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 ajc.com:
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.
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.
WP: ‘Scozzafava’ turns into epithet. NYT: Democrats raise alarms over costs of health care bills. The Daily Beast: The greatest filibusters.
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