Fighting the Opioid Crisis
connolly.house.gov/news/email/show.aspx Please click on the above link to view this newsletter. Unsubscribe: connolly.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Wed, Oct 18 · connolly

Poll: What do you care about?
Hi Friend- I am fully dedicated to representing the constituents of the First District. I will continue to work hard to ensure that Veterans receive the benefits they deserve; that we bring jobs back to the hard-working men and women of Virginia; that we preserve and build our military strength; and that we meet the needs of our dedicated federal employees. I am here to serve you and I want to know what issues that are most important to you! Please take a moment to respond to the short survey below. What issue is most important to you? Federal employee pay and benefits Veteran's health care and benefits National security and our military Health care reform Preservation of our natural resources Fiscal responsibility​ Education Jobs and the economy Taxes Transportation Immigration Pro-life and Family Issues Other Click here to take the poll. I want you to know that I hear you, and I pledge to fight for the principles that make this nation so great. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Your opinion helps shape my thinking as I represent you in Washington. Sincerely, RobHi Friend- I am fully dedicated to representing the constituents of the First District. I will continue to work hard to ensure that Veterans receive the benefits they deserve; that we bring jobs back to the hard-working men and women of Virginia; that we preserve and build our military strength; and that we meet the needs of our dedicated federal employees. I am here to serve you and I want to know what issues that are most important to you! Please take a moment to respond to the short survey below. What issue is most important to you? Federal employee pay and benefits Veteran's health care and benefits National security and our military Health care reform Preservation of our natural resources Fiscal responsibility​ Education Jobs and the economy Taxes Transportation Immigration Pro-life and Family Issues Other Click here to take the poll. I want you to know that I hear you, and I pledge to fight for the principles that make this nation so great. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Your opinion helps shape my thinking as I represent you in Washington. Sincerely, Rob Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Tue, Oct 17 · wittman

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 10.16.17
Energy Independence is Closer Than Ever “America is at the beginning of an energy Renaissance.” Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently offered this view in testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, on which I serve. His optimism marks a refreshing change from the last Administration. On February 23, 2012, then-President Obama ridiculed the idea that more oil drilling would lead to lower gas prices in Tampa, Florida. He mocked the idea that to lower gas prices, “Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling,” and added, “You know there are no quick fixes to this problem, and you know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.” According to AAA, the national average gas price at the end of that month was $3.70 per gallon. Oh, how the times have changed. In contrast, on October 10 of this year, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammad Barkindo, offered a different view: the United States needed to cut oil production to keep prices up. Barkindo called on oil producers to take “extraordinary measures” to balance the market and said, “We urge our friends in the shale basins of North America to take this shared responsibility with all the seriousness it deserves.” When the oil barons of OPEC are calling on America to, in essence, slow down production of oil, you know the world has changed. Since the days of the oil embargo in the 1970s until American ingenuity made the shale basins productive, OPEC dictated the world oil price. According to AAA, the same week he made that statement, the national average gas price was $2.481 per gallon, and that price was still slightly inflated because American oil refineries are recovering from the hurricanes of September. In other words, “Drill, baby, drill,” worked. In the eyes of foreign oil producers, it worked too well. Energy production in the United States is nothing new, as anyone who knows the heritage of places like the Virginia coalfields understands. Our country possesses tremendous reserves of various energy resources and the brainpower to develop them usefully and responsibly. Government policy is also a factor, however, and in recent years it has been an inhibiting one. But government can play a constructive role, as this Congress and the Trump Administration are intent on doing. When Secretary Perry came before my subcommittee, he noted that in the United States: • Coal production has risen by 14% in 2017 and coal exports have risen by 55% compared to 2016 • Oil production is expected to hit a record level next year • Our country is on track to become a net exporter of natural gas Fossil fuels are not the only sectors partaking of this Renaissance. Secretary Perry also noted that wind and solar power are now 10% of our national electricity capacity. At last, we have a true “all of the above” energy policy that looks poised to deliver energy independence for America. Our subcommittee also discussed with Secretary Perry the state of the electrical grid. The natural disasters that have afflicted the country these past months have highlighted the need for a secure, resilient grid. The Secretary highlighted proposals he has made to shore up the grid. I look forward to continuing work with Secretary Perry and my colleagues on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to advance policies promoting safe, affordable energy for all Americans. Cost Sharing Reduction President Trump recently issued an executive order ending cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies. The previous Administration began making these payments, but it had no authority to spend the money; in fact, the House of Representatives sued over the matter and a federal judge sided with us. President Trump’s action simply complies with the law, but as a consequence, instability in health insurance markets may increase. If the Senate had acted to reform our health insurance system, as the House voted to do earlier this year, this whole situation could have been avoided. President Trump is correct to end the illegal action started by the Obama Administration, but I have many constituents who are being hurt by Senate inaction. Until the Senate gets its act together and Congress passes a better long-term fix, I am working with some of my colleagues on a temporary patch for CSR that is both lawful and helpful. If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives. ### Unsubscribe: morgangriffith.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Mon, Oct 16 · griffith

Weekly Update: Wildlife Refuges
Weekly Update: Wildlife Refuges By Rob Wittman October 14, 2017 It’s marked by a sign bearing a flying goose. Behind this sign is a sanctuary; a sanctuary dedicated to the conservation of America’s fish, wildlife, and plants. If you find yourself there, you are in one of America’s National Wildlife Refuges. Have you ever visited a wildlife refuge? Odds are you have. America’s 561 National Wildlife Refuges are located in all 50 states and the five territories. They make up 850 million acres of pristine public lands dedicated to the conservation of fish and wildlife. Virginia has 14 of those refuges where people of all ages can visit, explore, fish, hunt, and study wildlife. Growing up and even as an adult, visiting the Rappahannock River Wildlife Refuge in my district, has taught me the value of nature and wildlife in our society and the importance of environmental stewardship. In light of Wildlife Refuge Week, the Fish and Wildlife Service sponsored a National Wildlife Expo here in Washington. This expo featured interactive exhibits and highlighted the conservation success of the refuges. I had the opportunity to speak about my experiences with refuges in the state and about what we are doing in the House to make sure these refuges are preserved for years to come. We are able to enjoy these refuges because of the hard work of thousands of volunteers across the nation. Wildlife refuge volunteers are individuals who want to give back to their communities, parents who want to be good stewards of the land and set examples for their children, retirees willing to share their wealth of knowledge, and dedicated organizations whose continued efforts raise awareness of refuges so that they may be enjoyed by all. Just last year, 40,000 volunteers donated 1.4 million hours. Protecting these volunteers is critical to the survival of these wildlife refuges. This week, I - along with eight of my colleagues – introduced the Keep America’s Refuges Operational Act. This bill will reauthorize the National Wildlife Refuge System volunteer, community partnership and education program. Reauthorizing these programs will ensure that our nation’s refuges will continue to be enjoyed by tourists, sportsmen and women, and conservationists for years to come. These men and women give their time and talents to our land, and they must have the resources they need to do this important work. So what are you doing this weekend? Maybe check out one of Virginia’s refuges. Make sure to thank a volunteer while you are there! Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Sat, Oct 14 · wittman

Poll: What should POTUS do?
Friend- As the Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, I keep a careful eye on major international events that continuously unfold around the world; these events play a significant role in our daily lives and frequently impact our national and personal interests. Lately, there has been speculation that President Trump will not recertify the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, so I wanted to take a moment and have a dialogue with you on this issue. The 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal is up for recertification on October 15th, as the Iran deal requires recertification every 90 days. If President Trump chooses not to recertify the deal, Congress will have 60 days to decide if we should reimpose sanctions—effectively ending U.S. participation in the Iran Nuclear Deal. The president has been outspoken about his issues with the deal, and many believe that although Iran has not explicitly violated the fine print of the deal, they have violated its spirit. The de facto violation comes through their continued support for groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and militias in Syria and Yemen; moreover, Iran has continued to test ballistic missiles—even though this deal prohibits them from making nuclear warheads. As always, I appreciate your insight into these complex issues—that is why I want your opinion. Should the President recertify the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal? Yes No I Don’t Know Click here to take the poll. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Your opinion helps shape my thinking as I represent you in Washington. Sincerely, Rob Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Thu, Oct 12 · wittman

