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Friday, February 8, 2019

The State of the Union

Dear friends,

This week, the president came to Capitol Hill to deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. In his speech, the president highlighted a number of serious challenges facing our country and reminded us of our nation’s powerful history. It is now time for President Trump and leaders of both parties in Congress to come together and make progress on the issues Americans care about, starting with securing our border and ensuring that we never have another government shutdown like the one that recently ended.

You can read the rest of my thoughts on the State of the Union address here.

Preserving Georgia's Historic Lands

On Tuesday, the Senate voted to begin debate on a lands legislative package, which includes three bills I introduced to expand and protect historic sights in Georgia: Ocmulgee National Monument, Fort Frederica National Monument and Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park. Next Monday, the Senate is expected to vote on this legislation to preserve the rich historical significance and archaeological heritage of some of Georgia’s oldest historic landmarks.  

Protecting Our Allies

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act. This bipartisan legislation 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. I applaud the Senate’s bipartisan approval of this legislation and hope the House will work quickly on it to provide support for Israel and promote U.S. interests in the Middle East.

In Other News

  • On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs had our first meeting of the year to adopt the rules for the 116th Congress. Now that the committee is officially organized, we can begin holding a variety of hearings on the issues that matter most to our veterans. Senator Jon Tester, the ranking Democrat on the committee, and I also had the opportunity to sit down with two of our new committee members this week to discuss the work ahead of us this Congress. I look forward to working with the entire committee on solving problems as they arise and ensuring the successful implementation of major reforms designed to improve the daily lives of our nation’s veterans.
  • My guest for the State of the Union address was Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and it was a pleasure to welcome her and Sen. Perdue’s guest from the Boys & Girls Club, Cory Seals of Atlanta, before the event. Read more about Cory here.

  • On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Finance met with Ambassador Lighthizer to discuss Congressional priorities for trade negotiations and agreements during the 116th Congress.

  • Also on Wednesday, I sat down with Bill Barr, the president’s nominee to be U.S. Attorney General, on Wednesday. We discussed his previous leadership of the U.S. Department of Justice and his plans for the department should he be once again confirmed to the post. His nomination was approved by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on Thursday.

    Sen. Isakson Meets with attorney general nominee Bill Barr on Feb. 6, 2019.


What's on Tap?

Next week, the Senate faces a Feb. 15 funding deadline. Work continues on the House-Senate conference committee to resolve differences over funding for border security and other Department of Homeland Security priorities. I urge my colleagues to negotiate in earnest to secure our border and get the government back in operating order.