A Saxby Chambliss shift to a leadership position on Senate Intelligence Committee

Saxby Chambliss on Friday said he intended to give up his status as ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, swapping it for a similar position on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The move would put him in line for chairmanship of one of the most powerful – and face it, intriguing — committees in Washington, should Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., speaks Friday at a 70th anniversary celebration for Delta Air Lines in Atlanta. Bloomberg/Chris Rank

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., speaks Friday at a 70th anniversary celebration for Delta Air Lines in Atlanta. Bloomberg/Chris Rank

And yes, Chambliss plans to run for re-election in 2014.

Committee assignments in the new Senate haven’t been formalized yet. (And Chambliss would keep his seat on the Senate Agriculture Committee.)

But a leadership move from agriculture to intelligence would remove Chambliss from negotiations over the next farm bill in 2012 – sure to be marked by an intra-GOP fight over subsidies. “I did the last farm bill — carried the ball on it. And it’s probably time for somebody with other ideas to lead that process in 2012,” Chambliss said.

Highlights of the interview:

– Chambliss predicted that Republicans will be able to force a debate over the repeal of last year’s health care overhaul:

”I saw that [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid said it would never come up in the Senate. I don’t know why he would make that statement. Because I assure you, if we have to, every bill that comes before the Senate will have repeal of health care as an amendment.

“And under our rules, germaneness is not an issue. He’s going to have a hard time getting cloture without an up-or-down vote on health care repeal. He may have the vote – he probably does. But there will be a vote.”

– More on his switch to a leadership role on Senate Intelligence:

“Obviously, that would be a major, major move. It would give me more of a say-so from a policy standpoint. That’s the reason you’re in office – to have to opportunity to be involved in major decisions.”

– Which is why he’s so certain on seeking a third term in 2014:

”Oh, yeah. I’m planning to run. My health is good. I’m beating this prostate cancer [diagnosed in 2004]. I’m cured. As long as I like what I’m doing, and my family’s still excited about coming to the White House now and then – plus this moving to intel. I’ll have a much more major role in policy. We truly are going to be at the point of the spear.

“We’ve got some huge issues. Guantanamo – trying folks in military courts, which I’m a strong proponent of. Lindsey Graham [of South Carolina] and I will have a bill on that as soon as we get back. Increasing the way we gather intelligence – which is the core of fighting and winning this war on terrorism.”

– On the tension among Republicans that’s likely to arise over the next farm bill debate:

”This is going to be the most difficult farm bill to write….First of all is the lack of money. We’re not going to have the funding that we have had in the past.

“Does that mean we eliminate subsidies? Probably not. We can’t do that and have a really good safety net out there for farmers. …I think the fight will be over direct payments. We get criticized for putting direct payments into a farm bill. And direct payments go to farmers whether they plant anything or not.

“I don’t like that concept philosophically, but one reason we have direct payments is, they’re the most [World Trade Organization]-compliant part of any farm bill. Every European country provides direct payments to their farmers.”

– But Chambliss said his shift to intelligence issues won’t take him out of the fight over immigration reform:

”We’ll be at the forefront of that debate. We’ve got the only guest-worker program that really works, in agriculture. This administration is trying to screw it up.

“Diane Feinstein and I have already had a conversation. She, interestingly enough, has always led the other side of it. California has a little different perspective on it than we do. But Diane’s chairman of the intel committee.

“In conversation, we’ve said, hey, this may also be an opportunity to resolve our ag jobs issue, too.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

45 comments Add your comment


January 21st, 2011
5:09 pm

And yeah, you did a FABULOUS job Saxby on that last Farm Bill. Saxby on the “Intelligence” Committee. My coffee sprayed my computer screen.


January 21st, 2011
5:19 pm

and bachmann in the house; repubs sure have a sense of humor

Yankee in Gooberville

January 21st, 2011
5:25 pm

Chambliss? Intelligence? lol what an ‘ffing oxymoron that is.

Just Wait

January 21st, 2011
6:16 pm

Just like Chambliss to run from the agriculture committee where farmers are going to take a hit so they will not blame him at reelection time. And don’t you have to have some intelligence to be on the intelligence committee? Oh wait, these is a political committee. My mistake.


January 21st, 2011
6:17 pm

Yankee, my thoughts exactly.

When are we going to talk about David Ralston’s 17,000$ lobbyist-financed trip to Europe at Thanksgiving?


January 21st, 2011
6:29 pm

conservatives for corporations, not for the American people.

