Two months ago, in the midst of area Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan’s nationally publicized bid for minority leader, we worried that such a move carried risks for the Mahoning Valley.
The 13th District representative from Howland dismissed our concerns about retaliation by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi if he failed to oust her.
Ryan, who began his eighth two-year term in Congress this month, said it would be “unprecedented” for Pelosi, one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill, to strip him of his Appropriations Committee membership or seek to punish him in some way.
Ryan was right.
Despite losing by a wide margin in the voting by 197 Democrats in the House of Representatives, Ryan has retained his membership on the powerful Appropriations Committee.
He also has been named ranking member of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee and will serve on the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Subcommittee.
He will continue serving on the Defense Subcommittee.
We are pleased that Ryan will still be in a position to make the case for federal government support for the Valley. There are several important items on the agenda, foremost of which is the future of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.
That said, we stand by our editorial of Nov. 22 in which we voiced our concerns about the ramifications of Ryan’s hard-hitting campaign for minority leader.
Here’s what we said, in part:
“Tim Ryan, the Mahoning Valley’s congressman, contends that if he succeeds in taking control of the House Democratic Caucus, the region will benefit many times more than it now does by virtue of his being a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee.
“Ryan is correct that being minority leader in the House would make him one of the most influential Democrats on Capitol Hill.
“But what if the Howland resident who represents Ohio’s 13th District fails in his bid to oust Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, D-12th, whose political power in Congress is well established?”
The editorial reflected our belief that in the rough-and-tumble of Washington politics, the adage “To the victor belongs the spoils” still applies.
It also was an acknowledgment that this heavily Democratic region needs Ryan in Washington, especially now that the Republicans have a strong majority in the House, are in control of the Senate and will soon have Donald J. Trump in the White House.
Democrats on Capitol Hill will be forced to work with their Republican colleagues to secure federal dollars for high-priority projects.
While Ryan contends that his position as ranking member of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee will put him in an exclusive class of legislators, we are more encouraged with his continued membership on the Defense Subcommittee and his new position on the military construction subcommittee.
AIR BASE, GM LORDSTOWN
The Mahoning Valley’s economy has a stable foundation because of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, which is home to the 910th Airlift Wing, and the General Motors Lordstown Complex, which produces the Chevrolet Cruze.
While the Air Force Reserve base continues to rank high nationally in terms of its mission and its cost effectiveness, the future of the GM Lordstown plant is cause for some concern.
On Monday, 1,200-plus employees will lose their jobs after the third shift is discontinued. GM has said that falling demand for compact cars as a result of relatively cheap gas at the pump has meant an oversupply of Cruzes. The demand for SUVs and trucks is growing.
Congressman Ryan, who is becoming one of the more senior Democrats in the House of Representatives, will be looked upon to not only go to bat in Washington for the GM plant and the air base, but also to build on the America Makes additive manufacturing initiative that was launched by President Barack Obama in Youngstown.
It isn’t known whether Republican President Trump will recognize the importance of developing new manufacturing procedures, but Ryan has become a leading voice for research and development of 3-D printing and other high-technology manufacturing processes.
There’s no doubt that the Valley will continue to benefit from the congressman’s membership on the Appropriations Committee and subcommittees.
We are relieved that Minority Leader Pelosi did not retaliate against Ryan for his very vocal effort to unseat her.