The insurgent push to make U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah the next chairman of the House Appropriations Committee continues apace today with his appearance before the all-important steering committee.
On Monday evening, Tea Party Patriots held a telephone conference call that featured a bit of campaigning by two of the three candidates for the job. Reports Politico.com:
Tea partiers who listened to Reps. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) on a conference call Monday night overwhelmingly favored Kingston to head the House Appropriations panel.
81 percent of the members of the Tea Party Patriots group who voted on the call said they wanted to see Kingston as committee chair, while 15 percent said they supported Lewis. Just five percent of the callers said they wanted to see longtime earmarker Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) lead the panel.
The group’s leaders put out a glowing description of Kingston over the weekend, and had less enthusiastic words for Lewis and Rogers.
Hours earlier, the tax-averse Club for Growth formally endorsed Kingston:
“If fiscal conservatives want to get control of federal spending, we must first get control of the Appropriations Committee. And Jack Kingston gives us the best chance to accomplish that goal.”
But Kingston’s biggest cheerleader remains the Wall Street Journal, which on Monday posted a PowerPoint presentation that the Georgia congressman is using to outline his approach.
Kingston highlights his communication skills, and also advocates a closer alliance with Washington’s anti-tax groups. In a section on “destroying the infrastructure of spending,” the congressman suggests putting “our friends” to work.
“Appropriators should regularly meet with Heritage, Cato, Americans for Tax Reform, American Conservative Union and others to exchange ideas and keep the ground war running,” Kingston writes.
In Atlanta, House Speaker David Ralston on Monday vowed to protect the HOPE Scholarship program – despite a dire shortfall. From Dave Williams and the Atlanta Business Chronicle:
…Ralston told members of the Atlanta Rotary Club on Monday that the state made a promise to voters when they approved the Georgia Lottery that must be kept despite the program’s current financial difficulties.
“I believe the HOPE Scholarship program is a big part of why we now have a first-class higher education system in Georgia,” he said. “I don’t want to see us back away from our commitment.”
On a related topic, Ralston said K-12 public schools in Georgia already have sacrificed as much as they can stand in budget cuts since the recession began three years ago.
Lawmakers will face a shortfall of up to $2 billion when the General Assembly convenes in January.
But Ralston said the schools should be spared from further spending reductions.
“I’m hoping to stay off that turf as we move forward,” he said.
Advocates for a state version of the Fair Tax will be among those making their pitches at a final meeting of a tax reform council meeting at the Atlanta campus of Mercer University on Wednesday.
Here’s a look at what Georgians for Fair Taxation has submitted to the council.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider