Ga. priorities avoid major cuts in Congress’ new spending deal

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September 17, 2014 Savannah, GA: After years of political wrangling and environmental concerns, the deepening of the Savannah River is one step closer to becoming a reality. Officials argue a deeper port is needed in order for Georgia to remain competitive and accommodate the larger class of ships. BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM .

WASHINGTON — Georgia’s top federal priorities would largely be shielded from any major budget cuts in the catchall government spending bill the House is expected to pass Wednesday.

The Port of Savannah’s dredging project is on track to receive tens of millions of new dollars, as are several types of aircraft flown out of the state’s military bases. Money would flow to rebuild portions of Georgia devastated by recent extreme weather under the $1.16 trillion legislation, while Congress would stay out of the state’s long-running water feud with Florida and Alabama — at least for now.

But the state would lose out on a substantial increase in money for the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as a last-minute tax credit designed to aid Westinghouse Electric, the lead contractor on two new nuclear power generators near Augusta that recently filed for bankruptcy.

In other words, there’s plenty for Georgia’s 16 members of Congress to like — and not like — as they mull whether to support the 1,665-page bipartisan bill that would keep the federal government open for the next five months.

“Everything that we like in there, it’s not as much as what we should be spending for defense, for border security, for the Port of Savannah,” said U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville. “But this is such a complex issue.”

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