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

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

Trumpcare 3.0
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· Fri, Sep 22 · connolly

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

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

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

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

DACA Survey
Earlier this week the Trump Administration announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). President Obama created DACA through an executive order in 2012 to give children illegally brought into the country temporary legal immigration status, provided they meet certain criteria. Since the President’s announcement does not immediately revoke permits, Congress has the time to come together to create a workable, permanent solution for those in the program. We must come together, House and Senate, to produce immigration policy the right way, through regular order. It is important to have a constructive debate on how to address this issue. We need to have consequences for those entering the country illegally, but we have a standard in this country that we do not hold children accountable for their parent’s actions. Congress must have a good dialogue on what to do next, and I look forward to that debate. I believe we must also work towards a more comprehensive approach to combating illegal immigration including: implementing barriers at certain key areas along our southern border, leveraging new technologies like unmanned aerial vehicles, reducing the number of visa overstays, and the continued enforcement of existing immigration law. I want to know what you think. Please take a moment to respond to the short survey below. Do you support President Trump’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)? Yes No I don’t know 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/
· Sat, Sep 9 · wittman

Standing With Dreamers
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· Tue, Sep 5 · connolly

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 9.4.17
Hurricane Harvey I wish to express my sincere condolences to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the communities that found themselves in the path of destruction, and I stand with all of my fellow Americans in hoping for your safety and a swift and full recovery. I am proud to say that first responders from Southwest Virginia have travelled to Texas to aid in relief efforts. Part of my role as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is to monitor the widespread impacts of Hurricane Harvey. The committee has engaged with and is receiving continuous updates from various state and federal agencies regarding the aftermath of Harvey. Unfortunately, at times like this, scam artists often find ways to take advantage of the generosity of others and while there are many organizations doing admirable work, I urge you to be diligent when donating to relief effort organizations you may not recognize. Investment in the Ninth I recently had the privilege of attending the opening ceremony of the Komatsu Mining Corp. facility in Abingdon. In April of this year, Komatsu America Corp. acquired Joy Global Inc., an international mining and construction equipment manufacturing firm that has been a longtime employer in the Ninth District. Komatsu, headquartered in Japan, is a multinational company with operations on several continents and a history of supplying and manufacturing in the United States since 1970. Last summer, I had the opportunity to visit one of Japan’s newer coal-fired power plants. This newer facility burns coal at higher temperatures than traditional coal-fired power plants. By burning coal at a higher temperature, the Japanese have been able to achieve higher efficiency AND lower levels of air pollution. This is one model which can be used to burn coal more cleanly while maintaining coal’s ability to produce affordable electricity. What does this acquisition mean for coal industry jobs in Southwest Virginia? Komatsu’s move to take over Joy facilities is a sign of unwavering confidence in coal and the people it employs with an investment in the future of the coal industry and our economy. Coal industry workers in Southwest Virginia have distinctive and valuable skills, and it is apparent with this acquisition that Komatsu recognizes the expertise found in our region. By acquiring Joy Global, Komatsu has made it clear that the company intends to continue expanding its footprint in the mining industry, particularly coal. Worldwide coal production is continuing to be strong; one only has to look at Australia, India, China and various African nations. Komatsu Mining Corp. has four facilities throughout our district alone; Bluefield, Abingdon, Duffield, and Norton each serve as home to Komatsu and hundreds of the company’s employees. While significant layoffs took place at the Bluefield facility in the past year, a recent uptick in mining industry demand has allowed Komatsu to bring back 65 employees at this location and new hires are expected. This trend shows encouraging signs of continuing. In Buchanan and Tazewell counties, the Berwind mine expansion project is taking off and promises to put miners, mining suppliers, and other mine employees to work. I believe this project, in bringing jobs to the Ninth District, will benefit not only the coal industry, but our communities as a whole. And I am not alone in this view. Work towards opening the Berwind mine has received applause from Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who noted, "Appalachia's coal workers are at the heart of rebuilding our nation's infrastructure because we can't build if we don't access our natural resources.” Regarding Berwind, Zinke said, “the Berwind Mine is the first of many projects that demonstrate the Trump Administration's commitment to coal country and to good government." Komatsu showing confidence in Southwest Virginia manufacturing capabilities and the Berwind mine will do great things for our local communities. Taking advantage of our natural resources and putting Ninth District residents to work will send an influx of money into our economy. Not only are there exciting things happening for coal, but there is also considerable hope that we may be able to have closed-loop hydro pumping facilities in the coalfields. Earlier this year, I introduced H.R. 2880 in order to make federal permitting for such a facility easier. If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives. ### Unsubscribe: morgangriffith.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Mon, Sep 4 · griffith

Weekly Update: Are you prepared?
Friend- Yesterday marked the beginning of National Preparedness Month. After witnessing the devastating effects of hurricane Harvey in Texas, we must work to prepare ourselves in the event of a similar disaster here in Virginia. Disasters may not be able to plan ahead, but you can! ​I wanted to share with you some resources to assist you in helping to keep yourself, your family, and our communities safe in the event of a hurricane. ​Preparing for a storm: Be Informed. Knowing what to do before, during, and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared. Compile an Emergency Kit. Use this downloadable checklist to ensure you have necessary supplies on hand. Family Emergency Plan. Make sure your family has a plan in case of an emergency so that everyone is on the same page about how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supply kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. Options for Protection. Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the emergency, the first important decision is whether you stay where you are or evacuate. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. You can also check out the Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide on what to do just in case you need to evacuate your home. Hurricane Safety Checklist. Review this Hurricane Safety Checklist from the American Red Cross to prepare for the dangers of a hurricane. Severe Weather Checklist. Learn the steps to take before, during, and after severe weather hits. Warning Systems and Signals. Stay informed during a disaster through emergency broadcasts. Additionally, the Virginia Evacuation Coordination Team for Operational Response, along with the Virginia Department of Transportation, has created preparedness videos on hurricane evacuations and emergency supplies that can be viewed on YouTube or at www.ReadyVirginia.gov. Dealing with flooding: Use this Flood Safety Checklist provided by the Red Cross to be sure you are informed and prepared for any flooding that may occur in your area. Listen to news reports for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information, like whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink post-flooding. Know the difference between a Flood/Flash Flood Watch (which means flooding is possible in your area) and a Flood/Flash Flood Warning (which means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area). Use caution when driving. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles while two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups. Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car. After the storm is over: Take care of your family first! Assess damage-Learn how to apply for federal assistance Restore utilities and report outages to your local energy provider Practice generator safety Dominion Northern Neck Electric Coop Rappahannock Electric Coop Clean, rebuild, and mitigate Prepare for next time! So answer me this question, are you prepared? If the answer is no, please take the time to move through the resources above. Please continue to contact me any time an issue that concerns you. ​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, Sep 2 · wittman

When Congress returns to DC
Dear Friend - When Congress returns to Washington, D.C. there is a lot of important work to be done. Some items we are time-bound to complete - like addressing the debt limit - and others are challenges we need to solve for the general welfare of the American people. But no matter how you look at it, there is a long "to-do" list awaiting us in September. My view is that we need to urgently address the remainder of the spending bills for 2018, pass a budget, and take action on the debt limit. But I also know it is important that we make progress on other important priorities like tax reform, healthcare, and national security. I want to know what you think. Please take a moment to respond to the short survey below. What should Congress focus on first when it returns to session in September? spending bills for 2018 debt limit healthcare tax reform combating illegal immigration boosting national security Don't know/no opinion 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/
· Fri, Sep 1 · wittman

What do you think about the new Afghanistan strategy?
Dear Friend- Earlier this week President Trump announced the United States’ renewed commitment to our operations in Afghanistan. The Administration’s new strategy: Ends the era of giving the enemy our timeline to withdraw troops Shifts the focus of our presence in Afghanistan to national security instead of nation building Strengthens our partnership with India to promote stability and common values in the region Changes the status quo of relations with Pakistan to prevent safe havens for terrorists Cost effectively integrates diplomatic, economic, and military forces to work towards peace President Trump’s strategy lets conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables and micromanagement from Washington, determine military decisions, ensuring our troops have all the resources needed to protect our nation and defeating terrorists. I believe the Administration’s new vision will set our troops up for success, protect vital U.S. interests in the area, and ensure Afghanistan does not serve as a haven for terrorism. I want to know what you think. Please take a moment to respond to the short survey below. Which part of this strategy do you feel will do the most to protect US interests in the region and keep Americans safe? Ending arbitrary deadlines to withdraw troops Strengthening our partnership with India Changing approach to Pakistan relations Commitment to a stable and secure Afghanistan to protect our nation’s interests All of the above None of the above I don’t know I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Your opinion helps shape my thinking as I represent you in Washington. Sincerely, Rob Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Tue, Aug 29 · wittman

