News Center

Dear Friends,
This week, the Senate began debating the Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Authorization Bill, a blueprint for defense spending priorities to support our troops. This legislation is critical to our national security and our troops.

In the Preamble of the United States Constitution, one of the primary duties for our government is to “provide for the common defense.” We need to get our priorities in order when it comes to giving our men and women in uniform the very best support possible to accomplish their missions and return home safely. 

Reining in Washington Regulations and the EPA
Newspapers from around the state agree with me that a new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency that would expand the government’s regulation to nearly all private and state waters in the United States, including thousands of streams, creeks, wetlands, ponds and ditches, is yet another power grab by the Obama administration that is harmful to our state. This “waters of the U.S.” rule harms not only landowners, but our entire agriculture industry in Georgia. Click here to read more about how I am fighting this latest regulation from Washington

Increasing Benefits for our Veterans
As the cost of living continues to rise, I am working to ensure that our men and women in uniform who have sacrificed so much receive the compensation they deserve. This week I introduced legislation to increase veterans’ disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2015 (S.1493) would increase the rates of VA disability compensation, dependency compensation for surviving children and spouses, and the clothing allowance for veterans based on rising costs of living.

I also discussed four key health legislation pieces at the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs this week. These bills will assist women veterans in receiving the quality care they deserve, help prevent our veterans from becoming homeless, and assist as they return home from military service.

Watch the full hearing here 

Protecting our National Security
The threats to our security here at home and throughout the world are growing at an alarming rate. At a time when the current administration’s foreign policy has left a void in leadership around the world, we cannot afford to create intelligence gaps that could limit our capabilities to fight terrorism. I could not support the USA FREEDOM Act that passed the Senate and was signed into law this week because I believe that, in its current form, this measure downgrades our ability to track the movements and contacts of known terrorists and fails to provide our intelligence agencies with the tools and the time they need to stand up a new counterterrorism program. 

Keeping Things Private
There has been a lot of debate in the Senate recently over concerns about the government collecting minimal phone call data to protect our national security through the National Security Authority Agency (NSA); however, I believe we should be more concerned about the recent data breach at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). That’s why I questioned IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George about this terrible breach of security during a Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday that you can watch here.

The information taxpayers are required to give the IRS is a lot more private, personally identifying, and dangerous in the hands of the wrong person than what is collected by the NSA for the purpose of looking out for our national security. We need more protection mechanisms in place to prevent the hundreds of thousands cases of tax fraud and data and security breaches that occur at the IRS each year. 

Educating our Students
This week, I brought attention again to the rising cost of higher education and student debt, and I discussed the obligation universities have to teach students about their debt during a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing.

To hear my remarks at this week’s hearing, click here. 

Around Georgia
I am delighted that I was able to help 37 high school seniors from across Georgia receive appointments to United States military academies, and I appreciate each of these students’ willingness to serve our nation. My office honored these students and their families at my annual Academy Appointees Salute last weekend.

I want to congratulate Ms. Sara Lepkofker and her team at Northview High School for receiving a 2015 Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Award. It was a pleasure to meet with them when they were in D.C. this week!

What’s on Tap?

The Senate will resume consideration of the Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Authorization Bill. 

Sincerely,
Johnny Isakson