Debt ceiling divide: Sen. Rob Portman sells a new plan - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Debt ceiling divide: Sen. Rob Portman sells a new plan

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (10/02/2013) – In the middle of the government shutdown, a possible way out of the partisan, broken mess is taking shape, as Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) works behind the scenes to sell a new plan.

Portman said he wants to raise the debt ceiling while making budget cuts identical to the ones President Obama proposed in his budget earlier this year.

"That includes some really important programs that have to be preserved and reformed and improved like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security," Portman said.

Portman points out that the time for reform is now, and said Congress typically only cuts spending when a debt ceiling debate is on the table.

"So for the president to say he won't discuss is not consistent with history, and it's not practical," he said.

Portman is also pushing for a continuing resolution that will fund our government at its current levels until September 30th of next year, avoiding another short term funding battle.

"The people who study the economy will look at this favorably partly because Congress is broken…Washington is broken, and they would be surprised they could get anything done around here," Portman said.

On the other side of the aisle, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is already speaking out about Portman's plan.

"You don't play political games and say if you don't cut Medicare, I'm not going to vote for opening the government up," Brown said.

Brown said he thinks tying spending cuts to debt ceiling talks is playing with fire.

"This would have a terrible effect on our country and countries around the world. It would mean the United States isn't the hallmark of freedom, the economy of the world," he said.

Time is running out, and there is still more negotiating to be done before members of Congress come up with a plan everyone can agree on. For now, Washington will remain "broken."

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