|Latta begins 'Courthouse Conferences' this week|
|Tuesday, May 13, 2014 8:30 PM|
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
“There are two things we do: In the district, we’re on the constituent level and in Washington, we’re at the legislative level but they’re both equal,” Latta explained. “One of the things we want to be able to do is to be out here to start case work or follow up with case work. A lot of times people want to talk about what’s going on in Washington but a lot of things today are right at the case work level.”
The line to speak with the congressman was steady throughout the afternoon hours. Latta noted that these are very important meetings for the people who come to see him.
“The Courthouse Conferences you get more issues that people are dealing with — Social Security, veterans, Medicare, a lot of the real detailed issues people have,” he pointed out. “When folks have a problem with the Veterans Administration or with Social Security, those are things that are affecting you right now. When you look at the federal government with $1.9 trillion of regulations, there are a lot of problems you have to cope with and that’s what our office is for.”
Latta said that at last count, he has had around 500 meetings in the last 20 months — in hospitals, businesses, schools, and factories. A day’s worth of conferences in Van Wert, for example, is counted as one meeting since he stays in one location throughout the session.
In a conversation, Latta said that the current session has been very busy.
“We had the vote on Benghazi last week, we had to vote on Lois Lerner last week, but we also did some work on job creation last week. There are so many things going on we can’t just focus on one issue at a time,” he stated.
The frustrating parts of the job at this time include dealing with the U.S. Senate, which does not take action on many things passed by the House.
“We have several items like Obamacare, taxes and energy, either producing or using it. The problem is, we pass the legislation out of the House. We send it over to the Senate who normally don’t do anything with it,” he declared. “The problem is, ‘If you don’t like it, pass something and send it to conference committee so we can work it out.’ But their philosophy is not to do anything with it.”
Latta also noted growing frustration dealing with the White House on issues.
“The president has got to lead,” exclaimed Latta. “He’s got to come up with some things that have some possibility of passing. He brought forward his budget plan. It’s dead on arrival. Republicans aren’t going to support it. Democrats, last time around he got zero votes on his budget. This time he got two Democrats to vote for his budget. Nancy Pelosi didn’t even vote for it! It comes down to the president sees things as it’s either his way or the highway. He said, ‘If I don’t get my way, I’ve got a pen, and a telephone.’ That’s not the way our forefathers saw how the government is supposed to work! The House and the Senate has to work together but the Executive Branch needs to do what it is supposed to do and that’s to execute the law. But there’s some leadership we’re not seeing there right now.”
Latta admitted another frustration about working through the red tape of Washington D.C.
“I’m not getting any younger!” he exclaimed. “I’m not going to live forever. You want to get things done. There are a lot of legislation you have to start all over again, but it’s good to have finality, to get these bills passed so they can get to work to help people today, not two years or four years or six years down the road.”