Archive for the ‘Austin Scott’ Category

Fiscal cliff deal passes House; Ga. GOP’ers vote no

Crisis averted. Let the countdown to the next crisis begin.

After a day of remarkable swings, House Republican leaders folded and brought to the floor a bill they knew they needed Democrats to pass. The final tally was 257-167, with 172 Democrats joining 85 Republicans in favor. This broke House Speaker John Boehner’s practice (named for ex-Speaker Denny Hastert) that bills must pass with “the majority of the majority.” It will be interesting to see whether conservative members’ ire remains focused on the Senate or whether it will shift to Boehner with the Speaker’s re-election coming up on Thursday.

Georgia Republicans lined up unanimously against the American Taxpayer Relief Act: Reps. Tom Price of Roswell, Lynn Westmoreland of Coweta County, Phil Gingrey of Marietta, Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville, Jack Kingston of Savannah, Paul Broun of Athens, Austin Scott of Tifton and Tom Graves of Ranger all voted no.

That’s a major break from the state’s Republican senators — Johnny …

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Your Daily Jolt: Watch the Dow on cliff day

Like energy drink-guzzling college students pulling an all-nighter, our federal lawmakers are up against the “fiscal cliff” deadline today. And who’s the man you call when you need real work to get done? Biden. Politico this morning reports Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Veep have made “major progress” toward an accord:

McConnell and Biden, who served in the Senate together for 23 years, are closing in on an agreement that would hike tax rates for families who earn more than $450,000, and individuals who make more than $400,000, according to sources familiar with talks.

The vice president and the Senate minority leader only began talking Sunday, after negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and McConnell sputtered.

Sources close to the talks said a deal is now more likely to come together but cautioned that obstacles remain, including how Speaker John Boehner and House Republican leaders react to any tentative agreement.

But both …

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Your Daily Jolt: Boehner ‘they weren’t taking that out on me’

A few minutes ago, House Speaker John Boehner faced the press following last night’s Plan B Implosion and declared that he does not think that the conservative rebellion was about him, and he does not fear losing his gavel. Majority Leader Eric Cantor was standing just feet away and, based on the angle provided by CNN, did not appear to be holding a dagger.

“No, I’m not,” Boehner said when asked if he was concerned about his speakership. “You’ve all heard me say this and I’ve told my colleagues this: If you do the right things every day for the right reasons, the right things will happen. Though we were not able to get the votes last night … I don’t think, they weren’t taking that out on me. They were dealing with the perception that someone might accuse them of raising taxes.”

Last night’s non-vote leaves the fiscal cliff negotiations in limbo, and Boehner said he would continue to work with President Barack Obama but gave no specifics about meetings or phone calls or …

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Boehner whipping Georgians on ‘Plan B’

As Georgia Republican Reps. Phil Gingrey, Jack Kingston and Paul Broun sat together on the House floor during a vote this evening, House Speaker John Boehner plopped down in the row behind them and gave them an earful. Boehner, viewed by this reporter through a door a few yards away, appeared pretty intense.

House Speaker John Boehner in June (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

John Boehner in June (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Gingrey said the Speaker was making “strong arguments” in favor of his “Plan B” on the fiscal cliff negotiations — a floor vote tentatively scheduled for Thursday to maintain the marginal income tax rates for earnings $1 million and less, as well as the estate tax rates.

“The Speaker feels very, very confident if we don’t do this it’s going to end up at the 250 mark [raising taxes on income above $250,000]. … He said that’s what his great fear is,” Gingrey said.

Still, the Republican from Marietta is unsure about voting effectively to allow some taxes to rise. “My powder’s dry,” Gingrey said.

Several Republican members of …

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Austin Scott’s effort to rein in domestic drones

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night in 2010. AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night in 2010. AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

For the last several months, civil libertarians have watched deadly, unmanned flying drones circle Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen with their unblinking eyes and constantly cocked ears.

What happens, they’ve worried, once that technology follows the U.S. military home?

Last week, farming websites in Iowa and Nebraska were scorched by rumors that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had launched drones over local cattle herds. As things turned out, the surveillance – the EPA was looking for evidence of large deposits of manure entering the water supply – was of the manned Cessna variety.

