systems, and the future legacy costs of our fighting men and women. The debate over these issues will continue in the coming weeks, but I'm pleased that Republicans and Democrats on the committee were able to work together to give the full House an opportunity to move forward with on this critically important legislation.

Meeting with Georgia EMCs

I always appreciate hearing the concerns of folks who are as invested in our community's success as I am. That's why I was pleased this week to welcome my friends from Jackson EMC and Sawnee EMC to Washington to discuss their concerns with the direction of the Obama Administration's energy policies. These are the folks who are responsible for literally "keeping the lights on" for thousands of families in the Seventh District, and the Administration's misguided and destructive agenda is making it harder and harder to do that. I look forward to continuing working with our EMC partners to protect our environment and ensure Seventh District families continue to have access to safe, reliable, affordable energy.

Celebrating Mother's Day

Yesterday, we spent the day honoring our mothers by showing our love and gratitude for everything they do. Mothers truly have one of the toughest jobs in the world, and I think we can all agree that it is no easy task to wear the many hats that moms do every day. Moms are our best teachers, our friends, and our role models, and we look to them to guide us throughout our lives. We have our mothers to thank for providing us with their tireless love and care and for helping to shape us into the people who we become as adults. I hope that everyone enjoyed spending the day celebrating our cherished mothers -- I know my family did.

The Week Ahead

This week I am so pleased to be back in Georgia, and the best news is that I have the opportunity to visit four schools in the 7th District. I've said it many times, but I'll say it again -- the most fulfilling experiences that I have as your Member of Congress are when I can learn from our nation's young people and bring their optimism back to Washington, D.C.