In a conference call Wednesday with reporters, Ohio’s senior U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown called for passage of tax relief he said is critical because it’s helped more than 1.5 million Ohioans claim more than $3.2 billion in tax refunds in 2012. Like tectonic plates forever grinding against each other, year end budget negotiations become the political equivalent in Washington, where one Congress ends soon to make way for a new one controlled by Republicans in January.

Congressional leaders are negotiating on many things, one of them being to extend tax deals. Brown told reporters he’s calling for the permanent extension of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit refundable tax credits. Brown’s view of the political universe justifies using these credits, precisely because they have proved their value because they encourage work, help families make ends meet and lead to healthier, better educated children.

“Corporations need certainty so they can make investments – working Americans deserve certainty so they can make ends meet,” Brown said in prepared remarks. “These tax credits provide critical tax relief but we can still do more to help Ohioans who work hard and take responsibility bring home more of their pay each month.”

Sen. Brown provided County-By-County Data on the number of Ohioans who have recently benefited from the credits and the amount of their return is available here.

Federal Balanced Budget Amendment

Among the questions the Senator fielded today was one from OhioNewsBureau that sought his thoughts on the value of a federal balanced budget amendment, which coincidentally happens to be the very topic Ohio Gov. John Kasich will launch nationally as part of his on-going stealth campaign to be on the 2016 GOP White House ticket. In related news, Ohio’s junior U.S. Senator, Rob Portman, a Republican up for reelection in two years, recently yanked himself out of contention for president. Portman said no to seeking the top spot, but hasn’t ruled out accepting the on-deck position, Vice President.

Following his win last month, Ohio Gov. Kasich appears ready to launch a national sales campaign to push for a federal “balanced budget” amendment. Based on his years spent at the Ohio statehouse where balanced budgets are mandated, and in Congress where budgets are rarely in balance, is Kasich a political Don Quixote tilting at a favorite but illusionary Republican windmill or a political prophet subject to the Hands of the Lord, Whom the governor attributed his big win in the lowest voter turnout election since the 1940s to.

“All I see is hypocrisy all over this town,” Brown responded, singling out people who preach the most vociferously who turn out to be the biggest violators of their own political gospel, especially “when they propose major tax cuts … fail by outsourcing jobs … start by taking away tax loopholes, it costs us jobs and blows a hole in the budget.” Brown added that most his GOP colleagues have signed a pledge never to close tax loopholes. “What are you going to do, make cuts and complain?” he said, using the recent example of the Ebola scare in the United States. Republicans cut the budget of the National Center for Disease Control, then got in a huff because they thought it should have been done better or quicker. And it would have but for ideological GOP obsession to whittle away at government, and by extension all the services they provide and paid for collectively. In his first campaign for governor, then citizen Kasich signed Grover Norquist’s tax pledge, and his press secretary told ONB there is no reason to step back from it.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said it best, when he told ONB in New York City this fall, at the Annual Meeting of the Clinton Foundation’s Global Initiative, that cities are the biggest, most efficient non-profit service corporation providers that deliver quality products at fair prices.

Brown Bounces Boehner

Sen. Brown said he doesn’t know what the U.S. House wants to do on tax extenders. He thinks it makes no sense to stop helping people pay for health insurance. “What’s the point? I don’t understand why that makes any sense.” He took a jab at the Speaker of the U.S. House, fellow Buckeye politico John Boehner, who’s been leading a non-productive caucus since 2010. Asked why Republicans will agree to his call for tax extenders that benefit low-income and middle class people, Brown didn’t mince words. “I don’t work for John Boehner. He wakes up every morning and decides whether he’ll be speaker of the tea party or the House.” He questioned by Speaker Boehner doesn’t appear to like Delphi workers. “He’s discriminating against those Delphi workers,” Brown told reporters.

Brown on ODP

Commenting on the on-going saga of who should be the next Ohio Democratic Party Chairman, the last Democratic statewide winner made his verbal vote for Sharon Neuhardt, a lawyer who joined the FitzGerald ticket following FitzGerald’s first pick for Lt. Governor, who self-destructed in about a week. “she would be a terrific leader,” he said, adding it’s time to “move on … [get a] new outlook.”  Brown had previously endorsed Denny Wojtanoski, a former state rep and lobbyist, for the position.  Wojtanoski pulled his name from consideration after questions were raised about his campaign contributions.

Brown Disagrees with NY Senator on ACA

Asked by ONB to comment on his Democratic senate colleague Charles Schumer’s comments that the president should not have pursued affordable health care when he did and should have focused instead on the economy, Sen. Brown said he disagreed. His added a dose of cynicism when he answered a question of Mitch McConnell and the Supreme Court. Did Sen. McConnell, elected Majority Leader, may have sent a message to the Supreme Court this week, when he said Republicans will write a comprehensive health plan if they were to rule parts of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Brown, “The same people who have never come up with a comprehensive healthcare plan?”