Tuesday, May 30, 2023

U.S. Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter

Carter tiptoes through debt ceiling saga

With a deal to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for spending limits poised to come up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives tomorrow, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are facing rebellions from the flanks of their political parties.

But don’t expect Coastal Georgia’s congressman, Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter, to join the brewing far-right revolt against the deal. In January, when McCarthy struggled through 15 rounds of voting before winning election as speaker, Carter stuck with him.

Still, by skating lightly over the details and repercussions of the legislation he favors or ignoring them altogether, Carter’s route to a likely “yea” vote for the Biden-McCarthy plan illustrates just how the five-term congressman from Pooler navigates thorny political controversies, The Current’s Craig Nelson writes.

The Islands Fire Station, built in 2021, is a small fire station meant to service the wide expanses of east Liberty County and Tradeport East. Officials say it has no water tank of its own. Credit: Justin Taylor/The Current

Bigger and bigger

Last week’s announcement by Hyundai and LG Energy Solution that they will jointly build a $4.3 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Bryan County adjacent to the site of the massive Hyundai EV Metaplant now under construction. The project is expected to create 3,000 jobs.

The announcement ignited a political fight. Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff credited the Biden administration and the green provisions contained in the Democratic-backed Inflation Reduction Act with winning the bid, while Gov. Brian Kemp said the whole project was in place before the act was signed into law.

More importantly, for a wake-up call or reminder about the consequences — both intended and unintended — of such rapid, massive growth across the northern swaths of Coastal Georgia that the announcement portends, look no further than the story by The Current’s Jake Shore about the problems besetting the Liberty County Fire Department.

Large irrigation equipment sits idle on a farm not far from Lake Seminole in south Georgia, where water flows in from the Flint River before flowing into the Apalachicola River in Florida. (Jill Nolin/Georgia Recorder)

Tilling legislative fields

For all the attention that Coastal Georgia’s cities and mega-projects draw, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the region is still predominantly rural and reliant on agriculture.

Which is why the five-year federal farm bill, which governs an array of agricultural and food programs, is so important to the livelihoods of so many residents. A new farm bill must be reauthorized by Sept. 30. The last one, enacted in 2018, cost $428 billion.  

State Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper led a group of industry officials to Washington recently to “advocate for priorities including crop insurance reform, an updating of ‘reference prices’ – government-mandated minimum prices for certain crops – and stepped-up technological research,” Capitol Beat reports.

In the middle of the debate over the shape of the next five-year farm bill are Sen. Raphael Warnock, who serves on the Senate Agricultural Committee, as well Democrat Reps. David Scott (Atlanta) and Sanford Bishop (Albany), as well as Republican Austin Scott (Tifton), serve in the House’s counterpart.

Tybee Island
Tybee Island Lighthouse Credit: Jeffery M. Glover/ The Current


  • Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions says she won’t run for re-election in November” (Savannah Morning News, May 26, 2023) “During Sessions’ annual State of the City presentation on Thursday, she announced she will not seek re-election in November. No one else has announced their bid for mayor yet. Sessions has served nine years on council, including the last four as mayor, and said she is looking forward to returning to her role as a resident and ‘returning to a life,’ which is going to involve a lot of pet rescue.” 
  • Carter praises passage of HALT Fentanyl Act: This ‘will save lives’” (News release, Office of Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter, May 25, 2023) “I’m tired of hearing stories about mothers, father, daughters, and sons that lost their lives at the hands of this lethal drug. I’m proud that the House took this action today, which will undoubtedly save lives. The fight isn’t over, our border is still unsecured, but this is a positive step that I hope the senate will take up swiftly.”
  • State Senator Hickman Appointed to Council on Literacy” (Statesboro Herald, May 22, 2023) “Lt. Gov. Burt Jones has appointed State Sen. Billy Hickman, chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, to serve on the Georgia Council on Literacy.”
  • 5 takeaways from AP’s series on health disparities impacting Black Americans” (Associated Press, May 23, 2023) “From birth to death, Black Americans fare worse in measures of health compared to their white counterparts. They have higher rates of infant and maternal mortality, higher incidence of asthma during childhood, more difficulty treating mental illness as teens, and higher rates of high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and other illness as adults.”
  • Even after election, Georgia law gives Kemp, Jones big-money edge” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 26, 2023) “It [the leadership law] also provides Kemp the wherewithal to sustain a kind of shadow Republican Party after spending the past two years feeling under attack from former President Donald Trump and some state party leaders.”
  • “‘My fellow Republicans wanted me to lie,’ Liz Cheney says in commencement speech” (Politico, May 28, 2023) “‘After the 2020 election and the attack of January 6th, my fellow Republicans wanted me to lie. They wanted me to say the 2020 election was stolen, the attack of January 6th wasn’t a big deal, and Donald Trump wasn’t dangerous,’ Cheney said. ‘I had to choose between lying and losing my position in House leadership. No party, no nation, no people can defend and perpetuate a constitutional republic if they accept leaders who have gone to war with the rule of law, with the democratic process, with the peaceful transfer of power, with the Constitution itself.’”

Carter tiptoes through debt ceiling saga

Don’t expect Coastal Georgia’s congressman, Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter, to join the brewing far-right revolt against the deal. In January, when McCarthy struggled through 15 rounds of voting before winning election as speaker, Carter stuck with him.

Voters want compromise in Congress – so why the brinkmanship over the debt ceiling?

Research shows that the public does not like gridlock on issues in which people agree on the end goal. The public, on average, even prefers a victory for the other side over policy gridlock. A win for their own side is the best outcome, a compromise is next best, a win for the other side is next best after that. Gridlock is the worst outcome.

Hyundai, LG Energy to partner for metaplant battery manufacturing

The new EV battery plant will represent nearly 78% of the $5.5 billion investment in the Metaplant project Hyundai announced last October and 37% of the 8,100 jobs the EV manufacturing facility will generate.

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Craig Nelson is a former international correspondent for The Associated Press, the Sydney (Australia) Morning-Herald, Cox Newspapers and The Wall Street Journal. He also served as foreign editor for The...