ELLIJAY, Ga. – Congressman Doug Collins made a brief stop at the Republican Women of Gilmer County meeting Thursday, Feb. 22. Collins has served as a U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 9th Congressional District since 2013.
Collins spoke to the crowd concerning on a number of issues currently being addressed in Washington D.C. and took several questions from audience members on a wide variety of subjects.
“We came through a year, last year, where our biggest failure overall was, frankly, healthcare,” Collins stated, giving attendees an update on the happenings in our capital.
Feeling that the House did their job in trying to address some of the difficulties the nation faces when it comes to healthcare, Collins said that reform and change fell short due to the Senate.
“We did our job. We passed something to the Senate,” Collins explained. “The Senate is just marred and not moving.”
Collins has been a long time advocate to change rules that dictate the actions of the Senate. These regulations can and often do slow or completely stall progress from being made in our nation. In Congress, legislation can be passed by a simple majority vote.
The Senate, however, requires a supermajority of 60 votes for many pieces of legislation to pass rather than the 51 votes that would be required if the Senate went by simple majority vote.
“The 60 vote rule has got to go,” Collins spoke straightforward about his feelings on the issue, “at least on appropriations.”
According to Collins, the Senate currently has many pieces of legislation passed by Congress and has created a bottleneck in moving forward. Collins stated that of the bills currently sitting at the Senate waiting to be addressed, 85 to 90 percent of these bills were passed by Congress with fewer than five representatives voting against their moving forward.
In regards to healthcare, Collins said that there needs to be review and scrutiny of mandatory spending such as Medicaid. He stressed that he is not in favor of eliminating such programs but wants to slow the expansion.
“Medicaid was meant for the aged, blind, disabled and those who couldn’t take care of themselves,” Collins said, expressing his thoughts on this particular program. “You put a healthy able-bodied adult on Medicaid (and) what you do is you take healthcare away from the aged, blind, disabled and those who can’t take care of themselves.”
“That’s just wrong. That’s why we got to fix healthcare,” Collins added.
Several questions concerning gun control and safety in public schools were asked in the wake of another mass shooting that took place last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“This week was another tragedy of a very sick individual doing something very wrong and very twisted, using a gun,” Collins, a supporter of the Second Amendment, explained of his thoughts on how these situations should be approached on a federal level. “A gun did not walk into that school and kill anybody.”
Stressing the need for compassion for those on the opposite side of the political spectrum, Collins wants there to be meaningful discussion and meaningful answers to this problem. He fears that passing any “bumper sticker” legislation as a quick fix would only fail shortly after.
“Are there responsible ownership of guns? You better believe it. Do some people probably not need to own a gun? Yeah,” Collins stated, proposing a look at circumstances in a realistic fashion.
While Collins does feel that certain agencies dropped the ball and should have to answer for and be held accountable to their mistakes, he also feels that first as a nation we need to uphold the laws that are currently in place.
Collins expressed these thoughts: “Explain to me how I can pass a law, that if they are ignoring it now, how does passing another law make it better?”
Collins was optimistic about certain directions the country is currently heading: “Our country is being portrayed as strong again.”
“We are starting to see the economy start to take off again,” Collins said, addressing the recent passing of the Tax Reform Act and the need for more employees in the workforce.
“We are trying to move what we know as Welfare to Work,” Collins said, discussing current legislation being proposed in Congress. “We are trying to get people through bad times, you know when we need to help them, but it is now time to begin that transition off of the assistance programs into meaningful work.”
Audience member, Noraye Hinds, brought up a key issue that is of concern to Republicans in the upcoming 2018 election year: “Hate is a motivator, and that is what is going to get the Democrats out to vote.”
Collins agreed and said, “We’ve got a tough year coming.”
Collins explained that on average, there is a loss of 32 seats held by the majority in the House in a mid-term election following a presidential election. Furthering concern for the Republicans, 26 of the seats up for election this year are in districts that Hillary Clinton won majority vote.
“If we lose 24 (seats), we lose the majority,” Collins spoke frankly.
He spoke of specific seats that Democrats are targeting in Georgia. Representative Karen Handel of Georgia’s 6th District and Congressman Rob Woodall of Georgia’s 7th District could face tough elections as the demographics of their areas are changing.
Collins spoke exclusively with FetchYourNews (FYN) about concerns over losing control of the House.
In a controversial move Feb. 19, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released a new map for the state’s U.S. House of Representatives districts. The new map, aimed at removing what some in the state considered Republican gerrymandering, now seems to favor Democrats.
Collins told FYN, “This is very concerning. You’re looking at worst case a 9-9 map. Best case a 10-8 map.”
According to Collins there is not much that can be done to overturn the changes made in Pennsylvania. In order to be challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court there must be proof of a violation of U.S. law, but since the state Supreme Court ruling was based on the Pennsylvania Constitution, it is unlikely that federal courts would get involved.
