Georgia’s two Republican senators split yesterday over legislation to avoid a government shutdown, showcasing their differing approaches when it comes to Congress’ responsibility in terms of keeping on the feds’ lights.
Johnny Isakson was among the 72 senators, including 40 Republicans, who voted in favor of the measure, which would fund the government on autopilot through mid-December (current money is set to expire on Friday) and provide $1.1 billion to tackle the Zika crisis.
Isakson said in an interview that allowing a government shutdown “is never a solution” and that the Zika money in particular was worth any of the bill’s downsides.
“I personally am embarrassed for the country that we waited as long as we could to reach a Zika agreement, but at least we finally did it,” Isakson said.
David Perdue, meanwhile, joined 13 Republicans and 12 Democrats who voted against the funding patch. There were many different reasons why lawmakers ditched the bill, but Perdue’s opposition was rooted in his disgust with Washington’s overall budget dysfunction.
“Enough is enough,” the freshman said last week.
Instead of constantly passing funding patches, Perdue said, lawmakers need to overhaul the rules of the road so that Congress is less incentivized to pass stopgaps. He’s part of a working group that’s aiming to do just that.
Isakson said he’s also supportive of a budget process overhaul but that voting against a bill to keep the government’s lights on doesn’t gel with him since a shutdown could lead to more serious consequences, including the government’s borrowing costs being raised.
The spending agreement took weeks to finalize following tense negotiations. Democrats rejected initial Republican offers over the lack of aid money for Flint, Mich.
The House quickly approved the same funding bill hours after the Senate came to its agreement, sending it to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature.
Here’s how Georgia’s congressmen voted:
Yes: Buddy Carter, R-Pooler; Sanford Bishop, D-Albany; Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia; John Lewis, D-Atlanta; Tom Price, R-Roswell; Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville; Austin Scott, R-Tifton; Doug Collins, R-Gainesville; Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville; Rick Allen, R-Evans; David Scott, D-Atlanta; Tom Graves, R-Ranger
No: Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County; Jody Hice, R-Monroe