Staff for U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., paid a visit to Brunswick Friday to, among other things, provide an update on the comings-and-goings on Capitol Hill.
But Isakson is not here at the moment — he remains in recovery from his second back surgery within a month.
“He’s doing good — he had his second surgery Wednesday to repair a hairline fracture that wasn’t serious at the time, but would’ve gotten serious if he hadn’t addressed it,” Amanda Maddox, Isakson’s communications director, said. “It’s put back his recovery by a week or two.”
She noted the senator has been rather bored and put his time to use by conducted a couple hour-long telephone town-halls with Georgia residents, but is looking forward to getting back to work in Washington.
Should Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s Obamacare replacement legislation, the American Health Care Act, survive its House opposition, talk has been that a handful of dissenting Republicans in the Senate could end up torpedoing the bill. Maddox said, however, the chances for the AHCA in the Senate are very much alive.
“I think some changes have to be made, but to say anything is ‘dead-on-arrival’ is not fair at this point,” Maddox said. “Someone had to do something — someone had to make the first move, and it was Spaker Ryan and the president. And, they’ve put forth a plan that they’ve explained exhaustively that it’s a three-part plan. This is the first part. It’s not going to be perfect, but it’s going to be worked on. The fact of the matter is, we have to do something. We have to do something before this spring, or before July, at the very least.”
She said Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price addressed the Senate Republican Caucus this week and expressed willingness to work with Congress on an administrative level, and that there is expected tailoring of the legislation to come.
Isakson’s Regional Director Jared Downs said the senator has been receiving a lot of feedback on the bill through the telephone town hall conference and from Georgians’ comments to staff.
“He’s on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, so this bill will come to his committee, and ... he’ll have his fingerprints on it,” Downs said. “He’ll be able to make the changes that need to be made to make it a little bit more palatable bill.”
Maddox said one of the things on the table going forward is making sure the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding is maintained, by one method or another.
Thursday, Isakson commented on the White House budget proposal, which while largely symbolic at the present time, provides some direction to Congress about President Donald Trump’s priorities.
Isakson said in a statement that “the president has requested additional funding over and above the previously scheduled funding for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers, known as FLETC, which has headquarters in Glynco, Ga. I have been working with our delegation to ensure FLETC can continue to carry out its critical mission of training our law enforcement articles.”