Legislative Update

Legislative Update
Goodlatte Statement on DOJ/DHS Report on Immigration and National Security
January 16, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on the report issued by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security entitled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”:

“The startling information in this report confirms what we already know: our current immigration system is broken, and it fails to protect the American people. America is a nation of immigrants, most of whom came to this country seeking a better life. However, the years of lax enforcement, weak border security, and chain migration have brought in dangerous foreign nationals who have conspired against and in some cases harmed Americans. Of the 549 terror-related convictions since the attacks on September 11, 2001, 73% of those convicted were foreign born.

“I appreciate the Administration’s efforts to reform our immigration laws and improve our national security. To that end, I have worked with my colleagues on the Homeland Security Committee to draft the Securing America’s Future Act. This legislation addresses many of the immigration problems identified by the Administration in October 2017, and it fixes the loopholes that allowed dangerous individuals to enter and remain in the United States as they planned to harm U.S. citizens. This bill is a necessary first step to fix our broken immigration system and protect the American people.”

Background: The Securing America’s Future Act bolsters enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, secures the border, and provides a long-term legislative solution for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The DOJ/DHS report was compiled in response to the President’s Executive Order 13780, and the full report is available here.

Legislative Update
Warner & Kaine ask DHS to reverse decision ending protected status for Salvadorans
January 16, 2018
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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined a group of 27 Senate Democrats in a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Nielsen urging DHS to reverse its decision to end Temporary Protection Status (TPS) designation for El Salvador.

Earlier this week, DHS announced it would be ending TPS designation for the nearly 200,000 Salvadorans working and living under TPS protections in the United States today. Ending the TPS designation will not only uproot thousands of lives, disrupt communities across the U.S. and remove much-needed workers from important sectors of the U.S. economy, but it will also harm progress made to improve conditions in El Salvador.

“We believe that conditions in El Salvador remain unstable, and that continued TPS designation is warranted for the country,” the senators wrote. “In June 2017, the Trump administration held a conference to promote prosperity, governance, and rule of law in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America—including El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. While progress has been made under the Alliance for Prosperity in reducing gang violence, improving rule of law, and addressing root causes of migration, considerably more work needs to be done as conditions remain dangerous and the economic situation tenuous. The decision to end TPS for 200,000 Salvadorans and needlessly subject these immigrants to deportation stands to threaten, not further, this progress.”

In addition to Sens. Warner and Kaine, the letter was signed by Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

The letter is available here. The text of the letter is below.

Legislative Update State News
Latest update from Richmond from Delegate Chris Collins
January 16, 2018
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The 2018 General Assembly session is officially underway. This year will be a long session (60 days) where we will tackle important issues such as healthcare, the opioid crisis, and the teacher shortage across Virginia.

On Saturday, January 13 Governor-Elect Ralph Northam was sworn into office. He is a product of the Senate and someone who has worked well with governors and members of both parties. House Republicans are eager to work with Governor Northam on areas where there is bipartisan support.

House Speaker Kirk Cox
The 2018 House session was gaveled in on Wednesday, January 10th at 12 noon. It started with Republican Delegate Kirk Cox being unanimously elected to be the 55th Speaker of the House. Speaker Cox set a clear tone for the 2018 Session, pledging to focus on governing, work across the aisle, and lead with character and integrity.

Committee Assignments

Committee assignments were announced last week. I am honored to serve on the House Courts of Justice, Transportation and Education committees. I have served on Courts of Justice since the start of my first term in 2016 and was assigned to the Transportation committee during the 2017 session. I am a new member on the House Education committee and look forward to finding solutions to our public school teacher shortage.

2018 Legislation
During the 2018 legislative session, I will be carrying over 20 bills on topics ranging from distracted and improper driving to legislation related to the storage and preservation of adoption records. I am also carrying several bills for local municipalities and constituents in Virginia’s 29th District. I encourage you to view the full list of legislation by clicking on the link below.

