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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Senators support ban on earmarks

Georgia’s two senators voted this week to ban earmarks and are hoping to move the country toward a balanced budget.

U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson said they hoped the new Congress, which takes office in January, will be able to focus on reduced spending.

“The American people are rightly concerned about reducing federal spending. Now that there appears to be an agreement to oppose earmarks, I hope Congress will begin a serious discussion of how to cut federal spending on larger, more meaningful scale,” Chambliss said, adding a caveat. “I have consistently voted for the elimination of earmarks in the past and supported the earmark-moratorium resolution today. However, there are times when crises arise or issues come forth of such importance to Georgia, such as critical support to the port of Savannah, and the nation that I reserve the right to ask Congress and the president to approve funding.”

Isakson also supported the moratorium on earmarks in the Senate Republican Conference.

“The oath I swore to uphold when I was elected by the people of Georgia was to the U.S. Constitution, which directs the Congress to appropriate federal tax dollars,” he said. “I will never abandon my oath, and I will continue to fight for funding for projects such as the expansion of the Savannah port that is critical to my state and to U.S. trade, the settlement of the tri-state water compact involving Georgia, funding for our troops and the best interests of the people in the state of Georgia.

“I also will push for Congress to address the biggest concerns of my Georgia constituents — skyrocketing federal spending and debt,” he added. “I will continue to push my proposal for Congress to switch to biennial budgeting so that we can give federal spending the scrutiny and oversight that has been sorely lacking.”

Both also supported proposals to reduce discretionary spending, balance the budget, freeze federal hiring, stop unfunded mandates to the states and impose a moratorium on new entitlement spending.

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.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.