News Center

Friday, December 8, 2017

Keeping Our Promises to Veterans

Dear Friends,

This week, I joined a number of members of our Georgia congressional delegation who represent Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga., in our second annual Robins Air Force Base congressional breakfast hosted by the 21st Century Partnership, an organization that supports Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga.

I also had the pleasure of meeting with Robins Air Force Base officials regarding the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) platform. 

As home to the Air Force Reserve Command, the 78th Air Base Wing and Air Logistics Complex, and the entire U.S. fleet of JSTARS aircraft, Robins Air Force Base plays a vital role in our national defense and provides support to all branches of the military throughout the world. The efficiency and effectiveness of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center contributes significantly to U.S. military operations worldwide, and I am proud to support this, and all of our Georgia-based installations in Washington.

Reducing Opioid Abuse

Across America, communities and families are dealing with the devastating effects of the opioid crisis, and drug overdose deaths are on the rise.

Georgia, unfortunately, is no stranger to the malicious effects of the epidemic. Sadly, 982 Georgians lost their lives due to opioid-related overdoses in 2016.

Unfortunately, too many of our brave veterans are now dependent on opioids to address chronic pain as a result of injuries sustained in combat. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of veterans addicted to opioids rose 55 percent to roughly 68,000 individuals, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

While our veterans' military service may have concluded, our duty as a country to support and honor our veterans continues. It is critical that we do everything we can to combat this tragic opioid epidemic.

This week, I penned an op-ed along with Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr focused on our shared commitment to making sure that veterans and all Georgians are protected from the devastation of opioid abuse.

Support from Key Stakeholders for Veterans Healthcare

Last week, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs unanimously passed a bipartisan bill I introduced with Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the Caring for our Veterans Act, that would permanently enhance veterans’ access to care in their communities as well as expanding the caregiver assistance program for Vietnam-era veterans.

Since then, the Caring for Our Veterans Act has won the support of several veterans groups that represent millions of veterans in the United States.

The committee is committed to working in a bipartisan manner to develop legislation that addresses issues that are important to America’s servicemembers, veterans, and their families.

In Other News:

  • On Monday, the Senate confirmed Kirstjen Nielsen, of Va., to be secretary of Homeland Security. With responsibilities ranging from cybersecurity, to protecting our borders, to the continued recovery efforts from the recent natural disasters, the Department of Homeland Security requires strong leadership to get the job done. Ms. Nielsen is a qualified candidate with the talent and experience to succeed.

  • On Wednesday, the president officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and began taking steps to move the U.S. embassy there from its current location in Tel Aviv. For nearly seven decades, Jerusalem has been recognized as the capital of Israel and the seat of its democratic institutions. This decision solidifies that the United States is steadfast in our commitment to Israel.

  • Last week, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed the full Senate to provide jobs and tax relief for American families. On Wednesday, the Senate formally voted to join the House in a conference to resolve differences between the two chambers’ bills. The House and Senate will each need to pass the final bill before it can go to the president to be signed into law.

  • Also this week, both chambers of Congress acted to continue funding the federal government.

What’s on tap?

The Senate is expected to act soon to allow funding for the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has expired, and to enact the Veterans Choice legislation that we passed out of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs last week.


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