Saturday, June 28, 2008

Chambliss, Isakson Praise Administration’s Decision to Delay Implementation of Medicare Cuts

U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today praised the Administration’s decision to delay the implementation of the 10.6% cut to physicians' Medicare reimbursement until July 15, 2008 to avoid any disruption in the payment of physician and non-physician practitioner services beginning on July 1.

“It’s unfortunate that the Democratic Majority found a way to extend authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration, but given the chance to extend the current Medicare fee levels, they objected twice,” said Chambliss. “Doctors and seniors deserve a serious and responsible effort that addresses the impending fee cut without playing politics and creating a major expansion of entitlement spending. I will continue to work to provide doctors the relief they deserve and seniors the benefits they deserve.”

"I am very pleased the Administration is giving Congress more time to work out reasonable legislation to eliminate this 10 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors. I will do everything I can to see to it that the Senate quickly passes a bill that helps Georgia doctors and that helps Georgia Medicare beneficiaries, especially our seniors and those who live in rural areas," Isakson said.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to instruct its contractors to not process any physician and non-physician practitioner claims for the first 10 business days of July. By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent reduction until July 15, at the earliest.

Community News You Can Use

Friday, June 27, 2008

John McCain 2008 Launches New TV Ad: "Purpose"

U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today released its newest television ad entitled "Purpose." The ad highlights the Lexington Project, John McCain's comprehensive plan to achieve strategic energy independence by 2025. The ad will air on national cable and in key battleground states.


Script For "Purpose" (TV:30)

ANNCR: American technology protected the world.

We went to the moon, not because it was easy, but because it was hard.

John McCain will call America to our next national purpose: Energy Security.

A comprehensive bipartisan plan to:

Lower prices at the pump.

Reduce dependence on foreign oil through domestic drilling.

And champion energy alternatives for better choices and lower costs.

Putting country first.


JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message.

Community News You Can Use

Gingrey applauds Supreme Court decision to strike down unconstitutional Washington, D.C. gun ban

U.S. Congressman Phil Gingrey released the following statement praising the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a gun ban in Washington, D.C. is unconstitutional:

“I am pleased to see that the Supreme Court sided with the Constitution today and opened the door for residents of the District of Columbia to have the same Second Amendment rights and protections as the rest of the country,” said Gingrey. “As our nation’s capital city, it is especially important that Washington, DC not infringe upon one of our most basic and fundamental rights. Today’s decision is the most significant ruling in favor of Second Amendment rights in history, and sends a clear message that the Constitution plainly guarantees the right to keep and bear arms.”
Community News You Can Use

Chambliss Statement on Recent Supreme Court Rulings

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, today made the following statement regarding several recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings:

District of Columbia Handgun Ban

On Thursday the Court, in a 5-4 decision, struck down a 32-year-old District of Columbia ban on handguns, ruling that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting.

Said Chambliss: “Finally the Court got something right. The Second Amendment clearly states: ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ I am pleased the Supreme Court recognized this fundamental individual right in their ruling today. The ability of decent, hard-working Americans to own a gun, whether for sport or protection, is clearly defined in the Constitution and must not be compromised. Only a government that does not trust its citizens would refuse them the right to bear arms.’”

Child Rape

On Wednesday the Court, in a 5-4 decision, struck down a Louisiana law allowing the state to execute people convicted of raping children, the decision stating that the state law allowing capital punishment in cases of child rape violates the U.S. constitution's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

Said Chambliss: “I am disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday that the crime of child rape cannot be punishable by death because it violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The rape of a child is one of the most heinous crimes that can be committed, and I think every Georgian agrees. Law enforcement should be able to punish heinous criminals who commit this act, and states should be able to determine the circumstances under which the death penalty should be applicable. The State of Georgia has a law on the books today that makes child rape a capital offense when aggravating circumstances are present, including but not limited to a prior conviction. I am pleased that Justice Kennedy indicated in his ruling that Georgia’s law permitting execution for child rape is still in effect. As a father and grandfather it frankly makes me sick to think the Court would have such poor judgment”

Rights of Terror Suspects to Sue in Federal Court

On June 12, 2008, the Court ruled that suspects in the War on Terror detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have the right to challenge their detention in federal court.

Said Chambliss: “Sadly, the Court has now established an even more generous set of protections for enemy combatants beyond what already existed. Now, terrorists detained for aiding al-Qa’ida will enjoy the same privileges as our own citizens – and possibly more than our own citizens would enjoy in the criminal context. I am baffled by this decision and think it is one of the worst I have seen come out of the Court.”
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Secretary of State Handel Announces Candidate Qualifying Process for State Senate District 13

Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel announced today that she will call a Special Primary to fill the Republican nomination for state Senate District 13 pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 21-2-504(a), upon the withdrawal of state Senator Joseph Carter.

The Secretary of State’s Elections Division received Mr. Carter’s affidavit of withdrawal as a candidate in state Senate District 13. Because of the timing of the withdrawal, Mr. Carter’s name will appear on the ballot for in-person and absentee ballot voting in the General Primary. Elections officials in Ben Hill, Crisp, Irwin, Lee, Tift, Turner, Wilcox and Worth counties will post notifications in precincts within state Senate District 13 notifying voters of Mr. Carter’s withdrawal. Any votes cast for Mr. Carter will not be counted.

The Special Primary for the Republican nomination will be held on Tuesday, August 5, 2008. Since no Democratic candidate qualified for Senate District 13, there was no Democratic primary for this seat. Accordingly, the Special Primary will be held only for the Republican nomination as provided for in the law.

Secretary Handel set the candidate qualifying dates for state Senate District 13 as Wednesday, July 16 through Friday, July 18, 2008. Qualifying on Wednesday will run from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.; on Thursday from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.; and on Friday from 8 a.m. until 12 noon.

Qualifying will be held in the Elections Division of the Office of Secretary of State, 1104 West Tower, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30334-1505. Candidates may also qualify in the Secretary of State’s South Georgia Office at 238 East Second Street, Tifton, Georgia, 31794. The qualifying fee is $400.00.

Advance voting for the Special Primary will be held Monday, July 28 through Friday, August 1, 2008. The Special Primary will be held in Ben Hill, Crisp, Irwin, Lee, Tift, Turner and Worth counties, and a portion of Wilcox County. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 5, 2008. August 5, 2008 is also the date for run-offs for the General Primary held on July 15, 2008. If necessary, a run-off for the Special Primary will be held on Tuesday, August 26, 2008.

Voters can request an absentee ballot from their county registrar’s office through the close of business on Friday, August 1, 2008. Absentee ballots must be returned to the county registrar by close of business on Election Day. Photo identification is not required when voting by mail. To download an absentee ballot request form, please visit

All citizens residing in state Senate District 13 who are not registered to vote can register through Tuesday, July 8, 2008 to be eligible to vote in the Special Primary Election. Voter registration forms can be obtained at any county registrar’s office or from the Secretary of State’s website:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gingrey Amendment Would Increase Focus on Offshore Drilling

U.S. Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Ranking Member of the Science Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation, today offered an amendment to the National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2008 which would help alleviate U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

As gas prices continue to climb and with millions of barrels of oil off of our Outer Continental Shelf under the lock and key of the federal government, increasing the development and utilization of ocean and coastal energy resources is critical to addressing our energy crisis.

Congressman Gingrey’s amendment would actually guide the National Sea Grant Program, originally adopted in 1966, back towards its original intent – to better understand our oceanic resources as an important energy supply. Rep. Gingrey’s amendment was voted down along near party lines.

