ALBANY, Ga. -- U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie, said Thursday that no federal program is off limits as the bipartisanship debt commission he helped organize works to find ways to cut the federal deficit.
Speaking to the Rotary Club Thursday, Chambliss covered several issues under the national spotlight ranging from deficit reducing efforts to attempts to scuttle healthcare reform.
"What we've got to do is put everything out on the table, put our hard, partisan feelings aside and we've got to serious about this," Chambliss said. "It's not an issue that's been totally created by this administration or the previous administration, its an issue that's been created over a period of years and will be a period of years before we get out of it."
To that end, Chambliss and U.S.Senator Mark Warren, D-Va., are the organizers of a 31-member group of lawmakers and strategists who are tackling the issue of the deficit.
"Mark and I agreed a long time ago that we need to put this issue out on the table and that we need not leave anything out on the table," Chambliss said. "I've never voted for a tax increase and I don't intend on voting for one but we can't leave revenue raising opportunities off the table, they have to be in the mix. Likewise we have got to keep spending in the mix; we've got to keep social security on the table; got to keep Medicare on the table; because you're going to have to have reform of those programs and reform of the tax code that doesn't necessarily raise taxes but does reform the way we do business."
Chambliss said that the Senate will vote on the bill to repeal healthcare reform, despite the claims of Senate Democrats.
"This monstrosity of a health care bill is going to drag down the economy of the United States more so than the recession we've been through and are coming out of or any other economic influence on our economy," Chambliss said. "Harry Reid has already said it will never come up, well Harry Reid hasn't read the rules. He made some decisions during the lame duck that, in my opinion, were not in the best interests of the House and Senate and not in the best interests of the country, to bring some things forward under some rules that may be arcane but they are rules that are in place. I can assure you ... we're going to have a vote on the healthcare bill."
In other comments, Chambliss told the group that Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany was "the tip of the spear," in the global war on terror and that their importance in the global arena and to the war effort "can't be overstated."
Chambliss also said that water was likely the biggest issue facing the state moving into 2011 and that he feels Governor Nathan Deal is uniquely positioned to handle it given his experience in Washington and that Gainesville, his native part of the state, has been working to resolve water issues for years.