Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 12.15.17
Internet Freedom The recent stir about the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of “net neutrality” reminds me of The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy and friends worry about what lies in the enchanted forest. Rather than lions and tigers and bears, however, “net neutrality” supporters incant about the threat posed by “Google and Facebook and Twitter, oh my!” The Internet is famous for its free, open nature. If the federal government announced that it planned to impose extensive controls on the Internet, there would be an uproar. Yet that is exactly what the Obama Administration’s FCC set out to do in 2015. Supporters of “net neutrality” say it is vital to a free and open Internet, but the Internet as we know it came about before “net neutrality.” The Web thrived when an open market and a light government touch empowered inventors and entrepreneurs. This environment allowed small enterprises to become giants. Companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter are household names now, but began with just a few people and ideas. “Net neutrality” will strangle similar successes before they occur. The core of the policy is reclassifying the Internet as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. The FCC invoked Title II in 2015, taking legislation that was aimed at entities like the Ma Bell telephone monopoly and applying it to the Digital Age. Supporters of the FCC’s decision raised the specter of Internet service providers (ISPs) blocking websites or charging for access to content if their rules were not implemented, but ISPs weren’t engaging in this practice before the FCC’s new “net neutrality” rules of 2015. According to the website BroadbandNow, the United States has 2,682 ISPs. If an ISP engages in the practices that “net neutrality” supposedly shields consumers from now, customers can choose another ISP. If these practices become widespread, another ISP can enter the market to serve dissatisfied consumers. Time and again, the free market has shown itself to be far more agile in meeting consumers’ needs than the government. It was doing so before “net neutrality.” The bad things “net neutrality” was supposed to address were not happening, but the drawbacks it imposes on today’s Internet are real. Innovation, investment, and expansion have suffered. From 2014 to 2016, spanning the time net neutrality went from consideration to implementation, wireless capital investment declined by $6.8 billion, or about 20%. It shrank even as traffic grew. Companies find themselves spending more on compliance with the FCC’s rules and less on their actual business. They are reluctant to make long-term decisions about investment because they don’t know what rules the FCC will establish under Title II. The companies best positioned to survive in this era are the big companies that currently dominate the market. Start-ups will be grounded before they ever take off. “Net neutrality” freezes in place the status quo. This development is bad news for rural areas like much of Southwest Virginia. More money for investment should expand broadband networks into areas they haven’t yet touched, but “net neutrality” has had a chilling effect. Large companies aren’t going to profit much from rural expansion, so they won’t do it. Preserving the current rules leaves them dominant, but deters the innovators who are looking to change the world and seek out a little profit wherever it can be found. When ATT’s Bell telephone monopoly was broken up in the 1980s, many people feared the disruption the breakup would cause. There was indeed disruption: an explosion of new technology and the arrival of cell phones to the mass market. Ending “net neutrality” should deliver this type of disruption. The type that delivers choice and value to consumers. If the fears being fanned by the industry giants of today come true, Congress has the responsibility to address them, not unelected bureaucrats. As an example, my colleague on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, has already been working on such a bill. The FCC has pointed out that the end of “net neutrality” leaves the Federal Trade Commission the power to break up any company with a monopolistic hold on the industry, as it did with Ma Bell. Far from “the end of the Internet as we know it,” the demise of “net neutrality,” the return to the light touch of government, and the freedom to innovate have the potential to take the Internet to heights not yet imagined by you or me. But in a garage or a basement somewhere in the United States, young minds are at work who have already imagined the future, and now they have the freedom to make it so. Feel free to contact 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/
· Fri, Dec 15 · griffith

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 12.8.17
Jerusalem Disclaimer: This column deals with a Middle Eastern issue. It is dangerous to make any attempt to explain the Middle East in less than four volumes, but on the issue of our embassy in Jerusalem, I will attempt to nonetheless. The city of Jerusalem holds a place of special importance in the story of civilization, and on December 6, President Trump acknowledged its unique connection to the people of Israel in particular. Standing in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on that day, he officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As a concrete result of this action, the American embassy to Israel will soon transfer from Tel Aviv, where it is currently located, to Jerusalem. President Trump’s move grabbed headlines. I am surprised that so many consider it newsworthy, however, because the President is simply following the law. Twenty-two