In my maiden Senate floor speech, I focused on the budget and economic issues we face and how our burgeoning debt and deficit is directly linked to the sluggish pace of job creation and economic growth in states like Ohio.

As I said during the speech, I believe the twin challenges of our time are to revive the American economic miracle and stop the reckless government spending that threatens to extinguish the American dream. One affects the other.

Without a growing economy and more jobs we simply cannot reverse the dangerous trend of record deficits and deepening debt. At the same time, without getting our spending under control, we can’t get our economy moving. With the fiscal time bomb on our doorstep and all the uncertainty it creates, we will not have a strong recovery. So we have to do both.

The current economic climate encouraged by Washington is one of uncertainty and apprehension, which discourages risk-taking and private investment. Economists say this is the biggest challenge we face on the road to economic recovery. We must aggressively create the climate for job growth, innovation, invention and entrepreneurship.

Leadership is needed to get a handle on our serious fiscal issues. Instead, we are debating at the margins. It played out on the Senate floor this week – we are locked in a fierce partisan battle about less than one percent of federal outlays – actual federal spending – in this fiscal year. We aren’t even addressing the biggest and fastest growing part of the budget, which are the important, but unsustainable, entitlement programs.

American families have tightened their belts the past few years and businesses have done more with less, but the federal government has taken the opposite path, spending more, growing bigger, and becoming more involved in our private economy and our lives.

We also can’t compete if our health care system costs double the rest of the developed world while outcomes are unsatisfactory. This is wrong for small businesses who are trying to provide health care and yet stay afloat. It’s wrong for working families whose rising costs are closing their opportunity to move up the ladder.

People are looking for leadership from Washington to take on the challenges that Ohio’s businesses and workers face every day. The status quo isn’t working. We must meet our economic and fiscal problems head-on by putting in place pro-growth measures and spending restraint, and we have got to do it now.

To view the whole speech, please click here.

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