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
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· 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

[SPAM] October Highlights from the House
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· Tue, Nov 7 · Welch

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 11.6.17
Tax Reform Update The House Ways and Means Committee recently released its bill to reform the tax code and started to mark up the bill on November 6. During the markup, the committee debates this legislation and considers amendments offered by any member of the committee. The whole House is expected to vote on the bill before Thanksgiving. The present tax code imposes too high a burden on the middle class. It also encourages businesses to send their operations to foreign countries and punishes them if they want to bring money made overseas back to the United States. I support the tax framework previously laid out by the Trump Administration and congressional leadership. That being said, I am still studying the bill text put forward by Ways and Means. As I do so, I will be guided by two principles above all: reform needs to promote job creation, and it must let families keep more of their hard-earned money. CHIP On November 3, a vast majority of Republicans and a handful of Democrats in the House of Representatives passed a bill authorizing for five years funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). There has been a lot of discussion in recent weeks about the future of this program, which provides health coverage to targeted low-income children and pregnant women in families above the income threshold for Medicaid eligibility but without health insurance. Considering this heightened interest, I think it’s important to set the record straight about CHIP’s current status. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which I serve, made authorizing CHIP a priority. In this bill, we also included for two years reauthorization of Federally Qualified Health Centers, commonly known as community health centers. We found ways to fund this reauthorization without increasing the colossal national debt. For example, one of the “pay-fors” would require Medicare beneficiaries with incomes over $500,000, or $875,000 for a couple, to pay more of their premiums for Medicare Parts B and D. Please note that this is over $500,000 in income, not assets, so savings themselves or the family farm would not count. This proposal simply asks that seniors who are still bringing in a considerable income, in fact more than ten times the median household income of the Ninth District, pay a little more. I agreed with very few of President Obama’s proposals, but he actually included this measure in each of his budget proposals for fiscal years 2013-2017, and this one strikes me as an acceptable way to avoid further strain on our national finances. When the reauthorization bill came to the floor, however, most Democrats voted against the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Throughout negotiations over advancing CHIP funding, congressional Democrats refused to accept these proposed offsets. The clock ticked away, and at their request, we delayed the floor action on the bill in the hope that an agreement could be reached. In the meantime, as pressure to assure that Children’s Health Insurance Program and Federally Qualified Health Centers funding would continue, Democrats outside the Beltway like Terry McAuliffe urged us to move forward and pass a bill. Although the authorization for CHIP expired on September 30, most states have a buffer period. In fact, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission projects that Virginia has CHIP funds until March 2018. The delay in reauthorizing CHIP didn’t occur because anyone wanted to do away with children’s health coverage. It occurred because some of us offered a plan to fund CHIP in a fiscally-responsible way, which others didn’t like but refused to match with a fiscally-prudent proposal of their own. In CHIP’s 20-year history, the program had always garnered strong bipartisan support, and we sought in good faith to continue this tradition. It is unfortunate that most members of the minority did not agree. But the House has passed a bill funding CHIP. It is now up to the Senate to act. 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, Nov 6 · griffith

Tune in today at 2:30PM: The Faces of Tax Reform
Dear Friend- If you want to see the face of tax reform, look to America’s First District. This afternoon, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers will join me in Fredericksburg while on her “Faces of Tax Reform” tour. I'll be live streaming the event on my Facebook Page. Be sure to tune in at 2:30PM! Make sure to check out my latest blog post below on how tax reform will help working class families and small businesses in Virginia's First District. It's an honor to serve you and Virginia's First District in the People's House. Sincerely, Rob Tax reform isn’t about brackets -- it’s about people November 3, 2017 By Rob Wittman If you want to see the face of tax reform, look to America's First District. Since America’s founding, the First District of Virginia, my home, has been a stronghold for hardworking men and women who grow food, raise their families, and help shape what we now consider the American Dream. Each day, I commute back to Montross, Virginia, and I hear from people back home that they are struggling. Families are living paycheck to paycheck, farmers can’t pass down their legacy to their children without paying Uncle Sam, and too many small businesses are kept from expanding and creating jobs. With our tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, we will begin to offer relief. There are a number of big policy wins with our reforms, but it’s important that the American people’s voices don’t get drowned out by talk of statistics and tax brackets. Throughout this tax reform process, I am committed to making sure we help our small businesses and working-class Americans. We cannot continue to burden our families and job creators; we must instead unleash America’s full potential. That’s why this afternoon, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers will join me in Fredericksburg while on her “Faces of Tax Reform” tour. She and I will hear from local families, workers, and business owners who need pro-growth tax reform to help grow their businesses and improve their lives. Here’s a sample of some of the stories she’ll hear from small business owners in my district: Kevin Dillard of LifeCare Medical Transports: We regularly give a lot back to our communities—financially and with in-kind donations. With the tax reform this will allow us to give back even more! As our nation’s leadership strives to grow our economy, we too, as a community based business, will have more opportunities for growth because of the proposed lower tax rates for companies. This will equate to a surge in our growth and allow us to pay higher wages and create more jobs in the communities that we serve. The creation of a tax code that is simplified, efficient and fair will certainly boost economic growth. This will ultimately contribute in a positive manner to the way of life for our employees and their families. These tax code changes can be a catalyst for not only higher wages and more job opportunities, but also will help with the valuing of work and returning dignity to the hard working people we employ. For more on how the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act will help you and your family, text TAX REFORM to 50589 ​ Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Fri, Nov 3 · wittman

