9th Congressional district Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) spoke exclusively to FYNTV on Friday’s edition of Good Morning From the Office. Collins spoke on a multitude of issues, from the executive actions regarding Obamacare, to his personal crusade for adequate internet service and competition in rural Northeast Georgia. However, his remarks regarding tax reform were quite revealing. According to Collins, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) has informed House members that he will keep the House in session, if necessary, throughout the Christmas recess in order to pass tax reform.
The tax question is asked around the 11:00 minute mark of the FULL INTERVIEW below.
BKP: From the House side, will we get tax reform?
Rep. Collins: Yes. I feel very comfortable, in fact, it is the top priority for us in leadership, and the speaker. In fact, the speaker put us on notice yesterday (Thursday) that he would keep us through Christmas or any other holiday to make sure it gets done this year. It was very disturbing to hear some members of the Senate saying “Well, we gotta negotiate, it may be the first of the year” No. It’s time to get behind the American people, time to get behind the President and pass tax reform. It’s way past due.
A conservative seeking a better federal prison system
Only a government program can fail a third of the time and still be allowed to operate without accountability or change.
Sound preposterous? It shouldn’t. This kind of monumental failure has plagued taxpayers for years in the form of the Justice Department’s Bureau of Prisons.
The federal prison system is responsible for 187,186 inmates. Of those currently incarcerated, 95 percent will ultimately be released back into our neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons does little to help offenders prepare to be better neighbors. The latest statistics show that nearly one-third of all ex-offenders will be convicted of another crime within eight years of release. Ultimately, the Bureau of Prisons fails in its mission to successfully rehabilitate those who run afoul of the law.
Recidivism creates new crimes and new victims, underlining the dire need for prison reform. When people re-offend, taxpayers are yet again saddled with the costs to try, convict and house these offenders. Victims suffer financial and/or personal losses. When you take into consideration the whopping $32,000 annual cost to incarcerate a prisoner, it’s clear that recidivism needs addressing.
For some, it’s easy to misdiagnose our criminal justice system as too lenient and assume we need to lock people up even longer. Facts, however, can be pesky things, and they happen to disprove this theory.
America boasts 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Out of all industrialized nations, we are the number one jailer of our own people. In 1988, the average sentence was 18 months. By 2012, that rate had doubled to almost 36 months. It’s clear that doling out more prison time is not the answer.
Study after study points to three key factors involved in keeping people from returning to prison: mental health and drug counseling; education and job training; and employment opportunities. Providing this type of programming is far less expensive than the financial ramifications of recidivism.
A number of states, including Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Louisiana, have implemented anti-recidivism programming for inmates and enacted other “smart on crime” reforms. Texas was the first state to do so a decade ago and the results were unassailable. In 2007, the Lone Star State reformed its criminal justice system to reduce sentences for nonviolent crimes and rely more heavily on probation and parole. A portion of the costs saved were invested in anti-recidivism programming, victim assistance, drug treatment and increased funding focused on taking violent criminals off the streets.
The results were impressive: Texas soon cut its prison population by 19 percent. With fewer prisoners in the system, the state closed eight prisons, saving more than $2 billion. Crime rates dropped by 29 percent and the prisoner return rate dropped by 14 percent. By taking similar steps, the federal government could see some of the same benefits.
Unfortunately, not many members of Congress are willing to stand up against the status quo. Even fewer Republicans are willing to take on the prison-industrial complex in order to seek out real changes that cut costs, improve public safety and keep families together. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., however, rightly decided this is a battle worth fighting.
Earlier in the year, Collins introduced the Prison Reform and Redemption Act to create a system of risk assessments to determine what types of programming will work best to keep offenders from returning, including addiction treatment, education, and parenting classes. Individualized determinations can make a monumental difference when it comes to effective corrections programming — especially programming that saves money and keeps nonviolent criminals out of the prison system. If enacted, Collins’ bill will cut spending and make our communities safer. Simply put, it’s a common-sense solution to a costly problem that continues to plague state institutions and American taxpayers.
The Prison Reform and Redemption Act is opening eyes in Washington. Conservatives across Capitol Hill are applauding the initiative and joining Collins to push the legislation to the president’s desk.
Collins’ 90 percent lifetime rating by the American Conservative Union shows that he is a strong conservative in Congress. His introduction of the Prison Reform and Redemption Act makes clear that he intends to get results. And that is something everyone can support.
Collins Advocates for Cyber Defense Program at University of North Georgia
“I believe that the University of North Georgia and other outstanding military colleges are well-positioned to help defend our nation from cyber threats, and that’s why I’ve asked my colleagues to further develop America’s defense skills by investing in these institutions.”
WASHINGTON—Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Austin Scott (R-Ga.) led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in asking Congressional leaders to establish ROTC Cyber Institutes at the University of North Georgia and other Senior Military Colleges (SMC).
The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security have named the University of North Georgia and four other SMCs National Centers of Academic Excellence for Cyber Defense (CAE-CD). These schools focus on training leaders who specialize in protecting Americans within the increasingly complex cyber domain.
“Keeping America safe is my first priority as a representative of northeast Georgia. I believe that the University of North Georgia and other outstanding military colleges are well-positioned to help defend our nation from cyber threats, and that’s why I’ve asked my colleagues to further develop America’s defense skills by investing in these institutions,” said Collins.
Collins and his colleagues are requesting that the Senate and House Committees on Armed Services include language in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act to establish ROTC Cyber Institutes to expand the expertise America’s military and civilian leaders have in critical cyber operations.
All 14 of Georgia’s U.S. Representatives support this request.
The full text of the letter is available below:
Collins Helps Pass Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
WASHINGTON—Today the House passed H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) co-sponsored.
Science has demonstrated that unborn children can feel pain 20 weeks after conception, and the bill would prohibit abortions once the fetus has reached that age. Fifteen states, including Georgia, have passed laws that parallel this federal bill, while many others currently allow providers to perform abortions on older babies.
“When modern medicine leads doctors to administer anesthesia to children at 20 weeks’ gestation, basic integrity gives us no way to ignore their personhood. Science leaves us no room to justify their slaughter, and our founding fathers leave us no path to disregard their right to life,” said Collins.
“Every liberty that my colleagues and I fight for is predicated on our right to life, and this bill ensures that unborn, pain-capable individuals enjoy this most basic of our American freedoms. By passing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, we recognize and defend humanity at its most vulnerable, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to help move this bill forward today.”
The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration, and President Trump has said that he will sign the bill into law if given the opportunity.
In addition to voting for the bill, Collins defended it on the House floor.
Liberals shun science, defy Obama in poultry production
WASHINGTON—This op ed by Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) first appeared in The Hill on September 27, 2017.
Not much has changed since 1906, when Upton Sinclair dropped his magnum opus on a world in the throes of industrialization.
At least, that’s the picture that liberals like Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) are propagating: Big business is forcing poultry workers to brave conditions straight out of “The Jungle,” and “any attempt to increase lines speeds” at poultry plants would erode food and worker safety.
If these claims were rooted in reality, allowing producers to increase the speeds of certain processing lines might be inappropriate, especially since my northeast Georgia home is the poultry capital of the world. My neighbors have made their careers in this industry. We see each other at church and at the grocery store, and I want only their safety and success.
If we’re being honest, though, we admit that a lot has changed since 1906, and scientific advances have transformed the industrial landscape and equipped us to evaluate accusations leveled by my friends across the aisle.
Unfortunately, opponents of increasing line speeds have scuttled a broad range of scientific disciplines in order to advance their anti-poultry position. They walk a road so extreme and so hostile to empirical evidence that it requires them to break with President Obama himself, whose administration introduced a rule that would have allowed processors to increase their line speeds safely (and, in so doing, to benefit American workers and consumers).
The first casualty of their argument is geography. These critics say that faster line speeds would force workers on those lines to dismember chickens at dangerous rates. The geography of the production process, however, makes their claim disingenuous.
Poultry plants exist in two distinct sections—one for first processing and one for second processing. Every petition to raise line speeds that I’m familiar with applies strictly to the first-processing zone, where birds enter the plant and undergo cleaning to make the food safer before ending this journey in chillers. The primary duty of workers on these lines is inspection. They wield cotton swabs, not paring knives.
Workers who debone the birds operate only in second-processing areas, physically separate from the largely-automated first-processing lines. The chillers represent a full stop in the process and physical division between these sections of a plant, so raising line speeds in the first area doesn’t require work speeds in the second area to increase. The geography lesson here is simple: The layout of these plants means that increases in line speeds in the first-processing zones would, by design, not jeopardize worker safety.
Line-speed skeptics also ignore biology. Since 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has overseen a pilot program for plants operating at speeds of up to 175 birds per minute (bpm). These plants had implemented new safety models that shifted focus from low-value activities—like checking birds for bruises or remaining feathers—to high-value food safety tasks like microbial testing.
A landmark study demonstrated that plants with higher line speeds met or exceeded FSIS food safety standards. Among other successes, FSIS (that is, the government inspectors) saw the percentages of unacceptable samples for E. coli fall from 3.9 percent to 0.7 percent while the plants were able to operate at increased speeds. The rates of Salmonella and Campylobacte
Why would anyone shun innovation that improves both efficiencies and product quality while guarding employee welfare?
I can’t answer that, but we do know this: Such objectors dismiss ergonomic data—even when it comes from federal regulators. They fly the banner of worker safety and efficiency in theory but seem to disregard insight from the Department of Labor, which reports that the poultry industry’s 2015 illness and injury rate was 4.3 cases per 100 full-time workers compared to a rate of 4.7 cases for the food manufacturing sector at large. According to these records, the men and women engaged in poultry processing have found a safer career than those working in the average tortilla manufacturer or bottled water operation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that injury and illness rates among poultry employees have fallen 81 percent since 1994. So, as poultry plants have become more efficient, they have also become safer for the individuals operating them. Innovation is not a zero-sum game.
Yet, in the face of scientific data, industry detractors demonize even economics and its positive externalities. They bemoan the news that poultry “profits are soaring” and decry a company that reported its earnings for “bragging.”
Yet successful companies often find themselves in the best position to supply the market with more affordable goods, and that dynamic serves American consumers—especially the middle class, who spend a greater portion of their income on staples like food than higher-earners do.
The economic cost of locking our producers into slower line speeds became clear in 2010, when Brazil outpaced the U.S. as the world’s leading poultry broiler meat exporter. Like operations in Canada, Europe and Asia, Brazilian plants can run at line speeds of over 200 bpm. Handcuffing American consumers and producers to arbitrarily low line-speeds hurts our economy and may even undermine food and worker safety, both of which have improved as line speeds have increased and oversight techniques have advanced.
Liberals appropriate the stories of individual poultry employees without disclosing that they don’t actually work on the lines in question here. They jettison a host of scientific data because it is inconvenient to their narrative of doom, gloom and righteous indignation.
We serve our neighbors best when we allow evidence to mobilize our empathy. Scientific analysis demonstrates that innovation has simultaneously improved worker safety, product quality and operational efficiencies across the poultry industry, which means that they’re protecting and stewarding America’s most valuable resource—our workers.
Rep. Doug Collins has represented Georgia’s 9th District since 2013. He is the Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference and a member of the Judiciary and Rules Committees.
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Every Friday morning the great All-Star Political Panel gets together to discuss the latest political issues that have the media buzzing. Jane, BKP, Rick and Bruce sit down today to discuss health care, Comey’s firing, the memo, and Rod Rosenstein. Other topics that come up during this discussion are the Russian investigation and it’s lack of evidence. Lastly they discuss out great tax dollars at work to help Bradley Manning become Chelsea Manning while in a military prison. Thanks to Obama not only did we pay for his transition from male to female he also was released after only serving 7 years of his 35 year sentence. Do you want to get in on the discussion? Come join us on Friday mornings about 8:45 am and you can be apart of the All-Star Political Panel too!
Georgia’s 9th District Congressman Doug Collins talks with BKP today about the health care bill. Collins also states that he believes and hopes they will be able to start working on the tax reform this year. BKP also asks the Congressman if he is still a supporter of President Donald Trump. Lastly Collins discusses issues that he and his team are working on that are more specifically focused in the 9th District: Dodd Frank Act, the VA – veteran’s health care, police week, and human trafficing week.