Just got off the phone with Bradford Swann, Sen. Johnny Isakson’s legislative aide. He was very friendly and apologetic that the office hadn’t gotten back in touch sooner.

Swann stressed the Republicans were actively seeking $34 billion in cuts over the next five years during a budget reconstruction process that should be complete by end of October. He said the cuts would be greater if not for the Democrats. I pointed out the $7 billion a year isn’t much when compared to $200 billion for Hurricane relief or the $270 billion deficit.

Interestingly, he was very noncommittal about the president’s proposed $200 billion for hurricane relief.

“We supported the $62 billion,” he said. “We’re waiting to see where we’re going from there. Spending’s a big concern for Johnny.”

Swann said that increasing tax revenues would help pay down the debt which was getting smaller as a percentage of GDP. I told him I liked the Republican party that talked about balancing the budget completely, not the debt as a percentage of GDP.

He said he agreed, but that we can’t “get there overnight.”

Swann downplayed the chances of the Senator recommending my suggestions about pork in the highway bill. He noted that the legislation had already passed, but said “we’re actively looking for ways to make additional cuts.”

All in all, it was a very nice conversation. And he seemed genuinely pleased to hear from me and discuss the budget. He said he’d tell Johnny my concerns which boiled down to this: Republicans aren’t sounding much like Republicans these days.