Sen. Saxby Chambliss will be on the air momentarily, if not already, for an interview with the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce. You can tune in here.
Today’s Courier Herald Column:
After over a year of effort, Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss and Virginia Senator Mark Warner announced that their bi-partisan “Gang of 6” had reach a consensus on a deficit reduction plan. Agreement on a budget plan with significant deficit reduction has become key in both the House and Senate as a condition to raising the nation’s debt ceiling, set to be reached by August 2nd. The “gang” was joined by Conservative Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who had earlier left the group, signaling that Senate Conservatives were also likely to support the effort.
The plan is a mix of spending cuts, elimination of some tax breaks, and some tax cuts. The Alternative Minimum Tax would be eliminated, but $1 Trillion in new revenues would be increased over the ten year period. Chambliss points out that on a net basis, the plan will still be scored by the Congressional Budget Office as a tax cut.
The plan broadly outlines savings from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and will most likely bring means testing – the idea that wealthier recipients pay more or receive less – to the seniors’ programs.
The plan received broad bi-partisan support in the Senate, where a gang of 60 is required for any bill to become law. President Obama also signaled support for the plan, signifying likely support from the Democratically controlled Senate as a whole.
The Republican controlled House, however, spent Monday passing their Cut, Cap, and Balance plan, which would cut over $100M from spending in next year’s budget, cap federal spending at 18% of GDP, and mandate a balanced budget in the future. The passage sets the stage for active negotiations with the Senate, though many House Republican scoff at the notion of a compromise that will include any revenue increases. Read more
Today’s Courier Herald Column:
There was a time when being a Georgian in D.C. meant something. The names of Russell, Talmadge,and Nunn had enough political gravitas behind them to change a debate in D.C. In the United States Senate, seniority is currency, and these gentlemen banked plenty. Russell served 38 years, Talmadge 24, and Nunn 25.
Beginning with Republican Senator Mack Mattingly’s 1980 election, Georgia sent a series of short timers to D.C. Mattingly lost to Wyche Fowler who lost to Paul Coverdell. Coverdell won re-election but died an untimely death soon after. Zell Miller finished out the term of Coverdell but chose not to seek re-election. Upon Sam Nunn’s retirement, Max Cleland served one term before being defeated by Saxby Chambliss.
So why the history lesson? Senators Chambliss and Isakson are the first two Georgia Senators to serve simultaneously beyond their first term since Jimmy Carter was President. As these two are gaining seniority, Georgia is gaining clout. Read more
Senator Saxby Chambliss, along with Senator Mark Warner, have been leading a bi-partisan group to look at potential structural changes to the tax code, entitlements, spending, and any other elements that comprise the federal budget deficits. Today, the two released the following Op-Ed:
It’s Time To Make Tough Choices
All of the talk about short-term spending resolutions and potential gridlock in Congress might lead you to believe we have lost an opportunity for serious action on our country’s longer-range deficits and debt.
However, we remain convinced that our country is at a critically important moment.
Since this economic downturn began, families across America have had to make tough choices to make ends meet. It is time for Washington to do the same.
As a Republican elected from Georgia and a Democrat from Virginia, we have been working in a bipartisan partnership to seize this opportunity to get our fiscal house in order for the long term. Read more
There’s an article in today’s Politico about how Senators Saxby Chambliss and Mark Warner are trying to come together in a bipartisan fashion and wrangle the bloated federal budget:
“If we put this off, we are approaching financial Armageddon,” Warner said. “We don’t need another study, we need to start.”
Though there is no way to eliminate the country’s $14 trillion debt in a single shot, the Obama administration and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle must come together, the senators said. Their event in Richmond was the first of at least two town halls – the other scheduled for next month in Atlanta – aimed at generating public support for the politically risky step of proposing substantial reductions in spending on entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare.
“For a Republican to put revenues on the table is significant. For a Democrat to put entitlements on the table is significant,” Chambliss said. “The only way we’re going to solve this problem is to have a dialogue about all these issues, because there is no silver bullet.”
The fact is that the Senate is still controlled by the Democrats, so the Republicans will have to stand strong on principles but work with the Democrats if we’re to get anything accomplished. We must cut government spending, and I hope we can resist the urge to raise taxes. I’m interested to see what comes out of this.
