Posted: 12:28 pm Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Dear Mr. Biden: What’s bigger than hell or high water? Port funding hits White House wall 

By Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

BIDEN-PORTS

Vice President Joe Biden in Savannah last year, expressing his commitment to the Port of Savannah dredging, with (left to right) U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson. AJC file

Above is the key question for Vice President Joe Biden as he raises money for Michelle Nunn in Atlanta today.

Last year, on a trip to Savannah, the vice president made a promise about federal funding for the $600 million-plus deepening of the Port of Savannah – which Republicans and Democrats, including Nunn, have identified as the top economic priority in the state.

Here’s what he said:

“We are going to get this done, as my grandfather would say, come hell or high water.”

Well, something more powerful than hell or high water has apparently come up. President Barack Obama’s proposed federal budget, released today, slams the brakes on federal funding for the Port. It includes $1 million and change for further study. A pittance.

A reason why Obama’s budget is even more important in this election cycle: Legislative earmarks are banned in the House and supporting a workaround could be dangerous territory for the three House members running for Senate, notably Savannah’s Jack Kingston.

Statements from U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson are forthcoming. Interestingly, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed – a champion of the Port dredging who traveled to the Panama Canal with Biden last year – is not with Biden today, his office said.

Update 2:43 p.m.: Here’s what Chambliss and Isakson had to say in a joint statement:

“We are deeply disappointed and frustrated to see the promises to help advance the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project made by President Obama and Vice President Biden were not fulfilled in today’s budget release. It is baffling to see this administration choose to ignore a statute passed just six weeks ago that cleared all remaining obstructions to moving forward with the project. The administration has once again chosen to ignore existing law, and in this case needlessly hamstring the advancement of SHEP. 

 “This administration has promised to deliver economic development and economic opportunity to the state of Georgia through the authorization and funding of SHEP. During a visit to the port last year, Vice President Biden promised that “We are going to get this done, come hell or high water,” and the president himself included SHEP in his 2012 “We Can’t Wait” initiative. It is now clear they would rather pay lip-service to Georgians than deliver on their promises. With clear opportunity in front of them and congressional direction to guide them, the decision to delay SHEP’s construction was solely the administration’s. This project would support hundreds of thousands of jobs each year while generating billions in revenue. The Obama administration had the opportunity to fulfill their campaign promises of economic and job growth, and chose not to.

 “Having wasted this opportunity and broken their promises to the state, we call on the administration to allow this project to move forward and to get out of the way of the people of Georgia. We are tired of waiting.”

Gov. Nathan Deal’s office said he intended to move forward on the dredging regardless:

“Vice President Biden promised in the past year that we’d get this project done come ‘hell or high water,’ but it’s more accurate to say the administration is going to put us through the former to get to the latter,” Deal said. “Earlier this year, President Obama signed into law — a law this budget recommendation ignores — a provision that allows Georgia to use the $266 million it has set aside to get the work started. That’s exactly what I intend to do. The state of Georgia and its congressional delegation have worked diligently and patiently to see this project through to fruition. We’ve dotted every ‘I’ and crossed every ‘T,’ we’ve received every federal permit required and we’ve already waited too long. Under the federal law recently passed, we will begin dredging using state funds until the federal government lives up to its obligations in this partnership. The Obama administration has noted repeatedly the importance of projects such as this for economic development and job creation, and the state of Georgia, as always, stands ready to do its part.”

94 comments
My-Op
My-Op

Anytime that anybody can do anything to obstruct the insane agenda of Obama, it is a GOOD thing.  Obama has set out on a course to ruin the US through any means possible.  Biden promised just a few months ago to see this project through.  That, like just about everything that comes from the White House, is/was a lie. 

Kudos to anybody that stands in the way of Obama. 

Kudos to the State of Georgia for seeing this project through. 

Jobs and strengthening the economy is what is needed now, not political payback.  See where that got Gov. Christie in NJ?  The US needs to continue to improve its infrastructure.  This project is a step in the right direction.  But Obama cannot and will not do anything good for the US!

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

So. Georgia Republicans do everything they can to oppose anything President Obama does and then get their panties in a wad when he gives them a little of their own medicine. I think that sums it up.

NOlongerRepublican
NOlongerRepublican

Why would the president or vice president go out of their way to do anything to help the leaders of Georgia? These morons have fought every single initiative by the White House since he has been in office and now they want to act surprised he didn't lay out billions of dollars for them. How stupid are these people we elected? You know that politics is all about scratching backs and I'm sure the president was more inclined to take that money to a state where the people actually try to do the right thing and not just hold to the stupid tea party/ religious right ideology. This port would be great for Georgia business but you can't blame the president when Georgia's leaders are so incompetent.