“Unfortunately, Congress in 1966 seemed to be light years ahead of today’s Congress in 2008, because it was open to the potential of exploring and understanding what offshore domestic energy resources our nation had to offer,” said Gingrey. “With the improved technologies available for energy exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf, it is time that this program once again lives up to its initial promise from over 40 years ago. At a time when families are paying $4.07 for a gallon of regular gas, it is long overdue that we put in place the processes to explore American offshore energy resources.”

Rep. Gingrey’s amendment would add an additional duty for the Director of the Sea Grant Program to move the curriculum of the program towards more energy resource exploration, including production of energy from petroleum, natural gas, geothermal, wind and ocean thermal resources.

NOTE: A recent Rasmussen Poll shows that 67% of Americans support exploration for oil off of our nation’s coasts.

The text of Gingrey’s statement in support of his amendment is included below:
Rep. Phil Gingrey
Statement for Gingrey Amendment SG08-001 to HR 5618
Science Committee Mark-Up
June 25, 2008

I first want to commend the Energy and Environment Subcommittee for its quick action on H.R. 5618, the National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2008. This bipartisan legislation expands the scope and purposes of the National Sea Grant College Program, and the amendments that I will be offering this morning will assist the Sea Grant Program in its expansion through H.R. 5618.

In the Declaration of Policy in the original Sea Grant Program, the law – originally adopted in 1966 – notes that the vitality of our country is dependent on the understanding, development, and utilization of ocean and coastal resources because these resources supply energy and contribute to a number of important goals for our country – including national security and commerce.

Unfortunately Mr. Chairman, the 89th Congress in 1966 seemed to be light years ahead of the 110th Congress in 2008, because it was open to the potential of exploring and understanding what offshore domestic energy resources had to offer. With the improved technologies available for energy exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf, it is time that this program once again lives up to its initial promise from over 40 years ago.

That is why I am offering these common-sense amendments. My first amendment this morning would add an additional duty for the Director of the Sea Grant Program to move the curriculum of the program towards more energy resource exploration, including production of energy from petroleum, natural gas, geothermal, wind and ocean thermal resources.

At a time when families are paying $4.07 for a gallon of regular gas, it is long overdue that we put in place the processes to explore American offshore resources. Mr. Chairman, the American people agree. A recent Rasmussen Poll shows that 67% of Americans support exploration for oil off of our nation’s coasts. And yet, 85% of the Lower 48 states’ Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) energy resources remain under the lock and key of the federal government – off limits to drilling.

This amendment would bring together some of the nation’s top academic institutions through the Sea Grant program to find ways to better utilize our offshore resources for energy production in an environmentally sensitive manner. Their contribution will ultimately provide relief for working American families from the rising gas prices they face each day, by introducing more American supply into the marketplace.

Mr. Chairman, a real solution is long overdue, and now is the time for our laws to reflect real world challenges, where we need reasonably-priced fuel to not only maintain our quality of life, but also preserve American economic growth and prosperity. I believe that this amendment helps put us on that path.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Subcommittee Examines Efficiency of Nation's Transportation Infrastructure

Today, the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation held a hearing to review ongoing Federal, State, academic, and industry research and development (R&D) activities intended to reduce lifecycle energy consumption and fuel use, and also to promote sustainability for surface transportation infrastructure.

“There are approximately 4 million miles of roads in this country and Americans drive approximately 4 trillion miles per year,” noted Subcommittee Ranking Member Phil Gingrey (R-GA). “To support all this traffic, government expenditures on our highways are approximately $140 billion annually. Unfortunately, even with this constant influx in spending, our infrastructure cannot support our growing traffic needs.”

Gingrey continued, “The priority of research and development in the transportation sector has lagged behind construction and rehabilitation, but the challenges that now face our transportation infrastructure will require innovative designs and technologies.”

The surface transportation sector is a major contributor to energy use and pollution, accounting for approximately 33 percent of carbon emissions in the U.S. annually. While materials and technologies currently exist to combat pollution and energy waste from transportation infrastructure, there are cost and other logistical decisions that have limited their widespread implementation.

Advocating for a larger research budget at the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) spoke highly of efforts to promote a more efficient, sustainable transportation infrastructure, noting that further research would pay for itself in the long term. Within the U.S. Department of Transportation, RITA has sought to effectively prioritize transportation research programs, identify innovation gaps, and coordinate research and technology efforts within the Department, and throughout the transportation community.

Further highlighting the benefits of increased investments in R&D, one of today’s witnesses, Dr. Christopher Poe, Assistant Agency Director at the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), cited a study conducted by TTI in order to estimate the benefits of improving mobility in congested Texas cities. The 2003 study concluded that an increase in spending of $66 billion, in order to reduce traffic congestion, would generate $540 billion in savings from lower travel delay, reduced fuel consumption and business efficiency. This total return on investment represents an 8 to 1 return ration.

Witnesses at today’s hearing also urged additional technology transfer and education efforts in order to engage policymakers and the public to pursue greater use of these new technologies. They noted that a strong partnership between the research and user communities is vital to ensure that R&D efforts are tied to user needs and that demonstration projects prove the effectiveness of various technologies and materials.

Monday, June 23, 2008

175 in House sign Westmoreland Pledge

Millions of Americans have signed petitions telling Congress to take action on energy prices. And U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland responded by taking the petition straight to the members of the House.

By Friday, 175 members of Congress signed the Westmoreland Pledge on the floor of the House this week. The pledge reads “I will vote to increase U.S. oil production to lower gas prices for Americans.” Westmoreland looks to add more members in the coming week and hopes more Democratic members will sign on to help Americans pay less at the pump.

“I made this simple so there would be no wiggle room for members of Congress,” Westmoreland said. “I pushed hard all week to get my colleagues to sign the pledge and I’m very happy that we’re closing in on 180 names. We are saying that supplying our energy needs requires ‘all of the above’: conservation, alternative energy development and increased supply of oil.”

Westmoreland’s petition aims to create momentum on Capitol Hill to open up new energy production offshore on the Outer Continental Shelf and on federal lands such as ANWR. Westmoreland further supports building new refineries for the first time in more than 30 years.

“With prices at $4 a gallon, families and businesses are feeling the squeeze. Higher gas prices lead to higher prices for food and every other product that has to travel to a store. Americans are cutting back. Unless Congress takes action, we’re going to erode our American quality of life and our economy is going to grow less and lose good-paying jobs.”

Public opinion surveys indicate that large majorities of Americans believe it is possible to drill for energy in untapped regions of Alaska and deep ocean areas far off the U.S. coast in an environmentally responsible manner, and they support reforms that would allow such drilling to finally begin.

“At least 175 members of the House are saying to the American people, we support ‘all of the above’ when it comes to solving America’s energy crunch,” Westmoreland said. “We need to continue to research and develop alternative fuels. We need to continue conservation efforts. But for right now, we also need more traditional energy sources to bring down the cost of gas to help our economy thrive as we transition into new forms of energy.

“We still have a way to go with our petition. Finding solutions for our energy crunch should be a bipartisan effort and I would like to see more Democrats sign. Their constituents are hurting just as much as mine are. So far, we have one Democrat, my good friend Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii. Neil said to me that he knows more oil production won’t solve the problem, but that it is part of the solution. I think a lot of his colleagues on the other side of the aisle would agree with that assessment, and we hope to get their names on the pledge.”