years ago, Congress recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed and signed into law by President Clinton in 1995. Further, the law declares as a statement of policy that “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.” Presidents who have served since passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act have exercised the law’s provision allowing him to waive recognition of Jerusalem as the capital every six months in the name of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. If Congress had any second thoughts about the soundness of the law, its Members haven’t expressed them recently; the Senate reaffirmed it in a resolution that passed 90-0 in June. President Trump’s action is not one of unilateral lawmaking but one of faithfully executing the law, just as the office of president was conceived in Article II of the Constitution. Critics have painted ugly pictures of the consequences that will follow the United States moving its embassy to the same city that currently houses Israel’s government. The Atlantic called it “a deadly provocation,” while a Washington Post headline suggested the move “could spark unrest.” The Post may not have noticed that plenty of unrest can be found in the Middle East already. There will likely be perpetual unrest while Israel’s enemies still deny its right to exist. Israel has had to fight for its survival from the beginning. The 1948 Arab-Israeli War began one day after Israel came into being as a state. During the 1967 Six Days War, Israel had to fend off all of its neighbors save Lebanon. Some of those enemies, such as Egypt, have since come to terms with Israel’s presence. But many haven’t. When I visited Israel in 2014, we were able to download an app that would show us the trajectory of missiles fired from the Gaza Strip, a territory controlled by the Islamic militant group Hamas. Hamas is also a significant political player in the West Bank, the other Palestinian territory, as well. Those shells came despite the American embassy being in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem. When a country or group doesn’t think Israel should exist in the first place, as Hamas does, how can it possess the moral authority to tell the United States where it should place its embassy? The peace process between the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples has been stalled for a long time. Waiving the Jerusalem Embassy Act hasn’t brought them any closer to a lasting peace. Albert Einstein is famously attributed with defining insanity as doing the same thing again and again expecting a different result. So that raises the question: has there really been any movement in the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis since 1999? Is there not a time to acknowledge that keeping our embassy in Tel Aviv is not really the issue? Isn’t the issue Palestinians wanting Israel driven into the sea, and knowing that keeps Israelis from agreeing to a full-fledged Palestinian state? As President Trump noted, recognition does not determine the American position on the details of a potential peace settlement, but recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital shows all the actors in the Middle East that the United States follows through on its commitments embedded in law. It enhances our country’s credibility. It does not fundamentally alter the reality in the Middle East, since Israel is already governed from Jerusalem. Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel carries out American law, respects one of our closest allies, and does not signal the outcome of the peace process. I believe it is the right call. 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/
· Fri, Dec 8 · griffith

Bipartisan Committee Delegation Toured Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 5, 2017 Contact: Press Office (202) 226-4972 Bipartisan Committee Delegation Toured Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan leaders of the Energy and Commerce Committee and committee staff joined Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) on a trip to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands this past weekend to receive a first-hand look at the damage wrought by the recent series of hurricanes and to receive an update on response and recovery efforts. The Energy and Commerce Committee will continue to oversee the progress of the federal response and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to ensure that these territories and their people receive the assistance they need amid the massive challenges they face. The delegation consisted of: Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Full committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), #SubEnergy Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), #SubEnergy Ranking Member Bobby Rush (D-IL), #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL), #SubHealth Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), #SubOversight Vice Chairman Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and #SubOversight Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO). Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón briefs committee members with a map of Puerto Rico’s power grid Committee members hold a press conference after a full day of touring Puerto Rico Members tour a temporary bridge in Utuado, Puerto Rico, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reconnect an isolated community to the mainland An aerial shot of a damaged solar farm outside of Humacao, Puerto Rico (10 miles south of where the hurricane made landfall) Chairman Walden gets a firsthand look at a damaged solar farm in the U.S. Virgin Islands Chairman Walden, Rep. Rush, Rep. Shimkus, and Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner González-Colón listen as they tour the Juan F. Luis Hospital in St. Croix Members briefed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Palo Seco power plant in Puerto Rico Committee members, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló, and community health care leaders pose after a briefing U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp, Delegate Plaskett, committee members and local public and private sector leaders following a roundtable discussion The Energy and Commerce Committee has held three hearings on the recent series of hurricanes. • #SubOversight held a hearing on October 24, 2017, examining the public health response and preparedness efforts related to the hurricanes. • #SubEnergy held a hearing on November 2, 2017, examining the federal and state response and recovery efforts. • #SubEnvironment held a hearing on November 14, 2017, examining the federal, state, and local response to the environmental damage. # # # PERMALINK
· Tue, Dec 5 · griffith

[SPAM] November Highlights from the House
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· Fri, Dec 1 · Welch

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 11.27.17
No Surprise Here – Green Climate Fund is a Boondoggle Sometimes problems catch you by surprise, and sometimes they can be anticipated well in advance. Recent setbacks for the global climate agenda fall into the latter category. Earlier this month, I alerted you that global carbon emissions continue to rise worldwide due to increased pollution from China, India, and other emerging economies. This increase occurred despite a reduction in the U.S. carbon footprint. Further, it happened two years after the Paris climate accord, which set goals to decrease the world’s carbon emissions. Time has vindicated what was evident when the accord was concluded: shackling the U.S. economy would not stop increases in carbon pollution. Instead of killing jobs in America, we would be better off finding new, cleaner ways to use our carbon assets. China, India, and other countries may talk green but will always default to get jobs and wealth for their people. In the same vein, but predating the Paris agreement, is the United Nations’ (U.N.) Green Climate Fund. Former President Obama committed the United States to an initial $3 billion contribution, of which $1 billion has already been transferred. Congress never appropriated money for this purpose, so the Obama Administration’s commitment was an overreach. I have previously said that the fund itself is a bad deal for the United States. We spend billions already on climate change-related issues. Technology and innovation will have the answers we are seeking, and are where we should spend our money. By pledging to support the Green Climate Fund, the Obama Administration committed billions of dollars to an international body with an ill-defined mission and no clear accountability. I am not surprised to learn that the Green Climate Fund has not done what its supporters claimed it would do. I am surprised to read this in the New York Times. The Times recently ran an article, “U.N. Climate Projects, Aimed at the Poorest, Raise Red Flags,” that centered on the travails of the tiny Pacific island nation of Kiribati. As a developing country, Kiribati exemplifies what the Green Climate Fund was supposedly meant to benefit. But seven years after world leaders pledged to help countries like Kiribati, it has yet to see any project funding. What is more, much of the money that has been granted so far has gone to recipients who have not provided clear plans for how they will spend it. For example, $265 million went to a Luxembourg-based investment fund that says it will finance projects in about 30 countries, but the Times notes this fund has provided “no explicit plan to disclose what those projects would be.” Other entities that have received grants are already awash in cash. Overall, under one-tenth of funding has been earmarked for projects run by the countries the Green Climate Fund is meant to aid. When President Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement, he cited the Green Climate Fund as an example of a program that doesn’t work. We now know that the Green Climate Fund does not even benefit the countries it was supposed to help. German Elections Political junkies have found plenty of fodder in Europe during 2017, most recently with the German elections that occurred in September. In fact, its results are still being sorted out. The pivotal figure in the election was Chancellor Angela Merkel. She has led Germany for over ten years and was widely expected to maintain power, despite her controversial decision to admit thousands of refugees from war-torn countries. When the vote came, Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), lost ground and fell well short of a majority. As a result, she started talks with other parties across the political spectrum to cobble together a governing majority. At the time of this writing, she has reached out to the Social Democrats (SPD), a leftist party she had previously formed a government with. The SPD had run against Merkel in the election and vowed not to enter a coalition again. Other options are fading, however, and new elections are not a popular alternative, so the party came to the bargaining table. The twists and turns offer high political drama, but they are important to the future of Europe and by extension the United States. As Europe’s leading economy and a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Germany’s leaders affect our economy and security. The future of its government is well worth the attention of Americans. 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, Nov 27 · griffith

Happy Thanksgiving!