OneRyder
OneRyder

Exactly what republicans want, no spending on infrastructure. But they had tears in their eyes cause a school in Iraq was painted when they demanded we nation build in Iraq while borrowing to do so.  Repubs loved spending on Iraq, but ask them to spend on U.S. citizens and they go insane with anger.

NavalAviator
NavalAviator

Wait, you mean that something that this administration said wasn't true?  They made promises that they didn't keep?  No way.  The shock is overwhelming.

Eric100
Eric100

I think this is great. The criminals at the GA Ports Authority sucked up to the wrong people. I hope all these government employees loose their jobs and have to go on welfare. GA Ports Auth is a gang of criminals.

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

Do isakson and chambliss not listen to their esteemed fellow repuppies. We're broke, we can't afford any new projects, we have to cut back, we are burdening our grandchildren with crushing debt, the gummint don't produce jobs, the invisible hand of the market should determine commerce, private enterprise builds the economy not gummint.....

In fact do they even listen to themselves, since they have parroted these same points ad nauseum.  Hypocrisy and playing to the ignorance of their base has become so much a part of their strategy that they no longer even bother to try to disguise it.

Here's a suggestion, go to lockheed, johnny, they've taken $$200Billion of a $450 Bil contract over the last 10 years, and we're still waiting for a plane that will fly (never mind that it never will, the MIC monster has to be well-fed). Ask them for the money.

AvailableName
AvailableName

"Th[e ACA] would support [tens] of thousands of [new] jobs... while generating billions in revenue [for decades to come]. The [Deal] administration had the opportunity to fulfill [its] campaign promises of economic and job growth, and chose not to.


“Having wasted this opportunity and broken [his] promises to the state, we call on the administration to allow this project to move forward and to get out of the way of the people of Georgia. We are tired of waiting.”


A word here and there and what do you know, our two Republican Senators giving the Governor a hard time, for good cause I might add.

BrookhavenGuy
BrookhavenGuy

I guess Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson cashed in their chips with the White House by pushing for Michael Boggs to be nominated as a federal district judge.  



bratt771
bratt771

I am truly amazed at how many people here understand taxes and funding and where our state tax money actually ends up.  Please go open up an economics 101 book.  Then go get a government book.  Learn something and stop putting your hand out.  There are more on welfare then there are working taxpayers and   It has gotten really really old.

LDH2O
LDH2O

So why should the government pay for this? Why not tax the transportation and commerce that will benefit from it?

DontTread
DontTread

This is yet another example of "you can tell when a politician is lying - his lips are moving".

Bernie31
Bernie31

President Obama tells Governor Deal Go & Pound SAND. When you expand Medicaid then we can re visit this issue. Other wise you Need to get ta steppin....Goober!

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

I guess the anti-tax Tea Baggers are winning.  Don't want to pay - don't get to play.  No Medicaid Expansion?  No Harbor Expansion.  Are Georgians really smart or what?  We also have a governor who won first prize as the worst governor in the United States and a state legislature that can not think about anything except guns, abortion, and religion.  Some of us think the economy is a little more important.  I guess candidate Obama knew this territory better than we thought.


http://www.citizensforethics.org/worst-governors-in-America


Think about who you are voting for and how they will harm you and your family if they get a chance.  Want your daughter to attend college with armed drunken frat boys?  Think they will master Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Emerson, and Thoreau? 


Andy123
Andy123

And when that state switched to Republican in 2002, Sonny Perdue wasn't even a real Rep, he was a relabeled Democrat. 

Andy123
Andy123

Oh well.  Obama would ultimately have to print the money so its no loss.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

For the record:  A little "Googling" will tell you that this state - since 1877 I think, until 2003 was run by democrats.  And, for the last 10 years by Republicans.  Now, I'm supposed to believe the liberal thinking that the Republicans ruined the State of Georgia in 10 years and the 126-year reign of the democrats had  nothing to do with it? No wonder voters are turned off by idiotic thinking such as that.

BrookhavenGuy
BrookhavenGuy

@Numbers_R_UsYep - they have been obstructing the President's attempt to fill vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia for years.  To broker a deal, the President agreed to package of six nominees that include several picked by Senators Chambliss and Isakson. That in turn has prompted opposition to that package of nominees by Democrats in the Georgia congressional delegation.  And Senators Chambliss and Isakson are upset another log was not rolled their way?  If they are looking for the President to support their requests, maybe they should push harder for infrastructure funding that benefits Georgians of all political beliefs rather than burning up any goodwill they may have by demanding lifetime judicial appointments for their ideological soul mates

OneRyder
OneRyder

@NavalAviator 'we know where the wmd are"  ...so lets send thousands or America's best on a while goose chase...while getting shot at. 4000 dead ...and for what? WMD that never existed.  But it was a great success for Haliburton.  Shame

Bernie31
Bernie31

@NavalAviator - Yep They Got WMD's all over the Place...and The Yellow Cake too...so much that Betty Crocker is even jealous.

uh...huh.

Kamchak
Kamchak

Wait, you mean that something that this administration said wasn't true?


The smoking gun is the mushroom cloud.

We will be greeted as liberators.

Yellow cake uranium from Niger.

Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of high strength aluminum tubes.

Just remindin'.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@BravesFan456 - As Governor DEAL DOUGH has stated for not expanding Medicaid. The Federal Government has NO Money....

uh..huh.

RaisinBran
RaisinBran

@Eric100 "loose their jobs"? Your piss poor education is probably the reason this all ground to a halt.

Kamchak
Kamchak

Please go open up an economics 101 book.

Phlogiston economics.

http://www.truth-out.org/archive/item/93189:phlogiston-economics-the-need-to-dispel-the-free-hand-and-create-jobs-instead


There are more on welfare then[sic] there are working taxpayers and   It has gotten really really old.

Please go open an English composition 101 book.


My-Op
My-Op

@LDH2O Funds to pay for this are generated through the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, funded by the activity that utilizes ports such as this.  The problem is that the Federal Government will not authorize the use of these funds for their intended purpose, but "steal" from the fund for unauthorized activities.  Ask your congressional representatives to properly authorize the use of these funds.  No funding would be necessary out of the general fund.  Money is already there, courtesy of the end users, just as you suggest. 

JAWJA
JAWJA

@LDH2O  Because former Gov. Perdue doesn't want to spend any of the millions he made on the project  when he was supposed to be representing  the people of Georgia. He drug us down. He benefited.

JRS3
JRS3

@LDH2O  

I's actually pretty easy if you believe in and/or read the Constitution.  Article I of the Constitution grants Congress the power to authorize and appropriate funds.  Specifically, Article I, Section 8,  grants Congress the Power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with Indian Tribes.”  In addition, the power of Congress to fund the projects is granted by the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.  The Supreme Court has also expressly stated that “Commerce with foreign nations means commerce between citizens of the United States and citizens or subjects of foreign governments.  It means trade, and it means intercourse.  It means commercial intercourse between nations, and parts of nations, in all its branches.  It includes navigation, as the principal means by which foreign intercourse is affected.”    

So that means that the power to regulate, authorize, and appropriate funding for the ports comes from the authority to regulate navigation, arising from the Commerce Clause.   The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, and by extension all harbor deepening projects, involves the general welfare of the United States.  The Port of Savannah is a turnstile for cargo that impacts the United States as a whole.  Congress is permitted to contribute to the project because it would improve the ability of the US to receive larger ships entering through the Panama Canal.  The Project will make national trade more competitive, while greatly impacting the state and the region.  Trades, and its relations (ports), are fundamental extensions of the congressional power to regulate commerce.  The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is a permissible exercise of Congress’s authority to regulate commerce and contributes to the general welfare of the United States.   The Constitution authorizes it, and the Supreme Court has reaffirmed it.  I for one am glad that there's such a clear cut Constitutional authorization here.   I wish everything was this clear cut. 

Andy123
Andy123

@Bernie31

In the meantime, what has Obama promised the hood in which you stay Bernie Mack?  

NavalAviator
NavalAviator

@Ralph-43 Yeah that site carries no cred whatsoever.  Should I start posting Breitbart?

Andy123
Andy123

@Ralph-43

Wow.  You make the anchors on MSNBC look intelligent.   