Westmoreland encourages Americans to sign petitions calling for more energy exploration and to call their members of Congress to ask that they sign the Westmoreland pledge to increase oil production to lower gas prices for Americans. Find the list of all the members of Congress who have signed at

Brian Robinson
Deputy Chief of Staff

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gingrey Applauds Passage of Clean Troop Funding Bill and Improvements Upon GI Bill

U.S. Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, today (June 19, 2008) voted in support of H.R. 2642, the Iraq and Afghanistan Supplemental Appropriations Bill, which not only provides necessary funding for the Global War on Terror, but will also strengthen the educational benefit for our men and women in uniform who have so bravely served our nation.

“This bill is a true victory for our men and women in uniform,” said Gingrey. “Not only does this supplemental provide our warfighters the tools they need to continue their success in the Global War on Terror, but it also gives our soldiers returning home the access to higher education that they so richly deserve.”

“Over the last twenty years, the basic Montgomery GI Bill allowance has only increased by 193% while the average cost of a four-year public school – tuition, room and board – has increased by 278%. Given the many sacrifices that our soldiers have made defending our freedoms, it is only right that we address this discrepancy.”

“Republicans fought for the inclusion of provisions allowing the benefit to be transferred between soldiers and their immediate family members — provisions not included in the original Webb GI Bill — which members of the military cited as the most important aspect of any improved version of the GI bill. I was proud to stand with our soldiers — and their families — in supporting this much needed improvement.”

In addition to the transferability to the provisions of the GI Bill here are a few other key provisions House Republicans fought hard to include in the Iraq and Afghanistan Supplemental Appropriations Bill are listed below:

· Provides Troop Funding for FY 2008-2009. The agreement ensures that our men and women in uniform will have the resources they need well into the next Administration, rejecting demands from Democrats to stop funding our troops who continue to make significant progress in Iraq and Afghanistan.

· Eliminates ALL War Restrictions. The agreement gets our troops the funding they need for success without any politically-motivated restrictions that the Democratic Majority pushed for in order to hamstring our commanders in the field.

· Provides New Resources for American Veterans. The agreement will help our veterans (or their families) get a better education after they return from Iraq and Afghanistan.

· Cuts Wasteful Pork. The agreement cuts $8 billion in wasteful Washington spending.

· Rejects Funding for Planned Parenthood. The agreement eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood.

· Ensures SCHIP Serves Low-Income Children First. The agreement eliminates a Senate Democrat-authored provision designed to overturn Administration efforts to ensure that SCHIP serves the neediest children first.

· Includes NO Tax Increases. The agreement includes no tax increases of any kind.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Governor Perdue Announces Executive Appointments

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today the following executive appointments:

Board of Early Care and Learning
Carolyn W. Ormsby, Ed.D., 65, Conyers, Fourth Congressional District Representative —
Ormsby is the principal of Honey Creek Elementary School in Rockdale County. She serves on the Board of Child Development Center of First Baptist Church of Conyers, and is a member of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. Ormsby earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, master’s and specialist’s degrees from Georgia State University, and a doctoral degree from Nova Southeastern University. She and her husband, Ted, have three grown children and nine grandchildren.

Board of Governors of the George L. Smith II Georgia World Congress Center Authority
John H. Downs, Jr., 51, Marietta –- Downs is senior vice president of public affairs and communications for Coca-Cola Enterprises. He serves on numerous boards including The Coca-Cola Foundation, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, Morehouse School of Medicine, Voices for Georgia’s Children, and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. He was appointed to the Georgia Department of Education’s Parent, Community and Business Advisory Board and the Commission for a New Georgia’s Administrative Services task force by Governor Sonny Perdue. Downs earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington College. He and his wife, Molly, have four children.

Board of Trustees of the Subsequent Injury Trust Fund
John L. Quinn, 59, Avondale Estates, Labor Representative –- Quinn serves as district counsel for Communications Workers of America, where he represents nine Southeastern states. He is currently chair-elect of the Georgia Bar’s Labor and Employment Law Section, along with being a longstanding member of the American Bar Association’s EEO Committee. He is an active member of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee and has chaired its advisory board. Quinn earned a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. He and his wife, Kerry, have five children and four grandchildren.

Georgia Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Kathleen T. Bowen, 29, Decatur, Consumer Representative –- Bowen is special projects coordinator for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) and serves as program director for the Georgia Civic Awareness Program for Students. She is a member of the Georgia Society of Association Executives, the Southern Center for International Studies Young Professionals, the Atlanta Ole Miss Alumni Club and a volunteer with Hands on Atlanta. Bowen earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi. She is married to Will Bowen.

Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority
R. Charles “Charlie” Loudermilk, Sr., 80, Atlanta – Loudermilk serves as chairman of Aaron Rents, Inc. He is the founder and past chairman of the Buckhead Coalition and founder and chairman of the Buckhead Community Bank. He served on the board of the Atlanta Rotary Club, Piedmont Hospital Foundation Board, Atlanta Community Food Bank, and served as chairman of the Omni Group and the MARTA Board of Directors. Loudermilk earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina. He is married to Courtney Loudermilk and has three children, two stepchildren, and five grandchildren.

State Board of Cosmetology
James S. “Slatz” Gaines, 74, Flowery Branch, Cosmetologist – Gaines has been a professional hairdresser for over forty-seven years and has owned multiple salons around the Atlanta area. He is a member of Blackshear Place Baptist Church and the National Hairdressers Association and a former member of Intercoiffure America-Canada.

State Workforce Investment Board
Edward P. “Phil” Best, Sr., 52, Dublin, Municipal Elected Official – Best is the mayor of the City of Dublin and the chief executive officer of Premier Construction Group, LLC. He serves on the Laurens County Board of Health, Community Mental Health Board and the Solid Waste Management Authority. He is a graduate of Leadership Georgia and served as director of the Dublin-Laurens County Chamber of Commerce. Best attended Floyd Jr. College and DeKalb College. He and his wife, Cile, have two children.

Chambliss Highlight Georgians’ Concerns about Rising Gas Prices

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., took to the Senate floor today in his continued effort to highlight Georgians’ concerns over rising gas prices and to urge Congress to take steps to increase oil supply by allowing for domestic exploration. Chambliss has been urging Georgians to contact his office and share stories about how rising energy costs are affecting their daily lives. Chambliss said he believes drilling off the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), as well as accessing shale in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States should be pursued in an environmentally safe manner to increase domestic production. Excerpts of Chambliss’ floor speech are below:

Mr. President, my constituents continue to suffer due to the ever-increasing price of fuel. They are facing very difficult choices, between food and gasoline, between driving to work to earn money for their families and driving to the grocery store to feed their families.

I was pleased to hear yesterday both President Bush and Senator McCain highlight their support to lease off the Outer Continental Shelf so we can increase our supply of oil to help lower energy prices for all Americans. Is drilling domestically the only answer to high gas prices? Absolutely not. There are other parts to the equation, but this is the right way to go.

In 2005, we suffered the most significant damage in the Gulf Coast region of our country as a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We saw not one drop of oil spilled even though there are hundreds and hundreds of oil-producing platforms in that area. I come from a coastal state. There is nothing that I want that would in any way endanger the pristine beaches in my state or the costal regions of any other state. But we now have the technology in place to ensure that never happens. Secondly, we can do this in a way that ultimately lets the individual coastal states decide whether or not to opt out of this moratorium.

I'm hopeful that the Senate will come together to take this first step to increase our supply. Would I like to see more development? Sure. I support the development not just off the Outer Continental Shelf, but in other regions of our country where we know we have vast resources of energy, whether it's on the Outer Continental Shelf, whether it's in the shale of the Rocky Mountains, or whether it is in ANWR of Alaska or other areas of the country where geologists are fairly certain we do have additional resources. We need to explore so we can add to the supply that we have so in the long-term and shore-term, we can see gas prices in this country stabilize and begin to come back down to something more reasonable than what we're looking at today.

Chambliss is a co-sponsor of S.2973, the American Energy Production Act, which aims to lower the cost of energy by increasing domestic production of oil and gas in America. Specifically, the bill would authorize oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), if states chose to do so. It will also authorize oil and gas leasing in ANWR, and suspends filling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) through the end of calendar year 2008.

Senator Chambliss’ floor remarks can be viewed in their entirety on his website later today at

Sen. Seabaugh Appointed to Senate Local Tax Collection Study Committee

State Senator Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) has recently been appointed by Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle to serve as a member on the Senate Local Sales Tax Collection Study Committee. Sen. Seabaugh will work with a group of eight committee members, consisting of fellow legislators and local officials from across Georgia to examine the tax collection rates of cities and counties.

“As costs are sharply rising throughout the economy, many families and individuals are struggling financially,” Sen. Seabaugh said. “My goal for this study committee is to find ways for local governments to cut costs to taxpayers by allowing them to choose how their taxes are collected.”

Currently under Georgia law, the state revenue commissioner collects local sales and use taxes on behalf of cities and counties, and subsequently charges them one percent of the amount collected, regardless of the total cost of collection. The study committee will look for ways for local governments to individually determine how their taxes will be collected, so that they could be charged a lower rate than the one percent charged by the state.

“Senator Seabaugh will be a valuable asset to the Local Sales Tax Study Committee,” said Lt. Gov. Cagle. “He is dedicated to his constituents and has worked diligently in the Senate. I look forward to learning more about the findings of this study committee.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Conservatives Launch Grassroots Campaign to Influence McCain

A group of politically unaffiliated concerned Americans have come together to make a serious effort to change the course of the national debate. Their launch statement is below:

"Today, we are launching a grassroots movement (you know that phenomenon conservatives use to lead but the Left now excels at) to convince John McCain to select a dynamic young conservative to be his running mate.

Instead of waiting around for McCain's brain trust to make a choice this project is promoting a movement conservative (Representative Eric Cantor) who is pro-American, pro-Israel, pro-life, pro-markets, pro-family. He comes from a key battleground state and region. He is Jewish and has demonstrated he can win over non-Jewish votes.

Several Main Stream Media news outlets (the Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, NY Post, etc.) have noted Congressman Cantor's assets. Now we are using the Internet to launch a grassroots movement that will provide a platform for the millions of Americans to support a dynamic, young Republican-Conservative leader.

To date the Left has provided reasons for its supporters to get active in the presidential election: The Right has not.

We believe Congressman Cantor can change this dynamic.

This project is totally independent of Congressman Cantor.

Contact us by sending an e-mail to:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Gingrey Honored for Work in Health Information Technology

This week, as part of National Health Information Technology Week, Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA) was recognized as the 2008 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Advocacy Federal Leadership Award. Established in 2003, the HIMSS Advocacy Award recognizes current and former government officials who have made a significant contribution meriting national recognition to the healthcare information technology field.

“Health Information Technology is one of the most promising ways to tackle today’s problem of skyrocketing health care costs,” said Gingrey. “A correctly implemented and widely adopted interoperable HIT system would save the American health care system more than $160 billion dollars every year.”

“In addition to this immense cost savings, there are numerous other advantages that are just as compelling. We know HIT can reduce medical errors, save time and most importantly, save lives. Properly implemented HIT would enormously increase the efficiency within our health care system and has the potential to eliminate duplicate testing that rob patients of money and time and often cause patients to endure unnecessary pain and discomfort. Even more vital is the possibility of eliminating medical errors that that lead to almost 100,000 deaths every year.”

“Health information technology is and should continue to be a top priority in Washington. Reaching our full potential for HIT in the most efficient and effective way is essential to providing relief from increasing costs for the health care needs of hard-working American families.”

Dr. Gingrey has been a strong proponent of advancing the widespread use of Health IT and worked with Rep. Gonzalez (D-TX) to co-author the bi-partisan, H.R. 1952, the National Health Information Incentive Act of 2007.

Health IT Week allows public and private sector organizations with diverse perspectives on health care to gather in Washington, DC to work together under one banner with the goal of improving health care efficiency, quality, cost-effectiveness and patient safety through health IT.

Previous award recipients have included Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and Founder of the Center for Health Transformation Newt Gingrich.

Chambliss Statement on the Passing of NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, made the following statement today upon learning that Tim Russert, NBC News Washington Bureau Chief and host of “Meet the Press,” passed away from a heart attack at age 58.

“There is no question we are all shocked by the news that Tim Russert passed away so suddenly. To say that Tim Russert was the best of the best is an understatement. He was a brilliant journalist, he did his homework, and you knew going into an interview with him that he’d leave no stone unturned. He was a professional in every respect. Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family and everyone at NBC News.”

Chambliss Urges Bipartisan Medicare Solution for Doctors and Seniors

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today (June 12, 2008) took to the Senate floor to urge a bipartisan Medicare solution for doctors and seniors and expressed his opposition to S. 3101, a Medicare bill introduced by Sen. Max Baucus, D- Montana, he says would negatively impact Georgia seniors. A procedural vote to begin debate on the bill received 54 votes, short of the necessary 60 votes required under Senate rules. Chambliss is supporting an alternative measure, the “Preserving Access to Medicare Act of 2008,” introduced by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, that would replace the scheduled physicians fee cut with a 1.1 percent increase but does not make drastic cuts to the Medicare Advantage program. Senate Democrats would not allow the Grassley legislation to be considered.

“While I am supportive of ensuring doctors receive adequate Medicare reimbursements so they can cover costs, I cannot support Senator Baucus’ legislation, which will expand entitlement programs and ultimately take money away from reimbursing doctors as we move on down the road. Now is not the time to expand entitlement spending when it is already out of control and unsustainable. This Medicare bill would drastically cut Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage saves beneficiaries an average of $86 per month compared to premiums in traditional fee-for-service Medicare, and 138,000 Georgians benefit from this program. Additionally, the president has threatened to veto the legislation and realistically we do not have enough time before the July1 deadline—even if this legislation had overwhelming support, which it does not—for this legislation to pass both houses, receive a veto from the president, and return for a veto override.

“While we need a more permanent solution so doctors don’t have to worry about having to lay off employees or denying Medicare patients altogether, it is important that we work in a bipartisan manner to reach a temporary solution for doctors’ reimbursements in the meantime. Doctors and seniors deserve a serious and responsible effort that addresses the impending fee cut without playing politics and creating a major expansion of entitlement spending. It is my hope that Congress will work toward a bipartisan agreement that will provide doctors with the relief they need before July 1.”

On December 18, 2007, Chambliss voted in favor of the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-183). This legislation replaced the scheduled 10 percent fee cut with a 0.5 percent increase through June 30, 2008.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Statement from Governor Sonny Perdue Concerning Election of Pastor Johnny Hunt as SBC President

The following is a statement from Governor Perdue regarding the election of Dr. Johnny Hunt, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention:

“I have the utmost confidence that my pastor, Dr. Johnny Hunt, will not only be a great leader for Southern Baptists worldwide, he will demonstrate his love for all people just as our Lord has commanded us to do. While he has nurtured and shepherded a large flock, his leadership style is based on a concern and compassion for each individual. He has not only pastored a large, dynamic church, he has also tirelessly ministered to other churches and their pastor families. That is why I was not surprised that the love he shows so easily was returned through the votes of Southern Baptists. He is a leader of our faith that I am proud to follow.”

