News Center

Friday, October 25, 2019

Updates at home and abroad

Dear friends,

This week, the Senate approved a measure allowing North Macedonia to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, and Andrew Bremberg was confirmed to serve as ambassador to the United Nations’ Geneva office. The Senate also confirmed another judge to a U.S. district court in Kentucky.

Additionally, the Senate also voted to begin debate on a measure to fund certain areas of the government in fiscal year 2020. Debate is expected to continue into next week on the first package of appropriations bills, which includes important funding for agriculture, transportation and other Georgia priorities.

Syria

This week, I joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch and 12 other senators as a cosponsor of S.J.Res.59, a Senate resolution expressing our views on the delicate situation in Northern Syria. With this resolution, we condemn in the strongest terms the recent actions taken by the government of Turkey and call upon the U.S. government to reaffirm the need for a strong U.S. presence in Syria. The resolution also reiterates our opposition to the premature withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria or Afghanistan and requires accountability from Turkey, including for human rights abuses.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law at the end of 2017 to overhaul America’s outdated tax code and deliver historic tax relief for workers, families and job creators, and it's paying off. Record-low unemployment rates have averaged under 4% since the enactment of this law, a feat not seen in 50 years. All income groups on average have seen their taxes go down under the new tax law, according to Congress’ non-partisan tax scorekeeper, the Joint Committee on Taxation, and new economic growth has driven smart investments and wage increases.

This week, the Senate stopped a misguided effort by Senate Democrats to make changes to this law to benefit some of the wealthiest taxpayers. Thankfully the vote to limit deductions on state and local taxes and provide a massive windfall to a select group of wealthy Americans failed. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, more than half of the benefit from repealing the state and local sales tax limitation would go to taxpayers in states like California, New York and New Jersey with incomes above $1 million, who would receive an average tax cut of $60,000 if the measure had passed.

In Other News

  • On Tuesday, I introduced a resolution with Senator Chris Coons, D-Del., and other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that reaffirms the support of the United States for the long-suffering people of the Republic of South Sudan and calls on all parties within South Sudan to provide a secure environment to resolve outstanding political issues and make demonstrable progress toward creating a lasting peace.
  • On Wednesday, members of my staff met with Bob Howland and Gilbert Passanisi, two members of the heroic Merrill’s Marauders unit who fought valiantly in World War II to secure victory for the United States in Southeast Asia. The U.S. Army Rangers trace their history to this unit, and I’ve introduced S.743, a bill to honor them with the Congressional Gold Medal. To date, we have 58 cosponsors on this bill!
  • Also this week, I cosponsored a bipartisan measure that has now been introduced in both chambers of Congress to automatically recognize children born to service members or civil servants who are stationed overseas as U.S. citizens. I hope the Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act will move quickly to remove needless hurdles for these patriotic American families.

What’s On Tap?

I look forward to returning to Washington next week to continue work on government funding measures for fiscal year 2020.