Chambliss: Debt ceiling battles loom
by Everett Catts
January 09, 2013 12:53 AM | 3996 views | 7 7 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Moultrie) addresses the Vinings Business Association’s monthly meeting Tuesday. Chambliss announced he will not seek re-election in 2014.<br>Staff/Laura Moon
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Moultrie) addresses the Vinings Business Association’s monthly meeting Tuesday. Chambliss announced he will not seek re-election in 2014.
Staff/Laura Moon
One week after voting “yes’ on a plan to help the country temporarily avoid the “fiscal cliff,” U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Moultrie) said more battles between Republicans and Democrats in Congress over the country’s debt are ahead.

Speaking at the Vinings Business Association’s monthly lunch meeting Tuesday at Social Vinings restaurant, Chambliss said the next two topics legislators will address are the debt ceiling, which currently stands at $16.4 trillion, and sequestration, an across-the-board budget cut of $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending.

“The president (Barack Obama) is going to ask us to raise the debt ceiling again, but we’ve got to find a way not to raise it. The way to do that is to close the gap between revenue and spending,” said Chambliss, who was introduced by fellow U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-east Cobb).

On Jan. 1, the Senate and House, respectively, passed legislation that would only raise taxes on rich Americans while temporarily stopping across-the-board spending cuts. The Senate voted 89-8, with three abstaining and Chambliss and Isakson each voting yes. The House voted 257-167 with eight abstaining.

Chambliss said he’s frustrated with the lack of action by Congress and the president in the last 18 months.

“Those of you who’ve read in the paper the last several days know … there hasn’t been a lot going on in Washington. Our president has been focused on the election since the middle of 2011 and has been disengaged from leadership in Washington. The leader of the Senate (Harry Reid) has been more interested in getting reelected as majority leader.

“If they had not made the call (at year’s end), Johnny and I would have been divorced from our wives.”

Chambliss is part of the Senate’s Gang of Six, a bipartisan group that includes three Republicans and three Democrats. The sextet met in 2011 to come up with a plan to help solve the country’s debt problems.

Chambliss outlined three ways to solve the country’s debt issues.

“First, we spend way too much in Washington,” he said. “We’ve got to cut federal spending, but the big gorilla in the room is entitlements. Second, we need to reform entitlements rather than just cutting them. Third, we need to find ways to increase revenue. In fiscal year 2010, spending was at 25 percent and revenues were at 14.5 percent. We have a $1.5 trillion annual deficit. That’s certainly unsustainable.”

Congress has given itself a March 1 deadline to deal with the debt ceiling issue.

“If we don’t take any action, there could be a shutdown of the (federal) government,” Chambliss said.

The $1.2 trillion in budget cuts, he added, is unfair to the military.

“Approximately 50 percent comes out of the defense department, so installations like Lockheed Martin in Marietta will see some cuts,” Chambliss said. “Every military base (in the country) will be hit by this. We want to do it (cut spending) a more judicious way.

“We’re going to be going up against these deadlines a lot. The president better get ready. … He does not want to negotiate on the debt ceiling, but we’re going to talk about it and take action.”

During a question-and-answer session Tuesday, one member asked, “How do you bring down spending?”

“We’re heading the same direction as France and Greece,” Chambliss said. “The Gang of Six talked, and spending relative to GDP (the gross domestic product) is 62 (percent) to 63 percent. Talk to any economist and they will say that at 90 percent spending relative to GDP, you are at the point of no return.”

“The simplest way to answer it is we need to manage revenues without breaking the bank, to do that through tax reform. Broaden the taxpayer base and bring people back to work.”

After the meeting, Chambliss was asked if Congress this year could realistically approve long-term legislation to improve the country’s debt problems. He responded by saying it will be focusing on the debt ceiling and sequestration issues first. Then, he hopes, a plan will go to the Senate’s finance and ways and means committees.

We can (accomplish the goal) during the year,” Chambliss said, “but it will not be easy.”
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Correction Senator
January 09, 2013
Senator Draft Dodger got something key wrong here....Obama hasn't been focused on the election, he was focused on WINNING the election. Both the GOP senate and house surrendered seats in the last election -- meaning that Senator Chickenhawk and his GOP brethren need to respect the results of this election (elections do have consequences, by the way) and step aside to let President Obama lead and not continue their childish GOP obstructionist act.
January 09, 2013
MR.Saxby Chameless you is a disgrace to the Democratic Party.

I would replace you with Gene, Herman, Lester, Earnest, Stumpie, Carl, Charles, David, Bo yes any body but a RINO like you.

Kevin Foley
January 09, 2013
OH COME ON! How stupid do you think voters are, Sen. Chambliss?

You're leader, McConnell, said in 2010 his #1 goal was to make Obama a one termer, and you blocked everything aimed at jump starting the economy or working with Obama to reduce the deficit. Now you want to trigger a worldwide fiancial crisis?

You're "yes" vote means you'll be primaried by the tea party and none too soon.
January 09, 2013
--re:Chambliss said he’s frustrated with the lack of action by Congress and the president in the last 18 months.--

Most of us who actually have voted for this pompous goofus are frustrated by the actions Chambliss has taken in the past 8 years. It is time to bring his ole "reachin across the aisle in the spirit of bi-partisanship" butt back to south Georgia for good.

Chambliss = big part of the problem.

Pat H
January 09, 2013
The problem with our debt is those who caused the runaway spending are in charge of the solution. Sen. Chambliss supported large farm subsidies and now his son is a farm lobbyist.

Get rid of lobbyists, along with those politicians who supported wasteful spending.

Sen. Chambliss needs to retire.
Kennesaw Resident
January 09, 2013
If he won't, he needs to be fired by the voters. It is definitely time for hime to go.

I see no difference between Chambliss and a Democrat, so if the Republicans run him again, I will vote for his opponent regardless of party.
January 09, 2013
The fact that Chambliss was introduced by Isakson at the Vinings Business Association luncheon pretty much says it all. A one percent special interest senator introduced by a one percent special interest senator at a one percent luncheon attacks the President of the United States for representing the majority of us on tax and spend policy. Isn't there an old movie about old white guys called

Grumpy Old Men?
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