February 2011
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The State of the Union and a Chance for Legislators to Come Together

This past week, President Obama addressed Congress and the nation on the State of the Union. It’s a tradition mandated by the Constitution and one of the great institutions of our country. In previous years, viewers at home noticed that each party sat on their respective side of the aisle and applauded at partisan moments. This year, I joined the Ohio Congressional delegation in sitting together as a symbol of unity. The delegation has had a strong tradition of working across the aisle to accomplish good things for the benefits of all Ohioans.

I agreed with the President’s call for a simplified tax code. This is long overdue and something which can be achieved through work on both sides of the aisle. As we all fill out our tax forms in the coming months, it’s easy to see the benefits of this idea. Simplification of the tax code will increase compliance, and decrease the amount of individuals looking to game the system.

However, it’s also clear that freezing government spending at current levels, as the president has proposed, will not slow the runaway deficits which have characterized the past two years of this administration. In order to create jobs, jumpstart the economy and continue the tradition of American entrepreneurial success, we must cut government spending and tackle our mounting debt. This is the true challenge of our generation. It is time to have an honest discussion about the spending priorities in this country.

Much of the debate surrounding healthcare reform was framed on the subject of curtailing the deficit and righting our fiscal ship. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has stated that Obamacare will increase the federal budget deficit by over $550 billion in the first ten years of the law and then by $1.4 trillion in the following ten years. Additional taxes, fees, and costs associated with the passed legislation will not have a positive effect on an already struggling economy. Already, the President has recognized that the additional 1099 forms to be filled out by businesses for every purchase over $600 is burdensome and time consuming and asked for the provision to be removed from the law. If we want to help small businesses keep our neighbors employed, and encourage new hiring in our communities, we must enact meaningful reforms. These include allowing small businesses to pool coverage and curtailing frivolous lawsuits, while not piling bureaucracy upon an already onerous system.

During his address, the President rightly recognized the American people’s call for both parties to work together. I was encouraged to hear of his support to keep our country competitive in research and technology in the innovative spirit of the Wright brothers. At Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, they are leading the way in this area, and the creation of similar economic engines throughout Ohio and our country are much needed. Jobs related to science and technology in support of our nation’s defense has been integral to the advancements made in civilian society.

Moving forward in the 112th Congress, we have the opportunity to begin anew. I look forward to working with the Ohio delegation and my colleagues from around the country to accomplish the goals of our nation. We must work to end the budget deficit which stands at upward of $1 trillion and begin to take steps to pay down our debt which is charging past $14 trillion. Failure to act on these issues would not only be a disservice to this nation, but would the opposite of the positive example we’ve set around the world for over 200 years.

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