Tag Archives: Rep. Steve Austria

Rep. Austria On Economic Policies of Lame Duck Congress

By Rep. Steve Austria

Last Thursday, the House approved an agreement reached between President Obama and Congressional Republican leadership to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. The tax package ensures that those tax rates will not increase on January 1, 2011 and is extended for two years. It also includes a cut in the pay roll tax, establishes an estate tax rate of 35 percent and provides for a 13 month extension of unemployment benefits.

Many in Congress, like myself, would have preferred a permanent extension bringing more certainty to the financial and business markets but this may be the best opportunity we had to ensure that there would not be a tax increase. If we hadn’t taken action before the end of the year we would have seen significant tax hikes on small businesses and hard-working families.

This bill will help bring some certainty to the markets, which is needed now to grow the economy and create new jobs. When Speaker Boehner and House Republicans take over in January, our immediate focus will be to eliminate wasteful Washington spending and reduce the debt.


This year, Congress failed to enact any of the 12 appropriations measures or pass a budget to set spending levels. Instead, Congress has relied on short-term funding bills to keep the government running as they debated whether to punt the issue to the next Congress or consider a comprehensive appropriations measure, or omnibus. Late last week, Senate Democrats attempted to push a massive, $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that included additional funding for a controversial health care bill and funding for more than 6,000 earmarks. The bill was pulled from consideration due to strong opposition to its cost.

Last night, the House agreed to a continuing resolution measure to keep the government operating until March of next year.

Blogger Note: As U.S. Representative Austria mentioned above, a Pelosi-Reid led Congress hasn’t passed a national budget since entering office. They seemed more interested in ramming their special interest projects like socialist health care policy and gay rights through the legislative process than mundane national interests like national budget. Socialist and humanist agendas cannot be funded by something as restrictive as a budget or a balanced budget.

More important for us “little stinky people,” whose odor liberals like Sen. Reed cannot stand, was their failure to make tax cuts permanent. The only reason this is important is the fact that all previous temporary tax cuts have failed to stimulate the economy as claimed. During economic downturns (not to mention great recessions), people hold on to the extra cash while waiting for the economy to rebound. Surely the snooty liberals like Pelosi and Reid known this. According to some economists, Americans only spend the extra cash gained from tax cuts when those cuts are permanent. Now that millions are out of work, out of their homes, and out of cash thanks in part to ACORN supporting Democrats, I suspect the economists may see a slight exception to the rule.

Revolving door undermines public trust in government

By John Mitchel

RE: Local contractors under scrutiny for using paid military “mentors”, Dayton Daily News, December 30, 2009: Many consider Gen. Bill Creech as “father of the modern Air Force.”

During his distinguished career and before he died in 2003, Gen. Creech practiced and preached the notion that the most important responsibility of a leader is to train new leaders. “Mentoring” was on Gen. Creech’s short list of important tasks required to prepare Air Force leaders for the future. However, simultaneous receipt of $1600 a day mentoring fees plus a six-figure military pension plus hundreds of thousands in consulting fees from defense contractors doesn’t seem to fit Gen. Creech’s noble intentions of preparing Air Force leaders for challenges they may face in the future. Besides, each senior officer participating in the Air Force mentoring program has more than 30 years experience on active duty. That should be sufficient time to positively instill the core values of duty, honor, country in subordinates of all ranks, and especially the senior troops who more senior officers deal with on a daily basis.

“Mentors for hire” may seem abusive to some, but it pales in comparison to the ease and speed in which elected officials and their staff members pass through the “revolving door.” Take for example Congressman Dave Hobson, who retired a multi-millionaire after nearly 30 years of public service, then took a job as a lobbyist for Vorys Advisors, a subsidiary of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLC, a Columbus law firm. And let’s not forget Congressman Steve Austria’s wife Eileen, who moved from Congressman Dave Hobson’s District Director to Director of Sales and Marketing with Nextedge Development Corporation, a non-profit, tax exempt company 60-70 percent financed by tax dollars including federal earmarks requested by Dave Hobson and Third Frontier and other state funding sponsored by Steve Austria when he was in the Ohio General Assembly. It’s no wonder approval ratings for Congress are at all-time lows.

If the revolving door between government and the private sector should exist at all, it should be with two conditions; full and open disclosure, and a reasonable cooling off period, especially at the most senior levels. Instead, the usual suspects prefer to conceal their self-dealing with faceless private corporations, and more often than not, through non-profit, tax exempt entities financed mostly with taxpayer dollars. Term limits, self imposed or otherwise, would be a step in the right direction to mitigate the revolving door issue for federal elected officials. That would motivate our congressional leaders to act as citizen legislators who serve for a time, and then return to their home districts to enjoy the liberty and freedom they helped protect as representatives of the people. The longer we allow the self-dealing career politician mindset to prevail in Washington and Columbus, the closer we will come to America falling into the abyss.

John Mitchel was a candidate for Ohio governor in 1998 and ran for U.S. House of Representatives in the 7th Congressional District in 2008. In 2006 he wrote and self-published America at the Abyss: A View from the Heartland.

Congressman Austria Co-Sponsors Czar Accountability & Reform Act

As you may know, recent attention has been drawn to the administration’s appointment of new czars. While the position of the czar has existed in past administrations, the present concern is focused on the number of czars President Obama has appointed in his short time in office, as well as the amount of power these individuals are given. It has been estimated that there are currently 34 czars in the administration. Questions of constitutionality have arisen because czars are not required to go through the regular confirmation process as, for example, is required for a cabinet secretary. With sweeping new policies that have extensive ramifications, like the stimulus bill, it is important that these individuals are kept accountable to the public.

That is why Rep. Austria became a cosponsor of the Czar Accountability and Reform Act (H.R. 3226), which would prohibit the use of tax dollars to pay the salaries and expenses of these “czars” without the advice and consent of the Senate. There must be complete disclosure, transparency and accountability for those appointed to these important positions.

— From Congressman Steve Austria’s E-Mail Updates.

Rep. Steve Austria on Cap and Trade Tax

By Rep. Steve Austria

Under the cap and trade program, household energy costs are expected to increase between $1,600-$3,100 annually.

Last week, the House and Senate debated and passed the conference report to accompany the Democrats’ budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 13). This budget proposal paves the way for a massive new $646 billion energy tax, known as cap and trade.

Cap and trade limits the amount of carbon allowed to be released into the air. For example, if an energy-producing entity, like a coal-fired power plant, is unable to sufficiently lower its emissions; they must spend money to upgrade the plant or pay to release the carbon. This extra cost to industry is passed along to the consumer through increased energy prices. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that under this current proposal, the average American household’s energy bill could increase by $1,600 annually. According to one D.C.-based think tank, prices could increase to as much as $1,900, equivalent to what many families spend on groceries, clothes or property taxes in a given year.

In addition, states that rely on more carbon-intensive sources of energy, like coal, will suffer an even greater cost. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), approximately 90 percent of Ohio’s electricity generation comes from coal.

The program places new regulations on our domestic industries making them less competitive with countries, like China and India, that do not face similar restrictions. This could result in businesses establishing operations overseas or outsourcing jobs in an effort to dodge the regulations. This could further erode the job growth of the U.S. manufacturing sector where Ohio has a strong presence. Indeed, the impact cap and trade could have on the average American household, and Ohio in particular, is deeply concerning, specifically in this economic environment.

Source: E-Newsletter from Congressman Steve Austria, May 6, 2009

A Response to Austria Economics 101

In the February 4th article entitled Austria Economics 101,” Representative Austria was unfairly criticized for not supporting the “Stop the Congressional Pay Raise Act.” While it’s true that he did not join Representatives Kilroy, Latta, and Space as “Original Cosponsors” on January 6th, he did add his name to the list of this bill’s Cosponsors on January 21st — two weeks before the above article was printed. Three more of Ohio’s Representatives (Boccieri, Driehaus, and Kaptur) have signed on since then, raising the total number of Cosponsors from the article’s figure of 72 to 107.

In spite of such rapidly growing support, this pay freeze legislation lies buried in committees just like its previous two versions in 2007 and 2008. If anyone would like to help get the number of its official supporters up to a majority (218) of the 435 members of the House of Representatives, then please consider signing the online petition at www.payfreeze.org. A majority of 218 should be enough to pressure the congressional leadership into allowing it to be debated and voted on.

By Tom Foreman, Gainesville, FL

Rep. Austria’s Year End Legislative Summary

By Rep. Steve Austria

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives concluded its legislative business for the year with the passage of several measures, including a funding bill for the Department of Defense and short-term extensions for the Patriot Act, as well as two major spending bills, increasing our nation’s debt limit by $290 billion to $12.39 trillion and a second stimulus bill, with new spending of over $150 billion. As I have commented on in the past, I continue to have serious concerns about the outrageous amount of government spending and will continue to oppose those irresponsible policies, which have a negative impact on our economy.

