News Center

Friday, October 12, 2018

Recovery and progress

Dear friends,

Georgia and our neighboring states had a tough week as Hurricane Michael made landfall, devastating homes, lives and farms.

President Trump approved our state’s disaster declaration request for 108 Georgia counties, responding to Governor Deal’s requests and our supporting letter urging expedited emergency resources to aid counties in Georgia expected to be impacted by Hurricane Michael. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar also approved Georgia’s Public Health Emergency declaration on Thursday.

We remain in close communication with Governor Deal, and Senator Perdue and I will work together in the Senate and do all we can to support preparedness, response and recovery efforts.

As recovery efforts continue, we keep our neighbors in our prayers.

Additional hurricane recovery resources can be found below.

  • Call 911 for emergencies.
  • Visit the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well site to check in, and to find missing individuals.
  • Report power outages by contacting your power provider. The two main providers in Georgia are:
    • Georgia Power (contact here or at 888-891-0938)
    • Georgia electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) (find your local branch here)
  • Check the status of road closures and plan your routes using Georgia 511.
  • Farmers should contact their local Farm Service Agency or U.S. Department of Agriculture Disaster Assistance Programs.
  • View information regarding the National Flood Insurance Program online here.
  • For up-to-date resources and information on the federal response, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency online here.
  • For up-to-date resources and information on the state’s response, visit the Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency here.
  • The Georgia Attorney General’s office has recommendations online to avoid scams including home repair fraud, illegitimate charities and resources to report price gouging.
  • The Disaster Distress Helpline has been made available by the Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to assist residents in impacted areas. To connect with a trained crisis counselor, call 1-800-985-5990 or text: “TalkWithUs” to 66746.

Passage of Water Resources Bill

On Wednesday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed comprehensive water infrastructure legislation, which provides additional resources for Georgia’s ports and coastal areas, promotes our nation’s infrastructure and commerce, and invests in the safety and reliability of our drinking water.

The America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 updates funding authorization for water infrastructure priorities to better reflect current needs and more efficiently use taxpayer money. 

I’m glad to see this legislation pass to help our economy, our coastal communities and our ports - including the Port of Savannah. As our ports continue to set new records for commerce, the America’s Water Infrastructure Act will help ensure there is no last-minute bureaucratic hurdle to completing the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project on time.

More Healthcare Choices For Consumers

On Wednesday, I joined my Senate colleagues in rejecting legislation that would have blocked an important Trump administration rule giving consumers better options and more protection when they purchase short-term limited-duration healthcare plans, a lower-cost alternative to the Obamacare marketplace.

Americans want and need more options for health care coverage - not fewer. This rule is an important step forward to get more affordable health care for some who don’t currently have access, and it’s critical that we keep it in place. This commonsense opportunity allows consumers more options that fit their needs, often at a lower cost. And one need not look far for proof that they are needed, because thousands of consumers purchased these plans before they were restricted by the Obama administration.

If adopted, this resolution would have taken away health coverage from Americans enrolled in short-term plans, eliminated consumer protections, and forced people into one-size-fits-all Obamacare plans that too often don’t cover the doctors or hospitals they need.

In Other News

  • Last Saturday, the Senate voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Kavanaugh is a talented and experienced jurist, and I am confident he will bring a strong commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law to the Supreme Court.

  • On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed into law the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2018, bipartisan legislation I introduced to increase veterans’ disability benefits from the VA. Our men and women in uniform have sacrificed greatly, and it is our duty to make sure our disabled veterans and their families are provided the benefits they have earned.
  • On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed into law the Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act of 2018, bipartisan legislation I introduced to reform the U.S. Peace Corps by improving access to medical care for volunteers, strengthening accountability and oversight, and enhancing procedures to reduce the risk of crime where volunteers serve. This legislation builds on the reforms we made to better protect our volunteers through the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011, which I introduced in honor of a Peace Corps volunteer from Georgia and that was signed into law previously. I appreciate the president’s commitment to providing greater protection and safety for our Peace Corps volunteers whose work and goodwill produce results for both the communities they serve and the United States.
  • On Wednesday, President Trump also signed the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act into law to improve price transparency and fix incentives that have driven up the cost of prescription drugs. This will help pharmacists provide drug pricing information with patients.
  • On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Judge William M. “Billy” Ray, II, of Grayson, Ga., to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Billy Ray has an outstanding history of service to Georgia in our state Legislature and on the bench and a history of getting things done. He created ‘Heidi’s Law’ in Georgia to tighten penalties in repeat DUI cases, and he created the drug court in Gwinnett County. I’m pleased the Senate confirmed Judge Ray and look forward to his continued service.
  • On Thursday, the president also signed the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act into law. This bipartisan legislation that I introduced in the Senate will keep this lifesaving food security program in place through 2023. The legislation streamlines the whole-of-government approach to addressing hunger and food insecurity across the globe. Food insecurity leads to instability and violence, so helping our neighbors abroad bolsters our security by strengthening U.S. influence and fostering stability. This program is designed to ensure a maximum return on our foreign assistance and also allows our farmers and researchers in Georgia to share their knowledge and benefit from these investments.

What’s on Tap?

The Senate has adjourned until after the November 6 elections.

Sincerely,

In Case You Missed It