Washington Watch - 1/26/15


You may not have realized it, but last Thursday marked 42 years to the day that the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in the landmark abortion case of Roe v. Wade.

On Thursday, the House voted once again to support life. H.R. 7, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act," prohibits all Federal funds from being used to support abortion and requires health plans offering insurance through the Obamacare exchange to disclose the extent of abortion coverage in those plans. This bill is a common sense proposal to ensure that all Americans can choose for themselves whether they want to use their hard-earned dollars supporting abortion, and it guarantees that no hard-working American taxpayer sees one penny of his or her taxes spent on performing a morally objectionable elective abortion.


Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama fulfilled one of his Constitutional duties -- to "give to the Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient...." While I disagreed with many of his policy proposals, as a proud American, I relish the opportunity for us to put on display for the world what a peaceful republic can achieve. As President Reagan said in his first inaugural address: "no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." No matter the foe -- be it terrorism, epidemic disease, natural disasters, or economic turmoil -- when Americans come together to move forward as a united power, we are an unstoppable force for good. Sitting with my colleagues in the House chamber every year for this speech reminds me to be optimistic, to look beyond party, and to seek out an American solution that brings our nation together.


On Wednesday, I joined 252 colleagues in the House in voting to pass H.R. 161, the "Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act." Natural gas makes up almost one-fourth of all primary energy used in the U.S. today, and this bipartisan bill takes an important step toward America's energy security by streamlining the regulatory process by which natural gas pipelines are approved.

This bill doesn't force the federal government to approve new pipelines; it simply requires regulators to make a decision one way or the other within a reasonable timeframe. We have been blessed with a clean, abundant energy resource in natural gas, and I am proud to support legislation that takes advantage of that resource in a responsible way.


House Republicans continue working to roll back President Obama's unilateral immigration policy. First, we passed a strong bill in 2014 that would have halted his executive amnesty program. Next, I joined the lawsuit that was filed by 25 states including Georgia that challenges the constitutionality of President Obama's executive immigration action. Then, we passed a DHS funding bill that would have not only defunded his program, but made clear in federal law that he does not have the authority to use "user fees" outside the congressional appropriations process to implement any such program. While we await the new Republican Senate's consideration of that bill, I cosponsored new legislation that would give Congress one more tool with which to mitigate the damage this President has done to our constitutional system of checks and balances.

House Resolution 11, introduced by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), would authorize the House of Representatives to seek a declaratory judgment action in federal court to determine whether President Obama's executive actions exceed his constitutional authority. We can't simply "run out the clock" on this President, because sadly his actions will lay the groundwork for future Presidents to expand on his immigration actions or use Obama's interpretation of prosecutorial discretion to wreak havoc on America's rule of law. We must ensure that the American people continue to be in charge of this country, and I am working every day to restore that power.


This week the House is expected to consider H.R. 351, the "LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act," and H.R. 399, the "Secure Our Border First Act of 2015."

H.R. 351 is another arrow in our nation's energy independence quiver. The bill would streamline the approval of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, eliminate the current permit backlog, and strengthen our economy by spurring the creation of well-paying American jobs.
H.R. 399 is the first step that this Congress is taking to deal with our nation's immigration issues, border security, and interior enforcement. Republicans have committed to pursuing a step by step immigration agenda, with border security being the first plank of our reform agenda, and H.R. 399 certainly moves us forward.