Youngstown, OH 4/8/15 – U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, a Republican, told Mahoning County commissioners, who are all Democrats, that when it comes to improving the economy and making the nation business-friendly, political affiliations shouldn’t matter.
The commissioners, who met Tuesday with the congressman, agreed.
“Government needs to sit down and work in a bipartisan way,” said Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti.
Johnson’s 18-county congressional district includes the southern portion of Mahoning County.
Most of the one-hour conversation focused on issues with federal regulations that Johnson says makes it more difficult for companies and industries to grow in the United States.
But Johnson said he also was optimistic about Republicans and Democrats coming together.
Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, praised U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, pointing to Ryan’s vote earlier this year to expedite the federal approval process the export of liquefied natural gas.
The House voted 277-133 — with the support of 41 Democrats, including Ryan — on the bill sponsored by Johnson.
“Over 40 Democrats voted for that bill; that’s largely due to Tim’s work,” Johnson said.
The bill still needs approval from the Senate.
If approved, the Energy Department would have up to 30 days to review an application to export liquefied natural gas. Johnson said there are more than 30 such applications sitting at the department without a decision.
The policy change, Johnson said, would not only help the economy of Eastern Ohio but would also reduce Russia’s control over eastern European countries that buy gas from Russia.
The federal government is over-regulating businesses and industries making it harder for the United States to compete globally.
“We all remember the excitement of [Vallourec Star’s $1.1 billion expansion in Youngstown] and the hundreds of jobs it created,” Johnson said. “Now, they’re slowing down. Why is that happening? Because of policies coming out of Washington.”
The nation needs “common-sense regulations that mandate public health, public safety and national security,” he said.
The next president should create a committee that would review all federal regulations and in a year recommend those that hamper American businesses and workers without a good reason.