Issues

Appropriations

The federal budget and the Appropriation bills which Congress approve annually are a reflection of our fundamental values and priorities as a nation. Determining which investments our government makes is perhaps one of the most important decisions Congress faces each year.

2nd Amendment

I am a strong proponent of Second Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, so that law-abiding adults can exercise their Constitutional right to purchase and own firearms for the protection of their homes and families, collecting, target shooting, and hunting. I received an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association for the 110th Congress (2007-2008) and the 111th Congress (2009-2010).

Agriculture

Georgia’s farmers, ranchers, and producers are the backbone of our state’s most important industry: agriculture. As a Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and the Co-Chair of the Congressional Chicken Caucus, I am a staunch supporter of the agricultural community in the Second Congressional District of Georgia and the entire nation. I support assistance to farmers affected by drought, wildfires, and other natural disasters that occur each year. In addition, I have worked to reform the H2-A program for non-immigrant agricultural workers, bolster child nutrition programs in our nation’s schools, prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing burdensome regulations on the forestry industry, ensure that Mexican tomatoes and chicken do not drive down the prices of U.S.-produced tomatoes and chicken due to illegal dumping, and advance agricultural research, food safety initiatives, and broadband services to rural communities.

Crime

I have fought to make our streets safer by placing more police officers on the streets and increasing funding for law enforcement efforts. I am committed to making our streets safer by supporting legislation that will allow for the hiring of 50,000 additional police officers over the next six years and strengthen the Community Policing Development (COPS) grant program. I also have endorsed efforts to provide states with resources to prevent elder abuse, protect victims of domestic and sexual violence, track down and incarcerate online sex predators, and bolster the work of law enforcement agencies, courts, prosecutors and victim service organizations to prevent and fight crime.

Defense

As a Member of the House Appropriations Committee and Co-Chair of the Congressional Military Family Caucus, I am a proud supporter of the men and women of our nation’s armed forces and their families. I will continue working to ensure that our soldiers have the best weapons, body armor, equipment, materials, and family support to successfully accomplish their mission. I also have supported efforts to strengthen our national security by pursuing a clear strategy for victory in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Disaster Preparedness

When natural disaster strikes – whether from a flood, hurricane, or tornado – it is imperative that we work quickly and efficiently to restore and rebuild.

Education

I have worked tirelessly to make our nation’s schools and universities accessible and affordable. I voted in favor of legislation preventing the doubling of interest rates on America’s students. I strongly support legislation to make vital investments to modernize, upgrade, and repair school facilities across the country and to encourage service and volunteer opportunities for all Americans. I believe we must make education a top priority by bridging the digital divide, promoting healthier school lunches, enhancing educational opportunities for veterans, encouraging colleges to rein in tuition increases, boosting college aid, strengthening programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and reinvigorating the Head Start program to help more children arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have secured millions of dollars for education programs, including new schools and libraries, after-school programs, math and science initiatives, school nutrition and physical education programs, as well as family counseling and youth mentoring.

Energy

Our country’s dependence on foreign oil affects the United States in some ways when confronting a wide range of economic, national security, environmental, and human rights issues in the Middle East. I will continue my strong support for increasing domestic energy exploration, investing in American-grown bio-fuels, boosting fuel efficiency in vehicles, enacting tax credits for renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, and utilization of nuclear plants to broaden our energy portfolio.

Family Values

I support the pro-family values of Georgia’s Second Congressional District through my votes in favor of school prayer and outlawing same-sex marriage, permanently eliminating the “marriage penalty” in the tax code, extending health insurance coverage to children, and assisting American fathers who are trying to earn a livable wage and take a more active role in the lives of their children. I also have voted to ensure that federal funds will not be used to pay for abortions as part of health care reform.

Fiscal Discipline

As a Member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, I have consistently supported measures to reduce our federal budget deficit to get our nation’s fiscal house in order. I have supported amending the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget as well as reforming our tax code to make it more equitable. I will continue to work to achieve a bipartisan consensus to significantly reduce the budget deficit, protect important safety net programs, and strengthen the United States economy in both the short-term and the long-term.

