WASHINGTON – Ohio and Kentucky legislators are finally on summer break,but it's up to you to decide if they deserve a month off after reading what they say they've done so far this year and what's on their fall agenda. A reality check notes obstacles they'll have to overcome.
Bragging rights: Worked to unite Republicans against the tax increases in the Farm Bill he said threaten jobs in Ohio. He also worked to stop legislation that expands government-financed health care for children and cuts Medicare benefits to pay for it.
September goals: Work together to keep America safe,stop tax increases on working families and continue to see progress in winning the Global War on Terror.
Recess plans: Headlining campaign events for 18 Republican incumbents in 11 states,raising about $500,000.
Reality check: Taxpayers will end up paying more than $1 trillion for the Iraq war (on terror) over the next 10 years,according to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office.
Bragging rights: As the ranking Republican on the House Small Business Committee,Chabot said he has “given Cincinnati an enhanced voice in Congress.” Cincinnatians have testified at hearings about environmentally friendly construction and Internet radio royalty rates.
September goals: Pass small-business legislation that he has cosponsored to reduce the threat of frivolous lawsuits and rising legal costs. Help small-business owner find affordable health care options for employees.
Recess Plans: Attending the 75th anniversary celebration of the Purple Heart on Fountain Square and being involved in the National Night Out anti-crime initiative. Will meet with constituents at his Carew Tower office.
Reality check: Legislation to make music royalties more affordable for Internet radio stations is losing momentum in the House,placing the future of thousands of webcasters on the line.
Bragging rights: “A big priority for me has been dealing with affordable housing opportunities,” Davis said. He secured $2.1 million in housing and urban development grants for Covington. Also secured $100,000 for additional equipment and staff at Northern Kentucky University's Metropolitan Education and Training Services Center.
September goals: Continue to push for national security improvements. Advocate for a federal health care program that doesn't cut Medicare benefits or raise taxes on families. Will also advocate for affordable rural housing.
Recess plans: Headed to the Middle East with a congressional delegation led by Rep. Eric Cantor,D-Va. Will be meeting with constituents and elected officials upon his return to Kentucky.
Reality check: The Pentagon cannot account for millions of dollars worth of weapons given haphazardly to Iraqi forces in 2004 and 2005,raising fears these weapons may have fallen into insurgents' hands.
Bragging rights: The House passed her two first stand-alone bills,naming post offices after outstanding citizens in Adams County. Helped secure funding for the Banks project on the Ohio River through the Levee Safety Program Act.
“I am very pleased with my accomplishments in the first half of the year,” Schmidt said.
September goals: Expanding job growth in Ohio,fighting off the Democrats' tax increase proposals,advancing biofuels,protecting seniors and Medicare.
Recess plans: Traveling to the Middle East with Cantor's group. When Schmidt returns to Cincinnati,she will meet with constituents,and she hopes to spend time with her family over Labor Day.
Reality check: Republicans have accused Democrats of doing nothing this Congress besides renaming 12 post offices,seven federal buildings and one park.
Sen. Sherrod Brown,D-Ohio
Progress: Senate passed two provisions he sponsored providing grants for training early childhood educators and for preserving Underground Railroad artifacts. Sponsored legislation that would notify workers of mass firings or plant closings,and a bill that would offer loans for small manufacturers seeking to develop new products.
September goals: Work with Gov. Ted Strickland and the Ohio Department of Transportation to examine the state's bridges and other infrastructure.
Recess plans: Discussing economic reform around Ohio. Hold roundtables with community leaders about the impact of the Farm Bill and economic development. Campaign against the president's threatened veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Reality check: Bush is threatening to veto either version of the SCHIP bill – the House and Senate approved different versions before the recess.
Sen. George Voinovich,R-Ohio
Bragging rights: Worked to alleviate the passport backlog for Ohioans. Fought to include funding of the Cincinnati riverfront park project in the Water Resources Development Act.
September goals: Push to strengthen nation's water infrastructure,including Cincinnati's sewer system. Hopes to pass a bill he cosponsored that would provide everyone with affordable health care. Other top priorities are climate change and the release of the Iraq report in September.
Recess plans: Hosted a roundtable in Cleveland on how Ohio can benefit from the expansion of nuclear energy. Spent the night in the sheep barn at the Ohio State Fair and guest conducted the All Ohio State Fair Youth Choir and Youth Band.
Reality Check: Nearly 47 million Americans are without health care,and employee spending for health insurance coverage has increased 143 percent between 2000 and 2006,according to census data.
Sen. Jim Bunning
Bragging rights: Led fight against amnesty provision in the failed immigration bill. Supported bill that will increase funding for special education and obtained more federal funding for Kentucky public schools. Called for more time to evaluate Iraq surge progress.
September goals: Continue push for coal-to-liquid fuel legislation that would reduce both U.S. reliance on foreign oil and greenhouse gas emissions. Push through appropriations bills. Secure funding for American troops in Iraq.
Recess plans: Will traverse Kentucky,stopping in Owensboro,Middlesboro,Paducah and London. “I'll probably take a week off or so,but when you're at home,and you're 10 minutes or 15 minutes from the office,you're not off,they find you,” Bunning said at a press conference.
Reality check: The Senate has passed only one of 12 appropriations bills this year,and none has been signed into law.
Sen. Mitch McConnell,R-Ky.,the Senate Republican leader
Progress: Helped pass lobbying legislation and supported minimum wage increase. Added Kentucky State University the list of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Set 2017 deadline for disposing chemical weapons stored at Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County.
September goals: Pass legislation reducing income tax burden on working Americans and stop the rising cost of health care. Continue his pledge from start of session: “When faced with an urgent issue,we would act; and when faced with a problem,we'd see solutions,not mere political advantage.”
Recess plans: Campaigning for Gov. Ernie Fletcher. Visit Hazard to cut ribbon for Appalachian Regional Hospital's cancer center and speak to the Pike County Chamber of Commerce in Pikeville. Meet with constituents throughout the state.
Reality check: Chemical weapons are stored in eight sites around the country. The Blue Grass Army Depot uses igloos to store weapons,including projectiles and rockets containing nerve agents and mustard agent.