Sen. Rob PORTMAN (R-Ohio) has been preparing a Senate agenda in the event the GOP takes the Senate. But contrary to earlier reports emanating from a breakfast he held with the Christian Science Monitor, his vision is ambitious and concrete. In a phone interview yesterday PORTMAN told me, “I have been working for some time on a Jobs for America plan. This is what we can do.” PORTMAN has been getting buy-in from the entire Senate caucus. “That is a good fiscal and economic plan,” he tells me. “We can get everyone on board, from Sen. [Ted] Cruz to Sen. [Susan] Collins.”
The plan outlines seven major initiatives: a health-care plan to replace Obamacare; fiscal restraint (including a balanced budget amendment and spending reductions); a robust domestic energy development plan; tax reform; regulatory reform; education and retraining redesign; and trade authority to expand jobs. While not laid out in legislative language, the Obamacare alternative would include allowing insurance purchase across state lines, risk pools for small business, a refundable tax credit for individuals to purchase their own insurance, health-care spending accounts and malpractice reform.
It is no secret that the GOP leadership resists putting out more detailed proposals, while reformers argue that, as the Republicans did in 1994 with the Contract With America, Republicans should show the voters what they will get with a GOP Senate — at least what a GOP Senate would vote on. Moreover, once the GOP Senate tries to vote to repeal Obamacare, it will need an alternative to avoid the claim that the senators are just “taking away” people’s insurance.
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