Citing health care, Deal delays departure from Congress

U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal will delay his resignation from Congress by three weeks, citing intense pressure from House Republican leaders to remain and vote against President Barack Obama’s plan to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

From the press release issued by the north Georgia congressman:

“Just two days after I announced my intentions to leave Congress, the majority party stepped up the schedule for the proposed health care bill. Having been deeply involved in all health care legislation for the past decade, I knew it was important to stay and vote down this bill….

“Yesterday, as I listened to President Obama’s aggressive push for a quick vote on ‘Obama-Care,’ it was clear that I must stay in Congress and continue to fight against the most liberal health care agenda ever proposed.”

A spokesman for Deal said the congressman was urged by House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) — as well as Gov. Sonny Perdue — to remain for the health care vote.

The Deal campaign released a statement from Boehner, which reads in part:

“It has become clear to the American people that the House will be the final battleground in their effort to stop President Obama’s massive health care takeover from becoming law…. Nathan Deal’s decision to remain in Congress for the upcoming health care vote is indicative of his long dedication to standing up for a common sense approach to changing health care.”

News of Deal’s decision was inadvertently broken by U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, who also congratulated Deal on his decision.

On Monday, before 100 supporters at the Gainesville Civic Center, Deal said he would leave Congress, effective March 8, in order to devote all his time to his campaign for governor.

The north Georgia congressman immediately began taking heat from Republicans here and elsewhere, as it became clear that the vote on health care in the House will be tight.

This appeared in a John Fund column in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal:

His departure next week will take sitting House members down to 431, meaning the magic number to pass health care drops to 216. Why did Mr. Deal make it easier for Democrats to reshape one-sixth of the nation’s economy

The announcement of Deal’s delayed departure said that the congressman “discussed the change with Governor Sonny Perdue, who strongly encouraged him to stay.”

Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley said that Deal indeed called the governor to let him know he had decided to postpone his resignation.

The governor, Brantley told my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin, “encouraged him to represent us well in D.C.” But asked whether the governor encouraged Deal to remain in the U.S. House, Brantley said that Deal had already made that decision.

The distinction could be significant, because — by delaying his departure from Congress until the end of this month — Deal puts more pressure on Perdue to delay a special election to fill the 9th District seat until the July primary.

The earliest such an election could be held now is mid-May. The primary is July 20. But it’s Perdue’s call.

Theoretically, a special election concurrent with the July primary would benefit Deal’s gubernatorial chances by creating a strong 9th District turnout to fill his shoes.

But it would also be confusing, requiring two rounds of balloting: One would be a special, non-partisan election to fill Deal’s term through the end of 2010. The same candidates, most of them Republican, would appear on the ballots selected by Democratic and Republican voters.

A second round of voting, for the full two-year term that begins next January, would be segregated by party. Republican voters would only be able to vote for Republican candidates, and Democratic voters could only vote for Democratic candidates.

One additional side effect for Deal: By resigning from Congress, the Republican candidate for governor ended an ethics inquiry into whether Deal misused his office in an attempt to protect his private business in north Georgia.

Whether the inquiry could be revived and a report issued over the next three weeks is a question worth asking.

In the press release announcing his decision, Deal couldn’t resist taking a shot at state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, the Republican currently leading the field for governor:

“I announced my resignation from Congress to focus on winning the Republican primary for governor so as to deny Roy Barnes the opportunity to face the Republican candidate who currently leads solely based on name recognition, but is the one Republican that Roy Barnes is sure to defeat.”

Teachers, some of you will be asked to define a run-on sentence this week. The one above might qualify.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

155 comments Add your comment

The General

March 4th, 2010
3:20 pm

Let’s see the ethics report hit the streets!

Deal Real Steal

March 4th, 2010
3:20 pm

Are you kidding me. this guy wants to run the state. Has anyone told Deal, that the governor actually has to make decisions. You don’t have the time or ability, to say, no I was just kidding, or no let me wait 30 days.

