In this edition of Inside Democracy: From the Peach State to the Potomac, we highlight Congressman Rob Woodall. Representative Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes parts of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. He has served in Congress since 2011 and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, while also serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure and Budget Committees. We recently asked the Congressman to visit with us and our Inside Democracy readers.
Will we see an infrastructure bill before year’s end? If so, what do you anticipate that looking like?
That’s my goal. And what I do know is that there is a strong bipartisan desire to get this done for the American people. There’s also a track record of success – whether that’s the FAST Act of 2015, water resources reform (WRDA) legislation preventing a federal power grab of Georgia’s water, the FAA reauthorization approved by the House just recently, and beyond. Congress wants to get this done, and so does the President, and that alone positions us well. We want a long-term solution that partners the federal government with states, communities, and industries – not a big-spending directive from Washington. What’s right for Georgia won’t necessarily be the best decision for Oregon or Iowa. Ensuring a dollar’s worth of value out of a dollar’s worth of spending requires local decision-making authority. That starts by getting the federal government and federal dollars out of the business of building sidewalks, and focusing on those nationally significant projects and corridors.
How does Washington help Georgia stay competitive in a global economy?
Perhaps the most important thing Washington can do is get out of the way wherever it isn’t directly needed. Obviously when it comes to the federal tax code, we want to make it easier for small businesses to succeed both domestically and globally. We took significant steps in that direction with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last year, but it’s no secret that I’m a Fair Tax supporter and believe there’s more we can do to ensure our businesses – not just here in Georgia, but across the country – have a global advantage. The issue of infrastructure comes back into the spotlight as well. The delegation-wide support to secure federal funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) shows how deep – no pun intended – our partnership goes. When we speak with a unified voice and can, once again, point to our own local/state skin in the game, folks in Washington listen.
During your time on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, you’ve led the charge to prevent federal intervention in Georgia’s water resources. Where do we stand with the interstate “Water Wars” (Florida and Alabama) that could have significant impact on Lake Lanier levels and Atlanta’s drinking water supply?
We’ve had a lot of success working with our local leaders in Georgia 07 and across Georgia to prevent federal involvement in what is a dispute between states and should be handled accordingly. These kinds of interstate water disputes are nothing new, and certainly not unique to Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, but the last thing we need is Congress stepping in as the decision maker. Language that would’ve done just that was inserted into water legislation in recent years, but thankfully I was able to have it removed and returned to the long-standing precedent that Congress would not intervene. I was proud to be the tip of that spear for Georgians.
You were chosen as one of only four House Republicans to serve on the bicameral, bipartisan select committee on budget process reform to address the concerns surrounding government spending. Have you seen any progress to this point, and what would you like to see as the end result?
I have seen progress, and remain very hopeful we can craft the kind of long-term solutions America needs. Irrespective of political party, this is a serious, dedicated group committed to getting the work done. We all want to craft a product that moves America beyond the budgeting impasse that has become the norm on Capitol Hill. Whether in the majority or minority, no one believes governing by way of continuing resolution and rising deficits is good for the country. We have an opportunity to fix that, and I’m proud to have been selected as one of those to do it.