Mark's Weekly Update - 10/3/18

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Washington, October 2, 2018 | Ben Williamson (202-225-6401) | comments

Hurricane Florence Recovery Update

I wanted to give an update on some of the ongoing recovery efforts in North Carolina from Hurricane Florence.

Recently I had the chance to go to Bladen County, North Carolina—one of the areas most impacted—to meet with first responders, assess damage, and see what we can do to help with recovery efforts. While the damage is severe, we were incredibly encouraged by the community coming together. These are the best people you'll find—they’re working long hours and putting everything they have into assisting families in the area who are suffering. Several people have come in from other parts of the state to offer their help as well.

Please continue pray for the folks affected. They have a long road ahead, but NC's people are the best in the country.

Additionally, for those who may have seen: North Carolina has formally appealed a denial from FEMA for major disaster assistance—a request which included several of our NC11 counties (Buncombe, Caldwell, Henderson, Madison, McDowell, etc). This is a huge deal and will be critical for some of our counties that got hit with significant flood damage. Last week I spent some time with one of our teams in McDowell County and they’re working hard on response measures to flooding in the district. I joined a full delegation letter backing a request to get them expedited assistance.

We will keep you posted. Our first responders are doing an incredible job and people from all over the state are stepping up to help their friends and neighbors in need.

As a reminder, for any resources you may need, we’ve compiled a list on our website and would be glad to help however possible. You can see that page here.

Meeting with first responders in McDowell County

Meeting with first responders in Bladen County, NC

Pray for those recovering in North Carolina

Meeting with first responders in Bladen County, NC

Speaking with Sheriff Jim McVicker in Bladen County, NC

Tax Reform 2.0 Passes House

A new round of tax reform passed the House last week, focused on individuals, small business, and family savings plans—and I was proud to be an original cosponsor.

Here are some of the specific things this package of tax reform accomplishes:

- It makes the individual tax cuts permanent (remember, the individual rates were forced to be temporary in the original bill, due to Senate budget rules)

- It creates new savings accounts options for families, particularly with 529 education accounts and “baby savings” plans

- It removes financial barriers and burdens from small business creators by creating more flexibility for write-offs on start-up costs

These are the types of pro-family, pro-growth, and pro-worker reforms we need to keep pushing. Read more about some of the reformshere. You can also watch my full floor speech in support of the package here.

Speaking on the floor in support of ‘Tax Reform 2.0’

Update on DOJ/FBI Investigation

We saw major developments this week on two fronts with our investigation into FBI/DOJ actions during the 2016 election and early stages of the Trump administration.

First, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte has subpoenaed the memos from former Deputy FBI Director, Andrew McCabe. This is critical. We have been asking for these memos for months and the Department turned us down every time—but they should provide some insight into what was going on at DOJ and FBI during 2016 and 2017, according to McCabe’s own words.

Second, House Leadership has agreed to call Rod Rosenstein before Congress, for a closed-door hearing with our investigative task force, so he can explain his alleged comments on "wiring" POTUS—as well as other inconsistent statements. This will allow Mr. Rosenstein to explain his side of the New York Times report and answer other questions to the task force. If Mr. Rosenstein fails to attend voluntarily, we will subpoena him.

Whether or not the reports regarding Mr. Rosenstein are true, here's what we know to be true: this story underscores the desperate need for transparency at the DOJ. Release the documents. It is time to declassify everything, only protecting sources and methods. Stop the games and show Americans the truth about this Russia investigation. If they have nothing to hide, they should act like it.

You can watch my discussion on the issue with Laura Ingraham here.

Discussing Rod Rosenstein’s status with Laura Ingraham

Bryson City Fire Department

Some important news for NC-11 first responders this week: I was honored to present the Bryson City Fire Department with a grant check for $182,000, as part of a DHS program supporting first responders, going toward their recruitment program! It’s very well deserved and huge for Swain County.

Thanks so much to the team for everything they do.

With the Bryson City Fire Department

A Win for American Farmers and Workers

If you missed it, President Trump and the White House just secured a major win for America on trade—successfully renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. This is a crucial win for the country and for the administration. The President continues to deliver on his 'America First' promise!

Congratulations to PresidentTrumpand the White House team on a job well done on the renegotiation –this will be a major victory for American workers and farmers. The deal will now go to Congress for review, where I look forward to working with my Republican and Democrat colleagues on helping see it through.

You can read more details about the agreementhere.


My Bill to Extend Opportunity Zones

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 included a popular provision implementing a new mechanism called “Opportunity Funds.” These funds allow investors to defer and reduce their capital gains tax bills in exchange for investing in projects located in economically disadvantaged areas, known as “Opportunity Zones.” Opportunity zones are designated by the Department of the Treasury and typically have an unemployment rate of about 14%, a lower than average median household income, and are usually located in counties where 20 percent (or more) of the population has been living below the poverty line for 30 years.

Essentially, this part of the tax cuts bill creates an incentive for Americans to invest in less-fortunate communities. That’s exactly what our government should be doing—creating tax incentives and allowing market forces to work.

The current law allows designations to expire after 10 years, but this week, I introduced a bill (H.R. 6890) that would allow for the designation of new opportunity zones every 10 years. Under this bill, the policy’s benefits could build and compound rather than expire.

Opportunity Funds benefit the state of North Carolina directly. On May 18 of this year, the Treasury Department certified 252 areas in NC as official Opportunity Zones, with more than 450 unique North Carolina census tracts identified for further review. This is a major catalyst for economic development and increased opportunity for under-privileged residents and families.

Read all about the billhere. Helping economically disadvantaged communities through market incentives is a huge priority of mine—we’re looking forward to working on it!

Debating on the House floor about the need to help workers and families

Supporting Israel – U.S. - Israel Cooperation Expansion Act

Our office is continuing to support Israel with common sense reforms dedicated to security. This week, I was proud to introduce a bipartisan bill with Rep. Brad Schneider from Illinois and Rep. Doug Lamborn from Colorado. You can read all about the billhere.

The bill addresses modernized threats against Israel and the U.S. by enhancing the partnership between our two nations, particularly in the area of law enforcement training and development for security. It formally supports the inclusion of Israel in American International Law Enforcement Academies, in which Israel does not currently participate. Including Israel in this organization would facilitate enhanced cooperation between our two countries and give Israel’s law enforcement and security teams access to the tools and training needed to better deal with modernized threats.

The United States has not just a responsibility but an obligation to stand with Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East and around the globe. It’s on Congress to pass common sense reforms like these that will allow for better cooperation, coordination, and partnership for our two nations to face modernized threats together.

I’m proud to be a part of this and look forward to seeing it through. Thanks to Mr. Schneider and Mr. Lamborn for working with us.

Rallying Conservatives in Washington

I was honored to meet so many great conservatives from all over the country last week at the ‘FreedomWorks’rally in Washington, D.C., supporting my good friend and House Freedom Caucus colleague Rep. Jim Jordanfor speaker!

Jim is one of the finest men, leaders, and conservatives in all of Washington—I’m proud to give him my full support.

There is a tremendous amount of grassroots energy demanding change in Congress, much like what we’ve seen take place in the White House this year under President Trump’s leadership. Well, we hear you, and we are committed to doing everything we can to returning power back to you on Main Street.

Thanks so much to everyone who made time to take the trip. We had people take time off of work just to be there—and we even had students from North Carolina make time to attend! You can watch a portion of my speech to the crowdhere.

Meeting Conservatives at the rally

Speaking to the crowd

With students from Mars Hill University & North Carolina Student Legislature

Meeting fellow conservatives at the rally

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