WKBN talks with Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan about tax reform, health care, drug crisis

Congressman Tim Ryan on the opioid epidemic, "We lost more people in 2016 than we lost during the entire Vietnam War"

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Valley Congressman Tim Ryan sat down with WKBN 27 First News This Morning Anchor Dan Martin to talk about last week’s tax reform vote in the House.

Before that vote, Ryan took to the House floor to say why he didn’t support it. WKBN asked him about that and what he does like about the plan.

“We need tax reform. We need to have a pro-business environment, we need it to be simple, we need to help entrepreneurs and small businesses. But, we’re borrowing money to give to the big dogs and to me that doesn’t make any sense because it’s going to cost each citizen of Youngstown $20,000 in national debt that they’re going to have to end up paying,” he said.

Although he is against it, there are a few things he does agree with that are part of the plan.

“There are a few things in there that I think are OK. I want to see the end product, but at the end of the day, we can’t borrow all this money, because at the end of the day, it’s the little guy in the Mahoning Valley that’s going to end up paying the tab on it,” he said.

The Senate will vote on its version of the tax plan after Thanksgiving.

WKBN asked Ryan how healthcare got mixed up with the tax reform. It wasn’t included in the House’s version, but his colleagues in the Senate were able to add it back in.

“Because there are tax issues within healthcare, that’s how they were able to put it in. So, you’re going to eliminate any help and assistance people would get paying for their healthcare and it’s also going to put a $25 billion a year cut into the Medicare program. So check, check, check across the board, this is bad for our people in my estimation,” he said.

He was s in town Tuesday morning for a roundtable discussion about the opioid crisis. He sat down with local law enforcement to focus on treatment and recovery plans for those addicted to opioids, something he thinks is very important.

Ryan also wants to focus on how to arrest the people selling these drugs.

“Because they’re killing our kids, they’re killing people in our community,” he said. “We lost more people in 2016 than we lost during the entire Vietnam War. So, we have to enforce it.”

One thing that the police would like to see is stricter punishment for people dealing carfentanil and fentanyl.

Ryan said he will use input from the police officers when crafting new legislation and advocating on Capitol Hill.

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