Southern Politics

The presence of Georgia’s two United States senators in Washington political circles is taking new turns. Both Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson have shown unusually good moves lately on increasingly important measures.

It appears that their time-in-grade is working in their favor, as they become more statesman-like in their working within the Senate.

Perhaps the most surprising change in Senator Chambliss has been his new-found ability to seek major compromise, as found in his affiliation with two other Republicans and three Democrats as part of the “Gang of Six” working toward a major reduction in the long term debt of this country.

The “Gang of Six,” includes Republicans Chambliss, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Michael Crapo of Idaho; and Democrats Richard Durbin of Illinois, Mark Warner of Virginia and Kent Conrad of North Dakota.

These six senators have seen the wisdom of working together, and in the last four months, have banded together to work toward a solution in perhaps the biggest problem facing our nation: the reduction in our overall debt. The six seek to institute a $4 trillion (that’s four dollars and a lot of zeros) national debt reduction to be included in the 2012 budget. The six have a short window to get this through the Senate, as the vote on the 2012 budget is to come this fall.

It will take stepping across the partisan aisle to join forces in bi-partisan measures to change the direction of the national debt. If successful, praises should fall on the shoulders of these six senators, for they will have led the way.

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Saxby Chambliss
Saxby Chambliss

We are also pleased with the recent statement by Senator Chambliss on the status of National Public Radio. He told Radio Station WABE: “If you look at NPR versus particularly the overall public broadcasting issue, NPR doesn’t generate income like the public broadcasting side does.

“You know, an awful lot of conservatives listen to NPR. It provides a very valuable service….But I think total elimination of funding is probably not the wisest thing to do.”

That’s a strong statement coming from Senator Chambliss. While other politicians seek to make hay out of the small federal funding that NPR gets, Senator Chambliss has taken a wiser approach, realizing the good that the network does. We applaud him for this.

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Johnny Isakson
Johnny Isakson

On another front, Senator Isakson has shown his ability in understanding the many intricacies of government with a statement. He said of the recent vote on shutting down government because of failure to pass a continuing funding resolution:

“I hope this is the last short-term continuing resolution I ever have to vote on. This whole episode is proof why we need to switch to biennial budgeting so we can fund the government for two years at a time and conduct much-needed oversight every other year. That is how we will be able to cut spending, reduce our debt and eliminate our deficit.”

Isakson introduced the Biennial Budget Appropriations Act, earlier this year with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) which would switch Congress from an annual appropriations process to a two-year cycle. This legislation has garnered bipartisan support with 27 co-sponsors in the Senate.

Georgia’s senators, it now appears, are bringing good leadership to the Upper House. We commend them, and look to them for even more key efforts in the future.

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Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County, http://www.gwinnettforum.com, and Georgia news, http://www.georgiaclips.com.