U.S. Congressman Jody Hice | E-Newsletter
U.S. Congressman Jody Hice

Read the Bill & Take the Survey

Dear Friends,

With health care reform in the news so much lately, it’s hard not to have an opinion. As I review the new health care bill, the American Health Care Act, it is imperative that I hear from you. This bill is designed to be one of several steps toward implementing a more affordable and patient-centered health care system for America, and I’m making sure that your voice is heard in Washington. In an effort to ensure an open process, I encourage everyone to read the bill and let me know your thoughts and concerns. Whether you love Obamacare or hate it, I want to know your opinion! I will continue to monitor the progress of this bill as it goes through the mark-up process in committee.

I joined Fox Business on Friday to discuss the first draft of the health care plan and some of my concerns. Check out the video below!

Hice in the House

In recent years, we’ve watched as our military has been denied the support and resources necessary to maintain needed readiness levels. Last week, the House passed H.R. 1301, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which provides responsible funding to ensure our soldiers are properly trained for combat, properly equipped on the battlefield with superior technology, and properly taken care of when they return home. With tensions high across the globe, we must show the world that America’s military is ready and able to protect us from any who would seek to threaten our safety and security. Among the provisions, the FY’17 Defense Appropriations Bill:

  • Fully funds a 2.1 percent pay raise for troops;
  • Increases funding for vital weapons programs, including the next-generation JSTARS fleet, the Ohio-class submarine replacement program, and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter;
  • Invests in personnel, training, maintenance, and procurement to tackle the readiness gap and equip our troops with cutting-edge technology; and
  • Provides resources to combat ISIS and support our allies in countering Russian aggression.

Keeping the American people safe means giving our men and women in uniform the tools and resources required to confront and combat any threat and defeat every enemy. This is exactly what the FY’17 Defense Appropriations Bill does, and I’m proud to support our Armed Forces.

On Thursday, the House passed H.R. 985, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2017, by a vote of 220-201-1. This legislation fixes our broken class action litigation system to make it work for American businesses and consumers with legitimate claims while also promoting transparency. The legislation further includes H.R. 906, the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act, which amends the Bankruptcy Code to provide greater transparency in the asbestos bankruptcy trust system, reduce fraud, and enhance the recoveries of victims.

The House also passed H.R. 725, the Innocent Party Protection Act, which addresses the problem of innocent Americans being pulled into lawsuits by trial lawyers for the sole purpose of rigging the system to keep their lawsuits in the state courts they like best. H.R. 725 sets a uniform standard for determining whether a defendant has been fraudulently joined to a lawsuit for the purposes of defeating federal diversity jurisdiction. This bill clarifies that federal courts can consider evidence outside of pleadings in deciding motions to remand cases removed to federal court. I was proud to support these measures.

On Friday, the House, with my support, passed H.R. 720, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017, by a vote of 230-188. This legislation amends Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to improve attorney accountability by restoring mandatory sanctions for filing frivolous lawsuits, thereby curbing the issue of baseless lawsuits and protecting individuals and businesses from unnecessary legal costs. It also will ensure that judges impose monetary sanctions against lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits, including attorney's fees and costs incurred by the victim of the lawsuit. 

Committee Action

“Official time,” the practice by which federal employees are allowed to engage in union activities – during regular office hours – is just another obvious example of waste running rampant in our federal government. It is outrageous and unconscionable that federal employees, especially employees who provide much-needed health care services to our veterans, are spending the majority of their time conducting union business instead of fulfilling the duties they were hired to do. Simply put – we shouldn’t need to hire two people to do one job.

In an ongoing effort to reduce the waste caused by this practice, I introduced H.R. 1364, the Official Time Reform Act, last week. This bill, which passed the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will help disincentive federal employees from using official time by prohibiting it from counting towards retirement or bonuses. I’m very proud of this bill and look forward to continuing my work to reduce and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse throughout the people’s government. To learn more about the Official Time Reform Act, click here. To watch the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Business Meeting, click here.

Georgians in D.C. 

Last Monday, I met with Travis McNeal, Executive Director of Golden Harvest Food Bank and an Augusta, Georgia resident. Since its formation in 1982, Golden Harvest has distributed more than 250 million pounds of food and fed more than 14 million Georgians and South Carolinians in need. Thank you, Travis, for stopping by! I applaud the organization’s commitment to bettering the community.


Congressman Hice with Travis McNeal, Executive Director of Golden Harvest Food Bank

On Wednesday, I spoke with Marco Palmieri, President and CEO of Novelis North America, and Fiona Bell, Director of Communications and Government Relations for Novelis North America, about trade and its impact in the 10th District. In addition to being a global leader in the aluminum industry and the largest recycler of aluminum in the world, it also employs nearly 130 10th District residents at its manufacturing plant in Greensboro. Thanks for coming by!


Marco Palmieri (President & CEO of Novelis North America), Congressman Hice, and Fiona Bell (Director of Communications and Government Affairs for Novelis North America) meeting in Washington last week

On Thursday, I sat down with Charles Fowler, President of Global Defense Management Inc. and Winder, Georgia resident, to discuss better ways to serve our veterans. Our veterans are living examples of what it means to be good citizens, providing us with the freedom and security that makes America the greatest Nation on earth. It is of the utmost importance to give our heroes the care they deserve after the sacrifices they’ve made for each of us.  To all veterans and servicemembers – thank you. Thank you for your sacrifices, for your sense of duty, and for your service.


