Rob’s Rundown: Week of September 12 – September 16, 2022

September 16, 2022 | Rob's Rundown

Senator Portman was back in Washington this week where he spoke, alongside Senator Klobuchar, on the Senate floor for the 22nd consecutive session week regarding the situation in Ukraine. Portman discussed his recent bipartisan trip to Ukraine where he met with President Zelenskyy, Defense Minister Reznikov, and Head of the Presidential Administration Andriy Yermak. Portman also noted the progress Ukraine is making in its ongoing counteroffensives against Russian forces in Kharkiv and Kherson Oblasts and discussed how military aid from the United States, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, has turned the tide on the battlefield for Ukraine. A long-time advocate for arming Ukraine, Senator Portman has been pushing for months to give Ukraine the weapons it needs to successfully counter Russian attacks. As Co-Chair and co-founder of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Portman has long been a staunch defender of Ukraine and has spoken consistently on the Senate floor since the Russian invasion began.

On Tuesday, Senator Portman released a statement discussing the need to get back to pro-growth economic policies after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the consumer price index (CPI) for August was 8.3 percent, an unacceptable level for inflation.

At a Wednesday morning Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing to examine social media’s impact on homeland security, experts confirmed the need for Ranking Member Rob Portman’s (R-OH) bipartisan Platform Accountability and Transparency Act (PATA). The legislation will require social media companies to provide vetted, independent researchers and the public with access to certain platform data.

On Wednesday, Senator Portman joined FOX Business’ Cavuto: Coast to Coast to discuss the progress Ukraine is making in its counteroffensives against Russian forces with the help of the United States military aid. Portman noted his recent bipartisan delegation to Ukraine where he saw a firsthand account of Russia’s illegal, unprovoked and brutal war on Ukraine. Portman spoke on the dangers of using energy as a weapon of war in Zaporizhzhia, home of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. He also unscored the importance of assisting Ukraine’s economy in its dire time of need.

At a Wednesday afternoon Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing examining social media’s impact on homeland security, Portman voiced concern over the failure of social media companies to prevent child sexual abuse material on their platforms.  Portman has been a leader in combatting the exploitation of children, most recently with his Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which was signed into law in 2018.

Wednesday evening, Portman celebrated the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords and the importance of fostering increased security and prosperity throughout the Middle East.

On Thursday, Portman joined Bloomberg TV’s Balance of Power today to discuss a range of topics, including his bipartisan congressional delegation to Ukraine and Ukraine’s recent successes in fighting back against Russia’s aggression, Tik Tok’s refusal to commit to cutting off China’s ability to access American user data through their app at yesterday’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, raging inflation and its effects on the U.S. economy, and the lack of vetting of Afghan evacuees from last year’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal.

Also on Thursday, Portman joined PBS’ NewsHour today to discuss his support for the Respect for Marriage Act, the president’s failed border policies, and Ukraine’s recent successes in fighting back against Russia’s aggression.

Finally, Portman recognized National Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrated the many contributions and cultures of Hispanic Americans who have enriched the United States.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Portman Statement on Persistently High Inflation

 Today, Rob Portman, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement today after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the consumer price index (CPI) for August was 8.3 percent, which is higher than expected:

“American families are hurting as inflation remains close to its highest level in nearly 40 years, the economy contracts, and wages lag,” said Portman. “Skyrocketing price increases for groceries, rent, electricity, and medical care are hurting the pocketbooks of working families. Unfortunately, the Democrats’ reckless spending over the past two years is one of the main reasons. I urge Democrats and the Biden administration to change course and work with Republicans to put in common-sense economic policies that produced low unemployment, significant job gains, and record wage growth before the pandemic – all with low inflation.”

On Senate Floor, Portman Highlights Successful Ukrainian Counteroffensive, Underscores Key Role of Continued U.S. Military Assistance

 This evening, Rob Portman, alongside Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), delivered remarks on the Senate floor in support of Ukraine for the 22nd consecutive week while the Senate has been in session. Portman and Klobuchar discussed their recent bipartisan congressional delegation trip to Ukraine and noted the progress Ukraine is making in its ongoing counteroffensives against Russian forces in Kharkiv and Kherson Oblasts. Senator Portman discussed how military aid from the United States, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, has turned the tide on the battlefield for Ukraine, and how it has enabled the Ukrainian counteroffensives, liberating cities and saving Ukraine’s citizens from Russian domination.

As co-chair and co-founder of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Portman urged his colleagues to support the administration’s new request for aid to Ukraine. Alongside dozens of other freedom-loving countries that are supporting our ally, Senator Portman will continue to push for support for Ukraine and her brave patriots fighting for freedom.

