Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The Cincinnati Enquirer, Oct. 18
Now that Congress and the president have narrowly dodged the latest crisis, we must demand an end to the political gamesmanship and a return to governing.
The agreement to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling is not to be considered a victory for anyone. The 16-day government shutdown cost the economy $24 billion and will slow economic growth, according to an analysis by Standard & Poor's. That equates to real people who saw their paychecks cut and their businesses hurt.
The deal reached Wednesday would finance the government only through Jan. 15 and lift the debt ceiling through Feb. 7. So we are merely headed toward another crisis in a matter of weeks unless Congress and the President get serious about negotiating a long-term budget deal.
In this brief interim, it is time to govern, not to continue to play politics. All sides should rediscover the art of compromise and negotiation, because that's what any deal will require....
To his credit, House Speaker John Boehner, the West Chester Republican, finally allowed a vote on the Senate deal to resolve the crisis even though a majority of House Republicans opposed it. But a majority of the full House supported it and maybe that's a model for future long-term deals.
The Marietta Times, Oct. 18
Admissions from President Barak Obama's administration that it isn't really ready to roll out the new national health insurance program have become regular occurrences.
By Jan. 1, every American will be required to have health insurance or pay a hefty tax for failure to comply. Those without government- or employer-provided insurance, along with many small businesses, may have to purchase coverage through state "exchanges" or "marketplaces."
Earlier this summer, Obama announced big businesses will be given a one-year reprieve from penalties in the law mandating they provide health insurance to employees. Smaller enterprises and individual Americans get no such delay.
Information on the exchanges, along with enrollment, is to be handled through government websites. Enrollment began Tuesday.
But last Wednesday, federal officials revealed the Spanish-language version of the healthcare.gov website will not be ready for a few weeks.
Thursday, officials said small businesses in most states will not be able to use websites to obtain insurance until sometime in November.
But the Jan. 1 deadlines for compliance stand. In other words, millions of Americans have to be ready for Obamacare, even if the government is not.
The (Canton) Repository, Oct. 20
"Although Congress continually fails to pass appropriations bills by the Oct. 1 deadline, Americans should not have the threat of a government shutdown hanging over their heads." (U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio)
You said it, senator. The thing is, Ohio's junior U.S. senator didn't say it last week. Portman said it nine months ago, when he and Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana introduced a bill that's designed to avoid exactly the kind of chaos that the country just endured.
The End Government Shutdowns Act, which has gone nowhere, would create an automatic continuing resolution for any appropriations bill that Congress hasn't approved by Oct. 1. Government would keep operating at its current levels even if Congress couldn't agree on how to fund it for the next fiscal year.
In other words, government couldn't be shut down by political brinkmanship.
Sounds good. There's a catch, though, and if you know what sequestration is, you know how the catch works.
Under the bill, Congress would have 120 days after Oct. 1 to agree on spending. If it didn't happen, funding through the continuing resolutions would decrease by 1 percentage point. The appropriations would continue to fall by that amount every 90 days as long as there was no agreement.
We've all seen the painful results of the indefensible across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration. The spending cuts in the Portman-Tester bill would be a sort of cascading sequestration, where every three months of inaction would result in more spending cuts, and presumably more public scorn and demands for action.
Ironton Tribune, Oct. 18
With the federal government now re-open from a partial shutdown that lasted more than two weeks, Americans are now left to pick up the pieces and wonder when the ridiculous game of taxpayer-funded chicken will be played again.
Americans are left to wonder what happened from the person who was laid off from their federal job to the family who could not carry out their vacation to one of the temporarily shuttered National Parks or public museums. This is not only a federal issue, as the Wayne National Forest is one entity that has felt the impact locally along with various others in the Tri-State area as well as the region.
Whether you are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, a large helping of blame can be passed around to both sides of the aisle.
Regardless of the issues that kept both sides from reaching an agreement, the collective group, not just one side or the other, caused the mess created in the last two weeks.
Americans need to remember that citizens elect these senators and representatives and they should be held accountable for their actions. They cannot continue such behavior unless citizens continue to provide them with our votes and our support....
Until these men and women learn that it is an honor and a privilege to hold these seats and, actually do the work of the American people these types of issues will continue. Americans are forced to wonder when the government will come grinding to a halt again.