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Published: Thursday, 3/13/2014 - Updated: 8 months ago

Senator brings GOP plan to event

Portman to visit Toledo sites, headline Lincoln Day Dinner

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
Portman Portman
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U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) will promote the Republicans’ repackaged plan for “creating jobs and prosperity” when he tours two Toledo-area employers Friday and then speaks at the local GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner.

Mr. Portman took the lead this week in Congress to roll out “Jobs for America” — the latest effort by Republicans to rally conservatives behind ideas that have gained little traction under a Democratic Senate and Democratic president.

“If Republicans get the majority, we’re going to move forward on regulatory relief, on tax reform, on doing something to expand our domestic energy production to get the economy moving, worker retraining, expanding exports,” Mr. Portman said in an interview earlier this week on CNBC. “The notion is, let’s lay out to the American people what we would do if we had the ability to control the agenda.”

Democrats have a 53-45-2 majority in the Senate now, but could lose it to Republicans in the Nov. 4 election.

Mr. Portman plans two stops in Lucas County Friday: a tour of General Motors’ Toledo Transmission Plant on Alexis Road and the Ohio Air National Guard base at Toledo Express Airport.

In the evening, starting with a reception at 6 p.m. Mr. Portman will be the featured guest of the annual Lincoln Day Dinner in the Premier banquet hall on Heatherdowns Boulevard.

The annual event, with tickets priced at $75, raises money for the party’s operations and is expected to attract Republican elected officials and candidates, including U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) and the two Republican candidates for the Ohio 9th Congressional District seat, Robert Horrocks and Richard May.

“This is like the Sadie Hawkins, homecoming, and prom rolled into one,” said Jon Stainbrook, the Lucas County GOP chairman. Tickets are available at lucascountygop.org.

Mr. Portman is expected to speak about the seven-point plan that he said would help to “bring back opportunity, spark an economic recovery and restore to every American a shot at the American Dream.”

David Cohen, a political science professor with the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, said the document — which contains no bill numbers — is little more than red meat to keep Republican loyalists in support of the party through 2016.

“To a great extent they’re rehashed GOP talking points. There’s very little of new substance in it,” Mr. Cohen said. “Does anybody really think that Obamacare’s going to be repealed at this point? It’s not going to happen. This is not a bipartisan document by any means.”

Greg Lawson, a policy analyst with the Buckeye Institute think tank in Columbus, said Jobs for America contains ideas that have been around for a while, but haven’t been tried yet.

“Under a different president, after the next presidential election, they could happen,” Mr. Lawson said. “It’s certainly a more pro-growth agenda than we’re seeing from the status quo. This really raises the stakes in 2016.”

The energy plan would allow gas and oil drilling on the outer continental shelf and would approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Additional provisions would enact a federal balanced budget amendment, reduce business and personal income taxes, consolidate overlapping job-training programs to actually help people find new work, and urge other countries to lower their barriers to American imports.

Contact Tom Troy: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.



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