Consider it a local plot twist to the national drama engulfing Wyoming’s U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney and the House GOP caucus’ plans to oust the anti-Trump congresswoman from the group’s number-three leadership slot on Wednesday.
Although House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has scheduled a secret-ballot vote to swap out the conservative Cheney with moderate, but pro-Trump, Rep. Elise Stefanik, Georgia’s U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene let it be known Monday night that she’s not interested in the Stefanik solution to the Cheney problem.
Cheney has been bleeding support from her House Republican colleagues ever since she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the January 6th insurrection on the Capitol in Washington.
Greene said she wants to slow the process and to have more choices to replace Cheney other than Stefanik, who hails from Upstate New York and was once a staffer in the Bush administration.
“On Wednesday, our GOP Conference will be voting to remove Liz Cheney from the chair. A vote some of us already took,” Greene wrote. “Currently, we only have one member running for chair. I want a break before we vote on a replacement. Options are good and so are conservative votes.”
Greene may not have any House committee assignments, but she does have considerable influence on grassroots Trump supporters and in the conservative media ecosystem. Her opinion carries weight with the very people McCarthy is trying to assuage.
But, to add a final twist to that twist, this morning’s Politico Playbook reports that Greene is also at the center of other House Republicans’ growing interest in booting McCarthy from leadership, too.
“One Republican long seen as an ally of leadership — told us Monday night he may oppose McCarthy for speaker because of all the recent drama. This person accused McCarthy of having no moral compass as he moves to punish Cheney while allowing members like Reps. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-Ga.) and MATT GAETZ (R-Fla.) to run wild.”
Since the leadership vote will be secret, there’s no way to say for sure how Georgia’s GOP House delegation votes on Cheney. But we’ll stay tuned on these developments.
Cue the musical chairs. We told you last week that Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms would spark some City Hall upheaval with her decision not to run for a second term. Here’s some tidbits we’ve picked up on since:
- Hawks chief executive Steve Koonin, the famed marketing guru, let it be known that he is not planning to enter the race after a weekend of speculation.
- Councilman Antonio Brown is preparing to enter the race for mayor as soon as Friday.
- Former City Council President Cathy Woolard announced on her Facebook page she’s not running, and offered some advice: “Don’t be in a rush to get on anyone’s campaign bus right now.”
- Former state Sen. Jason Carter is still kicking the tires.
- Former Councilwoman Mary Norwood is still weighing whether she wants to make a third run for mayor, though folks close to her expect her to continue to aim for the council seat she’s already pursuing.
- Councilman Andre Dickens is also now eyeing a campaign for mayor, and the maneuvering to succeed him is already underway should he change lanes. We hear that Ralph Long III, a former Democratic state legislator, could run for his seat.
Gov. Brian Kemp made a pair of decisions late Monday that will help shape the fate of unemployed workers in Georgia -- and could also influence the 2022 election.
The Republican vetoed legislation that would create a “chief labor officer” designed by legislators infuriated by the backlog of unemployment claims under Labor Commissioner Mark Butler’s watch.
And he indicated that Georgia could join the growing ranks of Republican-led states like South Carolina and Montana that ended the extra $300 in weekly payments that tens of thousands of residents receive on top of their unemployment checks during the pandemic.
Kemp voided the labor officer legislation - his only veto this legislative session - because he said it conflicts with the separation of powers outlined in the state constitution by undercutting the labor department’s executive role.
And he suggested Georgia could soon the added unemployment incentives because of a tightening job market that’s prompted business groups to complain of labor shortages.
Taken together, they offer some more red meat for the GOP base and fodder for Democrats -- and Butler’s critics -- headed into campaign season.
State Sen. Bruce Thompson, a Republican challenging Butler, said there’s “clearly reason to be frustrated” with the glut of jobless benefits waiting to be processed, but that he supported Kemp’s veto of the measure.
“Changing the leadership is the appropriate action to fix this broken agency,” he said.
State Sen. Lester Jackson, one of several Democrats running for the seat, said the mere fact that the legislation reached Kemp’s desk showed a “lack of confidence” in Butler’s leadership.
The commissioner, meanwhile, points to recent federal data that shows his agency’s response is among the best in the region.
So what was behind the move to weaken Butler in the first place? Legislators tell us they’ve been bombarded by complaints from constituents struggling to access unemployment benefits, and are tired of a lackluster response.
