News Center

Thursday, August 30, 2018

An American Patriot

Dear Friends,

It was with heavy hearts that we returned to work on Monday mourning the loss of our friend and colleague, Senator John McCain, who passed away on Aug. 25, 2018.

John and I had served together in the U.S. Senate since 2005. As chairmen of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, respectively, we had worked closely together to improve care for veterans and ensure a seamless transition for service members from the U.S. Department of Defense to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

John’s passing is a loss not only for America, but for all mankind who love freedom and liberty. He sacrificed for the country he loved in every way one could. As a solider, a senator, and a citizen, John represented the best of America. His life and work have left their indelible mark on history, and we all owe John a lot.

We spent the week paying tribute to this American patriot and selfless public servant. On Monday, I spoke on the Senate floor to pay tribute to my good friend and colleague, and our Senate leadership put together a moving tribute video to honor Senator John McCain and his service. I encourage you to take a couple of minutes to watch. It is available to view online here.

Newspaper Tariffs Reversed

Last month, I testified before the International Trade Commission in a formal hearing to argue against harmful tariffs on Georgia’s newspapers and printing industry. Good news and welcome relief came this week with the commission’s announcement that it would reverse these tariffs.

This news is a victory for the First Amendment, for Georgians, and for all Americans. Georgia’s community newspapers were already feeling the squeeze from technology, but the manipulation of trade remedies was an unnecessary hardship thrust upon our local papers, the commercial printing industry, and the overall U.S. paper manufacturing industry. This action will help keep people informed about relevant news in their communities and end the threat to hundreds of thousands of jobs in the industry.

Trade Negotiations with Mexico

On Monday, President Trump announced that the United States and Mexico have reached a bilateral agreement on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). I’m pleased to see that we’re making progress in modernizing our trade agreements for today’s economy, particularly in the areas of intellectual property and financial services, which are vital for many Georgia job creators.

After Monday’s announcement with Mexico, it is crucial that we now bring Canada into our negotiations to finalize a trilateral agreement. Georgia exports more than $9 billion in goods and services annually to Mexico and Canada combined, and trade supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in our state. Trade is beneficial to America’s long-term economic success, and I hope the administration will move quickly toward a final agreement between our three countries that benefits Georgia farmers, manufacturers, and service providers.

In Other News

  • On Tuesday, I enjoyed meeting with James Gfrerer who is the nominee to be assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for Information and Technology (IT) and Tamara Bonzanto, the nominee to be assistant secretary of the VA’s Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. I look forward to chairing their confirmation hearing next Wednesday, Sept. 5.
  • On Tuesday, It was my honor to administer the oath of commissioning to Major Wes Riddle of Augusta, Ga. Wes earned his master’s degree from the University of Georgia, is a former Kennesaw State University professor and serves in our Georgia National Guard. Wes and his family have my utmost respect and thanks.

  • While August is typically spent in our home states, this month, we’ve spent much of our time in Washington. We have passed six necessary bills to fund the government and direct our spending in important areas such as defense, health care, education and labor. The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law to help further modernize America’s military. We’ve confirmed 15 judges and taken the necessary steps to vote on eight more judges and confirmed dozens of other nominations for our government. Additionally, we’re working now to finalize the 2019 Farm Bill passed by the Senate and the House earlier this year to strengthen our agricultural economy in Georgia and the United States.

What’s on Tap?

When the Senate returns next week on Tuesday, Sept. 4, we’re expected to continue work on confirming the president’s nominees. I hope you will all have a safe, enjoyable and happy Labor Day.

Sincerely,

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