Archive for the ‘Tom Graves’ 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 federal debt, …

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U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss: Frustration with Washington drove him out

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the leader of a bipartisan effort to address the federal deficit, this morning pointed to gridlock in Washington for his decision not to seek a third term in 2014.

A statement just released by his office includes this:

“I have no doubt that had I decided to be a candidate, I would have won re-election. In these difficult political times, I am fortunate to have actually broadened my support around the state and the nation due to the stances I have taken.

“Instead, this is about frustration, both at a lack of leadership from the White House and at the dearth of meaningful action from Congress, especially on issues that are the foundation of our nation’s economic health. The debt-ceiling debacle of 2011 and the recent fiscal-cliff vote showed Congress at its worst and, sadly, I don’t see the legislative gridlock and partisan posturing improving anytime soon. For our nation to be strong, for our country to prosper, we cannot continue to play politics …

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Tom Graves: Women in combat ‘on par with reality’

For the second time this week, U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, has surprised us with a move that seems downright, well, centrist.

On Wednesday, Graves, one of Georgia’s most conservative members of Congress, voted with House Republican leadership to put off another confrontation with the White House over the federal debt ceiling. It was something that many of his colleagues – Democrats John Barrow and Hank Johnson, Republicans Paul Broun, Doug Collins and Phil Gingrey – couldn’t bring themselves to do.

Then we have the lifting of the Pentagon ban on women in combat, signed by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta this morning.

Some Republican reaction has been predictable. “Putting women in combat situations is the latest in a series of moves where political correctness and liberal social policy have trumped sound military practice,” GOP strategist Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said in a Newsmax interview.

Former Florida congressman Allen West, a retired …

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Debt-ceiling measure clears; Phil Gingrey shifts to ‘no’

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House this afternoon passed a measure to put off hitting the nation’s borrowing limit until May 18. More background from today’s paper is here.

Most of Georgia’s delegation supported the proposal — which also withholds senators’ paychecks after April 15 if they do not pass a budget — with the following members voting no (full results here): Democrats John Barrow of Augusta and Hank Johnson of DeKalb County; Republicans Paul Broun of Athens, Doug Collins of Gainesville and Phil Gingrey of Marietta.

Gingrey’s position on the matter has shifted in the last couple of days. At the Georgia Society gala in Washington on Sunday night, he told the AJC, “I think it’s a good plan,” and described the wisdom in his eyes of “resequencing” fiscal fights – putting March’s across-the-board “sequester” cuts and expiration of federal funding for the year ahead of the debt ceiling deadline. He added, in reference to the no-budget-no-pay part of the bill: “You absolutely …

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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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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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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 the …

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Your Daily Jolt: ‘Cool but not icy’ Falcons stadium reaction

After the Georgia World Congress Center Authority approved the outline for a new $1 billion downtown stadium for the Falcons on Monday morning, word spread quickly to Athens, where state legislators are holding their biennial summit. The AJC’s Greg Bluestein was on the scene and he described the reaction as “cool but not icy” as he surveyed lawmakers, who would need to vote to approve raising the GWCCA’s debt limit. From Bluestein:

House Speaker David Ralston said the stadium’s supporters need to make a forceful argument about why the new facility is needed – and he doesn’t think they’ve made that argument quite yet.

“This is more than about the Falcons. And because of that, we have to proceed very carefully,” Ralston said. “It’s a tough economic climate and for the state to undertake any sort of investment, I think we have to move cautiously.”

State Rep. Ed Lindsey, an Atlanta Republican and one of the House’s leading lawmakers, said he has to be convinced the stadium meets …

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Karen Handel vs. Saxby Chambliss? It’s possible

Friends of former secretary of state Karen Handel tell us that Rob Simms, once her chief of staff – now a D.C. media consultant, wasn’t blowing smoke when he said Handel was considering a 2014 challenge to U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

She is.

Simms dropped Handel’s name last week in a Weekly Standard roundup of potential primary rivals to Chambliss – a well-timed piece, given the senator’s decision to renew his fight with Grover Norquist as the Thanksgiving recess began. Other possibilities included U.S. Reps. Tom Price, R-Roswell; Paul Broun, R-Athens; and Tom Graves, R-Ranger. (U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey sent word to Chambliss and state GOP Chairman Sue Everhart weeks ago that he’s not considering it.)

Over at PeachPundit.com, Charlie Harper has a few thoughts on Chambliss’ situation – as does Jason Pye. But let’s do some realistic handicapping here as well.

We haven’t talked to him, but we’re told that Graves is less than interested in mounting a challenge to Chambliss – for …

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Your morning jolt: Apply charter campaign restrictions to governor, Dems say

Suddenly, the hottest debate in Georgia is over who can say what about charter schools and the November ballot issue.

We told you yesterday about the Glenn Delk lawsuit against the state’s 180 school districts, demanding that a Fulton County judge order public school officials into silence – at least during school hours. See the lawsuit here.

The court petition leans a great deal on a letter of guidance issued by Attorney General Sam Olens to state School Superintendent John Barge last week, reminding those same school systems that public resources aren’t to be used on either side of the argument. Barge, for instance, removed notice of his opposition to the charter school amendment.

Democrats have now demanded that Olens apply the same measure to Gov. Nathan Deal, an advocate of the proposed constitutional amendment to give the state another avenue through which to create charter schools – over the objections of local systems.

From a letter sent to Olens by Mike Berlon, …

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