Isakson visits with Coweta constituents
by Clay Neely
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-GA, held a town hall meeting at the Coweta campus of West Georgia Technical College on Wednesday.
The Newnan-Coweta Board of Realtors sponsored the meeting for Senator Isakson, who is also a Realtor emeritus for the Atlanta board.
Speaking on the educational growth of Coweta County, he said, “Career academies are the future — 53 percent of graduates from liberal arts academies couldn’t find employment but almost 89 percent who graduated from technical schools did so. I appreciate what you all do here.”
The senator spoke on a variety of issues, such as immigration, the Affordable Care Act and his proposed budget legislation.
Jim Camp of Newnan asked about the current immigration issue that is facing the United States. “We have a lot of people coming here looking for jobs, but the only ones we have are the skilled jobs you’re talking about. As our senator, how do you plan on correcting it?”
“Historically, immigration has been calibrated to unemployment,” said Isakson. “If you have high unemployment, you have low thresholds in terms of immigration, and that’s how it should be. In the 2009 recession, the estimated number of illegals went home.”
“What we need now is a threshold to enter America so that if you enter, you enter the right way,” said Isakson. “The right reform is to secure the border to stop the bleeding, make sure everyone gets in the way my grandfather did at Ellis Island in 1903.”
The topic of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was on the mind of Nancy Olsen, who asked Isakson if he felt the older members of the House and Senate were making things difficult for people like Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.
Isakson responded, “We voted for closure for the bill that would defund Obamacare but we lost the vote. But if we hadn’t had the vote, we wouldn’t have had a chance at all. It’s a matter of playing with words, which happens in politics. But the fact of the matter is that Olympia Snowe was the only Republican who voted for Obamacare. The vote was split on closure. I wasn’t going to do that.”
“They wanted to shut down the government as a threat to defund Obamacare, which I didn’t support. I’ve worked with the U.S. Veterans Administration and couldn’t see the point of shutting down the government to those who have earned the right as veterans to receive the benefits they deserve just to make a political point,” said Isakson, which drew applause from the audience.
When the question of a balanced budget was posed, Isakson eagerly responded to the issue.
“It’s been since 1995 that both bodies passed what they were supposed to. The system is broken. You only have continuing resolutions,” he said. “There is currently a bill in the Senate called Biennial Budgeting and Appropriation Act, which would force Congress to become better stewards of the taxpayers’ money by placing Congress on a two-year budget cycle with one year devoted to appropriating federal dollars and the other year devoted to oversight of federal programs.”
“We need to get back to appropriating the old-fashioned way. It’s not fair for the country to not ask of itself what we require of you,” said Isakson. “You go to jail if you do that.”
Said Isakson, “It’s time we put Congress in a gridlock where it has to face up to its responsibility.”