We Liberals Must Stick Together

January 21st, 2011
6:37 pm

I agree with all the comments.

We should eliminate all corporations and private, businesses.

We should hold Chambliss responsible for a STATE Senator’s European trip.

We should convey sophomoric statements highlighting the word “intelligence” to smear Chambliss.

Because that’s what we do.

We have no solutions or answers.

We are liberals.


January 21st, 2011
7:00 pm

he is just useless

Bo Chambliss LOBBYIST

January 21st, 2011
7:17 pm

If dad is not the head of the ag. committee then I’ll have to get a new job. Anyone know any intelligence companies that want a direct link to the committee hear? I am the LOBBUIST they want.

Bo Chambliss LOBBYIST

January 21st, 2011
7:17 pm

If dad is not the head of the ag. committee then I’ll have to get a new job. Anyone know any intelligence companies that want a direct link to the committee hear? I am the LOBBYIST they want.


January 21st, 2011
7:21 pm

Ralston’s taken $22,000 from lobbyists since the November elections. I’ll say it again: Karen Handel was right, and none of you idiots listened; or not enough I guess I should say.

All of these guys are corrupt as hell, and this is just one more piece of proof that if you get yourself elected, you can reap the benefits and take your family on lavish European getaways at someone else’s expense.

Georgia GOP: Making Government Pay!


January 21st, 2011
10:38 pm

Here’s a good example for the need of TERM LIMITS!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jim Galloway, Martin Mayer. Martin Mayer said: A Saxby Chambliss shift to a leadership position on Senate … http://ht.ly/1aYzTU [...]

El Kabong

January 22nd, 2011
3:46 am

We liberals must stick together-I am not a liberal. I am a conservative who finally had his eyes opened over the last few years by the actions of the Reps and the Dems. Continuing to blame everything on the “Liberals” is a really simplistic view of the world. The problem is not right vs left anymore; the problem is the corporations vs the common man and the corps are winning. Politicians of both parties (they are actually indistinguishable) are the bought and paid for hirelings of corporations. Most if the leading pols in the state were Dems when it suited them.

Buford Sowega

January 22nd, 2011
6:50 am

Third world baby, here we come. Why do we always forget that these guys aren’t looking out for us, they’re looking out for themselves.


January 22nd, 2011
7:04 am

What does that Imperial Sugar Company lap dog, Saxby, know about intelligence!

Road Scholar

January 22nd, 2011
8:32 am

We liberals: I suspect that you are an arch conservative. It is based on your biased, ignorant, and blanket comments concerning liberals. No one is that stupid ….besides a conservative! Grow up!

As for Saxby, he hasn’t found a fight he can’t run from! They must play better golf courses on the intelligence committee.


January 22nd, 2011
9:15 am

This is the same “intelligent” Saxby Chambliss who opposed the new Salt Treaty that was endorsed by every living former Republican Secretary of State, all of whom said ratification of the treaty would increase American security. I also remember, since he is running for a third term, that he campaigned on a platform of “term limits” when he was elected to the House in 94. He must have meant term limits for others, not for himself. What a hypocrite!

Ga Values

January 22nd, 2011
9:24 am

Looks like Saxby is going to admit that he is pro amnesty. In reality he is pro lobbyist, but only the 1’s that are giving him money or taking him on golf trips. I hope the Georgia GOP can come up with a real conservative to take the place of this RINO.


January 22nd, 2011
10:13 am

He got out of agriculture because the Tea Baggers will have fits over farm subsidies and want to cut them. He would be in the position of having to go against them


January 22nd, 2011
10:14 am

Just goes to show you don’t have to have any intelligence to serve on the intelligence committee.
I’ve long wondered how Ga. survives with it’s residents voting these idiots into office.


January 22nd, 2011
11:12 am

Sounds like Agriculture subsidies are on the cutting list of wasteful spending, It’s about time.

Wallis the dog

January 22nd, 2011
11:17 am

Stop the ethanol boondoggle. If ethanol is such a great idea (and it’s not) then remove the tariffs on imported ethanol.


January 22nd, 2011
11:31 am

The military industrial complex will be buying lots of golf rounds.


January 22nd, 2011
11:42 am

I’m sure he will be pushing for action in Iran and North Korea…in the name of bringing jobs to Lockheed Martin in Marietta.

I pray there’s a primary challenge in 2014.


January 22nd, 2011
12:02 pm

No one here is listening to Obama’s call for civility. I guess they either think his speech was a stunt, or they don’t respectd him much.


