Rob’s Rundown: Week of November 14 – November 18, 2022

November 18, 2022 | Rob's Rundown

Senator Portman was back in Washington this week where he spoke on the Senate floor for the 25th consecutive session week regarding the situation in Ukraine. Portman discussed his recent bipartisan trip to Ukraine with Senator Coons where they saw the damage Russian bombardments had done to Ukraine’s critical infrastructure and talked about the Russian retreat from the city of Kherson, which is a critical step to helping Ukraine to win the war. A co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Ukraine Caucus and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Portman has now been to Ukraine 10 times, beginning in 2014 when Russia first invaded Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Portman delivered remarks on the Senate floor urging passage on a cloture vote, or a motion to begin debate, on the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation to codify and protect the recognition of same-sex marriages in the United States. Portman noted the importance of marriage as a foundational unit of society and his belief that our laws should reflect the overwhelming American consensus that same-sex marriages should be recognized. 

Also on Wednesday, Portman received the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Portman has long been a vocal supporter of Ukraine’s fight for freedom over tyranny and has continued to ensure the United States supports its allies abroad.

At Thursday morning’s Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee annual threats to the homeland hearing, Portman pressed the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to acknowledge that the Biden administration is responsible for the crisis at the southern border due their failed policies which have resulted in the highest level on record of unlawful migrants, unaccompanied children, and deadly narcotics like fentanyl coming into our country. Later, in response to Portman’s questions, Secretary Mayorkas admitted the recent cyberattack by Iranian government-sponsored hackers should be considered a major cyber incident, which would trigger notification to Congress.

Thursday evening, Portman accepted the 2022 Charles Colson Advocate of Hope Award for his contributions in helping those who’ve been in prison become productive members of society, including his work as author of the Second Chance Act. The award is presented through Prison Fellowship, the nation’s largest Christian outreach to prisoners, and honors individuals who have worked to restore those affected by crime and incarceration.

For a more detailed look at Senator Portman’s week, please see the following:

Monday, November 14, 2022

Senators Move Forward on Bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act With Protections For Religious Liberties

Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman, Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) released the following statement on moving forward with the Respect for Marriage Act:

The Respect for Marriage Act is a needed step to provide millions of loving couples in same-sex and interracial marriages the certainty that they will continue to enjoy the freedoms, rights, and responsibilities afforded to all other marriages. Through bipartisan collaboration, we’ve crafted commonsense language to confirm that this legislation fully respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties and diverse beliefs, while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to protect marriage equality. We look forward to this legislation coming to the floor and are confident that this amendment has helped earn the broad, bipartisan support needed to pass our commonsense legislation into law.”

The Senators’ bipartisan amendment:

  1. Protects all religious liberty and conscience protections available under the Constitution or Federal law, including but not limited to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and prevents this bill from being used to diminish or repeal any such protection.
  2. Confirms that non-profit religious organizations will not be required to provide any services, facilities, or goods for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.
  3. Guarantees that this bill may not be used to deny or alter any benefit, right, or status of an otherwise eligible person or entity – including tax-exempt status, tax treatment, grants, contracts, agreements, guarantees, educational funding, loans, scholarships, licenses, certifications, accreditations, claims, or defenses – provided that the benefit, right, or status does not arise from a marriage. For instance, a church, university, or other nonprofit’s eligibility for tax-exempt status is unrelated to marriage, so its status would not be affected by this legislation.
  4. Makes clear that the bill does not require or authorize the Federal government to recognize polygamous marriages.
  5. Recognizes the importance of marriage, acknowledges that diverse beliefs and the people who hold them are due respect, and affirms that couples, including same-sex and interracial couples, deserve the dignity, stability, and ongoing protection of marriage.

The Respect for Marriage Act is a narrow but important bill that would do two primary things:

  1. First, it would require the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.
  2. Second, the bill would guarantee that valid marriages between two individuals are given full faith and credit, regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin, but the bill would not require a State to issue a marriage license contrary to state law.

A one-pager on the amendment is available here and the full text is available here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

On Senate Floor, Portman Discusses Bipartisan Trip to Ukraine,

Ukrainian Liberation in Kherson, Poland Explosions & Need for Continued Support for Ukraine

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Rob Portman spoke on the Senate floor as Russia continues its unprovoked and illegal war on Ukraine for the 25th consecutive week while the Senate has been in session. Senator Portman discussed his recent bipartisan trip to Ukraine with Senator Chris Coons where they saw the damage Russian bombardments had done to Ukraine’s critical infrastructure and talked about the Russian retreat from the city of Kherson, which is critical for Ukraine to win this war Senator Portman also noted the explosions that occurred in Poland that killed two people and urged caution and a thorough investigation to find answers. However, Portman called for a united, forceful, and equitable response should these attacks be Russian aggression against a NATO ally.

A co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Ukraine Caucus and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Portman has now been to Ukraine ten times, beginning in 2014 when Russia first invaded Ukraine. Since then, Senator Portman has met with various Ukrainian officials, and sought to work with Ukraine Prosecutor General, Andriy Kostin, to ensure that Russia is held accountable for its war crimes. In Congress, Senator Portman has long been a vocal supporter of Ukraine’s fight for freedom over tyranny and will continue to ensure the United States supports her allies abroad.

A video can be found here.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

On Senate Floor, Portman Delivers Remarks in Support of the Respect for Marriage Act   

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Rob Portman delivered remarks on the Senate floor urging passage on a cloture vote, or a motion to begin debate, on the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation to codify and protect the recognition of same-sex marriages in the United States. Senator Portman noted the importance of marriage as a foundational unit of society and his belief that our laws should reflect the overwhelming American consensus that same-sex marriages should be recognized. He also addressed the critiques of the bill and outlined the significant religious liberty protections in a bipartisan amendment developed collaboratively with numerous faith-based organizations.

Earlier today, the cloture vote on this legislation passed by a vote of 62-37, with 12 Republicans voting in favor, including Senator Portman. This legislation will now go to the Senate floor for a final vote and is now one step closer to becoming law.

This legislation — including a robust religious liberty amendment — has been praised by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, the Center for Public Justice, The AND Campaign, the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance, and the 1st Amendment Partnership.

A transcript of his remarks can be found below and a video can be found here.

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