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 10.9.17
Right-to-Try Update The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, on which I serve, recently heard testimony from Dr. Scott Gottlieb, head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about expanding access to new, unapproved treatments for patients with life-threatening illnesses. I have long supported the idea of “right-to-try,” having introduced bills on the issue since 2014, and I am encouraged by increased support for it in Congress and by this Administration. On the day that Dr. Gottlieb testified before my Committee, he announced in a blog post that FDA had updated guidance for expanded access to investigational drugs for treatment use. According to Dr. Gottlieb, the new guidance would require reporting suspected adverse reactions to investigational drugs only if evidence suggests that the drug is responsible. This revision would be a step in the right direction, and I am hopeful it will help patients facing long odds for recovery. I will continue to work in Congress for solutions that could provide even more relief, such as my bill, the Compassionate Freedom of Choice Act. Budget Update The budget is supposed to be a blueprint for appropriations bills. When the House passed the budget on October 5, however, it had already passed all appropriations bills, in fact the first time the House had done so before the deadline since 2009. So why did we subsequently pass the blueprint? To have a chance at real tax reform under the Senate rules, budget reconciliation is needed because it only requires 50 votes to reconcile the budget bill. Thus, we passed the budget in order to have a vehicle to fight for real tax reform. Catalonia and Columbus It’s appropriate that Catalonia is in the news around the same time Americans observe Columbus Day. At first glance, a regional referendum in Spain and Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the New World in 1492 may seem quite distant from each other. But a closer look reveals the truth of William Faulkner’s line, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Catalonia, a region in the northeastern corner of Spain, recently held a referendum on forming itself as an independent country. The referendum has set off a storm. The national government considered the referendum illegal and deployed police in an attempt to block it. Many Catalans who oppose secession abstained from voting, while 90% of those who did participate voted for independence. Catalonia has its own distinct culture, including a commonly-used language, so how did it become part of Spain in the first place? This is where Catalonia crosses paths with Columbus. In 1137, its ruler married into the kingdom of Aragon. Over three centuries later, the king of Aragon, Ferdinand II, married Isabella I of Castile, uniting Spain under their joint rule. They evicted the last of the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula at Granada in 1492. The Moors were Northwest African Muslims who ruled parts of modern Spain beginning in the eighth century. As you recall from elementary school, 1492 was a big year for the Spanish. It was the same year Columbus departed with his three ships to find a western route to the Indies. His commission and funding came from Isabella, not Ferdinand, reflecting that the kingdoms still remained distinct. But Isabella’s grant to Columbus had long-term consequences for the whole of Spain and the world. A Spain that was united and no longer focused on ending the 700-year Moor presence in Iberia could afford to turn its gaze outward. Columbus’ discoveries opened an era of exploration. He was followed to the New World by the conquistadors who defeated great native empires in Central and South America. The first permanent European settlement in the continental United States was established by Spain in St. Augustine, Florida. For a time, the Spanish Empire was the most powerful in the world. Long after its decline, Spain held onto some of its far-flung territory until 1898, when it lost most of the remnants to another rising power: the United States. In the following century, Spain suffered civil war and dictatorship, traumas that fueled Catalonia’s drive to independence. Spain’s unification changed the world, and its breakup could, too. Secessionist movements in other countries would be emboldened if Catalonia wins independence. An independent Catalonia would add to the challenges already facing the European Union. Trends that incorporated Catalonia into Spain helped lead to the voyages of Columbus, the exploration of the Western Hemisphere, and the birth of the United States, surely outcomes not imagined when the count of Barcelona married into the House of Aragon in 1137. If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. ### Unsubscribe: morgangriffith.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Mon, Oct 9 · griffith

What I was up to in September
Hi Folks- September was a busy month, and I wanted to share with you a look back at some highlights. Working on behalf of the people of the First District is always my top priority in Congress. Although the House was in session for most of the month, I was consistently advocating for Virginia priorities. Scroll down to take a look. I met with members of the American Cancer Society to discuss the steps Congress can take to continue supporting research that helps fight the diseases that affect so many individuals and families. I had the honor of meeting Dan Beyer from Veterans of Foreign Wars to learn about the issues they face as the individuals who have sacrificed so much for our country. I have much gratitude for their service and will continue to fight for their benefit in Congress. I was proud to receive the Heartbeat Hero award for co-sponsoring the Heartbeat Bill (H.R. 490). The Heartbeat Bill protects unborn children from abortion once their heartbeat is detected. I stopped by Northern Neck Burger for a bite to eat and to hear about the issues facing small businesses in our district. I joined Governor McAuliffe and Rep. Connolly to commemorate job creation in Virginia’s First District by attending a ribbon cutting for Iron Mountain’s new data center, the first and largest of its kind in Prince William County. In Congress, we have taken many steps to roll back federal regulations so business can do what they do best— create jobs. I had the honor of meeting with National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) Chapter 1270 to connect with federal retired employees in our community. We discussed a myriad of important issues—from healthcare to defense to tax reform. I had a wonderful time speaking with pastors in Northern Neck about issues that affect our community. I was honored to be able to share my own testimony with them and to be on the receiving end of the prayers given for our government officials. I participated in a RSC press conference to reaffirm my promise that I will work toward tax reform, securing our borders, and repealing the Affordable Care Act. I met with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and other individuals involved in U.S. wildlife protection to discuss migratory bird conservation. As a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, I’m working with Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke to protect and conserve important wetlands habitats in the Chesapeake Bay and across the nation. I was delighted to meet and introduce Rear Admiral Galinas at our Shipbuilding Caucus breakfast. I learned a lot of critical information about the state of our nation’s ships and what I, as Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, can do to ensure the United States continues to be kept safe. ​ I enjoyed meeting with students from the United States Naval Academy, and I joined several of my colleagues in Congress in hearing the USNA’s updates. We discussed the future of the United States Navy with regards to shipbuilding and cyber-security. As Chairman of the Board of Visitors at the Naval Academy, it is always an honor to meet such honorable and bright individuals. I met with the Williamsburg Realtors to discuss tax reform and flood insurance reauthorization. I hosted two Service Academy Days to give students the chance to hear an overview of each academy and the respective admissions processes. All students who wish to attend a service academy must receive a nomination, and I am able to nominate one student per academy each academic year. I also wanted to share with you the op-eds I wrote this month: Congressional irresponsibility is wrecking the military. That has to stop. House committee seeks answers for naval collisions A Window of Opportunity To keep up with all of my work around the First District and in Washington, connect with me on Facebook. Remember, you can share your thoughts and ideas with me and see the latest news on my work representing the First District by visiting my Facebook page, Twitter account, or Instagram feed. As always, I want to hear from you when issues that concern you come before Congress. You can send me an email by visiting my website. You can also sign up to participate in my telephone town hall meetings by clicking here. I look forward to hearing from you, and it's an honor to serve you and Virginia's First District in the People's House. Sincerely, Rob Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Sat, Oct 7 · wittman

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 10.2.17
Tax Reform Delivers for the American People Benjamin Franklin famously noted that “in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” He may have been right that taxes are a certainty, but there’s no reason why they have to be as complicated as the current U.S. tax code makes them. It’s been over thirty years since the last major tax reform, and the tax code hasn’t kept up with the times. Instead, it has grown in complexity. The only thing our tax system does well is befuddle the taxpayer. But President Trump and congressional Republicans have a framework to change this state of affairs. If implemented, the framework would make your taxes lower, fairer, and simpler. The framework replaces the current seven tax brackets with three brackets of 12%, 25%, and 35%. These brackets would lower rates for most people, and those in the current code’s 10% bracket are expected to have a 0% rate. Many deductions that have accumulated over the years, generally for higher-income earners, are eliminated and replaced with a larger standard deduction and child tax credit. As a result, rates are lower and filing is simpler, enabling people to keep more of their money Our goal in revamping the tax code isn’t just to boost the economy, but to encourage businesses to keep their operations in America. The current tax code is not the only reason companies look abroad to establish headquarters or manufacture goods, but it is one of the major reasons. Thanks to the current tax code, businesses have incentives to move their operations elsewhere. The current corporate tax rate of 35% is the highest in the developed world. Further, when companies make money overseas and leave it there, they aren’t taxed, but if they want to move their earnings back to the U.S., they get a hefty tax bill. With this crazy system, you get stories like Burger King’s 2014 merger with the Canadian company Tim Hortons. Although Burger King was the larger chain, with 13,667 restaurants compared to Tim Hortons’ 4,546 restaurants, the merged company decided to be headquartered in Canada in part because Canada has a lower corporate tax rate. The business financial papers in the last several years have been filled with stories of other American companies merging with smaller foreign companies and moving their headquarters out of the U.S. in order to pay lower corporate taxes. The framework would instill sanity into this system. Companies wanting to bring investment money back to the U.S. from other countries could do so through “repatriation,” in which they pay a low one-time tax on money returned from abroad. The corporate tax would be lowered, making the U.S. more competitive, but most corporate-style deductions would be eliminated. Family-owned businesses would also benefit from the framework’s elimination of the death tax. The government taxes you when you buy land or equipment, it taxes you while you own it, and then when you die, it taxes your family merely because you were inconsiderate of the government’s needs and passed away. The Ninth District has family farms and small businesses which are valued above the death tax’s 2017 exemption. In a recent TV interview, I was asked to name one family farm that was concerned about the death tax. Although I couldn’t name one instantly, I know of several, one of which is Highland Dairy Farm in Washington County. Family businesses and family farms should not have to be sold upon the death of a parent in order to pay the Federal Government’s death tax. Opponents of tax reform claim that the framework will only benefit the wealthy, but their view of taxes and the economy doesn’t reflect reality. Under the present system, it is the wealthy who can afford to hire lawyers to find loopholes to exploit and/or move their assets abroad. Average Americans are left trying to figure out what our mess of a tax system means for them. Simplifying the tax code means making it easier to figure out how much you owe and fewer ways to get around paying reasonable taxes. The larger standard deduction helps all middle- and lower-income families. This tax framework is good for Main Street. It helps level the playing field between small businesses and large corporations. It lets average Americans keep more of their money. It encourages companies to keep their operations in America instead of shipping them overseas. The tax reform framework will deliver a tax system that supports the industry and dynamism of the American people. If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. ### Unsubscribe: morgangriffith.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Mon, Oct 2 · griffith

Weekly Update: A Window of Opportunity
A Window of Opportunity By Rob Wittman September 30, 2017 A window of opportunity is a small amount of time to meet a challenge where an otherwise unattainable solution exists. A time where what was once only imaginable becomes achievable; I believe that window is open now for tax reform. This is an issue that members on both sides of the aisle can agree on: our tax code is a mess. It costs more and more each year just to do your taxes, let alone pay them. The tax code is too complicated and confusing; this needs to change. Right now, we have a real opportunity to provide relief to American families and businesses. This week, we took an important first step to fulfilling this promise. Congressional leadership in conjunction with the Administration released a framework that sets the stage for creating a new tax system that is simple, fair, and creates jobs. We will achieve fiscally responsible tax reform by broadening the base, closing loopholes, and growing our economy. The framework doubles the standard deduction which allows single filers to keep their first $12,000 in income untaxed, enhances the child tax credit to make sure we keep American families strong, repeals the death and alternative minimum tax, drastically lowers tax rates for Main Street job creators to create jobs in communities across the country, and lowers the corporate tax rate so that America can compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world. Simple and fair tax filing will be critical for any successful plan. This framework puts in place a “postcard” tax filing where taxpayers would only have to fill out half a piece of paper to file their taxes. This is the kind of simplicity we need to encourage and empower Americans to file. Once we pass a budget, the House and Senate tax writing committees will be hard at work on a bill that fills in this framework. No plan is perfect and I have made leadership aware of my issues with this current plan with the current ambiguity of rates for different types of businesses along with the necessity for lower net tax liability. I hope these, and other issues, can be resolved before final bill language makes its way to the House and Senate floors. I have full faith in our legislative process to generate a bill that will put more money back in the pockets of hard-working Americans. My ultimate goal for this reform is to provide relief for small business ownersand the middle-class, simplify the tax code, and promote economic growth. At the end of the day, Americans should be paying less in taxes than before, and I believe this blueprint sets up Congress to deliver a tax plan that supports middle-class families, protects jobs, and gives the American economy the boost it needs. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the coming months to make sure we do just that. As I meet with the constituents of the First District, I constantly hear how we must reform our tax code. Well the opportunity is there, we must take advantage of this brief window before it shuts. Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Sat, Sep 30 · wittman

ICYMI: Congressman Griffith Discusses Tax Reform on MSNBC
September 29, 2017 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Kevin Baird: 202-225-3861 ICYMI: Congressman Griffith Discusses Tax Reform on MSNBC www.youtube.com/watch ### Unsubscribe: morgangriffith.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Fri, Sep 29 · griffith

Congressional App Challenge
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· Fri, Sep 29 · connolly

Relief for our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico
Friend- In the span of just two weeks, our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were hit with two Category 5 hurricanes, and long road to recovery is ahead. Hurricanes Irma and Maria have wreaked unimaginable havoc on both territories. The lack of power, clean water, and food has turned the fallout from these storms into a humanitarian crisis. This week, Speaker Ryan met with Puerto Rico Congresswoman Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon to receive an update about on the damage and ways Congress can act to provide the necessary aid. He pledged Congress’ support and stressed that relief assistance would be on par with aid to Texas and Florida. The Trump Administration has continued its work with federal agencies to coordinate search and rescue, relief, and rebuilding efforts. I wanted to provide you with an update on the federal response currently underway: • USNS Comfort is in route to Puerto Rico. One of two U.S. Military hospital ships, the Comfort is equipped with a dozen operating rooms and a thousand beds. • Both the USS Kearsarge and the USS Oak Hill are already on the scene to distribute food and water, provide medical teams, and conduct search and rescue operations. • The Department of Energy continues working to restore power, deliver fuel, and provide generators to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. • FEMA and federal partners have distributed over 4 million meals, 6 million liters of water, and tens of thousands of tarps and roofing supplies. • U.S. Coast Guard and FEMA Search and Rescue continue their operations – having already searched thousands of buildings and having rescued over 500 people. • Seven hundred and fifty U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel have been directed to restore power, clear debris, and coordinate temporary roofing. • The Federal Aviation Authority has worked to reopen the St. Thomas airport. • Over 300 Department of Health and Human Services personnel on the ground are working to evacuate patients, address public health concerns, provide medical supplies, and staff hospitals. To stay up to date with relief efforts, visit FEMA’s website. Please do not hesitate to contact me anytime an issue that concerns you comes before the House. It's an honor to serve you and Virginia's First District in the People's House. Sincerely, Rob Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Thu, Sep 28 · wittman

Are NFL Subsidies…Out of Bounds?
Friend- As you are probably aware, two things have been dominating the news headlines this week—the NFL and government spending. But did you know that the two are more closely linked than one would first assume? In the last two decades, the NFL has received over an estimated $7 billion in taxpayer funding—just for their stadiums. This estimate doesn’t take into account the hundreds of millions of dollars the NFL receives annually in tax-breaks, security costs, tax-free municipal bonds, land grants, and discounted utilities. To give you a point of reference, during the 2016 season, the NFL brought in over $14 billion in revenue. Your opinion is important to me, so I want to know what you think—should taxpayers continue to subsidize the NFL? Yes No I don’t know Click here to take the poll. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Your opinion helps shape my thinking as I represent you in Washington. Sincerely, Rob Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Wed, Sep 27 · wittman

