U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.

Bill funds Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Georgia military families, installations; opioid treatment, workforce training

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., applauded the Senate passage of a comprehensive measure to fund the government in the areas of defense, education, health, human services and labor. The final measure included Isakson’s amendments to fund the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System and to address dangerous lead levels on military bases.

Thursday's legislation, H.R.6157, would also provide critical investments in our national defense and important resources for health care and education.

The measure comprises the eighth and ninth funding measures passed by the Senate this year to deliver on the Senate’s required task of passing bills that fund specific areas of the government. In contrast to recent years when the Senate has relied on continuing resolutions and massive last-minute “omnibus” bills to keep the U.S. government from shutting down, this Senate has now passed bills containing more than 90 percent of annually appropriated federal spending on time and under regular order.

“With the passage of today’s legislation we’re preparing for the future with investments in our military, education and workforce, and health care,” said Isakson. “I’m pleased we’ve secured the necessary funding for the National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System, which was included in the 21st Century Cures Act to advance research on Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological diseases that affect so many lives. Additionally, our military families should not have to worry about their safety due to lead-based paint problems in their military housing, so I’m glad to be taking further steps to address this issue to prevent lead poisoning and protect our military families and children going forward.

“We’re delivering on the promises we made to our service members to give them a pay raise and equip them with the training and resources necessary to confront threats and protect our national security. We’re also directing more funding to helping workers acquire the skills they need for 21st century jobs and fighting the growing opioid epidemic that has already claimed too many lives.

“These resources will make a difference for our Georgia communities. I’m pleased that Congress is diligently working to fulfill its commitment to fund the government through individual measures that help direct and prioritize our spending,” said Isakson.

Additional Isakson-supported provisions included in the agreement are below.

Defense

The Senate-passed legislation maintains increased defense funding for our military assets in Georgia, including the full funding of a pay raise for our troops. The measure ensures that the members of our all-volunteer service receive the training, resources, adaptability and equipment necessary while helping grow personnel strength in the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.

Lead Poisoning in Military Housing

Following a recent report about lead poisonings and dangerous lead levels in housing on U.S. Army installations that is potentially endangering military families, Isakson filed a bipartisan amendment that was adopted to require the Government Accountability Office to report on the monitoring and remediation of lead and verifiable compliance with lead exposure limits in military housing. Isakson’s amendment was included in the final legislation along with another amendment he cosponsored to require that children who reside on military installations undergo blood testing for lead during both their 12- and 24-month wellness checks.

Health

National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System

In addition to provided increased funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the legislation includes an amendment introduced by Isakson and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., to include $5 million in funding for the surveillance system. The plan for the system was developed to help advance research on neurological diseases and was previously included in the 21st Century Cures Act, H.R.34, which Isakson championed in the Senate and became law in 2016.

Opioid Epidemic

The legislation provides an increase in funding for the fourth year in a row for opioid treatment, prevention and recovery programs related to the opioid epidemic harming families in Georgia and across America. It also funds State Opioid Response Grants at $1.5 billion to allow states to create action plans that meet the needs of their states. The Georgia Department of Public Health this week announced an initial Statewide Opioid Strategic Plan as part of a statewide strategic response to address Georgia’s opioid crisis.

On Aug. 9, Isakson spoke at a meeting of Georgia’s Statewide Opioid Task Force in Augusta, Ga., that was the last large stakeholder meeting held ahead of the plan’s unveiling on Aug. 21. Plans are underway at the Georgia Department of Law for the next meeting of the group.

Education and Workforce

The legislation passed today provides funding for training and employment services, including $160 million for apprenticeship programs and $30 million on displaced workers in rural communities. The measure also includes $13.5 billion for special education programs.