News Center

Friday, January 25, 2019

News from the Capitol

Dear friends,

Today, President Trump announced that a deal has been reached with House and Senate leaders to end the partial government shutdown and fully fund the government through Feb. 15, 2019, while negotiations continue on border security funding. The Senate passed the funding agreement by voice vote this afternoon, and, at the time of this writing, the measure is headed to the U.S. House of Representatives to be voted on next. As soon as it is passed by the House and signed into law, the government will reopen and all furloughed government employees will receive back pay.

Prior to today’s deal being reached, this week Congress voted on two separate bills that helped move negotiations forward and would have provided necessary funding to re-open the government.

On Thursday, I voted to support a proposal offered by President Trump to reopen the government. The measure would have funded all remaining areas of the federal government, provided $5.7 billion in funding for border security and extended legal protections to some immigrants, including those who were brought to the United States as children, for three years. This measure failed to receive the necessary 60 votes to advance.

I also voted in favor of a three-week continuing resolution to fund the closed portions of the government through Feb. 8. Much like the deal struck by the president today, this bill would have given members of Congress the chance to negotiate on broader border security and funding legislation while temporarily reopening the previously shuttered portions of the government and providing back pay to all furloughed employees. This measure also failed to receive the necessary 60 votes to advance.

Both proposals we voted on also included more than $12 billion for supplemental disaster relief, which would benefit Georgians who are recovering from Hurricane Michael.

I spoke on the Senate floor on Thursday after the votes, along with likeminded senators on both sides of the aisle, to express my disappointment in the Senate’s inability to end the shutdown.

I told my colleagues that the American people are counting on us to take off our armor, leave our weapons at the door, walk in the room, shake hands, sit down and pass a bill we can both agree on that gets Americans back to work and restores the spirit of Ellis Island and the pride of the United States of America.

I’m glad the leadership of the House and the president have come to an agreement and hope that we can now sit down and negotiate in earnest to secure our border and get the government back in operating order.

Protecting Historic Battlefields

This week, I reintroduced bipartisan legislation to protect and preserve additional historic lands in Georgia. The Preserving America’s Battlefields Act would ensure our nation’s living memorials honoring those who fought for our freedoms are protected for current and future generations. This bipartisan legislation would provide for the restoration of battlefield sites across the country, including the one in Chickamauga, Ga., helping transform them into historic tourism destinations.

In Other News

  • On Wednesday, Senator Perdue and I recognized four Georgia high school students who were selected as delegates or alternates to the 57th annual United States Senate Youth Program. This year’s Georgia delegates are Patrick Chappel of Columbus, Ga., and Clarke Peoples of Atlanta, while the alternates are Nicklaus Proctor of Calhoun, Ga., and Brandon Wilson of Lithia Springs, Ga. In March, the student delegates will join others selected from around the country in a special trip to Washington, D.C. They will attend meetings and briefings with senators, U.S. House representatives, congressional staff, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States and senior members of the national media. In addition to this week-long program, each delegate will also receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study. These students’ hard work has paid off, and they are going to get a special glimpse of the federal government during their trip.
  • On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution I introduced that recognizes January 2019 as “National Mentoring Month” and promotes the importance of mentors in the lives of our young people. I hope it will encourage others to step up and consider mentoring as an important way to give back and make a personal difference in their communities.

What’s On Tap?

As of this writing, an agreement to end the partial government shutdown was reached, and the Senate will return next week to continue negotiations on border security improvements and government funding through the end of fiscal year 2019. I’m glad I had the opportunity Thursday to help advance this debate to help Georgians and Americans.