Washington Watch - 2/9/15



Last week I had the opportunity to question the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, and Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, about the EPA's proposed "Waters of the US" rule. If finalized, this new rule would put Washington in control of many Georgia waterways for the first time ever. I have been very proud of our state's stewardship of our waters over the years, and given our success, I was hoping to hear a good explanation from the EPA Administrator as to why this vast regulatory expansion is necessary. Sadly, however, when I questioned her, even she admitted that the new rule shouldn't "be looked at as an indication of failure on the part of any state."

To me, this is a clear message from Washington that it doesn't trust Georgia and other states. If we are to succeed as a nation, trusting our state and local governments to continue doing what they have been doing right for decades is vital. I will continue to work hard this Congress to halt this unwarranted overreach and to restore the essential trust between Washington and the rest of our nation.


Millions of Americans will be faced with a rude awakening as tax day 2014 rolls around -- the realization that the Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable. This year, folks will have to certify that they have purchased qualified health insurance, were legally exempt from purchasing insurance, or face paying a fine for not buying insurance. I continue to believe that the federal government should never be able to tell you what you must buy or how you and your family must live their lives. As such, I was happy to support H.R. 596, which permanently repeals Obamacare and calls on the House to come up with family-based alternatives that will return power to you and your family.


Last Monday, President Obama released his roughly $4 trillion budget request for Fiscal Year 2016, and unfortunately, it appears that he did not hear what the American people were trying to tell him last November. His budget proposal simply doubles down on the same failed tax and spend polices we've seen from his Admiration over the last six years. Under President Obama's plan, taxes would be increased by more than $2 trillion so the federal government can partially offset a $74 billion spending increase next year and a roughly $320 billion spending increase over the next five years. All told, our national debt would increase by $8.5 trillion if the President has his way.

Like many of you, I was hoping to see a FY2016 budget blueprint from our President that demonstrated a willingness to work with America's new Congressional majority to get our nation's fiscal house in order. But that's absolutely not what happened, and I'm disappointed. What Congress received from President Obama was a budget proposal that continues out-of-control federal spending by busting through the very spending caps responsible for the modest deficit reductions we've seen the last couple of years; the same deficit reductions the President was touting in his State of the Union address just a few short weeks ago.

The good news is that the House Budget Committee, which is led by our fellow Georgian Representative Tom Price, is going to craft a responsible FY16 budget that adheres to our spending caps and continues to lower our national debt.


Last week I was honored to join my friend Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) as a co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Robotics. I look forward to incorporating the great things going on right here in the Seventh District with the discussions in Washington. One of the key responsibilities of the Robotics Caucus is to develop the policies that nurture American technological innovation, and we have tremendous resources in our community that are working on these very issues. I've had the opportunity to visit with students at the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST), and see first-hand the amazing things they were learning in robotics and technology. It is examples like this, where educators, industry professionals, and the next generation can come together that we see the best model of success, and I believe as we continue these partnerships we'll have no trouble keeping America globally competitive and leading in this field.


This week the House is expected to pass and send to the President S.1, the "Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act." We will also pass a number of important tax credit bills that extend critical portions of our income tax code for hard-working American taxpayers and small business owners.

You may remember that the House passed its initial version of the Keystone XL Pipeline bill a few weeks ago, and on January 29th, the Senate passed its version of the bill. This week, the House will approve the Senate bill and send it to the President for his signature. President Obama has unfortunately indicated that he might veto the bill, even though it has the support of the American people. I hope that a strong bipartisan vote of support in Congress for building the pipeline will convince President Obama that standing in the way of energy progress is the wrong decision to make.
Last week the House Ways and Means Committee approved seven targeted tax bills that provide certainty to every day Americans and small businesses so that they can compete on a level playing field. This week, we will vote on two of those bills: H.R. 636 and H.R. 644.