News Center

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

November 16, 2007

Dear Friends,

This week, the Senate failed to approve additional military funding that Defense Secretary Gates says is critical for our troops. The Democrats forced yet another vote on legislation tying additional funding to a withdrawal timeline, and it was rejected yet again. When Republicans offered an alternative bill to provide funding without timelines, the Democrats rejected it. It is absolutely wrong to send our troops into harm's way without the funding necessary for them to do their jobs - especially when the news coming out of Iraq recently has been more positive than ever. I will continue to fight for our troops every step of the way.  

Water Crisis
Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved an interim operating plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will allow Georgia to reduce the minimum flow from Woodruff Dam at Lake Seminole to 4,500 cubic feet per second between now and June 1, 2008. I'm extremely pleased that Fish and Wildlife has approved changes regarding the Corps' operations in Georgia that will allow us to put aside additional water during this unprecedented drought. It is a step in the right direction to deal with an ongoing problem. I will continue to work towards a more realistic and fair management of Georgia's water to ensure that Georgia residents have water for their homes and businesses and to ensure that the threat to our lakes is stopped.

Head Start
The Senate passed legislation to reauthorize Head Start, a successful early childhood development program that gives low-income preschoolers the tools they need to enter school ready to succeed.  The Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 sets clear standards and measures for Head Start programs, improves coordination with other early childhood education programs and strengthens program accountability.  I served on the committee that crafted a compromised between the House and Senate versions of the legislation after the two chambers passed their own versions earlier this year.  The House adopted the conference report before the Senate did today and the bill now goes to President Bush for his signature.  I believe we have an obligation to ourselves and our future to see to it that every American child arrives at kindergarten or first great ready to learn.  The enhancement of programs like Head Start is precisely what will make that happen.  Our children need every opportunity for a good, strong education and Head Start gets many children started on the right path to that goal. 

Senate Resolution Honoring Military Families
On Thursday, the Senate passed a resolution recognizing and thanking military families for the tremendous sacrifices and contributions they have made to the United States.  As an original cosponsor of the resolution, I am proud that we are recognizing and showing our gratitude for the important role that our military families play in the defense of our nation. 

There are currently more than 3 million immediate family members of individuals serving in the Armed Forces. These family members bear the most immediate and profound burden of the absence of their loved ones during the performance of their duties and have been the bedrock of support and strength for our nation's Armed Forces for over 230 years. The resolution honors the families of members of the Armed Forces and recognizes that they too share in the burden of protecting our nation. It also urges the people of the United States to join with the Senate in thanking military families for their tremendous sacrifice on behalf of our country and recognizes with great appreciation the contributions made by military families in providing the essential personal support that our nation's warriors need.

TSA's Holiday Preparations at Hartsfield-Jackson
This week I sent a letter to Secretary of the Transportation Security Administration Kip Hawley asking him to personally intervene with TSA management at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to see what can be done to improve efficiency at their security checkpoints.  Hartsfield-Jackson is the busiest airport in the world, and it is absolutely essential for the TSA to provide security that is vigilant but that also allows passengers to get through the checkpoints in a timely manner.  I have received repeated complaints about the significant wait times at the checkpoints and something needs to be done to improve the situation.  To read the text of the letter, click here. Secretary Hawley immediately responded, saying he would do his best to ensure that the Atlanta airport is adequately staffed for the holidays.

Delta Air Lines
After reading reports this week speculating about a merger between Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, I spoke with Delta's CEO, Richard Anderson, in my Senate office.  He personally assured me that he would only back a merger if Delta is the survivor and the carrier continued to be based in Atlanta. Delta is very important to Atlanta and Georgia, both in its name and its headquarters, and I would be very disappointed if that changed.

What's on Tap for Next Week?

Next week, the Senate will recess in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.  I would like to wish all of you a blessed Thanksgiving with your friends and family.  I hope you will also take time to say a prayer for our military families, especially those who are separated this Thanksgiving.

Johnny Isakson