Republican incumbent Pat Tiberi faces Democrat challenger Jim Reese in a bid for the redrawn 12th Congressional District, which includes parts of Delaware, Franklin, Licking, Marion, Morrow, Muskingum and Richland counties.
Tiberi, 49, has represented the district since 2001. He previously served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1993 to 2000.
He is a lifelong resident of the 12th District, currently living in Genoa Township with his wife, Denice, and four daughters.
Reese, 34, is an attorney and small-business owner. He has lived in central Ohio for 12 years and lives in Gahanna with his wife, Nancy, and two sons.
When ThisWeek asked what specific measures each candidate proposes to drive down debt and control spending, Tiberi said spending must be reduced to work toward a balanced budget.
"Simply increasing revenue by ending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, as some have suggested, would not only leave the spending problem unsolved; it would represent the largest tax hike in American history," Tiberi said.
"I worked to successfully pass the largest discretionary spending cut since World War II," he said.
"Unfortunately, deficits continue to grow because the president hasn't taken action to reform the biggest drivers of our national debt -- Social Security and Medicare," Tiberi said.
"We need to reform and strengthen Social Security and Medicare for current and future beneficiaries rather than continue on the current unsustainable path."
Tiberi said he also supports the proposed Cut, Cap and Balance Act.
"We must cut our spending, impose enforceable caps to align spending with revenues and pass a balanced-budget amendment," he said.
"I've led by example, cutting over $2.1 million from my own office budgets since I've been in Congress."
Reese said he wants to reduce the deficit by putting Americans back to work at good-paying jobs.
"If Americans manufacture American inventions within our borders, then every citizen that wants a job can have a job," Reese said.
"Ohioans invented the light bulb, the cash register, the airplane and the LCD TV, yet not a single one of these inventions is manufactured in Ohio," he said.
"By getting people off of unemployment, back to work and paying taxes, we can greatly reduce the deficit," Reese said.
When asked about improving health-care affordability and how he would convince members of the opposing party to agree, Tiberi said, there are many aspects of health-care reform where both sides agree.
"For example, allowing children to stay on their parents' health-care plan until they are 26 and expanding access to affordable care for those with pre-existing conditions are provisions that have broad support," Tiberi said.
"However, I hear time and again from Ohioans that the president's health-care law is not the reform that people need or want."
Instead of a government takeover of health care, Tiberi said, reform is needed that reduces the number of uninsured Americans by driving down the cost of coverage while expanding access, allowing families to choose the type of coverage they want.
"That's why I support the Reform Americans Can Afford Act, a bill that would repeal the government takeover of health care and replace it with common-sense measures that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says will lower health-care premiums by up to 20 percent compared to the Democrats' law," he said. "It would also repeal the nearly half-a-trillion dollars in tax increases and three-quarters-of-a-trillion dollars in Medicare cuts that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' actuaries said could jeopardize access to care for Medicare beneficiaries."
Reese said he supports a health-care act that implements a functional health insurance marketplace, where consumers may inform themselves on the best policies at the best prices and that would modernize and improve health care for everyone.
"A competitive and honest marketplace will benefit every American citizen, and I will fight to retain legislation that benefits American consumers," he said.
Tiberi said government red tape is hindering economic growth in this country and regulatory compliance is costing small businesses an estimated $10,500 per employee annually.
"That's why I support the REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act," he said. "This measure would require an up-or-down vote in Congress on all the major rules, defined as those with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more, proposed by regulatory agencies."
He said it would improve the regulatory process and encourage agencies and Congress to work together to create regulations that implement the original intent of the law. In addition, Tiberi said, this would prevent the administration, regardless of party, from bypassing Congress to implement regulations that further its political agenda.
The bill passed the House of Representatives in December 2011 by a vote of 241-184 and awaits action in the Senate.
Reese said he doesn't believe regulatory agencies such as the EPA, the FCC, the USDA and other similar agencies are overstepping Congress' legislative authority.
"But I do believe that our representatives in Congress have failed in their duty to effectively legislate with sufficient specificity to avoid ambiguous and unnecessary regulation," he said.