ACA Open Enrollment
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· Wed, Nov 1 · connolly

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 10.30.17
Lessons from the Storms The 2017 hurricane season has been the most active and destructive to the United States in a number of years. From Puerto Rico to Texas, storms have caused devastation, some of which lingers long after the hurricanes have dissipated. The challenge of rebuilding is daunting. As part of the rebuilding process, we should learn how to better prepare for similar events in the future. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which I serve, is committed to evaluating preparations for and responses to these storms. We hope that thoroughly understanding what worked and what didn’t in the 2017 hurricane season will help the country prepare for future natural disasters. The lessons learned from this year can have positive impacts across the country, not just in those areas vulnerable to hurricanes. On October 24, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responded to Puerto Rico. I had the opportunity to chair this hearing as the Vice Chairman. We learned that the hospital ship USNS Comfort has not been fully utilized. The Food and Drug Administration also detailed setbacks to Puerto Rico’s medical products industry, which is important to the supply both in Puerto Rico and in the rest of the United States, and its plans to address potential shortages while manufacturers restore their operations. The Energy Subcommittee, on which I also serve, will follow suit on November 2 by reviewing how energy infrastructure weathered the storms. I expect there will be important lessons at this hearing. Throughout this year, the Subcommittee has held hearings on the electrical grid, and Puerto Rico’s struggles with restoring power have highlighted the grid’s vulnerabilities as well as possible solutions. One of several innovations put forward to get Puerto Rico back online is the use of microgrids, defined by the Microgrid Institute as “a small energy system capable of balancing captive supply and demand resources to maintain stable service within a defined boundary.” Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently brought attention to microgrids when he suggested that small modular nuclear reactors would suit Puerto Rico’s needs: “Wouldn’t it make abundant good sense if we had small modular reactors that literally you could put in the back of C-17 [military cargo] aircraft, transport it to an area like Puerto Rico, and push it out the back end, crank it up and plug it in?”* The idea may sound far-fetched, but this technology is actually in development in the national labs overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy and may be on the U.S. market by the middle of the next decade. Besides nuclear, renewable power could fuel microgrids as well. Microgrids make sense for an island like Puerto Rico, but there are other contexts where they would be suitable. While the technology could be used anywhere, if flooding, a snowstorm, or another catastrophe cut off a town in the mountains from the rest of the electrical grid, microgrids could keep the lights on until conditions returned to normal. We’ll take a look at how microgrids might help Puerto Rico and consider how they could be used as part of disaster response in the future anywhere in the country. This is just one example of how we can better understand what works and what doesn’t. If the lessons learned from these storms better prepare us for the next one, these tragedies will not have been in vain. The “Windshield Phenomenon” A recent study published in the scientific journal PLOS One suggests that insects are in decline. One way this finding has been made more tangible is the “windshield phenomenon.” You would once have plenty of bugs splattered on your windshield driving down a highway, but now there are fewer bugs to meet their demise as you head on down the road. While insects are an important part of any ecosystem, I am glad this study has come out now and not, say, a year ago. If it had, the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency may have sought to ban windshields to protect the insects, or perhaps mandated that all cars be outfitted with a soft net mounted a few inches in front of their hoods and windshields so bugs would be protected from the windshield until they could fly away safely. For History Lovers For those of you who love history, a friend recently sent me an interesting article about Greek resistance to the Axis powers in World War II. The Greeks’ tenacious defense changed the course of the war. You can read the article here. 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. * “Puerto Rico Eyed As Electricity Grid Innovation Testing Ground,” www.bna.com/puerto-rico-eyed-n73014467356/ ### Unsubscribe: morgangriffith.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Mon, Oct 30 · griffith

