All aboard!

Congressman Bob Goodlatte
2017-10-31 17:16:24
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All Aboard! 

Today marked the first day of Amtrak passenger rail service to and from Roanoke. I was thrilled to take the first train out of Roanoke to Washington, D.C. this morning! 

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in the rail line's opening events, riding from Lynchburg to Roanoke. I have long supported restoring passenger rail service to the Roanoke region, and this new route to Roanoke is the result of many years of hard work by officials at all levels of government to the benefit of the Roanoke community. Amtrak’s arrival is the beginning of an exciting new opportunity for Roanoke. 

Tax Reform, Investigations, Slush Funds, and Article I

Last week was a busy one in the House of Representatives. With the final passage of the budget by both the House and Senate, tax reform legislation is now expected to be introduced in short order. Congress has the opportunity to provide tax relief for the first time in 31 years that creates a simpler, fairer tax code, allows hardworking families to keep more of their money, and encourages businesses to invest in the United States. I'll keep you updated as tax reform moves forward.

On Tuesday, along with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, I opened an investigation into decisions made by the Department of Justice in 2016. Several of these decisions have led to a host of outstanding questions that must be answered. Congress has a constitutional duty to preserve the integrity of our justice system by ensuring transparency and accountability of actions taken.

Later in the week, the House passed my bill, the Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act. An investigation by the House Judiciary Committee last Congress revealed the Department of Justice’s abuse of power: using settlement agreements between the federal government and large corporations to direct money toward organizations of their choosing, in this case left leaning groups. This bipartisan bill permanently bars federal agencies from requiring defendants to donate money to outside groups as part of settlement agreements, and requires that settlement money goes either directly to victims or to the Treasury. 

In Case You Missed It: 'Smoking gun' email reveals Obama DOJ blocked conservative groups from settlement funds, GOP lawmaker says  

The Congressional Article I Powers Strengthening Act, another bill passed by the House last week, represents Congress’s commitment to an open and transparent government and respect for the Constitution. This legislation, which includes three bills, restores the constitutional authority of Congress by establishing clear procedures for creating regulations, sending payments from the Treasury, and intervening in court cases. It now heads to the Senate where I hope they will act to preserve the powers of Congress found in Article I of the United States Constitution.

Creating a Workable Option for Agriculture 

We all know the importance of farming. From apple orchards, dairy farms, and poultry processing here in Virginia to cattle farms and ranches here and in the West to specialty crops in California, Michigan, and Florida, America’s agricultural industry produces a bounty of products in every state. Nevertheless, our nation’s farmers face many obstacles. One challenge in particular is access to a stable and reliable workforce when not enough American workers can be found to fill jobs. If we want to ensure that America can continue to feed itself and much of the rest of the world, we must ensure a stable labor supply for agriculture.

In my roles on the Agriculture and Judiciary Committees, I have had the opportunity to learn firsthand over the years what farmers face in dealing with the H-2A program, the current program that provides for agricultural guestworkers. It's unworkable and must be replaced.

The Agricultural Guestworker Act, or AG Act, is a bill I introduced to replace the outdated and broken H-2A program with a reliable, efficient, and fair program and provide American farmers access to a legal, stable supply of workers. The AG Act, which was passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, creates a new H-2C guestworker program designed to meet the needs of the diverse agriculture industry. This new program ensures that Americans have the first opportunity for agricultural jobs, but provides a common sense way for guestworkers to fill the gaps if there isn’t enough domestic demand. It also provides more flexibility and less red tape for American farmers using the program. To further deter illegal immigration, the Ag Act takes important steps to protect American jobs by directly linking the new H-2C program with the implementation of the E-Verify program, an online tool that allows employers to quickly and efficiently verify employee work eligibility.

It is important that Congress recognize the need for a stable, legal agricultural workforce that the agricultural industry can call upon when sufficient American labor cannot be found. Improvements made in the Ag Act will help ensure that our meat and produce continue to be grown in America and that our nation’s agricultural industry thrives in the global marketplace.
 Click here to read more.

Coming to Visit?

My office is happy to help arrange tours of the U.S. Capitol, the White House, and other landmarks for your next visit to Washington, D.C. The more notice of your visit that you can provide the better we will be able to assist you. Visit my website and complete the tour request form to get the process started. You can also call 202-225-5431 for more information.

Pictured left: Recently, I had the opportunity to welcome the Connelly family from Roanoke to the Capitol for a tour. Thank you for stopping by my office! 


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