Taxpayer dollars at work: What your U.S. senators from Georgia are doing for the week ending June 23
This summer, GPB News Democracy intern Ambria Burton is following the activities of U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
Each week this summer on Fridays, we'll run down a list of activities that follow your dollars back to communities in Georgia.
This week, Ossoff and Warnock introduced new legislation focused on tax cuts, reproductive health care, and land-grant institutions; approved grants for broadband in rural Georgia; and delivered resources to help public safety in Allentown.
Warnock was amongst a group of Democratic senators to introduce new legislation cutting taxes for workers and families across the U.S. This legislation would help Georgia families and reduce child poverty.
The Working Families Tax Relief Act would make “the expansions of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit that Georgians saw in 2021 and 2022 become permanent, benefiting over 2 million Georgia children and 500,000 workers,” according to a June 20 press release. The tax cuts help working- and middle-class families keep up with the increasing cost of living by providing more income.
“These tax cuts for the middle class boosted our economy and provided comfort and opportunity to the families of more than 2 million Georgia kids, which is why I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Working Families Tax Relief Act, which would make these smart family-focused policies permanent by centering the people who matter the most in our federal policy,” Warnock said in a video introducing the bill.
Ossoff, with bipartisan support from Congress, will deliver resources to Allentown, Ga.’s all-volunteer fire department. The city will receive about $500,000 to “build a new fire station, ensuring their firefighters have the equipment and resources necessary to uphold the health and safety of the community,” per a June 20 statement.
The current fire station, which serves Wilkinson, Laurens, Twiggs, and Bleckley counties, has no areas for the firefighters to eat, sleep, or “wash off carcinogens they may have encountered during calls.”
The $500,000 grant to fund the project comes from the 2022 government funding package.
Warnock and Ossoff secured a $12 million grant for broadband in the rural areas of Northwest Georgia under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
According to a June 20 press release, the grant provides “high-speed, low-cost internet access through construction of a 195-mile fiber route across eight counties between Chattanooga, Tennessee; Bremen, Georgia; and Atlanta, Georgia.”
The multi-million-dollar grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program expands broadband infrastructure “to reduce the cost of connecting areas that are unserved or underserved.”
It's expected for the project in Northwest Georgia to take about two years to complete.
Reproductive health care
It’s been nearly a year since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and Warnock was amongst a group of Democratic senators to reintroduce legislation to grant women the right to access reproductive health care across states on Wednesday.
The Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act stops “anti-choice” states restricting travel for abortions and “empowers the Attorney General and impacted individuals to bring civil action against those who restrict a woman’s right to cross state lines to receive legal reproductive care” per a June 22 press release. The bill also covers health care workers in “pro-choice states” by protecting them from being prosecuted and served for treating people traveling from other states.
“Not only are some women being told what choices they can and cannot make, now there are draconian efforts to keep those women from leaving the state to get the health care they need,” Warnock said. “The Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act is more necessary than ever, and I plan to keep fighting to get this passed.”
Warnock announced on Thursday the introduction of the bicameral legislation that will boost agricultural research at 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, historically Black universities established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890.
The 1890s Advancing and Building Leadership and Excellence Opportunity Act of 2023, also known as the ENABLE Opportunity Act of 2023, intends to “increase the number of authorized Centers of Excellence at 1890 Land-Grant Institutions and strengthen funding for current COEs across the country,” as stated in the June 22 statement.
The bill would add four COEs “at HBCUs across the nation, focusing on spurring research and innovation in climate change, forestry reliance and conservation, food safety and bioprocessing and value-added agriculture, and transdisciplinary social science.”
Of the four new COEs, one, Georgia's Fort Valley State University, will potentially have a new agriculture center created there.
Other senators to lead the introduction of the legislation include U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and for the House of Representatives, U.S. Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC), Marilyn Strickland (D-WA), and Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-GA) back the effort.