Foreign Affairs

I have supported legislation in the United States House of Representatives to promote human rights at home and abroad, bolster foreign aid and security assistance to Israel, strengthen diplomatic efforts and sanctions to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, prevent violence in Sudan and to ensure that the U.S. successfully completes its mission in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Health Care

I am a strong supporter of policies that make health care more accessible and affordable to all Americans regardless of their background and income. These policies include protecting Medicare beneficiaries’ access to physicians, increasing funding for medical research, expanding community health care centers, reducing physician shortages, preventing childhood obesity, holding insurance companies accountable to keep premiums down and prevent denials of care and coverage, including for pre-existing conditions, and improving veterans’ health care.

Homeland Security

As a current Member of the House Appropriations Committee and as a former Member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for six years, I am a staunch supporter of efforts to protect our country from biological and nuclear threats, improve information sharing across intelligence agencies, bolster our cyber-security, strengthen our border security, allow search and surveillance of potential terrorists with probable cause, and secure our nation’s ports, airports, highways, transit and rail systems, energy grids, and other physical infrastructure.

Housing

I support legislation to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, stop predatory and irresponsible mortgage loan practices, increase the supply of affordable housing, expand veteran and rural housing opportunities, and promote fair housing education and enforcement activities.

Immigration

It is imperative that our borders and homeland are protected from threats made against our security. Immigration reform must include provisions that strengthen border security by increasing manpower, utilizing new technology and fencing, and providing the tools, resources, and infrastructure necessary to enforce existing immigration laws and punish offenders. In addition, it is vital that immigration reform ensures the needs of various economic sectors such as agriculture that depend on guest workers to fill labor shortages are significant. I have supported the DREAM Act, which would permit certain immigrant students who grow up in the United States to apply for temporary legal status and to eventually obtain permanent legal status and become eligible for U.S. citizenship, if they go to college or serve in the U.S. military.

Jobs & Economy

Strengthening the economy of Georgia’s Second Congressional District and the nation is my top priority in Congress. Throughout my tenure in the United States House of Representatives, I have fought to eliminate barriers that hamper job creation, to provide tax relief for working families, to eliminate the estate tax, and to bolster the small business sector. I have strongly supported legislation to help unemployed workers struggling to find jobs. Putting the economy on the right track requires the rebuilding of our nation’s infrastructure and tax incentives to spur investments in small businesses; we must encourage small business lending while reducing regulations to help entrepreneurs access capital. I support extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

Senior Citizens

I support preserving Social Security for current and future retirees, providing cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments for Social Security recipients, reducing prescription drug costs for seniors by closing the Medicare Part D “donut hole” coverage gap, cracking down on Medicare fraud and abuse, preventing scheduled reductions in Medicare physician payments, and vigorously prosecuting elder abuse.

Small Business

Small business is the cornerstone of our economy. I support legislation to establish a $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund to provide community banks with capital to increase small business lending, to invest in innovative state small business lending programs and to provide tax incentives to purchase employee health insurance coverage and spur investment, growth, new start-ups, and hiring.

Taxes

I support extending all of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts until the economy becomes stronger and job creation accelerates. I also support repealing the estate tax or at least substantial relief from the estate tax, which I know will benefit many small businesses. I do not want to see small business owners lose the companies they worked so hard to build and hoped to hand down to their children. I believe that we need to ensure that all Americans are contributing their fair share toward reducing the national debt while ensuring that our economy continues to grow.

Transportation

I support more highway-related construction jobs, reduced gasoline prices, and the increased use of bio-fuels. I will continue to fight for Georgia’s Second Congressional District to receive its fair share of funding to improve its highways, roads, bridges, and mass transit infrastructure. I voted to reauthorize federal highway, transit and other surface transportation programs through Sept. 30, 2014. This legislation will create or save more than two million jobs, and put workers in the hard-hit construction sector back to work on highway and transit projects across the country.

Veterans

As the Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, and as the Co-Chair of the Congressional Military Family Caucus, I will continue to support the men and women who serve in the military and their families and our nations veterans. The Hiring Heroes law that I authored in the House was signed into law by the President in November 2011. The law honors our veterans by ensuring they have the resources and tools they need to find suitable and sustainable employment. I have led efforts to improve health care for veterans, especially those with traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health issues, and lost limbs. I will continue to fight for legislation on behalf of veterans to increase educational opportunities, expand small business opportunities, provide cost-of-living adjustments, and reduce homelessness and suicide.

Legislative Work

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