Your daily jolt: Isakson, Chambliss say White House will have to bargain over debt ceiling

President Barack Obama may not want to negotiate over another increase in the federal debt ceiling, but Republicans nonetheless intend to bring him to the table, Johnny Isakson said this morning, in one of his first interviews as a member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Isakson was on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” and first was asked to explain his vote in favor of a fiscal cliff agreement that set tax rates – but failed to address spending. Said the Georgia senator:

”It gave certainty to American business, small business, and families on what taxes would be. It made them permanent for everybody except those at $400,000 – and $450,000 for a couple. It’s good policy to make your tax policy permanent, so there’s not uncertainty every year….

“That was the good part. The bad part is that it was done behind closed doors, between just a very few people, when the issue should have been debated before the American people. That I’m sure will happen on the debt ceiling.

“….You have three cliffs coming in the month of March. You have the sequester, you have the debt ceiling, and you have the continuing resolution…..The president can fold his arms all he wants to and say he’s not going to negotiate, but in fact it’s time we made permanent decisions on policy, to begin to amortize and reduce our debt over time, make our spending done on a cost-benefit analysis, and stop issuing continuing resolutions.”

***
In a morning telephone chat with a gaggle of reporters, including my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss had much the same message:

“Here’s my position: Mr. President, you have said you’re not going to engage in a protracted debate over raising the debt ceiling. My message to the president is you better strap on your chin strap very tight because this junkyard dog is going to address entitlement reform in the debt ceiling debate. … It’s time to get our arms around the debt and the time to do that is during the debt ceiling debate.”

***
And yet, over on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” former House speaker Newt Gingrich disagreed, and theorized that it would be better for Republicans to think long-term. The former Georgia congressman predicted that a fight over the federal government’s credit limit would be another GOP debacle.

Said Gingrich:

“They’ve got to find, in the House, a totally new strategy. Everybody’s now talking about, ‘Okay, now comes the debt ceiling.’ I think that’s, frankly, a dead loser. Because in the end you know it’s going happen. The whole national financial system is going to come in to Washington, buy television and say, ‘Oh my God, this will be a gigantic heart attack, the entire economy of the world will collapse. You guys can’t be responsible.’ And they’ll cave.”

***
Politico.com this morning focuses on U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston’s new role as chairman of a House Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over President Barack Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act.

The Savannah Republican – who, like the vast majority of his GOP colleagues, has sworn to repeal the legislation — acknowledged that he won’t be making a lot of decisions by himself:

“You just have to be aware that on our side, people can’t stand it, and they have not grown used to it and they do not like it any more than they did when it was passed,” he said. “Therefore, whenever you’re touching it, Obamacare is as sensitive as gun control or abortion. It’s just one of those very difficult, political things where you’re all for it or all against it.”

Kingston emphasized that much of his role in guiding the financing for HHS and Obamacare will be defined by party leaders. “If I have a role of being a quarterback, then I’m not going to be the one calling all the plays,” he said. “I think a lot of what we do on the Affordable Care Act is going to be in coordination with the front office of Appropriations and presumably with leadership and with authorizing committees.”

***
Apparently, that ambassadorship to the Seychelles islands didn’t come through. My AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin reports this:

Tharon Johnson, who led President Barack Obama’s re-election effort across the South and in the key battleground state of Florida, has joined McKenna Long & Aldridge as a managing director in its national governmental affairs unit.

Johnson, 34, an Atlanta native, was Obama’s 2012 national southern regional director and led the president’s campaign to a narrow win in Florida and a close loss in the other battleground state of North Carolina. Both states were decided by fewer than a million votes.

***
While he declared Thursday that state law won’t let him pursue the suspension of Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill, Gov. Nathan Deal has left himself a loophole. The governor declared that, because Hill was indicted for public malfeasance after he was out of office, the state law setting out the rules for ousting elected officials doesn’t apply.

A judge has thrown several counts against Hill out. If the special prosecutor pursues the matter, and obtains new indictments, then we have a new ball game.

***
Over at 11Alive, Jenna Herb reports that Kennesaw State University’s request to launch a football program will hit the Board of Regents next Tuesday, Jan. 8. There’s some indication that the decision isn’t in doubt:

President [Dan] Papp and KSU’s Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams will conduct a briefing on the Regents’ decision on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The event will be held at noon, in the Convocation Center on the Kennesaw State University campus.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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287 comments Add your comment

E-Roll

January 4th, 2013
9:29 am

‘Okay, now comes the debt ceiling.’ I think that’s, frankly, a dead loser. Because in the end you know it’s going happen. The whole national financial system is going to come in to Washington, buy television and say, ‘Oh my God, this will be a gigantic heart attack, the entire economy of the world will collapse. You guys can’t be responsible.’ And they’ll cave.”

It is amazing the more time Newt is out of office, the clearer his thinking gets. GOP, yes fight to get spending cuts in place but do not use the country’s credit rating to get those cuts.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 4th, 2013
9:42 am

Look who wants to build a base on the Moon with Gingrich, heh.

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
9:45 am

What should be done with raising the debt ceiling, the next congressional/Presidential fight? First remember Obama expects, no demands, raising the debt ceiling with no negotiations or off setting spending cuts. For the House republicans that makes their job simple. A bill to extend the debt ceiling should have a first reading in committee today. It took 17 months to fully use the 2.1 trillion the debt ceiling was raised last time, so use that as a base line. Raise the debt ceiling another 2.1 trillion and specify 2.1 trillion in cuts that will occur over the same 17 months, not over decades by future Congress’ that won’t adhere to the deal.

In addition, add 600 billion in cuts to occur over the next 10 years to match the amount of revenue that was raised by the tax increases of the fiscal cliff deal and was not in the final version. Send that bill to the Senate and the President with this note attached, “President Obama and Senator Reid, we pledge to honor by your no negotiation stance and submitted herewith is the House of Representative solution to extend the debt ceiling. We sincerely hope you won’t be the reason the United States of America defaults.” Then the House has to have the resolve to mean what they say.

Our country has a choice, a choice that won’t last much longer, to either get our fiscal house in order or suffer the sever consequences. This country needs an intervention, tough love and I for one don’t see the leadership either in the President or in Congress to do it. It’s truly a shame; our great nation deserves better. Better won’t happen until you and I demand it.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 4th, 2013
9:46 am

Yes or no vote. Sign the legislation or veto it.

How does it feel to be led to the cliffs you created, liberals?

Road Scholar

January 4th, 2013
9:49 am

” Obamacare is as sensitive as gun control or abortion. ”

Drop abortion now. Haven’t you already made many attempts to get a bite of that apple…only to alienate the electorate…except for the staunch anti abortion crowd?

Don’t you already have enough to do with immigration, budget/deficit, transportation, tax code simplification, gun control, etc.????? Yeah, let’s spend more time on abortion! NOT!

Deep Cover

January 4th, 2013
9:55 am

The truth of the matter is that Obama is just SMARTER than the GOP…PERIOD!!!

The last time the GOP tried to hold the debt ceiling gun to his head he ended up getting a backdoor stimulus package of AT LEAST $400 billion as well as the “failed” Supercommittee idea and very modest spending cuts (really just an accounting trick for the drawdown in Iraq/Afghanistan). He also got the poison pill of the sequester. Out of that he was able to get the tax hike…and NOW the GOP thinks it has leverage??? How stupid can they be???

Here is what is going to happen. Obama will outline a $1 trillion in spending cuts (really just from the savings in national debt interest and some defense spending). They GOP will fall for the trap of not accepting it, and then one of two things are going to happen;

1) The sequester cuts will kick in hurting defense contractors MUCH MORE than domestic spending (and the GOP will pay HEAVILY for that as nearly ALL defense spending happens in RED districts).

or

2) The nation goes into default and Obama invokes the 14th amendment and forces the debt ceiling raised. Now the GOP will then probably impeach Obama but he wins the trial in the Senate. The GOP then loses HEAVILY in 2014 for the stupid impeachment.

