Your morning jolt: Health care debate will slow to a crawl, Johnny Isakson promises

Updated at 5:55 p.m.:

Look for the next stage of debate over health care reform to be detailed, robust – and very, very long, Georgia’s two U.S. senators said last night.

“You’re looking at six to eight weeks of debate in the U.S. Senate,” Johnny Isakson said.
“You’re going to see a dramatically different procedure. It’s going to be protracted.”

After reaching a compromise with anti-abortion Democrats, the House pushed through its version of the bill over the weekend, a major victory for the Obama administration.

But Isakson said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has much less control over the situation in his chamber. “He doesn’t have enough votes to get on the bill with a motion to proceed. And he doesn’t have enough votes to get off the bill with a motion for cloture,” Isakson said. “So he’s got a big problem.”

Isakson predicted debate will “certainly” extend into January.

Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM) has posted a six-minute interview with Isakson here, in which the senator goes into much more detail about the amendments that Republicans plan to offer.

Isakson and Saxby Chambliss were two of 700 attending a $2,500-a-table fund-raiser for the state GOP at the downtown Atlanta Hilton.

Isakson, who will top the 2010 ticket for Republicans, was the featured local speaker.

Democrats have yet to field a candidate against him, and last week saw him pass his second major piece of legislation of the year – an extension and expansion of a tax credit for home-buyers.

Isakson had tried three times before, only to be rebuffed. “Persistence pays off,” he said.

In front of his audience, Isakson spoke of defeating government-oriented universal health care. “If you can’t get the H1N1 flu shot out, you sure as heck can’t take care of everybody’s health,” he said.

Chambliss likewise predicted a lengthy debate over health care, and pointed to two bottom-line Republican requirements. “If you see a public option or an increase in the deficit, it won’t pass,” he said.

Other notes from the event:

– Rather than go for a red-meat speaker aimed at the already converted, the party instead picked Wall Street Journal columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan – who has a significant following among independents and middle-of-the-roaders.

– Two members of the Atlanta City Council were in the audience. Neither of them were Mary Norwood.

– Gubernatorial candidates working the crowd included John Oxendine, Karen Handel and Austin Scott. Ninth District congressional candidates included Tom Graves and Lee Hawkins.

– Gov. Sonny Perdue was a no-show, as were House Republicans. Their side of Congress is in session this week.

Georgia revenue collections fell another 18 percent in October, compared to the same month last year, as the state’s three main sources of tax income continued to collapse.

This marks the 11th consecutive month of declining revenues, according to my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin.

But here’s the eyebrow-raiser: Corporate income tax collections were negative $4.9 million. The state gave out nearly $5 million more in refunds than it took in.

Gov. Sonny Perdue on Monday appointed Rick Thompson, the former executive secretary of the State Ethics Commission, to the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission.

Thompson now runs a consulting firm that advises corporations and candidates on how to comply with state and federal ethics laws. One presumes that in his new commission post, he will be barred once again from accepting free stuff.

While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s

  • 500 rally against government spending.
  • Fulton to recount Atlanta, Roswell city council election results.
  • Reed gets big endorsement, Norwood fights for intown votes.
  • North Georgia judge charged with misconduct.
  • Some opinion:

  • Atlanta police fight new board.
  • Pro & Con: Are higher co-pays the answer to controlling medical costs?
  • Energy pact shows industry and advocates can cooperate.
  • From elsewhere in Georgia:

  • Creative Loafing: Unfinished business: Looking at the Dec. 1 runoffs.
  • And beyond:

  • WP: ‘Scozzafava’ turns into epithet.
  • NYT: Democrats raise alarms over costs of health care bills.
  • The Daily Beast: The greatest filibusters.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    16 comments Add your comment

    Road Scholar

    November 10th, 2009
    8:40 am

    I like Sen Isakson, but his quote “If you can’t get the H1N1 flu shot out, you sure as heck can’t take care of everybody’s health,” should be more closely examined. The Govm’t is not producing the vaccine. Private businesses are. The Governm’t set the timeline based on businesses production capability. The Governm’t devised a process (like all vaccines) that ensured proper testing and quality guidelines. Remember all the worry about its effectiveness and purity? (very few reports of bad reactions, usually limited to fevers, etc.)The Schedule was based on the manufacturers input. So, who erred?

