In search of Republicans who have John Boehner’s back

If all goes as planned, Barack Obama and John Boehner will spend Sunday at the White House, locked together in what may be the largest game of Texas hold ‘em the world has ever seen.

The president and speaker are the two figures with the most skin in the Washington debate over an increased debt ceiling and the $14 trillion federal deficit. Obama wants to be re-elected. Boehner wants the U.S. House to remain Republican.

Neither wins with a Wall Street meltdown, which is what we’re assured will happen if the pair don’t reach an agreement on raising the federal government’s borrowing limit by Aug. 2.

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah/AJC file

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah/AJC file

Democrats in Congress are likely to rally, however reluctantly, to whatever cuts to entitlements Obama agrees to. But Boehner’s hold on his Republican troops is less secure. Especially if the deal includes increased federal revenue — not through tax rate increases, but the elimination of tax breaks.

Which of Georgia’s eight Republican members of the House are likely to join their speaker? Right now, it looks like very few.

In an interview on Bloomberg TV on Friday, Tom Graves of Ranger was skeptical of any need for a deal with the White House. “I think it’s very safe to say that Aug. 2 is a deadline that’s been put out there by [Treasury Secretary] Timothy Geithner. It’s been moved throughout. They’re already preparing for that date and to go past that date.”

Paul Broun of Athens pointedly introduced legislation this week that would lower the debt ceiling — not raise it. “I wholeheartedly hope that my colleagues will either ante up or try their luck at another profession,” he said.

On Thursday, Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville declared he wanted no part of a debt-ceiling vote — House Republicans, he said, had already turned down the idea. Hours earlier, Tom Price of Roswell appeared to rule out any package that included revenue increases.

“The quickest way to further stall economic growth is to raise taxes on American families under the guise of fiscal responsibility,” he said.

Phil Gingrey of Marietta, Austin Scott of Tifton and Lynn Westmoreland of Coweta County have remained relatively quiet.

The tea party’s indisputable strength in Georgia is one reason for the shortage of Georgia Republicans leaping to Boehner’s side. But another is the lack of engagement on the debt-ceiling issue by the Georgia business community.

In Washington and New York, economists and financial wizards have warned of the dire consequences that would follow federal default. But in Georgia, little cover has been provided to those Republicans who might be in the mood to back Boehner’s play.

Joselyn Baker, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, admitted that her organization hasn’t yet engaged with members of Congress on the debt-ceiling debate.

That will soon change, she added. “It’s an issue that’s currently being discussed here.”

For now, the only House Republican from Georgia who might cast a vote for a debt-ceiling deal is Jack Kingston, who as a House Appropriations subcommittee chairman qualifies as a member of Boehner’s leadership team.

“If the president is willing to support some entitlement reforms, and if for every dollar of debt increase, there’s more than a dollar cut — or at least a dollar-for-dollar match — that will be very helpful,” Kingston said in a telephone interview.

Large, unpleasant pills will have to be swallowed — by both sides — the Savannah congressman said.

Some House Republicans are demanding passage of a constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget. But the president doesn’t control the U.S. Senate, so that’s not going to happen, Kingston said.

House Republicans will have to be content to pursue that separately.

Military spending will probably have to be included in spending cuts House Republicans are insisting on, he said. Kingston said he would like to see federal spending reduced from 24 percent of the gross domestic product to something approaching 18 percent.

On the revenue side, Kingston said House Republicans are willing to take some suggestions from U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss when it comes to the elimination of some tax subsidies in order to boost revenue that can be applied to the federal debt.

“If it’s a tax loophole that helps one industry to the detriment of others, I think we’d certainly want to close it,” Kingston said. “If it’s a wealthy individual and they’re skating on their taxes, nobody’s in favor of that.”

Chambliss, in particular, has raised the possibility of eliminating tax deductions for the interest on mortgages on second homes.

“I think you could argue that. You could also even say flood insurance on a second home. National flood insurance is subsidized heavily,” Kingston said. “It’s consistent with the Republican philosophy of both tax simplification and tax fairness to look at things that only a select few industries or portions of the population can take advantage of.

“I’m not convinced that there’s real revenue in it, but for the sake of good faith, I don’t think we should run from that,” Kingston said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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149 comments Add your comment

Cutty

July 9th, 2011
3:22 pm

Quotes by Graves, Broun, and Woodall easily shows the incompetence of the Georgia voter. Some of these same jokers had no problem raising the debt ceiling 6 times under a republican administration, with absolutely no spending cuts. Now, republicans believe defaulting on our debt is somehow a myth that won’t affect our economy and world markets. Blame should be placed at the feet of every person that voted for these limp-wristed morons.

Nick

July 9th, 2011
3:27 pm

Its pretty obvious that Kingston is the only grown up in the group. Kudos for doing what is in the best interest of the country.

Morning Jacket

July 9th, 2011
3:34 pm

Enter your comments here

Centrist

July 9th, 2011
3:34 pm

This is hardly the biggest bet the world has ever seen – it is typical last minute U.S. politics.

When the Republicans agreed to eliminating the awful ethanol subsidy the left wing claimed was a good energy alternative, Galloway and other Democrats gleefully called it a tax increase and how it opened the door for more. At least now he has dropped the demagoguery and correctly says “not through tax rate increases, but the elimination of tax breaks”.

There is not much revenue compared to the needed spending cuts in the current proposals of a millionaire tax, closing tax loopholes and subsidies. But the “fairness” issue may be enough to get both sides to move toward the middle. Of course, we will mostly get smoke and mirrors in the final deal and have to face this issue again soon when there is no proof in the pudding.

Morning Jacket

July 9th, 2011
3:36 pm

Re headline about Republicans having Boehner’s back. With this bunch, I’d check for knives.

Joe Smith

July 9th, 2011
3:39 pm

The fact that you are confusing the debt and the deficit just shows how hopeless it is to think there will be any sort of intelligent discussion of these issues.

td

July 9th, 2011
3:51 pm

Which of Georgia’s eight Republican members of the House are likely to join their speaker?

Which ever ones agree to raising taxes will certainly have a primary challenge and will probably lose their seat.

Centrist

July 9th, 2011
4:01 pm

Static tax analysis only works for gimmick accounting. If there is an added millionaire tax, those folks will simply have more of their personal income switched to stock options which are currently taxed as capital gains of 15%. Folks reading here are likely to be in higher tax brackets without such capital gains. This is all part of our purposely convoluted tax code.

td

July 9th, 2011
4:01 pm

“If it’s a tax loophole that helps one industry to the detriment of others, I think we’d certainly want to close it,”

Only if the tax loophole allows jobs to be shipped overseas. I think we should give an incentives to companies to open jobs in the USA.

td

July 9th, 2011
4:02 pm

Centrist

July 9th, 2011
4:01 pm

Do away with all income and capitol gains taxes and institute a fair tax.

rawmilkdrinker

July 9th, 2011
4:03 pm

I keep waiting for McDonalds to announce a 40% reduction in the price of Big Macs and a 50% drop in price of fries so as to double their net profits. Perhaps Delta, Airtran and Ga Power will cut their fares and electric rates in half. Then By God they will be able to pay off their company debts in no time at all.

jsmtih

July 9th, 2011
4:09 pm

Instead of everyone being so concerned with tax loop holes and tax cuts , why not focus on getting rid of government waste and government jobs and entitlement programs, all you have to know about what the hell is wrong with the USA is the fact that people WANT and EXPECT government help and more gov programs??? 30 to 40 years ago no one with any pride wanted a government job or a government handout.. people used to dream of making a life better for themselves and their children, now people dream of getting a cushy gov job and having a retirement where they get two times out more then they put in?? and get takin care of by tax payers the rest of their lives

Tom E. Gunn

July 9th, 2011
4:41 pm

As those of us in NGA already know, Graves never misses a chance to talk no matter if makes any sense or not. IF concessions are made on both sides, and a deal can be made, that is politics, and it should be passed for the good of the economy. If these guys let the economy tank again, they will find they have opposition no matter which way they vote.

Monty Python

July 9th, 2011
5:01 pm

Price is the true clown here. Broun is just scary. Price frames the debate in terms of raising taxes on the average American family, as if someone has suggested doing that. Price is having a separate debate in his own mind. He just spouts slogans and never does anything to help. As a long suffering member of his district, it is time to cut Price and move on.

double

July 9th, 2011
5:02 pm

getting rid of gov.jobs,.Both employed,and elected.Term limits would cut luxiours retirement,and benefits.

Centrist

July 9th, 2011
5:06 pm

No way politicians of either party will allow the Fair Tax to pass. Tax policy is used to help politicians, their friends and family, buy votes, and pay off special interests in exchange for campaign contributions.

td

July 9th, 2011
5:22 pm

Centrist

July 9th, 2011
5:06 pm
No way politicians of either party will allow the Fair Tax to pass. Tax policy is used to help politicians, their friends and family, buy votes, and pay off special interests in exchange for campaign contributions.

I am afraid you are exactly right.

Willis

July 9th, 2011
5:37 pm

Woodall brags about his free heath insurance because “it’s there” but wants to take Medicare away from seniors. He and the other dangerous scumbags should be kicked out of office.

Centrist

July 9th, 2011
5:46 pm

Willis posts: “Woodall brags about his free heath insurance because “it’s there” but wants to take Medicare away from seniors.”

While I don’t disagree, you could say the same for Democrats concerning Obamacare – Pelosi: “We Have to Pass the Bill So That You Can Find Out What Is In It”.

double

July 9th, 2011
6:06 pm

If voters are serious,then demand term limits,this way you can get some control.It’s not to our benefit to have a monopoly(either party)Nor is shutting down the government.

Carimar

July 9th, 2011
6:19 pm

Kill the government, and re-engineer it from the ground up. The system is broke and nobody can put it back together again. Sooner the better.

double

July 9th, 2011
6:32 pm

In previous post someone posted the progression of a failed democracy,then a dictatorship.When ours fail,then we will see a word wide dictatorship.This is in my opinion,reason you are seeing other countries being attacked by our troops,and/or being supported by us in rebellion.One world order one world government on the horizion.

Karen R.

July 9th, 2011
6:36 pm

The South is 100 years behind.

carpetbagger

July 9th, 2011
6:58 pm

“Neither wins with a Wall Street meltdown, which is what we’re assured will happen if the pair don’t reach an agreement on raising the federal government’s borrowing limit by Aug. 2″

Jimbo, while you’ve got that crystal ball out, would you mind passing on tonight’s winning Powerball numbers?

kc

July 9th, 2011
7:06 pm

repubs ran up the debt and don’t want to pay for it…..left current prez with biggest bag of dung since 1930s, just like hoover they suck
http://zfacts.com/p/1195.html

President

July 9th, 2011
7:13 pm

I almost hope we default on the debt and stop making social security payments. If Obama had any sense he would realize that these people don’t just oppose his policies, they HATE HIM. That want him to fail so bad that they would like to see the country go down.

If we really implemented the policies they advocate (no social security, no medicare, no student loans ect) it would be the end to their party. They advocate positions that the majority of Georgians and Amercians oppose. I say let them have their way so that we could be rid of them.

Lets just be real, so much of the hatred for Obama in the south is driven by the fact that he is black.

Sam I Am

July 9th, 2011
7:13 pm

The republican house passes a 17 billion defense bill increase , what happened to less spending?

yuzeyurbrane

July 9th, 2011
7:38 pm

This is one proud Senior who will not walk quietly to the gas chamber. I will vote against the President and any Congressman or Senator I can who touches my Medicare or Social Security. Mr. President, grow some cohones!

hl

July 9th, 2011
7:40 pm

I’m still waiting for the Bush tax cuts to stimulate the economy so we can have zero unemployment.

Centrist

July 9th, 2011
7:48 pm

Ignoring the fact that both Medicare and Social Security improvements that bought votes can’t be paid for is just plain ignorance. Phasing in raising the age for future beneficiaries and trimming the give-a-aways to those who didn’t EARN the benefits is the best way out. Hopefully a majority of our representatives and the electorate will ignore the ignorant.

Big Daddy

July 9th, 2011
8:41 pm

Woodall is nothing but a Linder pimp-clone. He represents Gwinnett county, which votes for anything that moves IF the “R.” is attached His opponent in 2008 was Democrat Heckman, a West Point Green Beret. Woodall clobbered him.

vuduchld

July 9th, 2011
9:09 pm

Who cares what these maggots think. At the end of the day they will be made to look like fools again because President Obama will out wit them at they’re own game. You hillbilly Jawjians sure love voting incompetent idiots into office don’t you.

kc

July 9th, 2011
9:23 pm

boehner saying no to big deal…..the party in charge when debt created will not help payt the tab by hitting their rich buds…..who pay for these clowns

frankee

July 9th, 2011
10:01 pm

close the loop holes, stop the fraud ;, and stop the wars , now, and build the fence arcoss the southern border, make the noncitizens leave. problem solved

frankee

July 9th, 2011
10:03 pm

oh yeah , term limits term limits, term limits, we should have representation not royalty on government.

td

July 9th, 2011
10:05 pm

hl

July 9th, 2011
7:40 pm
I’m still waiting for the Bush tax cuts to stimulate the economy so we can have zero unemployment

You will never have 0% unemployment because there is about 6% of the population that refuses to work. They just want to sit back and let the government take care of them.

td

July 9th, 2011
10:07 pm

vuduchld

July 9th, 2011
9:09 pm
Who cares what these maggots think. At the end of the day they will be made to look like fools again because President Obama will out wit them at they’re own game

This is why the spending cuts must come first for at least a couple of years and then we can think about revenue enhancements.

td

July 9th, 2011
10:10 pm

frankee

July 9th, 2011
10:03 pm
oh yeah , term limits term limits, term limits, we should have representation not royalty on government.

We have term limits every two years when you go to the polls and vote. The problem is the dumb masses think their own Senator of Representative is the best and all the others need to be replaced.

