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

Veterans First

Dear Friends,

As Americans, we have deep admiration and respect for our men and women in uniform. Our veterans put country before self, leave behind loved ones, and endanger themselves to ensure that America remains safe and secure. As a Nation, we have a moral obligation to do right by these heroes when they come home.

Unfortunately, too often, our veterans face unique challenges re-integrating into society. They routinely receive mediocre health care services, find it increasingly difficult to gain meaningful employment, or are blocked by government red tape when trying to receive the benefits they so rightfully deserve. This is unacceptable, and it’s why I voted for several pieces of legislation last week to better serve our veterans and address the serious concerns plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bills passed include:

  • H.R. 1259, the VA Accountability Act of 2017, which increases VA Secretary David Shulkin’s flexibility to terminate, demote, or suspend any VA employee who fails in his or her mission to provide world-class service, thus holding the entire department to a higher standard and increasing the quality of care our veterans receive. Additionally, this bill improves protections for whistleblowers and prevents VA scandals from going unreported;
  • H.R. 1181, the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act, which restores due process by prohibiting the VA from classifying any veteran who is assisted by a trustee as “mentally defective” without a magistrate or judicial ruling; and
  • H.R. 1367, which improves staffing, recruitment, and retention programs to enable the VA to employ the very best in the field. This bill would establish a recruiting database to make high-quality potential employees aware of positions at the VA and create opportunities for career training and advancement for current VA employees through fellowship positions and a promotional track for technical experts.

The brave servicemembers who have served our country have fulfilled their duties. We cannot prosper as a country when those who gave their all to protect it are suffering. Our veterans answered the call, and now it is our duty to do the same. I will continue to put the interests of our veterans above all and look forward to continuing our progress in creating a culture of accountability at the VA.

#BeAHero

For over 70 years, March has been recognized as National Red Cross Month. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides emotional support to victims of disasters, supplies nearly 40 percent of the Nation’s blood donations, provides humanitarian aid, and supports military members and their families.

As we celebrate, I want to thank all of the supporters of the Red Cross and encourage 10th District residents to #BeAHero by volunteering for this nonprofit. Whether it’s assisting a displaced family, providing care and comfort to an ill or injured veteran, or teaching others how to respond in emergencies, it’s through the efforts of ordinary people like you that we accomplish extraordinary things. To learn more ways to get involved, please click here

District Connection: Congressional Art Competition

The deadline for the 2017 Congressional Art Competition is quickly approaching! This annual nationwide tradition is an opportunity for local students in grades 9 – 12 to compete for the honor of having their artwork displayed in our Nation’s Capitol for one year.

For complete details on this year's competition, including information about how to submit a piece of artwork, please click here. If you know any students that might be interested in participating in this year's competition, please share details with them! All entries must be submitted by Thursday, April 6th. 

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Last week, I urged my colleagues to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. by passing H.R. 267, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Act. Without question, his pursuit of justice and equality are unmatched, and I cannot think of a better way to preserve the work of this revered civil rights leader.

I commend Congressman John Lewis (GA-05), a champion for civil rights and a lifelong friend of Dr. King, for introducing this legislation. This bill expands the physical area of the park to include the Prince Hall Mason Lodge and upgrades it to a national park, the highest designation within the National Park Service. As a cosponsor of this bill, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and a fellow Georgian, I proudly support this Atlanta-based site. Click here to read my floor speech celebrating the remarkable legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

 
Meetings in Washington

On Wednesday, I met with representatives from the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) to discuss a variety of topics, including the border adjustment tax, “buy American” rules, and goals to eliminate the trade deficit. CPA is a nonprofit organization representing the interests of nearly 2.7 million households in the agriculture, manufacturing, and labor sectors. Thanks for coming by! 


Burl Finkelstein, Congressman Hice, and Bill Bullard

Later that day, I sat down with Sam Davis, a Dacula, Georgia resident and Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Senior Pastor. I was grateful for the opportunity to hear about his remarkable work in the State of Georgia and was blown away by the church’s missionary efforts. Stop by anytime!


Ebenezer Baptist Church Senior Pastor Sam Davis meeting with Congressman Hice

The Week Ahead

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

H.R. 1029 - Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act of 2017, as amended
H.R. 382 - 100 Years of Women in Congress Act
H.R. 1309 - TSA Administrator Modernization Act of 2017
H.R. 1353 - Transparency in Technological Acquisitions Act of 2017
H.R. 1294 - Reducing DHS Acquisition Cost Growth Act
H.R. 1297 -Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Technical Corrections Act of 2017
H.R. 1249 - DHS Multiyear Acquisition Strategy Act of 2017, as amended
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. 1238 - Securing our Agriculture and Food Act
H.R. 1302 - Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act of 2017
H.R. 372 - Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule)
H.R. 1101 - Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2017, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule)
American Health Care Act of 2017 (Subject to a Rule) (Awaiting bill number)

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

Bill helps us continue the cleanup of Veterans Affairs
Walton Tribune – 3/18
Our veterans are inherently selfless, having put their lives on the line to defend our freedom — often while their families put everything on hold waiting for these heroes to return home. Unfortunately, problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs have persisted for years, and many of our returning heroes face uphill battles to receive the benefits they deserve and earned.

Legislation Cutting Some Federal Employees’ Pensions Advances in House
Fed Smith – 3/19
“Official time” is unique to federal labor relations. It is time used by an employee receiving full federal salary and benefits while representing a union. The amount of time is required to be reasonable. This is usually addressed in a contract between an agency and a union. Some federal employees spend 100% of their time working as a union representative. Under existing law, the continue to receive their full pay and benefits. Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA) recently introduced H.R. 1364, the Official Time Reform Act. This bill would impact future retirement pensions of employees spending more than 80% of their time as a union representative. 


Georgia delegation congressional voting
Albany Herald – 3/19
Here’s a look at how Georgia’s members of Congress voted over the previous week. In addition to roll call votes last week, the House also passed a resolution (S.J. Res. 1), approving the location of a memorial to commemorate and honor the members of the military who served in Operation Desert Storm or Operation Desert Shield.


GOP bills Targeting Federal Unions’ abuses
Valley Press- 3/16
One prime example is a bill introduced on March 6 by Rep. Jody Hice, R-Georgia, that would prohibit “employees who spend the majority of their time on official time from counting that time as creditable service” toward retirement.
 

Stop the IRS from Penalizing Free Speech
Family Research Council – 3/15
Last month, FRC worked with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Representative Jody Hice (R-Ga.), and Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced the Free Speech Fairness Act of 2017 (H.R. 781. S. 264), to roll back the Johnson Amendment. A non-profit organization should not lose its tax-exempt status or be threatened with audits because it exercises its constitutional right to speak in favor of political candidates who share the organization’s values and mission.

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