When the U.S. Senate shifts to Republican control in January, a number of high-ranking GOP senators will get the opportunity to lead committees. Georgia U.S. Senator, Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) is in the running for two chairmanships.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) is currently in charge of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. But Burr has thrown his hat in the ring for chairman of Senate Intelligence. If he moves there, that would make Senator Isakson the highest ranking member of the Veterans’ Affairs committee.
“And that would normally go to the chairmanship when we take the majority, but that would have to be ratified by a vote of the conference,” Senator Isakson said.
It’s something Senator Isakson’s hopeful about.
“You’re always optimistic in our business.”
The Senator has long been outspoken on Veterans’ issues. Last year, he held a hearing with top VA officials in Atlanta. It came after several deaths linked to mismanagement in the Atlanta VA’s mental programs. Isakson also voted in favor of a bill to overhaul the VA system after a national scandal over wait times.
University of Georgia Political Science Professor Charles Bullock said if Isakson becomes committee chair it will likely mean good things for Georgia veterans.
“Isakson will be well-positioned to look out for their concerns. A concern not just of Georgia veterans, but of all veterans, will be the condition of healthcare provided to them. We all are familiar with stories about the breakdown in that aspect of veterans’ services, and undoubtedly in the next two years we will see Congress looking into those conditions and trying to come up with corrections.”
Isakson would not give details, but says he’s already working with the U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on a number of ways to improve the VA system.
Isakson could also become chair of the Senate Ethics Committee.