POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: FairTax introduced in Senate

The job isn't over for Georgia's retiring senator.

The day before he announced he would not seek a third term, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said he introduced a FairTax bill into the new Congress.

The bill, popular among the Gwinnett political arena since it was introduced more than a decade ago by then-Rep. John Linder, would abolish the federal income and payroll taxes in favor of a national sales tax. Linder's successor, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, introduced the bill in the House earlier in January.

"The current tax code has become too burdensome and complex, and is filled with provisions that only benefit a few Americans at the expense of everyone else. That's simply not right," said Chambliss, who has sponsored the bill every year he has been in the Senate. "The FairTax Act would create a fairer, simpler tax code that allows every American the freedom to determine his or her own priorities and opportunities."

Senators on debt-ceiling bill

Chambliss, along with his counterpart Sen. Johnny Isakson, voted last week to try to further shore up the government fiscal climate, with unsuccessful amendments to the most recent debt limit bill.

The legislation, recently passed by the House, would raise the debt limit for a short time but would force senators to pass a budget or forego their salaries. Georgia's senators wanted to add provisions to ensure dollar-for-dollar deficit reduction and stop the constant political showdowns over the issue.

"It is critically important that we get our nation's fiscal house in order and make meaningful spending cuts so we do not continue to mortgage our children's and grandchildren's futures," Isakson said in a press release. "The American people are extremely frustrated with Congress and President Obama's routine of kicking the can down the road and then ramming through haphazard deals at the eleventh hour to avert a government shutdown or fiscal cliff. I am proud to co-sponsor and vote in favor of these amendments today because they are thoughtful solutions that will help lead us to a path of fiscal sanity and avoid political 'showdowns' that damage our economy."

Isakson and Chambliss also co-sponsored another tabled amendment that would prioritize three items if the government reaches its debt limit: principal and interest payments on the debt, Social Security payments, and pay for active duty armed services members.

"Many of us have long argued that Congress must make the hard choices to address this issue immediately, and that includes meaningful spending cuts," Chambliss added. "Today's amendments would have helped rein in our out-of-control debt and deficit, and I am disappointed that they did not have the support necessary for passage."

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

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

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