Bill Campbell

July 9th, 2011
10:19 pm

All blame should be on Obama! The most clueless President in American history will be voted out in 2012 and all those weak-kneed Republicans who don’t hold their ground! The Tea Party is the silent majority and now those voices will be heard just like 1776!

[...] 2 trillion dealSeattle Post IntelligencerDeficit Talks Scaled Back Over Tax IncreasesNew York TimesAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -Los Angeles Times -NewsChannel 9 WSYRall 2,959 news [...]

Gee

July 9th, 2011
10:57 pm

Mr. Campbell- Speaking of clueless… your 1776-rhetoric is very ironic. Here are two huge groups of Americans whose “voices” were NOT heard: 1) Women 2) Blacks. Let’s not try to relive the past, please.

yuzeyurbrane

July 9th, 2011
11:42 pm

Centrist, I will take your comment about Medicare and Social Security supporters being ignorant in the context of your other ignorant comments on the subject. You in fact are the one who is ignoring the facts. I have paid my FICA taxes for over 50 years as have millions of others and therefore am entitled to the other side of the social contract, namely SS and Medicare. I am happy that you are either so wealthy that all you care about is your regressive FAIR Tax proposal or you are so young as to foolishly ignore how well SS has served our society for 75 yrs. and with small modifications (namely, raising the regressive $105,000 cap on earnings subject to SS) can provide a foundation for a dignified retirement for Seniors, our children and grandchildren for another 75 years.

double

July 10th, 2011
12:22 am

Td you think the dumb masses think their rep./senator are the best,and all others need replaced.TD you can’t measure all the dumb masses by your bushel.

The Centrist

July 10th, 2011
1:40 am

You can probably count the number of people you know who are really impacted by short term capital gains taxes on one-hand. Just think where the budget would have been if we had gotten just 10% more in taxes from oil and stock speculators, mortgage and investment bankers, real estate flippers, and on “salary” increases more than $1 million.

Michael

July 10th, 2011
3:18 am

I agree with cutty commits. the republicans in this congress are not very American in the Leader of their party!!!! Please Pray to GOD above to help your loss poor Republicans that follow what their
leader saids. Which is known as not very smart.

Ghost Rider

July 10th, 2011
6:20 am

Stimulus spending and the play money printed by the Fed is working out great! The government now tells us that the unemployment rate is 9.2%. The truth is that it is much higher, and that these numbers fail to even address recent college graduates who are working at waiters and waitresses.

The simple truth is that the stimulus spending did absolutely no good, except to line the pockets of certain people as political payoffs. Just as President Roosevelt’s efforts failed during the First Great Depression, President Obama’s efforts have failed here in the Second Great Depression. History show us that only World War II brought the United States out of the First Depression. President Obama failed to learn from President Roosevelt’s failure and thus repeated history.

Why not raise the debt ceiling? After all, we only owe $14.5 trillion at present, so why will a few more trillion matter?

It is long past time to make very tough decisions, and these decisions are going to affect each and every one of us. This country had been operating WITHOUT A BUDGET for over two years now. Wouldn’t you think that a budget is something that is needed? Spending must be reduced, and it must be greatly reduced by elimination of unnecessary programs. The wonderful health care legislation just passed must be repealed in light of the ballooning costs over the next ten years as projected by the budget folks. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid along with farm subsidies, foreign aid, defense spending, ACORN (Yes, they STILL receive federal funding) and EVERY ITEM IN THE BUDGET must be on the table and subject to either elimination or reduction.

This will not be a pretty picture, and I know that I will be affected by these cuts, but the hard choices have to made NOW.

Congress should put their salaries, retirement and other government goodies up for a vote by the citizens of this country. After all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Capitol Idea

July 10th, 2011
6:23 am

Kudos to Kingston for showing some backbone as opposed to the likes of the tea party puppets.

big hat

July 10th, 2011
7:42 am

Never underestimate the GOP’s capacity to commit murder/suicide, just to prove they can. “We burned America to save it” …where have I heard something like that before?

jconservative

July 10th, 2011
7:48 am

Couple of thoughts.

The last time I checked the US Constitution only the members of the House and Senate get a vote on raising the debt limit. The President does not get a vote and the Vice only if there is a tie in the Senate. So why is everyone falling over themselves getting the President involved? The president will sign whatever is passed. Heck, Reagan had 16 debt limit increases to sign. Obama can sign his second in whatever form it emerges from Congress.

We are about to find out if the 9 presidents prior to Obama were incompetenents. All asked for, and received, a debt limit increase during their term.

dixiedemons

July 10th, 2011
8:16 am

When the rest of us get pissed enough to start behaving like our Republican counterparts do our nation will really become a third world country. That’s what will happen when you put your gang affiliation ahead of the greater good of the nation.