It’s a SHAME that the GOP can’t figure out that THIS IS A TRAP. But I guess they aren’t smart enough. STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES.

The only way that they are going to get “true” entitlement reform is to PASS A BILL CUTTING benefits and then to STICK TO IT. However, the GOP won’t do that since that would carry electoral consequences also.

Oxwinkle

January 4th, 2013
9:58 am

Here’s a thought – spend less. Cut the pay of all members of Congress by 50% and add a 75% Congressional privilege tax. You want to serve in Congress, then it’s going to cost you, big time. Also, tax all members of Congress on their wealth and income. And make these deadbeats pay Social Security tax.

Shine

January 4th, 2013
10:08 am

Like it or not, Isakson and the kooks are wrong again. The president has to do nothing about the debt celing. If congress doesnt raise it to pay its own created obligations then it will be THEIR fault when the markets crash, the economy stumbles, and whatever else happens.

The stupid party never wises up it seems. More revenue for more cuts will be what happens for the smart members of congress.

WOW

January 4th, 2013
10:14 am

Shine you are exactly right. This has nothing to do with the POTUS. This is money that Congress appropriated and now a few of them are saying they don’t want to pay it.

This is the very height of hypocrisy. Politically, I would love for them to do it, use the Pat Toomey strategy of shutting the government down. However, as a citizen I recognize this is the very worst thing that could happen to our economy at this time. Whoever is advising the Republican Party really needs to be fired.

WOW

January 4th, 2013
10:14 am

Shine you are exactly right. This has nothing to do with the POTUS. This is money that Congress appropriated and now a few of them are saying they don’t want to pay it.

This is the very height of hypocrisy. Politically, I would love for them to do it, use the Pat Toomey strategy of shutting the government down. However, as a citizen I recognize this is the very worst thing that could happen to our economy at this time. Whoever is advising the Republican Party really needs to be fired.

Don't Tread

January 4th, 2013
10:19 am

It’s a telling reflection on the sorry state of affairs in DC when getting someone to do the right thing requires a negotiation. But judging by some of the comments on the blogs, it doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out how we got there.

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
10:20 am

shine-

You mistakenas is Obama is this area, the increase in the debt ceiling is not to pay for debts already incurred, it is to pay for FUTURE debts.

Cherokee

January 4th, 2013
10:22 am

Yeah you gotta love the Republicans and their myrmidons on these blogs. Congress appropriates the money, but then throws a tantrum that will cause the markets to collapse just to make a point.

If they don’t want to allow the government to borrow the money, why did they approve the spending in the first place?

Newt does seem to get smarter, now that he’s not running for anything.

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
10:22 am

WOW, are you in favor of budget cuts being tied to raising the debt ceiling? If not how will we ever stop going further in debt?

Cherokee

January 4th, 2013
10:24 am

Soldier, the debt ceiling needs to be increased to pay for the spending that the Republican House approved.

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
10:25 am

Cherokee- “why did they approve the spending in the first place?” Because the Senate hasn’t approved a budget in over three years.

Cherokee

January 4th, 2013
10:26 am

Most of the debt problem would be solved if we put people back to work. But the Republicans refused to approve anything to reach that goal, in the hope that they could get rid of Obama.

Cherokee

January 4th, 2013
10:27 am

Nonsense, soldier. They could have at any time refused to go along with the Senate and limit spending. They didn’t do that.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 4th, 2013
10:28 am

The title of the January 14 issue of Time magazine reads, “40 years ago, abortion-rights activists won an epic victory with Roe v. Wade. They’ve been losing ever since.”

WOW

January 4th, 2013
10:28 am

No, I am not in favor of them being tied together.

While I am in favor of budget cuts and entitlement reform (gets me yelled at by my fellow progressives) I don’t think they should be tied together. There needs to be a meaningful discussion and debate about the cuts, everything on the table from Defense to Social Security. The debt ceiling should not, however, be the vehicle for this. The country’s credit rating is a little too important for Congress to be holding hostage.

DJ Sniper

January 4th, 2013
10:30 am

Raising the debt ceiling never seemed to be much of an issue until Obama took office. The GOP continues to remain stuck in a time warp.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 4th, 2013
10:30 am

The debt ceiling increase legislation will be tied to specific equal spending cuts defined, and “approved,” by the House of Representatives.

Nice view out there at the edge of the cliff, ain’t it, libbies?

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
10:40 am

Cherokee-

That would have closed down the government, which you opposed to. You can’t have it both ways.

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
10:41 am

DJ-
The Congress should have and the debt has never grown this fast.

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
10:42 am

WOW-

There was, it was Bowles-Simpson, where did that get us?

Real Athens

January 4th, 2013
10:47 am

Newt led the shutdown of the federal government for a month in 1995-1996. By 1998 he’d resigned from the House speakership AFTER winning an election and his seat in early 1999 — knowing his influence had been severely compromised. The huge GOP election losses in 1998 were blamed on his theatrics.

This is one area where he does speak from experience.

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
10:50 am

Real-

I don’t advocate closing doen the Govt. I don’t advocate ” bargining with the President. I do advocate extending the debt ceiling and paying for it at the same time. What’s wrong with that?

WOW

January 4th, 2013
10:55 am

My suggestion is we go back to it. It was a huge mistake for all parties involved (the President and Congress) to not grab a hold of it after its release and I think it would be a good starting point.

honested

January 4th, 2013
10:55 am

I am stunned.
Apparently Nut Getrich has learned something from the childish pranks he pulled while he was accidentally given the speaker’s gavel.

Of course, I doubt he will have any luck transferring this lesson to the dullards currently performing like the Yerkes test subjects in the House.

WOW

January 4th, 2013
11:00 am

The debt ceiling increase legislation will be tied to specific equal spending cuts defined, and “approved,” by the House of Representatives.
Nice view out there at the edge of the cliff, ain’t it, libbies?

No it won’t. President says he is not going for it. If Republicans want to force the issue and shut down the Government then let them. They will pay the price in 2014. Or they could act responsibly raise the debt ceiling and then work together on cuts. Of which 1 trillion have already been passed I might add.

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
11:03 am

WOW-

The problem is the President has shown zero interest in curbing spending. The fiscal cliff deal spends more than the increased amount the wealthy will pay.

Again. what is wrong with coupling spending cuts with increasing the debt ceiling.

Real Athens

January 4th, 2013
11:03 am

Soldier -

I’m in complete agreement. I was commenting on Galloway’s blog. I was on the fence about Simpson-Bowles (honestly, didn’t read the whole thing). I was, for the most part, behind Governor Deal’s Georgia Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness and the report they issued. You know, the one that was dismissed and totally ignored. Kind of like Simpson-Bowles.

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
11:07 am

WOW-

That’s 1 triliion over ten years of which most of it was smoke and mirrors. 1 trillion in 10 years is less than 10% of the projected debt. That’s not even a down payment.

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
11:10 am

Real-

I wasn’t a big fan of Simpson-Bowles either, but now it looks great.

This is where we are. The country has cancer (our debt and deficit) we can either treat the cancer which is very painful or choose not to treat it in which case it will be fatal. Which do we choose?

WOW

January 4th, 2013
11:12 am

Again. what is wrong with coupling spending cuts with increasing the debt ceiling.

So the 1 trillion dollars in cuts from last year, the offer (rejected by the Speaker) of Chained CPI = no interest in spending cuts? That doesn’t wash. He is probably never going to go for cuts at a level that you or the Tea Party approve of, but he won the election so compromise will have to take hold. I think he has shown a willingness to anger his own party (plenty of them are mad about the SS offers) to get a deal done. It just takes two to tango.

This being said, hold the debt ceiling hostage, possibly decreasing the credit rating, and making the markets tank is just not responsible government.

