Archive for the ‘Hank Johnson’ Category

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 during …

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Tea party, labor unite over anti-protest bill

The House Industrial Relations Committee on Monday held a hearing on two hot bills – one that would restrict Georgia unemployment benefits, and another would limit public demonstrations at private residences.

SB 447 attempts to back fill a $730 million debt owed the federal government – money borrowed from a trust fund depleted by the economic downturn and several years of tax holidays for business owners.

Background from the Associated Press:

Currently, employers are charged $21 per worker towards repaying the trust fund.

Absent the legislative changes, the amount employers are charged would double next year, and it would double again two years later — which supporters warn could hobble the state as it looks to rebound when the economy recovers.

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, in the past, has declared that Georgia’s lengthy unemployment benefits — though among the nation’s most frugal — compete with businesses that would like to hire workers at low starting wages.

But Butler …

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Your morning jolt: Pat Robertson endorses legal marijuana

Gov. Nathan Deal has found an unlikely ally in his push to refigure who we lock up in Georgia: The Rev. Pat Robertson, who now backs the legalization of marijuana. From the New York Times:

“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Mr. Robertson said in an interview …. “I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.”

Mr. Robertson’s remarks echoed statements he made last week on “The 700 Club,” the signature program of his Christian Broadcasting Network, and other comments he made in 2010. While those earlier remarks were largely dismissed by his followers, Mr. Robertson has now apparently fully embraced the idea of legalizing marijuana, arguing that it is a way to bring down soaring rates of incarceration and reduce the social and financial costs.

“I believe in working with the hearts of people, and not locking them up,” he said.

Here’s a YouTube …

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Your morning jolt: Mitt Romney’s testy take on ‘the very poor’

Remember the thin-skinned Mitt Romney who objected to his “grilling” from Fox News’ Bret Baier back in November? Florida may have brought him back.

In a morning interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, the topic was the economy:

A partial transcript:

Romney: This is a time people are worried. They’re frightened. They want someone who they have confidence in. And I believe I will be able to instill that confidence in the American people. And, by the way, I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.

I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling and I’ll continue to take that message across the nation.

O’Brien: All right. So I know I said last question, but I’ve got to ask you. You just said I’m not concerned about the very poor because …

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Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal dismisses talk of lottery-driven casinos

At the tail end of this 10-minute interview with Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM), Gov. Nathan Deal dismissed last week’s talk by some state lawmakers who are entertaining the idea of lottery-fueled casinos to prop up the HOPE scholarship:

”I don’t like the idea of casinos in Georgia. Now, I recognize that we have some long-term problems with funding for the full HOPE program. But I do believe that as the economy begins to turn around, we will see the revenues from our traditional lottery program rise again….

“This is something that the lottery commission will have to make a judgment call about. But I think we have to be very careful we do not put in place something that, for all intents and purposes, appears to be casinos.

Deal acknowledged that the Georgia Lottery Corporation might not need his approval to proceed:

I’m not sure that it would take legislation. That’s a legal question that has been raised. I haven’t received a definitive answer on that yet.

Five Republican …

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Hank Johnson: Kill the federal debt ceiling

My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy sends this excellent report from D.C.:

Many in Washington and around the country still have a bad taste in their mouths from the summer’s debt ceiling antics that resulted in the federal government nearly running out of borrowing authority and the downgrading by Standard & Poor of the nation’s ability to handle its debt.

Rep. Hank Johnson’s response: Kill the debt ceiling.

Johnson, D-DeKalb, and Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., today introduced a bill that would eliminate the congressionally imposed borrowing cap.

Coming in at a slim two pages — thus meeting the Herman Cain test – this piece of legislation is a textbook “message bill,” Johnson admitted at a news conference this morning. “I don’t expect the House Republicans to allow the bill to see the light of day.”

The bill wasn’t even pre-cleared with Democratic leaders.

But the message, delivered to a handful of reporters and TV cameras with the Capitol as a backdrop on a brilliant sunny day, is worth …

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John Lewis, Hank Johnson, David Scott, Sanford Bishop seek clemency for Troy Davis

The Georgia members of Congress have asked the state Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant clemency for Troy Davis, who is scheduled to face execution next week the 1989 killing of off-duty Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail.

Hank Johnson of Decatur, John Lewis and David Scott of Atlanta, and Sanford Bishop of Albany, all Democrats, put their signatures to the letter that can be read here. A total of four dozen members of Congress signed.

Among the letter’s points:

“It is clear now that the doubts plaguing Davis’s case can never be adequately addressed; the lack of hard scientific or relevant physical evidence has made it impossible to resolve with any degree of certainty.

“Over the last four years, the inability of our courts to resolve these uncertainties has shaken public confidence in our judicial system, and an execution under such a cloud of doubt would do nothing but further undermine that confidence. Public faith in the integrity of justice in Georgia is at …

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Your morning jolt: John Lewis joins six Republicans in vote against debt-ceiling bill

Last night’s vote in the U.S. House on a debt-ceiling deal ripped Georgia’s congressional delegation in two, with Democrat John Lewis of Atlanta joining six Republicans in a final condemnation.

In quoting Mohandas Gandhi, Lewis sounded not unlike some tea partyists we’ve run into: “’All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. All compromise on fundamentals is surrender. It is all give and no take.’ The Democrats gave and gave and gave, but we received nothing in return. This is not a fair deal. It is not a good deal. It is not a balanced compromise.”

Voting for the bill were two Republicans – Tom Price of Roswell, Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville – and four Democrats – David Scott of Atlanta, Sanford Bishop of Albany, John Barrow of Savannah, and Hank Johnson of Decatur.

Voting against the bill were congressmen with major military concerns in their districts: Phil Gingrey of Marietta, Austin Scott of Tifton, and Jack Kingston …

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U.S. Rep. John Barrow to be shoved out of Savannah?

A reliable contact has just sent us this draft of new congressional lines now moving among influential Republicans in Georgia – the first detailed look we’ve seen:


Click here for a your own downloadable copy. As David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes below, the map is the same one he posted in May.

Nonetheless, we’re being assured that these lines are being passed around as a starting point for a special session of the Legislature that begins Aug. 15. At a glance:

– In the 12th District, U.S. Rep. John Barrow, the last white Democrat from the Deep South, would be pushed out of his residence in Savannah. Previously, Republicans targeted him by forcing Barrow to move from his original base in Athens. Under this map, Augusta would become Barrow’s third home. If he survives a 2012 vote.

– The new, Republican-dominated 14th District would stretch from Hall County, home to both Gov. Nathan Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, northeast to Rabun Gap – and eastward into the middle …

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Your morning jolt: Kasim Reed’s talk of intervention in Atlanta schools is too early. Or too late.

Mayor Kasim Reed says he may seek the power to add more members to the Atlanta school board. Brent Sanderlin,

Mayor Kasim Reed says he may seek the power to add more members to the Atlanta school board. Brent Sanderlin,

You know that Mayor Kasim Reed has raised the possibility that he might seek the power to appoint members to the Atlanta school board, in order to create a cooperative, working majority – and avoid the loss of accreditation for the city’s high schools.

Reed admitted to my AJC colleague Ernie Suggs that he hasn’t yet sold Atlanta lawmakers on the necessity of the move:

“It would be a misrepresentation to say they are on board,” Reed said, “but they do agree that the problem is great and requires decisive action.”

The immediate word from the state Capitol, from which this new authority would flow, is that Reed’s talk of intervention is too early. Or too late. One or the other.

Shortly after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed APS on probation, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams of Atlanta as one of two …

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