Chambliss: Americans Cannot Afford to Wait While Congress Plays Partisan Politics over Energy Crisis

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., took to the Senate floor today to underscore the need to provide immediate relief to American families who are trying to cope with skyrocketing fuel prices and to address long-term solutions to our nation’s energy crisis. Excerpts of Chambliss’ floor speech are below:

“Skyrocketing gas prices is the most important issue on the minds of my constituents in Georgia and all over the country. I hear from hundreds each day who struggle to fill up the gas tank to get to work or to take the kids to school or run necessary errands. They want to know what Congress is doing about the out-of-control gas prices.

“There are several issues that need to be addressed with respect to the issue of skyrocketing gas prices. We simply need to take advantage of additional resources that we have inside the United States. Less than a month ago, my Republican colleagues in the Senate proposed legislation that would authorize drilling in offshore coastal waters currently subject to a federal moratorium. This amendment was defeated. Everywhere I go in Georgia, people ask me why we aren’t drilling domestically for oil. We have consistently tried to pass legislation that would also allow drilling in ANWR, but every attempt has been defeated.

“Supply and demand dictates the price of everything in our economy. We've got to have the capability of providing the kind of supply that is demanded by Americans.

“We’ve got to continue down the road of researching and developing more alternative fuels. We have seen the development of ethanol primarily in one region of our country -- the Midwest. The unintended consequence that we've seen is that food prices have increased due to the demand for corn. That’s why we have to move to develop the means to produce ethanol from cellulosic-based products.

“We’ve also got to implement conservation practices from an individual and household standpoint. We have put some measures in place that will direct the automobile manufacturing industry to develop automobiles that get higher miles per gallon. We also need to encourage some personal measures to make sure that we truly do have conservation practices in place.

“Another common sense solution Republicans have offered and I’ve supported, is an immediate federal gas tax holiday. Here we are going into the summer when travel increases. If this bill passed and is signed by the president, every American would be paying 18.4 cents per gallon less for gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon less for diesel fuel.

“If we can do something about the pain at the pump, the obvious question is, why aren't we?”

Chambliss is a co-sponsor of the American Energy Production Act, which aims to lower the cost of energy by increasing domestic production of oil and gas in America. He is also a co-sponsor of S. 2890, which would temporarily suspend the federal tax on gasoline and diesel fuel through September 1, 2008. The legislation would keep the Highway Trust Fund whole by transferring funds from the General Treasury.

Senator Chambliss’ floor remarks can be viewed in their entirety on his website at

First Lady Visits Troops in Afghanistan

First lady Laura Bush visited troops here early this week during a brief stop on her third trip to Afghanistan, giving words of praise and encouragement to servicemembers for their efforts and results.

"From overseeing hospitals to responding to [improvised explosive devices], your efforts are critical to our mission in Afghanistan," Bush said. "On behalf of President Bush and a grateful nation, thank you very much for your service to the United States of America. Every day, you risk your lives to protect the freedom that we hold so dear."

Bush spoke to a crowd of several hundred in a large hangar and shared a few observations about the signs of progress that she had seen in Afghanistan throughout the day. "As you go about your daily duties, you are brining opportunity and security to the people of Afghanistan," she said.

The first lady made a number of stops during her day-long visit to Bamyan province, Kabul and Bagram Air Base.

In Bamyan, Bush visited a police training center, where she met a female police trainee. The trainee told Bush that seeing Bamyan's female governor had inspired her to try out for the police force. Bush added that the female police officer's story, as well as her own observation of women studying the new Afghan constitution, were vivid reminders "of how far this nation has come since the Taliban's reign."

"Women were not even allowed in school, and there was no democratic constitution to be studied," she said.

She also visited an orphanage in Bamyan and saw a road-construction project.

"All of these encouraging stories and all of these terrific things I saw today have been made possible by your efforts, and the efforts of the U.S. military," Bush said.

Bush then met with members of a New Zealand-led provincial reconstruction team, who greeted her with a traditional war dance, complete with spears and war paint. "I can only imagine what the Secret Service thought, but their performance truly highlights the international makeup of security forces here in Afghanistan."

The first lady is en route to Paris later this week, where she said she plans to address an international conference for Afghanistan reconstruction. Before closing her remarks here, she took the time to thank military families for their sacrifices in support of the Afghanistan mission.

"When you e-mail or call them tonight," she told the Bagram servicemembers, "give them our love, and tell them I know what the burden of worry is on your family members, and I understand it, and I thank them."

She then spent several minutes greeting, shaking hands and taking pictures with servicemembers before boarding a military aircraft to her next destination.

Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Schloesser, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 101 and of NATO International Security Assistance Force's Regional Command East, described Bush to the cheering crowd during her introduction as "someone who has been an advocate to you and has been a friend of military families for a long time."

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark Swart
Special to American Forces Press Service

Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark Swart serves in the Combined Joint Task Force 101 Public Affairs Office.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chambliss Applauds Decision to Postpone Changes to Peanut Loans

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Ranking Republican Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today applauded the decision made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to not make any changes to the manner in which they establish marketing loan differentials for peanuts for the 2008 crop year. Maintaining the current practice for determining differentials for 2008 benefits Georgia peanut producers as the recent USDA proposal would have resulted in a significantly lower marketing loan rate for the Runner variety, which makes up almost 100 percent of Georgia production. Georgia produces nearly 45 percent of all the peanuts produced in the United States, making it the number one peanut producing state.

“This is good news for peanut producers in Georgia,” said Sen. Chambliss. “This year’s crop of peanuts has been in the ground for weeks and 2008 production contracts were signed months ago. Changing the loan differential formula after the peanut crop has been planted would have been detrimental for our growers. Domestic demand for peanuts and peanut products has increased and the federal government should allow growers to respond to this demand without interrupting current systems in place. I applaud USDA for recognizing the importance of maintaining the historically recognized practice of establishing loan differentials for the 2008 crop year.”

The farm bill recently approved by Congress contains several provisions that benefit peanut producers such as: maintaining a separate subtitle for peanuts; preserving the target price, direct payment rate and marketing loan rate established in the 2002 farm bill; providing for a mechanism to ensure handling and associated costs are not deducted from a producer’s loan rate; maintaining separate payment limits for peanuts; and including Conservation Security Program incentives for producers moving towards an optimal crop rotation.

Monday, June 9, 2008

McCain - Barack Obama's Higher Taxes Agenda

Today, with the start of Barack Obama's "Change That Works For You" tour, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds issued the following statement:

"While hardworking families are hurting and employers are vulnerable, Barack Obama has promised higher income taxes, Social Security taxes, capital gains taxes, dividend taxes, and tax hikes on job creating businesses. In fact, during just three years in the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama has already voted 94 times for higher taxes. Barack Obama doesn't understand the American economy and that's change we just can't afford."

Barak Obama's Platform of higher taxes will further weaken our economy.

