Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) is looking ahead to next year and the beginning of the Trump administration with several bills he plans to propose in the new session of Congress, including bills on infrastructure and the budget. He joined Jasen to talk about those bills, his thoughts on a congressional investigation into alleged Russian hacking, and the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) believes it's time for change in the House Democratic leadership. Last week, he officially launched a bid to replace Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the House Minority Leader. He joined Jasen to talk about his candidacy and the change in approach he would like to see in the Democratic Party.
Senator Rob Portman says the "Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act" - designed to pay for education, treatment and recovery programs to try to stop drug abuse - has a lot of bipartisan support.
But as the bill starts its journey in the Senate, Portman realizes getting even well-supported legislation through Congress is not easy...especially in a busy political year.
"Even though it's legislation that my colleagues seem to support, this is Congress, and it's really hard to get stuff done around here," Portman tells Ohio reporters in a conference call. "So, I am hopeful that we'll have enough momentum to push through the politics of the year, and actually get something done here."
Sen. Portman tells reporters on a conference call that the heroin epidemic is a "real crisis" in Ohio, and believes the legislation will help battle that problem.
He says there is bipartisan support in the House as well.
Monday, the Senate voted 89 to 0 to begin consideration of the bill.
One of the biggest debates in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Paris has been whether to accept refugees from Syria. The governors of 32 states have asked the federal government to not place Syrian refugees in their states, and there is speculation that Republicans in Congress may insert language into a key spending bill to block Syrian refugees from being accepted into the United States.
Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) believes Ohio Gov. John Kasich made the right decision by calling for Syrians to not be placed in Ohio.
"We need to ensure those coming over have no ties to ISIS or other terrorist organizations. We need to have a system in place, we need to be screening." Renacci said. "If we can't do that, we shouldn't just be allowing individuals to come in."
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) sees it differently. While he also wants to make sure terrorists don't enter the country, he says there are safeguards in place to ensure the wrong people don't come in.
"If we don't know something... or we don't know who exactly you are, you don't get in the country," Ryan said.
When asked about the "gaps" in the ability to vet Syrian refugees noted last month by FBI director James Comey, Ryan said a refugee whose information falls into one of those gaps would not gain entry into the United States.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill that would, among other changes, require FBI background checks for refugees. The Associated Press reports President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.