House speaker taps Rep. Wilson for nuclear, defense negotiations

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson has been named to a committee that will hash out funding differences for the nation’s nuclear and defense undertakings – with the Savannah River Site, Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility and plutonium pit production included.

Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, was appointed to the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act conference committee by Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Wednesday.

Wilson was one of 18 House Armed Services Committee members to be selected, according to a statement published by Ryan’s office. Wilson is the chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness subcommittee.

“These lawmakers devote so much of their time and energy to working with our military,” Ryan said in a prepared statement, “and I look forward to the final legislation that they produce.”

The NDAA is a set of federal laws that define the nation’s defense-related spending. The House and Senate have their own respective versions, which will be discussed, reconciled and then pushed out as a single item.

The House passed its version of the NDAA in March. The Senate passed its version mid-June.

Wilson, a repeat conferee, said he was “extraordinarily grateful” to serve on the committee.

“As a member of the National Defense Authorization Act conference committee,” Wilson said in a prepared statement, “I will work to ensure our national security, military strength and defense capabilities remain a top priority.”

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Texas Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Wilson’s weigh-ins will be “critical” during NDAA negotiations.

Read the article here.

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U.S. Rep. Wilson lauds president during stop in Aiken

AIKEN — U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson praised President Trump’s courage during a speech Thursday night to Aiken County Republicans.

Trump hasn’t been afraid to take on Iran and North Korea and move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, something Congress approved in 1994 but no president ever followed through with until Trump, Wilson said.

Missiles are no longer flying over Japan or threatening Guam, Wilson noted, and he thinks Iran will eventually toe Trump’s line, too.

“Iran is still a sponsor of terrorism,” Wilson said. “How did the previous president not notice that they were shouting ‘Death to America?’ ”

Iran had no intent to curb its nuclear program “and the president realized it,” scrapped the deal and put sanctions back in place, he said.

Wilson lauded Trump’s economic policies, too, citing historically low levels of unemployment for blacks, Hispanics, Asians and women. Trump’s tax cut and efforts to cut regulation are helping businesses hire more workers as they thrive and expand.

The Optimism Index put out by the National Federation of Independent Business is higher than it has ever been, he said.

There are 155 million people working in America and the number applying for unemployment benefits has dropped.

“That means they’re getting jobs,” Wilson said.

It all means good news for South Carolina Republicans in the midterms, he predicted.

Wilson said Democrats aren’t mounting serious US House challenges anywhere but District 1, where newcomer Katie Arrington beat former Gov. Mark Sanford in the primary.

“Once Katie is successful, they won’t come back,” he said.

Before Wilson spoke, two local Republicans who have opposition in November urged the party faithful to work hard between now and the election.

Bart Blackwell, who represents District 81 in the state House, noted that Democrats haven’t put up a challenger there in 25 years.

“We can’t take anything for granted,” he said. “The Dems are energized. They’ll be out in force and we need to make sure we don’t take anything for granted.”

Jason Crane, who hopes to unseat Levi Green in the District 2 school board race, asked his fellow Republicans to call their friends in the Jackson and Beech Island areas. He wants to put “fiscal conservative eyes” on the district’s budget and promote academics, discipline and school safety.

Answering questions from the audience, Wilson said he doesn’t support tariffs, but understands why Trump does.

“The president is negotiating. America has been in a trade war with other countries but we haven’t responded,” Wilson said, and even if there is some short-term economic pain, it would worse is “for us not to fight back.”

“I appreciate that the president is standing up for American jobs and American security.”

Read the article here.

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U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson: 2019 defense bill a good thing for SRS

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., believes the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act did right by the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility and the Savannah River Site in general.

On Thursday, at a district tour stop at Shealy’s Bar-B-Que in Batesburg-Leesville, Wilson said he was ultimately happy with the NDAA, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Aug. 13. Wilson attended the signing ceremony at Fort Drum, New York.

The NDAA, a set of laws that defines the nation’s defense-related spending, authorized $220 million for continued MOX construction, design, long-lead procurement and overall site preparation.

That’s the same amount allotted to MOX in the president’s February budget request. It’s also significantly less than what’s shown up in years prior.

“I had wanted more, but, my goodness, that’s a lot of money,” Wilson said. “We’re talking about a quarter-billion dollars, gee whiz.”

