‘We are not going to back down,’ says Portman
By Patty Rice Groth
The Crawford County Republican Women organization delayed their annual Lincoln Day celebration until Friday, March 1, in order to accommodate the schedule of U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio). That day was scheduled as a “day off” for the senator along with his colleagues in the U.S. House and Senate. Like the majority of his fellow lawmakers, Portman’s scheduled day off was filled with opportunities to meet and speak with constituents around the state.
Following welcoming remarks and introductions of local elected officials, Sis Love, president of the Bucyrus Council and president of the Crawford County Republican Women’s club, introduced Senator Portman, outlining his experience in the U.S. Senate since January of 2011, having served in two cabinet-level positions and in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Republican Party, said Portman, “is the party of growth, the party of opportunity.” The party’s economic and tax policies will provide the needed leadership to bring the country out of its slow recovery, said Portman, criticizing the policies of President Barack Obama as he travels the country promoting tax increases for the wealthy. “Campaigning, not leading” is how he characterized Obama’s recent behavior.
“We Republicans want to grow this economy. We want to bring back the jobs. We want to get over this doldrum we are living through. We want to get rid of this excessive debt.” Portman said the average income in Ohio has gone down over the last four years. Higher costs of expenses like gasoline and health care are creating a “middle class squeeze,” as much as a $4,000 effective reduction in median income.
Republicans, said Portman, suggest that a pick and choose reduction in costs strategy would be more effective than the across-the-board reductions specified by the sequester. The flexibility to identify and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracies and cost over-runs was declined by Obama as an effective strategy.
“We Republicans are not going to back down from getting these savings,” said Portman. The Congres-sional Budget Office, an nonpartisan agency, says an extra $10 trillion will be added to the debt over the next 10 years unless something is done, said Portman.
The challenge as Republicans is to make sure people know what is going on, in a more effective way, what alternatives there are.
“We have a message problem,” said Portman. “We weren’t getting through to people that we are the party for opportunity and growth.” Republicans need to be convinced that there is a strategy and a plan other than opposing anything Obama suggests. The message doesn’t need to change; the message needs to refocused that Republicans have a way to improve the national economy, supported by the American work ethic.
Asked what can citizens do at the local level to push the economic recovery and the government stalemate forward, Portman said, “Write your Congressman. Write your Senator.” Knowing what voters think is important in Congress. Senator Portman encourages his constituents to send him their ideas on ways to reduce the budget deficit.
In January Portman — with 29 co-sponsors — proposed Senate Bill 43, The Dollar-for-Dollar Deficit Reduction Act. That bill has been referred to the Budget Committee.
Senate Bill 43 would add a requirement that the U.S. Treasury warn specified Congressional committee when the debt limit would be exceeded. That warning would include a determination as to when “extraordinary measures” may be necessary to prolong the funding of the government.
The bill specifies that any request from a president to increase the debt limit must include spending reductions in the same amount. Congress would be prohibited from approving any legislation, resolution, amendment or motion which increases the public debt limit unless the proposed increase has been publicly available on the Congressional Budget Office’s web site for at least 24 hours. The proposed legislation provides to waivers and appeals.
Senate Bill 43 is very short and easily read. It is available online. A copy should be available from Senator Portman’s office.