Posted: 6:00 am Friday, May 9th, 2014

Port of Savannah expansion nears as Congress strikes water bill deal 

By Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Congressional leaders in both parties and chambers are set to move forward next week on a bill to authorize water projects across the nation — including the Port of Savannah deepening.

After nearly seven months of wrangling, the House-Senate negotiators announced Thursday night that they had agreed on a conference committee report which will be filed next week, and should clear both chambers easily. The House is gone next week, though, so the earliest it can head to President Barack Obama’s desk is the week of the 19th.

Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blogA Congressional authorization is the last step, according to the Obama administration, before the Army Corps of Engineers can sign off on a final project partnership agreement with the Georgia Ports Authority. It’s been a long road, especially for veterans like Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who had this to say:

“While the approval of SHEP is long overdue, this agreement will clear the last hurdle for the historic expansion of the Savannah Harbor. Since I first arrived in Congress 20 years ago, this has been my top economic priority for Georgia, and I will not rest until the White House delivers on their promises and allows construction to begin with full federal backing.”

Various dignitaries will soon truck down to Savannah for the groundbreaking on Georgia’s biggest economic development project. They still need to beseech the Obama administration for money, though. That process begins anew next year after this budget’s much-discussed snub.

After denying the funds earlier this year, the Obama administration said Congress had to act to rectify the situation. Now it finally is.

***

 Want to show Mom what a wonderful, civic-minded child she raised? On Mother’s Day, take her to any of debates hosted by the Atlanta Press Club and aired by Georgia Public Broadcasting.

They’re free, which means you get points for fiscally responsible, too:

– 10th Congressional District, Republican: Tapes from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Airs on GPB from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

– 12th Congressional District, Republican: Tapes from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Airs on GPB from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

– U.S. Senate, Republican: Airs live on GPB from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

***

On Thursday, U.S. Senate candidate Jack Kingston attacked David Perdue for supporting Common Core with a mailer that paired his Republican rival with President Barack Obama. “They’re planning to nationalize public schools!” the headline screams.

Perdue has said he would kill the program dead. The problem is that his cousin, former Gov. Sonny Perdue, helped start the voluntary, multi-state system of standards for k-12 public schools.

In fact, also on Thursday, Sonny Perdue published an article on the National Review website, accusing conservatives of going crazy on the topic – just as liberals, he says, have done on global warming.

Writes Perdue:

It reminds me of the national debate over climate change. Conservatives throw up their hands when some on the left or in the mainstream media explain every deviation in weather as a consequence of climate change. Climate change, we’re told, is responsible for heavy rains and drought alike.

Whether temperatures are unseasonably low or high, global warming is the culprit. Snowstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes have been around since the beginning of time, but now they want us to accept that all of it is the result of climate change.

It’s become a running joke among the public, and liberals have lost all credibility when it comes to climate science because their arguments have become so ridiculous and so obviously disconnected from reality.

That same dynamic is in place regarding education standards, except this time it’s the conservatives who are losing credibility by making absurd charges about Common Core, which is really nothing more than a bipartisan effort by 45 governors to ensure that kids can do math and English at an appropriate level before they move on to the next grade.

Core State Standards have been falsely described as a curriculum directly pulled from communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin’s playbook. One conservative “news” report blamed the Standards for “show[ing] fourth graders gory, painful ways to kill class pets” and making PETA propaganda required reading in the classroom.

In another example, first graders were reportedly sent home with a questionnaire that sought, among other inappropriate intrusions, to identify whether the student had sexual-identity issues. When the irate parent blamed the questionnaire on Common Core, conservative media outlets cheerfully went along.

***

Kingston is doubling down on the Common Core attack, as well as hitting Perdue’s business career in a new ad that has been airing in Atlanta.

His campaign did not send a press release out about this one.

Considering the indelible nature of Perdue’s image, and other campaigns’ retorts, can we go ahead and call this the Baby Primary?

***

Karen Handel’s Senate campaign is getting some timely reinforcements.

Politico reports that American Future Fund made a six-figure ad buy that boosts her GOP Senate bid and dismisses her four leading opponents as “Washington talkers.” We’re told it will run in metro Atlanta and other key markets across the state.

“Want somebody who backed Obama down and has actually balanced a budget?” the ad intones. “Karen Handel’s been there, done that. Handel’s not going to Washington to chit-chat. She’s going to put points on the board.”

***

Word that state agencies had spent tens of thousands of dollars marketing with the niche magazine that has boosted Gov. Nathan Deal’s fortunes by ranking Georgia at the top of business competitions sparked an outcry from some of his opponents.

Former Dalton Mayor David Pennington demanded that Deal return funds that “he spent for personal political gain.” Said Pennington:

“Once again, Nathan has lied to the citizens to hide the true desperate economic situation that he has put our state in. It is loathsome that he would use taxpayers’ money to benefit no one other than himself.”

