U.S. Congressman Jody Hice | E-Newsletter
U.S. Congressman Jody Hice
A Time to Be Thankful
Dear Friends,

Thank you to everyone who joined me for my sixth Telephone Town Hall meeting of the year last Tuesday evening! We had a great discussion on tax reform legislation, national security, immigration, health care, veterans’ issues, and much more. I truly value hearing from my constituents, so if you have a comment for me or I didn't get to your question during the call, please feel free to drop a note here.

During the conference, I asked two poll questions, and the results are in!
 
One Step Closer to Tax Reform
Last week marked another important milestone in our effort to return more money back to your pocket, to bring jobs back from overseas, and to make America competitive again with the House passage of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This historic overhaul flattens rates and lightens the burden for taxpayers, while unleashing opportunities for American businesses, large and small, to better compete globally and within their own communities.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act focuses on boosting economic growth and helping people across the board to keep more of what they earn. These reforms will also benefit manufacturers by allowing job creators and farmers to immediately write off the full cost of new equipment and will repeal the unfair death tax, which hinders family farms and small businesses from passing on the success of a lifetime of hard work to the next generation.

I outlined some of my tax reform priorities in a column I penned for the Covington News. I also wrote an op-ed in the Hill discussing the legislation I introduced alongside House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Senator James Lankford, the Free Speech Fairness Act, which I am pleased was incorporated into the tax reform package.

As this process continues, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to send legislation to President Trump for his signature before Christmas.

 
Hice in the House
Last Monday, my bill, H.R. 3739, the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act, cleared the House with overwhelming, bipartisan support. In recent years, former presidents have had no shortage of high-paying opportunities, ranging from speaking engagements, book deals, board memberships, and more. For example, President Bill Clinton earned more than $100 million between 2001 and 2013 in speaking fees alone. President George W. Bush’s recent book deal earned him over $10 million, and shortly after leaving office, President Obama made $400,000 for a single speech at a Wall Street firm.

Despite these incredibly lucrative deals, taxpayers continue to foot the bill for hefty presidential pensions. My legislation updates the pensions provided to former presidents and their spouses, while keeping in place funding for security and protections needed in the modern era.

With the passage of this bill, our former presidents will lead by example by cutting unnecessary, excessive spending. This is one of many steps toward getting our financial house back in order, and I look forward to its passage in the Senate. Watch me speak on the House Floor regarding this important legislation here.

Rather than taking away critical resources and cutting funding for our military, which was business as usual under the Obama Administration, this Congress and the Trump Administration have prioritized our men and women in uniform. Our soldiers put their lives on the line every day to defend our freedoms, and they deserve nothing but the best that we can offer – in pay, in care, and in resources. On Tuesday, the House advanced the joint House-Senate Conference Report for the National Defense Authorization Act, also known as the NDAA, for Fiscal Year 2018, which sets our Nation’s defense policy priorities for the upcoming year. Without question, America faces a growing number of national security threats, including provocation by North Korea and Iran, and I’m pleased that we passed the NDAA in a collaborative and nonpartisan way.

The measure authorizes $626 billion in base funding, including a $26.4 billion increase above the President’s budget requests to make key investments in critical military operations. It also offers an additional $8 billion for all cyber operations, including the U.S. Army’s Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon in Georgia. Furthermore, it provides a 2.4 percent pay increase for our servicemen and women, makes the current temporary program to pay $310 a month to military widows and widowers permanent, and allows our Armed Forces to expand their active-duty personnel.

This legislation passed the Senate by voice vote on Thursday and now heads to the President’s desk for his signature. I’m grateful that it ensures that our Armed Forces have the tools they need to successfully carry out their missions and provide for their families.

The House also passed H.R. 2874, the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, a collection of seven bills, to bring some much-needed reforms and stability to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is a program that’s been in dire straits for some time. I’m pleased that the 21st Century Flood Reform Act takes much-needed steps to strengthen its fiscal footing, enhance the development of flood risk estimates, and provide more affordable coverage to current policy holders, while implementing institutional improvements by allowing private markets to compete and offer coverage. For far too long, hardworking American taxpayers have been trapped in a never-ending bailout cycle for the NFIP, and I’m glad that they are finally getting the relief they deserve.

Committee Action
Last week in committee, we addressed a wide range of issues, including the oversight of Puerto Rico’s recovery and identifying areas within the federal government where Inspectors General can defend against waste, fraud, and abuse. On Tuesday, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to discuss the ongoing need for financial accountability as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands rebuild in the aftermath of recent natural disasters. We’re working to ensure that all funds designated for recovery efforts are used in an efficient, accountable, and transparent manner. Click here to watch me question Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló about his contributions to the recovery process.

On Wednesday morning, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a full committee hearing to examine the implementation of the Inspector General Empowerment Act and subsequent efforts to increase the transparency of Inspectors General (IG) in every agency of the federal government. The role of this position is absolutely vital when it comes to restoring efficiency government-wide, and yet there are still 13 IG positions that are awaiting Senate confirmation. Click here to watch me question the Honorable Michael E. Horowitz, Chairman of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency at the Department of Justice.
 
District Connection
Last week, I had the great responsibility of honoring two members of our Armed Forces on the House Floor for their bravery in service. On Wednesday, I expressed my gratitude to Mr. Ernest Walls, a World War II veteran who was recently inducted into the Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame. Walls was a member of the 22nd Infantry Unit, which stormed Normandy’s Utah Beach on D-Day and was later captured by the Germans and held as a Prisoner of War. Click here to watch my full speech.

