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WATCH: U.S. Senate Passes Sen. Ossoff’s Bipartisan Bill to Rename VA Atlanta Regional Office for Late Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson

Johnny Isakson served Georgia in the U.S. Senate from 2005 to 2019 & served as Chair of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee from 2015 to 2019

Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Senate tonight passed U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff’s bipartisan bill to rename the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Atlanta Regional Office in honor of the late Georgia U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson. 

The Senate passed Sens. Ossoff and Roy Blunt (R-MO)’s bipartisan Senator Johnny Isakson VA Regional Office Act of 2022which will designate the VA facility in Decatur, Georgia, as the “Senator Johnny Isakson Department of Veterans Affairs Atlanta Regional Office” to honor the late Senator for his work to relentlessly advocate for our nation’s veterans and servicemembers.

Sen. Ossoff took to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to pass the legislation and honor the late Sen. Isakson.

“Senator Isakson had a saying, Mr. President, that there are just two kinds of people in this world, ‘friends and future friends.’ I hope we can all be inspired by that aspiration and that outlook, by his resilient desire to see the good in everyone, to see the opportunity to work with anyone to try to find where our interests align, where we can meet eye to eye where we can get things done together,” Sen. Ossoff said on the Senate floor.

“Senator Isakson’s courtesy, collegiality and integrity will forever serve as an example to all of us who serve in this body today and in the future. And that is why in recognition of Senator Isakson’s tremendous contributions to American veterans, to the state of Georgia, and to the United States, it has been my privilege to introduce alongside my distinguished Republican colleague from Missouri Senator Blunt, and the presiding officer Senator Warnock, the Senator Johnny Isakson VA Regional Office Act to rename the VA’s Atlanta Regional Office after Senator Isakson, as part of our nation’s ongoing recognition of his service, and as an example, to those who follow in his footsteps of the virtues that his representation embodied,” Sen. Ossoff continued.

Johnny Isakson served Georgia in the U.S. Senate from 2005 to 2019. He serves as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs from 2015 to 2019, where he continuously worked to improve benefits and services for veterans and their families.

Sens. Ossoff and Blunt’s bipartisan bill is co-sponsored by Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), VA Committee Chair Jon Tester (D-MT), VA Committee Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Rob Portman (R-OH).

Georgia’s Congressional Delegation in the House, led by Reps. Sanford Bishop (GA-02) and Rick Allen (GA-12) introduced the companion legislation in the U.S. House.

Click here to watch Sen. Ossoff’s floor remarks.

Please find a transcript of Sen. Ossoff’s floor remarks below:

SEN. OSSOFF: “Mr. President, I rise today to recognize a giant of the great state of Georgia, which the presiding officer and I both have the distinct honor of serving, to recognize a true legend of the U.S. Senate. An extraordinary father, husband, and representative of our state, the late Senator Johnny Isakson.

“Mr. President, Senator Isakson served Georgia all his life. Born in Atlanta, Senator Isakson attended the University of Georgia, then enlisted in the Georgia Air National Guard. He was a successful private businessman, growing his real estate enterprise to one of the largest in the state. He served in both the Georgia House of Representatives and the State Senate, and Governor Zell Miller, a Democrat, appointed him, a Republican, to chair of a State Board of Education. 

“In 1999, Senator Isakson was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where he worked to improve American K-12 education. And in 2004, he was elected to this body where he would serve for almost 15 years with courtesy, dignity and kindness, supporting and championing bipartisan efforts to better serve our nation’s veterans. And his service culminated in his chairmanship of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and of the Senate Ethics Committee. 

“And, Mr. President, as we will hear from our distinguished colleagues, who served alongside Senator Isakson, like Senator Blunt, Senator Isakson through his uncommon decency, his generosity of spirit, his commitment to integrity and service of others over service of self, won universal respect in this body, won respect in the state of Georgia that crossed party lines and earned a reputation not just nationally, but around the world for statesmanship, effectiveness and hard work. 

“But, Mr. President, even more important than his work as a statesman, Senator Isakson was a father and a husband. And I want to recognize Senator Isakson’s extraordinary family, including his wife of more than 50 years, Diane, his sons, John and Kevin, his daughter, Julie, all of whom I’ve had the pleasure of speaking are corresponding with in recent months, and all of whom in their lives carry on the Senator’s legacy.

“Senator Isakson had a saying, Mr. President, that there are just two kinds of people in this world, ‘friends and future friends.’ I hope we can all be inspired by that aspiration and that outlook, by his resilient desire to see the good in everyone, to see the opportunity to work with anyone to try to find where our interests align, where we can meet eye to eye where we can get things done together.

“Senator Isakson’s courtesy, collegiality and integrity will forever serve as an example to all of us who serve in this body today and in the future. And that is why in recognition of Senator Isakson’s tremendous contributions to American veterans, to the state of Georgia, and to the United States, it has been my privilege to introduce alongside my distinguished Republican colleague from Missouri Senator Blunt, and the presiding officer Senator Warnock, the Senator Johnny Isakson VA Regional Office Act to rename the VA’s Atlanta Regional Office after Senator Isakson, as part of our nation’s ongoing recognition of his service, and as an example, to those who follow in his footsteps of the virtues that his representation embodied. 

“I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support of this legislation. We will hear from Senator Blunt, Senator Warnock, to share their experiences working alongside and knowing Senator Isakson in just a moment. 

“But now, Mr. President, let’s get this done and take this action to demonstrate our enduring respect and admiration for this extraordinary American statesman Johnny Isakson.

“Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee be discharged from further consideration ofS.4359, and the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration.

SEN. REV. WARNOCK (presiding officer): “The Clerk will report.”

SENATE CLERK: “S. 4359, a bill to designate the regional office of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Metropolitan Atlanta as the ‘Senator Johnny Isakson Department of Veterans Affairs Atlanta Regional Office’ and for the purposes.”

SEN. REV. WARNOCK (presiding officer): “Without objection, the committee is discharged, and the Senate will proceed with the measure.”

SEN. OSSOFF: “Mr. President, I further asked that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.

SEN. REV. WARNOCK (presiding officer): “Without objection.”

SEN. OSSOFF: “Thank you, Mr. President.”

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