U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Zionsville, couldn't be any happier about the choice of Paul Ryan as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate.
He thinks Ryan is serious about tackling perhaps the biggest problem facing the nation - that of the rising federal deficit.
"There is no one better at this than Paul Ryan," said Toomey, who was in Williamsport Tuesday to address the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Zionsville, left, stands with Lycoming County Commissioner Jeff Wheeland, second left; state Sen. E. Eugene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township; and city Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, right.
Toomey said Romney couldn't have a made a better choice.
The lawmaker said he got to know Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, in 1998 when the two of them first were elected to the House. They even shared an apartment at one point.
Toomey said the nation's fiscal problems put it on a dangerous path of continued government growth and rising deficits.
Businesses, he said, are strangling in over-regulation and health care costs are dramatically increasing.
The Affordable Care Act, is doing nothing to help, he claimed.
He said the re-election of President Obama will make it all but impossible to reform "Obama Care."
It's already become increasingly difficult, he said, to provide sufficient Medicare reimbursements to health care providers.
Charles Santangelo, Susquehanna Health chief financial officer, told Toomey that Medicare payments comprise about half of the health system's payments.
Toomey noted that Medicare and Social Security take up a big part of government costs and are in great need of being reformed.
Social Security, he said, is arguably the most abused program in government with billions paid out in fraudulent claims.
Toomey said the natural gas industry is a great opportunity to help wean the nation's dependency on foreign oil.
Compressed natural gas, he said, can lead to cheaper costs of operating vehicles and ultimately a plummet in foreign oil prices.
"Natural gas can change our national profile," he said.
Toomey said infrastructure improvements are one of the nation's greatest needs.
And infrastructure investment can be a means of helping spur the economy.
Unfortunately, the gasoline tax simply cannot keep up with the increasing demands of road and bridge repairs.
In addition, the federal transportation bill passed to help address those problems only covers two years.
"We need to cut spending in other areas," he said.
Toomey said government pensions also are a problem.
Federal employees either can opt into a 410(k) program or a defined pension plan.
He said the latter is in need of reform, with employees contributing more to their retirements.