Debt and deficits headline Voinovich's meeting with Obama

Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) will talk deficits and debt when he meets with President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

The retiring Ohio senator will meet with the president in the Oval Office this morning, which sparked some concern from conservatives that the senator, who's previously broken with his party on some issues, might be subject to entreaties on healthcare.

"Senator Voinovich’s statement after his last vote against the partisan health care reform bill speaks for itself and his stance has not changed," Voinovich spokesman Garrette Silverman said.

ADVERTISEMENT
The meeting, rather, will include discussions of the rising national debt and the long-term fiscal course of the country.

Voinovich has long been a deficit and debt hawk, having been a top GOP critic of some of President George W. Bush's tax cuts over the impact they would have on the deficit.

Obama has reached out to centrist senators in both parties ahead of an expected effort this coming year to reduce deficits. He's met several times with Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) to discuss that issue, an issue which Bayh has asserted the president will make a top priority in 2010.

To that end, the Obama administration has notified cabinet agencies to slow or reduce spending in the next few years, a proposal that's been met with some reluctance by House Democrats.

Thoughts that Obama might reach out to Voinovich on healthcare were spurred on by Tuesday's special election in Massachusetts, where a Republican victory would leave Senate Democrats one vote short of a filibuster-proof majority on healthcare. In the case of such a defeat, Democrats would need to pick off one GOP vote in order to move again on healthcare.