MARIETTA — Addressing a crowd of about 150 Monday afternoon at a Rotary Club luncheon, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, joined a growing list of Republican senators calling on Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to step down.
Moore, who is running to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has come under fire since several women came forward accusing him of pursuing romantic relationships with them as teenagers when Moore was in his 30s.
Several Senate leaders, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called for Moore to end his campaign, and on Monday, Isakson lined up behind them.
“The allegations seem a lot more credible than any defense he has put up.” Isakson said. “Something like that is inexcusable and should be intolerable.”
Isakson said nothing is more important than one’s integrity, and the U.S. Senate cannot afford to house anyone with questionable moral character. But in the unlikely event Moore heeds the calls to step aside, a Democrat winning the seat in deep red Alabama could tip the scales in close votes on the Senate floor.
Since February, Vice President Mike Pence has cast five tie-breaking votes, more than any other vice president in their first year of office.
“As a member of the Republican Party and an elected Republican, there’s no circumstance under which having a Democrat would be better (than having a Republican),” said Isakson, “That said, anybody who violates the moral code of ethics and decency should not be serving in the United States Senate.”
In a statement issued last week through his White House press secretary, President Donald Trump said Moore should step aside if the allegations against him are true.
“Obviously,” said Isakson, “But he ought to step down anyway. The accusations appear more credible than the denial.”
Speaking to members of the Rotary Club of Marietta and the Rotary Club of Marietta Metro at a luncheon aimed at saluting the men and women of the U.S. armed forces, the senior Georgia Senator also said he remains committed to getting tax reform passed before Christmas.
“We start tonight,” he said. “I’m very optimistic. We’ve worked very hard for three years to get us to the point where we know what the issues are, we know what the options are and we’re picking the right combination that gives a tax reduction to middle-class Americans, tax reform for corporate America and a platform for growth in the future.”
Isakson said Congress typically ends up reforming the nation’s tax code every quarter century or so, but hasn’t done so since the ’80s.
“It’s about time we do it again,” he said, noting President Trump is working much more closely with members of Congress on tax reform than he did on the failed Senate bill aimed at repealing the Affordable Care Act. “When you’re talking about people’s money, you’re talking about the most important thing there is to them.”
The bill in question, which will likely reduce the number of tax brackets Americans fall into, will save the average family of four more than $1,200 a year, Isakson said, stressing the importance of also reducing the tax rates paid by U.S. corporations in order to keep companies here.
He said he hopes to see the Senate bill passed out of committee by Thursday night and onto the floor for approval next week.
“By Christmas, we’re going to have a tax bill,” he said. “That’s our commitment.”
Speaking during his lunch, Isakson also touched on a plan that would open the runway of Dobbins Air Reserve Base to civilian and commercial aircraft, a move he said could be good for Cobb.
“I’m taking input from the Air Force, the Air Guard and from the community, but I think some limited private use would be a great thing for the economy and the county,” he said, emphasizing that Cobb has everything necessary to be a “first-class attractor of businesses and economic development.”