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Portman to support Obama pick

Published: Monday, February 25, 2013 @ 7:27 PM
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 @ 7:27 PM

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said Monday he would support the nomination of Jack Lew to be Treasury Secretary. If confirmed by the Senate, Lew, currently White House chief of staff, would replace Timothy Geithner, who served as President Barack Obama’s treasury secretary during his first term.

Portman’s decision suggests that Lew will quickly be confirmed by the Senate.

In a statement, Portman said, “We’re past the point where Washington can push off tough decisions. In order to get our economy moving and address the nation’s record debt and trillion-dollar deficits, the next Treasury Secretary must work with Congress to reform the tax code and our vital yet unsustainable entitlement programs. In my conversations with Director Lew, both before and during the Senate Finance Committee hearing, he indicated a willingness to seek such needed reforms. As I would expect to be the case with any nominee being put forward by the Obama Administration to fill this important position, we won’t see eye to eye on some of the specific solutions, but Jack Lew’s willingness to try to find common ground on these fiscal matters and his experience of working on bipartisan results over the past two decades are hopeful signs.”

Ohio step closer to raising license plate, driver’s license fees

Published: Thursday, February 23, 2017 @ 3:12 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 2:59 PM

The Ohio House voted 83-13 Wednesday on a transportation budget that includes increases in fees paid for vehicle plates and driver’s licenses.

RELATED: You may pay more for license plates, driver’s license in Ohio

If approved by the Senate, it would increase the total base cost of a passenger car plate to $39.50 and a motorcycle plate to $33.50.

However, local jurisdictions already can add permissive local taxes ranging from $5 to $20 and so the current cost of plates can be as much as $54.50 depending on the county you live in, said Lindsey Bohrer, BMV spokeswoman.

Remaining in the bill are two fee increases: deputy registrars who run the state’s approximately 200 Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) offices would charge $1.75 more for transactions; and counties would be allowed to charge an additional $5 for vehicle plates and use the money for transportation-related expenses such as road and bridge repairs.

State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miami Twp., was one of the no votes on the bill.

“Today, I voted against the transportation budget because of the two unfortunate tax increases included in it,” he said in a statement.  "Working Ohioans deserve to see their costs lowered by us.”

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Trump's election has Oprah Winfrey pondering a presidential run

Published: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 1:16 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 1:16 PM


            Trump's election has Oprah Winfrey pondering a presidential run

Could voters be looking at Oprah Winfrey's name on the ballot in the 2020 presidential election?

The media mogul implied that it might be possible in an interview with Bloomberg Television's David Rubenstein.

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Winfrey told Rubenstein that she had "actually never thought" of running for president until after November's election put Donald Trump in the White House.

At the time Trump declared his intention to run for office, the businessman was best known for Trump Tower and "The Apprentice." He had never before held public office.

"I thought, 'Oh, gee, I don't have the experience. I don't know enough,'" Winfrey said. "And now I'm thinking, 'Oh. Oh.'"

It's not the first time that the words "president" and "Oprah Winfrey" have appeared together.

Documentary filmmaker and well-known liberal Michael Moore told CNN in November that Winfrey or actor Tom Hanks would make ideal choices for a presidential bid.

"Why don't we run somebody that the American people love and are really drawn to, and that are smart and have good politics and all that?" Moore said. "The Republicans do this – they run (former President Ronald) Reagan and the Terminator (former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger) and other people."

Winfrey spoke with Rubenstein in December for "The Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations." The episode, which kicks off the show's second season, aired Wednesday.

GOP moves to turn Trump speech into legislative action

Published: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 12:24 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 12:26 PM

The easy part was Tuesday night in a speech before Congress, as President Donald Trump earned thunderous applause from Republicans, as he urged lawmakers to work together and act on his legislative agenda, with his first address to Congress getting good reviews in the polls from the voters.

But now, GOP lawmakers admit, all of that talk needs to be turned into action.

“Let’s get on offense and start keeping the promises that we have made to the public,” said Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH).

“I think there is a lot riding on us over the next two, three months,” said Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL), as he said fixing the Obama health law “will be hard.”