The following day, I had the opportunity to share the amazing story of Staff Sergeant Richard Hunter, a current member of the United States Army and an American hero, on the House Floor. In Afghanistan in 2016, SSgt Hunter was personally responsible for bringing several wounded servicemembers to safety, while calling for a helicopter evacuation under heavy enemy fire. Hunter was awarded the Air Force Cross for his courage and heroics. Watch my full floor remarks here.

Friday was another busy day back in the District! I started by holding one of my Coffee with your Congressman events at the McDuffie County Farm Bureau. I was glad to have the opportunity to have such constructive discussions with many of you on topics spanning from tax reform to the upcoming Farm Bill. I greatly value the ability to speak with you all, and I look forward to meeting with you next time!

Congressman Hice speaking with a constituent at his McDuffie County Coffee with Your Congressman event

After that, I participated in back-to-back dedication ceremonies for the public display of the Foundations of American Law & Government, which are proudly showcased at the courthouses in McDuffie and Warren Counties. The display includes documents that have played a significant role in the foundation of our system of law and government, including the Ten Commandments, the Mayflower Compact, and the Declaration of Independence. This issue is one that is incredibly close to my heart, and I was proud to be a part of the dedication and would like to thank the McCorkle family for donating these documents.

Congressman Hice in front of the display at the McDuffie County Courthouse

Congressman Hice with Commission Chairman John Graham, Lynda Brown, Ten Commandments Executive Director Dr. Tom Rush, and the McCorkle family

Also on Friday, I met with Alzheimer’s advocates to discuss this debilitating disease and ways to assist those living with the illness. As some of you may know, I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s and have been working to fight it for years. Thanks so much for joining me for this important discussion.

Congressman Hice discussing the impacts of Alzheimer’s with association representatives

On Saturday morning, I joined Senator David Perdue’s team and Jefferson County to host a Helping Our Heroes event geared toward providing helpful information to our local veterans. It was heartwarming to meet our Nation’s heroes and hear their stories firsthand. Our veterans deserve the very best we have to offer, and although I know that one event is not enough to express our gratitude, I hope that all of our local veterans know how thankful we are for their service. For any veterans seeking help receiving their benefits, please visit my website, and my dedicated team of caseworkers would be glad to help you in any way they can.

Congressman Hice speaking with an attendee

Congressman Hice addressing the crowd in Jefferson County
 
The Week Ahead

As the holiday season approaches, Dee Dee and I want to wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful every day for our wonderful community and reminded of the privilege and blessing that it is to live in our amazing country, and we hope you spend time in the coming weeks being thankful for all that you have.

We also thank and pray for the men and women of our Armed Forces who so honorably and courageously defend our Nation. From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

As always, I want to hear from you. Please contact my office with any questions, comments, or concerns. Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep track of upcoming events!


Sincerely, 

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TOP NEWS

Hice on TV
Fox Business (Varney & Co.) – 11/15 
WJBF (Means Report, Part 1) – 11/19
WJBF (Means Report, Part 2) – 11/19
WJBF (Means Report, Part 3) – 11/19 

House Tax Bill Restores Free Speech for Churches, Pastors
Liberty Headlines – 11/19
In an article for The Hill, Rep. Jody Hice, R-Georgia, traced the limitations on free speech back to Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson. “In order to achieve tax-exempt status, churches and nonprofits have essentially given away their right to free speech, else they risk facing the wrath of the IRS, a federal agency that has the power to destroy lives,” Hice wrote.

Christian Lawmakers Working to Keep Free Speech, Charitable Contributions in Tax Plan
CBN News – 11/16
Congressman Jody Hice, R - Georgia, co sponsor of the Free Speech Fairness Act, tells CBN News when he was a Baptist pastor he personally faced intimidation from the IRS and it's time to "liberate churches."  "This is a major step for religious liberty," says Hice. "I have personally been the recipient of the other side of this Johnson Amendment and faced the intimidation and the fear and I know hundreds and hundreds of other pastors have as well. So it's time that we get this right and we liberate churches and other non-profit leaders to be able to speak without fear of their government."

Senate tax bill seeks to end ObamaCare individual mandate: What it means for you
Fox Business – 11/15
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee amended its tax bill this week to include a provision that would repeal the ObamaCare individual mandate, a law requiring individuals to purchase coverage or pay a fine. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates that ending the mandate would save $318 billion over the next decade, at a time when the GOP is wrestling with the spending levels of its tax cut proposals. In a 2012 decision, the Supreme Court essentially classified the individual mandate as a tax on those who chose not to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirements, so Republicans would have precedent to be able to remove it through tax legislation.

House OKs bill slightly cutting former presidents’ pensions
Washington Post – 11/13
Former presidents get lucrative book deals and high-paid speaking gigs. So there’s no need for taxpayers to support them to the degree that the federal government has done in the past. That’s the reasoning behind legislation that the House backed on Monday slightly reducing the government pension of former presidents and capping how much they can bill taxpayers for office expenses and staff. The measure passed by voice vote. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., the bill’s sponsor, says the lifestyle of former presidents means taxpayers can pay less. He said that President Bill Clinton earned more than $100 million in speaking fees after leaving office while President George W. Bush received $10 million for a book deal. “Because of these opportunities, it’s no longer necessary to provide taxpayer-funded support to former presidents in the same way as envisioned in 1958,” Hice said.

GOP Leaders Reinstate Adoption Tax Credit
Christian Headlines – 11/13
On Tuesday, Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., told his colleagues nixing the adoption tax credit would make them hypocrites. He circulated a letter delivered to Brady explaining why it’s smart to reinstate the benefit. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., worked with Franks on the letter and told me it would be a huge disappointment to see a final tax bill without the adoption credit: “We’re a pro-life party as a whole, and I think supporting adoption is an important aspect of it all, so I hope this can be resolved.”

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