The U.S. Capitol on Jan. 21, 2018. (Photo by )
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Georgia lawmakers join in on shutdown finger pointing

The elected officials pointed fingers at the other side during a tense day of closed-door meetings as hopes dimmed for a quick resolution before Monday’s workday. At least one Georgia lawmaker, Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, was involved in bipartisan talks to break through the impasse, which has prompted anxiety and confusion across Georgia and its federal workforce of more than 71,000.

Other Georgia Republicans took to social media over the weekend to blast Democrats for prioritizing illegal immigrants over the parent program for PeachCare and the military.  

"The #SchumerShutdown won't prevent our active duty military men and women from continuing their work across the world. It will just prevent them from being paid until Senate Democrats remember who they work for in Congress," Roswell Republican U.S. Rep. Karen Handel tweeted.  

U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, said the shutdown amounted to a “desperate attempt” from the Democrats to “distract from a booming economy and a year of historic accomplishments” under President Donald Trump’s leadership. 

Several of the state’s Republicans, including Monroe’s Jody Hice and Evans’ Rick Allen, said they would not collect their congressional salaries while the government remained shuttered. 

Georgia Democrats were quieter over the weekend, but they lined up behind their party leaders, who argued the blame for the shutdown should be placed squarely on the shoulders of Trump and the GOP.  Democrats said they have been reaching out to Republicans for months to strike a budget agreement and grant legal status to young undocumented immigrants. 

“Senate Republicans have been unwilling and unable to reach a bipartisan agreement with Democrats to fund the government,” said Lithonia Democratic U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson. “President Trump has sent conflicting signals from the sidelines, and this is why we face a government shutdown.” 

Most of the state’s lawmakers remained on the sidelines this weekend as negotiations to reopen the government occurred mainly between senior party leaders. But they hung around town for periodic closed-door updates and possible votes. 

Isakson on Sunday took part in bipartisan talks among a group of more than a dozen senators seeking to hammer out an agreement that could satisfy party leaders and the president.

“We are working toward a resolution for the current impasse and toward debate to reopen the government,” Isakson said in a written statement. 

Isakson’s Senate colleague, Republican David Perdue, has urged his ally in the White House to take a harder line on immigration in recent months -- the biggest issue that’s divided the two sides so far. Perdue said Saturday that talks over immigration and government funding should be handled separately. 

Meanwhile, some Georgia Republicans in the House echoed Trump’s calls for the Senate to change its rules and kill the filibuster, which has allowed the Democratic minority to block government funding bills. 

The filibuster is “failing our military,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger. “So 19th century.” 

Read more about the government shutdown: 

Georgia feels the pain from federal government shutdown

Here’s what to expect in Georgia in case of a government shutdown

About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that...
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