Isakson Op-ed: Working on Priorities for the 115th Congress

Sen. Johnny Isakson

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

In November, the voters of Georgia and the nation made it clear that it is time for a change. Voters spoke out about the state of our health care system, our courts, our veterans and our national security, our tax system, and our economy – including the need for better jobs here in America.
Addressing these priorities will be my first order of business in the 115th Congress.
Repealing and replacing Obamacare with patient-focused, quality, affordable health care is a top priority for the incoming administration. Too many Georgians have been hurt by Obamacare’s rising costs, lack of choices and broken promises. One of President-elect Trump’s earliest decisions was to nominate Georgia’s 6th District congressman, Dr. Tom Price, to the position of secretary of Health and Human Services. As a former practicing physician, Dr. Price not only understands why Obamacare has failed – he’s also put years of thought and hard work into developing a plan that will actually make health care more affordable and accessible. With Tom Price at the helm, we can repeal Obamacare and begin implementing free-market principles that will increase choice and lower the cost of health care for families and businesses.
Few positions will have the lasting impact of the person selected to fill the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. I look forward to working with the new administration to ensure that the next Supreme Court appointee shares Justice Scalia’s ironclad commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law.
Another priority identified by this new administration is taking care of our nation’s veterans.
I am extremely thankful for my time in uniform, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve all veterans as chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. I’m dedicated to ensuring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has the tools it needs to deliver the best possible health care and services to our deserving veterans. I look forward to continuing to lead in the Senate to fix the problems that have plagued the VA for far too long. Working with the new administration, I look forward to reducing the amount of time reviewing appeals on veterans’ benefit claims and to bringing real accountability and a culture of service to the VA.
Restoring our economy not only means rolling back the government regulations that have stifled job creation under the Obama administration and repealing Obamacare, but also repealing and repairing our broken tax system. Simplifying the individual income tax will reduce the heavy burden of tax filing on American taxpayers and small businesses, and reforming the corporate income tax will help keep more jobs and investment here in America.
I look forward to continuing to fight for Georgia’s economic priorities, including the continued stewardship of the deepening of the Port of Savannah. Keeping this project on track has required a nonstop effort from countless leaders to ensure we are progressing, and I will see to it that this deepening is completed. Additionally, as Congress works with the new administration to strengthen our national security and defeat the Islamic State and other terrorist threats, I will keep advocating for Georgia’s military bases to have the resources they need to carry out their critical missions.
While there are many debates and decisions ahead, one thing is certain: I heard the message from voters loud and clear, and I look forward to representing them as we build a great future for our country.