10th District constituent Charles Fowler meeting with Congressman Hice

Later that day, I was grateful to meet with the Meinert family from Monroe after their tour of the Capitol. If you are planning a visit to Washington in the near future, let my office know and we will do our best to get you tickets to some of the best D.C. attractions.


The Meinert family of Walton County speaking with Congressman Hice about their concerns
 
District Connection: Summer Internships

I’m excited to announce that my Monroe, Milledgeville, and Washington D.C. offices are now accepting applications for my summer internship program. Applicants should be highly organized, hardworking, and possess strong written and verbal communication skills. Although internships are unpaid, they provide an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience and skills in a Congressional office and could lead to college credit (per your university's requirements). To learn more about this opportunity, please click here


Congressman Hice meeting with Marie Henderson, an intern in his Monroe District Office

The Week Ahead

This week, the House will consider the following pieces of legislation:

H.R. 132 - Arbuckle Project Maintenance Complex and District Office Conveyance Act of 2017
H.R. 648 - To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to amend the Definite Plan Report for the Seedskadee Project to enable the use of the active capacity of the Fontenelle Reservoir
H.R. 267 - Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Act of 2017, as amended
H.R. 1181 - Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act (Subject to a Rule)
H.R. 1238 - Securing our Agriculture and Food Act
H.R. 1294 - Reducing DHS Acquisition Cost Growth Act
H.R. 1297 - Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Technical Corrections Act of 2017
H.R. 1302 - Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act of 2017
H.R. 1309 - TSA Administrator Modernization Act of 2017
H.R. 1353 - Transparency in Technological Acquisitions Act of 2017
H.R. 1249 - DHS Multiyear Acquisition Strategy Act of 2017
H.R. 1252 - DHS Acquisition Authorities Act of 2017, as amended
H.R. 1365 - Department of Homeland Security Acquisition Innovation Act, as amended
H.R. 1259 - VA Accountability First Act of 2017, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule)
H.R. 1367 - To improve the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to hire and retain physicians and other employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule)

As always, it is an honor to represent you. Please contact my office with any questions, comments, or concerns. Visit my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for more updates about my work in Washington on your behalf.

Sincerely, 

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TOP NEWS

Hice defends record of openness to public
Walton Tribune - 3/8
More and more across the country, congressmen are coming under criticism if they’ve appeared to duck out on meeting their constituents. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., has been no exception, but he said that’s not an accurate complaint. Hice said he and his staff members have been accessible to constituents in the 10th District, which includes Walton County. “We are doing what we have always done,” Hice said last week in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C. “Nothing has changed here. Both me and my staff are accessible and are throughout the district as much as we have been.”

Republicans launch new tactic in latest attack on federal unions
Washington Post – 3/8
The bill introduced Monday by Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) would prohibit “employees who spend the majority of their time on official time from counting that time as creditable service” toward retirement, according to a document provided by the committee. Hice did not respond to a request for comment, but when he announced plans for the legislation in January, he cast it as keeping with President Trump’s promise “to take back control of the People’s government.” “When I came to office, I was shocked to learn that there are thousands of federal employees collecting paychecks — paid by the American taxpayer — without performing the duties they were hired to do,” Hice added. Official time “essentially allows for employees to perform union activities, which are often political in nature, during the workday on the taxpayer’s dime.”

Congressman Hice invites students in ’17 art competition
News-Reporter – 3/9
Congressman Jody Hice has announced that he invites students in grades 9-12 to participate in the 2017 Congressional Art Competition. The winning artist will receive roundtrip tickets to attend a national reception in Washington, D.C., and his or her artwork will be on display for one year in the U.S. Capitol.

The Ga. Republicans on the fence about the GOP health care bill
Atlanta Journal Constitution – 3/9
Rep. Jody Hice, R-Monroe, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, also doesn’t think the bill as written does enough to counter the Medicaid expansion. Hice said he takes issue with Republican leaders selling the bill to lawmakers as a binary choice: that either they’re for the Affordable Care Act by voting against the GOP bill or they reject Obamacare and are willing to support the new plan. “That’s not reality,” Hice said Wednesday. “Up here everything’s based on debate, so it’s on the table.”

IRS Is Fine With A Little Fraud, Rejects GAO Recommendation
Daily Caller – 3/8
Georgia Republican Rep. Jody Hice questioned the IRS’ priorities, demanding answers from Dalrymple on how much time IRS employees spend on union work or “official time.” Dalrymple could not give an answer. “You don’t have a resource problem, you have a waste problem,” Hice said.

IRS watchdogs worry agency spreading itself too thin while handling information sharing, customer service
Federal News Radio – 3/9
Dalrymple said the tax gap between what the IRS is owed and what it actually collects is about $450 billion per year. Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) expressed his displeasure that during the 2012 filing season, 62 IRS employees hired for customer service work were shifted over to handle union official time, despite issues with customers getting through on agency phone lines. “You don’t have a resource problem, you have a waste problem,” Hice said. “You’ve got people right there who were hired to do the job, who were going off doing union work rather than the job for which they were paid to do. That seems awfully wasteful to me, on the backs of taxpayers and on the backs of people who need answers.”

Hice says health law 'the beginning'
Walton Tribune – 3/8
A bill to replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law went public this week. Walton County’s congressman called it “a beginning,” but in a statement stopped short of issuing full support. “With the release of the American Health Care Act, we are in the beginning stages of negotiation and will continue working through remaining issues toward our goal of making health care affordable and accessible once again,” Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., said.

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