Mark's Weekly Update - 2-20-18

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Washington, February 20, 2018 | Ben Williamson (202-225-6401) | comments

Immigration Update

I wanted to give you an update on news surrounding the immigration debate and where we stand in Congress.

Right now, unfortunately, the House of Representatives is not acting on immigration, instead choosing the let the Senate go first and try to pass their own bill--and I believe this is the wrong approach.The Senate has already failed to pass any of the four measures they considered. If the House is going to wait for 60 Senators to figure out an immigration bill first, we might as well all go home and take a nap.

The House should not wait on the Senate to act before we do. We already have an immigration bill in the House that deals with the problem and delivers on the voters' priorities, including border security, ending chain migration, and ending the visa lottery program. It's time for us in the House to start leading and get to work on our own bill.

That’s where we currently stand. But here’s the bottom line on this debate: House conservatives will not accept an immigration proposal that fails to do what we told the American people we would do during election season. We kept our promise on cutting taxes, but we have to follow through on immigration now, too.

I joined Face the Nation on CBS to discuss the issue, and you can watch that interview here. Rep. Jim Jordan and I also spoke with the Atlantic in an interview about the immigration debate—you can read the full article here.

Interviewing on Face the Nation

The Budget Agreement

As you know, recently Congress passed a two year budget agreement that suspended the debt ceiling and lifted the spending caps through fiscal year 2020, clearing the way for record spending increases of over $300 billion. I am profoundly disappointed in the agreement, and I voted NO on the budget bill because I could not support the high spending levels and lack of fiscal discipline.

What this whole issue boils down to: Congress failed to get its fiscal house in order. Instead of planning, deliberating, and passing a responsible long-term budget, as any American would in running a business, Congress waited till the last minute, governed by crisis, and spent their way out of a problem. Keep in mind—for months, several of my colleagues and I urged Congressional leadership to work toward a long-term, responsible budget that gives our armed forces the funding and stability they deserve. I voted several times in the past year to honor that promise to our service members.

I want to fund our military, but at what cost? Should we bankrupt our country in the process? Estimates suggest this bill will likely increase government spending by $1.5 trillion. This is not budgeting. While this Budget Agreement provides a needed investment in our nation’s military, that investment comes with a heavy burden that our children and grandchildren will be strapped with. We could have funded our military without growing the size of government at record levels.

When I ran for Congress, I promised the people of Western North Carolina that I would fight to rein in Washington’s addiction to spending. This budget failed to do that. It did not represent the promise I gave to my voters, and I suspect it isn’t what many of my colleagues promised their constituents either.

I’m very disappointed in the result, but I maintain my commitment to fighting for the kind of fiscal responsibility that can sustain our country for decades to come. And I’m determined to fight for the day when we will do better.

To read my full statement, click here. I also interviewed on CNN and spoke to a group of reporters in the Capitol—a conversation which aired on PBS. You can watch the CNN interview here, and the PBS clip here.

Speaking to reporters on the budget agreement

New Bill: The Child Tax Credit for Pregnant Moms Act

Last week, I joined my friend Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), along with several other House and Senate colleagues, introducing a bill that I believe represents a very practical and common sense reform. It’s called the Child Tax Credit for Pregnant Moms Act. You can read the full bill here.

The bill concept is simple: it expands the Child Tax Credit to pregnant mothers, to begin covering the cost of planning for a new child as new parents prepare for the birth. It builds on the Child Tax Credit provisions that are included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by supporting families and pregnant mothers with the costs that accompany caring for an unborn child and planning for the care of a newborn baby.

Why? I believe expectant mothers and fathers deserve the same financial assistance and tax credit benefits to begin planning for a new child. The work, care, and costs associated with motherhood begin long before a child is born, and this legislation would give moms and their families an opportunity for a better start.

We have a page set up on my website,, that provides resources and information on what the bill does and who supports it. You can find that information here. You can also read an op-ed on the bill from the Washington Examiner at this link here.

Hosting North Carolina Special Olympics Competitors

This week, I was honored to meet withSpecial Olympicscompetitors from North Carolina in Washington, D.C.! Some of the advocates came to Capitol Hill and stopped by my office for a meeting. These young athletes are incredible ambassadors for their teammates and program.

Meeting with Special Olympics Competitors

Appearing at CPAC

ANNOUNCEMENT: I will be joining my good friend Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) for a joint-interview appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this week, Friday, February 23!

CPAC is an annual conference, organized by the American Conservative Union, which gathers grass-roots activists from around the country to hear from speakers, thought leaders, and elected officials on how to best advance conservative principles in government. Rep. Jordan and I will be interviewed by Sarah Westwood of the Washington Examiner.

I’m thrilled to be invited back and look forward to addressing the conference on the progress we’ve made, the recent setbacks we’ve experienced, and how we can take the next step advancing conservative principles in the years to come. If you can make it, I’d love to see you there! You can find more information here.

New Bill: Making the Middle Class Tax Cuts Permanent

Another bill to update on: I joinedRep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)in introducing a bill to make the middle class tax-cuts, included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, permanent. Remember, due to budget reconciliation rules, the tax cuts for middle class families had to be set to “expire” after the year 2025. Our bill would make the individual tax cuts permanent by law.

I look forward to working with my colleagues, especially Democrats who criticized the expiration of the tax cuts, in this effort to make sure Americans get the certainty they deserve on their tax rates.

Rep. Davis and I filed an op-ed on the bill that you can read here.

Granddaughter Time

As a grandfather, you are never too busy to have the joy of babysitting duty. Blessed and thankful for my granddaughter, Autumn.

On babysitting duty at the office

Visit from Tim Moore

Look who made a stop by my Washington, D.C. office recently! North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore. Thanks to Speaker Moore for the visit and conversation—we are blessed to have his leadership in our state legislature.

With NC House Speaker Tim Moore

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