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

Internet Privacy Concerns?

Dear Friends,

Last week, many of you contacted my office with concerns over S.J. Res. 34, a resolution that disapproves a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule that arbitrarily treats Internet Service Providers (ISPs) differently from the rest of the Internet. This rule – rushed through at the eleventh-hour under the Obama Administration – has unfairly targeted broadband providers and put them at a disadvantage when competing with Internet companies like Google, Amazon, and Netflix. The FCC rule had the potential to limit consumer choice, stifle innovation, and jeopardize data security by destabilizing oversight across multiple agencies. 

With the passage of S.J. Res 34, we put all segments of the Internet on equal footing and provided American consumers with a consistent set of privacy rules. I understand and appreciate those who have contacted me in favor or opposition to the FCC rule. While some believe this bill could put the private browser histories of consumers up for sale, this is simply not the case. The Constitution protects an individual’s privacy from the government, though it does not authorize the federal government to restrict contracts between individuals who agree to share information – whether by implicit or explicit consent. To be clear, the resolution does not change or even lessen existing consumer privacy regulations. The disapproval resolution is intended to block an attempt by the FCC, under the previous administration, to expand its regulatory jurisdiction to the  business practices of ISPs – an action generally reserved as the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Current FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai praised the passage of S.J. Res. 34 for supporting the FTC as the appropriate agency for oversight authority of ISP business practices, noting that, “Moving forward, I want the American people to know that the FCC will work with the FTC to ensure that consumers’ online privacy is protected though a consistent and comprehensive framework. In my view, the best way to achieve that result would be to return jurisdiction over broadband providers’ privacy practices to the FTC, with its decades of experience and expertise in this area.”

This resolution is the first step toward restoring the FCC’s light-touch, consumer-friendly approach and empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared. Additionally, Chairman Pai has assured Americans that the FCC will implement existing FTC privacy protections until which point that oversight can be returned to the jurisdiction of the FTC.

Hice in the House

In an ongoing effort to trim down on the administrative state, the House, with my support, passed two measures that curb the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On Wednesday, the House advanced H.R. 1430, the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act, by a vote of 228-194. This legislation prohibits the EPA from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not publicly available. In our modern information age, federal regulations should be based only on data that is available for every American to see and that can be subjected to review.

On Thursday, the House passed H.R. 1431, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017, by a vote of 229-193. This bill amends federal law relating to the Scientific Advisory Board to establish qualifications for members, reinforce independence of the Board, and facilitate public participation in the Board’s advisory activities. By bringing diversity to its membership, this legislation will encourage additional public participation and will provide balance to the advisory process.

 
Committee Work

As Vice Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, it is my duty to ensure that the American people have access to critical information about the operations of the federal government. Last week, I questioned various IT managers about the challenges in the current federal IT acquisition system, best practices from the private sector, and areas of improvement for IT acquisition reform. Their testimonies revealed that despite minimal progress, a lack of accountability and benchmarks set by agencies have caused inefficient and costly projects to remain operational for years. This type of waste is unacceptable, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to find a solution that will address the challenges in the current federal IT acquisition reform. Click here to watch me question witnesses about their agency’s practices

In a full House Oversight and Government Reform Committee mark-up, I spoke in support of the H.R. 24, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, which grants the Government Accountability Office the power to conduct examinations of the Federal Reserve’s operations. The Federal Reserve is an agency that has grown significantly over the last few decades, and it is imperative that it be held to the highest standard. Simply put, it’s time to usher in a new era of transparency.

I also spoke in favor of H.R. 1552, the Fair and Open Competition Act, which promotes fair competition between union and non-union construction contractors for work on federal construction contracts and federally assisted construction projects.  This important bill will create a level playing field where more qualified contractors will compete for public construction contracts because the government cannot encourage or prohibit project labor agreements. Click here to watch the Committee’s mark-up. 


Executive Action

While it might not be getting the media attention it deserves, House Republicans and President Trump are making significant progress in our crusade to loosen up many of the overreaching Washington regulations that defined the Obama Administration. To date, the House has passed 15 Congressional Review Acts, or CRAs, and last week, President Trump signed four of them into law:

  • H.J. Res 37, the Federal Contracts Blacklisting Rule, disapproves and nullifies President Obama’s Executive Order 13673, which required small business owners to comply with overreaching regulations and costs while discouraging competition;
  • H.J. Res 44, the Bureau of Land Management Planning 2.0 Rule, removes a rule from the Department of Interior that would shift more power for drafting land use plans to Washington rather than keeping it at the local and state level;
  • H.J. Res 57, the Education Accountability Act, eliminates a regulation that expands the Department of Education’s authority under the Every Student Succeeds Act; and
  • H.J. Res 58, the Teacher Preparation Rule, rescinds another regulation from the Department of Education that undermines local control over education by forcing states to use Washington’s standards.

The President and his Administration continued their pursuit toward energy independence by signing an executive order that will eradicate regulatory barriers, like President Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan, Social Cost of Carbon, and methane rule. As Georgians face increases in their energy bills, it is our responsibility to promote policies that deliver clean air and water, alongside strong economic growth and job creation. I applaud President Trump for striking down these burdensome rules and supporting an all-of-the-above energy approach that supports innovation.