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 9.25.17
Healthcare and Foreign Affairs Healthcare Update Due to its arcane rules, the Senate faces a September 30 deadline for voting on a plan to replace Obamacare that requires a simple majority, not a 60-vote supermajority, for its passage. Current efforts center on the plan put forward chiefly by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA). The House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare months ago, and it was frustrating to see the summer slip by with no movement on this issue by the Senate. If it manages to act by the end of the month, the House will have no options beside yes or no on the Graham-Cassidy plan. This makes it impossible for us to follow normal process and have a conference committee on the differences between the two houses. This is not a good way to legislate. Challenges Around the Globe The 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly convened in New York in September. Among the world leaders who addressed the meeting was President Trump, who gave an important speech outlining how his “America First” policies would guide U.S. relations with other nations. While much attention was paid to the leaders who participated in the General Assembly, some who weren’t there were instead engaged in activities of deep importance to the United States and its allies. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend the General Assembly. Instead, he attended a large-scale military exercise in the western part of his country and in Belarus. The exercise likely involved more troops than Russia publicly claimed, and they practiced with state-of-the-art equipment. The exercises rightly unnerved Russia’s neighbors along its western border, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, which have long been targets of Russian power and suffered under decades of Soviet domination. Chinese President Xi Jinping also was not present at the United Nations, as his country’s Communist Party Congress nears. Under his tenure, China has widened its reach around the globe, both economically and militarily. In the South China Sea, through which an estimated one-third of global shipping travels, China’s expansive territorial claims put it at odds with several other countries, including the United States. With attention focused on other hot spots, China has asserted itself more in this region. Previously, it had built islands on reefs in dispute for military airbases. This year, China has bullied other countries to stop them from engaging in commercial activities such as drilling, in particular Vietnam. This past summer, it reportedly threatened to attack Vietnamese military bases if that country didn’t stop a gas-drilling project. Vietnam complied and ordered the project to stop. North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un didn’t appear at the U.N., in keeping with his regime’s rogue character. Despite its isolation, his country poses a growing danger to the United States and allies in the Pacific. North Korea continues testing nuclear devices and missile systems that could deliver nuclear payloads. A nuclear-armed North Korea destabilizes the Korean Peninsula and alters the balance of power in Asia. It could strike the United States and allies such as South Korea and Japan or sell its weaponry to other rogue regimes or terrorist groups. To increase pressure on North Korea, President Trump issued an executive order on September 21 imposing new sanctions on the country’s trade and financial sectors. By undercutting North Korea’s economy, it may have difficulty funding its nuclear program and have to come to the bargaining table, but China will have to truly participate in the sanctions for this to happen. The activities described above each challenge the security and prosperity of the United States, although in different ways. North Korea is an avowed enemy of the United States, and the recent developments in its nuclear program are the latest in a series of provocations. The Trump Administration recognizes the gravity of this threat. Other countries need to as well. Trying to “be sweet” and placate the North Koreans hasn’t had a positive effect, so President Trump is right to take a tougher stance. As for Russia, its military drill along the western border offers an uncomfortable reminder of its Soviet and imperial past. It should be discouraged from acting on any dreams to restore its empire. China, in contrast, is a rising power, but its rise should not be aided by bullying tactics in an area that has great importance to our economy and the economy of the rest of the world. U.S. diplomats have a lot of work to do, but a lot is at stake. If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. ### Unsubscribe: morgangriffith.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Mon, Sep 25 · griffith

Weekly Update: The Power of the Purse
The Appropriations Clause is the cornerstone to what we in Congress refer to as “the power of the purse.” Article I of the Constitution clearly states: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” Congress has been shirking these duties for a long time but finally, the House has done its work. For the first time since 2009, the House has passed all 12 appropriations bills through regular order; this includes 12 subcommittee markups and 12 full committee markups. There were over 1000 amendments proposed by both Republicans and Democrats, and after sixty-five hours of debate, we completed discussion on the 340 that were made in order. We are finally governing the way we are supposed to. Last week, I joined a majority of my colleagues in the House to pass the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act. The spending package prioritizes funding for law enforcement agencies, provides critical dollars to securing our borders, increases funding for the National Institute of Health (NIH), and invests in critical response and preparedness for disasters. It also fully funds the fight against the opioid epidemic, rolls back job-killing regulations, maintains funding for the Chesapeake Bay Research and Monitoring programs, advances critical investments in infrastructure, and provides the biggest pay raise for our troop in eight years. This bill not only prioritizes the safety and prosperity of all Americans, it makes major strides towards a more efficient government. Instead of a deal made behind closed doors, this process allowed the American people to have a voice on how they want their hard-earned tax dollars spent. Most critically for Virginia, the Defense portion of the bill contains language that will block funds from being used to propose, plan, or execute a new or additional base realignment and closure round and allows funds to be used for multiyear procurement contracts for up to 13 Virginia-class attack submarines. Virginia-class submarines are built in Newport News, so this provision will directly boost job growth in the Commonwealth. If our nation is not secure, we can achieve little else. Given the threats we face around the world, passing this funding bill sends a strong signal that we are dedicated to the safety and security of all Americans, the well-being of our economy, and the men and women who protect our great nation. Although passing 12 appropriations bills is not an accomplishment we should be celebrating, it is an important first step. I have long advocated that the House completes our spending bills on time—and that includes staying through August if our work is unfinished. My hope is that this sets a new precedent for how we consider all future appropriations legislation; it must be transparent, it must be through regular order, and it must be on time. I will be the first to admit that reforming how Congress works will take time—but the longest of journeys must begin with a single step. I believe bringing accountability to the budget and appropriations process should be our priority. Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Sat, Sep 23 · wittman

