Twinsburg — Democratic challenger for Ohio’s 14th Congressional District Michael Wager, of Moreland Hills, called on Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio, 14) April 10 to reject the [Wisconsin Rep. Paul] Ryan budget plan, set for a vote today in Congress.
Wager, who does not face a Democratic challenger in the May 6 primary election, appeared with about a dozen supporters carrying “Michael Wager for Congress” signs April 10 outside of the District 14 satellite office at Twinsburg Government Center.
“This budget is an attack on American workers, on American families, on the American middle class and ... a full frontal attack on women,” Wager said. “It gives $87,000 in tax breaks to the richest among us, and these are the wrong priorities for the 14th district and the nation.
“And we’re here symbolically to hold David Joyce accountable for his actions in support of this plan.”
Kevin Benacci, Joyce’s campaign manager, said the country needs “a serious, realistic, honest budget” that holds Washington accountable and protects taxpayers.
“Mr. Wager’s idea of a budget is one that never balances and increases taxes,” Benacci said April 10. “The simple truth is America can’t afford to spend like it has, and hardworking taxpayers can’t afford the taxes they have to pay.
“Dave Joyce believes America can’t control our future if we don’t own our future. Every day we keep spending and spending, and that means we keep borrowing and borrowing, with much of it from China. That means we are no longer in control of our country’s own economic future. That has to change.”
Wager called the Ryan budget a “gift” to the wealthiest, saying that $87,000 in annual tax breaks “to millionaires” would be funded on the backs of the American middle class.
“How do you pay for tax breaks for American millionaires?” Wager asked. “With the American middle class.”
Wager, former chairperson of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority, also said Joyce, who will face one Republican challenger, Matthew Lynch, on May 6, was “wrong” in his opposition to increasing the federal minimum wage 40 percent from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour.
“Congressman Joyce, you’re wrong,” Wager said during his 20-minute press conference. “Increasing the minimum wage is not a job killer.”
As well, Wager touched on the budget’s proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher system.
“It does horrid things to Medicare, it voucherizes Medicare, it brings back the part D doughnut hole which seniors know costs them more for prescription drugs over the course of the year,” Wager said.
Wager’s campaign manager Justin Lamorte said the Medicare issue could be “acute,” particularly for District 14, which has an older demographic. Lamorte said the Ryan budget would cost seniors $1,200 per year out-of-pocket by opening “a doughnut hole” in Part D of Medicare.
“This reckless, dangerous budget is an attack on what America holds dear,” Wager said. “We call on Congressman Joyce to stand up for the middle class, stand up for America and vote ‘no’ on the budget and these distorted priorities.”
Janet Carson of Geauga County, chairperson of the Geauga County Democratic Party and a small business owner of an insurance company, said she is most concerned with the budget’s proposal to cut $11 billion in job training and access to lenders for small businesses.
“Any time you make cuts to small business [assistance], it hurts job creation,” Carson said.
Frank Hribar, of Kirtland Hills, said he has reservations about “big cuts for millionaires,” and how a proposed $52 billion in cuts to American infrastructure will manifest itself.
“That really bothers me,” Hribar said. “It’s not the single truck driver who damages the roads or causes potholes … it’s the fleet of 500 semi-trucks from the huge company that do it. The wealthiest benefit the most from infrastructure, and they should pay the most for it.”