Democrat Jason Carter’s camp said Deal’s record was “so bad that he has to validate his reelection bid based on a rating from a magazine no one reads.” Said spokesman Bryan Thomas:

“It’s outrageous that he used taxpayer dollars to get that rating. Maybe the 215 subscribers of Site Selection Magazine will think the governor is doing a good job, but families who are feeling real pay cuts and sending their kids to failing schools know better.”

***

April fundraising numbers for the Senate race and Georgia’s key U.S. House races are in updated form here, and the biggest headline is this: Businessman David Perdue has put another $1 million into the race so he can keep pace with Jack Kingston on the airwaves (and build an app).

***

Former state lawmaker Donna Sheldon of Dacula, a Republican in the 10th District race to replace Paul Broun, has been endorsed by two gun groups – the National Rifle Association and Georgia Carry.

***
Over at Politico, Rebecca Burns uses Cobb County as a poster child in a look at suburban poverty – quoting the wife of congressional candidate Bob Barr:

Here’s the most complicated problem with poverty in the suburbs: It’s almost invisible. There are 86,000 people in Cobb County who live below the poverty level. But you could live in Cobb your whole life and never see them, or at least not knowingly. Cobb County covers 339 square miles and is home to 717,000 people. Its poor residents can be lost in the crowd—and lost in all that space.

The sprawling geography means that many commuters obliviously whiz by the entrance to a place like Castle Lake trailer park, or the entrance to a subdivision where families crowd into small 1960s brick ranches. In dense city blocks, outward signs of poverty are more visible—packed apartment buildings or large government-funded complexes.

Many of the people most at risk are “underemployed,” says Jeri Barr, CEO of the Center for Family Resources, a Cobb-based nonprofit that provides assistance to working poor families, giving rental and utility aid and other services. “They work—sometimes a couple of jobs. Suburban neighbors will see them “maybe working at McDonald’s, maybe cleaning your house,” Barr says. “People don’t think of them as poor because they’re working. But they can’t afford to even eat at McDonald’s.”

***

Rep. John Lewis has an idea of how to spend that $2.5 million fine levied against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling: Give it to a program that teaches high school students about the civil rights movement.

According to the  Jackson, Miss.,  Clarion-Ledger, Lewis has written a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver urging that Sterling’s money help fund Sojourn to the Past, a 10-day swing through the South that teaches students about the principles of nonviolence. Lewis and other civil rights legends address the students on their journey. From the story:

“One of my goals is to keep Sojourn to the Past economically viable so they can continue to do the amazing work they do,” Lewis wrote. “I believe this program is most deserving of your consideration of dollars being distributed from the Sterling fine.”

Lewis urged the commissioner, NBA players and other members of the NBA family to “join these students on this amazing journey. It will change your life as it has changed the lives of thousands of students.”

45 comments
DavidFarrar
DavidFarrar

While, I, too, support the Port of Savannah deepening, I cannot support it if the nation's 2015 fiscal budget is yet another deficit. There is no reason why the business community of Georgia can't support this project themselves WITHOUT adding one dollar to the national debt.


If, per chance, the 2015 fiscal year manages to curtail government spending to the amount the government bring in, I would, of course, remove such objection...but don't hold your breath on this happening.


ex animo

davidfarrar


CuriousPrime
CuriousPrime

It was Obama's fault that the (1) Savannah Project and (2) Keystone Pipeline have been held up.  


NOW WE KNOW THE REST OF THE STORIES:  (1) The Deal administration hadn't submitted the required paperwork, and House-Senate negotiators have been wrangling for nearly seven months over a water bill that includes the Project.  (2) Keystone hadn't completed their impact studies nor satisfied basic safety issues and they decided to delay action for an extented period of time, and Nebraska had not approved the route.

EdUktr
EdUktr

Would be interesting to see which political party Cox Media Group executives are pumping contributions into—or does their editorial slant make that a no-brainer?

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

As I predicted months ago and confirmed yesterday before Kingston, Broun, and Handel reported their April campaign fundraising, past spending, and current cash on hand - it looks to be down to Kingston and Perdue (opening lead in polls and using his personal fortune) in May unless Handel's PAC somehow far outstrips Kingston's:

Jack Kingston — $291,574 raised, $1,095,636 spent, $1,296,241 on hand.

Phil Gingrey — $74,661 raised, $1,306,506 spent, $1,212,067 on hand.

Karen Handel raised $135,000, spent $180,000, $337,000 on hand.

