Government Bytes


Little Revealed in Ohio Senate Debate

by Dan Barrett / /

Instead of a dialogue on their proposed policies, both candidates attacked each others’ personalities instead during the Ohio Senate debate today. The hour-long debate featured Senator Sherrod Brown and State Treasurer Josh Mandel, the two frontrunners in the race. Much of the arguments centered on who didn’t serve the people of Ohio, and any policies that the candidates support were largely brushed aside in favor of attacking their opponent.

For substance in this race, NTU Foundation released a line-by-line study on how each candidate would change current federal spending, should they be the victor on November 6th. NTUF identified budget-influencing policies by matching candidate statements, interviews, and campaign website content with third party estimates and verifiable calculations from budget documents. Those proposals not matching available estimates were still included with details on how the policy might change the budget.

Sherrod Brown did not hint at any new policies that would increase or decrease federal spending if he was reelected. Brown’s report total remains the same:

  • Total Proposed Net Spending Agenda: $6.195 billion (increase)

Josh Mandel gave taxpayers something new that would add to his agenda. He would support eliminating foreign aid that would go to countries that harbor terrorists and, specifically, Pakistan. According to the Government Accountability Office, the US spent an estimated $2.1 billion in direct aid and military assistance to Pakistan. NTUF is unable to determine the budgetary effect of the other half of his proposal because he did not state whether he would repeal spending going to countries harboring terrorists or if the tax dollars would be used for other foreign aid purposes. In the event he repealed funding for state sponsors of terrorism (Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria), $56 million for Cuba and Sudan in requested appropriations would not be spent. According to the State Department, Iran and Syria do not receive US foreign assistance. Otherwise, a listing of terrorist-harboring states is not available. Updating Mandel’s report:

  • Current National Security and International Relations Proposals: $2 million (increase)
  • Repeal Foreign Aid to Pakistan: -$2.1 billion (savings)
  • Repeal Foreign Aid to State Harbors of Terrorism: Unknown.
  • Updated Net Cost in National Security and International Relations: -$2.098 billion (savings)
  • Updated Total Proposed Net Spending Agenda: -$105.995 billion (savings)

In light of only one new policy emerging from the candidates during the debate, you can look at it two ways: Either everything the candidates wish to do while in office has already been made public and therefore the spending measures appear in NTUF’s studies, or the candidates have not disclosed all of their legislative plans. Both scenarios mean taxpayers need to ask for more details and more specifics from both Sherrod Brown and Josh Mandel.

As the numbers stand:

  • Sherrod Brown has proposed 8 policies that NTUF is unable to determine the budgetary impact, 53% of his budget-influencing agenda.
  • Josh Mandel now has 5 proposals that cannot be scored for budgetary impact, 38% of his agenda items that might affect spending.

Check out the entire debate here.

Note: The studies and the items explored are related to spending and do not include revenue items such as tax increases or cuts. These points are intended to help educate taxpayers on the important decisions they will make on November 6th and is not an endorsement of either candidate.