Please see below for a summary of the major policy issues considered by Congress this year.


As we began 2009 with a new administration and a new Democratic Congress, a number of spending bills were brought forward including the second half of a $700 billion “bailout” bill, a $787 billion “stimulus” or government spending bill, $410 billion omnibus bill that included over 9,000 earmarks and a $3.5 trillion fiscal year 2010 budget resolution. These massive spending bills have created historical amounts of debt and have only expanded the size and scope of government. This borrow and spend approach has hurt our economy this year and will burden future generations with an insurmountable amount of debt.

With unemployment at the highest levels in recent decades and during these difficult economic times, it is important that we devote our efforts to strategies that promote new investment opportunities, stimulate job growth and strengthen economic development. Congress must be better focused on helping small businesses create and sustain jobs to strengthen our economy. I recently appointed a new Blue Ribbon Commission to review and better understand the contracting process at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB). This commission will work on ways for our region to support WPAFB and set up a “best business model” to help companies in our region secure and create more private sector jobs that can be sustained for years to come. I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead in the new year to strengthen economic growth and make our area more competitive nationally.

New Energy/ Climate Change Policies

Last summer, the House passed a climate change bill, establishing a national cap and trade system, which essentially amounts to a new energy tax. I have expressed serious concerns with the house-passed bill that amounts to a new $629 billion tax, negatively impacting Ohio businesses, including manufacturing and farming, resulting in more job losses. The mandates under the bill will essentially pick winners and losers among the states. States, like Ohio, that produce and use more carbon-based energy, such as coal, will be hit hardest with cap and trade, while states such as California and New Jersey will receive more favorable treatment under this bill.

Nearly 90 percent of Ohio’s energy comes from coal. Every Ohio household and business that uses electricity, heats their home with natural gas or fills their automobiles with gasoline will have an increase in energy costs and gas prices to pay for this climate change legislation. That is too much to ask of our families during these difficult economic times with unemployment at its highest level in years.

We all want clean air and increased use of renewable energy; however, we need to accomplish this goal in a responsible manner. There is a better way to achieve this goal than the bill that was passed by the House. I support an alternative plan that would promote new, clean and reliable sources of energy by having less reliance on foreign oil and begin using domestic alternative energy such as solar, wind and nuclear energy and continuing to expand new technologies such as clean coal. The alternative plan moves our nation forward using more clean energy without costing Ohio jobs and imposing a new energy tax on families and small businesses.

With the health care debate dominating the Senate’s schedule, they were unable to consider climate change legislation this year; however, they may address the issue in the new year.

Health Care Reform

In November, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3962, often referred to as Speaker Pelosi’s 2000 page health care reform bill, by a vote of 220 to 215. I voted “no” on this legislation because of its $1 trillion price tag with major cuts to the Medicare and Medicare Advantage program. Also, the likelihood that many Americans who are satisfied with their current health insurance could face significantly higher premiums as a result of the federal mandates included in this bill. This bill also imposes over $720 billion of taxes on families and small businesses.

We must enact policies that improve our health care by lowering costs, making health care coverage more affordable and accessible and protecting the doctor-patient relationship. I have consistently advocated for a common-sense approach that includes medical malpractice reform, allowing individuals to purchase health care coverage across state lines, allowing businesses and communities to pool insurance nationally, and expanding the use of health savings accounts (HSAs). This year, I introduced a bill, the Health Savings and Affordability (HSA) Act, which would empower more Americans to take ownership over their health care by expanding tax free Health Savings Accounts and making health insurance tax deductible for everyone.

We must work in a bipartisan manner to reduce costs, improve the quality of care and expand access. That is why this year I also formed a district-wide health care advisory committee made up of doctors, nurses, hospitals, small businesses, insurers and other leaders from our local community. My father was a doctor and my mother was a nurse. We must protect our doctor-patient relationship and allow you and your doctor to choose what treatment is best for you and your family, not the government.

On December 24, 2009, the Senate passed its health care reform bill, H.R. 3590, by a vote of 60 to 39. The House and Senate must now reach a compromise on the many differences between the two bills, and vote again on the new version. As the health care debate continues, I encourage you to contact your elected officials and express your views regarding this important issue.