The Senate Republican caucus has gathered again this morning, to continue its debate over who will lead the chamber through the last day of the session.
A session that started on 1 p.m. Wednesday ended in time for the 7 p.m. Braves game – with a few breaks in between. Casey Cagle paid two visits during the day, to argue his case for a return to a chamber led by the lieutenant governor.
The object is to settle the issue before senators point their brake lights toward Atlanta – rather than allowing it to fester until the General Assembly re-assembles later this summer.
A vote to change the Senate rules is possible today, though it would require Democratic cooperation – and the approval of two-thirds of the chamber.
GOP members of the Senate will be asked to vote on one of two proposals now on the table. Peach Pundit offers this description of the first:
The proposal pushed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle would alter the make-up of the Committee on Assignments from the current structure, which has eight members to six. Leadership would get three appointees; the President Pro-Tem (Tommie Williams), Majority Leader (Chip Rogers) and Caucus Chairman (Bill Cowsert). Cagle would get three appointees, and chair the committee; voting only in case of a tie.
We would add that Cagle’s proposal would also permit the GOP caucus to override any of his decisions, by a two-thirds vote.
A proposal by Williams, now the titular head of the Senate, is more complicated. The six members of a Committee of Assignments, as outlined by Cagle, would elect a seventh member – guaranteeing no ties for Cagle to break.
Williams would also establish an executive committee chaired by Cagle, Williams and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers that would handle the rest of the duties that would normally fall to the lieutenant governor alone – the appointment of conferees, assignment of legislation and keeping the purse strings.
But only Williams and Cagle would have a vote on the executive committee – making the Senate president pro tem a co-ruler of the chamber with the lieutenant governor.
Rogers would be cast somewhat to the side.
As my AJC colleague Jeremy Redmon explained, Gov. Nathan Deal has decided to stay out of the final negotiations over HB 87, the illegal immigration bill. But in this sound clip posted by Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM), Deal may have thrown out a hint of where he’d like to see the bill go:
”The whole question of e-verify is one of those issues that the General Assembly’s having difficulties with, apparently a difference of opinion between the two chambers. I’ll leave that to their judgment as to whether or not that is something they want to incorporate for the state of Georgia.
“My understanding is that the Supreme Court of the United States still has a case that is challenging whether or not E-Verify can be mandated on the private employment community.
“Unfortunately, they have not given us guidance by deciding that case at this point in time. It’d be nice to know what the Supreme Court’s direction on this issue might be, but I’m afraid we’re not going to know that before this session of the General Assembly adjourns.”
Only hours after Barack Obama outlined his deficit reduction plan, Grover Norquist, the anti-tax guru of Washington, panned it – and tied U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss to the president. From the Washington Times:
The other team is captained by President Obama. It’s the team that believes in shadowy tax hike triggers, vague and unserious budgets, massive tax increases, lying about tax hikes by calling them spending cuts, raising taxes to pay for permanently higher government spending, and leaving the entitlements totally unreformed.
On his team are the aforementioned Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, virtually all Congressional Democrats, the mainstream media, and the Republicans foolish enough to get drafted into this effort: Gang of Six co-chairs Tom Coburn and Saxby Chambliss.
On the other hand, Roll Call has an intriguing piece on the same topic, wondering whether U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ close friendship with U.S. House Speaker John Boehner holds the key to a deal:
The prospects for a grand bipartisan debt deal may depend in large part on the personal marketing skills of Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
Can the folksy Georgian persuade his fellow Republicans, including his buddy Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), to embrace a tax reform package that lowers rates but raises revenue to cut the deficit?
The idea is a key component of the $4 trillion plan backed by a majority of President Barack Obama’s fiscal commission, which the “gang of six” Senators, including Chambliss, are using as a framework to reach a grand bargain.
But Chambliss has his work cut out for him. Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) both warned Tuesday that they don’t support any tax increases as part of a bipartisan deficit deal before Obama’s deficit speech today. And conservative critics have blasted the commission plan as a tax increase dressed up as tax reform.
AJC’s Politifact today looks at a MoveOn.org statement that Paul Ryan’s budget plan would abolish Medicare within 10 years.
At Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Emory University political scientist swims against the current and explains why Democrats could re-take control of the U.S. House in ’12:
First, as a result of their big gains in 2010, Republicans will be defending a large number of seats in House districts that voted for Barack Obama in 2008; second, many of those districts are likely to vote for Obama again in 2012 because of the difference between the presidential and midterm electorate in the current era; and third, Republican incumbents in these Obama districts will be at high risk of losing their seats if Obama wins because straight-ticket voting is much more prevalent now than it was 30 or 40 years ago.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider