Johnson voted against debt bill

LISBON – U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson found himself in the minority when he voted last week against raising the federal debt ceiling.

Johnson, R-Marietta, said he voted no “because this legislation fails to address the main driver of our debt – Washington’s out-of-control government spending,” according to a news release issued by the congressman’s office.

The bill passed the House 221-201 on Tuesday with only 28 Republicans in favor. It allows the federal debt ceiling to be raised without any stipulations, such as corresponding spending cuts or any concessions from the Obama administration. The Senate passed the measure on Wednesday and the president followed shortly thereafter with his signature. The federal government’s debt, which is different than the budget deficit, currently stands at $17 trillion.

Johnson, who is up for re-election this year, issued a news release earlier in the week reporting that he also voted in favor of the bill restoring full cost-of-living increases in pensions for younger military retirees.

A budget bill approved last year by Congress cut the cost-of-living increases for military retirees under age 62 by 1 percent below the annual inflation rate, starting in 2015.

“As a 26-year veteran of the United States Air Force, I strongly believe that military men and women deserve to receive everything they have earned. I will continue to stand up for veterans and I was proud to vote in favor of this legislation,” he said.

In related news, Democrat Jennifer Garrison, who is running against Johnson, announced she received the endorsements of the Ohio AFL-CIO Executive Board and the Affiliated Construction Trades of Ohio.

“I am very humbled to receive the endorsements of these two statewide organizations who represent so many of the hard-working men and women in the state of Ohio. Growing up as the daughter of a union plumber, I experienced firsthand the benefits of organized labor,” she said, in a news release.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.