Category Archives: Politics

House Subcommittee Passes Rep. Graves Bill to Fund Essential Capitol Operations, Freeze House Member Pay

Washington, D.C. – The House Legislative Branch Subcommittee on Appropriations today passed the fiscal year 2017 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, which was authored by Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) who is chairman of the Subcommittee. The bill provides annual funding for the offices of Members of the House of Representatives, the support agencies of Congress, security, services for visitors, and Capitol operations and maintenance.

“The main focus of this legislation is to preserve the beauty, enhance the security and improve the institutions of the United States Capitol complex. Using a zero-based budgeting approach, in which each agency of the Legislative Branch was forced to justify its budget request from scratch, I’m pleased to report that we have accomplished our mission in a way that respects taxpayers,” Chairman Graves said.

“This bill also features a strong emphasis on making pro-family improvements to Capitol operations. I’ve asked the House to support pregnant staff members by allowing access to convenient parking spots. There is a bipartisan provision to add more baby changing tables to House bathrooms for young families visiting Capitol Hill. We are also carrying on the renewed tradition of sledding on Capitol Hill. While these items are minor compared to the initiatives under the Architect, Library and Capitol Police, they set a family friendly standard for the Capitol and make the People’s House a better place to work and visit. And with a strong focus on our constituents, we made sure that offices have the resources necessary to serve their districts well,” Graves continued.

The total included for the House – excluding Senate-only items – is $3.48 billion, which is $152 million below the requested level. In all, funding for the House of Representatives has been reduced by 14 percent since Republicans gained its control in January 2011. The legislation also includes a provision to freeze the pay of Members of Congress, preventing any pay increases in fiscal year 2017.  A freeze on the salaries of Representatives has been in place since 2010.

Additionally, the bill eliminates the Open World Leadership Center – an outdated multi-million dollar per year program.

“Our Capitol complex houses the largest and most successful democracy the world has ever known. It is essential that Congress provide the resources needed to keep it functioning, safe, and accessible to all those who work or visit here, and maintain its image as a beacon of freedom around the world,” said Hal Rogers, who is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “This legislation will target funds to critical operations to ensure effective representation of our citizens, while keeping a close eye on every tax dollar.”

For the complete text of the subcommittee draft of the FY 2017 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, please click here.

House Judiciary Passes Collins Bill to Protect American Jobs and Innovation

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Judiciary Committee marked up S. 1890, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016. The bill, the House version of which was introduced by Congressman Collins, passed out of committee by a voice vote. Congressman Collins issued the following statement after the markup:

“Innovation, creativity, and hard work have made American companies successful and competitive in the global market,” said Congressman Collins. “However, inadequacy of current law and increasingly sophisticated methods to steal trade secrets have left American companies vulnerable. Trade secrets are the life blood of many companies and when they are stolen there is an almost immediate loss of value, which threatens American jobs and discourages research, investments, and competition. This legislation, which has more than 150 cosponsors in the House, takes steps to fix that problem. It will provide a uniform federal remedy and allow companies to preserve evidence, prevent disclosure, and authorize injunctions and damages. Under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, trade secrets will be afforded protections that apply to other forms of intellectual property such as copyrights, patents, and trademarks. The bill provides important protections that will help keep jobs here at home and discourage theft of intellectual property.

I thank Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers, and Reps. Nadler and Jeffries for their support and leadership on this bill,  and applaud Senators Hatch and Coons for their tireless efforts in the Senate to move this bill forward and get us to this point. I am encouraged that Leader McCarthy has scheduled the Defend Trade Secrets Act for floor consideration next week, and I look forward to voting for this bill in the full House.

“I want to applaud Congressman Doug Collins for his steadfast leadership on this important issue,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte. “Trade secrets are an increasingly important form of intellectual property that have become more vulnerable to theft as a result of our globalized economy.  Protecting the vital proprietary information of U.S. companies is essential to American competiveness, job creation, and ensuring a robust economy.”

Congressman Collins Supports Bulletproof Vest Grant Program for Georgia Law Enforcement

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Judiciary Committee marked up S. 125, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act. The bill, which Congressman Collins supported, passed out of Committee by voice vote. Congressman Collins issued the following statement after the markup:

“As the son of  Georgia State Trooper, I know how important it is to keep our law enforcement officers safe. This legislation reauthorizes a grant program to help local law enforcement purchase bulletproof vests for their officers. Twelve jurisdictions in Northeast Georgia have previously received grants under the program, enabling them to invest in a combined total of more than 150 bulletproof vests. We want to make sure they can continue to get the equipment they need to keep officers safe as they work to protect us and our communities. This bill, which has already passed the Senate, has broad bipartisan support and the backing of every major law enforcement organization. I am proud to support this legislation, and hope to see quick House passage and enactment into law.”

Below is a list of jurisdictions in Northeast Georgia that have received vests under the program:

Dawson County

Gilmer County

Jackson County

Lumpkin County

Pickens County

Stephens County

White County

Elijay

Gainesville

Commerce

Clayton

Toccoa