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Friday, July 28, 2017

Improving the G.I. Bill

Dear Friend,

I am disappointed that the Senate was not able to come together and agree on a plan to reduce health care costs and give Georgians more choices for health coverage. Despite last night’s outcome, I believe we have a responsibility to continue working to fix the problems in our health care system, especially the costs that are simply unaffordable for many Georgians. Republicans and Democrats in Congress must work together to find better long-term solutions for health care.

Enhancing the post-9/11 G.I. Bill

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs passed the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, legislation that will further invest in the proven educational success of our veterans and help propel them toward becoming our nation’s civic, business and public leaders.

This bill recognizes our country’s need for an agile and adaptable workforce and recognizes that American workers need to be lifelong learners. This bill will change current policy to allow our veterans to use their benefits at any time in their professional careers. The House has passed this important legislation, and I am hopeful that my colleagues in the Senate will follow suit and send the legislation to the president’s desk.

I also joined the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committee leaders for breakfast on Wednesday to discuss priorities going forward to improve the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

This week in the Senate

  • I voted to place mandatory financial sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea to increase pressure on and hold each of these countries accountable for aggressive actions toward the United States and its allies. I will not hesitate to increase pressure on those nations that seek to harm us.
  • Senator David Perdue, R-Ga., and I applauded the announcement by President Trump of his intent to nominate two great Georgians to serve as U.S. attorneys. The president nominated Charles E. Peeler to be U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia and Byung J. “BJay” Pak to be U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.
  • On Tuesday, I met with Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, the newly appointed director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based in Atlanta, to discuss the organization’s priorities and future. I am confident that Dr. Fitzgerald will bring exactly the type of leadership and expertise needed to secure the future of the CDC.
  • I was proud to broker a bipartisan, bicameral deal that provides critical funding to continue the Veterans Choice Program so that veterans will continue to have access to health care without interruption. The U.S. House of Representatives passed this legislation today, and the Senate must also pass it before Aug. 15, 2017, the date at which the VA has told Congress that the critical program will run out of funding.

What’s on Tap?

Next week, the Senate will return on Monday and is expected to vote on whether to move forward on the nomination of Christopher Newsome, of Alabama, to be U.S. District Judge for the Eleventh Circuit.