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

Bogus, partisan web site repeatedly posted by you:

In 2010 Politico's Ben Smith described CREW's founding in 2003 as "one of a wave of new groups backed by liberal donors" and called CREW "a vehicle for assaults on largely – but not entirely – Republican targets". In 2006 Congressional Quarterly reported, "Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has taken aim almost exclusively at GOP members of Congress. A report by McClatchy News Service described CREW as "a Democratic-leaning watchdog group". In 2006, Time magazine referred to the group as "the liberal watchdog group" and reported, "Since its founding in 2003, CREW has worked through legal and regulatory channels to press allegations of impropriety almost exclusively against Republicans." Then-U. S. Senator Hillary Clinton and her associates played a role in the early stages of CREW's history. A key staffer to Clinton, Jodi Sakol, attended brainstorming sessions that established CREW. Sakol made Clinton aware of CREW's need for "Democratic progressive money." Mark Penn, Clinton's pollster and chief strategist, became a director and vice president at CREW. "We are progressive," said Naomi Seligman, the group's deputy director. The Washington Post has described CREW as a "liberal watchdog group". The New York Times, USA TODAY, and Roll Call have also referred to CREW as "liberal," with Roll Call also describing CREW as "controversial." The journal Broadcasting & Cable described CREW's chief legal counsel as "a Democrat-recommended witness and so the closest to an [Obama] administration defender". CREW was described as "left-leaning" by both the Chicago Tribune and Lexington Herald-Leader, and The Daily Caller columnists called CREW "a Democrat-leaning group" without a "contributor base to play watchdog over the Obama administration." Roll Call reported in January 2008 that CREW files most of its complaints against members of Congress, and "all but a handful... have targeted Republicans". Donors to CREW include such liberal groups as George Soros' Open Society Institute, Democracy Alliance, Service Employees International Union, the Arca Foundation, and the Gill Foundation.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

@Andy123 No loss?  Better do some reading Andy.  The expansion means jobs, money, and world-wide prominence.  Enjoy rocking on your little front porch swigging that corn liquor - hope the tax man doesn't tear your still house down. 

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@MichaelHannigan Yes and and if you had any memory, the port/Savannah River was deepen and widened in the 90's when the Talmadge Bridge was rebuilt with the new roadway deck at the elevation at the top of the old bridge towers to let the larger boats under/access ! I-16 was also extended directly to the bridge removing the surface street only access! And it was done by.............Democrats!       Oh and the Port facilities were expanded by ....... Democrats! Now who is the idiot?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@MichaelHannigan


Yours is a fundamentally dishonest post.


Most already know that previous conservative Georgia Democrats switched to become today's conservative Republicans. Most already know that Georgians have been hardline conservatives for decades, and even for centuries. (See the excellent film, "In the Heat of the Night" with Rod Steiger and Sir Sidney Poitier, which depicts the conservative South at its ugliest.) 


However, there is now, thankfully, on the horizon in Georgia, a newer Democratic Party which is, in fact, a more progressive political party which is more reflective of today's upcoming Georgians. 


Vote Democratic.



Kamchak
Kamchak

A little "Googling" will tell you that this state - since 1877 I think, until 2003 was run by democrats.


Democrats? Yes

Conservatives? Yes.

Just remindin'.


NWGAL
NWGAL

@MichaelHannigan  This is such an old trope. The South ceased being Democratic when the Democrats endorsed integration. All of the Southern Democrats just changed the letter behind their names and kept all their antiquated opinions intact.

NavalAviator
NavalAviator

@Kamchak please don't post a truth-out.org link and expect it to be taken seriously.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@Andy123 @Bernie31- well according to Kasim 50 million for that useless Trolly syestem and another 10 million for the Beltline for new places for POOKIE to ROB and assualt all those who Use it.


uh..huh.

Kamchak
Kamchak

You seem to be laboring under the misapprehension that I care what you think.

Just sayin'.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@anothercomment We did not vote for Kasim this time...check the Voting ROLLS. We found out the first time Kasim was a FRAUD.

It was your TRIBE who put him in the second time. Go ask All  of the Big Money people in Atlanta, you will find all of their names on the Campaign donations List.Uh..huh

anothercomment
anothercomment

The next mayor of Atlanta will be white. It will be Mary Norwood. The rein of black corrupt bullies is coming to an end in Atlanta. just like it did in New Orleans with Nagan.

Kamchak
Kamchak

...something with the IQ of an earthworm...


See also: Bristol Palin

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@Ralph-43 @The_Centrist "Bogus, partisan web site repeatedly posted by you:"

*************************

Hey Ralph, you know the rules, when you link to articles, it is a bogus partisan web site, but when he links to one of his right wing sites, they are words inspired by the hand of God. 

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

@The_Centrist No you bore me and the rest of us.  Got anything important to say?  Get a new moniker - trying to cover your reactionary ideation as a centrist is fraud.