Newsletter - January 2020
Legislative update, upcoming Mobile Office Hours 

Dear Friend,

Happy New Year! Just before Congress adjourned in December to allow members to travel home for the holidays, we considered several pieces of legislation that will have wide-ranging effects on East Tennessee and the nation as a whole. 

Critically, Congress passed the United States, Mexico, and Canada Agreement Image(USMCA) Implementation Act, which will replace the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). For several months, I have been advocating for this new agreement, which will modernize our decades-old trade agreement with our neighbors. It should help create 176,000 jobs, establish more transparent labor standards and generate $68 billion in new economic activity. This agreement is especially relevant to Tennessee since we already export more than $12 billion worth of goods to our neighbors, and I expect this number to grow.  

I am also pleased that Congress was able to come to an agreement on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. This legislation includes funding to defend our borders, a pay increase for military personnel and full benefits for recently widowed military spouses. It also includes the Patriotic Employer Protection Act, which I was proud to co-author. The Patriotic Employer Protection Act strengthens two Small Business Administration programs that assist small business owners when an employee takes a leave of absence for military reserve duty. 

Despite these two bipartisan efforts, we experienced division in Congress last month, too. 

The House voted to pass yet another continuing resolution to fund our government. This is the third that the House has passed since I was sworn into office a year ago. The ImageConstitution directs Congress to draft a budget, yet we have not done so in over two decades. Instead, we continue to break and then raise budget caps and sink our nation further into deficit spending and national debt. I voted against this resolution because I realize this is no way to spend your hard-earned tax dollars or run a nation, and I will continue to fight for responsible spending in the coming year. 

Finally, it is with heavy heart I report that House Democrats voted to impeach President Trump. The impeachment resolution included two articles: the first for abuse of power related to asking Ukraine for aid, and the second for obstruction of Congress related to Imagerefusing to answer certain subpoenas. Neither asking a foreign government to root out corruption nor defying subpoenas, an exercise of executive privilege, is unconstitutional. When I took office, I swore to uphold and defend our Constitution. Voting in favor of an impeachment process that has lacked both transparency and adherence to proper impeachment procedure does not uphold the rule of law. In the coming year, I hope my colleagues will join me in focusing our energy on bipartisan efforts that increase the safety and prosperity of our nation.

Over the next month, my local team will staff Mobile Office Hours at three locations making it easier to get federal agency assistance and pass on your opinions. You do not need to make an appointment. Upcoming dates and locations are:

  • Tuesday, January 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Friendsville City Hall, 213 W. College Avenue, Friendsville
  • Tuesday, January 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Townsend City Hall, 133 Tiger Drive, Townsend
  • Tuesday, January 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Dandridge Memorial Library, 1235 Circle Drive, Dandridge

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. It’s been an honor to serve you in Congress this past year, and I wish you and your family health and happiness as we enter a new decade.

Tim Burchett
Member of Congress