“Now it’s time to get to work,” said Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA). “We’ve got a lot of things to work on.”

The most details offered up last night by President Trump came on health care, as he handed out five general guidelines for what he wants as Republicans move to repeal and replace the Obama health law.

“The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we will do,” the President vowed.

That push came as GOP lawmakers have been working behind the scenes on a plan.

“My understand is that it is still a work in progress,” said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), one of many lawmakers waiting to see what Republican leaders can bring forward on health reform.

“We don’t want to make mistakes like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and President Obama did,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK).

“This is an ongoing process behind the scenes,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), one of many Senators pursued by reporters on the morning after the Trump speech for clues on health care.

“We’re going to have a position the White House will sign,” said Perdue. “And when the White House weighs in on that, I think you’ll see us all line up.”

The stumbling blocks for Republicans are many, like an idea for refundable tax credits to help people pay for the cost of health coverage – an idea that some GOP Senators just don’t like.

“A tax credit is just a subsidy in another form,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “I’m looking for a more free market system,” as he name-checked a plan from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) that has gained some currency with more conservative Republicans.

One fear is – will the GOP just replace a cumbersome system designed by Democrats – with a cumbersome system designed by Republicans, as the GOP talks up state flexibility.

Republicans must also decide what to do on big issues like tax reform, and how best to fund a $1 trillion infrastructure plan from the President.

“We gotta go to work. We gotta deliver,” said Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL).

Those results will probably mean a lot more to the GOP than just one speech from President Trump.

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Trump sets out familiar agenda in first speech to Congress

Published: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 1:03 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 1:03 AM

Asking for a “renewal of the American spirit,” President Donald Trump laid out the basics of his agenda in his first speech to Congress, calling on lawmakers to work together to improve America’s future, asking them to overhaul the Obama health law, funnel billions more to the Pentagon, and find ways to spur new economic growth and jobs.

“I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart,” the President said, as he urged bipartisan cooperation to improve America’s fortunes.

“The time for small thinking is over,” Mr. Trump said. “The time for trivial fights is behind us.”

In a calm, presidential tone, Mr. Trump gave somewhat skittish Republicans five general guidelines for a health care reform plan:

With Democrats dead set against his effort, the President still made a call for cooperation.

“Why not join forces to finally get the job done and get it done right?” Mr. Trump said.

In his address to a Joint Session of Congress, the President ticked off familiar campaign themes and issues, avoiding extensive details on what he wants the Congress to do when it comes to major tax reforms, or how specifically to pay for a $1 trillion infrastructure package.

“This effort will be guided by two core principles: Buy American, and Hire American,” the President said of building news roads and bridges.

Certainly, the most powerful moment of the President’s speech came when he saluted the widow of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, who died in a recent U.S. military raid in Yemen – one that has prompted criticism of the President.

“Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity,” Mr. Trump said, as lawmakers gave Carryn Owens an almost two minute standing ovation.

Tears streamed down the face of Mrs. Owens, who sat in the galleries next to Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter.

“Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero — battling against terrorism and securing our nation,” the President said.

The reaction broke along party lines, as Republicans were thrilled with the message, while Democrats grumbled and gritted their teeth.

“It was an outstanding speech, I give him an A-plus,” said Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA).

“The President has come with a bold agenda, and he’s turned to Congress and told us to get the work done,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH).

“I think there is a lot riding on us over the next two, three months,” said Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL), as he said fixing the Obama health law “will be hard.”

“I expected it to be good – it exceeded my expectations,” said Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK).

The reaction of the instant polls were very good news for the White House; CNN showed Mr. Trump gaining an overwhelmingly positive response.

Democrats, meanwhile, seemed like they had attended a different speech.

“No President in my lifetime has done more to divide us,” Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) said of Mr. Trump, as she scoffed at his call for bipartisan cooperation.

“It’s time to leave the rhetoric alone from the campaign and talk about specifics,” said Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL).

“He gave a campaign speech,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). “He wasn’t reaching out to Democrats.”

“He made a lot of promises, a lot of grandiose statements,” said Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA).