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‘Mr. President, strap on your chinstrap,’ says ‘junkyard dog’ Chambliss

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Saxby Chambliss

A hard-hitting Friday morning press call with Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss yielded a wide range of topics, offering insight into the senator’s thoughts on the fiscal cliff and the road forward.

Both Chambliss and fellow Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson supported the fiscal cliff deal that’s cleared both chambers while polarizing Republican circles; every Georgia Republican serving in the House voted against the package.

“We kept 99 percent of the tax cuts from the 2001 package,” stated the Moultrie native in defense of his vote. “Ronald Reagan used to say that it was a good day if you got 80 percent of what you wanted done…and they’re permanent. We couldn’t get a permanent deal done when Bush was in the White House and Republicans controlled both the House and Senate.”

However, Chambliss expressed unhappiness with aspects of the deal, and reiterated his preference of spending cuts to tax increases, claiming that revenues were “off the table” following the deal.

No punches were pulled about looming debt ceiling and continuing resolution deadlines, with the assertion that the president should “strap on your chinstrap very tight because this junkyard dog is going to address spending cuts and entitlement reform in the debt ceiling debate.”

President Obama has indicated that he has no interest in debating whether or not to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, set to be reached in the next two months. Chambliss also attacked the president for what he perceived as lack of engagement with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell throughout the fiscal cliff debate.

When asked about guarantees from conservative groups, such as the Tea Party Express, that he would face a primary challenge because of complaints surrounding a lack of spending cuts, Chambliss stated that tea partiers were his friends and that he maintained an “ongoing dialogue” with the various groups in Georgia.

Though no further mention was made of a potential primary fight, speculation has previously swirled around Reps. Tom Price and Paul Broun, as well as former Secretary of State Karen Handel, as likely foes for the two-term senator. A December Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll showed that some 43 percent of Georgia primary voters would prefer an alternative ‘more conservative’ than Chambliss as their nominee in 2014.

Other topics discussed included both gun control and the Farm Bill. Chambliss stated that, in the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook school shooting, “simply coming out and saying we’re going to have a massive gun control bill that solves all the problems isn’t going to do it.” He called for a national dialogue, and specifically pointed to mental illness, not additional gun control, as points of emphasis.

As for the Farm Bill, Chambliss used its 9-month extension, included in the fiscal cliff deal, as further justification for his ‘yes’ vote. He also offered praise for the return of Mississippi Republican Thad Cochran to the ranking member spot on the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, indicating that it would balance out regional interests and help southern farmers when the body takes up passing a new Farm Bill this year.

-Brandon Howell

2 Comments.

  1. lizzie893833

    Uh huh….I’ll believe it when I see it. He’s starting to worry about the primary

  2. TNUGA

    OK, Saxby, let’s get some spending cuts. I’m willing to make these cuts “un-permanent” if you can the the Dems to cuts pending. I say for every $2.5 in cuts, let’s raise taxes THE NEXT YEAR! Cuts must come first, because I don’t trust them to follow through on promises to cut!!

    Here’s what i sent to your Moultrie Office a couple of weeks ago:

    Possible Solutions to the “Fiscal Cliff”
    for Consideration by the Honorable Saxby Chambliss

    As 2013 draws near, the media has devoted much attention to the “Fiscal Cliff” and possible solutions to our dilemma. I think that most people would agree that we have a spending problem, as well as a revenue problem. To be more specific, as a percentage of GDP, the White House historical tables show that our current Federal revenue is the lowest since 1950, while outlays as a percentage of GDP are the highest since two years of World War II.

    Therefore, in my opinion, our spending is two to three times as “out-of-whack” as our revenue problem. If we could instantly increase our revenue while cutting outlays, our deficit problem would improve or go away. However, I must state that I have little confidence that Congress will follow through on any promises to cut spending if there is an agreement to eliminate part, or all, of the Bush cuts.
    If my understanding is correct, President Reagan negotiated some increased revenue in the 80’s in exchange for spending cuts, but most of them never
    happened.

    So, what is my proposed solution?

    First, the payroll tax cut needs to go away. It was merely a
    political move on both sides and actually increased our deficit, since the provision requires annual transfers from general revenue to the SS trust fund. This was $102 Billion in 2011 and added the same amount to our 2011 deficit.

    Next, I would propose that the Bush cuts, which were
    extended by Congress in 2010, be reduced or eliminated in the following manner:

    -For every $2.50 in real cuts made by Congress in 2013, Congress can eliminate $1.00 of the Bush cuts in 2014.

    · If Congress makes $250 Billion in real cuts in 2013, they can increase 2014 taxes (through proportionate elimination of the Bush cuts) by $100 billion for a total deficit reduction of $350 Billion.

    · In Table 1-6, page 19, of a January 2012 CBO
    report titled, “The Budget and Economic outlook: Fiscal Years 2012-2022,” it appears the CBO is estimating 2014 costs of the Bush cuts to be $233 Billion. With a 2.5:1 ratio that I have described, Congress could completely do
    away with the Bush Cuts if they cut spending by $583 Billion. This would provide for a total deficit reduction of $816 Billion.

    Although the President is advocating tax increases for
    only the wealthy, I think any elimination of Bush tax cuts should be across all the income brackets. When the Bush cuts were initiated, we heard complaints that “wealthy people were getting more cuts than lower income taxpayers.”

    Well, guess what? If all the Bush cuts go away, those wealthy folks will be seeing far bigger tax increases than lower incomes. Aren’t we supposed to have “shared sacrifice” where everyone does their part? Let’s eliminate all the Bush cuts using the procedure above!

    If we eliminate the Bush cuts (from EGRRTA and JGRRTA), the average taxpayer in the $40-50k AGI sector will pay about $580 in additional taxes on an average
    AGI of $44,475. Let’s compare that to folks in the $200-$500k bracket. These folks make an average AGI of $283,360, or a little over 6 times as much in AGI.
    However, their tax bill will go up by $5,884, over TEN times as much as the $40-50k category.

    Plus, by doing away with the cuts for all brackets, those in the top two brackets pay an additional $5,150 that they would not be paying if the cuts hit only the top 2 tax brackets. (The President’s proposal is simply a way to make a few people pay more in income taxes)

    It’s the same old story for these folks: “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me! Tax that fellow behind the tree!”

    Naturally, there are those from the Norquist camp who
    will object to any increases, although this would simply be reverting back to pre-Bush rates. I feel that the solution lies in both an increase in revenue and a decrease in spending. As I stated earlier, I do not trust Congress (or
    the President) to follow through on a promise to cut spending. However, if this kind of proposal could pass and spending cuts were made, I would have full confidence that Congress would follow through on the required tax increases.

    Summary:
    Advantages:

    · The tax increases will be across the board and revert back to the pre-Bush rates if sufficient spending cuts are made.

    · The impact of the fiscal cliff will be offset so that tax increases do not occur until 2014.

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