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Ohio's Democratic senator parts with the president on Social Security
But Sherrod Brown sees hope in the guns bill compromise authored by Ohio's neighboring state senators

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M.L. Schultze
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown on guns, Social Security and Hugo Black.
Courtesy of WKSU file photo
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Ohio’s Democratic U.S. senator’s weekly conference call with reporters came within hours of the release a compromise on a major gun bill and of the release of President Obama’s budget. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that Sherrod Brown says one is a step in the right direction and the other is a mistake.

SCHULTZE: Brown reacts to Social Security and guns

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U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown has long criticized most Republican plans to cut Social Security. And his criticism didn’t stop when one of those plans – changing how inflation, and therefore benefits, are calculated -- showed up in President Obama’s new budget.  

“I think the president’s wrong," Brown said. "I want to see a grand bargain here. I want to see the president come to an agreement with Republicans. But senior citizens didn’t cause this recession.”

He says more than half of Ohio’s seniors rely on Social Security for more than half their income and, “I don’t think that’s where you start” a grand bargain. (Click here for an agency-by-agency guide to President Obama's budget.)

More hope for a guns bill
Brown is more supportive of the deal announced by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania to expand background checks to most commercial gun purchases, including gun shows.

Brown channels Black
Most of Sen. Brown's conference calls start out with a topic. And most reporters quickly move off topic.

This week, Brown started with a call to raise the minimum wage, something he says would benefit 30 million American workers, including a million in Ohio. He also maintains it would benefit the economy overall because it would lead to more spending and, in turn, more jobs.

Brown included a bow to President Franklin Roosevelt, who signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, and to Louisiana Sen. Hugo Black, who sponsored the bill in the '30s that eventually established a minimum wage and a maximum work week.

And, noted Brown, "The desk I sit at on the Senate floor was Sen. Black's desk from which may have written the minimum wage law."

Black went on to become a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

“Manchin-Toomey is not as strong as I would like," Brown acknowledged. But "I will support anything I think helps protect our children and makes sure that criminals don’t get access to firearms, makes sure that people can’t shoot a gun with a magazine that can discharge 20 bullets in five seconds or whatever."

The NRA has consistently given Manchin and Toomey A-ratings. Not so with Brown, who's consistently gotten an “F.” The NRA was one of the biggest backers of Josh Mandel in his unsuccessful run for Brown's Senate seat in the fall.

As for the good news...

Brown celebrated one piece of the president's budget, a plan to put NASA Glenn Research Center in charge of developing a solar electric propulsion system that would draw an asteroid into the moon's orbit. Once it's there, astronauts and scientists could study it to, among other things, figure out how to keep a really big asteroid from crashing into the earth.

Your own house?
Brown is a big supporter of unions, and appeared last week in Strongsville to support striking teachers. One reporter pressed him on why Congressional staffers cannot unionize and are exempted from other laws.

Responded Brown, "I remember years ago, I voted in the House that all of our staff be subject to labor law, when it isn't in some cases. And I still think it should be."

He also said he supported his staff when it unionized when he was Ohio Secretary of State, and "I think that trade unionism should be open to everybody."

Listener Comments:

please vote no all gun control bills.

Posted by: larry Rogers (massillon, oh) on April 10, 2013 5:04AM
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