The congressman said the law’s wording – the fact that the NDAA supports ongoing work despite the facility’s controversial and litigious nature – was “significant.”

MOX is a roughly 70 percent complete facility being built at the Site. MOX, once complete as originally intended, will transform at least 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium into commercial reactor fuel.

On May 10, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry moved to kill the MOX venture in favor of dilute-and-dispose, another plutonium disposition method. That same day, the National Nuclear Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense together recommended repurposing MOX’s bones for a plutonium pit production mission.

Plutonium pits are nuclear weapon cores or triggers.

The NNSA – a semiautonomous U.S. Department of Energy agency – and the DOD wants to pump out at least 50 pits a year at SRS. But doing so, per the May 10 recommendation, would require scrapping MOX entirely.

The NDAA, though, calls into question the DOE’s ability to install pit production at the Site.

On Thursday, Wilson said he was “concerned” about DOE decision making. But, he added, he has faith in Perry.

When asked if SRS concerns – funding, MOX and pits, for example – have been brought to the president’s attention, Wilson said yes.

“He listens,” Wilson said of Trump, “and I know he listens.”

The congressman believes the Site can have both a completed MOX and a fully furnished pit mission. Constructing a new facility at SRS explicitly for pit production was something the NNSA considered and studied at one point.

“Well, see my view is that I’d be for both,” Wilson said, “and so you can also build a another facility. … I’m for all the above.”

His comments on Thursday echoed those he made in February after Perry visited SRS.

You can view the original story by the Aiken Standard here.

Posted in News

Jobs for the Next Generation

May 2, 2018

By: Joe Wilson

In April, I held an apprenticeship forum at Midlands Technical College, hosted by President Ron Rhames, with experts from the fields of technical education and manufacturing to discuss ways industry and education can come together to address the growing skills gap. We must work together to ensure that the next generation is able to find quality jobs that support a meaningful life.

According to a recent report by ReadyNation and MissionReady, 62 percent of South Carolina’s jobs in 2020 will require postsecondary education of some kind, while only 55 percent of South Carolinians will have that required level of education. This critical skills gap needs to be addressed and career and technical education provides an excellent opportunity for advanced education that aligns with the needs of South Carolina’s workforce.

During the apprenticeship forum, I discussed the need for the Senate to pass the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, introduced by Glenn Thompson, R-Pennsylvania, and promoted by Education and Workforce Chair Virginia Foxx, R-N.C. This bill provides essential funding for CTE programs and increases flexibility for programs to focus on meeting the specific labor demands in their communities.

Quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and training is vital for competing for high-skilled, in-demand jobs in the workplace, which is why apprenticeship programs are an important part of building a thriving workforce in South Carolina. We also must reduce barriers to entry for postsecondary education by encouraging colleges and universities to provide flexible education schedules that will allow students to have a job while obtaining a degree.

The leaders in manufacturing attending the apprenticeship forum discussed the need for mentorship programs that would provide students with on-the-job training, an income and a chance for certification at the end of the program. They also noted the positive potential for providing tuition assistance for their workers, allowing them to obtain an associate degrees while simultaneously ensuring that manufacturers maintain a skilled workforce. This mutually beneficial relationship helps workers, manufacturers, and South Carolina.

Whether I am visiting one of the remarkable schools in the 2nd Congressional District’s technical education system, including the technical colleges in Aiken, Midlands, and Orangeburg-Calhoun, or a local manufacturing facility, the message is the same — the job market is changing rapidly and it is our duty to prepare accordingly.

I am grateful that South Carolina has been successful in using CTE programs that partner with businesses and create jobs. An example of an important industry-educational partnership is the coalition between Boeing and ReadySC, a division of the South Carolina Technical College System.

Boeing and ReadySC coordinated at each point in the educational process — working together to develop curriculum and provide materials for a simulated work environment that prepares students for the real job. The success of this partnership is clear, and overwhelmingly positive, resulting in prehire training of more than 4,500 ReadySC graduates.

We must continue to work together and discover new ways to ensure the next generation can effectively compete for 21st century jobs. To reach this goal, we must advance programs and ideas that support students and job creators, which will build prosperous communities all across South Carolina.