Track Legislation

In summary, I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office over the coming months. I value the feedback you provide on a continual basis as it helps me do a better job of representing you. You can email me at [email protected] or call my office in Richmond at (804) 698-1029.
Delegate Chris Collins
117 West Boscawen Street  Suite 1
WinchesterVA 22601

 

Legislative Update
Goodlatte Statement on House Passage of 702 Reauthorization Legislation with Reforms
January 11, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, today delivered the following remarks on the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a critical national security tool. The legislation, which passed the House by a vote of 256-164, represents a good first step at reforming Section 702.

Chairman Goodlatte: As you all know, the Judiciary Committee worked diligently, for a year, on legislation that does two things: (1) protect Americans’ civil liberties by requiring a court order to access Section 702 data during domestic criminal investigations; and (2) reauthorize the 702 program, which is our nation’s most indispensable national security tool.

We achieved that, by passing the USA Liberty Act in the House Judiciary Committee last year by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote, which is no easy task.  However, we were able to responsibly balance civil liberties with national security.

The bill we will vote on today was drafted in the spirit of the USA Liberty Act. It is not perfect, and the process getting here was not ideal, but the bill requires, for the first time, a warrant to access 702-collected communications of U.S. persons in criminal investigations.

Moreover, in routine criminal cases, when the FBI accesses U.S. person communications that were incidentally collected, without first obtaining a warrant, the FBI will not be permitted to use those communications in a criminal prosecution.  This will prevent a national security tool from advancing run-of-the-mill criminal prosecutions.

These are meaningful reforms.

The bill that was presented to us before Christmas, with its “optional warrant” construct, was not real reform. The bill we are debating today, however, contains meaningful reforms.  I would have preferred to include additional reforms, but I cannot stress to my colleagues enough that our choice cannot be between a perfect reform bill and expiration of this program. The 702 program is far too important for that. With this bill, we can have meaningful reform and reauthorization.

In its current form, this bill will pass the Senate.

I also want to caution everyone that we cannot go too far in seeking to alter this program. There is an amendment that will be offered, sponsored by Mr. Amash and Ms. Lofgren, which would prevent the FBI from ever querying its 702 database using a US person term.

Imagine the FBI getting a tip from a flight instructor whose student acts suspiciously by expressing great interest in learning how to take off and fly a plane but has no interest in learning how to land the plane.   This could be innocent behavior, but don’t we want law enforcement to at least be able to perform a search to see if they already have in their possession any communications between the student and a foreign actor involved in organizing terrorist plots?  The Judiciary Committee-passed bill would have allowed the search, and allowed law enforcement to view the metadata without a warrant, while requiring a warrant to view the content of the communications.

The Amash/Lofgren amendment, which was rejected in the Judiciary Committee, goes too far and would prevent such a search from even being done.  It would thus kill this critical program by preventing the FBI from even looking at its own databases without a warrant, rendering it ineffective in preventing terrorist attacks and stifling its ability to gather necessary intelligence.  It must not be adopted.

I will vote to support this bill. I will oppose the Amash/Lofgren amendment. I urge my colleagues to join me. Vote for reform and reauthorization.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Legislative Update
Warner, Warren Introduce Legislation to Hold Credit Reporting Agencies Accountable
January 10, 2018
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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced today the Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act to hold large credit reporting agencies (CRAs)—including Equifax—accountable for data breaches involving consumer data. The bill would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) more direct supervisory authority over data security at CRAs, impose mandatory penalties on CRAs to incentivize adequate protection of consumer data, and provide robust compensation to consumers for stolen data.

In September 2017, Equifax announced that hackers had stolen sensitive personal information – including Social Security Numbers, birth dates, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, and passport numbers – of over 145 million Americans. The attack highlighted that CRAs hold vast amounts of data on millions of Americans but lack adequate safeguards against hackers. Since 2013, Equifax has disclosed at least four separate hacks in which sensitive personal data was compromised.

“In today’s information economy, data is an enormous asset. But if companies like Equifax can’t properly safeguard the enormous amounts of highly sensitive data they are collecting and centralizing, then they shouldn’t be collecting it in the first place,” said Sen. Warner. “This bill will ensure that companies like Equifax – which gather vast amounts of information on American consumers, often without their knowledge – are taking appropriate steps to secure data that’s central to Americans’ identity management and access to credit.”

