Newsletter: Washington Watch - 3/23/15



Last Thursday I was proud to join with my colleagues on the House Budget Committee, which is led by my good friend and fellow Georgian Representative Tom Price, to pass the FY16 Budget. Our budget makes hard choices to balance within ten years and continues the House's responsible spending trajectory by reducing spending by $5.5. trillion. My focus is on ensuring effective, efficient, and accountable federal spending, and this budget achieves that goal by empowering states and local governments to take back ownership of many programs that can be better administered closer to home instead of in Washington, D.C.

While you and I would both like to see the budget balance even faster, there simply aren't the votes on Capitol Hill to join with us in making those more aggressive choices. This budget, however, is a big and important step forward for fiscal responsibility. Once the House passes it this week and the Senate passes its version, we will be able to work out the difference and have a governing budget approved by both chambers of Congress for the first time this decade. Having America's new Senate in place provides that opportunity. As is the case with every family in America, a fiscally sound budget is the foundation for success, and that is exactly what Americans deserve from their elected representatives in Congress.


As you may know, my colleagues and I on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are working to craft a bill to reauthorize our nation's surface transportation projects. In past reauthorizations, Congress would simply fill this legislation with thousands of earmarks and borrow money to pay for it. Times have changed, however, and today the American people are guaranteed a more responsible and transparent way forward. We are finding ways to work smarter and better utilize the dollars we have. For instance, federal red tape can drive up project costs by millions of dollars and delay critical improvements for years. By simplifying and streamlining that process, we will be able to deliver projects faster and at a lower cost.


Last week the House agreed with a Senate-passed bill, S.J.Res. 8, that disapproves of a National Labor Relations Board rule allowing unions to steamroll workers and employers and call snap elections for union membership without adequate deliberation. The NLRB is bowing to pressure from labor unions that are seeing shrinking membership and influence and that are trying to use "ambush elections" to muscle through union membership. Instead of the average time frame of slightly over 30 days between the filing of a petition to have a union election and the actual election occurring, this NLRB rule will cut that time frame to as little as 14 days. That's only 14 days for workers who are trying to balance family and work life to fully understand what union membership might mean for them and their families. That's only 14 days for employers to be able to consult with their legal representatives -- assuming that a small, independent business even has legal representation -- and figure out how unionization might affect their business.

The purpose of the NLRB is to support workers and ensure that the work environment is positive for workers and employers, not to put the government's thumb on the scale in favor of unions and in opposition to both workers and employers. Though the President has already threatened to veto this bill, I hope that America will change his mind and that he will stand up for hard working Americans and entrepreneurs by signing S.J.Res.8.


This week the House is expected to consider the FY16 Budget Resolution and a bill eliminating the Sustainable Growth Rate and making positive long-term reforms to extend Medicare's solvency.

As I have had the pleasure of doing for the past four years, I will once again lead the debate on the Budget Resolution on the House floor this year. If you happen to be watching or listening to CSPAN on Tuesday afternoon, you will hear me sharing Georgia's values with the nation. America needs a responsible budget, and I will be doing everything in my power to ensure that we get one.

In addition to what's happening on the House floor, there are a number of interesting committee hearings this week. On Tuesday, the Committee on Homeland Security is holding a hearing entitled "A Global Background: The Fight Against Islamist Extremism at Home and Abroad," and on Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing entitled "Wrecking the Internet to Save It? The FCC's Net Neutrality Rule." Clearly, this is going to be an interesting and important week in Washington, D.C.