But it was during this Midwestern uproar that U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, a Republican who represents a large swath of South Georgia farmland, dropped the first piece of legislation designed to restrict the use of government-operated drones over …

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Your morning jolt: Barack Obama leaking white voters

The Gallup organization has become the bearer of worrisome mathematics for President Barack Obama:

Barack Obama is receiving less support in the 2012 presidential election from some of the white subgroups that gave him the strongest support in 2008. These include non-Hispanic white registered voters who are 18 to 29 years old, female postgrads, and the nonreligious, among others.

The 46% of registered voters supporting Obama today is five percentage points below the 51% supporting him in final weeks of the 2008 election campaign. Similarly, whites’ support for Obama is six points lower than it was in October/November 2008 (38% vs. 44%), and blacks’ is down four points (87% vs. 91%). At the same time, Hispanics’ support, at 67%, is essentially unchanged….

Even if Obama were to regain his 2008 level of support among blacks and improve his support somewhat among Hispanics, he could still lose if his support among whites slips any further. By the same token, even a slight …

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In Washington, a public display of non-affection

Hopefully, a case of good people engaged in some misunderstood role-playing. From Roll Call’s Heard on the Hill:

On a mild Tuesday evening near the end of happy hour, people enjoying margaritas at Tortilla Coast and others milling around the area were treated to quite a performance by freshman Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and his wife, Vivien.

A sobbing Vivien Scott was spotted with a name tag stuck to her bare arm, trying to hail a cab and arguing with her husband, the Congressman.

He “was furious with her,” an HOH tipster tells us. “He kept walking away, then she’d chase him.”

Tortilla Coast is a popular Mexican restaurant a block from the House office buildings.

And to those of you wondering why Austin Scott might merit the attention, which we take no pleasure from — he’s president of the 2010 freshman class of U.S. House members. And the whole of Washington is a stage.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Newt Gingrich’s allies in Congress switch to Mitt Romney

No surprise here, but U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, just sent out an email announcing that, with their man about the exit the race, House members who had backed former Georgia congressman Newt Gingrich are now lining up behind Mitt Romney.

In addition to Price, they include Jack Kingston of Savannah, Phil Gingrey of Marietta, Austin Scott of Tifton and Lynn Westmoreland of Coweta County.

From their statement:

“After a hard fought primary season, Governor Romney has emerged as our nominee for president. We enthusiastically commit our support for Governor Romney. America cannot afford four more years of President Obama’s divisive and failed leadership that continues to punish entrepreneurship, pick winners and losers in our economy, and ignore our fiscal crisis.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Newt Gingrich’s Georgia backers in Congress say they’ll stick with him

This just arrived from my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy in Washington:

You could almost hear Tammy Wynette playing in the background as Newt Gingrich’s backers among Georgia’s House Republicans stood by their man and his Lost Cause on Wednesday.

Never mind the endorsement that Speaker John Boehner of Ohio gave Mitt Romney a day earlier.

In interviews off the floor of the House, Marietta’s Phil Gingrey, Coweta County’s Lynn Westmoreland and Tifton’s Austin Scott declined to declare the Republican presidential primary finished in the aftermath of Rick Santorum’s exit from the race last week.

Not that any of them gave Gingrich much chance of success. The backing was more due to the precious notion of loyalty for a man who once represented the state in Congress. Gov. Nathan Deal said much the same thing on Tuesday.

“I’m very enthused about the 99.9 percent likelihood that our nominee will be Mitt Romney,” said Gingrey, whose district covers much of Gingrich’s old territory. …

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The benefits of family ties to House members from Georgia

Today, much of Washington is poring over a mammoth study on members of the U.S. House, documenting how federal and campaign cash flow to their family members.

Eight of Georgia’s 13 House members earned a mention. An overview by the New York Times starts this way:

The 346-page report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, is an extraordinary compendium of creative accounting, self-interested budgeting and generous expense reimbursements. It highlights common practices that translate into tens of millions of dollars in payments to relatives or the lawmakers themselves.

Read the CREW report here. The look at Georgia congressmen begins at Page 86.

On Sanford Bishop, D-Albany:

From the CREW report:

Rep. Bishop earmarked money to his daughter and son-in-law’s employer, and to an organization with which he is affiliated. He also awarded scholarships to family members through a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) program.

This was aired out …

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