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Apr. 30 – SPECIAL REPORT: A Week at the Capital by Congressman Buddy Carter

Category: Local Govts & Politics

Submitted for publication by Congressman Buddy Carter GA-1

April 30. 2017 - This week, President Trump released a tax reform proposal that includes the largest tax cut for individuals and businesses in U.S. history. The plan proposes several ways to reform our tax system.

First, the proposal includes individual tax reform designed to deliver relief for Americans, especially middle-income families. This part of the plan reduces the 7 tax brackets to 3, doubles the standard deduction, and provides tax relief for families with child and dependent care expenses. The second part of the proposal works to simplify our tax code. While protecting home ownership and charitable gift tax deductions, the proposal repeals the death tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax. Finally, the plan works to reduce the tax burdens on our job creators.

I have long said that America's antiquated and overly burdensome tax code is the greatest threat to economic opportunity in this country. I am relieved we finally have a president that agrees.

The House is currently working on a tax reform plan to create a tax system that will grow our economy, deliver relief to Americans, and create job based on our blueprint. Click here to read more about it. I look forward to working with the administration to make this a reality.

Monday, April 24, 2017: After being away from Washington for a district work period the last two weeks, we had a conference call on Saturday afternoon to discuss what our agenda will be for the next two weeks.  With a deadline to continue government funding on Friday, the beginnings of tax reform and health care still looming, we are in for a busy few weeks.

Participation with the Tybee Island cleanup

On Sunday, I was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Georgia Pharmacists Association Academy of Independent Pharmacists in Macon, and then on Sunday morning  was on Tybee Island for a beach cleanup assisting the Tybee Clean Beach Volunteers and Coast Guard personnel. 

Afterwards, I headed to my Savannah district office for a series of meetings beginning with a constituent to discuss family law reform followed by a meeting with representatives from Fuji Vegetable Oil to discuss proposed tax reform.  My next meeting was to discuss Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) issues followed by a meeting with our regional contact with the National Park Service to discuss the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program and two development projects in Southeast Georgia, including the Ebenezer Crossing Development in Springfield and the McQueen’s Island Trail Project adjacent to Hwy 80 heading to Tybee Island. 

After a phone interview to discuss the Spaceport Camden project, my final meeting was with Dr. Mark Johnson to discuss Medicaid and Medicare related items that would improve treatment within the programs.

I will also be in downtown Savannah for a tour of the Georgia Historical Society (GHS) Research Center where the collection of the GHS is held and maintained for research.  Among the items  pulled for us to see was Abraham Baldwin’s draft copy of the United States Constitution, one of only a few in existence.  Dr. Todd Groce and his staff do an outstanding job of preserving this premier statewide institution for collecting, examining and teaching Georgia history.  I ended the day as I started  it, as Ivisit Tybee Island again where I attend the Tybee Island Republican Club meeting and had an opportunity to address the group as well as hear a Georgia state legislative update by Rep. Jesse Petrea and Sen. Ben Watson.

On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, after an early morning meeting with my good friend, Andy Freeman who works with the American Cancer Society, I was on a plane back to Washington.  Once back, I headed straight to Howard University where I spoke to the pharmacy students about my experiences in Congress and the importance of advocacy. 

Meeting with representatives from Boehringer Ingelheim

Once back at the Capitol, my first meeting was with representatives from Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical manufacturer of both human and animal products.  Next, we had our weekly staff briefing to discuss the upcoming week which will certainly be a very intense one.  Afterwards, I headed to Alexandria to address the annual fly-in of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) before heading back to the Capitol for our first vote series of the day.  My last meeting of the day was with members of the Georgia Rural Water Association Board of Directors including my good friends Jimmy Matthews from Barnesville and GA State Senator Rick Jeffares from McDonough.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017:  My day starts off in downtown Washington where I speak to the Dental Trade Alliance, whose members have a keen interest in the Affordable Care Act’s excise tax on medical devices, tax reform and coverage for oral health.  Once back at the Capitol, I attended our weekly GOP Conference meeting, where the main topic today is the budget process and what we intend to do to prevent a government shutdown on Friday.  Next, I head back to my office, where I meet with the Georgia Motor Trucking Association followed by a meeting with SHAPE America, a group that advocates for more physical education and health education among our elementary students.  My first committee hearing of the week was next as I have an Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee hearing on Nuclear Waste Policy.  A link to my questions can be found here.  After a meeting with Bako Pathology Services to discuss the Medicare audit process, I head to the steps of the Rayburn building to have a picture taken with students from Georgetown Elementary in Savannah before returning to my office for a meeting with the CEO of the Sequoia Project, an organization that focuses on the nationwide interoperability of electronic health records.

Meeting with Dr. Pat Godbey from Brunswick representing the American Pathologists Association

After a quick meeting with the American Council of Engineering Companies, I head ed to the House Chamber for our first vote series of the day then headed back to my office for more meetings, this time with Fraternal Government Relations Coalitions, Georgia Farm Bureau, and Dr. Pat Godbey from Brunswick, representing the American Pathologists Association.  After our second series of votes, I head to the Capitol steps where I had a picture taken with students from Butler Christian Academy in Savannah before heading back to my office for a meeting with Colonel Brian Borgen, Commander of the 442nd Fighter Wing at Moody Air Force Base.  My final meeting of the day was a classified Members only interagency briefing on North Korea where we heard from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as well as Secretary of Defense James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis regarding this very dangerous situation.

On Thursday, April 27, 2017, I was honored  to speak to the Community Oncologist Alliance at their annual convention here in Washington before heading back to the Capitol for a meeting with new Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.  Next, I attended a members only meeting of the Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss developments in the health care reform debate.  Following meetings in my office with the Georgia Pharmacy Association as well as the Georgia Ophthalmology Association, I head to the House Chamber to deliver a one minute tribute on the 50th anniversary of the founding of Gulfstream Aerospace.

Meeting with the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce

At the Senate Visitors Center, addressed the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, followed by a return to the House Chamber for votes.  Next, I head back to my office for a meeting with Colonel Jeffrey Valenzia with Moody Air Force followed by a meeting with Assistive and Rehab technology before heading to meet with Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess.  After our second vote series of the day, I headed back to my office for a meeting with the National Community Pharmacists Association.

On Friday, April 28, 2017, met with a group of constituents from Brunswick at the White House in the morning to assist them with entrance into the facility, I return to the Capitol and House Chamber where I deliver a one minute tribute in memory of former Chatham County Commissioner and my good friend, Joe Murray Rivers, who recently passed.  After our first vote series of the day I attend a meeting with newly appointed Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai before returning to the House Chamber for our second and final vote series of the day where we pass a one week continuing resolution to our FY 17 budget to keep the federal government running and continue our negotiations with the Senate for a longer agreement.

Editor’s Note:  This special report was published to assist SBJ readers in following a typical week in the life of Congressman, including the variety of tasks and constituent and lobbying groups that seek to meet with their representatives in Washington.  

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