Political Notebook: John Linder, Hank Johnson talk about Iraq bill

Both Democrats and Republicans are calling the failed vote for troop funding in Washington last week a victory, but for very different reasons.

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, whose 4th District includes portions of Lilburn and Norcross, said in a press release that the "present" vote of 132 House Republicans on the $160 billion spending request was "a clear rejection" of President George W. Bush's foreign policy.

"For the first time, the Republicans joined us in opposing the president's reckless policies," the Democrat from Atlanta said. "The American people have made clear their opposition to this war, and the tide is finally turning in Washington."

But U.S. Rep. John Linder, a Republican whose district encompasses the rest of Gwinnett, said his support for the war efforts have not changed.

"They played procedural games with us," Linder said. "We chose not to play. Every time they have done something like this, they've had to cave in."

Linder explained that the Speaker did not give Republicans an opportunity to work on the bill, and divided Senate amendments for separate votes. That way, Democrats were able to vote against spending but for a timetable and for an increase in domestic spending. Linder said he voted against the latter two pieces.

The bill would be vetoed by the president anyway, Linder said, so he expects the House to reconsider the bill in the next week or two.

"I agree with funding the troops. I do not agree with timelines," Linder said on his war stance. "I'm on (Republican presidential hopeful) John McCain's side on this war."

Gun law clarification issued by Corps

Gov. Sonny Perdue may have signed a law that says you can carry a licensed concealed weapon at a park, but federal officials wanted people to know they should leave their guns at home if they come to the lake this summer.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages many of Georgia's lakes, including Lanier, making the land subject to federal, not state, laws.

"This clarification was prompted by several inquiries received by the Corps concerning the law and media reports about the law's application to parks," said public affairs officer E. Patrick Robbins.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.