This is NOT the kind of leadership that Georgia needs.

curious

March 4th, 2010
3:28 pm

What about John Linder. He also resigned his seat. Since the vote is going to be so close, shouldn’t Linder return to Washington?

republicanblack

March 4th, 2010
3:29 pm

This whole health care thing is about jobs jobs jobs, that’s why obama is pushing for this hard. We conservatives, on the other hand, have framed the debate in a manner that has crippled our ability to see it for what republicans in the past would have seen it. We are all in it together, and reform is a path to new jobs, medical service, providers and even insurers – and they can’t be off-shored. I have changed my mind I hope you will take a look and think about it too

http://bit.ly/brAKLJ

[...] Jim Galloway: Deal discussed the change with Governor Sonny Perdue, who strongly encouraged him to [...]

Rosco P. Coltrane

March 4th, 2010
3:37 pm

Linder will serve out the remainder of his term.

As for Deal, I’d revive his ethics complaint post haste. Republicanblack is right, this would be a boon for jobs in the healthcare industry. The republican party stands for nothing but regaining power. The same yahoos are responsible for over 90% of the deficit, and the intelligent Georgia voter would have you believe Obama started two wars, raised taxes, and is spying on your telephone calls. Let them vote against their own interests, and they’ll get the same thing they got when Bush was prez: Nothing.

Obama da Man

March 4th, 2010
3:40 pm

Obamacare has nothing to do with jobs. The Government is not in a position to make jobs in the provate sector unless they start a World War, but then this administration would ship them to China. Obamacare is nothing more than Socialized Medicine. It will put Medicare and Medicaid on a faster track to bankruptcy than it is now.

If you want to control healthcare costs start by reeling in the Big Non-profit Healthcare (which really do not exist because every one of them has to show large “excess revenues”) providers that have “for profit “management companies” that send “funds” to tax shelters in Burmuda. Like Phoebe Putney in Albany ……

In The Arena

March 4th, 2010
3:47 pm

The healthcare situation is not the same as it was on Monday. Yes politics is a dynamic field and things do change in a week. President Obama immediately adjusted his plans in response to Nathan’s resignation. Probably sounded pretty appealing to Obama to ruin to Deal’s campaign by expediting his signature healthcare legislation. Deal reacted to Obama and the new situation at hand to keep this horrible legislation from being forced down our throats.

Republican turned Democrat

March 4th, 2010
3:49 pm

I can’t grin and bear it anymore. The Republican Party has abandoned “the people” in support of their own agenda which is to line the pockets of the already wealthy. I have watched this debate, I have read most of the bill, I have listened to both sides of the debate and I have read the non-partisan CBO report. This bill is better than the status-quo. It may not be perfect but it is better than doing nothing at all. Call it Obama-care, or whatever, it is best for this country and our people. I support the President and after watching last week’s summit, I am changing parties. I no longer have any confidence that the Republicans really care. It is blatantly obvious that the President cares and is working his tail off to do right by the country as a whole, not just the ones that already enjoy a prosperous life.

Jon

March 4th, 2010
3:52 pm

Deal doesn’t care about the health care bill. He’s leaving before that is finished. He just needs one more thing he can pander on…how long until the press release, “Nathan Deal votes down Obama! Oxendine, Handel, etc. did not!”

Forget that they don’t have votes…

RetiredSoldier

March 4th, 2010
3:52 pm

Glad that Deal is staying to vote on healthcare. And who cares what Robert the village idiot says.

retiredds

March 4th, 2010
3:56 pm

I find it interesting that Charlie Rangle from NY, not the most upstanding individual, has chosen to step down from his position as Ways and Means Chairman, while his ethics investigation goes on. Nathan Deal chooses to quit which effectively ends the ethics investigation of him. He says he wants to spend full time running for governor. Let me just say, Nathan, you must take the people of GA for fools. We know the real reason you are stepping aside.

Retired Soldier too

March 4th, 2010
3:58 pm

Deal is part of the say no and do nothing party (aka GOP). The sooner he resigns the better. My fellow Georgians, please don’t vote this clown into the Governor’s mansion.

[...] Nathan Deal (R-GA) will delay his resignation from the House of Representatives by three weeks in order to stick around for the upcoming [...]

[...] remain in the House until after the forthcoming health care vote. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Deal was urged by House Minority Leader John Boehner and Gov. Sonny Perdue to do so, despite [...]