Collins told FYN, as of right now, there is not major concern that other states will follow suit in redistricting, and praised his home state of Georgia: “Georgia has some of the cleanest maps in the country.”
“What I view as a good map,” Collins said, further explaining his feelings on the district layout of Georgia, “Does it reflect the homogeneity of an area, does it reflect the population of an area and does it give everybody a chance? If it does that, then you’re meeting most of the test.”
Collins feels there are two key issues that might hurt Republicans in the upcoming elections. The first being that while Republicans have a good message, sometimes that message does not get portrayed clearly.
“Turn out is our problem,” Collins expressed of the second and potentially more damaging issue. Collins urged those in attendance to be active in not only voting themselves but in spreading the word about candidates in the state of Georgia.
Collins thanked constitutes for electing him to his position and spoke candidly about his job: “At the end of the day, it’s about helping people. It’s about realizing where you come from.”
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(Martin, Georgia) – Monday, January 22nd, the statewide Georgia affiliate of Our Revolution, the organization created to continue pushing the policy goals of the Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign, endorsed Joshua McCall in his bid to unseat Congressman Doug Collins in the Georgia 9th Congressional District. His candidacy will now be passed up to the national organization for consideration.
“I’m running for congress for two reasons. First, Bernie Sanders’ grassroots organization inspired me to examine what forces were limiting political possibilities in our country. I realized, unfortunately, that many of those forces were in the party that I belonged to,” said Candidate Joshua McCall.
He continued, “I’m also running because parts of our government are dangerously close to fascism. Branches of it prey on racial fears and offer simple solutions through state violence. I am running not only to unseat Doug Collins, but in the process speak to the people of this district and unite them behind a Christian and humanist ethic.”
McCall joins Savannah based candidate Lisa Ring as the only currently endorsed congressional candidates in the state. The endorsement includes volunteer coordination and the possibility of national endorsement and fundraising.
Our Revolution Georgia State Committee Member, Vice President of the Young Democrats of Georgia, Hall County Board of Elections Member, and former candidate for State House Michelle Sanchez Jones said of the endorsement, “the Republican Party has purported to represent North Georgia for a generation now, and, outside of the Governor’s backyard, we deserve more from our government. Our hospitals need more money. Our classrooms need more teachers. We need the tools to help those struggling with opioid addiction. The burden of supporting our communities falls disproportionately on our churches and faith institutions. It’s time we got our money’s worth from Washington, and Joshua McCall is exactly the man to help make that happen.”
Background: Consideration of endorsement by the national organization requires prior endorsement from a local affiliate. Our Revolution has numerous affiliates throughout the state whose leadership jointly approve endorsements – with deference given to the chapter closest to the district in question. McCall’s endorsement represents the agreement of affiliates and leadership from Savannah to Atlanta, Athens to Henry County.
Collins Praises House Passage of Pro-life Survivor Protection Act
WASHINGTON—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) helped the House of Representatives pass H.R. 4712, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act today. Collins is an original cosponsor of this legislation.
“The crowds of people joining the March for Life today remind us that support for pro-life policies remains deep across America. I share those convictions and am pleased to see the Born-Alive Survivor Protection Act pass out of the House. Children born alive during an abortion attempt are particularly vulnerable, and they should be guaranteed the medical treatment due to any other newborn. In passing this legislation, we’ve taken action to ensure that doctors deliver such medical care to these children,” said Collins.
H.R. 4712 would also prohibit medical providers from continuing the abortion procedure post-birth and hold doctors criminally accountable for failing to offer care to infants born alive during an abortion.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act will proceed to the Senate for consideration.
Collins Hosts Veterans Benefits Fair
WASHINGTON—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) is hosting a benefits fair for veterans residing in Georgia’s Ninth Congressional District on January 24. United States military veterans are invited to attend the event at the University of North Georgia, where they can ask questions and meet caseworkers from Collins’s office.
Representatives from the Atlanta Regional Veterans Affairs Office, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Georgia National Cemetery, Georgia Department of Veterans Service, Emory Healthcare Veterans Program, and Hire Heroes USA will also participate in the event.
Additional details are available below.
ICYMI: The Music Modernization Act Will Provide a Needed Update to Copyright Laws
WASHINGTON—This op ed by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) first appeared in The Hill on January 11, 2018.
I spent my northeast Georgia youth replaying tracks from “Bat Out of Hell” and “Hotel California.” And, of course, staples from Steely Dan. I welcomed the evolution from the 8-track to cassette to CD, but the LP and 45 vinyl predate even me. So, I was stunned to learn, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee—which has jurisdiction over intellectual property rights—that some of the copyright law governing music licensing was actually designed to regulate the player piano and has endured more than a century without meaningful update.
