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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekly Update - A story you're not hearing
Dear Friend - Let's face it: there is a lot of news coming out of Washington these days. And much of it is designed to draw a reaction from you or get you to take sides. But there is another story out there that you're not hearing. That's the story of the important accomplishments made by the House during the first eight months of this year. From the outset of 2017, we made it a priority to work on the issues that matter most to you and I believe we took meaningful steps to grow our economy, strengthen the health care system, improve education, boost national security, and support our veterans. Below are some highlights of our important accomplishments in the first 200 days of 2017. ECONOMY AND EDUCATION We must create more opportunities for people to find and keep a good-paying job. The best thing government can do to achieve this: get out of the way and make it cheaper and easier for companies to hire and innovate. To that end, the House passed legislation, like H.R. 26, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act and H.R. 5, the Regulatory Accountability Act, offering relief from regulations that hinder economic growth. We also advanced an important bill to address the financial industry, H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act. The Financial CHOICE Act replaces many of the flawed policies of the Dodd-Frank bill and focuses on revitalizing community banks our small businesses rely on to be successful. Access to job opportunities starts with a quality education and so we once again put education at the top of our priority list in the House. We passed a bill to expand support for charter schools (H.R. 244) and fund the Every Student Succeeds Act, which gives states and local school district more control over the education decisions that affect our children. I was also pleased we passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353), which supports our career and technical education programs in Virginia. The bill promotes the development and implementation of programs aligned with state-specific occupations or industries. This provision will help better match future workers with the skills currently in-demand in Virginia. HEALTH CARE I am committed to strengthening our health care system and ensuring all of those who want to purchase health insurance can afford to do so. That is why I supported passage of the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628) or AHCA, a bill that rolls back Obamacare, returns decision-making to patients, and addresses rising premiums and deductibles. The AHCA ensures that the most vulnerable of today and the future are protected and that no one with pre-existing conditions loses coverage. I believe this bill is the much-needed first step to restoring a health care system that works for all Americans. You can read more about why I supported the American Health Care Act here. The House also advanced a bill called the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101) that small business employers to band together through association health plans in order to purchase quality health care for their employees at a lower cost. Finally, the House delivered a $781 million increase in resources for fighting the opioid epidemic, with funds going towards grants, treatment and prevention, and support for law enforcement. NATIONAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY We face a wide array of evolving, ever more sophisticated threats from nations like China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea. We need a strong national defense to keep our country safe and ensure the men and women of our Armed Forces have the training, equipment, and resources they need to carry out their mission. To better provide for the defense of our nation, the House passed a bill (H.R. 3219) funding the Department of Defense (DoD) at a level 13% higher than last year. This boost in funding will help restore military readiness damaged by the harmful sequester cuts and continue the commitment to growing our Navy's Fleet. The bill keeps our military on the cutting edge of defense technology by investing heavily in research and development, ensuring the equipment and weapons used by our troops are the best found anywhere in the world, and keeps us a step ahead of our adversaries. And since we ask them to do difficult jobs in an increasingly dangerous world, the bill funds a 2.4% pay raise for our troops, the largest pay increase in 8 years. Most critically for Virginia, the DoD portion of H.R. 3219 contains language blocking funds from being used to propose, plan for, or execute a new or additional base alignment and closure round (BRAC) and allows funds to be used on multiyear procurement contracts for up to 13 Virginia-class attack submarines. Virginia-class submarines are built in Newport News, meaning this provision will boost job growth in the Commonwealth. Finally, since securing our border is a part of maintaining national security, H.R. 3219 includes $1.6 billion for the construction of a wall along the southern border with Mexico. While not a silver bullet for solving our illegal immigration challenges, building new portions and expanding existing areas of the border wall is an important part of the solution. As Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, I made it a top priority to take the first steps towards growing the Navy's Fleet to 355 ships. Since not all ships are forward deployed at all times, that is the number the Navy has told us it needs to project force around the globe and deter threats but also stay up-to-date on maintenance and training activities. To read more about why 355 ships is critical for our national security click here. Finally, the House took action to sanction three of our most serious geopolitical adversaries: North Korea, Iran, and Russia. Each of those countries are threatening U.S. national security and undermining global stability with a range of aggressive acts. The North Koreans are testing ICBMs; the Iranians fund international terror organizations; and the Russians are again intervening in eastern European countries, seeking regional hegemony. The House sent a strong signal that these acts will not go unanswered by passing the Countering Adversarial Nations Through Sanctions Act (H.R. 3364). The aim of this bill is to use political and economic leverage to help hold these rogue nations accountable. SUPPORTING VETERANS Our veterans made great sacrifices for our country. I am dedicated to ensuring they can access the health care benefits and educational and job opportunities they have earned and deserve. The national defense spending package passed by the House (H.R. 3219) included $73 billion specifically for the Department of Veterans Affairs, a 5 percent increase over last year’s levels. With that funding, the VA will be able to better treat and care for our veterans, particularly in the areas of claims processing, suicide prevention and treating opioid addiction. In addition, we advanced a bill (S. 114) authorizing $2 billion in funding for the Veterans Choice Program, which allows certain veterans to seek medical care outside of the VA system. That bill also authorized 28 VA medical facility leases, including two facilities in Virginia — one in Fredericksburg and one in Hampton Roads. This authorization will improve access to care and health care outcomes for our Virginian veterans living in two areas with increasing veteran populations. Also, the House approved H.R. 3218, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act. This "GI Bill for the 21st Century" allows veterans to use the GI Bill throughout their lives instead of within 15 years of service and establishes a pilot program that allows veterans to attend non-traditional technology programs that will help them get jobs right after completion. Finally, in order to ensure our veterans receive the very best treatment and customer service, the House passed S. 1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. The bill allows the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to fire, demote, or suspend VA employees who don’t perform their duties up to the level our veterans deserve. In the first 200 days of 2017 the House took meaningful steps to grow our economy, strengthen the health care system, improve education, boost national security, and support our veterans. Those efforts will continue for the next 200 days and beyond. Please continue to contact me any time an issue that concerns you is before Congress. 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, Aug 12 · wittman