Monday, March 10, 2020: After an early flight from Savannah this morning, I’m at the Capitol and immediately head to the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) where I have the opportunity to review the recently completed U.S.- Taliban Draft Agreement. The draft agreement will lead to the drawback of most U.S. troops if the Taliban meets certain conditions set forth in the document and could signify the beginning of the end of a war that began nearly 18 years ago triggered by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The rest of the morning is spent in my office working before I head to the Longworth House Office Building where I record a public service announcement (PSA) with other members of the Doctors Caucus regarding the coronavirus. Next, I head back to my office where I have an all-district staff conference call before having our weekly DC staff meeting. Afterwards, I head to our weekly Whip Team meeting in the Capitol Visitors Center (CVC) before heading to our first vote series of the week in the House Chamber. After votes, I stay in the House Chamber and pay tribute to the life of Cindy Wade Tanner from Waycross.
Tuesday, March 11, 2020: Along with my good friend, Rep. Garrett Graves (R-LA), I am the guest speaker this morning at the Ripon Society and Franklin Center’s 2020 Policy and Politics Dialogue Series. Founded in 1962, the Ripon Society is a public policy organization whose main goal is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. Rep. Graves and I have been invited today to share our experiences as members of the Select Committee on Climate Change. During my presentation, I emphasize the importance that trees will play in any approach to addressing the important yet sensitive issue of climate change. After we participate in a question and answer session, I end the meeting with a video presentation prepared by the Georgia Forestry Association highlighting Georgia as the number one forestry state in the nation and present each of the attendees a Georgia pine seedling to take home and plant. Afterwards, I head to our weekly GOP Conference before heading to the Capitol steps to meet with a group of students from Hancock Day School in Savannah.
Once back in my office, I meet with constituents from Savannah who are in town visiting before meeting with the Director of the University of Georgia (UGA) Regenerative Bioscience Center, Dr. Steve Stice, who is accompanied by Dr. Franklin West. These two rockstar faculty members are world leading experts in stem cell biology and their work is fascinating. After recording new scripts for a telephone town hall we will be having tomorrow I head to the Cannon Rotunda where I have an interview with One America News Network to discuss the coronavirus. Once back in my office, I have a series of meetings beginning with the National School Nutrition Association and followed by the Georgia Psychological Association. Next, I meet with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists followed by GeoVax. Afterwards, I head to the Reserve Officers Association on the Senate side of the Capitol where I tape a public service announcement (PSA) for the Weather Channel.
Next, I head to a press conference on the Trillion Trees Act where I have the opportunity to speak on this important legislation. Afterwards, I head to the House Chamber for votes and remain to pay tribute to Dorothy Burns who recently passed. My last meeting of the day is with newly elected Savannah Alderwomen Kesha Gibson-Carter and Alicia Miller Blakely who are in town attending the National League of Cities conference.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020: After an Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee member meeting with new Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, I head to a meeting hosted by my good friend, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), on the role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Once back in my office, I meet with constituents from Savannah who are visiting before heading to an E&C Health Subcommittee markup where two bills that I am the lead Republican sponsor on are being considered. Later, I have a series of meetings in my office starting with the Society of Health and Physical Educators followed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Next, I meet with the Southeastern Council of Foundations and then the American Cleaning Institute.
After a meeting of the conservative Republican Study Committee, I head to the House Chamber for our first vote series of the day and afterwards, head to the Capitol steps where I take pictures with our two interns for this semester, Caleb Martin from Jesup and Mary Scarlett from St. Simons Island. Next, I head over to the Department of Health and Human Services building on Capitol Hill where I film this week’s edition of Buddy’s Briefings before heading back to my office for more meetings. After meeting with the National Association of Convenience Stores, I meet with Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association followed by the National Historic Preservation Advocacy. Before heading to the House Chamber for our second vote series of the day, I swing by the GOP Conference communications room and film a video for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores for their annual meeting. After votes, I return to my office where I host a telephone town hall to discuss the coronavirus and have as my special guest Dr. Lawton Davis, the District Health Director for the Coastal Health District with the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Thursday, March 12, 2020: We have another all member briefing on the coronavirus this morning as we hear from top health officials for an update on what is now being treated as a pandemic. Afterwards, I head to an E&C Environment Subcommittee markup where we consider two bills. Afterwards, I have a meeting with representatives of the towing industry followed by a phone conference with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Christine Wilson to discuss pharmacy issues.
Next, I have a meeting with a veteran from Valdosta to discuss veterans legislation that is currently being considered before heading to the GOP Conference communications room to record a PSA on the census. Afterwards, I head to the Cannon Rotunda where I have an interview with WSAV TV in Savannah to discuss the coronavirus before heading back to my office for an interview with WTOC TV in Savannah on the same subject. Originally, we were scheduled to have two vote series today with the first one being around 10:00 a.m. and the second around 1:00 p.m. However, it is now after lunch and we still have not had the first vote and the House is in recess. Word has it that the Speaker is working on an economic stimulus package and that votes will be around 4:00 p.m. As 4:00 p.m. comes and goes, word now has it that the Speaker and White House are in negotiations and that a vote is expected between 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. tonight. At 9:15 p.m. the House goes back into session only to adjourn a few minutes later with the intention of going back into session at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.
Friday, March 13, 2020: Well, so much for the best of intentions! The best way to sum up today is “hurry up and wait!” I spend the entire day in my office waiting for word of what might be going on. Although I get quite a bit accomplished, including a delegation call with Governor Brian Kemp to discuss the quarantine situation at Dobbins Air Force Base, a GOP member conference call updating us on negotiations, watching the President’s press conference where he declares a national emergency, and lots of constituent services, the hours keep going by and the flights home keep being missed without any votes being called.
At 11:00 p.m., I head to Statuary Hall where I have a live interview on Fox News to discuss the legislation being proposed, “The Families First Coronavirus Response Act.” Finally, at 12:10 a.m. on what is now Saturday morning, votes are called and, after little debate, the legislation is passed. As I arrive back in my office at 12:36 a.m., I realize that a historic week of unprecedented events has finally come to an end.