Weekly Update: Washington Status Update
Weekly Update: Washington Status Update By Rob Wittman With all that is going on in Congress, it can sometimes be hard to keep track. As my weekly update, I wanted to make sure that you are up to date on the happenings in DC. Although we should acknowledge accomplishments, I think it is more important to look forward at what else can be done. Passing a Budget: DONE This week, the House and Senate agreed on a proposal and voted to send it to the President. Passing this budget paves the way for a reconciliation process that allows Congress to move forward with tax reform. Check out my statement here. Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization: PENDING I have been getting a lot of questions from constituents regarding CHIP reauthorization, so I wanted to let you know where it currently stands. For those who don’t know, CHIP provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. Although administered by states, the United States Department of Health and Human Services provides matching funds to states for this program. I have voted in favor in the past for CHIP and the funding of community health centers, as they are critical to our children’s health. I have a passion for public health that dates back to the early 1990s. When I was on the Board of Supervisors in Westmoreland County, I worked with my colleagues to start one of the first community health centers in the First District of Virginia, now there are over a dozen throughout the area. Last week, while back home in the First District, I spent time at several of these health care centers learning about ways that we, on a federal level, can support them. The program was reauthorized in 2015 through the end of FY17. Therefore, in September, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution that reauthorized the program through December 8, 2017. As many of you know, I did not vote in favor of this CR; however, it was not because I do not believe CHIP should be funded. A CR keeps last year’s funding the same until a budget can eventually be passed. In addition to stagnant funding, a CR does allow for new starts of programs and leaves many, including our armed forces, with uncertainty. You can read my statement on my CR vote here. However, the process to reauthorize this important program is still ongoing. In October, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bill reauthorizing CHIP. This means, the next step is coming to the full House floor for a vote. Unfortunately, the Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ-01) has blocked its progression. Health care for our children is not a partisan issue, and I hope that it is able to move forward. I will be sure to keep you updated as this legislation moves through the legislative process. Tax Reform: PENDING Passing the budget this week paves the way for a reconciliation process that allows Congress to move forward with tax reform. At the end of September, 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. This plan achieves 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. We should be seeing specific bill text in the near future, and I will be examining it closely to make sure that we achieve our goals. At the end of the day, Americans should be paying less in taxes than before, and I believe Congress will deliver a tax plan that supports middle-class families, protects jobs, and gives the American economy the boost it needs. Securing Proper Defense Spending: INCOMPLETE I have serious concerns about defense funding levels included in this recently-passed budget. The resolution puts defense funding back at sequestration levels, which is inadequate to remedy the very serious readiness challenges we currently face. However, this budget also creates a mechanism that permits both the House and Senate Budget Committee chairmen to adjust budget allocations and other spending levels if there is future legislation signed into law that revises the Budget Control Act [bca] discretionary spending caps for defense and national security. Trust me, I am going to fight as hard as I can to make sure that our defense topline spending gets up to the $631 billion passed in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act. I have spoken to Speaker Ryan personally and he shares my concern regarding defense spending, and I plan to work closely with him to ensure adequate funding for our military. Now more than ever we must come together to work quickly and efficiently. It is critical that we put our constituents and America first to get us back on the road to recovery. We currently have unprecedented momentum; the American people are eager for Congress to do its job. I’m tired of Washington’s gridlock, stalemating, and postponing. Let’s make getting legislation to the president’s desk our new “business as usual.” Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Sat, Oct 28 · wittman

