News Center

Friday, January 18, 2019

Protecting Our Interests

Dear friends,

Unfortunately, this week, we are still in the midst of a partial government shutdown. Congress’ inability to find a solution has persisted for too long. This week I spoke on the Senate floor to share my disappointment and frustration that Georgians are having to bear the burden of Congress’ failure to fund several areas of the federal government. I urged the president and party leaders from both chambers to stop pointing fingers and to come together to negotiate a deal that will allow us to secure our borders and reopen the government.

Protecting Our Allies

On Monday, Democrats blocked a third attempt by the Senate to move forward on a package of four bills called the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act, bipartisan measures I supported to strengthen our cooperation with Israel and punish human rights violators in Syria. Democrats justified blocking the measure by saying the Senate shouldn’t take up any other business until the partial government shutdown ends.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, reversing their own argument that the Senate should not vote on legislation unrelated to the shutdown, Senate Democrats then forced a votes on S.J.Res.2, which would harm key European allies and endanger their cooperation with our efforts to counter Russia’s malign influence. This resolution does nothing to reopen the government. Specifically, this resolution would disapprove the Treasury Department’s proposed termination of sanctions against three companies that have taken major steps to reduce their Russian ownership stakes: En+ Group plc, UC Rusal plc, and JSC EuroSibEnergo.

I spoke on the Senate floor against this resolution because our allies have made the right moves and made their position clear: They’re worried about Russia too. They want to support our sanctions regime. That’s why they took these steps to bring their companies into compliance.

Mentoring Our Young People

On Jan. 17, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and I introduced a Senate resolution to recognize January 2019 as “National Mentoring Month.” Our intention is to raise awareness of the power of mentors to help young people determine their goals and reach their full potential.

This resolution is both a ‘thank you’ to those who spend their time helping our young people and an encouragement for more folks to get involved in mentoring. During my time as a Sunday school teacher and a coach for youth sports as well as being an elected representative, I’ve had many opportunities to talk to kids and offer encouragement and words of advice as they navigate their daily lives and future aspirations. It always benefits both of us – I end up learning so much from the person I’m trying to help.

I was also proud to cosponsor a bipartisan resolution designating next week, Jan. 20 – 26, 2019, as “National School Choice Week.” The resolution congratulates students, parents, teachers and school leaders from kindergarten through 12th grade education environments of all varieties for their persistence, achievements, dedication and contributions to society in the U.S. It also encourages all parents to learn more about the education options available for their children. 

Protecting Furloughed Workers

On Jan. 10, I supported the Senate’s passage of S.24, the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 to provide back pay to furloughed government employees as soon as the government reopens. This legislation ensures that these employees will be compensated as soon as the shutdown ends. President Trump signed the measure into law on Jan. 16.

I have personally spoken with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees and other federal workers affected by the partial government shutdown as well as with officials in Georgia whose communities have been affected negatively by the shutdown. With the challenges brought about during this uncertain time, we are punishing the wrong people. Ensuring the back pay of our federal employees and service members is an important step in protecting them. 

Protecting Innocent Lives

Today, tens of thousands of peaceful marchers are uniting for the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., to end abortion and protect innocent lives ahead of the Jan. 22 anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. I join with my colleagues in welcoming all those participating to our nation’s capital. I’m proud to be an advocate for the unborn, and I will continue to support pro-life policies in the Senate to protect innocent lives.

During the new 116th Congress that began Jan. 3, I have once again joined a number of pro-life efforts including:

  • Cosponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, S.109, which would permanently prevent taxpayer funding for abortions.
  • Cosponsored the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would protect a born child who survives an attempted abortion by requiring the same medical care afforded another child born at the same number of weeks.
  • Cosponsored the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prevent late-term abortions for any reason except to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest after 20 weeks of development, or five months, the point at which medical science has said unborn children can feel pain.
  • Joined 48 other senators in a letter to President Trump expressing our support for pro-life policies both domestically and worldwide.

In Other News

  • On Tuesday, Jan. 15, I had the honor of receiving the Wounded Warrior Project’s Award for Excellence for our efforts on behalf of veterans in the 115th Congress. I am proud to work with organizations such as theirs as we aim to provide our veterans with the benefits and support these deserve.

What’s On Tap?

While the partial government shutdown continues, both chambers of Congress are expected to be in session next week to continue debate on reopening the government. It is crucial that we find a solution to the shutdown, and quickly. On Monday, I also plan to attend The King Center’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr., commemorative service in Atlanta. I look forward to this special opportunity each year to celebrate the lasting influence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.