Press Release: Wittman Visits 7th Fleet
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 28, 2017​ CONTACT: Kathleen Gayle (202) 225-4261 Wittman Visits 7th Fleet WASHINGTON – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, released the following statement following his August 28th visit to the U.S. 7th Fleet, headquartered in Yokosuka, Japan in response to the collision of the USS John S. McCain off the coast of Singapore on August 21: “I met with Vice Admiral Sawyer earlier today and was encouraged that he shares my concern for rapidly improving the safety of our fleet. I continue to believe that there are underlying problems with the forward deployed navy forces that need to be improved including the material condition and training readiness levels of our Navy forces. I look forward to discussing the welfare of our sailors and addressing these underlying problems with Navy leadership in early September.” As a result of continuing concerns associated with the collisions of the USS John McCain and the USS Fitzgerald, Congressman Wittman visited the U.S. 7th Fleet during a Congressional Delegation Visit to the Pacific Command Area of Responsibility to include a discussion with the new 7th Fleet Commander, VADM Sawyer, and other sailors at the Yokosuka Naval Base.​ On September 7th, the House Armed Services Committee will host a joint hearing between the Subcommittees on Seapower & Projection Forces and Readiness on “Navy Readiness – Underlying Problems Associated with the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain". Witnesses for the hearing will be VADM Thomas S. Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, United States Navy and Mr. John H. Pendleton, Director, Defense Force Structure and Readiness Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office ​ Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he is Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. ### www.wittman.house.gov UNSUBSCRIBE | PRIVACY POLICY | CONTACT US Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Mon, Aug 28 · wittman

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 8.28.17
For Immediate Release Contact: Kevin Baird August 28, 2017 202-225-3861 Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 8.28.17 Vehicle Attacks, the Second Amendment, and a Free Society I was saddened to hear of the recent terrorist attacks in Spain. A terrorist drove a van into a popular Barcelona street packed with pedestrians and other members of the same terrorist cell rammed a car into a crowd in the seaside town of Cambrils. Fifteen people were ultimately killed in the attacks, many of them tourists simply enjoying a holiday. The attacks in Spain are the latest in a trend. In the past several years, people aiming to cause death and destruction have used automobiles to perform their evil work. In July 2016, an ISIS-inspired terrorist driving a van killed 84 people at Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France. Last December, a terrorist drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany. Twelve people died in the attack. In April, four people died after a man drove a truck into a crowd in Stockholm, Sweden. London alone has witnessed three vehicle attacks this year: five were killed by an Islamic extremist in a car at Westminster Bridge in March, eight pedestrians were killed by a van driven by Islamic extremists in June, and one man was killed when a van driver targeted Muslims leaving Ramadan prayers. Just a week before the Barcelona attack, a man used his car to target soldiers in a suburb of Paris, seriously injuring three of them. Vehicles attacks have become all too frequent in Europe, and the United States is not immune to them, either. The country recoiled in horror when an alleged white supremacist and/or neo-Nazi plowed a car into a crowd of protestors in Charlottesville in August, killing Heather Heyer. The unfortunate fact is that when people with hate in their hearts decide they wish to harm others, they will be able to turn just about any item into weapons. The attacks in Spain were the work of a jihadist cell. The murders they committed were mainly by vehicle, but one of the terrorists stabbed an innocent man when hijacking a car, and police suspect the house they were based in was being used as a bomb factory. Clearly, they were intent on wreaking death and destruction by whatever means they could. The right to drive cars, trucks, vans, etc. is not protected by the U.S. Constitution. Obviously, motorized vehicles were not in existence at the writing of our great constitutional document. And even though animal-driven vehicles existed, the courts have ruled that it is a privilege to drive motorized vehicles on the roads. There is a constitutional right to bear arms. And it is true that, just like the horrible situations discussed above, guns are often used improperly in acts of violence and/or terror. After an horrendous act by a gun-wielding assailant, we often hear calls for the control of guns. I do not agree with these calls for gun control! But I do note with curiosity that with more and more common use of cars, vans, and trucks as weapons for violence and terror that some on the left have not started a campaign for “reasonable automobile control.” It is true that you have to be licensed to drive an automobile but some people in this country think drivers’ licenses are overly burdensome on the unlicensed population even though the penalties for driving without a license are not severe. I am not arguing for automobile control or more severe penalties for driving without a license, but I raise the issue to highlight the double standard by some as it relates to guns. Restrictions on cars, the constitutionally-guaranteed right to bear arms, or whatever device that might cause great destruction can sometimes seem like a simple fix, but they are more likely to diminish the rights of law-abiding people than the bad guys. We live in a free society with rights granted by God and protections for those rights built into our Constitution. Likewise, the ability to continue to live in a free society means that we must insist on civil discourse of the important issues of the day instead of resorting to violence and acts of terror. 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, Aug 28 · griffith

