U.S. Congressman Jody Hice

The Judicial Branch

Dear Friends,

President Donald Trump promised the American people that he would nominate a Supreme Court Justice who would respect the Constitution in the way that the late Justice Antonin Scalia did, and last week, he delivered on that promise with the nomination of federal court of appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch.

By the Founders’ design, justices serve within the judicial branch of government, which acts as a check on both the legislative and executive branches to maintain a balance of power. In the words of Justice Scalia, “The Constitution is not a living organism. It’s a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn’t say what it doesn’t say.”

In 2006, the Senate unanimously confirmed Neil Gorsuch to his current position on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. And for the past decade, Gorsuch has demonstrated a strong understanding of the Constitution, exhibited an interpretive approach similar to that of Justices Scalia and Clarence Thomas, and showcased top-notch technical and writing skills.

It is my hope that the Senate quickly confirms Judge Gorsuch as the next associate justice of the Supreme Court as I am confident that he will adhere to conservative jurisprudence on our Nation’s highest court. To read more about my thoughts on Judge Neil Gorsuch, click here.  

Hice in the House

Since 1954, a provision in the U.S. Tax Code, commonly referred to as the Johnson Amendment, has effectively censored all nonprofit organizations and their leaders with the threat of an IRS investigation, fines or loss of tax-exempt status if they choose to discuss political events. Introduced by then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, the amendment was snuck in by voice vote but was never debated by Congress. As a result of the Johnson Amendment, people that work at nonprofits, charities and houses of worship have major restrictions on their freedom of speech.

Simply put, employees of 501(c)(3) nonprofit entities, including churches, should not live under a shadow of fear when voicing their beliefs. They should not incur a financial penalty for expressing their political opinions. President Trump concurred during his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast last week. As advocates for the protection of freedom for all, Senator James Lankford, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, and I introduced the Free Speech Fairness Act, to amend the Johnson Amendment, not repeal it, and reinstate the rights of anyone who wishes to communicate their political viewpoint. Click here to read our Washington Post piece in its entirety, and click here to view our press conference featuring the introduction of this important bill.


Congressman Hice speaking at the Free Speech Fairness Act press conference

Also last week, the House passed a slew of resolutions to undo Obama-era regulations that have hurt our small business owners, limited the Constitutional rights of average Americans, and damaged the coal mining industry. Many of these rules were pushed through in the eleventh hour by the Obama Administration as last-ditch attempts to legislate – something that’s not part of his job. Through the Congressional Review Act, Congress can quickly reverse regulations with a simple majority vote in both the House and Senate. Below are some of the resolutions we passed:

  • H.J.Res. 36 to eliminate the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane Rule that has disrupted responsible energy production on federal lands while yielding no real environmental benefit at the cost of good-paying jobs;
  • H.J.Res. 37 to disapprove and nullify President Obama’s Executive Order 13673, which required small business owners to comply with overreaching regulations and costs while discouraging competition;
  • H.J.Res. 38 to condemn and reverse the Department of Interior’s rule, known as the Stream Protection Rule, that attempted to drastically reduce coal mining production and the coal mining workforce;
  • H.J.Res. 40 to change the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration limiting our Second Amendment rights and breaching our due process privileges; and
  • H.J.Res. 41 to nullify a rule submitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This rule is outside the scope of the SEC’s mission, mandates the release of companies proprietary information, and is unnecessarily burdensome, with compliance costs exceeding $591 annually.

I’m proud of the work that we’ve done in only the first few weeks of this new Congress and look forward to restoring legislative power to where it belongs – in the hands of the people’s elected representatives.

Defending Life

Since 2007, Live Action has been proactive in uncovering the illicit activity of Planned Parenthood and is heading the initiative to defund this morally bankrupt program. Last week, it was an honor to join many of my colleagues to defend the most vulnerable among us and shed a light on the actions of Planned Parenthood – from profiting off the sale of baby body parts to covering up abuse and human trafficking.

Click here to watch my remarks at the press conference.


Congressman Hice speaking at the press conference with Lila Rose, Founder and President of Live Action

Georgia School Board Association

Last Tuesday, I met with Tenth District constituents who also serve as delegates for the Georgia School Board Association (GSBA). For over 60 years, the GSBA has partnered with local school systems to provide equal and excellent public education to all students. Thank you for your continued commitment to the education of students throughout the state of Georgia. Stop by anytime!


