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No so common sense PDF Print
Saturday, December 14, 2013 9:02 PM



“Common sense is not so common.”

- Voltaire from “A Pocket Philosophical Dictionary”


Every day the U.S. federal government and its agencies appear to do their best to prove Voltaire correct.

Right now the safety of the vast majority of small communities around the country is under attack. As the Affordable Care Act - Obamacare - limps and stumbles its way toward full implementation after three years, Americans continue to discover new items within the legislation that will affect them adversely.

Fighting for a fair Farm Bill PDF Print
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 9:00 PM




In Ohio, one out of every seven jobs is connected to growing, processing, or distributing the food we eat and the products we use every day. In fact, agriculture and food contribute more than $107 billion to our state’s economy each year. That’s why, when I talk to farmers around the state, I hear how important the farm bill is and how the lack of a farm bill has led to uncertainty that makes it tougher for farmers to do their jobs. In fact, the lack of a farm bill has even affected farmer’s planting decisions. That is not good for Ohio farmers and it is not good for Ohioans.

Success for Ohio manufacturer accessing global markets PDF Print
Saturday, November 30, 2013 9:00 PM




Part of my job is to fight for American workers who are encountering unfair and illegal trade barriers in other countries. Even though those fights can sometimes go on for years, when we can create a level playing field for Ohioans and Ohio companies, everyone wins.

Ohio is home to countless innovative businesses, ranging from high tech job creators to advanced manufacturers and service providers. Since we compete in a global economy, many jobs at these Ohio companies depend on exporting products to customers around the world. In fact, over one quarter of Ohio manufacturing jobs are dependent on export sales.

The Gettysburg Address, remembered PDF Print
Saturday, November 23, 2013 9:00 PM


There are two paintings beside the desk in my office. One is of George Washington, the man who helped establish the Union. The other is of Abraham Lincoln, the man who saved it.

One hundred and fifty years ago — or seven score and 10 years, as he might have put it—Abraham Lincoln stood on a wind-swept battlefield at a tiny railroad crossing in southern Pennsylvania. He was not the featured speaker that day. That honor fell to Edward Everett. Everett’s speech would last two hours; his first sentence was more than seventy words long.

Strengthening Social Security for generations to come PDF Print
Friday, November 15, 2013 9:52 PM

As a grandfather of two, with one more grandchild on the way, I appreciate what a wonderful gift it is when grandparents can spend more time with their grandchildren by living longer and healthier lives – which happened, in part, because we, as a nation, invested in Social Security.

Today, almost 63 million Americans receive Social Security benefits. And in Ohio, that number is nearly two million. Yet, just as we as grandparents are there for our families, we need to make sure that Social Security is there both now and for future generations. In fact, preserving and expanding social security is a moral issue.

Here’s why this is a moral issue. For nearly two-thirds of seniors, Social Security provides more than half of their cash income. For more than one-third of seniors, Social Security provides more than 90 percent of their income. And for one-quarter of seniors, Social Security is the sole source of income. Think of that. After working hard all their lives, one out of four seniors would be destitute, having no income, without Social Security.

Unsurprisingly, Social Security helps to lift approximately 600,000 Ohioans out of poverty. In fact, if we didn’t have Social Security, Ohio’s poverty rate for seniors over age 65 would be 48 percent. Because of Social Security, Ohio’s poverty rate for this group of seniors is 8 percent. The result is that seniors are able to live happier and healthier lives providing them with the time and opportunity to spend more time with their families.

Yet, Social Security is under attack by those who wrongly think it adds to the federal deficit and want to cuts benefits under the false premise of deficit reduction.

Even though Social Security is operating at a surplus and is funded separately from the rest of the government, these are the same politicians who want to give extra tax cuts to the wealthiest two percent of Americans and tax breaks for big corporations while using every budget impasse as an opportunity to “reform entitlements.”

What this reform entails is always the same: cutting Americans’ hard-earned, Social Security benefits. Naysayers say that the program is unsustainable. But I don’t hear the same thing about the Department of Defense or tax loopholes for hedge fund managers.

Here’s a general rule of thumb. When people tell you that they want to “save” social security by cutting the benefits of the people that have paid into the program, it’s a pretty good indicator of their intentions.

What they don’t tell you is that we can not only strengthen social security, but also extend its life, by making sure that middle class Americans and wealthy Americans pay into social security at the same rate.

That’s why I’m co-sponsoring the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013. This legislation would do a number of things to improve Social Security and ensure its solvency.

First, it would change the Social Security benefit formula so that all beneficiaries will get an extra $60-70 a month. Too many seniors have to pick and choose which bills they can afford to pay each month. This extra money would help make sure they don’t have to choose between paying the heating bill or rent.

Second, it provides a cost of living adjustment or COLA that actually reflects the rising costs seniors face. The current formula used to calculate COLAs for Social Security recipients actually measures the costs of younger, employed individuals—and simply does not reflect a retiree’s true expenses, which can include high prescription drug bills.

Finally, this legislation would ask the wealthiest Americans to contribute to Social Security the same percentage that working- and middle-class Americans do. This will extend Social Security’s surplus an additional 16 years, from 2033 through 2049.

For millions of seniors, Social Security has meant food on the table and a roof over their head. And for our nation, Social Security has meant a lower poverty rate. Because of Social Security, more seniors are able to enjoy life and spend time with the families. That’s why I’m proud to support this legislation to strengthen and expand Social Security so that it can be there for generations to come.


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