Barack Obama Has Proposed A Slew Of Tax Increases:

Barack Obama Has Called For Higher Income Taxes, Social Security Taxes, Capital Gains And Dividend Taxes, And Corporate Taxes, As Well As "Massive New Domestic Spending." "Obama's transformation, if you go by his campaign so far, would mean higher income taxes, higher Social Security taxes, higher investment taxes, higher corporate taxes, massive new domestic spending, and a healthcare plan that perhaps could be the next step to a full-scale, single-payer system. Is that what most Americans want, someone who will fulfill a Democratic policy wish list?" (James Pethokoukis, "Barack Hussein Reagan? Ronald Wilson Obama?" U.S. News & World Report's "Capital Commerce" Blog,, 2/12/08)

· Barack Obama Also Called For A Tax On Coal And Natural Gas. Obama: "What we ought to tax is dirty energy, like coal and, to a lesser extent, natural gas." ("Q&A With Sen. Barack Obama," San Antonio Express-News, 2/19/08)

· Barack Obama Called For A Windfall Profits Tax On Oil Companies. Obama: "I think it is appropriate for us to impose a windfall profits tax on our oil companies." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Charlotte, NC, 5/2/08)

"[Obama] Wants To Raise Taxes Even Above The Levels Of The Clinton Era, Including A Huge Increase In The Payroll Tax." (Editorial, "The Obama We Don't Know," The Wall Street Journal, 6/4/08)

If Barack Obama Is Elected To The Presidency And Democrats Get A 60-Vote Majority In The Senate, Taxes Will Go Up. "What will happen to the U.S. economy if Barack Obama wins the presidency and he's backed by a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate? Taxes will go up." (Rich Karlgaard, Op-Ed, "Where Will Taxpayers Hide?" Forbes, 6/16/08)

Barack Obama's Plan To Raise Taxes During An Economic Downturn Would Only Further Weaken Our Economy:

CNBC's Maria Bartiromo Asked Obama: "Why Raise Taxes At All In An Economic Slowdown? Isn't That Going To Put A Further Strain On People?" (CNBC's "Closing Bell," 3/27/08)

U.S. News & World Report's Michael Barone Said Obama's Fiscal Policy Is Akin To Herbert Hoover's -- Raising Taxes And Backing Protectionist Trade Policies During An Economic Slowdown. "On fiscal policy, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want higher taxes, at least on high earners. They want to let at least some of the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010, as scheduled. On trade, they oppose new free-trade agreements and want to renegotiate NAFTA with Canada and Mexico. As it happens, another president embraced such policies in a time of economic slowdown and financial market turbulence: Herbert Hoover raised taxes on high earners sharply and, ignoring a letter signed by 1,000 economists, signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff in 1930. The results were not pretty. Until now, his example has not commended itself to Democrats. One wonders whether voters will agree that tax increases will stimulate the economy." (M ichael Barone, Op-Ed, "Uncle Sam Pays? Sure, Whatever," U.S. News & World Report, 4/21/08)

In The United States Senate, Barack Obama Has Repeatedly Voted For Higher Taxes.

Barack Obama Voted At Least 94 Times For Higher Taxes In The U.S. Senate. (RNC Research)

· To Date, Barack Obama Has Voted For A Tax Increase Approximately Once Every Five Days Congress Has Been In Session. (RNC Research; The Library Of Congress Website,, Accessed 6/8/08)

Barack Obama Voted In Favor Of The Democrats' FY 2009 Budget, Which Would Raise Tax Rates For Americans Earning As Little As $31,850:

Obama Voted Twice In Favor Of The Democrats' FY 2009 Budget Resolution. (S. Con. Res. 70, CQ Vote #85, Adopted 51-44: R 2-43; D 47-1; I 2-0, 3/14/08, Obama Voted Yea; S. Con. Res. 70, CQ Vote #142: Adopted 48- 45: R 2- 44; D 44- 1; I 2-0, 6/4/08, Obama Voted Yea)

The Democrats' Budget Would Raise Taxes On Individuals Earning As Little As $31,850. "Under both Democratic plans, tax rates would increase by 3 percentage points for each of the 25 percent, 28 percent and 33 percent brackets. At present, the 25 percent bracket begins at $31,850 for individuals and $63,700 for married couples. The 35 percent bracket on incomes over $349,700 would jump to 39.6 percent." (Andrew Taylor, "Presidential Hopefuls To Vote On Budget," The Associated Press, 3/13/08)

In The Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama Had A Record Of Voting For Higher Taxes.

In The State Senate, Barack Obama Supported "Hundreds Of Tax Increases." ABC's Terry Moran: "[O]bama was considered a reliable liberal Democratic vote in Illinois. For instance, voting for most gun control measures, opposing efforts to ban so-called partial birth abortions and supporting hundreds of tax increases." (ABC's "Nightline," 2/25/08)

In 2004, Barack Obama Voted For A $304 Million Tax Increase On Businesses In Creating The Tax Shelter Voluntary Compliance Act. (H.B. 848, Illinois Senate Floor Third Reading, Passed 30-28-1, 5/20/04, Obama Voted Yea; Dave McKinney, "Blagojevich Threatens Up To 5,000 State Layoffs," Chicago Sun-Times, 5/21/04)

· The Legislation "Triggered A Huge Outcry From Business Groups," Which Contended It Would "Drive Companies Out Of State" And Cost Jobs. "The governor's bid to raise taxes and fees by close to $400 million and reel in another $300 million-plus in corporate tax breaks has triggered a huge outcry from business groups, which contend the moves will drive companies out of state and cause Illinois to lose jobs." (Dave McKinney and Leslie Griffy, "Blagojevich Threatens Up To 5,000 State Layoffs," Chicago Sun-Times, 5/21/04)

In 2003, Barack Obama Voted For A Bill "That Raised A Huge Number Of Fees And Taxes" On Businesses And Licenses. "Obama voted for a bill during the 2003 Illinois General Assembly legislative session that raised a huge number of fees and taxes for businesses and licenses to cover day-to-day expenses of state government." (Terrence L. Barnich, Op-Ed, "4 Partisan Questions For Obama," Chicago Tribune, 7/29/04)

· The Legislation Negatively Impacted Illinois' Trucking Industry, Costing The State 25,000 Licensed Trucks In 2005. "Almost 17,000 fewer commercial trucks and 2,700 fewer trucking companies have been registered in Illinois for 2005, fueling the trucking industry's claim that Gov. Rod Blagojevich is driving businesses out of the state with his new fees and business taxes." (Brian Wallheimer, "Governor's New Fees Are Driving Trucking Firms Out Of Illinois, Industry Says," St. Louis Post- Dispatch, 5/5/04)

In 2003, Barack Obama Voted To Tax Natural Gas Purchased Outside Of Illinois. (S.B. 1733, Bill Status,, Accessed 2/11/08; S.B. 1733: Concurrence In House Amendment #4, Passed 31-27-00, 5/31/03, Obama Voted Yea)

· The Natural Gas Tax Made Natural Gas More Expensive For Industrial Buyers Such As Manufacturers. "The natural gas tax. A new policy under Blagojevich's budget will make natural gas more expensive to industrial buyers. Currently, Illinois offers an exemption on the sales tax paid for natural gas, but the new budget ends that exemption, a move that could become a major expense for steel mills and other factories that use large quantities of natural gas." (Kevin McDermott, "Area Dodged Legislative Hit On Schools, Roads," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 6/8/03)

· Barack Obama Voted For The Natural Gas Tax, Which Threatened Jobs, At The Same Time That Illinois Was Leading The Nation In Jobs Lost. "Just as harmful to the state's economy are the large taxes on natural gas brought from out-of-state suppliers and the rolling stock sales tax. Both of these taxes will negatively affect important businesses as well as the employees who are dependent on these Illinois companies. I have received phone calls and letters from all sectors of the business community who reported that the projected loss of revenues due to these increased taxes and fees may well cause them to close their facilities in Illinois and move to a more business-friendly surrounding state while still serving Illinois customers. Illinois leads the nation in jobs lost. We cannot afford to drive more businesses from our state." (State Rep. Carolyn Krause, Op-Ed, "Increase Tax Incentives, Not Taxes For Businesses," Chicago Tribune, 6/13/03)

In 1999, Barack Obama Voted In Favor Of S.B. 1028 To Create The Illinois First Infrastructure Program, Which Raised 146 Taxes And Fees. (S.B. 1028: Senate Floor Third Reading, Passed, 58-0-0, 3/23/99, Obama Voted Yea; S.B. 1028: Senate Conference Committee Report, Passed, 42-17-0, 5/21/99, Obama Voted Yea; Editorial, "Jack Ryan Woefully Unprepared For Attack On Obama," The State Journal-Register, 4/18/04)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

County Officials Hit Capitol Hill for Support of Legislation to Restore the Federal Partnership for County Jails

National Association of Counties’ (NACo) rallied on Capitol Hill last week for support of legislation introduced in the House of Representatives which would save counties hundreds of millions of dollars in medical expenses for individuals who immediately lose their federal health insurance benefits while being detained in county jails.

