Voinovich: The REAL Inconvenient Truth

Latest newsletter from Senator Voinovich:
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Currently, the U.S. Debt is estimated at: $12,264,478,112,700

Your share of today's public debt is: $39,934

Spearheading Debt Reduction Task Force Legislation

Since coming to the Senate in 1999, Sen. Voinovich has called on Congress to address reform of the tax and entitlement systems. To that end, he has introduced the Securing America’s Future Economy (SAFE) Commission Act each Congress since 2006, saying that our increasing national debt is the biggest challenge facing our nation today. For too long, Sen. Voinovich felt alone in the desert in his calls for reform, but this year he co-sponsored the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action Act introduced by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, Senators Conrad and Gregg, which was closely modeled after his SAFE Commission bill. In the past few weeks, Sen. Voinovich has been pleased to see the fiscal wake-up call being heard throughout the country. He even met with President Obama in the Oval Office to stress the urgency of passing this legislation. Three days later, the president publically endorsed the Conrad-Gregg statutory debt commission. Unfortunately, the bill came seven votes shy of passing. President Obama announced during his State of the Union Address that he would be creating a debt commission by Executive Order (E.O.). Although Sen. Voinovich would prefer a statutory commission through the legislative process to tackle the fiscal challenges facing our nation, he is acutely aware of the urgency of the situation. Sen. Voinovich looks forward to learning more about the commission the president is proposing, but is still hopeful that Congress will act to pass the Conrad-Gregg statuory proposal.

Fighting Against a Fiscally Irresponsible Approach to Health Care Reform

On Christmas Eve, Sen. Voinovich voted against Senate passage of the Democrats’ so-called health care reform bill. The $2 trillion dollar bill that passed without a single Republican vote would raise taxes by more than half-a-trillion dollars, increase premiums for health insurance, place additional burdens on states, and threaten the health care choices that millions currently enjoy. As a former governor of Ohio, former chairman of the National Governors Association and past president of the National League of Cities, one lesson that Sen. Voinovich’s more than 40 years of public service has taught him is, if you cannot afford what you have now, you cannot do more. The national debt has exceeded $12 trillion, and – at this rate – will double in 5 years, and triple in 10, with deficits as far as the eye can see. The United States has amassed a staggering $70 trillion in unfunded obligations over the next 75 years, an estimated $600,000 per American household. Sen. Voinovich took to the Senate floor four times in December 2009 to remind his colleagues and the American people about the fiscal realities of this bill and the disastrous toll it will take on the U.S. economy. At a time when Ohio's unemployment rate is at 10.9 percent, new health care legislation should strive to help Americans and the economy, not punish. Paying for health care reform by placing additional financial burdens on American families and small businesses will further impede our economic recovery. Sen. Voinovich does not believe this is reform, and he certainly does not believe this is what the American people are asking for.

Keeping in Contact with Ohioans

In today’s 24-hour news environment, providing his constituents with timely information is a top priority for Sen. Voinovich. That is why he has sought new and innovative ways to share what he is doing directly with folks back home in Ohio. In addition to his Senate Web site, http://voinovich.senate.gov, Sen. Voinovich regularly updates his official congressional YouTube channel, which he launched last year. Located at http://www.youtube.com/senvoinovich, his channel showcases recent video from Senate floor speeches, press conferences and television appearances in real time. A few of the site’s current highlights include Sen. Voinovich’s reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union Address, his most recent fiscal speech, an interview with Fox Business Network, and his renowned “Pac-Man” speech – which was highlighted on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show as the “Moment of Zen.” In addition to viewing videos, visitors can also comment, share and subscribe to Sen. Voinovich’s channel and link to his official Web site. As Sen. Voinovich serves out his final year in the U.S. Senate, he remains intent on holding himself accountable and keeping his constituents updated on his work on their behalf in Washington.

Reacting to President Obama's First State of the Union

After President Obama’s first State of the Union Address, Sen. Voinovich said that although he was pleased the president acknowledged that we can’t keep going the direction we are, he would have liked to have heard more emphasis on a commitment to bipartisanship. He would have liked to have seen more passion and more pressing of the message that President Obama wants to work together with Congress. People are tired of the status quo in Washington – two parties running to opposite ends of the political spectrum and continuing to become more polarized. Sen. Voinovich hopes that his colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, will get the message that cooperation is not a political disadvantage to their reelection plans and work with the president in a bipartisan way to solve our nation’s serious and growing problems. Following the speech, Sen. Voinovich again called on the president to reauthorize the highway transportation. He said that a robust new highway bill would be a way of telling the economy “you’re going to be OK.”

Calling on Obama to Create Jobs in Ohio

Recently, President Obama visited Lorain, Ohio, which is suffering from more than 13 percent unemployment. During his visit, Sen. Voinovich again reminded the president that if he truly wants to create jobs, he must call on Congressional leadership to pass a new surface transportation reauthorization bill. The senator has been pushing this message for the past year as unemployment continues to rise. A robust new highway bill would be a real jobs bill at a time when construction unemployment is twice the national average. In fact, infrastructure spending is one of the most efficient economic investments the federal government can make. When the federal government spends money, it is Washington’s responsibility to ensure we are getting the biggest job-growth bang for our tax dollars – and states have identified 9,500 infrastructure projects valued at more than $69.5 billion that are ready to go. A transportation reauthorization bill would put people to work and create lasting infrastructure projects around the country, including funding shovel-ready projects in Ohio like the Brent Spence Bridge, I-75 and the Innerbelt Bridge. Sen. Voinovich is committed to do everything in his power to stop Congress from turning a blind-eye to their unemployed constituents by failing to reauthorize the transportation reauthorization bill this year. He will continue to remind the president of the tough decisions President Ronald Reagan made in 1983 when he faced a similar economic crisis, and ask him to use that success as a path towards paying for a robust new highway bill that is fully paid for.

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