Gooch: Senate Gets Down to Business

State & National

Senate Gets Down to Business

By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)

Although the Senate was in session for only two days this week, my colleagues and I were very busy under the Gold Dome addressing budget proposals and a key piece of legislation on the Senate Floor.

The week started with Joint Senate and House Appropriations hearings on the Amended FY18 and General FY19 budgets. Governor Deal kicked off the hearings which included several different agencies presenting their budget proposals. I am happy to say that the state’s budget continues to be in good shape, with the General FY19 budget topping $26 billion for the first time. The General FY19 budget proposals were drafted with an estimated 2.9 percent state fund growth and around 3.8 percent tax revenue growth over the Amended FY18 revenue estimates. Included in the General FY19 budget are increases in funding for education and transportation.

The General FY19 budget addresses the needs for the state to meet determined employer contributions within the Teachers Retirement System with a proposed increase of around $364 million. Additionally, around $120 million would be appropriated for enrollment growth and training. Along with these positive changes in the General FY19 budget, an important proposal in the Amended FY18 budget is adding $15 million to purchase 194 school buses statewide. This will positively impact our students by ensuring that buses are not overcrowded.

The state’s growing need to address transportation infrastructure is also addressed in the General FY19 budget. An additional $31.6 million in projected revenues resulting from House Bill 170 – passed during the 2015 Legislation Session – will be added to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) budget. I am very happy to see that a piece of legislation we passed a couple of years ago is still making positive impacts for GDOT.

Along with attending the budget hearings and carefully reviewing the proposals for the Amended FY18 and General FY19 budgets, my colleagues and I took up a very important piece of legislation in Senate Chamber. On Thursday, the Senate passed the Supporting and Strengthening Families Act, also known as the Adoption Bill, or HB 159. This bill passed with bipartisan support and is now headed over to the House of Representatives for their review. Final passage of this legislation and a signature into law by the Governor would allow our state to update our adoption system which has been the same for nearly 30 years.

The Senate’s version of HB 159 clarifies many of the laws regarding who can adopt, who can act as a legal guardian and the rights held by the biological parents before and after giving their child up for adoption. Additionally, the version the Senate passed on Thursday states that if an agency is not involved in a private adoptive process, living expenses cannot be paid. The only expenses that can be paid in a private adoption are medical and counseling. These are just some of the highlights of the Senate version of HB 159. As this legislation moves through the legislative process, my colleagues and I will work with the Governor and House of Representatives to ensure there is cooperation to address concerns anyone may have. It is imperative that we pass this legislation so that we can assist the large number of children who are in foster care and need a loving and stable home.

The pace of the session is going to pick up quickly with standing committees beginning to hold meetings next week to vet legislation pending from last year along with new bills introduced this year. As we move forward in the session, please do not hesitate to reach out with questions, concerns and feedback. It is always great to hear from my constituents and our door is always open.

Senator David Perdue Discusses Immigration Latest On Fox News & ABC

State & National

Senator David Perdue Discusses Immigration Latest On Fox News & ABC

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) spoke with Trish Regan on Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures and George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week about recent meetings at the White House to fix the legal immigration system.

Highlights from Sunday Morning Futures

Negotiating A Deal: “The President has been very clear that any solution to DACA must include border security, including the wall, an end to chain migration, and an end to the visa lottery. Last week, we had two meetings at the White House. President Trump is very engaged on this issue, just like he was on tax. I’m hopeful we can get symmetry in this negotiation. In my business experience, that’s how you get to a deal and I still think there is a possibility to do that.”

Double Talk From Democrats: “It’s a gross distraction from the issue. Senators Schumer and Durbin both talked about ending parts of chain migration on the Senate floor. We’re doing things that the Democrats have voted for and have supported in the past. Under Bill Clinton in the 90s, we had a Presidential Commission actually recommend limiting chain migration and recommend moving to a merit-based immigration system based on who you are and not where you are from. The problem now is politics. That’s what’s so frustrating to all of us.”

Focusing The Scope: “Congress has failed three times in the last 11 years to fix the immigration system because they’ve been too comprehensive and tried to solve the legal problem, the temporary work visa problem, and the illegal immigration problem at the same time. What we’re doing now is limiting this debate to just the legal immigration system and I believe we can get to a solution.”

President’s Agenda Is Working: “If this were any other president getting the results that we’re getting right now in the economy, we would be crowing about the results. Two million new jobs created last year, 860 rules and regulations pulled back, 500 bureaucrats fired at the VA for non-performance, 300 fired in the Department of Education, consumer confidence is at a 17-year high, CEO confidence is at a 20-year high, 123 companies decided to give year-end bonuses because of our action on tax. This economy is beginning to move and what we have to do now is focus on immigration, infrastructure, and trade to keep moving the economy forward.”

Responding To Hawaii: “I don’t know the details of that yet, but it just heightens the fact that somebody made a mistake somewhere. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I can assure you that we’ll get to the bottom of that.”

Highlights from This Week

Solving DACA: “The problem is Washington career politicians who just want to pander to their base. What we have right now is a gross misrepresentation of a meeting from Thursday. Two days earlier, the President held an hour-long open meeting with the media where Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate debated the issue. We want to solve the DACA problem. We want border security with a wall. We want to end chain migration and the visa lottery. That’s the scope we all agreed on Tuesday.”

Record Of Misrepresenting: “In 2013, Senator Durbin made the same allegation against a Republican leader in a meeting with President Obama, saying he chewed out the president and that this Republican leader was so disrespectful to President Obama they couldn’t even have the meeting. That’s what he said that in 2013. Later that day, President Obama’s own press secretary came out and said, ‘it did not happen.’ This is about a gross misrepresentation, and it’s not the first time.”

Current Negotiation Parameters: “We’re focusing on four things. The President has been consistent all along about what he wants in an immigration deal. I have been consistent. Senator Cotton has been consistent. Any deal on DACA has to include border security, including a wall, and the end to chain migration. That’s been consistent for the past year.”

Getting Started in 2018

State & National

Getting Started in 2018

By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)

On Monday, January 8, 2018, we reconvened for the second session of the 154th Georgia General Assembly, which many anticipate will be very fast-paced. The Georgia Senate began our business with leadership changes and three new members. We will also welcome another new member next week who won a special election on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.

In addition to welcoming three new members, Sen. David Shafer, who served as the Senate President Pro Tempore since 2013, resigned his position and the Georgia Senate nominated and elected Sen. Butch Miller to serve in this role. Sen. Miller is a fellow North Georgian and we are honored to have him as our next Pro Temp. The Senate Committee on Assignments also announced chairmen and committee assignments for the upcoming year.

In addition to my duties as Senate Majority Whip, I will continue to serve as the Vice-Chair of the Transportation Committee, the Secretary of the Appropriations Committee, as a member of the Finance, MARTOC, Regulated Industries and Utilities committees and as ex-officio on the Senate Assignments and Rules committees.

As we draw near to the second week of session, we will begin budget hearings as we craft the Amended FY18 and General FY19 budgets. During these meetings and agency presentations, I will keep the prosperity of all Georgians in mind as we finely comb through proposals. Our focus will be on saving tax payers’ dollars while ensuring economic growth and job creation continues to grow in our great state.

Something new here at the Georgia Senate is livestreaming of standing committees that meet in one of the five rooms wired during the Senate Transparency Project. This is in addition to the Senate Chamber being livestreamed during session days. The goal of this project is to bring transparency to standing committee meetings, where legislation is discussed and vetted before moving forward in the legislative process. Another objective is to provide access to our process for those who do not live in the metro area and cannot get to Senate committee meetings quickly. I truly encourage you all to take the time to watch these livestreams. But, if you can’t get to a computer during the meeting time, each and every meeting video is archived to be watched during any time—day or night.

On day four of the session, Gov. Deal gave his last State of the State address. Within his address, Gov. Deal focused on the growth across the board within the state of Georgia. For the past five years, Georgia has been named the number one place to do business. Overall, we have a very busy session calendar ahead of us as we work on the Governor’s budget proposals, legislation pending from last year and other issues that may arise.

I would like to say thank you to all of my constituents for your encouragement and care for the 51st District of Georgia. Please call or email me with any questions, comments or concerns you have and I look forward to hearing from you.

Senator David Perdue Discusses President Trump’s Economic Agenda On Bloomberg TV

State & National

Senator David Perdue Discusses President Trump’s Economic Agenda On Bloomberg TV

“It’s high time we tell the rest of the world what’s important to American workers and American businesses”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) spoke with David Westin on Bloomberg TV’s Daybreak America about the positive impact President Trump’s agenda is having on our economy, American workers, and American businesses.

 

Accomplishing Job One: “We are already seeing growth. President Trump said job one was growing the economy. He focused on three things. First was the regulatory work. Last year, we reversed around 860 rules and regulations. Second was unleashing our energy potential. We opened up oil exploration in Alaska and addressed Waters of the U.S. and Clean Power Plan regulations. The third was tax. President Trump accomplished the three things he deemed important to grow the economy.”

Growing The Economy: “We have had two quarters of 3% growth and we’re about to have a third in my opinion. Now that we have tax in play we are going to see a continuation of this in 2018. The President has jumpstarted and grown this economy.”

Negotiating Fairer Agreements: “There are things that are problematic with NAFTA. They can be solved, and I think the President is focused on fixing those problems. We need a level playing field, and President Trump wants to have equal access to all of these markets.”

Fighting For American Interests: “President Trump is willing to take a risk to stand up for American interests. President Trump has made it clear that we know what’s important to the rest of the world because they’ve been telling us for 30 years. It’s high time we tell the rest of the world what’s important to American workers and American businesses.”

Recognizing Debt Crisis: “We’ve had four increases in the federal funds rate in the last 15 months. Even worse, over the last eight years during the Obama Administration when interest rates were fundamentally zero, they didn’t go long in our bond portfolio. The duration of most of our $20 trillion debt portfolio is under three years. So this is going to come rolling on our backs. If interest rates were at their 30-year average of about 5%, we’d be paying about $1 trillion a year in interest. That just isn’t going to happen on a $4 trillion budget. We’re in a crisis mode.”

Senator David Perdue Discusses Fixing Legal Immigration System On Fox News

State & National

Senator David Perdue Discusses Fixing Legal Immigration System On Fox News

“The January 19 deadline to fund the government and the March 5 DACA deadline are two totally separate issues”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) spoke with Brian Kilmeade on Fox News’ Fox & Friends about yesterday’s bipartisan meeting at the White House to fix the legal immigration system.

Goals Established: “This President is an outsider. He is a business guy. He wants to get results on this issue just like he did on tax. What we did yesterday is agree on two things. One, we agreed on the scope of this current negotiation. We are not trying to solve all of our immigration problems here. What we want to do is solve the DACA issue, address border security, eliminate chain migration, and end the archaic visa lottery program. The second thing the President did yesterday was establish a sense of urgency. That is something rare in Washington.”

Differentiating Deadlines: “The January 19 deadline to fund the government, and the March 5 DACA deadline are two totally separate issues. I heard members on the other side talk about that after the meeting. January 19 is about funding the government, and that is another conversation entirely.”

Broad Support: “72% of Americans believe immigration should be focused on the worker and the immediate family. Name another idea or another issue here in Washington that 70% of Americans agree on. This is one issue where the American people are going to hold us accountable.”

Sense Of Urgency: “We are still working against a hard deadline of March 5. That’s how you bring a sense of urgency and get things done in Congress. President Trump said yesterday that he expects results on this issue. He is willing to work with us day and night. I think that was evident yesterday from the conversation we had in the White House.”

Focused Negotiations: “I give the President high marks for bringing a focus to this issue and not trying to solve every problem related to immigration but instead, focus right now on the legal immigration system.”

Senator David Perdue: President Trump Driving Consensus To Fix Our Legal Immigration System

State & National

Senator David Perdue: President Trump Driving Consensus To Fix Our Legal Immigration System

“My personal focus continues to be on how we eliminate chain migration, which is a fundamental flaw in our current immigration policy”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) made the following comments after the White House meeting on immigration today:

“President Trump, being an outsider and business guy, is driving consensus between Republicans and Democrats to fix our legal immigration system. Today’s White House meeting was to define the scope of this negotiation to include four items: solving the DACA situation, addressing border security, ending chain migration, and eliminating the outdated visa lottery. President Trump is trying to instill a sense of urgency to get something done on immigration, but this topic should not be part of funding the federal government. My personal focus continues to be on how we eliminate chain migration, which is a fundamental flaw in our current immigration policy. If any conversation about DACA is being held without that consideration, it is not going to go anywhere in the United States Senate. The first thing a DACA recipient will do if given permanent status is use chain migration laws to sponsor those who violated the law originally. Ending chain migration and eliminating the outdated visa lottery program is in our national security and economic interest. President Trump has done a great job making sure this remains a top priority in any immigration discussion.”

Georgia Trend names Sen. Steve Gooch one of Georgia’s most influential people

State & National

ATLANTA – Senator Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega) was recognized as one of Georgia’s most influential people by Georgia Trend magazine. The magazine’s annual list recognizes the 100 Most Influential Georgians.

“It is an honor to be recognized among this distinguished list of leaders in our great state,” said Sen. Gooch. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and local community leaders to keep Georgia moving in the right direction. Over the past several years, we have seen numerous businesses moving to Georgia leading to additional economic growth and job creation. We will work hard during this upcoming session to continue this progress for our state.”

Georgia Trend recognized Sen. Gooch’s work in the Georgia Senate and his consistent efforts to improve education and public schools for children in his district and around the state. They also acknowledged his work on job creation, immigration, tax reform and the right to bear arms. Sen. Gooch has also been a leader for transportation in Georgia.

Georgia Trend releases their 100 Most Influential Georgians list annually. The list includes individuals who make a positive impact on the lives of Georgians and make decisions that affect the well-being of the state. Naming the top 100 is a year-round process and the final list includes those who “have exhibited the character necessary to inspire, challenge, lead – and influence us.”

Additional information can be found on the Georgia Trend magazine website link below:

http://www.georgiatrend.com/January-2018/2018-100-Most-Influential-Georgians/

Senator David Perdue Works To Strengthen Georgia’s HBCUs

State & National

Senator David Perdue Works To Strengthen Georgia’s HBCUs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus, joined Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) to help improve the financial health of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), some of our nation’s most critical higher education institutions.

Despite the fact that HBCUs provide educational opportunities to some of our nation’s most promising students, these institutions too often struggle financially. The HBCU Capital Financing Improvement Act would make technical changes to the HBCU Capital Financing Program, providing HBCUs access to capital financing or refinancing for the repair, renovation, and construction of campus infrastructure. These changes will allow more institutions to have access to the program, helping to offset disproportions faced by HBCUs in the private bond market.

“Georgia is home to 10 fantastic HBCUs that play an important role in educating America’s next leaders,” said Senator Perdue. “I am working to ensure all HBCUs in Georgia have the opportunity to get financial assistance for capital improvement projects that will only contribute to their positive impact on our state.”

Background

There are currently 10 HBCUs located in Georgia including Albany State University, Clark Atlanta University, Fort Valley State University, Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Morris Brown College, Paine College, Savannah State University, and Spelman College. Senator Perdue has consistently worked to promote the interests of Georgia’s HBCUs in the U.S. Senate.

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