Click here to open this e-mail in its own browser window <iqconnect.lmhostediq.com/iqextranet/view_newsletter_setup.aspx link=VA06BG%2501183008%2501115.1%2bNov23%2bENews%250114289.6114332.30117 38.7665219%2501goodlatte%2540unityfeed.com%2501Friend%2501goodlatte%2540 unityfeed.com%2501%2501> Click here to open a plain text version of this email <iqconnect.lmhostediq.com/iqextranet/view_newsletter_setup.aspx plain_text=Y&link=VA06BG%2501183008%2501115.1%2bNov23%2bENews%250114289. 6114332.3011738.7665219%2501goodlatte%2540unityfeed.com%2501Friend%2501g oodlatte%2540unityfeed.com%2501%2501> <iqconnect.lmhostediq.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx &crop=14289.6114332.3011738.7665219&report_id=&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fgoo dlatte.house.gov%2f&redir_log=698444897491189> Happy Thanksgiving! <iqconnect.lmhostediq.com/iqextranet/Customers/VA06BG/Happy_Than ksgiving-01.jpg> From our family to yours, we wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving! Thanking Those Who Serve It's a question we often hear at Thanksgiving: what are you thankful for? Whether you're sitting down with loved ones over a meal, gathering in a place of worship, or watching your football team play with a leftover turkey sandwich in hand, we have a great deal to be thankful for as Americans. For the freedoms we cherish and our security from foreign threats, it's our men and women in uniform � both past and present � who we owe a debt of gratitude. Part of saying thank you to our Armed Forces is ensuring they have the tools needed to protect our country and themselves. Today, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines confront threats on numerous fronts, and they are often asked to do more with less. It is the responsibility of Congress to provide them with the appropriate resources. After working through differences between House and Senate legislation in a conference committee, the House of Representatives recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense, with overwhelming bipartisan support. <iqconnect.lmhostediq.com/iqextranet/Customers/VA06BG/NDAA2017.p ng> As a member of the conference committee, I supported this bill to set the stage for making necessary investments to rebuild our military strength. The NDAA authorizes funding to help the military restore aging infrastructure. It also includes the largest pay raise for our troops in eight years. Additionally, the NDAA makes the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance program, a special life insurance program benefiting the spouses and dependents of our men and women in uniform, permanent. These payments are made to more than 60,000 Americans whose military spouse has passed away, either during active duty or after their retirement from military service. Earlier this month, the House passed more than a dozen bills to make sure our veterans receive the service, care, and respect they deserve. Click here <iqconnect.lmhostediq.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx &crop=14289.6114332.3011738.7665219&report_id=&redirect=https%3a%2f%2fgo odlatte.house.gov%2fnews%2fdocumentsingle.aspx%3fDocumentID%3d1044&redir _log=639882311882465> to read more in my weekly column. As we observe this season of thanksgiving, I hope you'll join me in saying thank you to America's heroes and the families they leave behind during the holidays. Congress can do its part by getting this legislation signed into law, but we all have a role in thanking our troops and the veterans who have served the cause of freedom for generations. For the blessing it is to live in this great country and to represent Virginia's Sixth District, I say thank you. Grateful for Those Giving Back It's always uplifting to hear the many stories of those in the community taking time to give back during the holidays and throughout the year. Great work by students in the central Valley who helped to feed 450 families <iqconnect.lmhostediq.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx &crop=14289.6114332.3011738.7665219&report_id=&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww dailyprogress.com%2fnewsvirginian%2flifestyles%2fgiving-thanks-giving-b ack%2farticle_3aecc754-cfd1-11e7-8e9b-c3e915fbf639.html&redir_log=744386 538489851> this Thanksgiving through the Needy Project. The Lynchburg Sheriff's office is partnering with local businesses <iqconnect.lmhostediq.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx &crop=14289.6114332.3011738.7665219&report_id=&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww newsadvance.com%2fnews%2flocal%2fsheriff-s-office-partners-with-local-b usinesses-to-bring-thanksgiving%2farticle_cc343eb9-a1ef-535f-b18e-c3043f 256d00.html&redir_log=713110642771037> to bring Thanksgiving to those in need. Educators in Warren County are going the extra mile to deliver turkeys to students <iqconnect.lmhostediq.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx &crop=14289.6114332.3011738.7665219&report_id=&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww nvdaily.com%2fnews%2flocal-news%2f2017%2f11%2fsome-warren-county-studen ts-will-bring-turkeys-home-for-thanksgiving%2f&redir_log=389721060065810 > . Congratulations to Roanoke Police Department Capt. Rick Morrison and Pam Irvine, president and CEO of Feeding America Southwest Virginia, on being named in Southern Living's list of Southerners of the Year <iqconnect.lmhostediq.com/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx &crop=14289.6114332.3011738.7665219&report_id=&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww southernliving.com%2fculture%2fsoutherners-doing-good-2017%23pamela-irv ine-rick-morrison-soty&redir_log=779483507442685> ! 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· Thu, Nov 23 · goodlatte

