Archive for the ‘Johnny Isakson’ Category

Your daily jolt: If Saxby Chambliss is frustrated with Washington, what do his BFFs think?

Neither the transcript nor the video is available as I write this, but on NBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on Sunday, Chuck Todd noted one of the many implications of U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ decision not to run for a third term.

One of Chambliss’ best friends in Washington, Todd noted, is House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. If Chambliss is frustrated enough to abandon Washington, Boehner may be, too.

There’s another leg to that stool. Chambliss’ other BFF in Washington is U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. The two have been together since their halcyon days at the University of Georgia in Athens. (Where Chambliss will appear today with U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.)

Isakson has already declared himself a certainty to run for re-election in 2016. “Absolutely,” said one aide last night. But the man who will soon become Georgia’s senior senator has also just been named to the Senate Finance Committee, which will be at the center of any further negotiations over …

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Your daily jolt: Bloody Marys, stogies dropped from Senate lunch menu

By tradition, Coca-Cola has served as the corporate sponsor of a luncheon honoring the president pro tem of the state Senate at the opening of each year’s session.

Also by tradition, the menu has included Bloody Marys and cigars. But no more. We’re told that both alcohol and stogies have been removed from this afternoon’s festivities honoring David Shafer, R-Duluth, the Senate’s newly elected leader.

The reason? The flourishes were thought to clash with the Capitol’s embrace of ethics reform, including a $100 per lawmaker cap on gifts from lobbyists passed by the Senate on Monday.

Or perhaps it was fallout from Coke’s new anti-obesity campaign. Either one.

Speaking of ethics, here’s the exchange that just took place between House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle at this morning’s Eggs & Issues breakfast, sponsored by the Georgia Chamber. My AJC colleague Greg Bluestein said Cagle had just finished bragging about the Senate’s approval of a $100 …

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Your daily jolt: Nathan Deal wants to stay out of gun debate

Gov. Nathan Deal’s sit-down with Lori Geary of Channel 2 Action News on Wednesday was primarily intended to spread the news that the state’s economic woes had eased enough to boost HOPE scholarships by 3 percent and add 10 days to the pre-kindergarten schedule.

But Geary was also able to sneak in a question about gun legislation – which has become a hot topic for governor’s elsewhere. Said Deal:

”It is a time that is fraught with emotions on both sides of the issue. I’ve heard of proposed legislation, but none of that is part of my agenda.”

Don’t consider that declaration of neutrality to be a green light for the handful of bills already filed in the House, in anticipation of the new session of the Legislature that begins Monday. Several have been filed by incoming freshman Charles Gregory, R-Kennesaw, who has proposed removing state bans on (permitted) concealed weapons in churches and on public university campuses.

The governor’s statement could very well …

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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 …

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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, …

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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.

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 …

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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 …

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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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House Republicans balk at cliff deal

U.S. House Republicans emerged from a lengthy caucus meeting this afternoon declaring their opposition to the “fiscal cliff” deal that hastily passed the Senate overnight with an 89-8 vote. After hearing a festivus-style airing of grievances against the deal — struck by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — House leaders are still trying to figure out what to do with it. Many Republicans want to amend it to include more spending cuts.

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said: “The lack of spending cuts in the Senate bill was a universal concern amongst members in today’s meeting. Conversations with members will continue throughout the afternoon on the path forward.”

Lawrenceville Republican Rep. Rob Woodall was walking the halls clutching a report from the Congressional Budget Office that illustrated members’ concerns. According to the nonpartisan CBO, the deal would add $3.97 trillion to budget deficits in the next …

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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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