Paul Broun $142,580 raised, $192,039 spent, $180,843 on hand. 


zekeI
zekeI

Deepening the Savannah River to expand what is really an inland port is absurd! If GA and SC are going to build a joint port in SC in Jasper County, dredging the Savannah, destroying more fresh water estuaries, and, probably contaminating the ground water is ridiculous! Take that 600 million and put it toward the new proposed port facility that will cost up to $4 billion to complete!


Savannah IS NOT A NATURAL PORT! Charleston on the other hand is! Charleston has a large harbor! Savannah doesn't!


This will be just another terrible waste of hard earned taxpayer money!

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

I almost forgot to be the sarcastic progressive imitating stupid conservatives:


What? But the Port of Savannah dredging is up to Obama! Where is all of this Congressional authorization stuff coming from? You mean those smart liberals (like Baumer 1) were correct when they said Congress had to move on this project first?  No way! Obama gave the Georgia Republicans a back-hand by not including the Port of Savannah in his budget proposal...and we were told by the radio and PeachPundit that the congressional authorization part was just a liberal conspiracy to deflect blame.


If only you right-wingers possessed an iota of knowledge about how the legislative process works you might not get taken advantage of so much. But here we are...again. 


Hey let me ask you right-wingers something: Do you really think the Kochs spend all of that money electing conservatives because their policies help the working classes?  

Enoch19
Enoch19

The idea of a "jobs bill" has always been progressive horse manure.  Bills don't create jobs, business creates jobs.  Yes there are examples of failures in the private sector but the democrats would have us believe that we need MUCH more government to solve our problems.  In fact it is the government that is creating so many of our problems and more funding  and more power and less liberty is not the right solution.  I am not a "no government" proponent. We need a federal  government do so some things well that businesses and states can't do.  Government needs to be our servant, not our master.

SmartAleck
SmartAleck

Saxby Chambliss patting himself on the back for taking 20 years to make this happen---just cracks me up!  

In the private sector, if it took Saxby 2 month do get his job done---he'd be fired.  

Adios, Saxby.  Don't let the screen door hit you in the caboose. 

DS
DS

Great news, and hopefully in time. The Panama Canal is being expanded to handle new super-sized Panamax cargo ships, and ports need to be made deeper to accommodate these ships.

It's a shame it's taken Congress so long to get this done. These improvements will help boost our economy.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

Yeah, pat yourself on your backs Congress...I'd slap you upside your heads! Why so long? Where is the surface transportation bill and adequate funding? Now go pat yourself again.....soon! Get er done!


Finally a jobs bill from the repubs!

NWGAL
NWGAL

After the port is expanded so more shipping is feasible, how will the goods be transported if our roads are not maintained?

The-Centrist
The-Centrist

Good news. Georgia, as well as the rest of the country, needs to spend lots more on infrastructure improvements.

Although it's still kind of discouraging to see our state leaders stand and shake their fists at the federal government over the ACA Medicaid expansion, which would pump a couple billion dollars a year into our economy.  All the while whining 'cause the feds aren't fast enough with the port money.

Of course, since much of the Medicaid benefit would go to Those People,  I guess that's different...

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

What's it like to live in a dairy-tale?

I think you are upset because you hate the president, but agree with his decisions on on Keystone XL. It is called cognitive dissonance.

I will ignore your bit about the Port of Savanah since you are 100% incorrect. The president can't spend money Congress does not appropriate and authorize.

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

Get off your high horse and look who Fox and talk radio personnel donate to.

At least progressive news focuses on the facts first.

DannyX
DannyX

@The_Centrist, your favorite pollster, Matt Towery, released a poll yesterday that showed Perdue with a big lead followed by Handel, then Kingston.  You sure are quick to post poll results when your favorites are in the lead.  I guess your "prediction" that Handel is out of the race and has no chance at a run-off is pretty much wrong.  Remember that prediction of yours?  I guess it's back to the liberal media conspiracy whines for you, the AJC is campaigning for her so Republicans will lose in November?



honested
honested

@The_Centrist  

Despite the dollars:

Broun in May, Nunn in November!!

Georgia WILL benefit.

honested
honested

@zekeI  

And it is not in any way necessary.

Google 'Port of Mariel' and see where the 'shippers' (Chinese) have decided to spend the money to accommodate Super Panamax ships (if ever they are able to come through the canal).

Given the shippers strategy, Savannah will never be any more than a trans-shipment point.

zekeI
zekeI

@Baumer_1  

Conservative policies help EVERYONE more than any liberal socialist schemes! You have been at it since Wilson and FDR, and, just how has any of your redistribution agenda feel good class warfare policies and politics helped anyone you said they would! THEY HAVE NOT!

honested
honested

@Enoch19  

Howsabout we just admit that the 'tax cutting frenzy' that began in the ray-gun years has ben an absolute disaster for the American economy and especially the American Middle Class.

So let's go back to the pre-ray-gun tax rates and brackets, tax ALL income at the same rates and pay for the government obligations that are already out there (including the ever accumulating war debt).

Only then can we address why plutocrats don't need to be the 'master' either.

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

@Enoch19  


How many jobs could we have kept if people like Romney and the Kochs weren't given tax breaks to outsource jobs to foreign countries?

GaBlue
GaBlue

@Enoch19  


How many jobs would Lockheed-Martin have created in Marietta if the government had not paid them to build airplanes, do you think?

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Enoch19  

Bills don't create jobs, business creates jobs. 

 In a consumer based economy, it's actually demand for goods and services that creates jobs.

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

@SmartAleck  


So all of those lobbyists that have been working on this just kept getting fired by their private employers every two months?



LHardingDawg
LHardingDawg

In the private sector Saxby would be dealing with smart, get it done, people. In the senate he has to deal with Reed, the dumbest guy in the room. Private versus government, not a good comparison.

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

@RoadScholar  


Not really a jobs bill from the GOP...after all, this idea predates the recession and has bipartisan support.


How about this...since President Obama has to sign it into law then he is responsible for creating any jobs that come from this? If he vetoed it you would be blaming him for potential jobs not being created.


Nice double-standard. 





honested
honested

@NWGAL  

But wait, MORE goods won't be coming or going, it will just take FEWER SHIPS to carry the same amount of stuff.

Georgia won't benefit, but the costs for our dear friends in the China will drop dramatically.

SmartAleck
SmartAleck

Do you think money grows on trees?  Good grief, man, use some common sense! 
May I suggest you attend some economics or accounting classes to get a feel for where all this money you want to spend comes from....

Before shooting your mouth off, why not get some education so you don't look so stupid? 


The_Centrist
The_Centrist

This is a screen name stealing liberal sock puppet.  While it shows his/her lack of integrity and ethics, it also shows how far at least this one leftist will go with such "debate" tactics and those who won't condemn them.

Scum.


Baumer_1
Baumer_1

@zekeI


I am going to have to listen to Kamchak and assume you are being sarcastic.  I can not think of a single conservative policy that was designed to benefit everyone. Conservative policies are usually aimed at expressly excluding political minorities or the down-trodden.  

Kamchak
Kamchak

@zekeI

Conservative policies help EVERYONE more than any liberal socialist schemes!

Not intended to be a FACTUAL statement.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@LHardingDawg  

 In the private sector Saxby would be dealing with smart, get it done, people.

Enron says, "What?"

honested
honested

@LHardingDawg  

Oh, I get it, you would prefer to turn operation of the Country over to the likes of the Geniuses who ran GM into the ground or those who wreck the Gulf Coast and do everything possible to pretend it didn't happen.

I sure am glad the vast majority of Americans comprehend what you are full of.

honested
honested

@SmartAleck  

No money does not grow on  trees.

All the more reason to appropriately make use of the Federal Tax  payment that GEORGIANS make to do good for Georgians rather than send that money for use in other states just to make some childish point of opposing the President.

It is shocking how little many Georgians learned from the lessons of the Civil War.

Aquagirl
Aquagirl

@The_Centrist Please do stomp your feet some more over the idea you personally own "The Centrist." I don't know what's more entertaining, your bitterness or overblown ego. It's a close race.



The-Centrist
The-Centrist

No hon.

"Scum" is a word that might be applied in several ways.  For example, it might refer to someone who, while visiting a blog allowing his participation, hurls insults at the blog owner.

Or perhaps a person who argues with another blog participant, then when said blog participant responds, huffs that he's not going to debate anymore

Or maybe even someone who copies and pastes the work of other people with attribution.

And again I'm honored that you think I'm NWGAL - her comments always have more substance than yours.  Or mine, generally, for that matter...

NWGAL
NWGAL

If you don't have your name patented, someone using a slight variant is not a thief. Please just get over yourself.

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

@honested @SmartAleck  


Money isn't made from paper.  So no, it wouldn't grow on, or in, trees.


i get such a kick out of the stupidity of the right-wing sometimes. They claim to be all American, but as soon as they don't get their way they want to secede. Bunch of cry babies if you ask me...and traitors.


the biggest lesson they should have learned from the Civil War (and given Ga's education rankings they no doubt didn't learn anything) is that the national economy is not 50 separate state economies. It is a big, mutually interdependent body.  GA can not survive as an independent nation.  Heck...the Confederacy couldn't survive.  


I am confident that the Millennial generation will fix most of our problems...if the baby boomers even leave a nation to govern.



The-Centrist
The-Centrist

uhhhh without attribution - but then you know what I mean

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception pretending to be another person.  A sockpuppet poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer. Many online communities attempt to block sockpuppets (but not this blog).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sockpuppet_%28Internet%29