Weekly Update: Give Thanks
Weekly Update: Give Thanks By Rob Wittman November 23, 2017 We have a tradition in my family on Thanksgiving. We all sit down at the table, and before we start eating the beautifully prepared feast, we go around and say what we are thankful for. Well this year, I wanted to do the same thing for work as I do for family; look back through 2017 to think about what I am most thankful for. As I reflected on this year, I thought about all that we have accomplished. From the outset of 2017, I made it a priority to work on the issues that matter most to you and I believe the House took meaningful steps to improve education, strengthen the health care system, protect the Chesapeake Bay, grow our economy, and support our men and women in uniform. Workforce development is crucial to improving education. The House passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353), which supports our career and technical education programs in Virginia. This means the development and implementation of programs aligned with Virginia-specific occupations or industries will help better match future workers with the skills currently in demand in your community. To strengthen our health care system, I voted to advance a bill called the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101) that allows small business employers to band together through association health plans in order to purchase quality health care for their employees at a lower cost. Congress also took action and delivered a $781 million increase in resources for fighting the opioid epidemic, with funds going towards grants, treatment and prevention, and support for law enforcement. Like many of you, I grew up in the Chesapeake Bay watershed region and spent countless hours outdoors hunting, fishing, and just enjoying the natural beauty of my surroundings. I am thankful that we fought to keep $73 million in funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program. We have seen the successes of the Bay Program through cleaner water, more oysters and more blue crabs - demonstrating that our efforts are paying off. We promised you a better economy. Last week, the House completed the first step towards keeping our promise to the Nation. We passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which makes the tax code much simpler for working-class Americans, while simultaneously protecting more of their hard-earned paychecks. This tax relief will give our economy the boost it so desperately needs. I am thankful for all that we have done for our troops this year. Last week the House and Senate passed the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act. This bill provides the authorities and resources for our men and women of the Armed Forces to do the job we've asked them to do. It also gets us well on our way to achieving our goal of a 355-ship Navy so that we may deter our adversaries, support our allies, and respond to threats around the globe. Most of all, I am thankful for the men and women serving our nation overseas who do not get to be home this Thanksgiving holiday. Last week I had the privilege of meeting with the outstanding men and women serving in Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Iraq. Their patriotism is immeasurable and unwavering. We have so much to be thankful for here in the United States, and today we join together with friends and family in quiet acknowledgment of those blessings. I hope that you and your family have a happy and blessing-filled Thanksgiving. God bless you, God bless this great Commonwealth of Virginia, and God bless these United States of America. Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Thu, Nov 23 · wittman

Poll: Relief By Christmas
Friend- There is one thing that members of both parties can agree on: our tax code is a mess. Small business owners and families across America are burdened by the cost of and time spent complying with our overwhelming tax code each year. That’s why the House passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) last week. It will deliver much-needed tax relief to families, help our workers and job creators compete and win here at home and around the world, and make the tax code simpler and fairer for all Americans. It will fuel economic growth – leading to more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks for Virginians. Here are some of the highlights: Lowers individual tax rates for low- and middle-income Americans to Zero, 12%, 25%, and 35% so people can keep more of the money they earn throughout their lives, and continues to maintain the 39.6% for high-income Americans. Significantly increases the standard deduction to protect roughly double the amount of what you earn each year from taxes—from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals and $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples. Establishes a new Family Credit, which includes expanding the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $1,600; additionally, it provides a $300 credit for each parent and non-child dependent to help all families with their everyday expenses. Retains popular retirement savings options such as 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts so Americans can continue to save for the future. Continues to allow people to write off the cost of state and local property taxes up to $10,000. Preserves the Earned Income Tax Credit to provide important tax relief for low income Americans working to build better lives for themselves. Eliminates special-interest deductions that increase rates and