Archive for the ‘John Barrow’ 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: Barrow glad for “a few less crazy people” in House

Augusta’s Blue Dog Democratic Rep. John Barrow found himself among like-minded folks this morning at a seminar sponsored by Center Forward, a group that works to promote the few remaining moderates in Congress. The point was to examine the role moderates play in the fiscal cliff negotiations and Congress going forward.

Barrow swung between lamenting the receding number of Blue Dogs and pronouncing himself hopeful for the future. The outlook for the forthcoming Congress is positive, he said, because “we have a somewhat smaller number of crazies than there is currently. … A few less crazy people is a good start.”

He was referring mostly to the conservative House Republicans who “created a crisis” over the debt limit vote last year and who, he said, are hemming in Speaker John Boehner now. Barrow said the biggest problem as we near the fiscal cliff is “the tyranny of the minority within the majority, their ability to dismiss their leader and their predisposition to do so.”

He …

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Your Daily Jolt: Deal tells legislators money is tight

Closing out the biennial pre-session meeting of state lawmakers in Athens, Gov. Nathan Deal laid out the not-so-pretty picture for state finances. From Walter C. Jones at Morris News Service:

In years past, governors have used their luncheon speech to outline ambitious agendas.

Deal, though, used the occasion to dampen expectations.

“I must tell you it is a rather daunting budget this year. We have some challenges,” he said.

The looming federal budget cuts would offer another blow to Georgia’s budget-writers, and there is little sign of progress toward altering or averting them in any way. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner apparently traded offers Tuesday that did little to move the ball.

The Wall Street Journal reports that there is one new aspect to the closed-door negotiations: Corporate tax reform.

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The key excerpt from the dead tree version of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s announcement that he backs gay marriage:

Reed is running for re-election next …

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Your daily jolt: Nathan Deal gets comfortable with a new Falcons stadium

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is no longer out there by himself. For the first time, Gov. Nathan Deal has indicated his support for a new $1 billion stadium that would serve as a home to the Atlanta Falcons.

From Lori Geary and Channel 2 Action News:

Said Deal:

”I think that, overall, if we get a new facility that’s upgraded and meets the current demands and needs of the future, then being on the hook for less than a third – that is repaid from money that comes from outsiders – I think that’s probably a pretty good deal.”

That deal would require the Georgia World Congress Authority’s bonding capacity to be increased from $200 million to $300 million – which would require legislation passed by the General Assembly. Geary reports that the governor now says he’s “open” to the idea.

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We’re picking up word that state Sen. Doug Stoner, the Smyrna Democrat who was successfully targeted by Republicans this month, is quietly campaigning for the 13th District spot on the state Department …

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Your daily jolt: Newly elected state lawmaker sends refunds to contributors

In an email sent last night, reader George Mortensen reported something strange and wonderful: A political candidate has written him a check.

Michael Caldwell of Woodstock is the young Republican – he was 23 as his campaign began — who ousted longtime state Rep. Charlice Byrd in the July primary, and in November defeated Democrat Lillian Burnaman.

As of Oct. 25, Caldwell reported raising $16,967 for the contest, and still had $2,343.

So the successful candidate has been sending his 13.8 percent surplus back to contributors on a pro-rated basis. Mortensen had given $20 to Caldwell this spring. Caldwell has sent him a check for $2.76.

Sigh. If only this kind of conduct would catch on. We’ve got a call into Caldwell, but have not heard back.

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A rumor was floating around the state on Monday that U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, having survived another GOP attempt to oust him, was being courted by Democrats to run statewide in 2014 – whether against U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss or …

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Your daily jolt: Allen West rejects move to Ga. — ‘I’m not an NFL free agent’

U.S. Rep. Allen West continues to hold out hope that he can prevail with a recount in his coastal Florida race. But the Republican firebrand has ruled out a return to Georgia should he need to restart his political career.

My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy caught West in a Capitol hallway on Wednesday, and asked him about the invitation from Georgia GOP chairman Sue Everhart, who noted West’s Atlanta roots and said she hoped they would lead West to replant his standard here.

West wasn’t interested. “No,” the former lieutenant colonel replied. “Look, let me tell you something. I have moved my wife around for 20-some-odd years, being in the military, and she was also the daughter of a career military guy. When I retired, she chose Florida. That’s where my daughter’s in school, in college, my youngest daughter’s in high school. That’s our home. It’s a very nice thing, but I’m not an NFL free agent.”

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Johnny Isakson took to the floor of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, shortly after …

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Your daily jolt: How Obama pushed Georgia’s charter school measure to victory

I need to listen to more V-103.

This is in the way of a small confession. One of the few surprises in Georgia ballot tallies on Tuesday was the startling support given by African-American voters to Amendment One, the measure to permit the state to create a commission that will directly license charter schools.

This despite a very loud continent of black lawmakers, not to mention the state Democratic party and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who declared the proposed constitutional amendment would result in the resegregation of public schools.

What I didn’t know – and neglected to discover until Wednesday — was that these voices were being drowned out by the biggest name in black politics: President Barack Obama.

Two Democratic strategists – one of them Cabral Franklin, son of the former mayor of Atlanta – created this 60-second radio spot that aired exclusively on radio stations with African-American audiences:

The script:

Obama: “I call on states to reform their charter rules…When I …

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Your daily jolt: Signs that John Barrow might survive

If U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, has a little bounce to his step this morning, it could be that some number-crunchers have given him some hope that today may not mark the end of his congressional career.

As newly redrawn, the 12th District in east-by-southeast Georgia has an overall African-American population of perhaps 32 percent. Republicans have been calculating that a slightly depressed black vote, 30 percent or lower, might spell doom for the last white Democrat from the Deep South – and send GOP state lawmaker Lee Anderson to Washington.

Advance ballot stats place African-American participation in the 12 District contest at 36 percent, thanks to President Barack Obama’s name at the topic of the ticket, and a Richmond County sheriff’s race.

Statewide, African-Americans cast 34 percent of Georgia’s early ballots.

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Never mind that joke that caused such a fuss last week. We’ve gotten word that the Rev. Joseph Lowery, one of Barack Obama’s frontier supporters in 2008, …

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Your daily jolt: Amendment One opponents scrape together cash for a TV ad

Opponents of Amendment One, the ballot issue to reinforce the state’s power to establish charter schools, have scraped up enough cash — $40,000, they say – to launch a low-budget TV campaign:

The ad features Donna Kosicki, president of the Georgia Parent Teachers Association, state School Superintendent John Barge (indirectly), and Valarie Wilson, president of the Georgia School Board Association.

The spot is seeing limited air-time in metro Atlanta and Columbus, said state Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur. “We’re hoping we can raise some more funds so we can really put it out over the state.”

Last week, the lead proponent organization for the charter school measure, Families for Better Public Schools, reported raising $1.2 million, much of it in high-dollar contributions. Vote Smart! No to State-Controlled Schools reported raising $18,164.

Jones, who is currently chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, has emerged as the political leader of Amendment One opponents. “Because …

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