Politics

Ryan, RNC Spar Over Missed House Votes

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan fired back Wednesday afternoon at a Republican National Committee statement that criticized his voting record as he pursues the Democratic presidential nomination.

Citing tracking by ProPublica, the statement issued Wednesday morning by RNC regional communications director Mandi Merritt charges that Ryan, D-13 Ohio, has missed 70 votes, or more than 32% of all ballots cast to date in the 116th Congress.

According to the RNC, that makes him the third most absent member serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and puts him at the top of the list of his House colleagues also seeking the Democratic nomination – U.S. Reps. Seth Moulton, D-6 Mass., Eric Swalwell, D-15 Calif., Tulsi Gabbard, D-2 Hawaii – for missed votes.

-“How can Tim Ryan ask voters to give him a promotion if he doesn’t even bother to show up for his current job?” the RNC asked in the statement. While missing votes, he has made several trips to New Hampshire and Iowa “in a desperate attempt to boost his wannabe campaign.”

Ryan, in response to an email requesting comment, said his campaign is built on the premise that shining “a national spotlight” on the concerns of his constituents and “millions of people and thousands of communities all across America who share those concerns” is important.

“I will continue to take every possible opportunity to push for an economy that works for working people, protect affordable, high-quality health care, and provide help for regions of the country like ours that continue to struggle,” he said.

The congressman referred to his successful effort to secure $300 million for four C-130J aircraft that the Youngstown Air Reserve Station locally is “well positioned to receive.” And he cited funds for additive manufacturing research and development, river cleanup efforts and the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program, which could help electric vehicle manufacturers build their products in places like the idled General Motors plant in Lordstown.

“Northeast Ohio will always be my priority, and these projects are another example of my unwavering commitment and hard-work for my district and constituents,” Ryan said.

The RNC statement accused Ryan of having “long been angling to leave his constituents behind with musings for higher office,” and now is “putting that indifference into action by choosing hobnobbing on the campaign trail” over his responsibilities to his constituents.

Ryan has frequently considered or been suggested for other offices, including lieutenant governor, governor and U.S. senator, but ultimately decided to seek reelection to his House seat. Speculation was rampant that, had Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in the 2016 election, that he would join the administration.

Yesterday Ryan also responded on Twitter to President Trump walking out of a scheduled meeting on infrastructure with Democratic congressional leaders as he demanded that Democrats complete their “phony investigations” before he could work with them.

“We can’t afford to have the president hold a $2 [trillion] infrastructure bill hostage,” Ryan tweeted. “Congress can legislate and provide oversight at the same time. This is more important than the president’s ego. The American people are counting on us.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.