Once we get word about when the town hall in Atlanta will be, we’ll pass that information along so you can air thoughts about the plan to your Senator.
In an article from the AJC:
Georgia’s senior senator tied for 1st place — along with seven others — in a Top 10 list of the most conservative senators compiled by National Journal, a political newspaper and Web site.
The publication noted Chambliss’s “big jump” among the ranks of conservatives in Congress, moving up from No. 20 on its “most conservative” rankings in 2009. The rankings are based primarily on voting records on specific issues.
There have been many comments in several posts about this today and I believe it’s worth moving to the front page. Here is Senator Saxby Chambliss precisely one month ago:
“I have consistently voted for the elimination of earmarks in the past and will support the earmark-moratorium resolution today.
And here he is today:
I recently voted in support of an earmark moratorium to help reduce federal spending in the next Congress. As I have previously stated, while this is not the answer to our budget woes, it is a good start.
Why, then, Senator, do you personally have 42 earmarks in the Omnibus Spending Bill?
And if you think the Omnibus Spending Bill “simply spends too much,” does that include your own pet projects? If so, why did you promote them to begin with? If not, isn’t that a violation of your own alleged position against pork spending?
Earlier I made some salient remarks concerning Saxby Chambliss and his two-faced positions on pork spending and on how he fears being anything but a backbencher. Behold Saxby’s words on the Omnibus Spending Bill, via Press Secretary Ashley Nelson, received into the Peach Pundit Command Center a few hours ago:
On Nov. 2, the American people made it clear that they want Congress to rein in spending. I recently voted in support of an earmark moratorium to help reduce federal spending in the next Congress. As I have previously stated, while this is not the answer to our budget woes, it is a good start. Even though the Omnibus Appropriations Act falls under this Congress and is not covered by the moratorium, and even though it contains items that will benefit Georgia, it simply spends too much. I intend to vote against it.
It. Simply. Spends. Too. Much. Give me a break. This from the man who supports massive pork spending attached to the tax bill which passed this afternoon, who also voted for TARP, and who believes that billions should be spent so the First Lady can have a salad bar in every elementary school in the Republic.
To Saxby, he thinks he has done his job and can go home simply because he announces he is against something. But that is not leadership.
Why is it I seem to hear the name Jim DeMint every time real conservatives, you know, employ strategy and try to fight the never ending spending and increasing of government control? And has anyone ever –EVER– read a bunch of stories about how Jim DeMint and Saxby Chambliss are teaming up to fight fight fight for conservatism, more liberty, and less government control?
Last night Georgia’s allegedly conservative Senator, Saxby Chambliss, said on the Senate floor, “America’s fiscal house is in disarray. Our budget process is broken. And future generations will end up paying the price if we continue to ignore the difficult decisions required to fix this grave threat to our country’s financial stability.” He went on to say, concerning these problems, that “we’ve got to address it next year.” Next year? Swell.
But what have Saxby’s actions shown him to be? In typical fashion, in favor of continuing the big spending. He wet his pants with joy over the massive spending bill, which we can’t afford, to inject the Federal government into every school lunch room in the nation. He’s all gung ho for continuing unemployment benefits, which we can’t afford, for the rest of peoples lives if need be.
And now there is an Omnibus Spending Bill on the floor of the Senate that is 1,924 pages long which will cost $1.25 trillion and includes 6,488 earmarks. Where, pray tell, is Georgia’s Senior Senator? At 12:21 p.m EST, he was having a gay old time on the floor of the Senate, yucking it up with his colleagues as they considered amendments to yet another massive piece of pork filled legislation in order to let the people that actually pay income tax keep their rates the same for two more years.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today released the following statement:
“The American people are rightly concerned about reducing federal spending. Now that there appears to be an agreement to oppose earmarks, I hope Congress will begin a serious discussion of how to cut federal spending on larger, more meaningful scale.
“I have consistently voted for the elimination of earmarks in the past and will support the earmark-moratorium resolution today.
“However, there are times when crises arise or issues come forth of such importance to Georgia, such as critical support to the port of Savannah, and the nation that I reserve the right to ask Congress and the president to approve funding.”