complicate Americans’ taxes—so an individual or family can file their taxes on a form as simple as a postcard. Continues the deduction for charitable contributions for donations to churches, charities, or community organizations. With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the House has done its part and now the Senate must act. In the coming weeks, the Senate will continue their own process of debating tax reform legislation. By Christmas, our hope is that Congress will deliver historic reform to put more money back in the hands of the American people and give our economy the boost it so desperately needs. As the process continues to move forward, I want to know what you think. Please take a moment to respond to the short survey below. Do you want tax relief passed by Christmas? Yes No I don’t know Other. Please fill in the text box below 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/
· Mon, Nov 20 · wittman

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 11.20.17
A Song of Thanksgiving This week, people across the Ninth District and the country will sit down to celebrate Thanksgiving, the oldest uniquely American holiday. Thanksgiving was an established tradition well before the United States came into being. While most Americans are taught that Plymouth Colony’s harvest festival with local Native Americans in the fall of 1621 was the first Thanksgiving, as Virginians we know that the first Thanksgiving was actually celebrated at Berkeley Planation in 1619, before the founding of the Massachusetts colony at Plymouth. In any event, two colonies 600 miles apart in the New World inhabited by colonists who came here for different reasons from the Old World chose to mark their success with a ritual of thanks to God. This is a ritual we keep down to our own day. This fact says something important about our origins as a nation. Of course, another Virginian, George Washington, is central to the holiday’s history. As the first President of the United States under the Constitution, he issued a proclamation setting aside Thursday, November 26, 1789 as a day of Thanksgiving. The proclamation came at the recommendation of Congress, which had urged that the American people honor: . . . a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Washington suggested the American people give thanks for the establishment of a new government under the Constitution, but also all that had led to it. Even for the trials of the Revolution, he recommended gratitude for “the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence.” Over 200 years have passed since the Father of Our Country issued his proclamation. The United States has achieved successes Washington could never have imagined. These continued successes underline the continued need for a day of thankful reflection, a time to take stock of our blessings and offer up gratitude for them. As one of Washington’s successors, Calvin Coolidge (whose right-hand man in the White House was another Virginian, C. Bascom Slemp of Big Stone Gap), put it in a Thanksgiving proclamation of his own, “We have been a most favored people. We ought to be a most generous people. We have been a most blessed people. We ought to be a most thankful people.” Washington finished his proclamation by recommending prayers of supplication for the future, urging Americans to ask God: . . . to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord. Faithfulness to our values and our Constitution, justice, peace. As we gather around the table this Thanksgiving, we can pray for the same today. So this Thanksgiving, let us find guidance from wise examples of forebears like George Washington, and let all of us of every faith give thanks for our many blessings. I personally like the words of the hymn “Let All Things Now Living,” written by Katherine Davis and set to a Welsh tune, which offer a fine expression of this sentiment: Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving To God our Creator triumphantly raise, Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us, Who guideth us on to the end of our days. His banners are o'er us, his light goes before us, A pillar of fire shining forth in the night, ‘Til shadows have vanished and darkness is banished, As forward we travel from light into light. 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. Read the full text of George Washington’s first Thanksgiving proclamation here. ### Unsubscribe: morgangriffith.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Mon, Nov 20 · griffith

Poll: US-China: Next Steps
Friend- Last week, President Trump visited China to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss trade, North Korea, and shared global U.S.-Chinese interests. Amidst discussions on the increasing trade deficit, the two presidents oversaw the signing of $250 billion in trade deals between U.S. and Chinese companies. Moreover, this meeting between the two world leaders comes at the head of mounting tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. Both during their discussions and publicly, President Trump continued to press China to completely cut off trade with the rogue state. Although the Chinese Government has not yet agreed to cut off trade entirely with North Korea, President Xi made clear that they would not accept a nuclear North Korea. As always, I appreciate your insight into these complex issues—that is why I want your opinion. Moving forward, should the U.S. continue to strengthen bilateral ties with China? Yes No I don’t know Other. Please fill in the text box below. 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, Nov 15 · wittman

News Alert: Chinese Carbon Emissions Skyrocket. Told Ya.
