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.
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.
Republican David Perdue was among a small handful of mostly southern GOP senators who voted against Medicare reform legislation to abandon a flawed repayment program for health care providers.
The legislation was offered as a permanent solution to the yearly congressional tradition known as the “doc fix,” in which Congress was forced to annually override a 1997 federal repayment formula that tied Medicare payouts to increases in the economy.
When it passed the House last month with overwhelming bipartisan support—it fell 37 votes shy of the complete chamber’s backing—two Georgians voted it down. Conservative Reps. Barry Loudermilk and Tom Graves argued the new blueprint was insolvement and would increase the national debt by $500 billion in the next two decades.
The legislation passed the Senate Tuesday on similar overwhelming margin, 92-8. In a statement, Perdue echoed the concerns of his fellow Peach State dissenters in the lower chamber.
“We have got to stop borrowing at these outrageous levels to meet our federal priorities,” Perdue said via spokeswoman Megan Whittemore. “Meeting the needs of our seniors, doctors, and rural health centers is a priority, but we need to find the money within the budget process, and put together a responsible way to pay for these priorities, not use more borrowed money that adds to our long-term debt.”
The bill marked one of the first fissures between Perdue and senior Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, who voted for the doc fix-fix. The two have generally been in line on most matters since Perdue took office earlier this year.
Isakson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the abandonment of the old formula was an “important first step forward on strengthening Medicare and reforming entitlements.”
Senator Johnny Isakson raised more than $1.6 million in the first three months of the year, according to an aide.
Fundraising reports are not due with the Federal Election Commission until Thursday, but an Isakson spokeswoman previewed the campaign’s filing with Tipsheet Tuesday.
The GOPer, who faces reelection next year, will report a cash balance of $3.75 million and zero debt, a far stronger financial position than this time last cycle.
“I am proud that Georgians continue to feel that I effectively represent their interests in Washington,” Isakson said in a statement. “I look forward to this campaign and supporting all those conservative candidates across the country who are also dedicated to keeping our Republican majority and taking back the White House.”
His campaign had raised less than $400,000 in the first quarter of 2009 and had a war chest of just $2.47 million, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Isakson already faces one nominal challenge—from MARTA engineer Derrick Grayson, who secured just over 6,000 votes in last year’s Republican Senate contest—but the 70-year-old is hoping to preemptively big foot any serious primary trials by posting strong fundraising numbers lest any would-be challengers think him easy prey.
A foreign policy-minded group launched earlier this year by former Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss is airing television advertisements targeting two Democratic lawmakers for refusing to support legislation that would allow for congressional approval of a potential nuclear deal with Iran.
The American Security Initiative, which Chambliss formed in January with fellow ex-Sens. Evan Bayh, Norm Coleman, and Joseph Lieberman, launched this week a pair of ads pressuring two hold-outs on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to cosponsor legislation to empower Congress to reject or approve a possible Iran deal.
The ads, which feature a work van making its way through a nondescript metro before detonating a nuclear device in a parking deck, are targeting New Hampshire New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons.
The leadership pac for Jeb Bush, the primary vehicle through which the former Florida governor has been road testing a presidential campaign, announced this week it had contributed more than $117,000 to some two dozen congressional Republicans facing reelection next year, including two Georgians.
The pac gave U.S. Senator Isakson, who is seeking a third six-year term, and Augusta freshman Rep. Rick Allen each a cash injection of $5,400. The contribution covers both the primary, in which Isakson will face off with at least one (nominal) challenger, and the general election.
See the full list of pac recipients after the jump.
Both of Georgia’s U.S. senators have joined an effort by New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte in pressuring the Air Force to abandon its plans to divest a fleet of close air support aircrafts.
The Air Force signaled last year it wanted to retire the A-10 “Warthog” attack jet, but key congressional lawmakers (and defense analysts, including those at the Council on Foreign Relations) criticized the plan as reckless and said it would deny ground troops critical close air support when engaged in close enemy combat.
In a pair of letters to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees, Ayotte and nine other GOP defense hawks, including Georgia’s Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson, call the A-10 divestment plan “premature, misguided, and dangerous” and have asked that the defense authorization legislation for the next fiscal year explicitly bar Air Force from grounding the aircrafts.
“When we send our troops into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation to ensure that they have the very best support possible so they can accomplish their missions and return home safely,” one letter, a copy of which was provided to Tipsheet by a Perdue aide, reads. “There is an overwhelming consensus among our ground troops, special operators, and Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) that the A-10 is the Air Force’s best close air support aircraft and that it provides CAS capabilities that no other current aircraft can.
“For that reason, we remain concerned that if the Air Force is permitted to prematurely divest the A-10 before an equally capable replacement reaches full operational capability, the quality of CAS available to our ground forces will decline and Americans will be killed and injured unnecessarily.”
Read the text of both letters after the jump.