But several reminded us of another reason for the lack of confidence: A warning in February from the state auditor that Georgia’s cherished AAA bond rating could be at risk because he hadn’t received complete financial data from the Department of Labor on hundreds of thousands of unemployment claims.
Look for the U.S. Senate to take its first action today on S. 1, the “For the People Act,” a massive proposed overhaul of federal election laws and campaign finance regulations.
Democrats have pushed the legislation in response to broad new level laws like Georgia’s Senate Bill 202, which add restrictions to everything from absentee voter I.D. requirements to laws regulating the distribution of food and water at polling stations.
Beginning at 10:00 am Tuesday, the Senate Rules Committee will debate and propose changes to S.1, which is also known as H.R. 1, which would apply only to elections for federal office.
Georgia’s U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff sits on the committee, so look for him to weigh in during the markup, which will be streamed online.
On U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff’s to-do list today could be adding language to S.1 to nullify state-level restrictions on distributing food and water at polling locations.
Ossoff has introduced a stand-alone bill to prohibit states like Georgia from banning volunteers from distributing food and water to voters waiting in line.
On a Zoom press call Monday morning, Ossoff said his language could be incorporated into the larger bill, which the Senate Rules Committee will debate and vote on Tuesday morning.
As a member of that committee, Ossoff has the prerogative to propose additions to the bill before it’s considered for a committee-level vote.
While Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff toured the state last week to pitch President Joe Biden’s $2.1 trillion infrastructure and jobs proposal, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was doing the opposite.
The Rome News-Tribune was on hand for Greene’s packed Polk County town hall meeting, where the congresswoman slammed Biden’s idea.
“They want to pass these big bills, big spending bills, trillions of dollars, and in these spending bills they want to increase your taxes, and it’s a terrible thing,” Greene said, while dismissing the renewable energy infrastructure that Georgia’s two senators said the investment should support.
Last week, Ossoff toured the Q CELLS solar module factory in Greene’s 14th district, which employs 750 people, while Warnock rode one of Blue Bird Corporation’s new electric buses in Ft. Valley.
More from the News-Tribune:
“Greene linked the push for electric vehicles with the supply chain of rare earth minerals used to manufacture batteries for them with China and possibly leading to the loss of jobs in the shipping industry when it comes to tractor trailers.
“I think electrical vehicles are cool, they really are,” Greene said. “But the government has no business forcing industries to move into something that is not part of their natural evolution.”
At the state Capitol Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill repealing Georgia’s citizen arrest law. The AJC’s Maya T. Prabhu has more:
With Kemp's signature, Georgia becomes the first state to remove a citizen's arrest statute from its books. All 50 states have a version of the law in place. Lawmakers in South Carolina and New York have introduced similar measures.
The citizen's arrest overhaul is the second piece of criminal justice legislation to become Georgia law since Arbery's death. Lawmakers passed hate-crimes legislation last June. It increases the penalties for those convicted of committing crimes against people based on characteristics such as their race, sexual orientation or religion.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Rep. Vernon Jones is making his way across Georgia in his bid to both oust Gov. Brian Kemp in the GOP primary and explain to voters why the former Democrat became a Republican in January.
The Valdosta Daily Times reports on Jones’ recent meet & greet at Valdosta’s Smoke’n Pig, where he also talked up his green-energy plan and promised to open a South Georgia satellite governor’s office.
“Jones marketed himself as the only former Democrat in the room.
“I've always remained here from the time I was born," he said. “I look up now, the party is way over there (pointing to the left). So I didn't leave the party, the party left me."
Jones said the Democratic party left him on traditional values, family life and serving God. Jones' platform is about “pro-Second Amendment, pro-life, pro-school choice" and it “will always put Georgia first."
A part of that, he told the crowd, is making sure critical race theory isn't taught in Georgia as Jones said it is “doing more to divide this country" than anything he knows.
He said Georgia has failed in its Republican leadership. Jones said he is a “proud" Republican who can defeat current Gov. Brian Kemp who is “scared" of the Democrats."
- Valdosta Daily Times
State Democrats are continuing to staff up early and often: The latest in a broad round of hires is Dan Gottlieb, who will serve as a senior communications adviser focused on the U.S. Senate race.
Gottlieb will help U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock push back against the still-evolving Republican field. He most recently served as communications director for Sima Ladjevardian, who unsuccessfully challenged Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw.
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