This much is clear: There's not a great deal of affection between Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun and the Peach State's senior senator, Republican Saxby Chambliss.
In an interview in his fourth floor Rayburn Building office on Tuesday, Broun spoke passionately about fixing America's fiscal future. Under the glowering eyes of a handful of taxidermied animals, Broun said he was upset about Democrats wanting "to empower government to control more of our lives." The Congressman, in his third full term, said, "It's irresponsible, it's unteneable, it's unsustainable and it has to stop."
Asked whether Chambliss understands the big issues of debt and deficit the country is facing as he does, Broun paused for a moment.
"Doesn't seem so," Broun said. "He seems to want to raise taxes on people, and he also wants to continue spending. So I don't know if he does or not, you'll have to ask him."
But pressed whether he was interested in challenging Chambliss in next year's primary, Broun took a pass on answering. "Right now I'm focusing on trying to get our country to be responsible financially as a nation," he said. "It's not time to even think about that."
Although Chambliss' record is conservative, his comfort with reaching across the aisle to work on issues such as immigration and federal debt leave some in the Georgia GOP grass roots restless about his renomination. And Broun is one of the names — along with fellow GOP Rep. Tom Price — often floated in Peach State circles as a potential primary challenger to the senator.
But Chambliss won't take attacks on his fiscal conservatism sitting down and appeared to ding Broun for voting against the recent fiscal cliff deal.
"I have never voted for a tax increase, and have spent years working to fix Washington’s spending problem that led to the fiscal mess we’re in," he said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. "Voting against permanent tax breaks for virtually everyone hurts working Americans and our economy."
"Not only do I understand our debt and deficit problem, I have gotten off the sidelines to try and find a solution," Chambliss added. "Those who vote 'no' on everything obviously don't care about solving the country's problems."