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Government and Politics

Sen. Portman looks at federal budget
Ohio's junior senator wants cuts in 2012

Kabir Bhatia
Senator Rob Portman was a U.S. trade representative, and White House Budget chief during the Bush administration.
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Ohio's junior senator, Rob Portman, was a congressman in the 1990s, the last time a budget battle threatened a shutdown of government. Then, as now, he was on the GOP side, pushing for major cuts. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia has more from Portman on the current budget fights and the extra government spending he supports.

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President Obama's 2012 budget calls for a freeze in spending on discretionary programs at their current levels -- anything outside the "Big Four" categories of Social Security, defense, Medicare and Medicaid. He already froze federal employee salaries. But the G-O-P wants deeper cuts, and talk is bubbling up of a government shutdown on March 4th. Senator Rob Portman says President Obama’s cuts still lock in higher costs.

Still, he hopes a shut down doesn’t happen.

The last government shutdown happened in 1995, a time when the Clinton administration was slashing defense spending. That was tough on places like Evendale, Ohio, just outside Cincinnati. The GE aviation plant there was dying. Then a contract to develop alternative F-35 jet engines boosted the plant.. That program ended this week as House Republicans cancelled the project to try to rein in the federal deficit. Portman, and House Speaker John Boehner, disagreed, saying the work meant a thousand jobs to southwest Ohio.

But it was fellow Republicans – as well as the Obama administration – who saw the program as spendthrift.

Portman differs with the president on other issues, including his entire approach to the budget. After his 13 years in the U.S. House, Portman became head of the Office of management and Budget for the Bush administration.

Congress is holding round-the-clock votes and meetings on at least three budget proposals – all of which include cuts.

Listener Comments:

Ask and you shall receive - we can take more from future generations, so the inadequate government can continue - we need the government, how about a government that serves US, not one that makes false promises.

Posted by: the emperor has no clothes on February 23, 2011 1:02AM
Short and sweet, do not vote to shut down the government or do so at you own political cost!This is from a disabled vet and social security recipient.I will start a movement against your reelection if you do so.

Posted by: Robert Geiser (Graytown, Ohio) on February 19, 2011 10:02AM
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