News Center

A Weekly e-Newsletter from
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

May 6, 2011

Dear Friends,

On Sunday, May 1, 2011, President Obama announced that the United States military had killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda and mastermind of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that killed thousands of Americans.

I commend the United States military, our special operations forces and our intelligence agencies around the world for the effective delivery of the strike against Osama bin Laden in Pakistan that ended in his demise.  While I am pleased that this action brings justice to bin Laden and some closure to the 9/11 tragedy, it is not the end of terrorism.  The threat of terrorism still exists and the United States must remain steadfast in our mission to eradicate it around the globe.

As far as Pakistan's involvement is concerned, Pakistan has been a periodically reliable ally in a very unsettled part of the world.  We need to continue to work for better consistency and better reliability in their support.  Any U.S. funding for Pakistan should be conditioned upon our satisfaction that our relationship with Pakistan is trustworthy and strong.

Georgia Tornadoes
On April 28, 2011, I joined Governor Deal and the entire Georgia delegation in requesting federal assistance for the state of Georgia to help Georgians affected by the disaster receive the immediate assistance they need.  As of May 1, 2011, the President designated the following counties as eligible to receive "individual assistance:" Bartow, Catoosa, Coweta, Dade, Floyd, Greene, Lamar, Morgan, Meriwether, Monroe, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Spalding, Troup and Walker.

On Saturday, April 30, 2011, I visited northwest Georgia to meet with emergency management and local officials, tour some of the damaged areas myself and meet with residents who have sustained losses from this natural disaster.

These, and all of the victims of these tornadoes across the Southeast, are in my prayers.  I will do all I can to help restore Georgia's communities that were affected.  More information on assistance can be found on my website.  In addition, residents and business owners who sustained losses in these designated counties declared by FEMA to be eligible for assistance can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Individual assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.

National Labor Relations Board Oversteps Boundaries
On April 20, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint against The Boeing Company, alleging that Boeing's decision to open a new production line in South Carolina constituted an unfair labor practice. 

The NLRB claims that Boeing was seeking to punish labor unions by opening a second 787 plant in South Carolina, which is a right-to-work state, rather than putting it at a unionized plant in Washington state, where the original 787 plant is located. Boeing has disputed the NLRB complaint, and attorneys general from eight states - including Georgia - have sent a letter to the NLRB decrying its action against Boeing.

I joined nine of my Republican colleagues in the Senate in a letter to the Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board in warning that this action by the NLRB would have a chilling effect on business decisions across the country. Specifically, I am concerned that the NLRB's action would set a dangerous precedent of government bureaucrats dictating who employers hire and where they may conduct business.  A portion of the letter is below:

"In today's economy most U.S. businesses, including Boeing, are competing on an international scale. President Obama appears to have recognized that fact, stating in a January 2011 speech about America's competitiveness, that, 'Our challenge is to do everything we can to make it easier for folks to bring products to market and to start and expand new businesses and to grow and hire new workers.' We agree with the President. And, that is why we are so deeply troubled by your decision regarding Boeing's business operations.

"While we understand the complaint process is still in the early stages, there is a need for the Board to explain the reasoning in this case to Congress. As your nomination is brought before our Committee, we will be asking for a greater explanation of your actions."

National Charter Schools Week
Education has been a long-time passion of mine.  Whether public, private or homeschool, whether the student is young or old, I support any and all opportunities for a good education.  This week, I joined the Georgia Charter Schools Association in promoting National Charter School Week to emphasize the important role charter schools play in education in both Georgia and across the nation. This year, National Charter Schools Week is observed May 1-7, 2011.

Charter schools are tuition-free public schools of choice, meaning that they give families an opportunity to choose the charter school most suitable for their child's educational needs. They operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools and generally offer teachers and students more authority to make decisions. They are accountable for academic results, and Georgia's charter schools administer the same CRCT tests that are administered by traditional public schools.

Today, there are approximately 170 charter schools in the state of Georgia serving around 70,000 students. Approximately 4 percent of public school students in Georgia attend charter schools.

I am pleased to join the Georgia Charter Schools Association in commemorating National Charter School Week because charter schools play an important role in education.  Charter schools create a learning environment where students, teachers and parents are afforded the flexibility to make decisions in order to maximize students' success. I will continue to support charter schools because there is tremendous value in investing in our children's education, which is critical to the future of America.

What's on Tap?        

On Saturday, May 7, 2011, I look forward to hosting my annual Academy Day for Georgia students in grades 8 through 12 who are interested in learning more about attending our nation's service academies at Dobbins Air Reserve Base.  The Senate next week is scheduled to debate the nomination of James M. Cole to be deputy attorney general.

Sincerely,
Johnny Isakson