News Alert: Chinese Carbon Emissions Skyrocket. Told Ya. Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - According to the Washington Times: Two years after nearly every nation on earth signed the landmark Paris climate accord, researchers say the deal is failing to live up to its mission as China drives a spike in global carbon emissions, reversing years of steady decline. The sobering news comes as world leaders gather in Germany for a high-level climate summit designed to marshal support for the Paris agreement and to encourage countries to make even more ambitious commitments to cut their own pollution. Other nations have been critical of President Trump for announcing over the summer that the U.S. would pull out of the deal, but data released Monday show that American emissions are still dropping while those of China and other countries are back on the rise. To read the rest of the article, click here: www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/nov/13/global-emissions-2-pct-despite-us-drop/. ### Unsubscribe: morgangriffith.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Tue, Nov 14 · griffith

Tax Relief: A Charge and Response
Friend- Our current tax system is broken and we in Congress finally have the opportunity to help American families. I have been all across the First District of Virginia hearing stories from families, farmers, and small business owners about how our tax code is too confusing and extremely expensive. Last week, the Ways and Means Committee introduced a tax relief bill called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. ​The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is Congress’ answer to the American people. It will deliver much-needed tax relief to families, help our workers and job creators compete and win here at home and around the world, and make the tax code simpler and fairer for all Americans. It will fuel economic growth – leading to more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks for generations to come. This week, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed out of the Ways and Means Committee by a vote of 24-16, and the next step will be consideration on the House floor. ​Like with any legislation, constituents have many questions about this tax relief will affect them. I hope to clear these up below. Still have questions? Contact my office and visit FairAndSimple.GOP for more information! ​Sincerely, ​Rob ​Tax Relief: A Charge and Response ​Charge: “This is just a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.” ​Response: No. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act delivers tax relief at every income level – while maintaining the top 39.6% tax rate on high-income earners. It lowers tax rates on low- and middle-income Americans and significantly increases the standard deduction, which means hardworking Americans can immediately take home more of their paychecks. ​Charge: “This bill is a direct attack on the middle-class.” ​Response: Actually, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a direct and immediate boost for middle-income Americans who have been struggling to get by, let alone get ahead, under today’s broken tax code. It reduces the tax rates for low- and middle-income Americans, and roughly doubles the standard deduction – protecting up to $24,000 of your family’s take-home pay each year from taxes. It delivers much needed support to American families who today are struggling to keep up with the rising costs of child care, higher education, and looking after their loved ones. ​With this legislation, middle-income families will get to keep more of the money they earn for what matters to them rather than sending it to the Internal Revenue Service. In Virginia, this bill is estimated to create 26,417 new full-times jobs, and increase income for median households by $2,924. ​Charge: “By eliminating the personal exemption, this legislation increases taxes on families.” ​Response: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act takes several bold steps to deliver relief for families. First, this legislation helps families keep more of their paychecks by roughly doubling the size of the standard deduction and lowering tax rates. This bill also establishes a new Family Credit – which includes expanding the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $1,600 to help parents with the cost of raising children, and providing a credit of $300 for each parent and non-child dependent to help all families with their everyday expenses. Finally, it preserves the Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit so families don’t have to choose between earning a paycheck and taking care of their children and older dependents such as a disabled grandparent who may need additional support. ​Charge: “This bill changes the mortgage interest deduction – making it harder for Americans to buy a home and invest in their local communities.” ​Response: That’s not so. After receiving feedback from families across the country, we made sure to maintain the mortgage interest deduction in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This legislation also allows Americans to deduct state and local property taxes. Combined with policies to create jobs, grow paychecks, and strengthen our economy – by far the biggest driver of a strong housing market – maintaining this tax benefit will help more Americans, especially middle-class Americans, achieve the dream of homeownership. ​Charge: “Eliminating the Medical Expense Deduction and the Property Casualty Loss Deduction will be a financial burden for millions of Americans.” ​Response: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is focused on helping Americans throughout their lives. This bill lowers the tax rates and increases the standard deduction so people can immediately keep more of their paychecks – instead of having to rely on a myriad of provisions that many will never use and others may use only once in their lifetime. This tax relief will give families the flexibility to use their paychecks for what matters most to them every year. ​Charge: “Tax reform is just about putting more money in the pockets of big business.” ​Response: Not at all. Tax reform is about helping hardworking Americans and Main Street job creators get ahead – instead of being left behind or just getting by under today’s broken tax code. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will help our nation’s local job creators start and grow a business, hire workers, increase paychecks, and invest in our local communities. Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Sun, Nov 12 · wittman

