State Rep. Dusty Hightower, R-Carrollton, this morning dropped legislation on behalf of Secretary of State Brian Kemp to unclog the processing of half-million professional licenses – unintended victims of Georgia’s illegal immigration statute.
HB 87, passed in 2011, currently requires all license applicants – from nurses to barbers to plumbers – to submit proof of citizenship before new or renewed licenses are granted.
Wait times for licenses have increased five-fold as a result, Kemp says.
HB 32 will only require applicants to submit proof of citizenship only once. A similar measure was attempted last year, but failed when it became wrapped into legislation that would have barred all undocumented students from public universities.
Meanwhile, the state Senate’s newly configured Committee on Assignments today gets down to the business of doling out chairmanships and committee memberships. The biggest prize: Chairmanship of the Senate Rules Committee, through which all bills must pass before coming to the floor. The post is currently held by Don Balfour, R-Snellville, who was on the wrong side of last year’s post-election leadership contests. Top contenders are Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, and Renee Unterman, R-Buford.
To understand the Republican fracture in Congress, think of Tom Price and Chris Christie as two sides of the same coin.
Coverage on Wednesday rightly focused on Christie’s withering criticism of House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to deep-six a federal aid package for Hurricane Sandy victims. But read this passage of Christie’s remarks carefully:
“Americans are tired of the palace intrigue and political partisanship of this Congress, which places one-upsmanship ahead of the lives of the citizens who sent these people to Washington, DC, in the first place. New Jerseyans and New Yorkers are tired of being treated like second-class citizens. New York deserves better than the selfishness we saw on display last night. New Jersey deserves better than the duplicity we saw on display last night.
Now consider Price’s call, made only a few hours earlier, for more “red-state leadership” of the House. The interview on a D.C. radio talk show included Price’s analysis of the fiscal cliff vote in the House:
“If you look at the votes that were ‘yes’ on the Republican side – there were 85 of them. Seventy of them come from blue states. I really think, and I’ve been talking about this for a couple months now. I think this is a red state-blue state issue.
“When we were talking about previous ‘solutions,’ it really broke down in our conference between Republicans who are from red states and those who are from blue states. It’s a different conversation that we need to have within our own conference as we move forward with the kind of positive solutions that I think are out there.”
In other words, Republicans are faced with a choice: To remain a nationally viable political party with a moderately adulterated philosophy, or a politically pure force of mere regional import.
Erick Erickson of Redstate.com on the former Republican nominee for vice president, and his vote in favor of the fiscal cliff deal:
Paul Ryan is a great spokesman. He offset Romney’s deficiencies well. He has some great ideas on entitlement reform. But he is a better spokesman for conservatism than he is a conservative member of Congress. Getting a budget passed that does not balance until my kids are middle aged and raises the national debt to $24 trillion doesn’t really fit my definition of a leader.
Jon Gillooly of the Marietta Daily Journal this morning has the first word from U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson on his vote in favor of the fiscal cliff deal:
“In most cases, when 50 percent are happy and 50 percent are not, you probably did the right thing, especially on something that everybody’s engaged in, and I would say it’s about 50-50,” Isakson said.
Isakson said he voted for the deal because it made permanent the Bush tax rates for “99.1 percent” of the American people, keeping $3.7 trillion in taxes from going up over the next 10 years.
But on the same front page, state GOP chair Sue Everhart — a longtime supporter of Isakson – declared herself “just thoroughly disgusted with Washington:”
“As much as I hate to say it, I almost wish they let us go over the cliff and let us go ahead and address spending,” Everhart said.
The Tuesday night debate over “fiscal cliff” legislation in the House included an exit speech by U.S. Rep. David Dreier, a California Republican, who cited the Georgia alliance between Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed as an example for Washington:
”They have managed to bridge that divide through a commitments of results. …Congress and the White House are perfectly capable of following that same model for the good of our county.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider