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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Warner & Kaine push Congress to immediately reauthorize CHIP in Government Funding Bill

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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.

Goodlatte Asks Supreme Court to Allow Congress to Finish its Job on the Remote Sales Tax Issue

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, filed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to deny review of the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. Proponents of review seek a Court-imposed solution to challenges in the collection of taxes on sales by out-of-state vendors, a matter that the Court itself has previously said is within Congress’s constitutional jurisdiction. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) also joined Goodlatte in submitting this bipartisan, bicameral brief.

Goodlatte issued the following statement:
“During my tenure as House Judiciary Committee Chairman, my colleagues and I have worked long and hard, seeking ideas from state representatives, brick-and-mortar shop owners, and online retailers and negotiating a compromise for the collection of already-owed taxes that works for all parties. As a result of these efforts, the House Judiciary Committee has authored draft legislation that balances these competing interests, defends state sovereignty, protects against regulation without representation by states, and promotes simplicity and fairness for traditional retailers and online vendors alike.

“A single decision from the High Court would impose a one-dimensional, heavy-handed solution that short-circuits the legislative process. Unlike the court system, Congress is much better equipped to adopt a nuanced solution that will protect all parties’ legitimate interests without burdening small business owners unfairly.

“I believe a legislative solution to the problem of remote sales tax collection is feasible, and I urge the court to allow Congress to finish its job.”

Background
Read the full text of the brief in opposition to the petition. Previously, Goodlatte described the history of his efforts to resolve the remote sales tax issue. He has also outlined seven basic principles that must be included in any legislative solution for remote sales tax.

Latest Legislative Update – Congressman Bob Goodlatte

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Tax Reform Update
On Friday evening, the U.S. Senate passed their version of tax reform legislation. Now that the House and Senate have passed legislation, the next step is for both bodies to join in a conference committee to work out the differences between the plans. This evening, the House voted to go to conference and formally begin these negotiations. I look forward to productive discussions between the House and Senate to develop a simpler, fairer tax plan that will result in American taxpayers keeping more of their paychecks. Virginia families want tax relief, and now that relief is one step closer to reality. I’ll keep you updated as this process moves forward. I’m hopeful we can get a bill on President Trump’s desk soon.
For more information on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by the House, take a minute to read my recent weekly column on “Delivering Tax Relief to Virginia Families.”

Here are some of the highlights of the House bill:
You can also get the facts on the plan at fairandsimple.gop.

Deadline Approaching: Senate Must Act on CHIP
Unless the Senate acts, Virginia’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is expected to run out of funding on January 31. Approximately 66,000 children and 1,100 pregnant women in Virginia rely on this program for health coverage. The House of Representatives has already passed a bill that extends CHIP funding for five years with my support. However, the Senate has yet to act. On Friday, I joined with several of my colleagues from Virginia in urging the Senate, including Virginia’s senators, to pass the House bill.

Virginians deserve certainty that this program will continue. Read the full op-ed here.

THIS WEEK IN THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: FBI Director Wray will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday at 10AM. The House Judiciary Committee has an important responsibility to keep a watchful eye on the FBI to ensure it is fulfilling its missions and that it follows the facts wherever they lead without political interference. I look forward to hearing from Director Wray on the many issues facing the FBI. Click here for more information about the hearing, including the live-stream.

ON THE HOUSE FLOOR: Two bills to help protect public safety are scheduled to be considered by the House this week. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act ensures that the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and others remain intact even when crossing state lines, as long as an individual follows local concealed carry laws. The Fix NICS Act addresses holes in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to help keep guns out of the hands of persons prohibited by federal or state law from receiving or possessing them. Both of these bills have support from Republicans and Democrats. Click here to read more about these bills.

Recently, Silas, a young man from Roanoke, visited my office to talk more about his social studies project and the U.S. government. It was great to meet him! I wish Silas the best of luck in school.

Photos from the Sixth
Recently, Silas, a young man from Roanoke, visited my office to talk more about his social studies project and the U.S. government. It was great to meet him! I wish Silas the best of luck in school.
Dixie Gas & Oil in Verona welcomed me to their headquarters to learn more about some of the federal regulations impacting propane marketers. Federal red tape can have a significant impact on the ability of businesses to grow and create jobs in the real world. I’ll keep working in the House to do all we can to promote the growth of small businesses by freeing them from unnecessary regulation. Thanks to Chris and the team for showing me around!
Reminder: Open Door Meetings Resume in January
Open Door Meetings hosted by Sixth District staff are not held during the month of December. The meetings will resume in January. If you need assistance with a federal agency or would like to express concerns regarding a legislative issue, visit my website for office contact information as well as the best way to email me.

Virginia House Republicans Call on U.S. Senate to Act on CHIP

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, an op-ed authored by Representatives Bob Goodlatte, Rob Wittman, Scott Taylor, Tom Garrett, Dave Brat, Morgan Griffith, and Barbara Comstock appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch urging Virginia’s senators to act on reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

December 1, 2017

More than 8 million low-income children in the United States depend on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for health coverage. That includes 66,000 children and 1,100 pregnant women here in Virginia. Under Virginia’s CHIP program, thousands of children have received immunizations, annual checkups, and preventive screenings that detect illnesses like cancer and heart defects before they become fatal.

Unfortunately, as the days on the calendar continue to tick by, these children come closer to losing the coverage they need to keep them healthy. Why? Because the United States Senate has yet to act on legislation to reauthorize CHIP, which lapsed at the end of September. While Virginia luckily has sufficient funding to ensure coverage during this period, Governor McAuliffe has indicated that this holiday season the state will begin to notify families that children will no longer have CHIP health coverage after January 31, 2018.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee worked diligently and in good faith to produce legislation that would fund CHIP in a fiscally responsible way. The CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act, which would reauthorize CHIP through fiscal year 2022, was brought to the House floor and passed by a vote of 242-174. We cast our votes in favor of this legislation to make certain that the 40,830 Virginians using this coverage in the congressional districts we represent are not left in the lurch.

It’s hard to fathom why the Senate would stall this legislation or why anyone would choose to play politics with a program that has traditionally received bipartisan support. Thousands of Virginia children are in jeopardy of losing their health care coverage if the U.S. Senate doesn’t act. We’ve done our part in the House. Now, we need Virginia’s senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, to step up to the plate and urge quick action. We also hope McAuliffe will join us in the effort to advocate for the Senate to bring the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act up for a vote.

On behalf of the Virginia families we represent in Congress, we ask that the Senate act now to reauthorize CHIP. Virginians deserve certainty that this program will continue.

The writers represent the following Virginia congressional districts in the U.S. House: Rob Wittman — 1st District; Scott Taylor — 2nd District; Tom Garrett — 5th District; Bob Goodlatte — 6th District; Dave Brat — 7th District; Morgan Griffith — 9th District; Barbara Comstock — 10th District.

 

House Judiciary Committee Approves Bills to Protect the Second Amendment & Curb Gun Violence

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee today approved two bills to protect the Second Amendment and curb gun violence, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 and the Fix NICS Act of 2017. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) applauded today’s Committee approval of these bills in the statement below.

Chairman Goodlatte: “Today the House Judiciary Committee took action to protect Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms and enhance public safety. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act ensures that law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment right does not end when they cross state lines. Citizens with a state-issued concealed carry license or permit, or individuals who are citizens of states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed firearm, should not have to worry about losing these rights when entering another state that may have different rules and regulations.”

“Further, the Fix NICS Act strengthens our nation’s existing laws by ensuring criminals are reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Tragically, our nation has all too often witnessed heinous acts of violence by criminals who should never have been able to purchase a firearm. We must ensure that both federal and state authorities are properly and accurately reporting criminals to NICS so that we prevent crime and protect lives.”

“I thank Representatives Hudson and Culberson for their work on these important bills and look forward to the House of Representatives taking them up in the coming weeks.”

The House Judiciary Committee first approved by a vote of 19-11 the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38), sponsored by Representative Richard Hudson (R-N.C.). This bill allows people with a state-issued concealed carry license or permit, or individuals who are citizens of states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed firearm, to conceal a handgun in any other state that allows concealed carry, as long as the individual follows the laws of that state.

The Committee also approved by a vote of 17-6 the Fix NICS Act of 2017 (H.R. 4477), sponsored by Representative John Culberson (R-Texas). This bipartisan, bicameral bill ensures federal and state authorities comply with existing law and report criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

The Fix NICS Act also penalizes federal agencies that fail to report relevant criminal records to the FBI, incentivizes states to improve their reporting, and directs federal funding to make sure domestic violence records are accurately reported to the FBI. Further, the bill requires the Bureau of Justice Statistics to report to Congress within 180 days the number of times that a bump stock has been used in the commission of a crime in the United States.

Thanking Those Who Serve – Congressman Bob Goodlatte

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Thanking Those Who Serve
It’s a question we often hear at Thanksgiving: what are you thankful for? Whether you’re sitting down with loved ones over a meal, gathering in a place of worship, or watching your football team play with a leftover turkey sandwich in hand, we have a great deal to be thankful for as Americans. For the freedoms we cherish and our security from foreign threats, it’s our men and women in uniform – both past and present – who we owe a debt of gratitude.

Part of saying thank you to our Armed Forces is ensuring they have the tools needed to protect our country and themselves. Today, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines confront threats on numerous fronts, and they are often asked to do more with less. It is the responsibility of Congress to provide them with the appropriate resources. After working through differences between House and Senate legislation in a conference committee, the House of Representatives recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense, with overwhelming bipartisan support.

As a member of the conference committee, I supported this bill to set the stage for making necessary investments to rebuild our military strength. The NDAA authorizes funding to help the military restore aging infrastructure. It also includes the largest pay raise for our troops in eight years. Additionally, the NDAA makes the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance program, a special life insurance program benefiting the spouses and dependents of our men and women in uniform, permanent. These payments are made to more than 60,000 Americans whose military spouse has passed away, either during active duty or after their retirement from military service.

Earlier this month, the House passed more than a dozen bills to make sure our veterans receive the service, care, and respect they deserve. Click here to read more in my weekly column.

As we observe this season of thanksgiving, I hope you’ll join me in saying thank you to America’s heroes and the families they leave behind during the holidays. Congress can do its part by getting this legislation signed into law, but we all have a role in thanking our troops and the veterans who have served the cause of freedom for generations. For the blessing it is to live in this great country and to represent Virginia’s Sixth District, I say thank you.

Grateful for Those Giving Back
It’s always uplifting to hear the many stories of those in the community taking time to give back during the holidays and throughout the year. Great work by students in the central Valley who helped to feed 450 families this Thanksgiving through the Needy Project. The Lynchburg Sheriff’s office is partnering with local businesses to bring Thanksgiving to those in need. Educators in Warren County are going the extra mile to deliver turkeys to students. Congratulations to Roanoke Police Department Capt. Rick Morrison and Pam Irvine, president and CEO of Feeding America Southwest Virginia, on being named in Southern Living’s list of Southerners of the Year!

Shop Small Business Saturday

Don’t forget to visit the many small businesses in communities throughout the Sixth District on Saturday!

Goodlatte Responds to FCC Chairman Pai’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

WASHINGTON, D.C. – circulated a draft of his Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which will be voted on December 14, 2017.

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

“I applaud FCC Chairman Pai for his commitment to the FCC’s tradition of light-touch regulation that encourages innovation for broadband and internet services. Chairman Pai’s proposed Restoring Internet Freedom Order represents a much-needed reversal from the one-size-fits-all regulations of the previous administration that would have stifled marketplace competition and discouraged innovation.

“In contrast, Chairman Pai’s efforts would liberate internet service providers and small businesses from unnecessary regulations and allow the Federal Trade Commission to establish clear procedures to monitor unfair practices. In addition to these efforts, I look forward to continuing to work with the FTC, the FCC, and all stakeholders to ensure that our antitrust laws are equipped and being used to aggressively punish anticompetitive and discriminatory conduct on the internet

Helping Families With Student Loan Debt- Senator Tim Kaine

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Too many families in Virginia are weighed down by massive student loan debt. That’s why this month I’ve introduced two bills that will help alleviate this burden.

