Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Why a vote on $800M tax credit for Plant Vogtle could come in January

This surely helped Georgia utility regulators back the embattled Vogtle nuclear project: Public Service Commission Chairman Stan Wise emailed fellow commissioners before the vote to say that House Speaker Paul Ryan promised to adopt a key tax credit that could be worth roughly $800 million.

Kristi Swartz and Geoff Koss of E&E News obtained the Wise email through an Open Records Act request ahead of last week's vote. The panel voted 5-0 to allow construction to continue, but gave itself an escape clause if Congress does not greenlight the tax credits.

From the report:

"I received a call from Speaker Ryan's office a moment ago assuring me that both houses of Congress have agreed to take up the issue of PTC's early next year (Jan.)," Wise wrote. "The call came from Senator Isakson, speaker Ryan and [Senate] Majority leader [Mitch] McConnell in agreement."

He said, "I would caution all from getting your news from rumor mongers, reliable or not. I was asked to share with you, but not to release publicly."

The U.S. House passed a measure this summer approving the nuclear tax credit that was later included in the chamber's broader tax overhaul measure. But it was removed from the final version that was adopted by the House and Senate and signed into law last week by President Donald Trump.

Senators last week introduced a standalone package of energy tax credits, which included the money intended for Vogtle, but did not advance it before the holiday.

Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, a co-sponsor of the legislation, suggested last week that Congress could act on the credits in January. And House lawmakers signal they're also confident the tax credits will be up for a vote early next year. (Greg Bluestein, Tamar Hallerman)


A Christmas message sent to U.S. Department of Agriculture employees by Sonny Perdue ahead of the holidays is raising some eyebrows in Washington. The video message in question includes the ag chief and his wife Mary discussing their favorite holiday traditions, including the nativity scene and Perdue’s belief that “God sent his son to earth for us.” Federal News Radio has more:

It’s that one line in the 2:16 video that has some feds questioning whether a specific religious message is appropriate in a video sponsored by a federal agency.

Video messages from political appointees are common place. Check out YouTube and you will find messages from current Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, and former secretaries of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and others.

The difference is those previous messages do not mention anything that is specific to one religion beyond Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukah.

We have a feeling the Trump administration won’t be too concerned. President Donald Trump spent much of the Christmas holiday tweeting variations of this message:



The Hill reports that before he resigned his Cabinet post, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price cut two checks reimbursing the government for trips his wife Betty, a state legislator, accompanied him on to Asia and Africa. The D.C. newspaper reports the checks, totaling $7,500, were meant to cover her seats on military-owned aircraft. (TH).


Former House speaker and Georgia Congressman’s Newt Gingrich is now officially the U.S.’s first man in Vatican City. His wife Callista formally became U.S. ambassador to the Holy See on Friday. Check out pictures of the Gingrichs in Vatican City here. (TH)

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.