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 11.11.17
A Dereliction of Duty It is said that Abraham Lincoln once remarked in exasperation at the inaction of Federal General George McClellan, “If General McClellan isn’t going to use his army, I’d like to borrow it for a time.” My colleagues in the House of Representatives and I understand the sentiment. The United States Senate has legislative powers vested in it by Article I of the Constitution, just like the House, but it doesn’t seem interested in using them. This inaction is preventing us from solving problems that face our country today. In one of the chief congressional powers, the power of the purse, the gap between House action and Senate action is particularly egregious. Before fiscal year 2017 had even expired on September 30, the House had passed all 12 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2018. Each of these bills had moved via regular order through committee, and every Member was able to offer input on them through the amendment process. I believe the spending plan which emerged from this process benefits the Ninth District and the country as a whole. Non-defense discretionary spending decreases by 1.7%, funding important programs but with appropriate fiscal restraint. The appropriations package includes funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission and Community Development Block Grants. While we made prudent cuts in some areas, we added $2.734 million to the Black Lung Clinics Program and boosted funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs by 5% over fiscal year 2017. This plan is a responsible, careful approach to funding the government. The continuing resolution funding the government expires on December 8, less than a month from now. The House has acted. The Senate, in contrast, has not passed a single appropriations bill, whether ours or its own. This inability to act damages the Republic. Everyone thinks Congress isn’t working, but the House has passed plenty of legislation, including appropriations and a replacement for Obamacare. We are working hard, but senators of both parties aren’t helping us finish the job. As a result, the public is losing confidence in our governmental institutions. For those of you who don’t read this column regularly, you should know I have written plenty of times about the Senate’s dysfunction, both under Democrats and Republicans. It has been frustrating to watch good bills come out of the House of Representatives only to have no action taken by the Senate. This frustration is compounded by the Senate’s repeated refusal to advance bills of its own. How can we solve problems when one chamber of Congress doesn’t even suggest its own solutions? As the deadline for funding the government approaches, the Senate should either pass its own appropriations bills so we can go to conference and make a deal, or it should take up ours and pass them. Not passing anything is unacceptable. The House has fulfilled its constitutional responsibilities and its obligations to the American people. The Senate must follow suit. Tax Reform I anticipate that the House will vote on tax reform soon. The tax bill passed by the Ways and Means Committee, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, won’t do everything I want it to do. Some of its provisions will likely have to be reexamined over time after they are implemented. But it would be an improvement over the current system. The present tax code simply doesn’t work. It stifles job creation, encourages companies to build new factories overseas while merely patching existing ones in our country, and bewilders most taxpayers. The tax reform proposal before the House moves in the right direction. It lowers most rates and simplifies them. It makes America more competitive for business. It stops punishing companies that try to bring their profits back to our country to invest rather than keep them offshore. I believe this bill will create jobs and let most families keep a little more of their money. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is still being amended, and I hope that this process will refine it. However, I will take this half a loaf, which beats the moldy, rat-eaten loaf of bread in the cupboard that is our current code. 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/
· Sat, Nov 11 · griffith

Honoring Our Veterans
connolly.house.gov/news/email/show.aspx Please click on the above link to view this newsletter. Unsubscribe: connolly.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Sat, Nov 11 · connolly

Veterans of Virginia's First District
Friend- We stop and give pause on Veterans Day to honor those that have answered our nation’s call to arms. Virginia’s First District is rich with military history, and is home to one of the largest veteran populations the country. I hope you take the time this Veterans Day to talk with a veteran and learn more about their service. Whether it is Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, or Coast Guardsmen their support for this nation is steadfast, their determination to see a mission through is unwavering, and their integrity and selflessness are undying. America is who she is today because of them. They have helped liberate the oppressed and kept us safe at home. In short, thank you! In advance of Veterans Day, I asked you send me your photos and anecdotes from your family and friends in Virginia's 1st District . I am humbled to receive the pictures and stories of past and current service members. Your stories and the stories of your loved ones are truly inspirational. Click here or the picture below to see the veterans of Virginia's First District. 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, Nov 11 · wittman