The first is the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, a bipartisan bill I’ve introduced in past years that makes it easier for students and families to access financial counseling. This simple but important change can make a real difference for families when they decide how to pay for college tuition.

The second bill would fix a glitch in the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness program, which helps those in public service to discharge their student loan debt. This glitch can leave teachers, social workers, and other public servants with massive loan balances they thought would be forgiven after years of payments. There is no reason why we shouldn’t fix confusion around a provision in the program that could leave Virginians shouldering the crushing weight of student loan debt after we promised them a fair trade for their time and commitment.

Warner Weekly Wrap-Up: “Swamp 101”

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Hours after House Republicans passed their 400-page tax bill without a single hearing or any Democratic input, the Senate Finance Committee pushed-through their own version after rejecting dozens of Democratic amendments. The Senate plan’s most pronounced differences from the House bill include provisions to delay a corporate tax-rate cut by one year and to make various individual tax breaks expire by 2026. The Senate version also repeals the individual mandate, the centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act, which will leave 13 million people without health insurance and drive up premiums for many others. An analysis by the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation reveals most middle-income taxpayers actually will see their taxes increase beginning in 2021 under the Senate plan.

For a comparison of the House and Senate tax bills, Bloomberg has a handy chart here.

The House and Senate tax plans were designed by the GOP in secret without any collaboration with Democratic members. Sen. Warner, a member of the Finance Committee, said he was “personally offended” by the partisan process, and called the Senate legislation “Swamp 101.”

WHAT’S NEXT? It is likely that changes will have to be made to the Senate bill for it to get across the finish line. Since Republicans control only 52 votes in the chamber, they can only afford to lose the votes of two members.

RIGHT-SIZING BANK REGULATION: Sen. Warner was a key driver of this week’s bipartisan agreement on community bank regulatory reforms. Sen. Warner and Tim Kaine are two of nine Democrats serving as original cosponsors of this legislation, along with nine Republican cosponsors.

The Virginia Bankers Association praised the legislation: “This legislation provides meaningful reforms that will enable many banks – especially community banks –  to expand their lending and investment while, most importantly, reducing the red tape borrowers face when seeking credit under the current regulatory structure… It is great to see movement toward a more balanced approach to financial regulation and we appreciate the leadership of Senators Warner and Kaine.”

LONG READThe Washington Post had a moving story this week about a Northern Virginia family whose four-year-old daughter received spinal tap and chemo treatments at Inova Fairfax Hospital until their insurer, Anthem, decided not to sell individual policies next year in their part of the state. We talk a lot about “bare countries” and “narrow networks,” and the story of the Briggs family of Purcellville demonstrates why it matters.

WEEK AHEAD: Both the House and Senate are in recess next week for the Thanksgiving holiday.

 

 

Goodlatte continues support of Trump-House tax plan

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released a statement today after voting in support of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) Trump-House tax plan-what is the truth? in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“More jobs, lower and fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks – these are the goals of tax reform. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the pro-growth tax reform America needs. By creating a simpler, fairer tax system, the reforms in this bill will help put more money in the pockets of families and encourage businesses to grow and create jobs in the United States. It’s estimated that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will lead to the creation of nearly 25,000 new jobs in Virginia and increase income for middle-income families by more than $2,500. This bill also lowers individual tax rates for low and middle-income families, expands the Child Tax Credit, closes loopholes, and reduces the tax rate on small businesses to the lowest levels since World War II.

“America’s current tax code is stuck in the past. It’s holding back our economy. That’s why Congress must take this opportunity to enact common sense tax reform and create a tax system that works for taxpayers. Now, it’s the Senate’s turn to do their part to deliver tax relief to families across the country. I urge the Senate to keep the positive momentum going and get this bill to the President’s desk.”

For more partisan perspective on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, visit fairandsimple.gop.