“The Restoring the Partnership for County Health Care Costs Act of 2008” (H.R. 5698) was introduced recently by Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.), Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.) and Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-Texas). All three members spoke at today’s rally pledging to work with NACo to secure additional Congressional support.

The bipartisan bill would prohibit the federal government from stripping individuals of their Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) benefits prior to actually being convicted. As a result, this would ensure that local governments, mostly counties, would not be required to cover the medical expenses of jailed individuals who have not yet been convicted of any wrongdoing.

NACo President Eric Coleman, commissioner, Oakland County, Mich., said that restoring the partnership “is more than the name of this particular piece of legislation. It’s a call to Congress and the administration – especially the new administration in January – to restore the partnership between the federal government and counties. I believe H.R. 5698 will go a long way to restore the partnership for the costs of health care in our county jails and reduce the unfair burden placed on our local property taxpayers.”

Rep. Hastings said for the federal government to “stick local governments with the tab for this contradictory policy is just plain wrong. We are excited to work with NACo to get this bill passed and are appreciative to have the support of the National Sheriff’s Association as well.”NACo’s Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC), which represents the collective interest of 100 of the nation’s largest counties, rallied today on Capitol Hill and visited members of Congress seeking cosponsors to the legislation.

“Reps. Hastings, Holt and Burgess are to be commended for their leadership on this issue and we look forward to securing more Congressional support for the bill,” said LUCC Chairman Burrell Ellis, commissioner, DeKalb County, Ga. Also speaking at the rally were Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman and Tarrant County, Texas Judge Glen Whitley.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Chambliss Statement on Partisan Senate Intelligence Committee Report Regarding Prewar Intelligence

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today made the following statement regarding final sections of the Phase II report on prewar intelligence on Iraq released today by the Committee. Chambliss joined the Committee’s Vice Chairman, U.S. Senator Kit Bond, R-Missouri, in noting that the partisan report not only violates the Committee’s longstanding history of non-partisanship, but also rejects the conclusions unanimously reached in previous reports.

“The Senate Intelligence Committee has always had a history of non-partisanship, and that is how it should be when our national security is at stake,” said Chambliss. “Unfortunately, the Committee has wasted countless hours only to show what we already knew four years ago, that policymakers’ statements turned out to be wrong after the war because the statements were based on flawed intelligence. The Committee’s Phase I report, which investigated that intelligence failure and explained how it happened, was a judicious and valuable act of intelligence oversight. The current majority report is not. We asked from the beginning of this investigation to be included in this review but were cut out of the process. I am disappointed members of the majority on our committee chose to pursue a partisan, election-year agenda.”

In July 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Iraq report, adopted by a unanimous vote, makes clear that flawed intelligence – not Administration deception – was the basis for policymakers’ statements and decisions. The report released today completely ignores this key finding.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Committee Passes Bill To Reauthorize NASA Programs

Committee Passes Bill To Reauthorize NASA Programs
Dr. Gingrey Offers Amendments to Allow NASA to Utilize Alternative Fuels

Today, the Science and Technology Committee unanimously passed H.R. 6063, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008, authorizing programs at NASA for fiscal year 2009.

“H.R. 6063 is a one year bill that demonstrates Congress’ commitment to maintain a strong and vital space program and will serve as a signal to a new Administration that NASA has deep support within Congress,” said Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX). “Once the Shuttle is retired at the end of this decade, our country will have to buy seats from the Russians – for as long as five years – to assure a U.S. presence on the International Space Station. Our payments for rides on their Soyuz spacecraft have not yet been negotiated, but it will be expensive, and sadly, we’ll be making these purchases at a time when NASA will be laying off thousands of engineers and technicians from the Shuttle program.”

Hall continued, “In an effort to minimize our reliance on the Russians, this bill authorizes an additional $1 billion to speed up development of the new Constellation system. This additional investment is more than justified.”

While Members on both sides of the aisle strongly supported the underlying bipartisan bill, Republicans at the markup stressed that contrary to section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, NASA should be allowed to purchase alternative fuels to power its fleet. Dr. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation, offered two amendments that the Chairman ruled as non-germane.

One amendment aimed to give the NASA Administrator the flexibility and discretion to purchase alternative fuels, derived from unconventional sources, such as coal-to-liquids, oil shale, and biofuels. It also sought to exempt NASA from a controversial section of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that prohibits federal agencies from purchasing unconventional fuel sources, if those sources produce more emissions than their conventional counterparts.

“NASA has historically been on the cutting edge of innovation with numerous contributions to the technologies that we use on a daily basis in the United States,” Gingrey said. “Currently, NASA is partnering with the Air Force and is already aggressively conducting research to convert domestic energy sources – coal, natural gas, biomass, and oil shale – into cleaner and more economical alternatives to traditional jet fuel.” He continued, “However, as gas prices continue to rise, and at a time when we could best utilize the research of emerging technologies for alternative fuels, with Section 526 the Democratic Majority has effectively stymied innovation at NASA that could potentially help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Republicans at the markup spoke in favor of the amendments, stressing how this provision strictly limits an agency, such as NASA, that purchases millions of dollars worth of jet fuel every year. Further, NASA is currently engaged in groundbreaking research on many of the fuels that this section prohibits any federal agency from purchasing.

Dr. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Ranking Member of the Research and Science Education Subcommittee, highlighted the fact that the type of fuel NASA chooses to use is a technical decision that shouldn’t be limited by a law that restricts the discretion of the agency. Ehlers noted that decisions on the type of fuel used in rockets is based on the energy density of the fuel and shouldn’t be restricted by emissions calculations.

H.R. 6063 authorizes $20.21 billion in funding for NASA in FY09, which includes $1 billion in additional funding to accelerate development of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV). The Constellation system, which includes development of both the CEV and CLV, will provide our country with a modern, more robust, and safer manned spaceflight capability that will enable U.S. astronauts to fly beyond Low Earth orbit, an ability NASA has not had since the retirement of Apollo over 30 years ago. The bill also provides for a balanced set of programs in human spaceflight and exploration, aeronautics research and development, and space science research.

H.R. 6063 also directs NASA to include two so-called contingency missions to the International Space Station to be part of the baseline shuttle flight manifest, and adds an additional flight to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station. The bill also includes provisions related to detecting asteroids and comets that threaten to collide with Earth, education, and commercial space initiatives.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of NASA and the dawn of the United States space program. The NASA Authorization Act of 2005 provided policy and programmatic guidance for NASA, and the bill passed today reaffirms congressional priorities and policies.