“The financial incentives here are all out of whack – Equifax allowed personal data on more than half the adults in the country to get stolen, and its legal liability is so limited that it may end up making money off the breach,” said Sen. Warren. “Our bill imposes massive and mandatory penalties for data breaches at companies like Equifax – and provides robust compensation for affected consumers – which will put money back into peoples’ pockets and help stop these kinds of breaches from happening again.”

The Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act would establish an Office of Cybersecurity at the FTC tasked with annual inspections and supervision of cybersecurity at CRAs. It would impose mandatory, strict liability penalties for breaches of consumer data beginning with a base penalty of $100 for each consumer who had one piece of personal identifying information (PII) compromised and another $50 for each additional PII compromised per consumer. To ensure robust recovery for affected consumers, the bill would also require the FTC to use 50% of its penalty to compensate consumers and would increase penalties in cases of woefully inadequate cybersecurity or if a CRA fails to timely notify the FTC of a breach.

The Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act is supported by cybersecurity experts and consumer groups:

“U.S. PIRG commends Senators Warren and Warner for the Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act. It will ensure that credit bureaus protect your information as if you actually mattered to them and it will both punish them and compensate you when they fail to do so,” said U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director, Ed Mierzwinski.

“This bill establishes much-needed protections for data security for the credit bureaus. It also imposes real and meaningful penalties when credit bureaus, entrusted with our most sensitive financial information, break that trust,” said National Consumer Law Center staff attorney, Chi Chi Wu.

“Senator Warner and Senator Warren have proposed a concrete response to a serious problem facing American consumers,” said Electronic Privacy Information Center President, Marc Rotenberg.

“This bill creates greater incentive for these companies to handle our data with care and gives the Federal Trade Commission the tools that it needs to hold them accountable,” said Director of Consumer Protection and Privacy at Consumer Federation of America, Susan Grant.

Sen. Warner has been a leader in calling for better consumer protections from data theft. Following the Equifax data breach, Sen. Warner asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to examine whether credit reporting agencies such as Equifax have adequate cybersecurity safeguards in place for “the enormous amounts of sensitive data they gather and commercialize.” He slammed the credit bureau for its cybersecurity failures and weak response at a Banking Committee hearing with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton last year. Similarly, in the aftermath of the 2013 Target breach that exposed the debit and credit card information of 40 million customers, Sen. Warner chaired the first congressional hearing on protecting consumer data from the threat posed by hackers targeting retailers’ online systems. Sen. Warner has also partnered with the National Retail Federation to establish an information sharing platform that allows the industry to better protect consumer financial information from data breaches.

To view a fact sheet about the legislation, click here. The bill text can be found here.

 

Legislative Update
Bill to Protect Veterans from Criminal Exploitation and Fraud Advances in Judiciary Committee
January 10, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Judiciary Committee approved by voice vote the Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act of 2017 (H.R. 506). This bipartisan legislation punishes those who knowingly scheme to defraud veterans of their federal benefits. Specifically, this bill closes a loophole that allows bad actors to escape punishment by committing the fraud in person. Currently, a violator would be punishable if they use the mail or telephone to engage in this fraud.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement:

“Those who target veterans—particularly elderly or otherwise vulnerable veterans—deserve to be punished to the full extent of the law. I am pleased that this legislation, the Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act, eliminates loopholes in our current law that will ultimately hold wrongdoers accountable for their reprehensible actions. I commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their strong work on behalf of veterans, and I urge the Senate to pass this bill without delay.”

Background: H.R. 506, the Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act, amends title 18, U.S. Code, to penalize those who execute a scheme to defraud a veteran of his or her benefits. Penalties include a fine, imprisonment of up to five years, or both. This bill is similar to legislation that was approved by the House Judiciary Committee and subsequently passed the full House of Representatives in 2016.

Legislative Update
Did You Know?
January 6, 2018
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Simplifying the tax code, protecting children from human trafficking, strengthening border security, combating the opioid epidemic, and bolstering career and technical education – these are just some of the many issues addressed by bills passed in the House of Representatives last year. In total, the House passed more than 477 bills in 2017, 86 more than average. Committees in the House, like the House Judiciary Committee, were busy as well, passing 544 bills. Take a moment to learn more at DidYouKnow.gop.

One of the largest accomplishments by Congress last year was enacting pro-growth tax reform. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is now law, lowers tax rates for families, puts more money in your pocket, and encourages businesses to invest in the United States. Ensuring our veterans receive the service and benefits they deserve was also a central focus of Congress. I was proud to support legislation that is now law to increase accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs, modernize the claims appeals process for veterans, and expand access to education and workforce training for those who have served.

For years we’ve seen an avalanche of federal red tape choking the ability of job creators to grow. One of the first things the House did in 2017 was pass my bill, the Regulatory Accountability Act, to make the regulatory process more transparent and lift unnecessary burdens on job creators. Congress also used a tool called the Congressional Review Act to roll back some of the most egregious rules released in the final days of the Obama Administration. Fifteen of these resolutions to strike costly, overreaching rules from the books were signed into law.

The House also passed two bills that I introduced to help secure America’s borders and improve the enforcement of our immigration laws. Kate’s Law enhances penalties for deported felons who illegally reenter the United States. The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act cracks down on sanctuary policies that allow unlawful and criminal immigrants to be released onto the streets.

Congress sent a strong message by passing legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which was signed into law, makes it clear that these countries must be held accountable for their actions against the United States and the global community. Additionally, legislation was signed into law to help rebuild America’s military and give our troops their largest pay raise in eight years. The House also passed a bill fully funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program for the next five years.

It was a busy year in Congress, but there is much work to be done in 2018. I look forward to working on behalf of Virginia’s Sixth District to advance policies that will create greater opportunity for Americans and keep our country safe. As the next session of Congress gets underway, you can contact me through my website at Goodlatte.House.Gov or by visiting one of my offices. I hope you will stay in touch throughout the coming year.

In Case You Missed It
Heading to the President’s desk Passage of my bill, H.R. 954, will lift federal restrictions on land in Rockingham County and will allow the daycare currently using the land to help serve more of the community.

This is good news: Washington Examiner: Over 100 companies giving bonuses after tax victory and here’s a growing list of more.

What does the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act mean for you? CBS News: How three different households will fare under the tax bill

Go Dukes! Tune in on Saturday: James Madison set to face North Dakota State in FCS Title Game

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month — Human trafficking impacts communities of all sizes, including Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District. I am focused on helping to stop this crime. The House has passed well over a dozen bipartisan bills to help victims, punish traffickers, prevent trafficking, and aid law enforcement. It is imperative that these bills become law. We must do all we can to fight this heinous crime and bring perpetrators to justice. Click here to learn more about human trafficking.

Stopping Global Terrorist Threats
In the past year, the terrorist group ISIS has lost a significant amount of ground. However, while it has received some coverage, it’s safe to say that the successes by the United States in helping to reclaim territory from ISIS have not received the attention they deserve. Thanks to our Armed Forces and strong foreign policy outlined by President Trump and General Mattis, the Secretary of Defense, the grip of ISIS on Iraq and Syria has greatly diminished. The fight against ISIS is certainly not over, but the progress made in the past year is significant. Click here to read more in my weekly column.

 

Legislative Update
Update: House Passes Historic Tax Reform
December 19, 2017
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Tax relief is one step closer for Virginia families. Earlier today, the House passed the bicameral conference report to H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I supported this bill because at its very core the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is about creating greater opportunity for men and women across the United States. It means more jobs, lower and fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowers individual tax rates so families can keep more of their hard-earned money. Under this plan, a family of four earning an income of $73,000 will receive a tax cut of more than $2,000.

