On Fox News, Portman Discusses Retirement Legislation, Expanding American Energy Production, and Bipartisan Safer Communities Act
This afternoon, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) joined Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto to discuss the Biden administration’s call the suspend the federal gas tax and the bipartisan gun safety legislation, the Safer Communities Act. Senator Portman explained that the Safer Communities Act does not affect anyone who is a law-abiding citizen and protects the Second Amendment while providing more funding for mental health and community intervention programs. Portman was one of the original ten Republicans to support the original framework for this bill and will support its final passage when it comes to the Senate floor. Senator Portman also noted his bipartisan legislation that unanimously passed out of the Senate Finance Committee that would allow Americans to save more for retirement, help small businesses offer retirement plans, expand access for low-income Americans, and provide more certainty and flexibility during Americans’ retirement years.
A transcript of his remarks can be found below and a video can be found here.
PORTMAN ON THE GAS TAX HOLIDAY PROPOSED BY PRESIDENT BIDEN
“Well, Neil, it's not the solution obviously. It's about 3.6 percent of the cost of gas. We're all dying with high gas prices, people who are commuting, people who are on fixed income. I talked to a trucker over the weekend who is paying $1,500 to fill up his 18-wheeler. It's a really terrible punitive tax. Inflation generally is… But this is not going to solve the problem.
“Well, I would take a look at it. But, you know, is the money going to come out of the Highway Trust Fund? In other words, fewer roads and bridges. Inflation is hitting there too, so we're having a tough time keeping up. You know, is it going to be for how long? So if it's 3.6 percent of the cost of gas that would help, but what would help a lot more if we had more production of gas and oil. Oil obviously is the biggest part of gasoline, next to refining. And then next would be state taxes, and then next federal taxes. So, let's get the production up. That's where the real opportunity us here. When this administration came in, as you know, they did everything possible to try to stifle the production of fossil fuels, including gas and oil. And that is now, unfortunately, beginning to cause big, big problems. That and increased demand that came out of the pandemic. So, that's the biggest thing to do, is to tell these companies, look, we're not going to undercut you, as we did with the Keystone XL pipeline – billions of dollars invested, ready to go, and the government just pulls it out.”
PORTMAN ON BIDEN ADMINISTRATION SAYING THEY ARE NOT STANDING IN THE WAY OF GAS & OIL PRODUCTION
“Well, first, I think you did a good job of countering that. I would say two things. One, yes they are because if you look at all the issues, particularly permitting issues, they're giving explicit instructions to the agencies with regard to so-called Waters of the United States, which is something that the oil and gas companies care a lot about. The permitting is very difficult. Second, they're sending every indication, including by saying no leasing production on federal lands or waters, which is in litigation now, and obviously stopping Keystone XL, also stopping pipelines around the country – look, if you make these investments, we may just pull the rug out from under you. So, it's difficult to get the American companies to make the investments we want them to make to be able to have these fossil fuels.
“By the way, there will be a transition to a greener economy. There will be, but it's going to take time. You can't just immediately say we're going to stop fossil fuels and then have everybody’s costs skyrocket. It’s just terrible for working families in Ohio. So, yes, they have had a big impact on things.”
PORTMAN ON BIPARTISAN SENATE GUN LEGISLATION
“Well, we made a number of changes, as you know, John Cornyn taking the lead to address some of the concerns the NRA had, and that I had and others had. It actually includes a number of things they wanted, including saying, as an example, with regard to the records of juveniles that will now be provided, which, by the way, everybody thinks should be in these records, that there will be a sunset to that. With regard to the ‘so-called’ loophole right now for a boyfriend, if there's an assault, that person should be subjected.
“There's also an immediate reinstatement of a person's rights after five years, which is not in current law. There is actually some things they wanted that got in there that are pro-Second Amendment. Just in general, yeah, I think it will pass to answer your question. I think there will be more than 14. I don't know how many…15, 16, 17 senators will probably support it in the end, because it's common sense stuff. The biggest part of it, obviously, is mental health, which is what all of us have been saying on the Republican side for a long time, is when you actually look at what's happening here, and unfortunately almost every single one of these cases, certainly the mass shootings, these horrific mass shootings at the schools, it's a mental health issue, that this person is mentally ill, not getting the support that he needs because it's usually a young male. That's huge in this legislation. That's the biggest part of it by far. Second is school safety. There, I think there's a real agreement among Republicans. Then on this notion of ensuring that a juvenile's records are looked at, I think most Republicans are strongly in support of that. You know, if you have, as was the case in the Texas situation, a juvenile record, so a criminal record in essence, a juvenile record, that is sealed or expunged, that obviously should be taken into account when somebody is 18, 19, 20 years old.
“No, that's not part of it. There's nothing like that in here. In fact, there are a whole slew of things, about 20 things, that they asked for immediately, none of which are in here. But, this will help I think. Because of the mental health reality of the situation, because of the school safety issue, which is real, and also because of, you know, guns getting in the hands of dangerous people that nobody would want, and having that information in the national background check system, I think it's really common sense legislation. I do think it will pass pretty easily. The question is, will all Democrats support it? They want it to go further. The House wants to go further. I hope they realize that although this isn't what they want that will be helpful to avoid further tragic instances like we just saw in Uvalde, Texas.”
PORTMAN ON HIS RETIREMENT SAVINGS LEGISLATION
“Well, as I said earlier, the most punitive taxes. One of the things that's happened because of the pandemic, and because of inflation, is people have less disposable income because it's all going to pay for gas, and pay for groceries, and to pay for clothes. They aren't saving like they should be. We happen to have a bipartisan, bicameral, a very middle ground, I think, a very positive bill, that helps people save more in their 401(k), save more in their IRA, get more small businesses to get engaged in offering a plan. Only about half of them do. So everybody has a chance to get money into retirement so that they can have a retirement nest egg where they can have some peace of mind in retirement. Today we passed it out of committee, it's going to the floor, and it's great stuff. I also enjoyed Jay Powell’s comments today in committee, where he said ‘yes, this inflation started long before the invasion of Ukraine’, which is absolutely true.”