Tom Odom, Mary Kay Murphy, Steve Weiner, Congressman Jody Hice, and Carole Boyce

Visiting Washington, D.C. 

Are you planning a trip to Washington, D.C. this spring? My staff would be happy to help you plan a memorable and educational trip to our Nation's Capital and reserve tours of the U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress, White House, and many other D.C. attractions. Please visit my website for more information and to complete the online request formAfter submitting the form, a member of my staff will be in touch to help you complete the process. Tours are already booking up for March and April, so if you’re planning on coming up for Spring Break, let us know soon! We’d love to have you!


Dee Dee and Congressman Hice meeting with constituents during their visit to Washington

The Week Ahead

The House will consider the following pieces of legislation:

H.R. 618 - Crags, Colorado Land Exchange Act of 2017
H.R. 698 - Elkhorn Ranch and White River National Forest Conveyance Act of 2017
H.R. 688 - Arapaho National Forest Boundary Adjustment Act of 2017
H.R. 689 - Bolts Ditch Access and Use Act
H.R. 337 - Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act
H.R. 494 - Fort Frederica National Monument Boundary Expansion Act
H.R. 387 - Email Privacy Act
H.J.Res. 44 - Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior relating to Bureau of Land Management regulations that establish the procedures used to prepare, revise, or amend land use plans pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (Subject to a Rule)
H.J.Res. 58- Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to teacher preparation issues (Subject to a Rule)
H.J.Res. 57
- Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to accountability and State plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Subject to a Rule)

As always, I encourage you to contact my office with any questions, comments, or concerns. Keep track of my work in Washington on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Sincerely, 

 
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TOP NEWS

Hice on the Radio
Washington Watch with Tony Perkins – 2/2

Trump says he’ll ‘destroy’ rule barring churches from endorsing political candidates
Washington Times – 2/2
The president did not elaborate on how he intends to carry out the proposed move. But two House Republican lawmakers and Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma Republican, introduced legislation Wednesday that would amend the tax code to “restore free speech” for churches and nonprofits as long as the speech takes place “in the ordinary course” of the organization’s activities, and related expenses are minimal. “For too long the IRS has used the Johnson amendment to silence and threaten religious institutions and charitable entities,” said Rep. Jody B. Hice, Georgia Republican. “As a minister who has experienced intimidation from the IRS firsthand, I know just how important it is to ensure that our churches and nonprofit organizations are allowed the same fundamental rights as every citizen of this great nation.”

GOP Congressmen Taking Aim at Johnson Amendment
CBN News – 2/2
Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., and Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., agree, which is why they introduced legislation in both houses to protect these pastors. "The Free Speech Fairness Act, just as it says, protects those free rights and enables pastors and so forth to deal with political issues without fear of intimidation or retaliation from our government," Hice said
.

NRB Endorses Free Speech Fairness Act to Repeal 'Infamous' Johnson Amendment
National Religious Broadcasters – 2/1
National Religious Broadcasters today applauded the introduction of the Free Speech Fairness Act by Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) in the House of Representatives and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) in the Senate.

Trump backs Hice plan to boost speech by churches
Walton Tribune – 2/4
Before he was Rep. Jody Hice, he was the Rev. Jody Hice. The man who went on to become Walton County’s first congressman made waves as a pastor by challenging the federal rules against introducing politics at the pulpit. While a pastor in Bethlehem in 2008, Hice asked his congregation to support Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee, in the presidential race against then-Sen. Barack Obama.


Bill to repeal Johnson Amendment would mean your pastor can speak freely . . . without fear of the IRS
Herman Cain – 2/6
What is that? It's a law passed in the 1950s that puts churches at risk of losing their tax-exempt status if pastors hold forth on politics from the pulpit, and sometimes even if they're not in the pulpit. Congressmen Jody Hice of Georgia and Steve Scalise of Louisiana have taken up the cause in Congress by introducing legislation that would get rid of the Johnson Amendment. From a press release from Hice's office.


Congressmen: Planned Parenthood ‘is an abortion enterprise,’ new videos prove it
Life Site – 2/3
Another disturbing fact about Planned Parenthood, Franks said, is "they want to sell the body parts of these little children after they've murdered them." Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler, New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, Iowa Rep. Steve King, and Georgia Rep. Jody Hice were among the other members of Congress who attended. "We will not stop fighting," Wagner promised.


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