U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said Wednesday that his “Gang of Six” efforts toward a bipartisan plan to wrestle the deficit under control has identified $4.7 trillion in spending cuts and revenue increases over the next decade.
From the Associated Press:
[Chambliss] told a gathering of economists in Washington that there’s no agreement on the plan but that the deficit savings could be ever higher — up to $6 trillion — if the plan boosts economic growth and tax revenues.
The group has been toiling for months to produce a plan in hopes that it might gain momentum in the Senate and serve as the basis for a long-term solution to the nation’s chronic debt woes. But they’ve failed to seal an agreement so far.
The focus in Washington has instead shifted to negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden that includes key lawmakers.
The Senate group, which includes several members of President Barack Obama’s fiscal commission, suffered a major setback last month when Tom Coburn, R-Okla., dropped out.
The Gang of Six, now down to five, is trying to craft a deficit-slashing plan along the lines of the 10-year, $4 trillion package that Obama’s deficit commission put together last year. Basically, that plan called for $1 in higher taxes in exchange for every $3 in cuts to government spending and benefit programs. The nation’s $14.3 trillion debt would continue to grow, but at a much slower pace.
There’s a lot in there that we don’t like,” Chambliss said. “But there’s an awful lot in there that we do like.”
The reason the group’s proposal reaps greater savings than the Obama commission plan is that it covers a slightly different time period.
Sometime after that session with economists, it seems that the senior U.S. senator from Georgia went to dinner for some politicking. From CNN:
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman had dinner Wednesday with five influential Republican senators in Washington as he puts the finishing touches on his near-certain presidential campaign.
Huntsman and wife Mary Kaye were seen entering The Monocle, a popular steakhouse and political watering hole on the Senate side of Capitol Hill, according to a GOP source.
The Huntsmans shared a meal with five GOP senators: Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, John Thune of South Dakota, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
Former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be in Atlanta next Thursday for a high-end fund-raiser. We also understand that one of Romney’s rivals, former Minnesota Tim Pawlenty, will be in the state later this month. Pawlenty picked up a hefty endorsement on Wednesday from U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina.
We have not heard much from Newt Gingrich, who just finished up a Mediterranean cruise. Which has prompted Larry Sabato of Crystal Ball fame to write this:
At the end of May, Gingrich took a previously scheduled two-week vacation while other candidates campaigned. All told, one can not only question the execution of Gingrich’s campaign, but also the commitment of the candidate to it.\
Remember when failed Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley took a vacation between her primary victory and the special election against now-Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA)? Inviting comparisons to Coakley, who shockingly lost Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, is obviously not any campaign’s objective.
Some things are worth getting fired for. Clayton County Attorney Michael Smith is being let go after cooperating with a grand jury investigation into the shredding of cell phone records. Mark Winne of Channel 2 Action News has this:
The state Capitol’s army of lobbyists can stand down. At a Georgia Chamber of Commerce gathering on the coast, House Speaker David Ralston told the state’s business leaders that tax reform would not be part of the August special session that will address redistricting. But Ralston told the group to expect a major tax rewrite come January.
Fresh from his first trade mission as governor, Nathan Deal has begun planning a trip to Asia for October, reports Global Atlanta:
The governor will lead a state delegation to China and South Korea, Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, [said].
The objectives will be similar to those of Mr. Deal’s two-week visit to England, Germany and Austria, which was focused luring new companies and thanking those that have already invested in Georgia, Mr. Cummiskey said.
Up to five Georgia school districts could be subject to a new law allowing the governor to remove board members if the district is in danger of losing accreditation, according to the Associated Press:
State education department attorney Brad Bryant told the Georgia school board Wednesday that the Atlanta, Appling County, Coffee County, Randolph County and Warren County districts are on probation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The law goes into effect July 1. Under the law, state board members will hold a hearing and then recommend to Gov. Nathan Deal whether the entire school board should be removed.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider