Sen. Johnny Isakson: Weekly Newsletter


Sen. Johnny Isakson: Weekly Newsletter

Your Washington Desk:


From Senator Johnny Isakson

Weekly Newsletter from Senator Johnny Isakson

President Obama announced he will nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell, director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services. In her current position, Burwell recently prevented Georgia’s number one economic development project – the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project – from moving forward. She ought to prepare for some tough questions I’ll be asking on behalf of Georgians during the confirmation process in the Senate Finance Committee.

The President’s Budget – Entitlement Reform, Medicaid Expansion

On Thursday, just hours before Sebelius announced she was resigning as Health and Human Services Secretary, she testified at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee on the president’s budget for Fiscal Year 2015.

I questioned her regarding the need for structural reforms to the nation’s unsustainable entitlement programs. The actuarial clock is ticking on our country in terms of debt and

deficit, and all of us, in both parties, are going to have to sit around a table and have some very difficult discussions. If we continue to promise more than we can deliver, and don’t reform the system, one day, the game is going to be up and the American people are going to be left holding the bag.


Additionally, I voiced my concern regarding the federal government’s ability to live up to its promises of cost-sharing with states that chose to expand Medicaid coverage under Obamacare.

Under Obamacare, the federal government will initially pay the full cost of each state’s expansion, but the amount of the federal government’s share will decline thereafter. President Obama himself has previously suggested further reducing the federal share of the cost of Medicaid expansion as a way to reduce the federal deficit.

As you are likely already aware, the federal government’s track record of cost-sharing with states is not great. For example, the federal government has never fully funded its share of states’ costs for educating children with disabilities. You can watch my full exchange with Secretary Sebelius here.

In Other News

This week, I enjoyed speaking with eighth graders at Hilsman Middle School in Athens, Ga. via Skype technology. Their questions were insightful and I had a lot of fun hearing from them. If your school or class is interested in participating in a Skype session with me, please contact my office using this webform or give us a call at (202) 224-3643.

Augusta, Ga., is hosting the annual Masters Tournament this week in their fair city. I wish all of the golfers fortunate enough to participate in this historic tournament my best, welcome our visitors from around the globe and thank Augustans for the hospitality they show each year.

What’s on Tap?

The Senate will not be in session for the next two weeks in observance of Passover and Easter holidays. When the Senate returns, work will likely begin on a bill to increase the minimum wage for $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. The next e-newsletter will be sent on April 25, 2014.


Johnny Isakson

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