    Is the Senator saying we need no guidelines to ensure the vaccine(s) are safe? Oh, by the way, last time I checked , the government aren’t providing the doctors that will be used if health care reform becomes a reality!


    November 10th, 2009
    8:56 am

    I met Karen Handel last night – very impressive.

    Ga Values

    November 10th, 2009
    10:06 am

    Johnny Isakson (RINO/SOCIALIST, Ga) just threw away $24 Billion on a fraud filled housing bill. He won’t be getting this Conservative’s vote next year. He may not be as bad as saxby but he’s not a lot better


    November 10th, 2009
    10:13 am

    If you would like to help pressure your Senators to pass single payer health care please join our voting bloc:

    Healthy Georgian

    November 10th, 2009
    10:36 am

    Isakson uses the flu vaccine to extrapolate because he’s afraid to use a more appropriate basis for comparison – Medicare. Nobody complains about Medicare’s quality or quantity of service. Remember, Medicare, regardless of whether it’s A, B, C, D, is still “government run healthcare.” The only real problems we have are cost control and tax revenues. These can be solved without too much sacrifice. Insurance companies and the Republicans who zealously advocate for them are upset that taxpayers won’t be giving them as much in Medicare subsidies under all the plausible Democratic reforms.

    (Separately, but related to the this article) Under Republican/Fox News/Supply Side theory, if the state’s tax revenues are dropping, doesn’t that mean we need more tax cuts? Just wondering…


    November 10th, 2009
    10:57 am

    The only real problems we have are cost control and tax revenues.

    That’s brilliant thinking. Other than paying for them, there are no problems with these government programs. Based on that “logic”, why not send everyone a checkbook–then they can solve all their problems.

    Only about 4.5% of Georgia’s population has been vaccinated for H1N1.

    Georgia — Population: 9,544,750
    443,200 Total Doses Shipped

    The H1N1 vaccine debacle is Obama’s New Orleans–except that by comparison many more will die as a result of the administration’s poor handling of this matter. “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

    Why would anyone ever want the government to takeover the health care system when they’ve miserably failed at, by comparison, this relatively simple task?

    Regarding tax increases, do you believe tax increases improve the economy? If so, then get ready for improvement:

    Higher Corporate Taxes.
    Higher Marginal Rates on Personal Income.
    Elimination of the Bush Tax Cuts.
    New Value-Added Tax (VAT).
    Higher Minimum Wage (increases unemployment).
    Cap and Trade Tax ($3000/family).
    Higher Insurance Premiums.
    Higher Capital Gains Taxes.
    Higher Death Taxes.

    Take an econ course during your spare time. You just might learn something.


    November 10th, 2009
    11:22 am

    Lengthy debate to give big healthcare/pharmaceutical corporations enough time to recoup all the lobbying $$$$$$$$$$ they’ve been spending (to the tune of $2 million per day/$180K per member of Congress per day) before they have to go through round 2 of the big Congressional payoff/advertising campaigns?

    Real Ga Dem

    November 10th, 2009
    11:24 am

    To translate what Isakson said: “During all those years I served in Congress, and the past few years as your Senator, I have done zip, zilch, notta to address the growing health-care crisis in this country, despite the ongoing pleas of Americans for decades to do so. (My campaign funds come first, GOP second, and the people of Georgia, dead last.) That the Democrats want to actually address this problem is an embarrassment for me and the rest of the Good Ol Puds in Washington. Their success would only highlight our inadequacies; therefore, I will fight it with all that I have, am, and will ever be. Yours truly (not really) Senator Johnny Isakson.”

    Those who can, do. Those who can’t, obstruct.

    Shananeeeee Fananeeeeeee

    November 10th, 2009
    11:29 am

    I guess we are not going to see those CSPAN table meetings Obama promised us to reform healthcare. He said that he would do this so the public could stay involved in the process. I guess it was just another false campaign promise. “You Lie” – Joe Wilson.


