Archive for the ‘2012 GOP presidential primary’ Category

Georgia PSC reignites the debate over ‘free’ cell phones

Last fall, as the presidential contest reached a fever pitch, a video raced across the Internet, featuring an African-American woman in Cleveland who praised President Barack Obama for giving her a free cell phone.

“Everybody in Cleveland — low minorities — got Obama phones,” she said.

Critics decried the clip as racist. Politifact awarded its vaunted “Pants on Fire” rating to Republican claims that the president was attempting to buy votes with cell phones.

Even so, tea party forces built a campaign around the video in an unsuccessful attempt to counter criticism Mitt Romney had endured for declaring — in a video captured by the left — that 47 percent of Americans were too dependent on government handouts to vote Republican.

The phone furor died quickly after Nov. 6. But we in Georgia are about to revive it. With a vengeance.

The state Public Service Commission this morning will hold a public hearing on new rules to require recipients of subsidized cell phone service to pony …

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Your daily jolt: Max Cleland on putting two Vietnam vets in charge of U.S. foreign policy

Over the weekend, the liberal website Talking Points Memo caught up with former U.S. senator Max Cleland, who declared himself thrilled with prospect of two Vietnam veterans in charge of formulating and implementing American foreign policy.

Former U.S. senator Max Cleland of Georgia/AJC file

Former U.S. senator Max Cleland of Georgia/AJC file

President Barack Obama is expected to nominate former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense today. He’s already nominated Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry as a replacement for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Said Cleland:

“Look at John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, two wounded combat veterans of the Vietnam War. They’ve got five purple hearts between them. That’s the kind of people we want withdrawing from Afghanistan and ending this insane war and occupation and focusing the country on using the American military to stay out war, but if we get in war to win war and win it quickly,” he said.

Cleland said the pair will bring harmony to the civilian and military sides of American …

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A North-South split surfaces among Republicans in Congress

To understand the depth of the Republican dilemma that continues to brew in Washington, you only needed to listen to two voices last week.

One belonged to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The primal scream he aimed at his fellow Republicans in the 112th Congress, who on their final day refused to take up a $60 billion relief bill for Hurricane Sandy victims, rumbled across the right-left spectrum of cable TV news.

Most outlets focused on Christie’s criticism of John Boehner. The House speaker was to face re-election by his GOP caucus the next day. But the New Jersey governor dropped large hints that his real target was the dominating right wing of the House GOP caucus, peopled primarily by Southern conservatives.

“New Jersey and New Yorkers are tired of being treated as second-class citizens,” Christie said. “New Jersey deserves better than the duplicity we saw displayed last night.”

“[The bill] just could not overcome the toxic internal politics of the House majority,” the …

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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 …

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Johnny Isakson a sudden insider in the debt-ceiling debate

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.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. AJC file

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. AJC file

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 …

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Your daily jolt: A fix for unintended victims of Ga.’s illegal immigration law

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.

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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 …

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Tom Price: The U.S. House needs ‘red state’ leadership

Hours before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tore into House Speaker John Boehner for pulling the plug on Hurricane Sandy aid, a Georgia congressman was getting his licks in from the GOP right.

U.S. Rep. Tom Price was on WMAL in Washington this morning, a conservative talk-radio station aimed at the D.C. elite, to discuss Tuesday’s House vote on the fiscal cliff.

Price voted against the measure and his speaker – as did every GOP member of the House from Georgia. But Price, who becomes vice-chairman of the House Budget Committee in the next Congress, is undoubtedly the most ambitious member of the Georgia delegation. And Boehner is up for re-election tomorrow.

Listen to Price’s interview in full here:

A truncated transcript follows:

Price: “At the end of the day these kinds of bills are never all good or all bad. My assessment was that it ultimately raised taxes and didn’t decrease any spending. In fact it increased spending.”

WMAL: “You voted against your speaker of the …

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Your daily jolt: In Georgia, congressional Republicans split

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 …

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Johnny Isakson: ‘Why put the markets in turmoil?’

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson on Sunday declared himself willing to accept President Barack Obama’s offer of legislation to preserve middle class tax cuts as a last resort – and questioned why Congress was willing to toy with the nation’s 401(k)s.

From his appearance on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos”:

Isakson:: “I felt like the House should have gone ahead and passed Speaker Boehner’s bill, because it addressed the subject and we’d still be in negotiation. And the president’s statement is right. No one wants taxes to go up on the middle class. I don’t want them to go up on anybody. But I’m not in the majority in the United State Senate and he’s the president of the United States. If we get down to the end of this year and the only choice we have is to save taxes going up on the middle class, then I would support that.

“But I wish we would have a comprehensive bill that dealt with spending, dealt with entitlements, and dealt with taxes altogether. That’s really what …

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A blink on the fiscal cliff: Boehner proposes tax hike on millionaires

We have a blink from the Republican side. From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — Signaling new movement in “fiscal cliff” talks, House Speaker John Boehner has proposed raising the top rate for earners making more than $1 million, a person familiar with the negotiations said. President Barack Obama, who wants higher top rates for households earning more than $250,000, has not accepted the offer, this person said.

The proposal, however, indicated progress in talks that had appeared stalled. The person would only discuss the plan on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

As part of a broader budget deal, Boehner is still seeking more spending cuts than Obama has proposed, particularly in mandatory health care spending. Boehner has asked for a long-term increase in eligibility age for Medicare and for lower costs-of-living adjustments for Social Security.

Boehner’s tax proposal was first reported by Politico.

A Boehner aide would not comment …

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