Despite this being an election year when most members of Congress and the president concentrate on the campaign trail, one U.S. senator from Ohio plans to continue to focus on getting passed legislation to help the American economy.
Pushing for a number of pieces of legislation he sponsored or co-sponsored, Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman says he believes Congress can pass these bills to jump start the American economy.
“Although this is an election year, there is lots to be done — the economy is in tough shape and the numbers today were not encouraging,” Portman said Thursday in a media teleconference regarding the jobless claims report. “I am hopeful that Congress can work, not just in a bipartisan basis but in a non-partisan basis, to get some of these important bills passed so we can get the economy back on track.”
Portman is also pushing pieces of legislation calling for regulatory reform and tariff reform as well as others affecting health care and the nation’s energy policy. He claims each piece of legislation is receiving support on both sides of the aisle.
Earlier this week, Portman held a press conference with New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to promote energy efficiency legislation.
“This is a great example of what could and should be done this year to create a national energy
strategy on energy efficiency,” said Portman, who is rumored to be a strong vice presidential candidate for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. “It is bipartisan, it is offset and it is great for jobs and it is great by making us less dependent on foreign oil.”
The energy bill, S.B. 1000, would strengthen building codes and provide incentives for factories to improve their efficiency.
He said he hopes the legislation can make it to the floor after several legislators’ staff were able to garner more than 250 signatures from businesses, environmental groups and trade associations.
There is a companion bill in the House sponsored by Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Bass, of New Hampshire, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, of Utah. Their bill focuses on environmental regulatory reform and expanding domestic drilling.
Portman is optimistic both pieces of legislation will make it through the House and Senate this year.
“I support producing more energy in this country, and I also support using less — those are totally consistent views that complement each other,” Portman said. “This would make us less dependent on foreign oil and improve our economy and competitiveness here — so I am hopeful this legislation does something in the next month or so and that we can continue to work with leaders on both sides to get this done.”