Republican Joe Wilson represents the 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Read the article here.

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Guest Column: Let us never forget to appreciate our military

The North Augusta Star

May 29, 2018

Joe Wilson mug 2017

As May marks Military Appreciation Month, we are especially reminded to honor and support all of our men and women in uniform who voluntarily risk their lives so that we as a country may achieve peace through strength.

As the appreciative son of a Flying Tiger who served in India and China, a grateful father of four sons who have all served in the military overseas, and as a 31-year veteran of the Army Reserve and Guard, I know firsthand the selfless commitment of our troops, veterans and military families.

South Carolina’s Second Congressional District is home to many in the military community. These mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and friends deserve a heartfelt thanks for all they do to protect our nation.

I am honored to serve the Second District, which includes the Army base at Fort Jackson in the Midlands, where we welcome new recruits from all 50 states and four U.S. territories.

Fort Jackson is the largest Initial Entry Training Center in the U.S. Army, training more than 50 percent of the Army’s Basic Combat Training load and over 60 percent of the women entering the Army each year. Fort Jackson’s primary mission is training thousands of disciplined and motivated service members.

Fort Jackson has been successfully training solders since June 2, 1917, and the standard of training is second to none. The level of instruction and hands-on experience these recruits are required to go through is wide ranging and prepares them for the tough jobs for which they have so bravely volunteered.

The positive impact of Fort Jackson extends beyond the active-duty soldiers, by employing nearly 3,500 civilians, providing services for over 46,000 retirees and their family members, and contributing $2.3 billion annually to the local economy.

Each time I have the privilege of meeting our soldiers, at Fort Jackson and across the district, I am always impressed and grateful for the professionalism of our troops and their leadership. The tremendous work they do on behalf of American families’ shows just how important it is that we continue to support their efforts.

According to a new study by WalletHub, South Carolina has been named the fifth friendliest state in the country for military retirees, and the fifth state with the most veterans per capita. The same study also showed that South Carolina is in first place for businesses owned by veterans. I am thankful to see veterans succeeding in South Carolina, and I will continue to make them a top priority.

I am grateful to recognize our nation’s two million soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, National Guardsmen and Reservists. These brave Americans voluntarily put their lives on the line so that you and I can live in peace and freedom by promoting peace through strength.

During National Military Appreciation Month, and every month, let us never forget those who have gone before us to make our way of life possible, and let us honor and support those heroes who stand on the frontlines defending our nation.

Read the story here.

Posted in News

Congressman Joe Wilson Greets Staff at Clyburn Center for Primary Care

Aiken Standard

clyburn center 001

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., toured the Clyburn Center for Primary Care on Friday afternoon, greeting many staff members and thanking them for their work.

Director of Outreach and Community Services Gail Diggs said Wilson’s appearance was more of a visit than a scheduled event.

clyburn center 002

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., toured the Clyburn Center in Aiken and greeted multiple staff members personally.

Diggs led Wilson and his staff around the facility, introducing them to personnel members across various departments, from administrators to janitorial staff.

Wilson was especially praiseful to those who worked with preventative medicine, citing its importance in combating many forms of illness and addictions.

Wilson also attended a meeting with administrative staff of the Clyburn Center to discuss the kinds of services that the facility offers, such as preventative medicine and ways to save patients money.

clyburn center 003

Congressman Joe Wilson also attended a meeting with Rural Health Services Clyburn Center administrative staff and executives.

Wilson’s visit comes just ahead of Memorial Day weekend. The Clyburn Center was decked out in red, white and blue decorations to celebrate the upcoming holiday, which Diggs said she would keep up until the Fourth of July.

Diggs said some of the patients the facility sees are veterans or active service members, and the decorations are a way of recognizing and thanking them.

“We want veterans and people who are still serving to know that we appreciate your service,” Diggs said. “Anything we can do for you, just ask.”

Read the story here.

