Neither Sen. Jon Ossoff nor Sen. Raphael Warnock are up for reelection this year — the former will run again in 2026 and the latter in 2028. But 2024 is off to a busy start for both senators. In this recurring digital news series, GPB follows your federal tax dollars back to the state of Georgia each week.


For the week ending April 26, 2024, Sens Warnock and Ossoff discussed global issues with Pope Francis, expanded tax deductions for Georgia teachers, worked to improve the water structure in Bulloch County and provided resources to Georgia’s busiest water ports.


Bulloch County Water

On April 18, Sen. Ossoff shared that he is delivering $1 million in resources to help install a new sewer force main to improve Bulloch County’s water infrastructure.

With Hyundai building a new plant in Statesboro, the most populous county in Bulloch County, Ossoff says it is a big priority to fix the water system in the area.

“With Hyundai’s new plant under construction, there’s an urgent need to expand water infrastructure for families and businesses in Coastal Georgia,” Sen Ossoff said in a statement. “I successfully brought Republicans and Democrats in Congress together to deliver funding to help upgrade Bulloch County’s water infrastructure to support economic growth and expand opportunity for families.”


Seniors Cancer Screenings

On April 18, Ossoff also launched an effort to pass bipartisan legislation to expand early detection cancer screenings for Georgia senior citizens.

The Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act would “allow Medicare to cover FDA-approved multi-cancer early detection (MCED) screening tests and allow more seniors across Georgia to catch the disease in its early stages,” per a press release.

This legislation could help detect cancer in senior citizens earlier as the American Cancer Society found in a report that in Georgia, about 63,170 cancer cases will be diagnosed this year, with about 18,740 cancer deaths.


Vatican Visit

Warnock Vatican City

Sen. Warnock in Vatican City.

Credit: Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock/X

On April 20, Sen. Warnock, a senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

There, they discussed global issues relating to Gaza, Ukraine, and Sudan “and the need for peace, as well as what it means to be a faith leader operating in the public square,” per a press statement.

Following his visit, Warnock told MSNBC: “The thing about Pope Francis is that he centers human dignity, particularly the dignity of the most marginalized members of the human family. That is something that I’ve tried to do in my ministry and in my work in the United States Senate. And it’s so important at this moment, in which our country is so divided. We’re seeing worldwide the rise of antisemitic sentiment, Islamophobia, bigotry, authoritarian voices that are trying to take advantage of the deep distress that people are feeling in a moment like this.”

Warnock ended up cutting his visit to Rome short and returned to Washington to be present for the Senate, preparing to “consider supplemental national security” to fund legislation supporting Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and the crisis in Gaza.


Teacher Tax Cuts

On April 23, Sen. Ossoff pushed to pass his co-sponsored legislation, the Educators Expense Deduction Modernization Act of 2023, increasing the maximum deduction amount teachers can claim on their tax return to get back out-of-pocket expenses spent on classroom supplies.

The current out-of-pocket classroom expense tax deductions stop at $250, but the new legislation pushes to expand the deduction to $1,000.

“With this bill, I am championing tax cuts for Georgia teachers. Georgia’s teachers are heroes in our communities. Our bipartisan legislation would cut taxes for our public school teachers, many of whom are spending their own hard-earned money to purchase supplies needed to teach and enrich our children,” Sen. Ossoff said in a press release statement.


Georgia Ports

On April 24, Sen. Warnock urged state and federal leaders to send additional resources to support the Georgia Ports Authority’s operations following the collapse of Baltimore’s Key Bridge.

Warnock pointed out how Georgia's Brunswick and Savannah ports can receive more cargo in two separate letters to Gov. Brian Kemp and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Assistant Secretary Michael Connor.

Per a press release, Warnock highlighted how more cargo to Georgia's ports can "help minimize disruptions to the supply chains that historically rely on the Port of Baltimore" due to the flow of federal investments sent through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which he supported.


Port of Savannah

Another development for a Georgia Port was on April 24, when Sens. Warnock and Ossoff announced that the government was sending $15 million in federal investments to the Port of Savannah.

The federal investments are under the Department of Transportation's Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities grant program and were made possible by the Warnock-and Ossoff-supported Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The investments would fund clean energy and infrastructure projects at the port.

As stated in a press release, $7.8 million will go to California company Voltera’s Electrification of American Ports (VEAP) program “to construct and install parking and charging infrastructure for future electric vehicle (EV) fleet conversions at the Port of Savannah,” helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from port-based traffic.

The other $7.5 million is for the Georgia Ports Authority for a renewable fuel project at the Port of Savannah, replacing "the fossil-derived petroleum diesel fuel used by 621 jockey trucks with renewable diesel fuel, significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions."


Emory NICU

On April 24, Sen. Ossoff announced that he was delivering resources to improve neonatal health care in metro Atlanta by delivering $536,000 in federal funding to upgrade Emory University's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) equipment.

The funding comes from this year’s bipartisan government funding package.

“For struggling newborn and premature babies, the NICU is a matter of life or death,” Sen. Ossoff said in a statement. “That’s why I’ve appropriated funds to upgrade the NICU at Emory Midtown. I thank Emory President Fenves and the heroic health care workers for bringing this proposal to my office and for their life-saving work in our community.”