ST. MARYS — An Ohio Republican chastised Democrats in the Senate for failing to approve a single budget proposed this week.
“It’s very frustrating — we had five budgets come up for vote and we couldn’t get the necessary number of votes,” U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said during a teleconference with regional media Thursday afternoon. “Not a single Democrat voted for a budget, which is interesting. They are just not showing any responsibility to get the budget and deficit under control. Here we are with a record debt of over $15 trillion and another $1 trillion in deficits this year and again there is no budget in the Senate and no Senator on the Democratic side of the aisle willing to support any of the budgets that came up.”
Portman called for a budget blueprint to be in place as soon as possible. However, in order to do so, he said new leadership may be needed.
“The president’s budget was brought up for a vote yesterday (Wednesday) in the Senate, and it went down 99 to nothing. Not a single Democrat or Republican was willing to support it and the same in the House. I think a lot of it is because the budget the president put forward adds $11 trillion to the debt in the next 10 years.”
Failing to address soaring deficits could hinder the economic recovery and growth of the nation, Portman said. Portman said the current economic recovery is the weakest since the Great Depression.
“We need new leadership in Congress and we need it in the executive branch to try and get things moving,” Portman said. “People are really concerned and particularly worried about where this economy is going and how we are going to deal with these record deficits and debts.”
In addition to talking about energy issues, Portman addressed rumors of his potential candidacy as a runningmate for Mitt Romney. Recent talk among political insiders in Washington has pegged Portman as a potential runningmate this year. Despite the talk, Portman said he is comfortable where he is at right now.
“I think I am where I need to be and that’s in the United States Senate,” Portman said. “I think that’s where I can do the most good for our state and our country. I just got elected in 2010 and I think the top issues we face as a country are a weak economy with real structural problems and I think I can play a role in turning that around and second are these historic deficits and debts which are related to the economy. I think if we don’t turn this around, we risk a devastating impact on our kid and grandkids. So that’s my goal.”
Portman also cited his ability to reach across the aisle as a leading factor in his desire to remain in the Senate.
“I have in the past had success in working across the aisle,” Portman said. “I’ve got four or five bills right now that are good, bipartisan bills that we can get passed if we can get them to the floor. My hope is there will be a Republican majority in the Senate that will enable us to get legislation moving and that there will be a new president who wants to work with Congress to solve these problems and that my best role would be to stay right here and to help make this happen.”