On Senate Floor, Ranking Member Tester Pays Tribute to Chairman Isakson’s Service to Veterans

Tester commends Isakson for his lifelong service, bipartisanship, and commitment to improving the lives of veterans

(U.S. Senate) – Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester (D-Mont.) took to the Senate floor yesterday to pay tribute to Chairman Johnny Isakson’s (R-Ga.) 45-year political career, legislative accomplishments, and their continued friendship.

“The reason we’re all here today is because Johnny Isakson is a very special guy and he’s special for a number of reasons,” Tester said. “He treats everybody with respect and because of that, everybody treats him with respect…And Johnny is someone who can get things done. I speak from experience, being Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He has shepherded through many, many difficult pieces of legislation and he’s done it because he’s developed trust.”

Tester addressed Isakson directly: “I can tell you that if we ever get in a foxhole together Johnny, I’ve got your back and you know what, I know you’ve got mine, because you’ve exhibited it before. And I just want to say it’s been such an incredible pleasure to be in this body and serving with you because you’re one of those guys that if you disagree, you can disagree, but you don’t have to be disagreeable. And I just want to say thank you very much.”

Isakson became chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in January 2015. Under Isakson’s leadership, the Senators worked in a bipartisan manner to pass meaningful legislative reforms, helping pass 57 pieces of legislation that were signed into law. Together, Tester and Isakson successfully tackled a variety of challenges at the Department of Veterans Affairs on behalf of veterans across the nation— they passed significant bipartisan reforms to increase accountability, expand education benefits, modernize the process for veterans’ appeals of benefits, provide additional health care options, and deliver justice for Blue Water Navy veterans.