RetiredSoldier

March 4th, 2010
4:00 pm

Rosco-

Are you kidding me? Republicans are responsible for 90% of the national debt? I haven’t done that homework, but I find that impossible to believe. W. Bush, a terrible spender, pales in comparision ot BO. BO will increase the debt more than W did in eight years in his first two years. W. largest two deficit years were years 7 and 8, with a democrat Congress!

RetiredSoldier

March 4th, 2010
4:03 pm

All you Deal haters, your wish will come true, Deal won’t be the next Gov, but it won’t be a democrat either. So sorry to dash your unreastic hopes and dreams.

Road Scholar

March 4th, 2010
4:05 pm

Revive the ethics investigation on Deal now! Oh, and by th by, where is the state’s ethics investigation on the Richardson affair…not on Richardson, but those who knew and did nothing.. oh wait ..they stopped the ethics investigation BEFORE he announced he was going to resign! Spineless B*****ds!

Retired Soldier too

March 4th, 2010
4:09 pm

Oh trust me I don’t want a Dem as GA Governor either. Just want someone with some common sense who doesn’t adhere strictly to party philosophy but to common sense and what is right for the constituents as a whole.

RetiredSoldier

March 4th, 2010
4:09 pm

Road- Just like Pelosi said she was going to run the cleanest House ever. Right. I believe that one.

RetiredSoldier

March 4th, 2010
4:11 pm

well that is something we can both agree on too!

Rosco P. Coltrane

March 4th, 2010
4:13 pm

Retired Soldier- You’re joking right? Those tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 costs $1.7 Trillion. So, based on your statement, he spent more than that his last two years in office. It just boggles the mind that people are so worried about the deficit now. Obama put the cost of the two wars IN the budget, and gets grilled for it being so high. Bush puts it on a credit card, ‘for our kids and grandkids to pay’ and not a peep. Medicare Part D passed in 2003 and costs the same as the stimulus, not a word. A tax cut AND a new entitlement program passed in 2003, and you say the last two years are what increased the debt? Jus sayin.

Road Scholar

March 4th, 2010
4:15 pm

Retired Soldier: We agree! Ethics knows no favorites, regardless of parties. Bring those who have had conflicts of interest up to the committee and investigate promptly. This is how term limits should be enforced; when they compromise the public’s trust.

Grunt

March 4th, 2010
4:15 pm

Liar alert! Republican turned dem nothing but obama operative

[...] they needed 216 to pass it, now they need 217. Like Ace says: Nomentum. U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal will delay his resignation from Congress by three [...]

Retired Vet

March 4th, 2010
4:16 pm

Retired Soldier…need to run the figures. It may be impossible to believe, but the numbers are what they are. The deficit may be growing, but it was already off the charts, and that happened during the 8 years of the previous administration.

Retired Soldier too

March 4th, 2010
4:20 pm

I bet if McCain had won and submitted the very same healthcare bill, McCainCare, it would have unanimous Republican support. Not to mention we would have invaded Iran and Pakistan by now, more jobs would have been lost, more tax cuts made, education further watered down, less police on the streets, but hey, the Republican cronies would be happy while myself and my misguided friends see our benefits dwindle.

RetiredSoldier

March 4th, 2010
4:21 pm

I think you are joking Roscoe, ok BO put the war spending in the budget, nice but so what. The deficit comes from spending more than you take in, regardless of what the budget is. I am not defending Bush and his spending, I was opposed to it. If you were opposed to Bush’s spending then you should be shocked by Obama.

Republican turned Democrat

March 4th, 2010
4:23 pm

I didn’t vote for Obama but I’m glad he won. I finally woke up and realized that the GOP is a bunch of self serving liars.

RetiredSoldier

March 4th, 2010
4:23 pm

Come on Retired too, McCain would have out Obamaed Obama? That is silly. Again, I was no fan of McCain, my bottom choice but compared to Obama he would have done nicely.

Retired Soldier too

March 4th, 2010
4:25 pm

I did vote for O and glad he won. No idea who to vote for governor though. someone help me.

RetiredSoldier

March 4th, 2010
4:25 pm

RTD, congrats, you are unique in America. You are the only non-Obama votwr that is now happy with him. Just think where Obama’s poll numbers would be without you RTD.

