published Monday, February 8th, 2010

Wamp, state GOP criticize 2nd debt limit rise


by Matt Wilson

Wamp, state GOP criticize second debt limit rise

The U.S. House vote to raise the nation's debt limit by $1.9 trillion last week triggered tough responses from Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn.

"We can't borrow our way out of debt or spend our way into prosperity," Rep. Wamp said. "The $1.9 trillion debt limit increase keeps us on an unsustainable path of reckless spending."

Mr. Devaney aimed his ire specifically at Tennessee Democrats who voted in favor of the increase.

"This vote is yet another example of how out of touch Democrats in Tennessee have become with their districts," he said. "And while they continue to play the blame game for our nation's record debt, the fact of the matter is they own these votes and the only people they can point the finger at is themselves."

The vote was the second to raise the debt limit in just a few months. In December, Congress voted to raise the limit by $290 billion. The most recent vote would set the debt ceiling at $14.3 trillion.

Clean air bill DRAWS support

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., joined a bipartisan group of 10 senators last week to introduce a new clean air bill they say will cut utility emissions of mercury by 90 percent, sulfur oxide by 80 percent and nitrous oxide by 53 percent.

But the group made clear that their proposal is different from the more controversial and sweeping climate change bill that remains deadlocked in the Senate.

"Half a million Tennesseans suffer from asthma, and 400,000 of them are at risk because of poor air quality, so we must act now on getting these harmful pollutants out of the air," Sen. Alexander said in introducing the measure.

The senators say the new bill would cost average Americans only a little less than $2 a month on their electric bills.

Endorsements abound

Three candidates in three different races last week announced they had received endorsements.

In Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District, former Tennessee Republican Party Chairwoman Robin Smith's campaign announced that she had received the endorsement of Susan B. Anthony List, a women's anti-abortion group.

In the state's gubernatorial race, former Democratic candidate Ward Cammack endorsed state Sen. Jim Kyle, D-Memphis.

And in the race for Georgia's 9th Congressional District seat, former Republican candidate Mike Evans announced his support of GOP candidate Lee Hawkins.

Rhodes to speak to tea party group

Cleveland, Tenn., businessman and Republican Tennessee 3rd Congressional District candidate Art Rhodes will be the speaker Tuesday at a meeting of the American Patriot Taxpayers East Tennessee Tea Party.

He will make remarks at a dinner gathering at Rebecca's Restaurant at the Davy Crockett Parkway Holiday Inn off Interstate 81 in Morristown, Tenn. The event begins at 5 p.m.

Twitter updates

Twitter is a social networking tool politicians often use to send updates to supporters. Here's what some local and state officials and candidates were saying last week.

* Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble, GOP candidate for Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District, Jan. 31: "The Bradley County Sheriff's Office is proud to have a member on the Disaster Medical Assistance Team headed to help in Haiti."

* Tommy Crangle, GOP candidate for Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District, Tuesday: "How many trillions of new taxes is in Obama's budget? Looks like a "jobless" decade. Cut taxes, cut spending, fix economy."

* Paula Flowers, former Democratic candidate for Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District, Thursday: "Childish tantrums in Fleischmann and Smith campaigns this week! 3rd District deserves Rep interested in representing all citizens not egos."

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