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Friday, December 14, 2018

Investing in Georgians

Dear friends,

On Tuesday, I was pleased the Senate passed the bipartisan Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, known as the Farm Bill. The legislation will help strengthen our agricultural economy in Georgia and the United States over the next five years. After being passed by both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives this week, it now moves to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

The 2018 Farm Bill will provide certainty and predictability to farmers and ranchers by improving crop insurance coverage and reauthorizing farm and conservation programs. It also provides assistance to rural communities through expansion of broadband, opioid addiction treatment programs, and support for agriculture programs for veterans.

As the senior senator from the state of Georgia where agriculture is our leading industry, I was proud to support the Farm Bill to help our farmers today and in the long term. Our nation’s farmers face near-constant uncertainty in their day-to-day operations as they work to feed the world. This bill anticipates future challenges and helps ensure that our policies reflect the needs of our farmers.

More Help for Georgia Farmers

On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers signed a revised “Waters of the United States” rule, which would provide much-needed clarity to Georgia farmers and landowners and prevent overreaching federal regulation of private and state waters under the rule previously implemented by the Obama administration. 

I have long argued that the previous administration’s overreaching rule allowed the federal government to regulate nearly all private and state waters in the United States, including thousands of streams, creeks, wetlands, ponds and ditches.

This action by the Trump administration is a relief to Georgia’s farmers and our agriculture industry. This new commonsense definition will restore state and private property rights while preserving the appropriate role of the federal government in protecting waterways that cross state lines.

In Other News

  • Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced that Georgia’s highway system will receive a federal grant to assist with an interchange project in Barrow County, Ga. The Georgia Department of Transportation will receive an award of $24,821,050 for a project at the intersection of State Route 316 (SR 316)/U.S. Route 29 and State Route 11 (SR 11) to improve traffic flow and accommodate future widening of SR 316. I was glad to help support this project, and I appreciate the attention and leadership shown by Secretary Chao and President Trump to prioritize Americans’ needs through investments in our infrastructure that will help hardworking families and our economy.
  • I was very proud the Senate passed a resolution on Tuesday night that I introduced with Senator David Perdue to recognize the 40th anniversary of Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, located in Camden Co., Ga. 
  • Both chambers of Congress have now passed a bill I introduced along with Sen. Perdue and Reps. Sanford Bishop and Drew Ferguson to rename a Columbus, Ga., post office the “Richard W. Williams, Jr., Chapter of the Triple Nickles (555th P.I.A.) Post Office” in honor of Columbus-area veterans who served in military units that originated from the Army’s first all-black parachute unit, which was activated at Fort Benning in December 1943. The measure now moves to the president’s desk to become law.
  • Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch will be retiring at the end of the year after seven terms in the U.S. Senate. The longest-serving Republican in the Senate, Senator Hatch has been a great chairman, friend and example for our country. I thanked him for his years of service, mentorship and friendship during our committee hearing on Tuesday.

  • Senator Dean Heller is one of a kind and someone I am very proud to have served with on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. On Wednesday, I delivered remarks on the Senate floor to pay tribute to him as he departs the Senate at the end of his term. He will be greatly missed, but I wish him all the best in his next endeavor.

  • I appreciate America’s Essential Hospitals for presenting me with the Congressional Leader Award for my work on behalf of hospitals, including upholding the current level of Medicaid funding for disproportionate share hospitals. 

  • It’s an honor to have earned the 2018 Champion of Aid Reform from the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network along with such leaders as Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Corker and Senator Chris Coons for our work to improve the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance. 

What’s on Tap?

The Senate continues to work on funding for seven of 12 areas of government funding for 2019.

Sincerely,

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