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Saturday, September 26, 2009

June 3, 2009 Newsletter

Issue 23

  The REAL Inconvenient Truth

Currently, the U.S. Debt is estimated at: $11,226,807,380,955

Your share of today's public debt is: $36,683

  Introducing Landmark Tax And Entitlement Reform Bill

As the Senate's leading "debt hawk," Senator George V. Voinovich has been calling for fiscal responsibility since the beginning of his career in public service. His top priorities as a public servant have always been to improve the lives of Ohioans and practice fiscal responsibility. And today, those priorities remain steadfast. To that end, Sen. Voinovich recently introduced  landmark legislation with Sen. Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT) aimed at comprehensive reform of our nation's tax and entitlement systems. The Securing America's Future Economy (SAFE) Commission Act establishes a national commission to examine our tax and entitlement systems and present long-term solutions to place the United States on a fiscally sustainable course. The legislation also works to ensure the solvency of entitlement programs for future generations. The SAFE Commission will bring together the best minds associated with budget and economic policies to examine the long-term fiscal challenges facing the United States and recommend reforms. Long-overdue passage of this legislation would encourage members from both sides of the aisle to sit down together in a productive venue to solve these difficult fiscal problems. Modeled after the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) process, Congress would be required to vote up or down on the SAFE Commission's recommendations.

  Assisting Ohio Communities Struggling With Outdated Sewer Systems

Last month, Sens. Voinovich and Brown introduced legislation to help Ohio communities make renovations to outdated sewer systems. Most recently, the language from their legislation, the Clean Water Affordability Act of 2009, was incorporated into the Water Infrastructure Financing Act (S.1005), which passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. It will next be taken up by the full Senate. This is especially good news for Ohio, which is facing an environmental and public health crisis when it comes to water infrastructure. Sen. Voinovich believes we cannot expect cities to spend millions of dollars for water infrastructure upgrades without help from the federal government. This bipartisan bill will go a long way in helping state and local communities meet their water needs and provide a realistic approach for defining a local utility's financial capabilities. Studies indicate that for every $1 billion invested in infrastructure projects, anywhere from 35,000 to nearly 50,000 jobs are created. Beyond job creation, investment in water and sewer infrastructure meets public health and safety needs and helps communities attract new businesses and residents. Additionally, the EPW Committee recently passed legislation introduced by Sen. Voinovich to authorize $1.8 billion in federal grants to help modernize antiquated sewer systems. The language was incorporated into the Water Infrastructure Financing Act (S.1005) and will now be taken to the full Senate for a vote.

  Receiving Highest State Honor From President Of Latvia

Recently, Sen. Voinovich was presented with the Order of the Three Stars award from Latvian President Valdis Zatlers, to thank the senator for his outstanding civil merit in the service of Latvia. The Order of the Three Stars is Latvia's highest state honor. Sen. Voinovich played a key role in the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) membership for Latvia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. At the invitation of President George W. Bush, Sen. Voinovich was a member of the U.S. delegation to the November 2002 NATO summit in Prague where membership was formally extended to these seven countries. Since coming to the Senate in 1999, Sen. Voinovich has continued to provide special attention to NATO enlargement, peace and stability in eastern Europe, and combating organized crime, corruption and human trafficking in Europe.

  Fighting for Retiring Federal Workforce Employees

Sen. Voinovich has long-believed that people are the federal government's most valuable asset and has continued his commitment to addressing the future workforce needs of the federal government. Since assuming his leadership role on the Oversight of Government Management, Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia Subcommittee in 1999, more reform has been enacted to the federal civil service since 1978. Most recently, legislation Sen. Voinovich introduced to make it easier for federal public servants to work part-time for a portion of their career was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The bill corrects an anomaly in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) that currently acts as a disincentive for employees nearing the end of their careers who would like to phase into retirement by working part-time. It will now move to the full Senate for a vote. Under current law, employees under the CSRS system face a disincentive if they elect to work part-time at the end of their career. This legislation would clarify that CSRS annuities based in whole or in part on part-time service should be pro-rated for the period of service that was performed on a part-time basis. The correction allows agencies, as part of their succession planning efforts, to retain the expertise of staff who elect to work on a part-time basis at the end of their federal careers.

  Crafting Bipartisan Bill to Add Great Lakes Icebreaker

Recently, Sen. Voinovich, along with Sens. Levin (D-MI), Stabenow (D-MI) and Schumer (D-NY) introduced the bipartisan Great Lakes Icebreaker Replacement Act. The legislation would authorize $153 million for the Coast Guard to fund the design and construction of a new combined buoy tender and icebreaker vessel on the Great Lakes. Currently, five of the existing fleet of icebreaking vessels on the Great Lakes are nearing the end of their useful lives. This bill is vital to Ohio's economic security as well as the national security of the Great Lakes region. If cargo moved during the ice season on the Lake Erie – worth hundreds of millions of dollars – is unable to move swiftly and efficiently, the economic consequences will be felt in Ohio and throughout North America. Coast Guard icebreakers must also remain ready for search and rescue, and flood prevention by restoring flow to ice-clogged rivers. Great Lakes shipping during the ice season is an important economic engine. Shipments of iron ore, coal and limestone exceeded 20 million tons during the 2006-2007 ice season. Iron ore shipments during that season helped support approximately 100,000 jobs at steel mills and 300,000 jobs at supplier industries that were able to work during the winter months owing to ice season shipments. The bill (S. 1024) has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

05/08 - "Living a Quality Life, Regardless of Age"
04/27 - Saluting Those Who Serve
04/03 - To Re-engage an Awakening Bear?

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