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The inhumanity of Hamas’ human shields

The Washington Times

Illustration on Hamas' use of human shields by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Photo: Alexander Hunter

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Joe Wilson


Recently, I had the opportunity to lead a congressional delegation to Jerusalem for the opening of the U.S. embassy. During our visit, The Jerusalem Post front page was “Promises Made, Promises Kept,” with a picture of President Trump. Sadly, while the United States was keeping its promise to Israel and the American people, Hamas terrorists were continuing their attack on the Israeli border, using firebombs tied to kites (with Nazi swastikas on them), Molotov cocktails and other explosive devices. These attacks, including tunnels, murderous kidnappings and the knifing of American tourist Taylor Force, have been conducted for nearly 30 years and were not provoked by the president’s courage in opening the embassy in Jerusalem.

The U.S. media used the juxtaposition of these two scenes to depict Israel and America as heartless, instead of focusing on the murderous terrorists attacking a sovereign nation. You do not bring Molotov cocktails to a peaceful protest and you do not bring children to a protest that is a site of many violent attacks. Additionally, you do not bring 40,000 protesters to 13 different points along a nation’s border and attempt to break in, wreak havoc and murder innocent civilians without expecting a response.

Hamas even used loudspeakers during the attacks to provoke demonstrators to push forward through the fence, and even lied about Israeli soldiers fleeing to urge demonstrators to continue their charging attacks on the fence.

After the siege, Hamas used the tragic deaths of children along the border as a propaganda tool to further its anti-Semitic cause. The bottom line is Hamas does not want Israel to exist. That is Hamas terrorists’ primary goal and every action they take should be evaluated with that in mind.

Unfortunately, the media take the bait every time, with headlines after the Hamas attack such as “Hamas has launched another war. Israel needs a better response” in The Washington Post, “Uneasy Calm Falls Over Gaza After Israel Kills Scores

Read the story here.

Posted in News

Head of U.S. House delegation praises Trump’s ‘courage,’ says embassy move will bring stability

The Washington Times

Palestinians clash with Israeli troops following a protest against the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Monday, May 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Photo: Majdi Mohammed

By: Guy Taylor

A delegation of U.S. lawmakers celebrating the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday praised President Trump’s “courageous decision” to recognize the city as Israel’s capital, saying it will promote stability even if many in the Mideast are angered by the development.

“This is providing the legitimacy of the State of Israel,” Rep. Joe Wilson, who’s heading a group of 12 Republican members of the House that will attend the embassy’s official dedication Monday, told The Washington Times in a telephone interview from Jerusalem.

“It’s so important that any country be able to determine its capital,” the South Carolina Republican said. “There’s no question there are people around the world who question Israel’s legitimacy, but that’s now been resolved due to the courage I believe of President Donald Trump.”

“To me, this actually reduces the level of chaos, which sadly exists today in the Middle East,” he added. “With the absolute integrity of the State of Israel being resolved now, other issues, whether in Syria, Iraq or Iran, can be addressed independently.”

Mr. Trump announced the decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. The development triggered a joyous reaction from the nationalist government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Read the story here.

Posted in News

VIDEO: Rep. Joe Wilson on Russia Expelling US Diplomats

Today Rep. Joe Wilson talked to Fox News about his reaction to Russia expelling U.S. diplomats. You can view the entire interview here:


Posted in Blog, News

Rep. Joe Wilson Explores Bid for House Foreign Affairs Committee

“Rep. Joe Wilson, best remembered outside Washington as the guy who shouted “You lie” at President Barack Obama, is exploring a bid to be the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

It would be a chance for the South Carolina Republican to push a legislative agenda he’s been cultivating for years as a foreign policy wonk and prolific world traveler.

Some members on the House Republican Steering Committee — a mix of leadership and rank-and-file lawmakers who recommend committee chairmanships — are urging Wilson to pursue the Foreign Affairs gavel after current Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., retires.

“He is within a handful of members of the House of Representatives that the Pentagon will know and people throughout the world will know,” said Graham, whose portfolio also includes foreign policy and military affairs. “This would be a good match of the man and the moment.”

Democrats also aren’t balking at the concept of the fifth most senior committee member climbing up the ranks.

Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, a senior committee Democrat who only became acquainted with Wilson after the 2009 incident, called Wilson “a gentleman” and “a very civil and considerate colleague.”

In political circles, Wilson is not known as a bomb thrower, but as courtly, enthusiastic, eccentric and above all likable. He’s famous for giving out campaign keychains, showing off fading family photos covered in protective plastic and inviting members to meet with any foreign dignitary he happens to be hosting at any given time.”

Read the full story here:

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