An overview of the music licensing landscape reveals that the status quo isn’t serving industry stakeholders, so the question becomes one of sustainability. Can music lovers count on a robust pipeline of tunes to carry them into the future? Absent substantive changes to the system that has disenfranchised creators, songwriters, publishers and even digital providers have their doubts. But efforts to unify these creators, digital streaming services and other key players around a path forward have faltered until recently. Very recently.
This December, countless hours of collaboration and cooperation came to fruition in a compromise that would be the most substantial update to copyright law since 1998. Today, our jeans pockets are more likely to be lined with iPhones than lint balls, yet the laws that currently regulate how tech giants like Spotify pay songwriters were cemented before the concept of digital streaming was born. The Music Modernization Act (MMA) would literally usher copyright laws into the 21st century.
The bill tackles four dimensions of music licensing. First, the bill addresses the fact that digital music companies regularly fail to pay songwriters and copyright owners properly for interactive streaming services. The trouble often arises from inefficiencies and information gaps.
Tech companies like Amazon Music, Spotify, and Google Play frequently file bulk Notice of Intentions (NOIs) with the Copyright Office that allow them to obtain a license for music for which they can’t locate ownership information. Since this process became available in 2016, some estimated 45 million NOIs have been filed with the Copyright Office.
This “bulk NOI” shortcut has taken millions of dollars in income out of the pockets of songwriters who rely on streaming services to find the proper owners of music and issue those owners prompt and appropriate payment. It’s also left tech companies legally exposed when they use music without knowing or paying its owners.
The MMA renovates the NOI process so that music creators get paid and digital companies reduce their liability and increase operational efficiencies. The legislation would establish a Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) that would accurately compensate songwriters for the mechanical royalties they earn through interactive streaming. In exchange, the collective would afford digital providers—which would fund the collective—with blanket usage licenses for songs.
The MLC would accomplish this by providing the digital services with efficient access to the information they need in order to know which songwriters to pay for which songs. Though songwriters have never had a seat at the music licensing table, both publishers and songwriters would sit on the board of the MLC to ensure it operates transparently.
The MMA also provides songwriters a chance to get fair-market mechanical royalty rates (the rate paid for the reproduction and distribution of a song) in the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) proceedings that set those rates every five years. As it stands, songwriters can’t set prices for their own work. Instead, CRB judges determine royalty rates based on an outdated test that has depressed rates for decades. The MMA changes the standard the board uses to a “willing buyer/willing seller” consideration. In other words, the CRB would set the rates to reflect the market value of the corresponding use of a song.
Finally, the bill improves the process through which performance royalty rates (the rate paid to song writers when their music is played for an audience) are set for BMI and ASCAP, the two largest performance rights organizations. Currently, ASCAP and BMI cases are each assigned to a respective judge. The MMA would implement a rotation of the judges who decide ASCAP and BMI cases and would enable the rate court judges to consider relevant market-based evidence when determining performance rates for songwriters. Again, this change moves the industry toward a fairer, freer market for music licensing, and that benefits music creators, music providers and music lovers alike.
The MMA is unprecedented not only for what it sets out to do, but for who has signed on. The Digital Media Association (DiMA)—representing Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify and YouTube—and the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA)—representing U.S. music publishers and songwriters—both support the bill.
Songwriters groups including ASCAP, BMI, the Nashville Songwriters Association International, Songwriters of North America and others have also welcomed this legislation as a compromise that benefits a cross-spectrum of stakeholders.
So, too, have labels and artists, as reflected in the support of the Recording Industry Association of America, American Association of Independent Music, American Federation of Musicians, Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, SoundExchange and the Grammys.
Knowing that today’s music ecosystem suffers under heavy-handed government intervention and defunct copyright policy, I’m grateful that my colleagues Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) look past partisanship toward solutions that will take music licensing from the dark ages into the digital age.
The agreement that creators and digital providers have struck also testifies to the leadership of Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who made copyright reform a priority for the House Judiciary Committee. As we look forward to a markup of the Music Modernization Act in the coming weeks, the question is not whether we have a viable resolution to an industry stalemate but whether we have the resolve to see that agreement through. I believe we do.
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.
Collins Praises Rural Broadband Executive Order
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump today signed an executive order focused on improving high-speed internet access in rural America. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) introduced the Gigabit Opportunity (GO) Act to support this priority last June and issued the following statement in response to the president’s order:
“Once again, President Trump is making a smart, strong investment in rural America with his executive order directing resources to develop broadband infrastructure in underserved areas. For too long, communities on the wrong end of the digital divide have had to pursue educational attainment and business development with their hands tied behind their backs by copper DSL cables.
“I’m grateful that our president understands that innovation fuels our economy and that high-speed internet access has become a prerequisite to sustainable economic growth. I introduced the Gigabit Opportunity Act because northeast Georgians have been waiting for meaningful infrastructure investments to bring high-speed internet to rural areas, and today’s executive order helps move us closer to that goal.”