Deadline Thursday: Congressional Art Competition

Every year, the Congressional Art Competition highlights the artistic talent of Georgia’s 10th District high school students, and I am continually impressed by their works of art. With the submission deadline on Thursday, I encourage students to participate in this nationwide competition. The winner will have his or her artwork displayed in our Nation’s Capitol for one year and will also be awarded a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend a reception honoring other student winners from across the Nation.

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 to one of my District offices by this Thursday, April 6th. I will announce the winner and present awards for the top entries on Saturday, April 29th during a reception at Monroe Art Guild.

 
The Week Ahead

Tonight, Tuesday, April 4, 2017, I’ll be hosting a Telephone Town Hall at approximately 6:15 p.m. These forums are a modern way to bring a town hall directly to the homes of my constituents, where we can discuss issues facing Congress, including health care, the economy, and taxes. I value the opportunity to hear from 10th District residents, and I look forward to speaking with many of you this evening. To RSVP, please click here.

Additionally, this week, the House will consider the following pieces of legislation:

H.R. 479 - North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act of 2017, as amended
H.Res. 92 - Condemning North Korea’s development of multiple intercontinental ballistic missiles, and for other purposes, as amended
H.Res. 54 - Reaffirming the United States-Argentina partnership and recognizing Argentina’s economic reforms, as amended
Concurring in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 353 - Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017
H.R. 1343 - Encouraging Employee Ownership Act of 2017, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule)
H.R. 369 - To eliminate the sunset of the Veterans Choice Program, and for other purposes
H.R. 1304 - Self-Insurance Protection Act (Subject to a Rule)
H.R. 1219 - Supporting America’s Innovators Act of 2017, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule)

As always, I want to hear from 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

Rep. Jody Hice honors Jon Richards on U.S. House floor
Gwinnett Daily Post – 3/30
The U.S. House of Representatives observed a moment of silence in honor of Gwinnett political watcher Jon Richards on Thursday morning. The morning after Richards’ family and friends gathered at the 1818 Club in Duluth to remember his life, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., took a moment to address his colleagues about Richards, who passed away on Sunday after a brief battle with cancer. At the same time, Hice expressed grief over the GeorgiaPol.com editor-in-chief’s death. “I rise today with a heavy heart to celebrate the life of Jon Richards, a Georgia treasure, brilliant political journalist and selfless mentor,” Hice said. “I pray and grieve for the family and friends of Jon during this incredibly difficult time.”

Will Caldwell receives appointment to United States Military Academy
GMC – News – 3/29
An appointment to the academy requires a nomination from a United States Senator, Congressman, Vice President, or President. Cadet Caldwell received his nomination from Congressman Jody Hice (GA-10). He was also required to have exceptional grades and test scores, and be physically fit and medically qualified to be accepted. Caldwell is continuing the family legacy of attending and graduating from West Point. He’s excited to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather (USMA 48’) and father, Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, IV,  (USMA 76’) the 21st President of GMC who had a distinguished career spanning 37 years in the United States Army.

Hice to hold telephone town hall Tuesday
Athens Banner-Herald – 4/3
Congressman Jody Hice, the Republican whose U.S. House district includes part of Athens-Clarke County, will hold a telephone town hall beginning at approximately 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, his office announced late Monday afternoon.

New Report: Federal Employee Union Subsidy Costs $162 million
Competitive Enterprise Institute – 3/27
Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) has introduced another bill, the Official Time Reform Act (H.R. 1364), this session, to end the practice of using official time to engage in union political activity while being paid by the taxpayer. In addition, the bill “would prohibit federal employees who spend 80 percent or more of their time on official time from counting that as creditable service under the Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employee Retirement System and from receiving bonuses.”

President Trump, the nation's prison guards work for you
The Hill – 4/1
Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) has recently introduced a bill aimed at killing official time and weakening unions. He cast it as “keeping with President Trump’s promise “to take back control of the People’s government.” To that we ask, from whom, Mr. President? From the officers like Rivera, an Iraq War veteran who was murdered inside USP Atwater, Williams who was stabbed over 200 times at USP Canaan with multiple prison weapons and had his skull crushed, and Albarati who was shot over 20 times traveling home to his children? From people like me who have spent countless hours trying to find ways to make our workplaces safer? All our fallen officers have paid the ultimate sacrifice doing their jobs protecting the American people. They do not deserve to be short-changed and should be given the tools and resources necessary to fulfill their duties on the front lines in our nation's prisons - just like the soldiers in war.

Taxpayers Spend Millions Providing Unions With Free Labor
Inside Sources – 3/27
“American taxpayers are paying $162 million for federal workers to conduct labor union business,” CEI labor policy expert Trey Kovacs said in a statement provided to InsideSources.  “Most taxpayers have no idea that their money is spent paying federal employees to perform union business unrelated to their public duties” Republican Rep. Jody Hice introduced legislation earlier in the month that would limit official time usage. The bill would exclude political activities while also eliminating other eligible tasks. Critics contested the bill is merely an attempt to undermine unions.

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