The blog.

3
Feb

Sen. Johnny Isakson & Richard Blumenthal: Praise Unanimous Senate Passage of Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill

Your Washington Desk

From Senator Johnny Isakson

Johnny 2016

Isakson, Blumenthal Praise Unanimous Senate Passage of Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill

‘The Clay Hunt SAV Act’ heads to president’s desk in show of strong bipartisan, bicameral support

U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, praised Senate passage of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act today by a vote of 99-0.

The legislation (H.R.203) — passed unanimously out of the Senate VA Committee on Jan. 21, 2015, as the committee’s first priority this Congress — seeks to improve mental health care and suicide prevention resources for American veterans.

“I am pleased the full Senate acted quickly following VA Committee passage on this urgent legislation,” said Isakson, who also is a veteran. “When you have 8,000 veterans a year committing suicide – which is more veterans than have died in all of Iraq and all of Afghanistan since we’ve been fighting – then you have a serious problem. This legislation is an important step toward providing better access to mental health resources for our veterans.”

“This breakthrough bipartisan step will help countless veterans overcome invisible wounds of war that lead to 22 tragic suicides every day,” said Blumenthal. “We owe these wounded warriors more effective mental health care, so they can win the war against inner demons that come home from service. This bill will help save lives – courageous, strong veterans who need and deserve enhanced psychiatric care, counseling, outreach support and accountability from the Veterans Administration. A friend of mine, Justin Eldridge of southeastern Connecticut, braved mortar fire and snipers in Afghanistan, returning to his young family with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress. Tragically, he slipped through the cracks at his local VA facility and eventually took his own life. As brave as he was on the battlefield, he could not win his war at home. We have an obligation to keep faith with our veterans, and this legislation – providing an impartial review of VA mental health programs, more centralized information and outreach, more support for VA psychiatrists – constitutes an important step.”

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3
Feb

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland: Supports ObamaCare Repeal

Your Washington – GA 3 – Desk

From Congressman Lynn Westmoreland 

Lynn

Westmoreland Supports ObamaCare Repeal

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 596, a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. Congressman Westmoreland is a cosponsor of this legislation and has voted in favor of a full repeal of ObamaCare at the start of every congress since the law was passed in 2010. In addition, Congressman Westmoreland has voted almost 50 times to repeal, delay, defund, or change the President’s healthcare law. Below is Congressman Westmoreland’s statement.

“We knew ObamaCare was bad, but the botched ObamaCare rollout in 2013 showed the American people how truly bad this government takeover actually is,” stated Westmoreland. “Premiums and healthcare device costs have doubled while many are still trying to make ends meet. Employers have been burdened with costs and are cutting back hours of part-time employees to save where they can, resulting in 2.5 million hard working Americans being cut from full-time status. As we approach the tax season, we are also seeing how ObamaCare is digging into tax returns and costing households even more. In fact, there have been $47 billion in IRS fines under the individual mandate and $1 trillion in new taxes. ObamaCare takes away from the patients and gives far too much power to the IRS.

“This ObamaCare repeal vote is more than a symbolic one, it’s a plea from the American people to scrap this trainwreck law and start over. ObamaCare was horribly written when it was passed, and it continues to get worse the more it’s implemented. The American people don’t want the government involved in their healthcare, and I will continue to vote to dismantle and repeal ObamaCare every opportunity I get.”

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3
Feb

Rep. Tom Graves: Votes to Repeal Obamacare

Your Washington – GA 14 – Desk

From Congressman Tom Graves 

Tom Graves 2

Rep. Tom Graves Votes to Repeal Obamacare

Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) issued the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 596, legislation that would repeal Obamacare:

“We need real health care reform that puts patients first and expands choice, not Obamacare’s top-down mandates that have resulted in higher premiums, limited choice and the cancellation of millions of health care plans. By repealing Obamacare in its entirety, we can start fresh on health care reform without the constraints of the unworkable and unfixable disaster that is Obamacare. House Republicans are developing patient-centered solutions, which preserve personal freedom, expand choice, and allow people to keep the doctor and health insurance plan they like and trust.”

Last week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced a new working group to continue developing patient-centered health care solutions to replace Obamacare. The group’s members are Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, and Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline.

