A federal judge on Tuesday denied a petition by a handful of voting and civil rights groups to block Georgia and three other states from requiring new voters demonstrate citizenship.
The Georgia NAACP and the League of Women Voters had sought an injunction to prevent the four states—Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, and Kansas—from using new voter registration forms that require proof of citizenship. The policy had been previously approved by federal officials at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, an independent agency created in 2002.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon denied the group’s requests for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, writing that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate the new policy would cause “irreparable harm.”
“Given that the registration deadlines for the Alabama and Georgia primaries and for the Kansas Republican Caucus had already passed at the time this TRO motion was filed … and that the effects of [the federal] actions on the ongoing registration process for the Kansas Democratic Caucus and the plaintiffs’ rights and efforts thereto are uncertain at best, plaintiffs have not demonstrated they will suffer irreparable harm before the hearing on their Motion for a Preliminary Injunction,” Leon wrote in a Tuesday order.
The judge set that hearing for March 9, a week after Georgia voters will head to the polls in the state’s presidential primary.
Congressional Republicans will huddle later this week to open consideration of next year’s federal budget, upping the pressure on Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price to find increasingly narrow consensus between the Republican conference’s warring fiscal and deficit hawks.
Rep. Price, a Marietta Republican, has sketched out a spending blueprint in line with discretionary spending levels agreed to last year in concert with President Barack Obama, but would include several deficit reduction mechanisms the broader conference and Congress could adopt, a committee aide told reporters Monday.
Fiscal year 2016’s budget touched off a heated debate among Republicans: some wanted dramatic, immediate cuts to spending across the board while defense hawks insisted that expanded resources must be directed to the Pentagon.
The conservative Club for Growth is putting six figures behind a new television advertising campaign to pressure Georgia Republican Rep. Buddy Carter to oppose the reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank.
The 30-second spot calls the obscure federal agency, which offers taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to foreign buyers of American exports, a “petri dish of corruption and graft” and urges Carter’s constituents to phone the freshman GOPer to ask why he would support it when the nearly the entire field of would-be Republican presidential hopefuls oppose it.
“Republican leaders—Bush, Walker, Rubio, Cruz, Paul—all want to eliminate [the agency],” a narrator says. “Tell Congressman Carter to join conservatives and end the Export-Import Bank.”
If no action is taken by Congress, the agency’s operating charter is slated to expire June 30. But it’s not just conservative groups hoping Congress will allow the bank’s charter to sunset. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is among the bank’s most vocal corporate critics.
The same group opposed Carter in the last year’s open primary to succeed former Rep. Jack Kingston in the first congressional district.
The new Carter ad is one of four identical spots the Club is airing. Watch it after the jump.
Freshman Republican Sen. David Perdue was tapped Thursday to sit on a special House-Senate panel to reconcile the differences between the budget blueprints the two chambers passed last month.
The Georgian was one of twenty senators—11 Republicans, 9 Democrats—appointed. He joins Rep. Tom Price, who birthed the House budget, on the joint conference committee, which is slated to hold its first public meeting on Monday.
Both budgets would zero out the federal deficit over the next decade and gut the Affordable Care Act, but conferees must hash out lingering disagreements over an increase for the Pentagon’s war fund.
Senate Republicans may employ a budgetary procedural tool known as reconciliation that would require the support of only a simple majority instead of the standard 60-vote threshold only if the conferees can come to an agreement. Of course, the measure will almost certainly be vetoed by the president.
Georgia Congressman Sanford Bishop was among only seven House Democrats to vote Thursday to repeal the estate tax, a longtime GOP legislative priority that is unlikely to clear the upper chamber and unlikelier still to pass the president’s desk.
Republicans set up the repeal vote, which passed largely along partisan lines, to coincide with the week’s tax filing deadline. (Three Republicans—none from Georgia, of course—broke rank and voted the proposal down.) It was the first time in a decade that the full House has moved to the trash the nearly hundred-year-old tax.
Bishop was the lone Democratic cosponsor of the legislation, through he was joined a half-dozen other Georgians: GOP Reps. Lynn Westmoreland, Doug Collins, Buddy Carter, Rick Allen, Jody Hice, and Austin Scott.
Democratic leadership criticized the proposal as a multi-billion dollar tax break for the country’s wealthiest families, while Republicans countered that the tax was more likely to impact family farms and small businesses rather than the ultra-rich.
Only those individuals with estates greater than $5.43 million, or couples whose combined estate tops $10.86 million, must pay the tax when passing assets after a death. According to a joint House-Senate taxation committee, it will hit about 5,400 estates—or 0.2 percent of the projected 2.6 million deaths—this year. That same panel projected that the tax’s repeal would drop government revenue by about $269 billion over a decade.
A Bishop aide did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon, but as recent as last month the Georgia Democrat was publicly boostering a repeal.
You’ll be forgiven for thinking he sounds like a Republican here: “I have heard from farmers, funeral home owners, newspaper publishers, radio station owners, and garment manufacturers about the need for estate tax relief,” he said in a March press release. “I believe the estate tax is politically misguided, morally unjustified and downright un-American.”
A Georgia Democratic congressman said in a Monday speech that it was “open season” on African American men by bad actors in law enforcement.
Rep. Hank Johnson, who has represented his southwest Atlanta district since 2007, took to the floor of the U.S. House Monday to condemn his colleagues for falling to address recent police-involved shootings of black men.
“It feels like open season on black men in America and I am outraged,” Johnson said. “In fact, all Americans are at risk when bad actors in law enforcement use their guns instead of their heads.”
Johnson asked for unanimous consent to enter into congressional record an index of recent police-involved shootings, including several from Atlanta.
One Georgian Johnson named, 23-year-old Nicholas Thomas, was shot last month by Smyrna police after an arrest attempt went awry. After serving an arrest warrant for a probation violation, police allege Thomas stole a nearby vehicle and used the vehicle as a weapon against the arresting officers.
Watch Johnson’s speech after the jump.
Georgia Rep. Doug Collins has secured more than a dozen GOP lawmakers as cosponsors for his resolution of disapproval aimed at blocking the Federal Communications Commission new internet regulatory framework.
The list of cosponsors, according to a Collins aide, includes four other Georgians. The are: Reps. Lynn Westmoreland, Rick Allen, Barry Loudermilk, and Buddy Carter. And the remaining boosters: Reps. Bob Goodlatte, Steve Chabot, Glenn Grothman, Bob Latta, Bill Posey, Ryan Zinke, Sam Johnson, Dennis Ross, and Vern Buchanan.
The FCC voted along partisan lines in February to reclassify broadband internet as a common carrier service, much in the same way the agency regulates telephone service.
Collins’ resolution, a one-pager introduced Monday afternoon, makes use of the Congressional Review Act, which empowers the legislative branch formally to reject rules set by major federal agencies.
The measure requires only a simple majority in both chambers, thus avoiding a filibuster threat by Senate Democrats, but the president must still authorize it.
The resolution’s nut: “Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating tot he matter of protecting and promoting the open internet … and such rule shall have no force or effect.”
Read the resolution after the jump.