Rob's Rundown: First Votes, First Legislation, and State of the Union...
Rob was in our nation’s capital for his first full week of legislative action. Along with attending and reacting to the State of the Union, Rob introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at creating jobs in Ohio, reducing our deficit, curtailing our spending and increasing exports, and was appointed to the Senate’s Armed Services, Budget, Energy and Homeland Security Committees. Here is a brief look at what they are saying about Rob’s busy week.
Ohio's senators back spending cuts
The day after President Barack Obama called for reducing spending in his State of the Union address, Ohio's two senators threw their support behind separate bills aimed at doing just that.
Sen. Rob Portman of Terrace Park joined 18 other Republican senators in co-sponsoring a bill that would require Congress to pass a balanced budget. Any tax increases or deficit spending would require a two-thirds majority vote to pass.
"It's really a very simple concept and it's one that's long overdue," said Portman, who was White House budget director under President George W. Bush.
The bill also would require the president to submit a balanced budget to Congress each year and cap annual spending at 20 percent of the gross domestic product. The restrictions could be waived in a time of war.
"This is something that has been talked about for years, but with a record deficit ... it's the right time and the right place," Portman said. (“Ohio’s senators back spending cuts,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, Malia Rulon, 01/26/11)
CBO chief: Deficit problem really comes down to health care costs
“The day after the Congressional Budget Office released its new estimate of a $1.5 trillion budget deficit for this fiscal year, CBO chief Douglas Elmendorf told the Senate Budget Committee that health care is the biggest driver of the budget problem.
“Responding to a question from Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who asked him to identify the single largest fiscal challenge facing the United States, Elmendorf said, "the part of the spending that is growing very rapidly, and much faster than GDP, is spending on the government's large health care programs, both because of the aging of the population … and because of rising health spending."
“He added, "The crucial underlying factor here … is the rising number of older Americans, relative to working Americans, and the rising cost of health care, relative to other things in the economy."
This should come as no surprise, Elmendorf said. "Those fundamental forces have been foreseen for decades and, I think, are inexorable under current policies." (“CBO chief: Deficit problem really comes down to health care costs,” NBC News, Tom Curry, 01/27/11)
Portman lands committee assignment key to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
“In a move that could provide a boost for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has landed a seat on the Senate armed services committee.
“Combined with Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, chairing a House subcommittee on strategic forces, Portman’s appointment means Ohio holds a key seat on both the Senate and House armed services panels.
“Michael Gessel, a Washington-based vice president for the Dayton Development Coalition, called Portman’s appointment “outstanding’’ for the Dayton area, saying that “members of the committee have a great deal of influence over decisions made by Air Force and Pentagon officials.’’
“The last Ohio senator to hold a seat on armed services was Democrat John Glenn in 1998.
“Portman pledged to “fight to support Ohio jobs that are integral to our national security. He specifically cited Wright-Patterson, the General Dynamics tank plant in Lima, and the General Electric aircraft engine plant in the Cincinnati suburb of Evendale.” (“Portman lands committee assignment key to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,” Dayton Daily News, Jack Torry, 01/28/11)
Ohio’s politicians emerging as a force on Capitol Hill
“Washington has, unfortunately, been making it harder, not easier, for companies of all sizes here in Ohio to grow and create jobs," said Portman. "We need to turn that around and pass pro-job growth legislation. I'm optimistic that we'll be able to come together on a bipartisan basis to ratify pending export agreements, agreements that would provide opportunity here in Clyde and across Ohio, benefiting Ohio companies and their employees."
“A new health care law, more international trade agreements, and fewer new regulations will help pull the U.S. out of a persistent jobless recovery, new U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) said Thursday during his first trip back to northwest Ohio since being elected.