January 22nd, 2011
12:24 pm

@ricardus When the american voter demands term limits you can say our education is improving.As is we pay while in office,then rest of life.


January 22nd, 2011
1:11 pm

Yeah, term limits in Congress is really what we need. 12 years a piece: two terms for Senators, six for Representatives. We need to get serious about this and start demanding a reform. Unfortunately, it’s going to require a Constitutional amendment, I believe. Which means a national, organized effort.


January 22nd, 2011
1:29 pm

Saxby, the comedian:

“Obviously, that would be a major, major move. It would give me more of a say-so from a policy standpoint. That’s the reason you’re in office – to have to opportunity to be involved in major decisions.”

I’m still splitting my sides.


January 22nd, 2011
1:35 pm

WLMST – I am a conservative. As to not offering solutions. I offered the biggest one for dealing with Saxby back in the Summer of 2002: don’t vote for him in the primary. The guy is a RINO. He’s nothing but a southern Democrat – slightly conservative on social issues and a fiscal moderate at best. The guy is tied to more pork than most Dems in Congress. The Tea Partiers would have done themselves a service in voting this clown out. But the blind in this state say he is a Republican and therefore we must support him. The clueless will support anyone with an R behind their name but then get upset when the guy turns out like Saxby. Good ol’ boy big government. And talk about empty suit. How does this guy know what to vote for since Rove is not in the White House? He was told how to vote during the Bush years. He’s the dumb jock in class leaning over to see what the answer to number 6 is. It’s the only reason W wanted him in there….rubber stamp.

Inman Park

January 22nd, 2011
2:13 pm

Senate “Intelligence” Committee sounds like an oxymoron.

Harry Reid

January 22nd, 2011
2:48 pm

Chambliss is wrong about the health care bill. I’m the all powerful man and nothing will come before the senate that I do not want…I am king (pelosi was queen but she lost…so sad).

independent thinker

January 22nd, 2011
2:58 pm

Chambliss on the intelligence committee- now that is an oxymoron


January 22nd, 2011
3:00 pm

vietnam veteran

January 22nd, 2011
3:18 pm

And what exactly did that chicken-hawk, draft dodger do to get on the intelligence committee?


January 22nd, 2011
3:23 pm

“Greed has changed our will to be honest.”

Saxby Hisself

January 22nd, 2011
3:41 pm

I’m a Chickenhawk!

Ow! My knee hurts!


January 22nd, 2011
3:48 pm

Chambliss is another word for hypocrite. He loves all wars except, of course, Vietnam during which he managed to avoid serving in the military. It’s OK for you and your children but not him. Something odd about using Chambliss and intelligence in the same sentence.


January 22nd, 2011
4:01 pm

You can bet the change will benefit him.

Alabama Communist

January 22nd, 2011
5:15 pm

And yes, Chambliss plans to run for re-election in 2014.* Jim G

By 2014, Chambliss will be fleeing to Costa Rica like most rich Republican Establishment Dudes when the political system of the United States becomes a 3 rate divided country in Chaos…..

Flower Girl

January 22nd, 2011
6:53 pm

Chambliss is weak and ineffective. He’s good at fending off ICE whenever they attempt to apprehand and deport the illegals who work in his onion farmer constituents’ fields. But he’s a mere featherweight when compared to past Georgia senators like Richard Russell and Sam Nunn.

[...] here to read the entire article including highlights from [...]

Just Nasty & Mean

January 23rd, 2011
9:11 pm

Great job on that last Farm Bill, Saxby. It was loaded with fat, lard, oil, grease, and everything else you could give to your Big Farm Butt Buddies in So. Georgia.

If/When you are stupid enough to run next time, you’re going to be surprised to find your constituents have changed. They’re awake now. And they’re not going to vote for you just because you have your war chest full of million$$ from your Farm Lobby Butt Buddies.

You’ve already crapped in your own sandbox. We now know what you are, Saxby.

You epitomize the label RINO.

J Wood

January 24th, 2011
9:14 am

Yes, Saxby & intelligence committee is oxymoronical. And now we see that the Monsanto pawn is fighting for GMO agriculture in Georgia. Why isn’t the AJC reporting on this? Whose side is Saxby on? His. Not ours.

Joel Six Pack

January 25th, 2011
11:07 am

Chambliss lacks vision and courage. He is a follower, not an innovator. This serves him well politically being from Georgia. Maybe Senate Intelligence is a better place for him than Agriculture given how climate and energy policies will soon be impacting agriculture and the country will need innovation and leadership there.