News Center

Friday, May 17, 2019

Progress and Protection

Dear friends,

Today, the administration announced its very wise decision to delay tariffs on imports of automobiles and certain automobile parts. A few hours later, a deal was reached between the United States, Mexico and Canada to remove tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from those countries. This paves the way for the newly negotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement to be ratified by Congress, a huge win for Georgia farmers and businesses who stand to benefit from the agreement.

I am proud of President Donald Trump for reaching an agreement that is good for the United States and for Georgia farmers, manufacturers and service providers. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement will open markets for Georgia farmers and manufacturers and make the United States more competitive. I’m also glad the administration has delayed its decision on imposing auto tariffs that could hurt American consumers and manufacturers.

I look forward to working with the administration on ways to accomplish its goals to promote fair trade without imposing harmful tariffs that will hamper the U.S. economy.

National Police Week

This week, Senator Perdue and I introduced a bipartisan resolution with every member of the Senate to honor law enforcement officers in Georgia and across the country by designating the week of May 12 to 19 as National Police Week. Our law enforcement officials dedicate their lives and willingly put themselves into harm’s way to protect our communities, and we are in their debt. I especially pray for all those who have lost a loved one in the line of duty. Spending this week paying tribute to our peace officers is but a small token of thanks and remembrance to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Progress on Disaster Funding

Also this week, the administration announced Georgia will receive $34.88 million for disaster recovery efforts through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Last week, I wrote to administration officials urging the expedited release of these funds. This down payment will help Georgia communities struggling to rebuild infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Michael nearly seven months ago. I thank the administration for taking this step to provide funding to our state. I am going to continue fighting in Congress to see to it that we pass critical disaster relief funding for our farmers and other Georgians in desperate need.

Ensuring Success at the VA

On Thursday, I chaired a Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing to consider James Byrne to be deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). During the hearing, I emphasized the important role the deputy secretary will play in ensuring the successful implementation of the VA MISSION Act and mental health priorities. The VA is at a critical juncture as it implements several major reforms that will transform the way the VA operates and delivers care and services to veterans, and if confirmed, Byrne’s leadership will be integral to its success.

In Other News

  • On Wednesday, I reintroduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to help more students earn degrees through the “reverse transfer” of college credits. This legislation would make it easier for two- and four-year higher education institutions to share information that would allow students who have not completed a four-year degree obtain an associate’s degree if they have already earned enough credits to be awarded that degree. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve higher education, and this commonsense measure will make it easier for students to earn the recognition they deserve for the work they have done.
  • The Senate recently passed a resolution Senator Perdue and I introduced to recognize the 100th anniversary of the American Peanut Shellers Association, based in Albany, Ga. I’m proud to congratulate the association on 100 years of leadership and thank them for their work in Georgia to aid the industry and help share our quality peanuts with the world. As my staff knows well, you can’t travel with me across South Georgia without stopping by the side of the road for some boiled peanuts.
  • I traveled to Indiana on Wednesday with Vice President Mike Pence, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and several other Senate colleagues to pay my last respects to former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar at his funeral. I was glad to have had the opportunity to pay my respects in remarks on the Senate floor after his death as well. Senator Lugar will be sincerely missed.
  • The month of May is officially designated as National Military Appreciation Month. On Thursday, the Washington Examiner published an op-ed I wrote about the month-long celebration, in which I encourage every American to take some time to extend a hand to service members and veterans in their local community and thank them for their service. You can read the complete op-ed here.
  • Also this week, the Senate confirmed three federal judges. We also confirmed Brian J. Bulatao to be undersecretary of state for management, and Jeffrey Rosen to be deputy attorney general.

What’s On Tap?

Next week, I will chair a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing to consider pending legislation to improve veterans’ health care and benefits.