From a press release:
(ATHENS) U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), today announced they will be participating in a panel discussion hosted by the University of Georgia in Athens entitled, “New Media: How Technology Has Influenced American Politics.” The event will take place on Sept. 20 from 1-3 p.m. in the UGA Chapel, located on North Campus in Athens. Other panelists include nationally syndicated talk show host Neal Boortz and E. Culpepper “Cully” Clark, dean of UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
The event is open to the public and members of the media are invited to attend.
WHO: U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss and Ben Nelson
Neal Boortz, Nationally Syndicated Talk Show Host
E. Culpepper “Cully” Clark, Dean of the Grady College
WHAT: Dynamic Panel Discussion on the Influence of New Media on American Politics and Q&A Session
WHEN: Monday, Sept. 20, 2010, from 1-3 p.m.
WHERE: University of Georgia Chapel, North Campus
For more information, contact Erin Hamm at (202) 224-4728.
For those who want a break from Georgia politics, I offer you the following press release about some national politics:
Chambliss: I am left with far too many doubts to simply presume that the president’s nominee should be confirmed
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. Below are excerpts from his speech:
…Several weeks ago, Ms. Kagan was granted an opportunity to sit before the Judiciary Committee, respond to her critics and clarify her seemingly controversial positions.
I am told that I disappointed a volunteer by not attending a BBQ fundraiser for Senator Johnny Isakson last Saturday; I attended the GYR Convention instead. As a start to making it up to her I’m posting the following press release.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today joined 20 of their Senate colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to federal officials urging them to proactively work with coastal states along the Atlantic seaboard to ensure the states are prepared in case the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico reaches the East Coast.
The text of the letter to Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is below: Read more
Just received the following statement from Senator Saxby Chambliss:
Chambliss Addresses Concerns with Financial Regulatory Reform Legislation
“To leave Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae out of any additional regulations is a mistake.”
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., addressed his concerns with the financial regulatory reform bill on the Senate floor today. The following are excerpts of his floor speech:
“…There are some provisions in the bill that I have particular objection to, and there are some things that are not in the bill that I think should be in the bill. For example, one of the major causes of the problem – and I think it goes without saying – is the fact that the GSE’s – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – have been authorized over the years to purchase mortgages from individuals who simply couldn’t make their payments, and those mortgages have been bundled up together and have been sold on the market and have been one of the root causes, in my opinion, of the problem.
“And I’m not alone in thinking that. Other individuals, but more importantly, people who know a lot more about the root cause of the problem than anybody in this body agree that that is a major issue that has to be addressed in any overall financial reform. And to leave any reference to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae out of any additional regulation is a mistake. There are going to be amendments with respect to that, and I look forward to the debate on that.
Update: Icarus has added some info on this in the comments, saying, “I just spoke to Westmoreland’s office. The Hill article doesn’t have a bill number. Lynn does not support a Value added tax, and will have more to say on the subject shortly.”
The bill in question is HR 2927, or the “Border Tax Equity Act of 2009.” Section 4491 of the bill, titled “Imposition of Tax,” states:
`(a) General Rule- There is hereby imposed a tax on imports of goods and services from any foreign country that employs an indirect tax system and grants rebates of indirect taxes paid on goods or services exported from that country.
`(b) Amount of Tax- The amount of the tax imposed by subsection (a) on an imported good or service shall be an amount equal to the excess of–
`(1) the indirect taxes that are rebated or not paid on the good or service upon its export, over
`(2) any indirect taxes imposed on the good or service at the border of the United States.
HR 2927’s cosponsors do include Westmoreland.
As income taxes creep towards their highest rates in decades, you may soon be required to pay more tax in the checkout line, as well.
The Hill is reporting that Lynn “Three Commandments” Westmoreland (R-GA), my former Congressman, has jumped on board a proposal by New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell that would impose a Value-Added Tax on products imported from countries that also have a VAT — a list which currently includes Mexico, India, and the entire European Union.
Rep. Walter Jones (R-
SNC), another co-sponsor of the VAT bill, has called on people to “let experts to analyze various tax reform plans before judging them” — including the VAT, which President Barack Obama (D-IL) and one of his chief economic advisers, Paul Volcker, have spoken favorably of as a way to decrease the administration and Democrat Congress’s record deficits.
Just two weeks ago Georgia’s two Senators, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, voted in favor of a Sense of the Senate resolution opposing the VAT, which called it “a massive tax increase that will cripple families on fixed income and only further push back America’s economic recovery.”