Trumpcare 3.0
connolly.house.gov/news/email/show.aspx Please click on the above link to view this newsletter. Unsubscribe: connolly.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Fri, Sep 22 · connolly

What should the US-UN partnership prioritize?
Friend- Like you, I keep a careful eye on major international events that continuously unfold around the world. These events play a significant role in our daily lives and frequently impact our national and personal interests. The rapid rise of globalization, twenty-four-hour news outlets, and technology has connected us to the global community in ways unforeseen just a few years ago. And, as I’m sure you are aware, the world is a wild and complex place; it can often feel that once we have extinguished one geopolitical fire, two more appear. But despite the innumerable global challenges, the U.S. is still the leader of the free world, and we must continue to work to promote a better future. For as Edmund Burke once said, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” This week, world leaders gathered in New York City where President Trump made his debut in front of the entire United Nations General Assembly. The President addressed a range of issues, including threats from North Korea and Iran, the displacement of Syrian refugees, the erosion of democracy in Venezuela, multinational trade deals, and the continued lack of respect for human rights around the world. In addition to addressing the entire General Assembly, the President will be meeting with key world leaders where he is expected to reaffirm U.S. global leadership, promote peace and prosperity, and advocate for sovereignty and accountability. As always, I appreciate your insight into these complex issues—that is why I want your opinion. Moving forward, what should the US-UN partnership prioritize? North Korean Threats Sanctions on Iran Paris Climate Accord Syrian Civil War/Refugee Crisis Democracy in Venezuela Other Click here to take the poll. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Your opinion helps shape my thinking as I represent you in Washington. Sincerely, Rob Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Wed, Sep 20 · wittman

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 9.18.17
Bringing Back Options for Health Insurance Obamacare was a poorly designed piece of legislation. It should never have passed. By now, the United States Senate should have passed a replacement bill. As predicted, the consequences of these two actions are now having significant consequences on the availability of health insurance in the United States and particularly in rural western Virginia. As a consequence, I am currently working on legislative language to patch Obamacare’s Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) program under the belief that the Senate will not be able to advance a plan that replaces Obamacare. I don’t like that the Cost Sharing Reduction program was improperly funded, as a federal judge found in U.S. House of Representatives vs. Burwell (still in the courts now as U.S. House of Representatives vs. Price), but I hate that people in the Ninth District recently had to worry that they would have no health insurance carrier because of the above listed failures. So like a parent cleaning up after a messy baby, I will hold my nose and work to get the job done. Self-Driving Cars If he were alive today, Henry Ford might see some similarities between the car you drive and the Model Ts that rolled off his assembly line over a century ago. But he would likely be astonished if he saw any car, whether one he designed or one on the road today, roll up with no driver. Self-driving cars once seemed far-fetched, but now they may not be far from the roads you drive. Earlier this year, a car designed by Torc Robotics, based in Blacksburg, drove from Virginia to Washington state and back. Simply put, the arrival of self-driving cars will change transportation. Over 40,000 people died as a result of auto accidents in the United States last year, mostly in incidents resulting from human error. Self-driving technology is expected to cut down on the number of accidents. It also promises to expand mobility for people such as some seniors who currently have difficulty driving to get around. Economic opportunities thanks to self-driving technology will surely abound as well. But to get the most out of this promising technology, Washington has to make the right decisions. Old laws and regulations were not developed with driverless technology in mind. They need updating to allow the technology to flourish. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which I serve, took the lead on this step. In July, the Committee unanimously passed the SELF DRIVE Act, and the House of Representatives as a whole passed the bill by voice vote in September. The SELF DRIVE Act makes sure that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has access to the data it needs to set safety standards. It also distinguishes how states and the Federal Government will regulate self-driving cars, leaving to states powers such as registration and licensing while NHTSA regulates the safety of the design, construction, and performance. I believe this legislation strikes the right balance, both between state and federal roles and between regulation and freedom to innovate. The SELF DRIVE Act has yet to pass the Senate, but with the right laws and regulations in place, I look forward to the opportunities driverless technology will deliver. Tax Reform The last major federal tax reform passed over 30 years ago. Since then, the tax code has increased in length and complexity. Average Americans spend hours doing the paperwork required to file their taxes, if they don’t pay for a preparer to do it for them. Businesses are deterred from making choices that would grow the economy. Our country deserves better. President Trump and the House majority have made tax reform in this Congress a priority. Although a final plan has not yet emerged, any tax reform we pass will be guided by certain principles, such as affordability, simplicity, and competitiveness. For more information on how House Republicans plan to improve the tax code, visit fairandsimple.gop. If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives. ### Unsubscribe: morgangriffith.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Mon, Sep 18 · griffith

Gang violence in Virginia
Friend- I care deeply about protecting the families in Virginia’s First District. Keeping our communities safe and providing our law enforcement with the tools they need to do so is one of my top priorities. I wanted to update you on some of the work I’ve been doing in the House. We are currently fighting to keep violent gangs out of our country. In the last ten months, in Northern Virginia alone, we have seen eight murders tied to members of the gang MS-13. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, many members of gangs, including MS-13, are foreign-born nationals. We need to take steps to remove criminal alien gang members already in the country in order to increase public safety. This week the House passed H.R. 3697, The Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act. This legislation addresses the serious problem of gang violence by ensuring gang members do not gain entry to the United States and making it easier to deport criminal alien gang members. It also gives important tools to law enforcement, like the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force, so that they can effectively do their jobs. I believe this legislation takes a step in the right direction toward securing our border, keeping American’s safe, and appropriately equipping our law enforcement officials. I want to know what you think. Please take a moment to respond to the short survey below. Do you think we are doing enough to curb gang violence in Virginia? Yes No I don’t know Other Click here to take the poll. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Your opinion helps shape my thinking as I represent you in Washington. Sincerely, Rob Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Thu, Sep 14 · wittman

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 9.11.17
Disaster Relief and the Debt Ceiling In the span of a few weeks, the U.S. mainland has faced two storms of immense power in Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have faced the wrath of these hurricanes and must now rebuild after the destruction they caused. Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to strike the U.S. mainland in 12 years and Irma followed closely on its heels, so the Federal Government had a considerable challenge on its hands in responding. I commend President Trump and his team for leading an able response, making sure that resources were on hand to minimize suffering and start rebuilding affected areas. When faced with terrible natural disasters such as these hurricanes, I believe it is appropriate for the Federal Government to step in and provide assistance to relieve devastated areas. When a measure supplying more money came before the House of Representatives on September 6, I voted in favor of it. It is not appropriate to use occasions such as funding for disaster relief to pass unrelated legislation. Unfortunately, this is what happened on September 8. The House of Representatives voted on legislation that combined a number of items, including suspension of the debt ceiling and funding for the Federal Government until December 8, with money for Hurricane Harvey cleanup. I object on principle to tying unrelated measures together to make them easier to pass, but this instance was especially egregious. By lifting the debt ceiling in a bill that also provided disaster aid, once again Washington let itself off the hook for dealing with our staggering national debt. It is true that addressing the debt limit was given urgency by rapid response Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) spending for the hurricanes, which threatened to push the Federal Government over the limit. But a blanket increase in the debt limit was still not necessary. Two alternatives quickly come to mind that would have helped hurricane recovery efforts while not adding to our fiscal mess. One, we could have raised the debt ceiling specifically to cover the cost of disaster relief for Harvey and Irma. Two, we could have included in the measure some modicum of reform for federal spending to show that we are not ignoring the problem posed by the national debt. America’s national debt is rapidly approaching $20 trillion. As of the afternoon of September 8, the total national debt equaled every citizen owing $61,322, according to the U.S. Debt Clock. This tremendous burden threatens the futures of our children and grandchildren. Providing assistance to clean up after a major disaster such as a hurricane is important, so I voted for the original bill providing that assistance. But our debt crisis is serious, too, and I can’t support a measure that raises the debt ceiling without doing anything to solve the underlying problem. The bill before the House on September 8 was a blank check for Washington to continue its spendthrift, budget-busting ways. The debt crisis is no surprise to anyone, and long-term structural reforms are necessary to bring federal deficits under control. Each time the debt ceiling needs to be raised, it should be a warning sign. Even modest reforms that nudge spending in the right direction would have helped. Instead, Congress evaded the issue entirely. Legislating is often a balancing act. Few bills are wholly good or wholly bad, so elected officials have to weigh the pros and cons of each particular bill. I think the Federal Government should be helping victims of natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey, and my vote on September 6 reflects this belief. As the cleanup from Harvey continues and other storms threaten to create more destruction, I will work in Congress to make sure federal resources are available without requiring us to advance unrelated, irresponsible legislation. If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives. ### Unsubscribe: morgangriffith.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Mon, Sep 11 · griffith