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 10.23.17
Good Riddance to “Sue and Settle” You may recall from civics class that our Federal Government has three separate branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. Your teachers probably never included the Sierra Club on that list. Thanks to the practice known as “sue and settle,” however, special interest groups like the Sierra Club may have more influence on our country’s laws than the legislative branch. Of course, this isn’t the way things should be. What makes “sue and settle” so problematic? Let’s go back to that civics class. To put a policy idea into law, Congress has to pass and the President has to sign a bill. Over the years, Congress has also delegated expansive regulatory powers to the executive branch, but regulations must go through a process, including notices and comment periods allowing for public input, before they become final. People, businesses, and groups can weigh in on how the proposed rule would affect them. These steps promote deliberation and transparency. In contrast, “sue and settle” closes the doors and shuts the blinds, allowing bureaucrats and special interests to get the result they want. They do this without getting input from elected legislators, other interested parties, and the general public. Here’s how it works: a particular interest group sues a government agency friendly to its cause. The “friendly” government bureaucrats then go to court and report they’ve reached a settlement on the suit. The court approves the “settlement,” while the “settlement order” is usually spread on the public record. The process is often done in camera, in other words, in the judge’s chambers with the special interest group, the friendly bureaucrats, and the judge. The “settlement agreement” often requires the agency to take a particular action, frequently on a timetable beneficial to the special interest. To add insult to injury, the agency often pays attorneys’ fees to the group bringing the lawsuit. Taxpayer dollars subsidize lawsuits that create rules taxpayers and their elected representatives don’t get to influence or object to. The practice of “sue and settle” was popular with the Obama Administration. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in particular relied on the tactic, with 137 “sue-and-settle” cases involving the Clean Air Act alone between 2009 and 2017, as opposed to 66 such cases during the Bush Administration. Many of the agreements committed EPA to rules that Congress did not support. Congress did not pass cap-and-trade legislation, but a “sue-and-settle” agreement committed the EPA to releasing a rule that would have achieved the same ends. The result was the Clean Power Plan put forward by the Obama Administration but recently revoked by the Trump Administration. So it was welcome news when on October 16, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a directive to end “sue and settle,” declaring, “The days of regulation through litigation are over.” Of course, the Sierra Club blasted the decision, and why shouldn’t it? As long as “sue and settle” was employed, it could bypass Congress and avoid scrutiny by the general public. From 2009 to 2012, it was involved in 34 sue-and-settle cases. Without being elected by anyone, or having to contend with others holding different views, it was able to call the shots with the cooperation of likeminded bureaucrats. “Sue and settle” was a great deal for the Sierra Club and other special interests. It was a bad deal for average Americans. The EPA was not the only agency to use this tactic. The Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior employed it as well. I applaud Administrator Pruitt’s actions at the EPA and hope other agencies follow suit. However, the last eight years showed that “sue and settle” is too tempting a power for bureaucrats to possess. Stronger protections are needed. The House of Representatives will soon take up H.R. 469, the Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act. Among its provisions, it would require more transparency for lawsuits and give parties affected by any agreement the chance to participate. I am in favor of this approach. Sue and settle is an affront to representative government. I am hopeful that its days are permanently numbered. 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 23 · griffith

Weekly Update: Yes to a More Prosperous Nation
​Weekly Update: Yes to a More Prosperous Nation By Rob Wittman October 21, 2017 It’s easy to say no, to stick with the status quo. Business as usual in Washington means gridlock, stalemating, and postponing. It’s predictable. But, like the American people, I am tired of this. Our system is designed to move slowly. Although change can happen quite suddenly, it takes a lot of time and effort to get there. When our founders wrote the Constitution, they intentionally included a system of checks and balances, shared by presidents, representative and senators, and judges. This system allows for any of these three branches to stand up and stop an initiative in its tracks. What works for rural doctors in Wyoming may not work for our shipbuilders in Newport News; so we debate, we bargain, and we debate some more. I think it should be difficult and we must fully analyze these policies to ensure that they are doing what is right for the American people. However, by no means am I satisfied with the status quo. Now, that debate must turn into meaningful effective legislation. The House has done its job by passing our budget resolution, a health care solution, and all 12 appropriations bills, and we are waiting eagerly to work with our counterparts in the Senate to find long lasting solutions to these important issues. Starting Monday, the House has seven scheduled weeks in session before the end of 2017 and the agenda is chock-full. We must pass a final budget resolution, address the Iran Deal, pass a funding package, reform the Flood Insurance Program, aid our failing health care system, send the National Defense Authorization Act to the President to sign, and of course our once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass tax reform. After years of inaction, how will we get all of this done? Together. Now more than ever we must come together to work quickly and efficiently. I urge my fellow members not to cater to special interests by holding their votes hostage. It is critical that we put our constituents and America first to get us back on the road to recovery. We currently have unprecedented momentum; the American people are eager for Congress to do its job. This week the Senate passed their budget resolution. This means accomplishing two of our goals: completing a budget and starting the tax reform process. Once we pass a budget, the House and Senate tax writing committees will be hard at work on a bill that fills in the framework released by Congressional leadership and the administration. My ultimate goal for this reform is to provide relief for small business owners, 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. Right now, I have the courage to say yes – yes to a better, more prosperous nation. Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Sat, Oct 21 · wittman