I was in Washington, D.C. earlier this week urging my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to return to Capitol Hill to work on the nation's unfinished business from tax cuts to the deficit, the Farm Bill to saving the Postal Service.
In the three months before Election Day, the House will have been in session for only 8 days. Some in Congress have packed up and left even as many Americans continue to struggle to pay their mortgage and rent, find a job or put food on the table. We should be in Washington stopping a middle class tax hike and voting on a jobs bill. Instead of stopping sequestration, my friends on the other side have left workers and businesses hanging off a fiscal cliff, facing the threat of severe cuts to vital domestic and defense programs.
The Tax Policy Center released a report this week that shows the average family will see a $3,446 tax increase on January 2, 2013, if Congress does not act.
The last thing the American economy needs is for working families to lose an average of $3,500 on January 2 while the super-rich continue to enjoy record tax breaks. This report underscores the need for politicians in Washington to come together to prevent taxes from going up for millions of middle-class families. The Senate has already voted to let current tax rates continue for everyone making less than $250,000 a year. If the House follows suit, this entire situation can be avoided.
This is unacceptable. We're here and ready to work. Today's unemployment report showing the unemployment rate is down to 7.8% -- its lowest in 44 months -- is encouraging, but we have more work to do. Let's get this done for the American people.
NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY: On Tuesday, Sept. 25, I was honored to participate in National Voter Registration Day at the state Capitol to raise awareness about voter suppression. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that all eligible voters are registered and have the proper ID.
Thanks to Reps. John Lewis and David Scott, civil rights icon C.T. Vivian, Elizabeth Poythress with the Georgia League of Women Voters, Jerry Gonzalez of GALEO, Helen Ho of AALAC, Deb Scott of Georgia Stand Up!, Helen Butler of the Coalition for the People's Agenda and many others who attended the rally. We must help Georgia voters prepare for Nov. 6. The last day to register is Oct. 9. For more, click HERE.
MEETING WITH SMALL BUSINESSES: Last week, I met with members of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce to discuss jobs, the economy and the looming "fiscal cliff." Hosted at the Women's Center at DeKalb Medical Center in Decatur, I also provided an overview of legislation I've introduced that helps small business and entrepreneurs grow and create jobs.
In the 112th Congress, I introduced the Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act to help level the playing field for small businesses bidding on federal contracts and the Help Entrepreneurs Create American Jobs Act of 2012, which permanently doubles the deduction for start up expenses from $5,000 to $10,000 and increases the phase-out threshold from $50,000 to $60,000 in expenditures. For more, click HERE.
IMPORT-EXPORT BANK & JOBS: This summer, Export-Import Bank opened an office in Atlanta to help boost small business and job growth. Already this fiscal year, the Bank has set a record of more than $500 million in financing minority-owned and women-owned businesses. The bank is an independent federal agency creating and maintaining U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing. The Bank is a self-sustaining agency and not dependent on taxpayers. In June alone, the Bank supported exports of more than $5 million for small businesses in the Fourth District.
ROCKDALE COUNTY CAREER FAIR: Rockdale County is holding its 2012 Career Fair, "Jobs + Preparedness = A Stronger Rockdale," on Friday, Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Rockdale Career Academy, 1064 Culpepper Drive in Conyers. The goal of the free event is to connect job seekers, those who are under-employed or are simply looking to make a career change, with employment and career training opportunities in Rockdale County and throughout metro Atlanta. For more, click HERE. To visit the Jobs Center on my website, click HERE.
AIDS FUNDING: I'm pleased to announce that the Georgia Department of Health is receiving a 3-year, $2.5 million grant from the Department of Health & Human Services to fight HIV/AIDS. The funding will address the social, economic, clinical and cultural barriers to HIV testing and care in our communities, which are severely affected by HIV. For more, click HERE.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH: One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. That's why I'm pleased to support DeKalb County Solicitor General Sherry Boston's 2nd Annual Community Resource Fair and Symposium to combat this social scourge. On Friday, Oct. 12 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Sherry will host "Building Bridges, Making Connections: Coordinating a Response to Domestic Violence" at the Maloof Center in Decatur. For more, click HERE.
THE 99 PERCENTERS: I'm pleased to report that I received an "A+" from the Institute for Policy Studies as a congressman doing the most to narrow America's economic divide and fight for equality. The Policy Studies' new Congressional Report Card for the 99% grades lawmakers on a series of bills that either "feather the nest of America's most affluent" or "enhances economic opportunities of our 99 percent." I'm proud the policies I pursue and votes I take help the 99%. For more, click HERE.
HELP FOR HOMEOWNERS: Chase loan counselors will assist struggling homeowners with Chase, EMC or WaMu mortgages on Friday, Oct. 19, 1 to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 20; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Omega World Center, 395 Snapfinger Parkway, Decatur. No appointments are necessary. For more information, click HERE.
LES CHATEAU: I want to thank members of Les Chateau Homeowners Association for having me at their monthly meeting last week at St. Timothy's Church in Stone Mountain. It's always a pleasure to meet with concerned and engaged citizens who are working to make their communities a better place to live, work and play.
VETERANS FOR CHRIST: It was wonderful to break bread with the Veterans for Christ at their Fourth Anniversary Awards Luncheon Sept. 15 at the Marriott Courtyard in Decatur. While the tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen and Black Women of the military was powerful, the $500 check that the Veterans awarded a local student to help her attend college was the highlight of the day.
NEWTON SHERIFF CERTIFICATION: Congratulations to the Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown and the entire Newton County Sheriff's Department on receiving national certification. It was a pleasure to recognize Sheriff Brown and all of Newton County in a ceremony last week.
Certification is a tremendous step. Making sure professional standards are established and met goes to the heart of our system of justice. I also want to congratulate Newton County on the $900,000 federal COPs grant that was recently awarded to the department. I fought hard to keep that federal funding in place, and I will continue to fight because we must support all of the officers who serve, protect and defend our local communities. For more, click HERE.
SENIORS: I want to thank everyone for participating in our senior citizen meet & greet at Antioch Manor on Harriston Road this week. Helping seniors navigate Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, IRS and the Veterans Administration is some of the most important work we do. This is our sixth seniors meet and greet, including stops in north and south DeKalb, Rockdale and Gwinnett counties.
SAVING THE POSTAL SERVICE: I recently took to the House floor to defend and fight for the U.S. Postal Service. The Postal Service employs 700,000 of our fellow citizens, including more than 17,000 in Georgia. One third are military veterans who deliver 212 billion pieces of mail to over 144 million locations. If privatization advocates get their wish, the Postal Service will slowly be destroyed, causing good jobs to be lost and allowing companies to raise prices of delivery.
Taking action to strengthen the Postal Service's finances is not just good for letter carriers and post masters, it is also good for business. There is a $1.3 trillion mailing industry in the U.S. that supports 7 million private sector jobs. The time to act is now.
SERVICE ACADEMIES: Monday, Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. is the deadline for Fourth District students applying to a Service Academy to get their 2013 applications to our office. Please make sure you submit the complete application packet including all test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and headshot. For more, click HERE.
FEMA CHALLENGE: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is taking applications for the Community Resilience Innovation Challenge, which supports communities' efforts to enhance their disaster preparedness. FEMA recognizes that a government-centric approach to disaster management is only part of the answer. For more, click HERE.
As always, I appreciate your time and feedback. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent you in Congress.