ICYMI: Congressman Griffith on CNN's "New Day"
August 25, 2017 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Kevin Baird: (202) 225-3861 ICYMI: Congressman Griffith on CNN's "New Day" youtu.be/HmUUuURy-bo ### Unsubscribe: morgangriffith.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Fri, Aug 25 · griffith

Update: Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 8.21.17
Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 8.21.17 More Chaos on the Obamacare Exchanges The health insurance provider Anthem has decided to stop selling individual insurance plans on Virginia’s Obamacare exchange next year. It will also stop selling off-exchange individual plans, except in Washington and Scott Counties and the City of Bristol. As I write this column, information had not been released as to what individual plans will be available for purchase off the exchange. Optima Insurance will replace Anthem in selling individual plans on the exchange, but Anthem’s customers will have to go through the process of finding new plans from this insurer. It is unavoidable that many Virginians will have to start over in finding a health insurance plan. Unfortunately, Virginia is only the latest state to have major insurers stop selling plans to its citizens. In Iowa earlier this year, the entire state appeared likely to lack options to buy health plans. The state asked for a waiver from the Federal Government to alter big parts of Obamacare in order to keep insurers selling plans. With that waiver pending, a single insurer eventually agreed to participate in the exchange, but it proposed a rate increase of 57 percent for next year. In Tennessee this past February, Humana pulled out of exchanges in the Knoxville area, threatening to leave people in that part of Tennessee with no options at all. Three months later, another insurer, BlueCross BlueShield, provisionally agreed to sell individual plans on the Knoxville-area exchanges, but even then, it placed conditions before finally agreeing to sell. These examples suggest what the future of the health insurance market may look like in Virginia. I hope Governor McAuliffe’s administration will work hard to find a replacement provider for those who purchase individual plans off the exchange. But the larger point is that Obamacare has turned topsy-turvy the health insurance coverage of many Americans, which is why I will continue to work for its repeal. We can find better solutions to improve coverage and lower costs. Right to Try Recently, the Senate passed a bill sponsored by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) permitting “right-to-try.” I strongly support the idea of right-to-try, and I have sponsored a bill in the House of Representatives that would put this idea into law. What is right-to-try? It allows patients with life-threatening illnesses who are out of options to try treatments that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If someone facing a terminal illness tries everything FDA has approved without success, what does he or she have to lose by trying something else, as long as he or she knows the risks? According to the Goldwater Institute, 37 states already have right-to-try laws, and Senator Johnson’s bill passed the Senate unanimously. While my bill and Senator Johnson’s are not identical, I am pleased that the concept of right-to-try is gaining attention and support. It’s a common-sense option that might bring relief to people otherwise facing the end. Housing for Veterans I was honored to participate in a dedication ceremony on August 16 for Freedom Lane in Wytheville. This housing development was built with the needs of veterans in mind, including those who were wounded in their country’s service. The development includes 24 one and two-bedroom units, and half are already occupied by veterans and their families. All of these units are handicap-accessible, with some adapted to serve those with more specific and severe injuries, such as sight and hearing loss. They stand less than a mile away from Wytheville’s VA community clinic. I applaud Randy Martin, the Executive Director of the Wytheville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and the Board of the authority, who are the owners and developers of this project. They saw a need for affordable housing in Southwest Virginia for veterans and worked with local, state, and federal authorities to achieve this goal. The brand new units on Freedom Lane are a symbol of our appreciation to the men and women who have served and a practical way to improve their quality of life. 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. Note: At the writing of this column, information provided by the state indicated that Optima would be participating in Virginia’s Obamacare exchange for 2018. Optima has since informed us that they are still discussing their participation for next year. It does not have to sign a contract that would commit them to participate until late September. I regret the misunderstanding and no one should interpret this statement as an indication that Optima will not be involved in 2018. It is just premature to say they have made a commitment. ### Unsubscribe: morgangriffith.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Tue, Aug 22 · griffith

Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 8.21.17
For Immediate Release Contact: Kevin Baird August 21, 2017 202-225-3861 Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 8.21.17 More Chaos on the Obamacare Exchanges The health insurance provider Anthem has decided to stop selling individual insurance plans on Virginia’s Obamacare exchange next year. It will also stop selling off-exchange individual plans, except in Washington and Scott Counties and the City of Bristol. As I write this column, information had not been released as to what individual plans will be available for purchase off the exchange. Optima Insurance will replace Anthem in selling individual plans on the exchange, but Anthem’s customers will have to go through the process of finding new plans from this insurer. It is unavoidable that many Virginians will have to start over in finding a health insurance plan. Unfortunately, Virginia is only the latest state to have major insurers stop selling plans to its citizens. In Iowa earlier this year, the entire state appeared likely to lack options to buy health plans. The state asked for a waiver from the Federal Government to alter big parts of Obamacare in order to keep insurers selling plans. With that waiver pending, a single insurer eventually agreed to participate in the exchange, but it proposed a rate increase of 57 percent for next year. In Tennessee this past February, Humana pulled out of exchanges in the Knoxville area, threatening to leave people in that part of Tennessee with no options at all. Three months later, another insurer, BlueCross BlueShield, provisionally agreed to sell individual plans on the Knoxville-area exchanges, but even then, it placed conditions before finally agreeing to sell. These examples suggest what the future of the health insurance market may look like in Virginia. I hope Governor McAuliffe’s administration will work hard to find a replacement provider for those who purchase individual plans off the exchange. But the larger point is that Obamacare has turned topsy-turvy the health insurance coverage of many Americans, which is why I will continue to work for its repeal. We can find better solutions to improve coverage and lower costs. Right to Try Recently, the Senate passed a bill sponsored by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) permitting “right-to-try.” I strongly support the idea of right-to-try, and I have sponsored a bill in the House of Representatives that would put this idea into law. What is right-to-try? It allows patients with life-threatening illnesses who are out of options to try treatments that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If someone facing a terminal illness tries everything FDA has approved without success, what does he or she have to lose by trying something else, as long as he or she knows the risks? According to the Goldwater Institute, 37 states already have right-to-try laws, and Senator Johnson’s bill passed the Senate unanimously. While my bill and Senator Johnson’s are not identical, I am pleased that the concept of right-to-try is gaining attention and support. It’s a common-sense option that might bring relief to people otherwise facing the end. Housing for Veterans I was honored to participate in a dedication ceremony on August 16 for Freedom Lane in Wytheville. This housing development was built with the needs of veterans in mind, including those who were wounded in their country’s service. The development includes 24 one and two-bedroom units, and half are already occupied by veterans and their families. All of these units are handicap-accessible, with some adapted to serve those with more specific and severe injuries, such as sight and hearing loss. They stand less than a mile away from Wytheville’s VA community clinic. I applaud Randy Martin, the Executive Director of the Wytheville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and the Board of the authority, who are the owners and developers of this project. They saw a need for affordable housing in Southwest Virginia for veterans and worked with local, state, and federal authorities to achieve this goal. The brand new units on Freedom Lane are a symbol of our appreciation to the men and women who have served and a practical way to improve their quality of life. 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, Aug 21 · griffith

Tune in TOMORROW
Dear Friend- I am guest hosting the John Fredericks Radio Show tomorrow morning from 6am-10am! Joining me will be Vice Admiral Ted Carter, the Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy; Dr. Cynthia Crowther of Rappahannock Community College; Ed Gillespie, a candidate for Governor of Virginia; Walter Borneman, the author of a favorite book of mine-The Admirals; Rob Wittman, a former FBI agent who I obviously share a name with; and finally Jon Laaser, the “Voice of the Hokies.” To listen, turn your radio dial to: WHKT AM 1650; 92.5 FM – News-Talk - Hampton Roads WNTW AM 820; 97.7 FM – News-Talk - Richmond WBRG Super AM Talk 1050; 105.1 FM OR you can click HERE to listen live. We will be discussing everything from workforce development initiatives to Hokies’ football. I hope you can join us! It is an honor to serve you in the People’s House. Sincerely, Rob Unsubscribe: wittman.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/
· Tue, Aug 15 · wittman

Standing strong against hatred
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