Monday, June 15: I’m very fortunate to be able to return home from Washington on most weekends but traveling can certainly be challenging at times. Today we sat on the runway in Savannah for almost an hour before finally being cleared to take off as we were told that air traffic in the Washington airport was backed up.
After finally arriving at the Capitol, I head straight to our weekly whip meeting where we discuss the upcoming legislation for the week.
After a very stressful week last week, this week’s agenda appears to be less hectic, but we are told that Trade Promotion Authority could come back to be voted on without Trade Adjustment Assistance — which failed last week — and to be prepared in case this happens.
After the whip meeting, I head to the House chamber where we have our first and only votes of the day as we pass H.R. 233, a bill that expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that Iran should immediately release the three U.S. citizens that it holds hostage. We also pass H.R. 2559, a bill to designate the PFC Milton A. Lee Medal of Honor Memorial Highway in the state of Texas.
Tuesday, June 16: After a meeting of the Republican Conference where the Speaker brought us up to date on the possible scenarios that may play out with the trade debate, I head to a meeting of the Education and the Workforce Committee where we have a hearing on Child Nutrition Assistance.
Afterwards, I attend a meeting of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, where we are having a hearing with the Office of Personnel Management regarding the recent data breach that has compromised the personal information of federal government employees.
Next, I head to a subcommittee meeting for Homeland Security where we are holding a hearing on how the Transportation Security Administration, which provides security at the nation’s airports can improve aviation worker vetting. I am shocked to find out that the TSA has been accepting applications and hiring employees who are not required to provide their Social Security number and are only required to provide the first initial of their first name. A link to my questions during the hearing can be found at buddycarter.house.gov.
After we adjourn from the hearing we go into another meeting of the subcommittee where we pass two bills dealing with the TSA situation. Next we go to the House chamber for our first vote series of the day before I head back to the office, where we have our weekly staff meeting to discuss the events of last week and the upcoming week. Normally we have our staff meetings immediately upon my arrival on fly-in day, but this is literally the first time I have had to meet with staff since I have returned from the weekend.
Afterwards, I head to an Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions.
Later, I attend a subcommittee meeting of Oversight and Government Reform for a hearing on fair competition in international shipping.
Before heading back to the House chamber for our second and final series of votes, I meet with Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), who is a Cuban-American, to discuss my experiences on my recent visit to Cuba.
Wednesday, June 17: My day begins with a trip to the House Visitors Center to the room that referred to as the “vault.” This is a sound proof room where classified documents are stored and can be viewed by members of Congress. We are required to leave all electronic equipment (phones, etc.) outside. Today, I am reviewing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that is currently being negotiated by the executive branch.
Although the TPP is not finalized and certainly will have changes before being sent to Congress for final approval, it is available for viewing by members of Congress at this time.
Like all pending trade agreements, it is considered a classified document and only available for review to those people with a certain security clearance. It is important to note that under TPA, this and any trade agreement must now be made public for at least 60 days before it is voted on by Congress for the first time in history. The increased transparency called for by TPA is one of the primary reasons I voted for this legislation.
Afterwards, I head to a Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on drones and their potential use in commerce before heading back to the HVC to speak to the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation’s Washington Youth Tour that includes 17 students from the First Congressional District.
Next, I head to a subcommittee hearing of Education and Workforce where we are questioning the Secretary of Labor on rules his department is trying to implement involving Fiduciary’s roles in retiree products. A link to my questions can be found at buddycarter.house.gov.
Afterwards, I meet with representatives from Georgia who are part of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and then with Faye Montgomery and Pauline Shaw from the district, who are visiting to advocate for autism.
Next, I attend a Republican Study Committee meeting where we discuss conservative legislation and the possible scenarios of the King vs. Burwell ruling that is expected to be announced in the very near future and could upend Obamacare by removing subsidies for those in states, like Georgia, where the federal government operates health care exchanges.
After attending a subcommittee hearing of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to discuss immigration concerns, I head to the House chamber for our first and only vote series of the day. After votes are completed, I stay in the house chamber to speak in support of H.R. 1507, a Medicare reform bill being offered by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas).
Thursday, June 18: Along with over 80 other House members I stay in my office when I am in Washington and shower every morning in the member’s gym after a morning workout.
The mood in the gym this morning is very somber as the TVs are reporting the news of nine church members who were murdered in Charleston, S.C., yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and community as we try to comprehend why someone would commit such a senseless crime.
I am honored today to be the guest speaker at the weekly Georgia Business Council breakfast. This group of Washington based representatives of Georgia companies and institutions such as Caterpillar, Emory Healthcare, Southern Company, and many others play an important role in keeping our delegation up to date on state issues.
After attending an Education and the Workforce Committee member roundtable on child nutrition programs, I head to the House chamber where we have our first vote series of the day followed by debate and then another series of votes where we pass TPA without TAA.
Later, I meet with Vietnamese-Americans from Georgia who are visiting Washington to voice their concerns about the proposed TPP agreement and human rights in Vietnam. As I head to the airport for my return trip to Savannah, I learn that my flight has been delayed and I will now be spending the next four hours in the airport.