EATON — During the Wednesday, Feb. 8, Preble County Commissioners meeting, Ben Thaeler, a member of U.S. Congressman Warren Davidson’s staff, updated the board on actions taken by Congressmen Davidson in 2017.
This included a report on legislation co-sponsored by Davidson, The Drain the Swamp Act of 2017. Ted Budd, a Republican from North Carolina, also sponsored the bill.
“It’s an eye raiser by design, but basically it’s a common-sense idea,” Thaeler said.
”You have all these agencies dealing with issues that have nothing to do with the greater D.C. area. Why not come to the Department of Agriculture in Lincoln, Nebraska or Eaton, Ohio. Or anywhere where the cost of doing business is much less.”
“We can save four to five times the cost we are currently paying to keep these agencies there by simply moving them to a part of the country where the cost of living and the cost of doing business is less,” he said.
A press release on Davidson’s website states that the act would “require all agencies in Washington, DC to relocate their headquarters outside of the DC metro area. No more than 10 percent of agency employees will be permitted to remain in Washington.”
Thaeler also discussed executive orders the GOP wants president Donald Trump to consider.
“We started off with a list of about 100 executive orders we were putting into a piece of legislation. Then the list grew to about 200 (and) now we’re well over 300 and coming up to 400,” he said.
As of Monday, Feb. 13, Trump had signed 12 executive orders, with many of them undoing legislation enacted under President Barack Obama. Despite the dozen already signed, Trump rate is not significantly out of range with other presidents. Previous president Obama, who signed 276 executive orders during his eight years in office, signed 19 in his first 100 days. Many of Obama’s executive orders undid legislation enacted under George W. Bush.
In the modern era, beginning with president Richard M. Nixon, the president to sign the most executive orders, according to the Presidency Project, is Ronald Reagan (381) and the least was George Bush (166).
Thaeler also touched on the ‘major change of guard’ at the Environmental Protection Agency.
“We deal with the EPA a lot in the 8th District. Moving forward if there are issues in the county, because I know there have been in the past, with the EPA. Please use our office as a resource. Now’s the time to really get a lot of things done — even small issues you’re having with the EPA. We’re finding they’re going to be much easier to work with.
Lastly, Thaeler asked about the heroin epidemic that plagues Preble County, and much of Ohio.
“Unfortunately, the opioid epidemic seems to come up in every meeting, have you seen any change,” he asked.
The commissioners stated the problem is significant and that last year 16 overdose deaths due to heroin occurred inside Preble County.
“(There are) lots of different ways people are hoping to handle this,” Thaeler said, “and we haven’t really looked into criminal justice reform as an option – – a lot of people from our side of the aisle think that (approach) might be a misunderstanding of the issue. What we have looked at is community-based approaches.
Thaeler’s statement mirrors what Ohio Governor John Kasich said last month when Kasich signed legislation addressing Ohio heroin epidemic – a bill that did not include any additional funding. Kasich said the solution would not be a top-down approach, but instead it would need to come from communities, churches and schools.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the most effective treatment approach for individuals addicted to heroin is Medication-Assisted Treatment. The approach mixes medicine (like methadone) with counseling and behavioral therapies.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service reports, though, that within the United States, Ohio has one of the lowest percentages of availability to the MAT approach.