News Center

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Stronger Military and a Safer Nation

Dear Friends,

This week, President Trump signed into law the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, and it benefits Georgia’s more than a dozen military installations. The measure includes pay increases for service members and an increase in troop numbers, providing military leaders with additional forces needed to carry out critical mission assignments and confront threats to our nation.

Georgia is the home to critical assets in our national defense. From cutting edge capabilities such as cyber warfare, to strategic defense platforms like Ohio-class submarines, to Armor Brigade Combat Teams, and intelligence assets like the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) program, Georgia heavily contributes to our national efforts to project power and strength.

Our service members put everything on the line for our security, and I’m glad that they’ll receive a pay raise. This legislation addresses many of our military's needs and will provide stronger security.

Keeping Our Promises to Veterans

This week, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin notified Congress that funding for veterans’ community care, called the Veterans Choice Fund, will run out within the next month if Congress does not act.

The Caring for Our Veterans Act of 2017, legislation I introduced with Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., addresses this funding deadline by providing an additional $4 billion for the program while permanently enhancing veterans’ access to care in their communities as well as expanding the caregiver assistance program for Vietnam-era veterans.

It is critical that the Senate and House pass this bipartisan legislation before the end of the year to ensure veterans continue to have access to efficient, timely and quality health care. The legislation was passed out of the Senate VA committee by a vote of 14-1 and awaits action by the full Senate.

In Other News:

  • Also this week, the Senate voted to confirm the 12th federal circuit court judge this year, marking the most approved judicial nominees in the first year of any president.
  • On Tuesday, I delivered keynote remarks at an event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center focused on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the importance of continued U.S. investment in global health, particularly through reauthorizing the PEPFAR program.

  • I was proud to introduce two great Georgians at their hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Stan Baker has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, and Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Elizabeth “Lisa” Branch has been nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
  • On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hosted a Toys for Tots reception to aid the U.S. Marines’ program that provides gifts to deserving families across the country.

What’s on tap?

Next week, the full Senate is expected to consider the final Tax Cuts and Jobs Act legislation to provide tax cuts and jobs for hardworking families and small businesses.

The Senate will also need to pass funding for the federal government before its current authorization expires on Dec. 22. Additionally, the Senate is expected to continue working to extend funding on several other expiring programs, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program.


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