News Center

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

November 9, 2007

Dear Friends,

This week, the Senate voted to override a presidential veto of water resources legislation that includes authorization for more than $127 million in critical water infrastructure projects in Georgia. The Water Resources Development Act authorizes Army Corps of Engineers projects dealing with regional water planning, water storage, flood control, storm protection, environmental restoration and inland navigation.

While the Water Resources Development Act is supposed to be authorized every two years, Congress has not re-authorized the legislation since 2000. We have gone seven years without prioritizing the water resources of this country and this legislation sets priorities that are tremendously important for Georgia and for the tens of millions of people in the Southeast affected by this unprecedented drought. The Water Resources Development Act provides an investment in safe drinking water, stormwater management, flood control and water resources across the United States of America.

As the Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which had jurisdiction over the bill, I was selected by Senate leadership to participate in the committee that crafted a compromise on this bill. I am proud to have helped guide this legislation through Congress, because these projects are especially important in my state and for the tens of millions of people in the Southeast affected by unprecedented drought.

Renaming of Augusta Veterans Center in Honor of the Late Charlie Norwood
I am pleased to announce that President Bush signed into law on Thursday legislation to rename the Augusta Veterans Affairs facility as the "Charlie Norwood Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center" in honor of the late U. S. Representative Charlie Norwood, who passed away on February 13, 2007.

Norwood represented Georgia's 10 th Congressional District for 12 years and our nation's veterans were always his top priority. He worked to pass many laws to improve veterans' health care and benefits and made certain that the Veterans Medical Center in Augusta had the resources and tools necessary to meet the needs of veterans in such a strong military community. Before serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Norwood served as an Army Captain in the Vietnam War as a member of the United States Army Dental Corps and continued his service as a dentist on base at Fort Gordon.

I am so thankful for the contributions Charlie made to our state and to his Congress. It is only fitting that we dedicate the Augusta VA Center to a man who was so diligent in his efforts to ensure that the treatment and services we give our veterans are equal to the sacrifice they have made for our country.

Elimination of Border Security Funds
Earlier this week, Democratic leaders decided to eliminate critical border security funding in the Department of Defense Appropriations Conference Report. The border security funding had been added to the bill by a 95-1 vote in the Senate though an amendment providing $3 billion to immediately pay for some of the manpower and technology necessary to secure the U.S. border.

Eliminating this critical funding sends a terrible message. I believe there is no greater domestic issue in this country than the problem on our southern border, with Mexico, and it is time that Congress makes a commitment to make border security a reality. I will continue to work to make certain Congress provides our border security programs with the funding needed to be effective.

2007 Farm Bill
This week Congress began debating the 2007 Farm Bill. Having voted in favor of the 2002 Farm Bill, I look forward to working with my fellow senators to produce another fiscally responsible bill that benefits farmers and all those engaged in our agricultural industries.

Agriculture remains the number one industry in Georgia. Therefore, I believe it is essential for Congress to pass another Farm Bill that continues the present course of providing a safety net for America's farmers and ensuring the continuation of a safe, affordable and abundant domestic food supply. As the Senate continues to debate the Farm Bill, I will continue to support a bill that carefully balances the needs of our farmers with the interest of our taxpayers.

What's on Tap for Next Week?

On Monday, the Senate will be out of session in honor of Veterans Day. Starting on Tuesday, the Senate will continue debate on the Farm Bill. I hope all Americans will pause Monday to pay tribute to our nation's veterans, who have sacrificed so much to secure our freedom.

Johnny Isakson