Monday, May 18: This past Saturday I had the honor of delivering the commencement address for the graduating class of Frederica Academy on St. Simons Island. This was my first commencement address since being elected to Congress, and it was truly a delight to share a few words with such a fine group of young people. It was especially good to catch up with Mike Temple, who currently serves as principal of the high school at Frederica and who coached all three of my sons in baseball at a high school in Savannah.
After arriving back in Washington last night, I have a few hours of rare free time this morning and put it to good use by catching up on some much needed reading. Shortly before lunch we are back at it again and begin by taping a welcome message for the National Council of Higher Education Resources, who will be having their spring convention in Savannah this week while I am in Washington.
Next, I meet with Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions, an organization that advances women’s civic engagement for the health of our communities. Today, Georgia WAND is advocating on issues related to water, both surface and groundwater, regarding radiological contamination. After meeting with staff from the Congressional Research Service to learn more about the services they have to offer, we have our weekly staff meeting to review issues from last week and discuss issues that will be coming up this week.
Afterwards, we have our weekly Whip Team meeting before heading to the House chamber for votes. Upon arriving, I am asked by the House staff to preside over the votes tonight and, of course, am glad to help out. When presiding over the House, the member presiding is not allowed at any time to leave the speaker’s platform, a rule that I learn quickly as I attempt to retrieve my notebook that I left on the floor and am stopped by the House staff.
Tuesday, May 19: My morning starts early with a meet and greet with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is considering a presidential bid in 2016. Gov. Walker is an impressive leader who has done an outstanding job and certainly will make a fine candidate for president, if he decides to run.
After our weekly Republican Conference meeting, where we discuss the upcoming votes this week, I head back to the office to meet with the Georgia Construction Aggregate Association where we discuss transportation funding.
Afterwards I head to a subcommittee meeting for the Committee on Education and the Workforce where we are discussing waste, fraud and abuse in the federal child nutrition programs before going to a Committee on Oversight and Government Reform meeting to vote on legislation being presented. When I return to my office, I meet with the Georgia chapter of the March of Dimes and then with the Girl Scouts of America National CEO Ana Maria Chavez. Although their national offices are in New York City, the Girl Scouts still consider Savannah home and are continuously complimenting their birthplace city.
Afterwards, I head to the House chamber for our first votes of the day then back to my office to meet with representatives from the Georgia Society of CPAs, including Darrell and Debbie Thaw from Saint Simons Island. After a meeting with Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) to discuss health care issues currently before the Ways and Means Committee, I head back to the House chamber, where I preside over the Chamber during afternoon debates, followed by our final vote series of the day. Once back in my office I host our monthly tele-town hall meeting, where we discuss prevailing issues and answer constituent questions.
Wednesday, May 20: Today is a special day as the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Welsh, has invited freshman congressmen to join him for breakfast at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Gen. Welsh served a tour at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta and speaks highly of his experiences during that time.
Once we are back at the Capitol, I head over to the House Chamber where I am serving as speaker pro tem today and preside over morning orders. Next, I head over to the Committee on Homeland Security where we are marking up bills today, including H.R. 1615, a bill I am sponsoring addressing the backlog of Freedom of Information Act requests within the Department of Homeland Security.
After a meeting with representatives from the American College of Radiology followed by a meeting with Insurance agents from the district, I head to the House Chamber for our first series of votes today. Once back in my office I host a conference call with state and local elected officials in the district to bring them up to date on the Highway Trust Fund bill that we passed yesterday.
As I am walking over to the House chamber, I run into Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta), who I have met on several occasions but have not had a chance to spend time with. As we walk over to the Chamber together, he shares with me stories of his past, including how his father bought 1,000 acres of land in Alabama in 1944 for $300 and his family still lives on the property today. It was a very special time for me to be able to spend time with this American treasure.
Thursday, May 21: My day begins with a Republican Conference meeting with Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) to discuss the Trade Promotion and Accountability Act (TPA), followed by a meeting with representatives from the Insurance Underwriters regarding the proposed Fiduciary Rule.
Next, I head over to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for a hearing with post office directors who are proposing replacing Postal Service vehicles before heading back to my office to meet with Homecare providers from the district to discuss Medicare policies. Afterwards, I head to the House Chamber for our first and only votes of the day before heading to the airport to return to the district.
Once home, I head to downtown Savannah to greet members of the Atlanta Regional Commission who are in town to tour the ports.
Friday, May 22: The best thing about being home on Friday mornings is to be able to attend my Band of Brothers Bible Study. Led by Rev. Kenny Grant, our group of 150-175 men meets on Friday mornings at Garden City Baptist Church from 6:30-7:30 a.m. This group of men and the time I get to spend with them is one of the true blessings in my life.
Immediately following our meeting this morning I head down to Brunswick to participate in a memorial service at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center honoring our federal law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. After this wonderful tribute, my staff and I spend the afternoon touring FLETC, learning more about this interagency law enforcement training center that provides training for 91 U.S. government federal law enforcement agencies.