For the last 18 months, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss has served as Georgia’s lead voice when it comes to the debate over the federal government’s finances – the Gang of Six and all that.
But that may have just changed.
Committee assignments have just come out, and U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson is a new member of the Senate Finance Committee – which will serve as that chamber’s venue for debate over the debt ceiling, all revenue issues, plus health care programs under Social Security and Medicare.
All are issues left untouched by this week’s “fiscal cliff” deal – which both Isakson and Chambliss supported.
Lord knows why, but Isakson, who often touts his 33 years of experience in real estate, had pursued the spot. “I am absolutely thrilled to serve on the Senate Finance Committee, and I thank Leader Mitch McConnell for allowing me the opportunity,” the junior senator said in a press release.
You’ll recall that in 2011, Isakson had a chance at a finance committee slot when U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., resigned under pressure. But Isakson — then and now — was a member of the Senate Ethics Committee that investigated Ensign. He judged that it would be unseemly for him to try to replace his ousted colleague, and withdrew his name from consideration.
The cost for Isakson was a seat on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, where he was the ranking Republican on the Africa subcommittee.
Chambliss retains his top-level committee assignment, as ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider