News Center

Friday, October 18, 2019

News from the Senate

Dear friends,

This week, the Senate confirmed Barbara Barrett to be secretary of the U.S. Air Force and voted to confirm four judges to our nation’s district courts. The Senate also continued its efforts to move forward on appropriations bills to fund the government during fiscal year 2020.

Improving Senior Health Care

 Early this month, President Trump issued an executive order strengthening the successful Medicare

Advantage program that offers seniors increased choice and enhanced benefits through lower-cost private plans. The order follows through on legislation that I worked on for several years and became law as the 2018 CHRONIC Care Act, which aims to improve the quality and coordination of health care while reducing costs for Medicare beneficiaries living with chronic health conditions.

Medicare Advantage plans have been at the forefront of driving innovation in care coordination and quality improvements. The president’s order will unleash even more innovation, allowing seniors to choose from more health plans that best meet their personal needs by providing home supports and expanded telehealth services that will help manage their chronic conditions and keep them out of the hospital.

Under the Trump administration, the number of Medicare Advantage plans available to seniors has increased by nearly 1,200 during the last two years. From increased health care options for small businesses and contract employees, to short-term limited duration plans for cost-conscious consumers, to strengthening Medicare for our senior citizens, the administration is making good on its commitment to making health care better for more Americans.

Syria

While the Senate was in its state work period, President Trump announced his decision to remove our U.S. troops from northern Syria near the border with Turkey. I found this decision deeply troubling, especially while the threat posed by ISIS and other transnational terrorist organizations in the Middle East continues to persist. The withdrawal of our forces has resulted in further destabilization, re-emboldened ISIS fighters, and worsened humanitarian conditions.

Recent sanctions placed on Turkey by the United States were temporarily lifted on Thursday after a five-day ceasefire was announced by the administration. These announcements came following talks led by Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Turkey with Turkish President Erdo?an.

In April, I met with the Kurdish leadership during my visit to Iraq, and I was able to witness and confirm firsthand their commitment to the elimination of our common extremist threats. I believe the administration should revisit its approach to this very unstable region of the world.

Congress and the administration must work together on a sustained strategy to ensure ISIS is not allowed to regain control in Syria or use it to launch attacks against our homeland.

Administration Visits to Georgia

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams visited Georgia this week to discuss the opioid epidemic and meet with students and other leaders regarding health priorities. His visits included stops at Navicent Health in Macon and Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Former Georgia Governor and current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue also spent time in the state this week. Secretary Perdue attended “North America’s premier farm show,” the Sunbelt Ag Expo. Agriculture is Georgia’s top industry, and this event, which is held annually in Moultrie, brings more than 1,200 exhibitors showcasing the latest in farming technology.

We always appreciate having Secretary Perdue back home in Georgia and administration officials here in our great state!

In Other News

  • On Oct. 11, President Trump announced that the United States and China had “agreed in principle” on a preliminary partial trade agreement. As part of the initial agreement, the White House agreed not to proceed with plans to increase tariffs from 25% to 30% on $250 billion in Chinese goods previously scheduled to take effect this week. I look forward to seeing additional details on the agreement as negotiations continue.
  • Earlier this year, Georgia native Kelley Currie was nominated to be ambassador at large for global women’s issues and to be U.S. representative on the Commission on the Status of Women at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (UN). This week, her nomination was advanced by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations following her confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
  • Last week, I joined the Georgia State Board of Education via teleconference during their planning session in Augusta, Georgia. I enjoyed talking with them as they work to tackle challenges and meet the needs of today’s students. We’ll get the best results by working together with teachers, parents and local boards of education, and I appreciate their dedication.
  • Today, Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, is celebrating 101 years of excellence. Fort Benning has played a vital role in preparing warfighters and ensuring the security of our nation. We are incredibly thankful for all the brave service members who have trained in Georgia!