Special to the Journal
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today made the following statement following the Senate passage of H.R.3647, the omnibus appropriations legislation. The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 72 to 26.
“I voted for the omnibus appropriations bill today because it contained several key provisions that are critically important to Georgians and the economic future of our state. In addition, the spending levels in this bill will not add to our deficit.
“This package includes language that will help us make progress with Georgia’s number one economic development project – the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. This appropriations bill, combined with the upcoming adoption of the conference report on the Water Resources Development Act, will ensure that the Savannah harbor is expanded and that Georgia remains preeminent in the import-export business of America.
“I’m also pleased that this bill prevents cuts to benefits for military widows and widowers as well as for disabled veterans that were set to take place in 2015. Our brave men and women who have served in our armed forces and their families should not have to disproportionally bear the burden of our country’s fiscal challenges, and I will continue to work to ensure that all of our military retirees are protected from unfair cuts to their benefits.
“While this bill is not perfect, it is a step in the right direction toward getting Congress back in the business of budgeting and appropriating, rather than continuing the pattern of last-minute showdowns on short-term patches.”
The House passed H.R.3647 on Wednesday by a vote of 359 to 67. The bill will now go to the president for his signature.
Isakson has worked to expand the Port of Savannah since arriving in Congress and has made the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project one of his top economic priorities in the Senate. Studies by the Army Corps of Engineers show a 5.5-to-1 benefit to cost ratio, meaning that for every dollar spent on the deepening, the nation will reap $5.50 in benefits.
Isakson has also co-sponsored several bills and amendments that would repeal recent cuts in the military retiree cost-of-living adjustment included in December’s budget agreement.