News Center

Friday, February 1, 2019

Back to Business

Dear friends,

This week, federal employees returned to work after Congress passed a three-week measure to fund the government on Jan. 25. Seventeen members of both the House and Senate have been chosen to serve on a conference committee to negotiate a final budget bill that includes funding for border security. It is my hope that all sides are coming to the table in earnest to secure our border and get the government back in operating order.

Our budget process has unfortunately been broken for many years. That’s why on Wednesday, Senator Jeanne Shaheen and I reintroduced our bipartisan budget reform bill. This legislation would require the president to submit a two-year budget at the beginning of each new Congress. During the first year, members of Congress would work to pass a two-year funding bill. During the second year, Congress would devote its time to oversight of federal programs and authorization bills.

This approach would help ensure an on-time budget cycle and remove the political deadlines and uncertainty that produces bad results like the most recent government shutdown. It’s time to fix our broken budget process, tackle debt and prove to taxpayers that their federal government cares about how their money is being spent.

Human Trafficking Awareness

Also on Thursday, I joined with my colleagues in the Senate to introduce a resolution designating Jan.1 – Feb. 1, 2019 as “National Trafficking and Modern Slavery Prevention Month.” The goal of this resolution is to raise awareness of, and opposition to, human trafficking and modern slavery. As Atlanta prepares to host Super Bowl LIII this Sunday, state, local and federal officials are all working to improve awareness of this terrible problem, which typically sees an increase during high-profile events. The Department of Homeland Security has provided resources to help raise awareness about human trafficking, including materials on display on local public transportation, including light rail and city buses, and on multiple digital platforms.

Georgia state officials such as Attorney General Chris Carr, Governor Brian Kemp, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other state and local partners and federal agencies have long prepared for this scenario. They have worked to empower individuals and organizations to recognize the signs of trafficking while continually working to spread awareness to help innocent victims. We’ve passed important legislation in the Senate to help prevent modern-day slavery and protect victims, and this resolution will help in state and federal efforts. Read more about our efforts here.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free telephone number is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at: (888) 373-7888 and available by text at: BeFree (233722). All calls to the line are confidential.

VA MISSION Act Implementation

On Wednesday, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reached a major milestone in the implementation of the VA MISSION Act, landmark legislation I wrote to improve healthcare services for veterans. The VA proposed new access standards to determine a veteran’s eligibility for community care that will help ensure veterans get care when and where they need it, whether that is in the VA or in the community. We will continue to work collaboratively with the VA and other stakeholders to guarantee that both the implementation of the VA MISSION Act and the new Veterans Community Care Program are a success from day one.

In Other News

  • I’m excited to welcome George Moore of Toccoa, Ga., as our Senate page for the spring semester. George has proven himself as a hardworking and well-rounded student, and the Senate Page Program will allow him to experience the federal legislative process firsthand. I’m confident that Georgia and our office will be well represented by George.

 

  • On Thursday, Senator Perdue and I introduced a supplemental disaster relief package to provide critical funding for Georgia as well as other states still recovering from recent hurricane and wildfire damage. Georgia farmers are still recovering from natural disasters in 2017 and 2018, and they need all the support they can get. This supplemental funding package would provide about $3 billion for disaster relief across the country, including critical funds for Georgia farmers recovering in the wake of 2018 disaster Hurricane Michael. We will continue raising this issue in the Senate until Congress approves disaster funding.
  • This week, the Senate continued its debate on the Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act. This bipartisan package of four bills strengthens our cooperation with Israel and supports civilians who have been affected by the Syrian government’s humanitarian atrocities while punishing human rights violators there.
  • On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to discuss my votes last week to fund the government with WABE radio’s Denis O’Hayer on “All Things Considered.” You can listen to our interview here.

What’s On Tap?

On Tuesday evening, President Trump is expected to deliver the State of the Union Address. In the Senate, we will resume debate on the Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act and continue our confirmation process for a number of President Trump’s nominations.

Sincerely,