News Center

Friday, September 27, 2019

Protecting all Americans

Dear friends,

This week, the Senate passed a continuing resolution to fund the government and extend the National Flood Insurance Program through Nov. 21. Spending levels were agreed upon in July’s budget deal, so this will give the Senate more time to complete its work to advance all 12 appropriations bills to fund the government during fiscal year 2020.

Ending mass violence

In recent years, we’ve seen an alarming increase in deadly acts of mass violence in the United States, and Americans are right to demand action from their elected leaders. On Thursday, I introduced legislation to direct public health officials to conduct research relating to why these acts occur and how to prevent them in the future. The Expanding Research on Mass Violence Prevention Act would give the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ongoing annual authorization for funding to research what factors are contributing to the recent increase in acts of mass violence and to better identify individuals who may be inclined to commit these heinous crimes.

This commonsense legislation puts aside partisan politics and instead offers real solutions. It seeks facts that aim to get to the root of the problem: what is causing this outbreak of mass violence, and what kinds of interventions will actually be effective in preventing these attacks. Congress has an opportunity to do the right thing, and it’s time that we took it.

Caring for our veterans

On Monday, the Senate passed the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2019, which reauthorizes four programs and services, including veterans homelessness prevention, at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2020. I’m glad my colleagues voted to pass this bipartisan legislation to ensure our veterans can continue to receive the benefits they rightfully deserve. The U.S. House of Representatives passed this legislation earlier this month, and I look forward to the president signing it into law soon.

On Thursday, President Trump signed into law legislation I sponsored to provide veterans with an increase in disability compensation based on rising costs of living. We have a responsibility to ensure our veterans receive the benefits they earned when returning home from service, and I’m thankful Congress and the president acted without delay to enact this important measure.

Overseeing our workforce

The Senate confirmed Eugene Scalia to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday. As the former solicitor of the Department of Labor, a skilled attorney and dedicated public servant, he brings the right experience as we continue to build on the economic success of the last several years and look out for the hardworking Americans who make up our workforce. As the department moves forward with new employment rules and implementation of existing policies, I am confident that Eugene Scalia will work every day to help our 21st century workforce thrive.

In Other News

  • As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I cosponsored the Ebola Eradication Act of 2019 earlier this year to direct the U.S. Agency for International Development to immediately assist in efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other vulnerable countries to combat the Ebola outbreak that began in August 2018. The ongoing outbreak is a matter of nation concern, and I am glad the Senate passed this legislation on Monday. The bill will now head to the House for a vote.
  • I joined a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the Hurricanes Florence and Michael and California Wildfire Tax Relief Act on Tuesday to continue to provide relief to victims of last year’s natural disasters. This commonsense legislation would provide much-needed tax relief to families and small businesses as they recover.
  • Last week, I joined Senator Perdue and several other colleagues in sending a letter encouraging U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to prioritize a reduction in pecan tariffs as the Trump administration continues trade negotiations with India. Georgia is a top pecan-producing state and gaining access to new markets will help stabilize our industry, which is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Michael and Chinese tariffs.

What’s On Tap?

Next week, the Senate will be in a two-week state work period. Our best wishes and prayers are with our Jewish friends who will be celebrating the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur during this time. Our next e-Newsletter will be sent after the Senate returns to session the week of Oct. 14.