This week, the Senate debated reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, S.47, for five years. We are expected to continue work on the legislation next week, as well. As a husband, a father of a daughter, and a grandfather of five granddaughters, I believe that the existing programs now funded by the Violence Against Women Act should be reauthorized so that local law enforcement and shelters that assist victims of domestic violence continue to receive the support they need.
Unions Requesting Obamacare Waiver
The Obama administration has agreed to consider a proposal from labor unions to provide union members with government subsidies to cover the rising cost of union health care plans as a result of Obamacare. This week, Sen. Saxby Chambliss and I joined 29 of our fellow senators in writing a letter to President Obama questioning this decision and noting that a special waiver for union plans would do nothing to mitigate the cost of Obamacare for non-union American workers with private health plans or for small businesses that are also facing rising health care costs. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the administration has no legal authority to expand access to health insurance subsidies.
With each passing day, more and more Americans are feeling the terrible effects of Obamacare, including the rising costs of health care. It would be extremely unfair and, even worse, illegal, for labor unions to receive special treatment by receiving taxpayer dollars to subsidize their health care plans because they are unhappy that Obamacare caused their premium costs to rise. The American people should be outraged that the president is considering a special exception for his friends at the labor unions from what he has mandated for the rest of the country. I will continue to work to repeal Obamacare and its many terribly flawed provisions to ensure that health care more accessible and affordable for all Americans.
U.S. Postal Service
This week, the United States Postal Service announced plans to transition to a new delivery schedule starting the week of Aug. 5, 2013, that includes package delivery Monday through Saturday, and mail delivery only Monday through Friday. The Postal Service expects to generate cost savings of approximately $2 billion annually, once the plan is fully implemented. While I certainly support steps by the U.S. Postal Service to get back "in the black," this will most assuredly have an effect on other industries that rely on the U.S. Postal Service.
In Other News
Each week, I make it a personal priority to attend the Senate Prayer Breakfast, led by Senate Chaplain Barry Black. Yesterday, I was happy to once again attend the annual National Prayer Breakfast. On Wednesday, I participated in a Bloomberg Government panel discussion about the key energy issues facing the United States, along with U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., former EPA administrator Carol Browner and Heath Shuler, senior vice president for federal affairs at Duke Energy Corp. You can watch the video online. Additionally, the Georgia Board of Regents voted unanimously this week to hire Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jere Morehead to succeed Michael Adams as University of Georgia president on July 1. I have known Jere for many years as he has served in many capacities at the University. He is immensely accomplished, qualified and widely respected in our state. I am confident that Jere will make a terrific president and will lead UGA -- my beloved alma mater -- to continue to thrive as one of the nation's top public universities.
What's on Tap?
Next week, the Senate will continue our consideration of legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
I will also speak to the Rotary Club of Atlanta on Monday and I have an interview scheduled with CNBC on Tuesday at 11:20 a.m. regarding the debt, spending and the State of the Union address that will be delivered by the President that evening. Additionally, the Finance Committee will hold our hearing to consider the nomination of Jacob J. Lew to be Secretary of the Treasury.