Chambliss Statement on Climate Change Legislation

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., spoke on the Senate floor today and underscored concerns that legislation currently being debated, “The Lieberman-Warner-Boxer Climate Security Act of 2008,” would negatively impact American families by imposing higher energy costs and forcing American businesses to move to countries with more lenient environmental regulations. Excerpts of Senator Chambliss’ floor remarks are below and can be viewed in their entirety on his website at

Climate change is a critical issue that is important not only to this generation but future generations. I have two grandchildren, and I want to make sure that we leave America better than what we inherited. Economic models have overwhelmingly shown that this bill will affect consumers directly through higher gasoline and electricity prices, resulting in lower household incomes and millions of jobs being lost in America. Like many of my colleagues, I spent the Memorial Day recess traveling around my home state. The average price of a gallon of diesel was $4.77 per gallon, and regular gasoline averaged $3.98 per gallon, and these rising costs are my constituents' number one issue. Therefore, it troubles me that some in this body want to enact legislation that would further increase the price of a gallon of gas. I hear from hundreds of Georgians every day who are struggling to fill up their tanks to get to work or to take their kids to school or to run their necessary errands. EPA models show that gasoline prices will rise by a minimum of 53 cents per gallon if this bill were implemented. Why would we do that to the American people who are already hurting in filling up their gas tanks at the pump?

Regrettably, the legislation before the Senate would do nothing to increase our domestic supply of oil and help alleviate the lack of supply of gas that is driving prices up. Instead, this bill would only keep prices rising. No one disputes that this problem has been in the making for decades, because over the past 30 years, the United States has reduced our domestic exploration options and left our refining capacity stagnant. The rising cost of fuel requires a multipronged strategy to respond. That is why we must take commonsense action and increase our domestic supply of oil by exploring where we know there are resources available and encouraging the development of alternative fuels like cellulosic ethanol to decrease our reliance on foreign oil.

We must find both short-term and long-term solutions to provide energy security for our nation. I believe this bill could be more fair and equitable. We also should work to make it more predictable for businesses and understandable to taxpayers and consumers. One of the greatest challenges to any climate bill will be to ensure that it does not stymie economic growth and protects American jobs. We need to continue to seek the best way to generate the greatest benefits for the lowest costs. We cannot burden our children and grandchildren with increased energy costs. Our climate bill must be flexible to adjust to changing science, economic conditions, and the actions of other countries.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Isakson Criticizes Climate Change Legislation for Failing to Address All Renewable Resources

Arguing that the legislation fails to address the development of all renewable energy resources, especially nuclear energy, as part of the solution, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today criticized legislation that would cap emissions of greenhouse gases during a speech on the Senate floor. Isakson also called for the expansion of nuclear energy, which he believes is a clean, efficient and economical alternative fuel.

“It is time to put our biases aside. If there is a known solution where we can reduce carbon, expand the energy availability and reduce costs, we ought to embrace it. Nothing should be off the table,” Isakson said. “We should act now and we should act boldly to see to it that while we work for the best interest of the environment, we work for the best interest of our citizens, who are paying more for gas and energy than ever before and there is no end in sight.”

Isakson believes it is in America’s environmental and geopolitical interest to reduce carbon emissions, and he believes it is important to address the carbon issue in the context of promoting all sources of renewable energy. He believes the United States cannot reduce carbon levels without reducing the burning of fossil fuels, and it cannot do that without expanding nuclear energy.

Isakson plans to introduce an amendment providing incentives for pursuing the development of nuclear energy in the United States. Specifically, it provides an investment tax credit for nuclear power facilities and creates incentives for domestic manufacturing of nuclear equipment. It also aligns accelerated depreciation for nuclear with other renewable fuels and clarifies the rules on loan guarantees for innovative technologies, including new nuclear capacity.

Additionally, the amendment requires the Department of Labor to implement training programs for nuclear workers and authorizes federal funds for use in implementing a program to provide workforce training to meet the high demand for workers skilled in the nuclear utility and nuclear energy products and services industries.

Isakson also plans to introduce an amendment promoting conservation easements that would provide tax credits for private landowners who agree to keep their land undeveloped.

“We need to be serious as members of the Senate and as members of the most deliberative body in the world to make sure that every option is on the table,” Isakson said. “For this senator, that means expanding conservation easements for better sequestering of carbon naturally and empowering the nuclear energy business to see to it that the one source of reliable, safe, carbonless energy that we know today in the United States of America is empowered for the 21st century.”

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sen. Chance’s Identity Theft Bill Signed Into Law

Governor Sonny Perdue has recently signed two measures that will further protect the identity of Georgia’s consumers. In order to curb the rise of identity theft, Gov. Perdue introduced legislation during the 2008 session to establish an identity theft task force within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). Sponsored by Sen. Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone), Senate Bill 388 creates a new GBI task force that will investigate alleged identity theft, educate the public on how to protect themselves, support victims and train local law enforcement to combat identity theft.

“The state is taking an active role in preventing identity theft through this legislation, which I am confident will be an important step in curbing such illegal activity,” said Sen. Chance. “With $1 million in new funding in the state budget, SB 388 will enable the GBI to add eight investigative positions to the ID Theft Task Force to combat identity theft statewide.”

The Governor also signed House Bill 130 to allow consumers to place or remove an immediate security freeze on their credit report for a $3 fee. Under this legislation, each major consumer credit reporting agency, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, must offer this service to allow consumers to prohibit the release of their credit report or credit score to third parties.

As of August 1, consumers will be able to request a freeze electronically through Internet systems that each credit reporting agency is required to develop. Once submitted electronically, requests will be fulfilled within 15 minutes. A toll-free telephone number will also be provided, so that requests may be made over the phone. In order to make this service easily accessible to everyone, consumers who are 65 years of age or older, and those who are documented victims of identity fraud, will not be charged the $3 fee for placing or removing a freeze.

“Identity theft is a rampant problem across the country, and I am pleased that we can offer our citizens added protection to keep them and their family safe,” added Sen. Chance. “These new laws give consumers the tools they need to protect their hard-earned savings, and give those who have fallen victim to this crime the immediate help they need to minimize the damage.”

Representative Jimmy Pruett Named House Floor Leader

Governor Sonny Perdue today appointed Representative Jimmy Pruett of Eastman (District 144) to serve as Assistant Administration Floor Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives.

Pruett joins Representative Rich Golick (District 34) who serves as Administration Floor Leader and Representative Jim Cole (District 125) who serves as Assistant Administration Floor Leader. Pruett is filling the vacancy created by Representative Vance Smith. Smith, who also serves as House Transportation Chairman, stepped down as Floor Leader to focus his efforts on the growing time requirements his chairmanship demands.

“Jimmy is an excellent addition to our team of floor leaders,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “As a freshman legislator, he has already impressed his colleagues with his integrity and his work ethic. I look forward to working with him as he advances this administration’s initiatives.”

Pruett represents District 144 which includes Dodge, Bleckley and Wilcox counties and portions of Ben Hill and Pulaski counties. Rep. Pruett owns a successful commercial and residential air conditioning services business, and he is actively involved in industry recruitment resulting in bringing companies to his hometown communities. Pruett serves as the Secretary of the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee, and as a member of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee, Natural Resources and Environment Committee and the Industrial Relations Committee.

“I am excited about the opportunity to serve Georgia as one of Governor Perdue’s floor leaders,” said Representative Jimmy Pruett. “I look forward to advocating for our state with Governor Perdue’s common sense agenda along with Representative Golick and Representative Cole.”