Many members of Georgia’s congressional delegation – Democrat and Republican – still remain undecided about final passage of the debt-ceiling deal, but sides are being chosen in a hurry.
On Saturday, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson gave a passionate speech about the need to come to an agreement. This afternoon, Politico.com has this line:
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said she was inclined to support the plan, as did Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
We have yet to hear from Georgia’s Saxby Chambliss, but the two senators only rarely cancel out one another’s votes. The vote in the Senate is expected tomorrow morning.
In the House, where the vote will come this evening, we may have as many as three “no” votes cast by Georgia members. U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, and Paul Broun, R-Athens, are solid opponents. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, is leaning that way.
“I took the pledge that I would not vote to increase the debt ceiling by one penny unless the balanced budget amendment was sent to the states for their ratification. So this doesn’t do that – it’s backing up a little bit from what we did last Friday,” Gingrey told Scott MacFarlane of Channel 2 Action News. Gingrey also said he was concerned about cuts to the defense budget that might be forced in future negotiations.
On the “yes” side, count U.S. Reps. Tom Price, R-Roswell; Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, and David Scott, D-Atlanta.
Said Price, to MacFarlane:“The principles that we have stuck to is that there ought to be no tax increases, and that for any increase in the debt ceiling, there ought to be at least a similar dollar figure reduction in spending. And this proposal actually sticks to it.” The bill also, Price said, forces the House and Senate to vote on a balanced budget amendment.
From Woodall, serving his first term: “I’m a yes vote. This gets me exactly what I needed. It gets me cuts immediately to spending. It gets me capped spending going forward. All importantly, it gets me a vote on the balanced budget amendment, which we haven’t had in 15 years.”
David Scott was one of the few Georgia Democrats to show his hand. “We’ve got to force one reality. This country cannot afford to default,” he said. The Atlanta congressman cited satisfaction with protections for federal programs that deal with the poor and the elderly.
House members listed as undecided include:
– Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, though his comments about the deal have been favorable. Spokesman Chris Crawford confirmed at 4 p.m. or so that his boss still hasn’t made a final call.
– Sanford Bishop, D-Albany — in the past he’s been a solid vote for the Obama administration;
– Austin Scott, R-Tifton;
– Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County;
– Hank Johnson, D-Decatur;
– John Lewis, D-Atlanta;
– and John Barrow, D-Savannah.
The sooner this horse opera ends, the better. A new Washington Post poll notes this:
Asked for single-word characterizations of the budget negotiations, the top words in the poll — conducted in the days before an apparent deal was struck — were “ridiculous,” “disgusting” and “stupid.” Overall, nearly three-quarters of Americans offered a negative word; just 2 percent had anything nice to say.
“Ridiculous” was the most frequently mentioned word among Democrats, Republicans and independents alike.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider