Each of Georgia’s House Republicans on Tuesday voted to reject the Senate-passed measure to defuse the “fiscal cliff” debacle – highlighting the “yes” votes cast a day earlier by U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss.
Within the delegation, as a matter of courtesy, such splits rarely receive a public mention. But according to Slate, protocol was almost violated after a House GOP caucus meeting, when alternative legislation was still being pondered:
After he left the room, Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston joked that the deal passed only because “it was way past those senators’ bedtimes and they had blurry eyes when they were reading” it. House Republicans? Why, they were “trying to fill in the gaps they might have missed.”
The reply that Isakson and Chambliss can’t make, but would like to: “We don’t have the luxury of designer districts to guarantee our re-election.”
The bill would boost the top 35 percent income tax rate to nearly 40 percent for incomes exceeding $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples, while continuing Bush-era income tax cuts for everyone else – a major victory, in the eyes of Isakson, Chambliss and many other Republicans.
While 151 House Republicans voted “no,” scores voted yes, ending more than two decades of stalwart GOP opposition to any tax rate hikes at all. From the Washington Post:
In a sign of the moment’s gravity, [House Speaker John] Boehner himself cast a rare vote: He supported the bill. So did Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate last year, who parted ways from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a potential 2016 presidential contender, who voted against the measure.
But other top GOP leaders voted no, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.).
Boehner will be up for re-election before the House GOP caucus on Thursday. Though he isn’t likely to challenge an incumbent speaker, Robert Costa of National Review Online passes on this Tweeted notation flying around D.C.:
Buzzy: @RepTomPrice told WMAL this morning that GOP needs “red state leadership.” As @LarryOConnor notes, that doesn’t include OH, VA, & CA
We’re looking for the audio.
Outside the Oval Office last week, during the crush of last-minute negotiations, House Speaker John Boehner let some of the tension show. According to Politico, Boehner twice he pointed his finger at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and urged the Democrat to commit a biological impossibility:
The harsh exchange just a few steps from the Oval Office — which Boehner later bragged about to fellow Republicans — was only one episode in nearly two months of high-stakes negotiations laced with distrust, miscommunication, false starts and yelling matches as Washington struggled to ward off $500 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts.
According to the Gallup polling organization, half of American adults think our best days are behind us. Republicans are the most pessimistic – with nearly three-quarters looking back to the good ol’ days.
On a slightly more important — and optimistic — note: While most of us were dithering over the fiscal cliff, some people had more important things on their minds. Former Sonny Perdue aide Nick Ayers, who managed the unsuccessful Republican presidential campaign of Tim Pawlenty, and his wife Jamie are the new parents of triplets, born just last month.
The Atlanta political consultant reported that the last of the trio, Charles, left a neo-natal intensive care unit at Piedmont Hospital on Tuesday – allowing for the family’s first group portrait:
The Rome News-Tribune reports that its parent company, which also publishes the Calhoun Times, Walker County Messenger, Catoosa County, Cedartown Standard and Rockmart Journal, has filed a petition for bankruptcy:
Burgett H. Mooney III, president of the company, said that by filing the Chapter 11 documents, it guarantees that the business will continue.
“News Publishing Co. will come out of this as a stronger company on the backside than it is today,” said Mooney. “There are no excuses; we’re not going to make any.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider