U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., took his third oath of office in the U.S. Senate as the 115th Congress convened today. He again marked the occasion with his family in attendance in the Senate chamber, including his wife Dianne, their three grown children, spouses and grandchildren.
Isakson, who turned 72 last week, made history as the first Republican to be sworn in to a third term in the U.S. Senate representing Georgia. He also holds the distinction as the first Georgian to be elected to the state House, state Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
“I am eager to begin the 115th Congress and continue my lifelong passion of serving Georgians,” said Isakson. “It means the world to have the support of my family, and I look forward to working with the new Republican administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the days ahead to advance the ideals that make our American democracy great and to get the best results for Georgia and America.”
Isakson has been tapped to continue his service on five key U.S. Senate committees in the 115thCongress, including remaining chairman of two of those committees – the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. Isakson will also continue to serve on the Senate finance, foreign relations and health, education and labor committees and will help shape the future of healthcare, tax reform and foreign policy on behalf of Georgians and the nation.
“I look forward to continuing to lead in the Senate to fix the problems that have plagued the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for far too long,” said Isakson, who is a veteran himself. “Working with the Trump administration, we will bring real accountability and restore a culture of service to the VA. We are also going to do everything possible to reduce the amount of time the VA takes to review appeals on veterans’ benefit claims and to ensure veterans have the choice of receiving health care from providers in their community, two of my top priorities this Congress.”
Isakson will again serve on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (known as HELP) and the Senate Committee on Finance, which will lead efforts in replacing Obamacare.
“Repealing and replacing Obamacare with patient-focused, quality, affordable healthcare is a top priority for the incoming administration, and I am excited to steer this process as a member of the Senate health committees that oversee health care,” Isakson said. “Too many Georgians have been hurt by Obamacare’s rising costs, lack of choices and broken promises. After Obamacare is repealed, we can begin implementing free-market principles that will increase choice and lower the cost of health care for Georgia families and businesses.”
As a member of the Finance Committee, Isakson will also play a key role under new presidential leadership in reforming the nation’s broken tax code. Isakson was again assigned to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which will develop and influence U.S. foreign policy and the global fight against radical Islamic terrorism.
“I have been pleased to provide a businessman’s perspective as a member of the Finance Committee and to provide input through our bipartisan working groups as we move towards reforming our nation’s broken tax system,” said Isakson. “Under the leadership of the incoming administration, I look forward to simplifying the individual income tax and reducing the heavy burden of tax filing on American taxpayers and small businesses. Reforming the corporate income tax will help keep more jobs and investment here in America.”
Continued service as chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is a priority for Isakson, who has long been focused on improving the quality and timeliness of care at Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities across the country, including mental healthcare. Isakson helped to begin uncovering signs of neglect and mismanagement at the Atlanta VA Medical Center after holding a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee field hearing there in August 2013.
Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate VA Committee since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the military as well as more than 750,000 veterans. He was first named chair of the Senate VA Committee in 2015.
Isakson has served on the Ethics Committee since 2007. He served as vice chair of the committee from 2009 until 2014 and will remain chairman in this new Congress.
“My service on the Ethics Committee is so important to me, and I will continue to do all I can to uphold the integrity of the ethical standards of the U.S. Senate in a fair, nonpartisan manner,” said Isakson.
Committee assignments for the 115th Congress were confirmed earlier today by the Senate Republican Conference, and formal committee approval and ratification of chairmen will take place later this month.