Last night’s vote in the U.S. House on a debt-ceiling deal ripped Georgia’s congressional delegation in two, with Democrat John Lewis of Atlanta joining six Republicans in a final condemnation.
In quoting Mohandas Gandhi, Lewis sounded not unlike some tea partyists we’ve run into: “’All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. All compromise on fundamentals is surrender. It is all give and no take.’ The Democrats gave and gave and gave, but we received nothing in return. This is not a fair deal. It is not a good deal. It is not a balanced compromise.”
Voting for the bill were two Republicans – Tom Price of Roswell, Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville – and four Democrats – David Scott of Atlanta, Sanford Bishop of Albany, John Barrow of Savannah, and Hank Johnson of Decatur.
Voting against the bill were congressmen with major military concerns in their districts: Phil Gingrey of Marietta, Austin Scott of Tifton, and Jack Kingston of Savannah. In a third round of budget cuts demanded by the debt-ceiling bill, if a committee of congressional negotiators can’t come to an agreement, across-the-board budget cuts would significantly affect defense spending.
Others who cast dissenting votes: Tom Graves of Ranger, Paul Broun of Athens, Lynn Westmoreland of Coweta County.
Post-vote statements from the delegation:
Paul Broun, R-Athens: “The Budget Control Act offers meager cuts at best; the majority of which will be implemented over a ten year time span. Most importantly, this blueprint for our country’s financial future does not address paying down our national debt.”
Sanford Bishop, D-Albany: “Passage of today’s legislation will enable our country to continue to pay its bills, avoid a default crisis and maintain fundamental commitments to working American families.”
Austin Scott, R-Tifton: “The uncertainty surrounding these defense cuts could have a devastating impact on thousands of jobs in Middle Georgia – a risk I’m not willing to take at a time when our unemployment rate continues to hover near double digits.”
Hank Johnson, D-Decatur: “Now that the Tea Party Republicans have taken their ransom from the American people – and left millionaires, billionaires and Big Oil unscathed – we must focus on creating jobs. President Obama turned a bad deal into one I could reluctantly support.”
Tom Price, R-Roswell: “There will be spending reductions greater in amount than any increase in the nation’s debt. There are no tax increases. For the first time in 15 years we will have the opportunity to hold Washington accountable by voting on a Balanced Budget Amendment and sending it to the states for ratification.”
Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta: “While this bill moves the ball in the right direction, it does not make the debt ceiling increase contingent upon passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment. It further concerns me that tax increases could come into play as the newly created commission formulates its proposal and that the Department of Defense could be disproportionately affected by the process of sequestration.”
Tom Graves, R-Ranger: “The final deal before us today fails the match the magnitude of the crisis. In fact, it doesn’t come close. In exchange for giving President Obama the largest debt limit increase in United States history, the American people receive only $10 billion in savings over the next two years.”
A vote in the U.S. Senate is expected at noon today. U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson has stated an inclination to vote yes. His Georgia colleague Saxby Chambliss has yet to tip his hand.
Tea Party Patriots, a group with notable Georgia connections, condemned passage of the debt-ceiling measure last night, and urged supporters to urge Sens. Jim DeMint, Mike Lee and Rand Paul to conduct a filibuster.
The state Public Service Commission today is expected to vote on an agreement abandoning a plan to trim Georgia Power’s profits if construction of a new nuclear power plant goes over budget.
The agreement, negotiated last, calls for dropping a plan that would have trimmed Georgia Power’s profits if the construction of two more nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta costs the Southern Co. subsidiary more than $6.4 billion. The company could have earned a boost in profits had the project come in under budget.
With a redistricting session of the Legislature fast approaching, we have two census-oriented items worth looking at.
First is an interactive map producted by the Center for Urban Research at the City University of New York that illustrates the shift of minorities in metro Atlanta into the suburbs between 2000 and 2010. Likewise, it shows the dilution of the African-American population within the city of Atlanta. Click here to see it – it’s quite cool.
Then we have this article in today’s Washington Post:
Affluent blacks and Hispanics live in neighborhoods that are noticeably poorer than neighborhoods where low-income whites live, according to a new study that suggests income alone does not explain persistent segregation patterns in housing.
Washington and Atlanta were the only two major metropolitan regions in the country that followed a slightly different pattern. In these two cities, the study found that the situation for high-income blacks and Hispanics was equal, but not worse, than that of low-income whites.
Prince George’s County near Washington and DeKalb County outside Atlanta are home to many African Americans with college degrees and good incomes, pushing up the average for their regions.
As a result, blacks and Hispanics in both cities who earned more than $75,000 lived in neighborhoods that were virtually the same as neighborhoods populated by whites earning under $40,000, as measured by average income, poverty rates, education levels, home values and housing vacancies.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey’s claim that the 2010 health care reform law, “a bunch of bureaucrats decide whether you get care, such as continuing on dialysis or cancer chemotherapy.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider