District Connection - 9/3/19
Senator Isakson’s presence and unique ability to build consensus around solutions to the problems Americans face will be sorely missed in the Senate. He is certainly one of Georgia’s giants. I am incredibly grateful to him for the decades of service he has given us in the State of Georgia, and I am equally grateful to his wonderful family for sharing him so freely with us. I will miss my friend in the Senate, but I join all Georgians in celebrating his service to our state and nation.
- Gwinnett Daily Post. U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson to step down at the end of the year
Yesterday, we celebrated the American worker. The American Dream was forged through faith, family, freedom, and hard work. In keeping with that great tradition, we celebrated the grit and grind of our nation’s most industrious workers.
I hope that you, and your family, had a safe and happy Labor Day.
Last week, President Trump attended the Group of 7 meeting, called as such because it is comprised of the world’s seven largest and advanced economies: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan. This year’s meeting was hosted by France in the city of Biarritz. As one can imagine, the topics of these meetings are wide-ranging from climate change to global security, but the primary concern of the leaders of the G7 was global trade. Trade disputes have afflicted the global economy for some time, whether it is each of the G7 nations and China, the U.K. with the rest of Europe, or the U.S. with Europe or any other permutation. The leaders discussed how to best settle these problems for the economic benefit of all. Unlike previous meetings, this meeting did not end with a united “communique” or statement from the group on policies it agrees to pursue.
That is not to say that good news did not come out of the meeting. During the summit, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that our two countries had agreed to a preliminary trade agreement. What’s more, after the summit, President Trump announced that the U.S. and China will resume trade negotiations to resolve the ongoing trade war. While our economy has been growing and doing well, ending trade conflicts around the globe would only improve that progress. Looking ahead, President Trump will be at the 74th meeting of the U.N. General Assembly where he will have more opportunities to speak with world leaders and settle trade uncertainties.
- Business Insider. G7 Summit Leaders Clash
- CNBC. Trump says US and China resume trade talks Thursday ‘at a different level’
- Politico. U.S. and Japan strike trade deal ‘in principle’
With Medicare’s Fall Open Enrollment period around the corner, I want to take this opportunity to highlight Medicare’s upgraded Plan Finder tool and bring to your attention other modifications the program has made to its online platforms and tools.
For those of you familiar with the Medicare program, the Plan Finder tool is used by individuals to search for Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) Plans, and it is reported to be the most used online tool offered. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), this is the first time in more than a decade the Plan Finder tool has been modernized to meet the needs and demands of today’s users and to address common complaints associated with the Plan Finder. To name a few of the upgrades CMS made to the Plan Finder, users of the tool can now compare pricing between Original Medicare, Medicare prescription drug plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policies, as well as build a personal drug formulary to ensure that a prospective plan meets their needs as best as possible. CMS is rolling out the new Plan Finder in phases alongside the old Plan Finder through September 2019 to allow ample time for users to become familiar with the modifications. If you know that you or a loved one will be searching for a plan or coverage in the coming months, I’d certainly recommend that you take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the upgraded Plan Finder tool, which you can do by clicking HERE.
Additionally, CMS recently redesigned the Medicare.gov homepage and the MyMedicare.gov portal to enhance user experience and site navigation, as well as to ensure critical information is relayed in an easy-to-read fashion. With more than 10,000 people joining Medicare each day, I believe it is crucial for information to be easily accessible for individuals so that they may easily compare plans and pick those that best suit their needs. These changes and updates are part of the Trump Administration’s eMedicare Initiative, and as such, I commend CMS for taking the necessary steps to make these long-overdue improvements so that the program can better serve beneficiaries into the future.
- Healthcare Finance. Medicare Plan Finder gets upgrade for the first time in a decade
As you may have heard this past week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), revised its rules for children who were born abroad and who live abroad with American citizen parents. Whenever citizenship issues are discussed, there are swift and partisan reactions from news organizations and political pundits. In fact, the first reaction from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the revised policy shameful and warned that it was an attack on US servicemembers and diplomats. Of course, that’s not true at all, and once the initial hysteria subsided, and USCIS was able to clarify the revision, demonstrating how the policy is not only justified, but also made at the request of the State Department.
While the State Department is responsible for issuing passports to U.S. citizens, USCIS is responsible for conferring citizenship status for an individual. Each agency was interpreting a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act differently, and as such, children born abroad and living abroad with U.S. citizen parents were being trapped in a legal limbo between these two agencies. The revised policy harmonizes interpretations of the law and only requires parents to file new paperwork with USCIS to provide their children with U.S. citizenship. And according to USCIS, while this change will affect a very small number of families, it is a good governance reform ensuring our federal agencies are working together instead of in competition with each other, and that’s a positive reform for the American people.
- Washington Post. Trump administration clarifies policy on citizenship of children born abroad to American servicemembers
I am blessed to represent communities where caring for your neighbor is your most important job. Grace Arbor in Lawrenceville is a model of how the 7th District puts our community first. I recently had the pleasure of visiting Grace Arbor to learn more about the ways in which the program offers top-notch respite services to individuals grappling with Alzheimer’s Disease and other related dementias. We discussed how Congress can be an ally in assisting seniors and caregivers across the nation.
This district work period, my staff and I have had the opportunity to meet with students, teachers, local business owners, organizations, and more --- all who have been touched in some way by the work we do in Washington and, more importantly, whose efforts directly impact our surrounding community. The work that they do is truly what makes the Seventh District of Georgia such a great place to live, but more than the impassioned leaders and individuals who make our community special is the unique blend of businesses and organizations, both large and small, who contribute to quality jobs, a skilled workforce, and our economic success. And those economic drivers extend beyond what initially may come to mind.
As you know, one of the defining features encompassed in the Seventh District is the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA). Covering roughly 48 miles along the river, the CRNRA is a shared economic, social, and ecological resource of immense value to the metro-Atlanta area and our state. While the ecological services the Chattahoochee River affords to the neighboring environment and wildlife alone are invaluable, in 2016, the CRNRA also supported more than 1,800 jobs and accounted for a $166 million benefit to the local economy. If you were one of the more than 2.8 million visitors who visited the CRNRA last year, you undoubtedly benefited from the work of the National Park Service, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Trust for Public Land, local officials, and a number of invested stakeholders and volunteers who are not only working to preserve the existing area, but those groups who are also looking to expand access to the CRNRA as a valuable ecological and recreational space through its Chattahoochee Riverlands project. The ability of these groups to preserve, maintain, and grow the CRNRA as a public connector without undue federal and judicial influence is key to the region’s success, and I will continue to do what I can to support their efforts so that the CRNRA remains a place to fish, kayak, cycle, hike, and more for current and future generations.
The 7th District has incredible female leaders that make our community a better place to live. Last week, some of these women were recognized at the Gwinnett Chamber’s 2019 Moxie Awards. The event celebrates female leaders and organizations that have contributed to the advancement of women in our community. Among the recipients were women at the peak of their career and women rising in their profession. In addition to the award ceremony, there was a panel discussion that included female CEOs from various organizations. I would like to congratulate all the award recipients and I wish them continued success moving forward.
- Gwinnett Daily Post. Gwinnett Chamber celebrates female leaders at annual Moxie Awards
There is a long history of incredible athletic achievement in the 7th District. This weekend, when the annual rodeo at the Cumming Fairgrounds returns, 6-year-old Ella Bennett will participate in the barrel racing event. Ella has been racing for the last half year and has traveled all over the country to hone her skills. She rides two or three times a week with trainers and sometimes travels on the weekends, riding in different parts of the state and country. Ella loves to go fast, and no matter the speed, she never gets scared. I would like to commend Ella for her tenacity and wish her the best of luck this weekend.
- Forsyth County News. ‘She has no fear:’ Forsyth County’s Ella Bennett, 6, to ride in annual rodeo at Cumming Fairgrounds
Member of Congress