Just hours after Republican leaders in the Senate announced they’d unveil a new health care bill Thursday, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, took questions from constituents on a conference call, pledging to protect federal funding to services for people with developmental disabilities.
“We’ve got to make sure that they don’t get cut off, or cut back,” Isakson told a caller whose question was selected. “I’ll wait and see, and I’ll follow the bill closely, and I’ll promise you I’ll never knowingly vote to cut a developmental disability benefit, but I’ll never knowingly expand that benefit without it first being thoroughly debated.”
Many Georgians with developmental disabilities get services through Medicaid.
A previous Senate bill included dramatic cuts to that program, concerning activists for people with developmental disabilities.
The Senate could vote on the new health care bill next week.
LGBT Pride Month
Isakson also told callers he’d question the Trump administration about its choice not to recognize June as LGBT Pride Month.
Isakson said he didn’t know about the decision until a caller brought it up, and he said it sends a signal that LGBT rights aren’t a priority for President Donald Trump.
"Everybody -- regardless of their choices and their decisions they make in their life as long as they're law-abiding citizens -- deserves the respect of the community, and we should never be singled out for any particular lifestyle,” Isakson said.
Asked if he’d be willing to take the issue up with Trump and ask him to make the proclamation in 2018, Isakson responded: “I can make sure that that happens. Yes, sir.”
LGBT Pride Month was recognized by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, but not George W. Bush.
Two years ago, Isakson co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act. Critics pointed out it could allow for discrimination against LGBT people, and the measure ultimately failed to pass.
It's not clear whether Isakson still supports similar legislation.
Donald Trump Jr.
Isakson avoided talking about emails from Donald Trump Jr. that were recently made public.
They appear to confirm the younger Trump was eager to get foreign help to attack his father's political opponent Hillary Clinton.
Isakson was asked how he feels about the emails and reports Russia attempted to tip the presidential election in favor of Trump.
Isakson says those investigating need to be consistent, and Russia needs to be held accountable if any allegations are proven.