    November 10th, 2009
    12:09 pm

    Way to go Johnny. That’s a great legacy — I did everything I could to ensure that 40 million Americans without healthcare stayed that way.

    A true conservative hero.

    I Voted

    November 10th, 2009
    12:27 pm

    Nice going fellas. Never let a fundraiser get in the way of slowing down a 40 year debate.

    USA, back to the past

    November 10th, 2009
    3:50 pm

    I(sick)son….Standing up for what he believes in and not what is right. How surprising.


    November 10th, 2009
    4:48 pm

    Greetings All,

    We’re tickled pink over here at secret underground Libertarian Command Center (LCC) at the news from Big Jim Galloway that our democrat brothers and sisters have yet to find a suitable candidate to take on Senator Isakson in 2010. Luckily we’ve a great candidate waiting in the wings for our raucous convention to nominate next April. His name is Chuck Donovan and he’s already addressing some of the soon to be issues in next falls contest. Here’s a bit from the Donovan4Senate website that takes a Libertarian look at Senator Isakson’s latest “achievement”.

    While Rome burns, Johnny Isakson Fiddles
    Johnny Isakson seems to think that all we have to do to fix our economy is to continue to prop up his buddies in the real estate business. Here is the first paragraph from his latest newsletter:

    “Over the last week I have worked with Senate leadership to craft a compromise amendment to extend and expand the current first-time home buyer tax credit, which is set to expire on November 30, 2009. This amendment would include buyers in the “trade-in” or “move-up” market, because I believe the real housing recession is in this market in which citizens are putting off purchasing their next home. The amendment would continue the $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers and would establish a new $6,500 tax credit for “move-up” buyers so long as the home they are leaving has been used as their principal residence for five years or more. ”

    Johnny is rushing to again shore up the real estate industry while the rest of the economy and the US dollar itself are in shambles. Just how many Americans does Johnny think are capable of being first-time or move-up home buyers? After this silly little tax trick puts a few extra dollars into the pockets of a lucky few, what will be Johnny’s next trick? How many more tax credits can Johnny offer without making a penny’s worth of spending cuts?

    What the soon-to-be ex-Senator does not seem to understand, is that he is not legislating from a seat next to the gods on Mount Olympus. The real estate problems we face are just a symptom of the economic destruction Johnny Isakson, the Republicans, and the Democrats have brought down on the entire country. Their failure to deliver on decades long promises of less government, less complex taxes, less debt, and better fiscal responsibility are the reason for all of our economic problems.

    If Johnny really wanted to fulfill his oath to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States”, his primary efforts would not go to his friends and old business partners, he would instead work to give all Americans more freedom of choice. One way to do that would be to make the tax system less complex, not more complex. Johnny could work to lighten the heavy burden of regulations that crush the efforts of working Americans and American businesses. He would work to make the difficult decisions necessary to bring back the power of the dollars Americans work hard to earn to buy things, yes even things like homes. Such efforts would empower individual Americans who are suffering through this economic downturn, the same individual Americans who will do the work to make us recover. Instead, our Senator works to empower those who hand over large “contributions” to Johnny.

    It is now clear, after all of the years the Republicans have promised less government and fiscal responsibility, they have no intention of actually delivering on that promise. How many times do Johnny Isakson and the Republicans have to show us who they truly are before we will believe them?

    If you,like what you just read, head over to Donovan4Senate and drop a dollar on the guy’s donate button. Vote Libertarian! Vote Chuck Donovan for Senate! Vote John Monds for Governor!


    November 10th, 2009
    11:22 pm

    Jiffy Johnny is totally lost and useless in the senate.

    ihealth 360

    November 12th, 2009
    6:00 am

    even if those insurance policies are supported by the public via tax deductions or government subsidies.

    ihealth 360

    November 27th, 2009
    12:43 am

    From my conversations with my friends in the General Assembly, I know that they are greatly disappointed that they could not pass major transportation legislation this year. As governor, I will work to bring the members of the Senate and the House, and the DOT board….together to resolve our transportation problems.”