Voter

January 4th, 2013
11:14 am

Has obozo bin biden rescinded the pay raises?

An observer

January 4th, 2013
11:15 am

Let us be honest, neither the Republicans or the Democrats want to reduce spending so the debt ceiling will be increased after much politicking. An investor would be wise not to buy federal bonds, which will clearly be paid back with almost worthless paper dollars.

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
11:18 am

WOW-

The debt ceiling isn’t hostage by what I recommended at 9:45. It is simply paid for. If Obama rejects it ot the Senate fails to act it is not the republicans that didn’t act.

Shine

January 4th, 2013
11:19 am

Retired Soldier, are you saying you dont want the debt ceiling raised to pay for the obligations made to you by the federal government? I mean they aint got to pay you your entitlemnets if that is what you prefer. Or is it you want yours but somebody else’s needs cutting?

I want the same medicare and social security Paul Ryan’s mommy now gets myself.

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
11:20 am

Observer-

You are correct, that is why 95 per cent of Congress needs to be replaced.

Voter

January 4th, 2013
11:23 am

@Retired Soldier – You are correct, that is why 95 per cent of Congress needs to be replaced.

Well Said!

clem

January 4th, 2013
11:24 am

Voter

January 4th, 2013
11:27 am

And how “incredible” it was, (sarcasm), that after all that political posturing and campaigning to raise taxes on $250,000 or $400,000 wage earners, that it STILL raised taxes on the middle class starting around $35,000 to $40,000 wage earners.

Retired Soldier is correct, 90-95% of all Congress needs to be replaced, if they were working in the private sector, they would have been fired long ago for their dismal work ethic and inept leadership.

DJ Sniper

January 4th, 2013
11:30 am

If 95% of Congress needs to be replaced, let’s start with that idiot Michele Bachmann. Yesterday, she introduced a fresh piece of legislation to repeal Obamacare. This is the 34th time this has been done. The GOP definitely fits the definition of insanity.

WOW

January 4th, 2013
11:31 am

That sounds well and good, but what are the specifics of the cuts you want. That’s where you get into the hostage holding. There is going to have to be some give and take on what exactly gets cut. Would you be okay with some of these coming from DOD and Homeland Security?

Retired Soldier

January 4th, 2013
11:32 am

Shine-

What I have said is we should raise the debt ceiling 2.1 trillion to pay for future debt and we should reduce spending that same 2.1 trillion over the same time period.

Yes I have retired pay and yes it would be stopped if the govt shut down. The only people talking about shutdowns are liberals.

I say again, raise the debt ceiling and pay for it. I guess that is a radical idea.

WOW

January 4th, 2013
11:33 am

@ Voter:

Are you talking about the Social Security tax increase that expired? The Republicans didn’t want that in the first place….

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 4th, 2013
11:34 am

Believe me, I know that obozo won’t take the blame for going over the debt “cliff.” That coward will make sure his Senate minions keep it off his desk.

That being said, the Republicans can pass the legislation, make their case as clear as possible and walk away.

Ball in your court, libbies.

J Throckmorton Malcontent

January 4th, 2013
11:35 am

We’re having the wrong conversation, because we’ve seized on a bad idea.
We’re the world’s bankers still. America’s debt doesn’t matter. We’ve been printing money until the presses smoke for four years and we haven’t seen any meaningful inflation. Spending doesn’t need to be cut, but increased, and redirected from wasteful programs like the excessive military spending or failed ethanol subsidies into infrastructure spending that benefits all.
The national debt is not debt like you owe your pal twenty dollars. It’s debt like a business operates on a line of credit.
The only debt conversation we need to have in order to improve the economy is how to force bankers to the table to discuss debt forgiveness. That redirects the cash flow to the middle and working class where it will do the most good.

WOW

January 4th, 2013
11:35 am

@ Retired

Name me one Democratic elected official that has said let it shut down. Sen. Toomey was on television yesterday advocating such an approach.