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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Can Washington move forward now after debt ceiling crisis?

Federal lawmakers finally approved a proposal that will stop the nation from hitting its debt ceiling limit — at least through May 18.

The legislation would allow the government to borrow money to meet its obligations until that time and resets the debt limit to reflect that change.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill that passed by a 64-34 vote in the U.S. Senate.
Among those who voted against the measure was U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

Portman said that no one was arguing that the country must pay its bills, but rather the debate should be about how to shrink those bills moving forward.

The senator said it would be irresponsible to merely pay past obligations without having a real debate about Washington’s spending habits and how to avoid the situation in the future.

Voted down prior to the bill’s passage were two amendments offered by Portman that he said would ensure one dollar in savings for every dollar in new debt and end the threat of a government shutdown and artificial cliffs.

However, Portman said he was pleased that Senate Democrats have promised to move forward passing a budget.

Now that the debt ceiling has been averted for a few months, can Washington leaders move forward and work together and resolve this issue permanently?

There are other potential topics on the agenda for Congress and the president to work on such as immigration reform, gun control and what to do about entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare to name just a few.

Kasich unveils school funding plan

Gov. John Kasich believes his school funding plan to overhaul educational funding will be pass constitutional muster as the Ohio Supreme Court years ago ruled the state relies too much on property taxes for school funding.

“I think you’ll be surprised by the depth, the content of the plan,” Kasich said, according to the Associated Press.

The governor said his plan would “strip all the politics out,” and focus on directing dollars to classrooms and resources for districts that need the most help.

Early criticism by the Ohio Democratic Party said Kasich unveiled a disappointing new formula.

The state Democratic Party said while the Governor’s proposal was short on specifics and lacked a district-by-district breakdown, it was clear Kasich does not intend to fully restore the historic $1.8 billion taken from the state education budget in 2011.

Democrats said a recent independent study found that due to the governor’s education cuts, more than $1 billion in new tax levies have been on the ballot across the state, and Kasich’s plan ensures that number will only increase.

LaTourette next Transportation Secretary?

With U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood leaving his post, among the names mentioned for a possible appointment is former U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette.

LaTourette, a Bainbridge Township Republican, served for years on the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

LaHood, a Republican, is the only member of the GOP on President Barack Obama’s cabinet.

LaTourette recently retired from his 18-year career as a congressman and now heads a new subsidiary of McDonald Hopkins, a business advisory and advocacy law firm in Washington D.C.

He told the Columbus Dispatch this week it would be a “huge honor” to be picked but that the White House had not contacted him about the possibility.

Picked up petitions
Recently taking out petitions with the Lake County Elections Board are Joshua Pennock for Painesville Township trustee, Dan Hill for Timberlake Council, Desirea Thompson for Mentor-on-the-Lake Council, and Ken Hoefle for Eastlake Council.


n Lake County Commissioner Daniel P. Troy hosts his annual Mardi Gras Party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at Holiday Inn Express LaMalfa Centre in Mentor. See Kip Molenaar.

n Concord Township Trustees Paul Malchesky and Christopher Galloway re-election fundraiser is 5 to 7 p.m. March 4 at Harry Buffalo in Painesville Township. See Malchesky, Galloway or Connie Luhta.

n Re-election kickoff party for Mentor Municipal Court Judge John Trebets, 5 to 8 p.m. March 7 at Holiday Inn Express LaMalfa Centre in Mentor. See Ed or Cindy Hughes.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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