February 17, 2012
Senator Portman, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget, voiced his opposition this week to the President’s FY 2013 budget, calling it “a document more tailored toward campaign talking points than addressing the long-term solvency of the federal government.”
On a local level, President Obama’s budget proposes changes to Ohio’s defense structure that could impact some unique capabilities for our national security. Portman plans to ensure that the Administration’s strategy appropriately addresses future threats and that a comprehensive analytical approach was taken to reach the proposed force reductions. Last Thursday, Portman held a meeting with Ohio’s Congressional delegation and Major General Deborah Ashenhurst, the Adjutant General of the Ohio National Guard, to proactively prepare for a potential BRAC (base realignment and closure) process and prevent painful repercussions to Ohio’s Air National Guard. Portman will continue to fight to ensure Ohio’s interests are well-protected in future discussions.
Although Portman was pleased the Administration has included $150 million in funding for ACP’s research, development and demonstration program, he remains frustrated by the Administration’s failure to issue the conditional loan guarantee to advance ACP and will continue to work toward a path forward on the project.
In addition, Portman’s analysis of the President’s budget shows that the Department of the Treasury will reach the statutory debt limit before Election Day 2012. Despite President Obama’s promise that he would take action to address the country’s fiscal crisis, his most recent budget increases the debt by $11 trillion over 10 years. The President’s budget proposal sends a clear signal to the American people that Washington is spending too much, borrowing too much and putting our nation’s fiscal stability at risk.
Portman released a statement today on the third anniversary of President Obama’s stimulus. The Obama team claimed that through massive new federal spending the unemployment rate would be reduced to 6 percent by 2012. Yet $831 billion later, the nation’s and Ohio’s unemployment rates remain above 8 percent. By the Administration’s own standards, the stimulus bill was an expensive failure.
On Thursday Portman co-sponsored a resolution that puts the Senate on record as ruling out a strategy of containment for a nuclear-armed Iran. The resolution strongly rejects any policy that would fail to prevent the Iranian government from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and settle for future efforts to “contain” a nuclear weapons capable Iran. It also urges continued and increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran until it agrees to the full and sustained suspension of all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. Also this week, Portman stood in support of Israel in response to the targeting of Israeli diplomats in Georgia and India.
On Wednesday, Portman met with a number of Ohioans working hard to improve the Buckeye State, including:
- Cub Scout Daniel Green from Silver Lake, Ohio who was selected to represent the 2.7 million Boy Scouts of America at their annual Report to the Nation. Daniel was selected after being awarded the Boy Scouts of America Honor Medal for his bravery in rescuing a little girl from drowning in Silver Lake last summer.
- Former Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes and the presidents of both Cleveland State University (CSU) and Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) to discuss the new partnership between these two universities that combines their strengths in urban health, primary care medicine and inter-professional education. This new partnership allows CSU students preparing for careers in the medical field to study a focused curriculum at NEOMED that better prepares them for challenges they will face in the northeast Ohio community.
- Presidents and trustees of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges to discuss the role community colleges play in worker retraining for Ohio’s unemployed and underemployed.
On Wednesday, Portman and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), authors of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 1000), welcomed the introduction of bipartisan energy efficiency legislation in the House of Representatives. Introduced in the Senate last May, the legislation has garnered national support from more than 100 businesses, trade associations and efficiency advocates. In September, S. 1000 passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 18 to 3.
US To Hit Debt Ceiling Before Election Day
The United States Department of Treasury will reach the statutory limit it is allowed to borrow money before Election Day, according to a new study by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio., former director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
“Following the contentious debt ceiling last August, President Obama promised that he would take action to address the country’s fiscal crisis. He has failed to do that," Portman said. "In fact, his new budget increases spending and projects that Washington will be hitting the debt ceiling again in mid-October – burning through a $2.1 trillion debt limit increase in just over 14 months."
Portman's office notes that according to Obama's budget, total debt subject to the statutory debt will reach limit will reach $16.334 trillion by September 30, 2012. This is just $60 billion below the 16,394,000,000,000 debt limit. Since the federal government is adding to the national debt at a rate of $132 billion a month, the debt ceiling is on schedule to be reached by October 15, 2012.
"This is an unfortunate but clear signal to the American people that Washington is spending too much, borrowing too much, and putting our nation’s fiscal stability at risk," Portman said.
(“US to hit Debt Ceiling before election day” by Conn Carroll. Washington Examiner. February 17, 2012.)
Our Opinion: Mansfield Cannot Stand To Lose 179th
Ohio's elected officials took a good first step last week at saving more than 1,000 jobs at Ohio's Air National Guard bases -- many of them in Mansfield.
Sen. Rob Portman and others have vowed to make a strong push to ensure President Barack Obama's proposed budget doesn't decimate the workforce at Mansfield's National Guard base.
"The Air Force has made their preliminary decision on this," Portman said Thursday. "(But) Congress can reverse it."
(“Our Opinion: Mansfield cannot stand to lose 179th” by Editorial Board. The Mansfield News Journal. February 16, 2012.)
GOP Senators Assail New Budget Director
President Obama’s new budget director took a lashing Tuesday from Senate Republicans who accused him of aiding and abetting a deceptive spending request.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who is considered more conciliatory than Sessions, cut off Zients several times during his questioning and accused him of reciting talking points from the White House.
Portman, a former budget chief under President George W. Bush, asked Zients if he agrees with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) position that there is no need to pass a new budget resolution in the upper chamber.
“I think the mechanics and the process are not my area of expertise,” Zients said.
“I take that as a ‘no,’ ” Portman quipped, followed by a reprimand from Conrad for not allowing a full reply.
(“GOP senators assail new budget director” by Erik Wasson. The Hill. February 14, 2012.)
Obama’s Budget: Big Cuts, Red Ink, Tax Hikes
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s $3.8 trillion budget proposal would raise taxes on wealthy Americans, ground at least some planes from two Ohio air bases, slash payments to farmers and provide $150 million for a proposed uranium-enrichment plant in Piketon.
The budget unveiled yesterday would result in a near $1 trillion deficit for the 2013 federal spending year, which begins on Oct. 1.
Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio joined a loud chorus of Republicans who assailed Obama’s budget. Portman said the budget presumes higher unemployment during the next two fiscal years and is “a testament to the fact that Washington can’t continue to rely on short-term sweeteners and spending gimmicks to grow our economy and get the country out of this mess.”
(“Obama’s budget: big cuts, red ink, tax hikes” by Jessica Wehrman. The Columbus Dispatch. February 14, 2012.)
Roundtable Attendees Frustrated With Centrifuge Loan Process
PIKETON — Ohio Sen. Rob Portman visited local residents and leaders in a roundtable discussion Friday in the latest attempt to drum up support for a $2 billion loan guarantee for USEC Inc.’s American Centrifuge Project.
Many in attendance expressed frustration with the loan guarantee process.
Local elected officials thanked Portman for trying to persuade President Barack Obama and U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu on behalf of the centrifuge project, which is intended to serve as a source of domestically enriched uranium for nuclear operations.
“We can’t thank you enough for all your leadership on this,“ said Cliff Rosenberger, a state representative whose district includes Pike County. “To me, this is a no-brainer project.”
Portman said he is now working to try to find $300 million in federal funds for USEC to conduct further research and development. The money was described as an “interim plan” to help prepare the facility for approval of the loan guarantee.
(“Roundtable attendees frustrated with centrifuge loan process” by Loren Genson. The Chillicothe Gazette. February 10, 2012.)
Portman Talks Drug Prevention
Scioto County will receive $100,000 in funding from the federal government’s HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) designation. That’s what Derek Siegle, executive director of Ohio HIDTA, told the news media Friday after a meeting with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and state and local law enforcement at the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office.
Portman said both Scioto and Adams counties have received the designation. He said the move by the Obama administration came about after the president’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, visited Portsmouth on July 10, meeting with law enforcement and members of the Scioto County Drug Action Team, and learning of the illegal prescription drug problem.
“I’m really proud of the efforts that have been made already in terms of drug prevention, the SOLACE group,” Portman said. “I’m also encouraged by all they have done on the law enforcement level here in shutting down the pill mills. But now it’s time to take it to the next level. In Scioto County and in Adams County there is a drug problem that is ruining lives, breaking up families, and it’s a tremendous cost to our communities.”
Portsmouth Police Chief Charles Horner applauded Portman’s work to get the HIDTA designation.
“I think it comes from his past experience, and the Community Drug Free Alliance that he was involved in in Cincinnati,” Horner said. “And I think he recognizes that we in Scioto County and Adams County have an opportunity to expand on the philosophy that was developed with making the community responsible for itself. Not making law enforcement responsible for it.”
(“Portman talks drug prevention” by Frank Lewis. The Portsmouth Daily Times. February 11, 2012.)
WPAFB Likely To Avoid Cuts From Defense Plan
The Pentagon’s increasing demand for unmanned aircraft bodes well for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as President Barack Obama prepares to make public his funding plans for the smaller, more agile military he envisions for the future.
Portman and other members of Ohio’s congressional delegation met last week with the Air Force’s senior leadership, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Secretary Michael Donley, as well as Maj. Gen. Deborah Ashenhurst, Ohio’s adjutant general who oversees Ohio’s National Guard and Air National Guard.
Schwartz and Donley appreciate Wright-Patterson’s value, Portman said.
“I think we’re well-positioned to make a strong argument about the value of Wright-Patt,” Portman, a Republican, said after the meeting, which included Ohio legislators from both parties.
(“WPAFB likely to avoid cuts from defense plan” by John Nolan and Barrie Barber. The Dayton Daily News. February 11, 2012.)
Immelt: GE Aviation Strong
General Electric Co. is investing $580 million in Evendale-based GE Aviation, part of a nationwide effort to train high-skilled workers, jumpstart innovation and add 400 jobs over the next three years.
“I can’t remember a time when the Evendale business has had a stronger position than it does today,” Immelt said during a phone interview while hosting a four-day conference in Washington, D.C., to discuss manufacturing, innovation and job growth.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R-Terrace Park) was one of the panelists Monday talking about government’s role in supporting manufacturing.
“At today’s forum, I shared my ideas to help Ohio manufacturers expand and create jobs. Over the past few years, I’ve visited over 100 manufacturers across Ohio and what I hear from them is consistent – they’re looking for new policies out of Washington to reduce their costs and make them more competitive,” Portman said in a statement.
GE Aviation employs 25,000 in the United States, including 7,500 in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. It’s added 1,000 U.S. jobs since 2010 nationally, and expects to add another 400 over the next three years.
(“Immelt: GE Aviation strong” by Mike Boyer. The Cincinnati Enquirer. February 13, 2012.)
Portman Talks ACP In Piketon
U.S. Senator Rob Portman was in Piketon on Friday afternoon to speak with local leaders and residents about efforts to fund the American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) and bring thousands of jobs to the region.
Portman explained that he and others are still pushing for the $2 billion conditional loan guarantee that would allow the ACP to move into commercial production of enriched uranium, and in the meantime, is working on helping to secure funding for the research, development and demonstration (RD&D) program.
"It would be a $300 million program over two years. During that time period, we hope that the loan guarantee would be approved because there would be enough progress made on the development of the individual centrifuge machines into a cascade to show the DOE that the loan guarantee is appropriate," Portman said.
Projections state that a full-funded ACP could bring as many as 4,000 jobs to the region.
(“Portman talks ACP in Piketon” by Brad Sherman. The Pike County News Watchman. February 10, 2012.)