“Just two weeks after being sworn into the U.S. Senate, Portman (R-Ohio) said told those gathered Thursday at the Clyde Whirlpool facility, "I will tackle every issue with a focus on jobs…" (“Senator Portman: 'This is a success story' Visits Clyde Whirlpool, vows support for job creation,” The Clyde Enterprise, Danielle Orr, 01/21/11)
Portman proposes cut in employers' payroll tax
“Republican Rob Portman's first U.S. Senate bill seeks a big tax cut for employers…The heart of the Ohioan's bill is a proposed one-year, 2 percentage-point reduction in the payroll taxes paid by employers. Portman said he backs the similar payroll-tax reduction already in place for employees, but he contends that giving employers the same break is a matter of fairness and would be a job-creation device, to the tune of 1.4 million jobs nationally. Portman said his bill would reduce the federal deficit by $85 billion.” (“Portman proposes cut in employers’ payroll tax,” The Columbus Dispatch, Jonathan Riskind, 01/25/11)
Rob Portman's first act: Cut employer taxes, health care mandate, red tape and lawsuits
“Making good on ideas he promoted as a candidate, freshman U.S. Sen. Rob Portman Tuesday will introduce legislation he says will create jobs and "cut the restrictive role" of government…”
“Portman insists that combined, these measures could cut the deficit by $85 billion, lead to creation of 1.4 million jobs and provide nearly $240 billion in tax relief to foster hiring and investment. He said that the cut in payroll taxes would not be intended as permanent or to lead to Social Security privatization, as some Democrats say they fear, although he acknowledged that Social Security needs to be addressed separately because of projected long-term financial problems -- an assessment shared by members of the Obama administration.” (“Rob Portman’s first act: Cut employer taxes, health care mandate, red tape and lawsuits,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Stephen Koff, 01/24/11)
Portman speech guest: Wounded soldier/Oxford native
Sen. Rob Portman will bring a special guest to the State of the Union speech tonight, he said: a wounded soldier originally from Oxford.
Sgt. Petry was born in Oxford, OH and currently lives in Preble County, OH. Sgt. Petry’s convoy
, and he is currently healing from back and neck injuries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
“Sergeant Petry has selflessly sacrificed for our nation and it is the very least I could do with my ticket to the State of the Union address tonight. The sacrifices he and so many have made in defense of our nation make possible the representative government that tonight’s State of the Union symbolizes. I am honored to meet Sgt. Petry today, and proud he is able to attend this historic event,” said Portman. (“Portman speech guest: Wounded soldier/Oxford native, “The Cincinnati Enquirer, Carl Weiser, 01/24/11)
Sen. Portman’s 1st bill would repeal health care law
“Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said the first day that senators can introduce legislation is Tuesday, and he plans to introduce his first bill then. The Terrace Park Republican is calling it the Job Creation Act of 2011. But two of its main provisions would repeal parts of the recently enacted health care law, including a mandate that everyone buy insurance by 2014…”
“Portman said he supports the payroll tax reduction for employees but thinks it should also be extended to employers, which would “have a bigger impact on jobs.” (“Sen. Portman’s 1st bill would repeal health care law,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, Malia Rulon, 01/24/11)
Brown, Portman press for Coda loan
“Ohio's U.S. senators met with Energy Secretary Steven Chu yesterday to urge his agency to approve a loan for a battery plant in Columbus and a loan guarantee for a uranium centrifuge near Piketon.
“Coda Holdings has applied for a $500 million-plus loan to help pay for the battery plant, which initially would have 1,000 workers. The Department of Energy has been reviewing the request since early last summer.
“Chu gave no indication of how soon his office will act on the application or its likelihood for being approved, according to staff members for the senators.
"My key focus is on the jobs that the lithium-ion battery facility would bring to central Ohio, not only the jobs at the facility, but the many more that would be needed to support and supply it," Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, said in a statement.” (“Brown, Portman press for Coda loan,” The Columbus Dispatch, Dan Gearino, 01/27/11)
Portman gets committee assignments
Senate committee assignments were handed out today and Terrace Park’s Rob Portman got the main one he was seeking: the Senate Budget Committee
That will allow the former White House budget director to use his expertise in dealing with tax and federal budget issues. Along with the House Budget Committee, on which Portman served as vice chairman, the Senate Budget Committee is responsible for drafting Congress’ annual budget plan and monitoring action on the budget for the federal government.
“We have a fiscal crisis,” Portman said, referring to a report
from the Congressional Budget Office this week saying that this year’s deficit is the largest the U.S. has ever had. “I’m looking forward to using my experience … to help restore some restraint in our budgeting process. Restoring fiscal restraint is paramount to creating the certainty that employers and entrepreneurs need to create jobs across Ohio and our country…”
Portman also was assigned to the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. (“Portman gets committee assignments,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, Malia Rulon, 01/27/11)
For more information about the Balanced Budget Amendment Rob’s cosponsoring, his reaction to President Obama’s second State of the Union address or his first piece of legislation, the Job Creation Act of 2011, which will create over 1.4 million jobs while reducing the deficit $85 billion, please click here to visit our Web site. As always, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @robportman or @PortmanPress, on Facebook, or stay up to date with Senator Portman’s media appearances by subscribing to his YouTube Channel.