Retired Soldier too

March 4th, 2010
4:26 pm

Enter your comments here

ProgressivePeach.com

March 4th, 2010
4:27 pm

I agree. If he stays three weeks, the ethics investigation is back on! Let’s find out what really happened. Be careful what you wish for, Nathan!

RetiredSoldier

March 4th, 2010
4:27 pm

Best Dem to vote for too? T. Baker, heard him speak and he was impressive.

Republican turned Democrat

March 4th, 2010
4:33 pm

I just call things like I see them. I missed Fox news for about a month straight and my head cleared up from all their garbage. Don’t mean to offend anyone. I just looked at all sides objectively and we are as a country better off with this bill than without. Is it risky? Yes. Do the benefits outweigh the risk? Yes. There is definitely more truth to this than there was the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq argument we all bit off on.

Retired Soldier too

March 4th, 2010
4:34 pm

I don’t think you can categorize Murtha as corrupt anymore.

Rafe Hollister

March 4th, 2010
4:36 pm

Nathan may be a crook, but he is our crook. You guys can have Reid. Pelosi, Rangel, Burruss, etc.

RetiredSoldier

March 4th, 2010
4:38 pm

There ya go again RTD. Weapons of mass destruction, give it a rest. Every Rep and almost every Dem in congress including Kerry and Clinton thought Iraq had WMD’s. In addition, every country with any kind of intelligence capability and all of Iraq’s neighbors. One small additional fact RTD, Sadam used WMD, not sure? Ask the Kurds ot Iran.
So stop that lame arguement. It just shows you are bloging under a false name.

RetiredSoldier

March 4th, 2010
4:39 pm

Point well taken too.

RetiredSoldier

March 4th, 2010
4:40 pm

RTD, I suggest you watch MSNBC at night. They are truly fair and balanced. haha

Anita

March 4th, 2010
4:41 pm

It is a shame that the republicans are so concerned with stopping Obama instead of helping people. When you lose your job and have no healthcare then you will think about this reform. It is needed. It doesn’t matter if it comes from Democratic or Republicans. The Republicans had the office for 8 long years and all we got was a big fat deficit. LET’S WORK TOGETHER. UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Republican turned Democrat

March 4th, 2010
4:42 pm

With all due respect RetiredSoldier, I appreciate your sacrifice for our country and I respect your views. I just think Iraq War was wrong and we were all mislead, including congress. The key words: Saddam used, but no longer had. The war was a farce, created from fiction and we were all duped into believing in it.

[...] to Political Insider (Atlanta Journal Constitution bl0g), U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, a Republican who represents a district [...]

Republican turned Democrat

March 4th, 2010
4:44 pm

If we can spend all that money on a war that in retrospect was based on lies we were fed by the right, and by Fox News, then we can spend 1/3 that amount to provide healthcare for 31 million of our fellow Americans.

BradC

March 4th, 2010
4:45 pm

Anything to kill zombiecare.

Retired Soldier too

March 4th, 2010
4:50 pm

I actually met Nathan Deal when I was doing Casualty Assistance Officer duties for one of GA’s fallen a few yrs back. Seemed like a nice guy…guess he isn’t too ethical though.

atllaw

March 4th, 2010
4:50 pm

What is this, Crew Fair & Balanced: Only ONE From GA? Maybe the rest haven’t been “caught yet”, but its a good list!

Peachcare Advocate

March 4th, 2010
4:55 pm

If you have Peachcare for Kids, or if you care about affordable healthcare for children of the working poor in Georgia, please take the time to vote the Republicans out of office next fall.

RetiredSoldier

March 4th, 2010
4:56 pm

RTD, please reread my 4:38 post. Everyone in the world thought Saddam had WMD’s. Now if you were that smart to know he didn’t, then my hat if off to you. They were not lies, it was wrong intelligence. Your hate overshadows your ability to reason and use common sense. Bad war? Is there a good war? I was in Iraq in 1991, I assure you the Shia were glad we were there and did not want us to leave.

Is moral good the elimination of the 2nd or 3rd worst despot since Hitler? I assure you RTD If I an Iraq native and not fron the Baath Party I would be singing the praises of the U.S.