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3
Feb

Sen. Buddy Carter: Supports Full Obamacare Repeal

Your Washington – GA 1 – Desk

From Congressman Buddy Carter 

Congressman Budy carter

Carter Supports Full Obamacare Repeal

 Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (GA-01) voted in favor of H.R. 596 today to fully repeal Obamacare. The legislation was passed by the House this afternoon.

“Today, I voted to repeal the health care law that is destroying the healthcare system that I proudly worked in for thirty years,” Carter said. “As a small business owner and healthcare professional, I have seen firsthand that many Georgians can no longer afford the astronomical costs of healthcare and they are forced to skip visits to the doctor, put off medical procedures and avoid filling prescriptions. No one should be burdened with the choice of whether they can or cannot receive medical care because of a misguided law that continues to kill jobs and our economy. Obamacare is driving the free market out of healthcare and preventing patients from having a say in their health – I refuse to let that happen.”

In addition to fully repealing Obamacare, the legislation would require Congress to create replacement legislation within 180 days of enactment.

“While I am pleased to support a full repeal, we can’t stop there,” Carter said. “American families deserve better than Obamacare and this legislation will allow Congress to create solutions to repair our broken healthcare system and empower patients with more choices, lower costs and better services.”

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3
Feb

VIDEO – Rep. Rick Allen: Supports Full ObamaCare Repeal on House Floor

Your Washington – GA 12 – Desk

From Congressman Rick Allen 

Rep. Rick Allen Supports Full ObamaCare Repeal on House Floor

3
Feb

Rep. Rick Allen: Applauds House Passage of Legislation Fully Repealing ObamaCare

Your Washington – GA 12 – Desk

From Congressman Rick Allen

Rick Allen

 

Rep. Rick Allen Applauds House Passage of  Legislation Fully Repealing ObamaCare

U.S. Congressman Rick Allen (R-Ga.-12) applauded action by the House today to pass legislation fully repealing ObamaCare. Allen was a cosponsor of the measure, H.R. 596, which the House approved with a vote of 239-186. The legislation fully repeals ObamaCare while also directing the chairmen of relevant committees in the House to craft alternative solutions to strengthen the nation’s health care system that foster growth, lower premiums and empower patients with more choices.

Allen issued the following statement upon the bill’s passage:

“From skyrocketing premiums to canceled health plans and lost access to their doctors, Georgians across the 12th district have felt the devastating effects of ObamaCare. Its burdens on small businesses continue to destroy jobs and have cut the hours and paychecks of millions of hardworking Americans. Simply put, ObamaCare is an unworkable law that is wrong for Americans and disastrous for our economy. I’m proud to act on behalf of my constituents who overwhelmingly oppose this law by supporting its full repeal. Importantly, the legislation passed by the House today allows Congress the opportunity to work on commonsense, patient-centered solutions to improve our health care system.

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3
Feb

Rep. Rob Woodall: Supports Full Repeal of Obamacare

Your Washington – GA 7 – Desk

From Congressman Rob Woodall

Rob Woodall

Woodall Supports Full Repeal of Obamacare

Today, U.S. Representative Rob Woodall (GA 07) issued the following statement regarding his support of H.R. 596, the “To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.”

“Today, I voted to fully repeal Obamacare, and set in motion a targeted approach to solve the problems created by a law that has regrettably been anything but affordable for American families and taxpayers,” said Woodall.  “From the time it was first jammed through on an entirely party-line vote, Obamacare has been a source of great conflict among the American people, and has broken the very promises on which it was based.  For the millions of Americans unable to keep their doctor or the plan they had, and unable to afford an alternative, the problem has only expanded.”

“The American people want practical solutions to these problems, and Republicans in the House are working hard to offer principled solutions, just as we did last Congress with the American Health Care Reform Act, and much more.”

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3
Feb

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for February 3, 2015

Wild and Wary

This is a meme that’s going around – the formerly wild and wary couch hounds.
Gwinnett43716

Gwinnett County inmate #43716 is a beautiful female Hound dog, described as “semi-friendly.” Sometimes dogs become scared, defensive, less friendly when they’re in the shelter, but teaching them what a loving home, regular meals, and a comfortable couch allow them to come out of their shells. Hounds have wonderful temperaments and make great family dogs. Dolly, our coonhound mix, is a Gwinnett Shelter alum too.

Barrow Award

Barrow County Animal Shelter volunteers received the 2014 Community Service award from the Barrow County Chamber of Commerce. They helped save more than 1,400 lives in 2014. 94% of healthy, friendly dogs were saved and 100% of healthy, friendly (non feral) cats were saved.

BarrowMastiff

Barrow County inmate #2015-01-065 is a 63-pound senior male Mastiff who needs a good home to help him through his golden years. He’s on the euthanasia list at Barrow County for tomorrow and needs to have adoption or a foster today.

Barrow Chihuahua Zoey

Zoey is at the other end of the size spectrum, a 14-year old, 18-pound Chihuahua mix female. She’s on the euthanasia list for tomorrow and needs a home today.

Barrow Male Lab

Barrow County #2015-02-003 is a friendly Male Lab mix, about 3-4 months old. He’s not yet been put on the list for Euthanasia, but he deserves a chance at life and adopting or fostering him will help save another dog.

Barrow Female Labs

Numbers 2015-02-004 and 2015-02-005 could very well be sisters to the other young Lab mix – they’re friendly 3-4 month old Lab mixes who weigh 24-27 pounds and are available for adoption today at the Barrow County Animal Shelter.

All dogs and cats in the Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare will be “pardoned” and adoption fees reduced to get them into homes and reduce the relocations (and possible euthanasia) associated with moving to a new facility.

3
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 3, 2015

On February 3, 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting.

On February 3, 1887, Congress adopted the Electoral Count Act to clarify how Congress was to count electoral votes.

Electoral vote counting is the oldest activity of the national government and among the oldest questions of constitutional law. It was Congress’s first task when a quorum appeared in the nation’s new legislature on April 6, 1789. It has happened every four years since then. Yet, electoral vote counting remains one of the least understood aspects of our constitutional order.

The Electoral Count Act of 1887 (ECA) lies at the heart of this confusion. In enacting the ECA, Congress drew on lessons learned from its twenty-five previous electoral counts; it sorted through innumerable proposals floated before and after the disastrous presidential election of 1876; and it thrashed out the ECA’s specific provisions over fourteen years of sustained debate. Still, the law invites misinterpretation. The ECA is turgid and repetitious. Its central provisions seem contradictory. Many of its substantive rules are set out in a single sentence that is 275 words long. Proponents of the law admitted it was “not perfect.” Contemporary commentators were less charitable. John Burgess, a leading political scientist in the late nineteenth century, pronounced the law unwise, incomplete, premised on contradictory principles, and expressed in language that was “very confused, almost unintelligible.” At least he thought the law was constitutional; others did not.

Over the nearly 120 years since the ECA’s adoption, the criticisms faded, only to be renewed whenever there was a close presidential election. Our ability to misunderstand the ECA has grown over time. During the 2000 presidential election dispute, politicians, lawyers, commentators, and Supreme Court justices seemed prone to misstate or misinterpret the provisions of the law, even those provisions which were clear to the generation that wrote them. The Supreme Court, for example, mistakenly believed that the Supreme Court of Florida’s erroneous construction of its election code would deny Florida’s electors the ECA’s “safe harbor” protection; Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s hasty submission of his state’s Certificate of Ascertainment was untimely under the Act; and Democratic members of Congress framed their objections to accepting Florida’s electoral vote on the wrong grounds. Even Al Gore, the presidential candidate contesting the election’s outcome, misread the federal deadline for seating Florida’s electors.

Only the United States Congress could so obfuscate a matter as seemingly simple as counting that its Act remained undecipherable for more than one hundred years.

The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified by Delaware on February 3, 1913, giving the Amendment the requisite Constitutional supermajority of three-fourths of the states. The text of the Amendment reads, in its entirety,

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

President Woodrow Wilson died on February 3, 1924 in Washington, DC. Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia (pronounced Stan-ton) and spent most of his youth to age 14 in Augusta, Georgia. Wilson started practicing law in Atlanta, Georgia in 1882, leaving the next year to pursue a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University. His wife, Ellen Louise Axson, was from Savannah, and they married in Rome, Ga in 1885.

On February 3, 1959, a chartered Beechcraft Bonanza carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson crashed near Mason City, Iowa, killing all aboard.

Jimi Hendrix recorded Purple Haze on this date in 1967.

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3
Feb

VIDEO – Senate in a Minute: Day 9

Your Georgia Desk

From The Senate Press Office and Senator Bruce Thompson

Senate in a Minute: Day 9