Here are just some of the ways this bill impacts you:
• Raises the standard deduction from $12,000 to $24,000 for married couples and from $6,500 to $13,000 for individuals. This means MORE money back in your pocket.
• Expands the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000 and retains the Adoption Tax Credit
• Preserves the mortgage interest deduction for current and future homeowners
• Expands the medical expense deduction
• Maintains popular options used to save for retirement, like 401ks and IRAs
• Provides families with the flexibility to purchase the health coverage they want and need by eliminating the tax penalty created by Obamacare’s individual mandate

By creating a simpler, fairer tax system, the reforms in this bill will help put more money in the pockets of families and encourage job creators of all sizes to invest in the United States.

Following expected action in the Senate later today, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will head to the President’s desk before Christmas. I look forward to seeing this historic tax reform cross the finish line and deliver much-needed tax relief to families across the country.

Learn more about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Visit fairandsimple.gop.

Mythbusting: No, tax reform doesn’t hurt people with disabilities

Quick Links

• Weekly Column: The Senate Has Another Chance to Act on CHIP

• Open Mic w/ AgriPulse: Goodlatte Talks Policy Impacting U.S. Agricultural Industry

• Update: Judiciary Committee Passes Bill to Fight Online Sex Trafficking

• Applications open for Summer 2018 White House Internship Program – click here for more information on how to apply

Goodlatte Praises FCC’s Vote on the Restoring Internet Freedom Order

In the Office this Week 

It was a great surprise to see Dot Richardson and her husband, Bob Pinto, in the office yesterday. Dot is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in softball and is currently the coach of the Liberty University softball team. For anyone who attended the Sixth District Women’s Conference in Lynchburg last year, you’ll recognize Dot as one of our excellent panelists.

 

Legislative Update
Goodlatte Staff to Hold Open Door Meetings
December 18, 2017
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WASHINGTON, DC – A member of Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s staff will hold open door community office hours the first and third Wednesdays of the month in Front Royal. A staff member will be available to meet with citizens to assist with problems they might have with a federal agency and hear their views on current issues before Congress.

Warren County Open Door Meeting
10:00am – 12:00pm
Samuels Public Library
330 E. Criser Road
Front Royal, Virginia

Upcoming Dates:
January 3, 2018
January 17, 2018

Legislative Update
Warner & Kaine push Congress to immediately reauthorize CHIP in Government Funding Bill
December 8, 2017
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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to immediately pass bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health care coverage for 128,000 children in Virginia, by including it in any upcoming government funding legislation. The CHIP program is set to run out of funding on January 31st if Congress fails to reauthorize the program, and if no action is taken, Governor Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services will be forced to notify families in the coming days of their impending loss of health care coverage. This is the second letter to McConnell from Warner and Kaine urging passage of CHIP.

“We write again to emphasize our support for the prompt reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). We ask that you include bipartisan legislation reauthorizing CHIP in any upcoming funding legislation. Prompt reauthorization of this program is necessary to protect the health of thousands of Virginia children and families,” Sens. Warner and Kaine told Leader McConnell in a letter sent today.

Previously, Sens. Warner and Kaine wrote to Leader McConnell in October, asking to expedite a vote on the CHIP reauthorization. The Senators have yet to receive a response to the earlier letter.

“On September 18th, Senators Hatch and Wyden introduced the Keeping Kids Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act. This bill represents a bipartisan compromise that will extend CHIP for five years. We wrote you on October 26, 2017, after you had failed to schedule a vote for three weeks, requesting bipartisan legislation reauthorizing CHIP be brought to the floor as soon as possible. It has been more than nine weeks since funding for this essential program expired,” wrote the Senators today.

Added the Senators, “It is imperative that Congress act quickly to end the uncertainty around health care coverage for thousands of Virginia children. The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services is preparing to notify families of the impending loss of coverage. As such, we request that a full CHIP reauthorization be included in the next available legislative vehicle, so we can prevent letters from going out in Virginia that will unnecessarily frighten parents whose children are in CHIP. On January 31, 2018, Virginia will have insufficient funds to continue the program, and thousands of children in our state would be at risk of losing health care coverage. We can, and must, put an end to this uncertainty.”

View full text of the letter below and PDF can be found here.