A video can be found here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Portman, Cardin Introduce Resolution to Approve Location for a National Memorial to Fallen Journalists

U.S. Senators Rob Portman and Ben Cardin (D-MD) have introduced a Senate joint resolution that would authorize the placement of the National Memorial to Fallen Journalists between the Voice of America building and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. President Trump signed into law a previous measure authorizing the establishment of the memorial, which will honor journalists, photographers, and broadcasters killed in the line of duty. The joint resolution on the specific location comes one week after the murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German, who allegedly was killed by the subject of one of his investigations. 

“A free and open press is essential to our democracy, and I’m pleased to join Senator Cardin in introducing this permanent resolution to authorize placement of the National Memorial to Fallen Journalists,” said Senator Portman. “This memorial will serve as a fitting tribute to the men and women in journalism who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of the First Amendment.”

The resolution approves a location for a commemorative work honoring fallen journalists that will maintain the “commitment of the United States to a free press by honoring the journalists who sacrificed their lives in service to that cause.” The memorial will be located on federal lands in “Area I” as determined by the Secretary of the Interior. Funding for the National Park Service or General Services Administration to construct and maintain the memorial will be provided by the Fallen Journalists Memorial (FJM) Foundation.

On FOX Business, Portman Discusses Ukraine Counteroffensives, Underscores Key Role of Continued U.S. Military Assistance 

Senator Portman joined FOX Business’ Cavuto: Coast to Coast this afternoon to discuss the progress Ukraine is making in its counteroffensives against Russian forces with the help of the United States military aid. Portman noted his recent bipartisan delegation to Ukraine where he saw a firsthand account of Russia’s illegal, unprovoked and brutal war on Ukraine. Portman spoke on the dangers of using energy as a weapon of war in Zaporizhzhia, home of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. He also unscored the importance of assisting Ukraine’s economy in its dire time of need.

You can also watch the interview here.

Portman on Committee Passage of Taiwan Policy Act

Senator Rob Portman, senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement on the committee’s passage of the Taiwan Policy Act:

“As China continues to escalate threats of aggression in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe, it is critical the United States stand with Taiwan,” said Portman. “Passage of the Taiwan Policy Act will send the message to China that the United States stands with Taiwan and a free and open Indo-Pacific and will make concrete steps to boost Taiwan’s defense against possible PRC aggression. I call on the Senate to pass it as soon as possible.”

Senator Portman traveled to Taiwan in April as part of a bipartisan congressional delegation to meet with senior Taiwanese officials. While there, the delegation discussed the importance of Taiwan being included in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which would signal our support for Taiwan and its sovereignty.

Portman Applauds Inclusion of Global Engagement Center Provision in State Department Authorization Act of 2022

Senator Rob Portman, senior member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Wednesday applauded the inclusion of his legislation to reauthorize the Global Engagement Center (GEC) in the State Department Authorization Act of 2022 for another three years so that the GEC can continue to execute its vital mission of countering foreign propaganda and disinformation. Without this extension, the GEC would have been dissolved in two years. Portman’s legislation would also extend the GEC’s special hiring authority for an additional five years so that the agency can bring together the talented team it needs to accomplish its mission.

“State-sponsored disinformation is a threat to democratic societies throughout the world. As we have seen mostly recently with Russian aggression in Ukraine, these tactics are inexpensive, easily deniable and can be devastatingly effective if left unchecked,” said Portman. “The importance of the Global Engagement Center cannot be understated as it coordinates the United States Government’s interagency efforts to combat disinformation abroad. Time and time again, it has demonstrated its effectiveness in assisting our allies as they push back against disinformation efforts from countries like China and Russia. This provision to not only extend the sunset clause, but also to extend the special hiring authority, is vital to enable the GEC’s work to continue to effectively combat disinformation and propaganda. I applaud the inclusion of my legislation in this year’s State Department Authorization Act of 2022, and I thank Chairman Menendez and Ranking Member Risch for working with me to include it in this bill.”

Portman, along with U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, which was signed into law in December 2016. The law improved the ability of the United States to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation by establishing the GEC, which is charged with leading the U.S. government’s efforts to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation. The Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act authorized the State Department to request $60 million annually for two years from the Department of Defense for the GEC to help counter foreign propaganda and disinformation being waged against the United States and our allies by state and non-state adversaries.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Portman, Colleagues’ Statement on Respect for Marriage Act

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:

“The Respect for Marriage Act is a simple but important step which provides certainty to millions of Americans in loving marriages. Through bipartisan collaboration, we’ve crafted commonsense language that respects religious liberty and Americans’ diverse beliefs, while upholding our view that marriage embodies the highest ideals of love, devotion, and family. We’ve asked Leader Schumer for additional time and we appreciate he has agreed. We are confident that when our legislation comes to the Senate floor for a vote, we will have the bipartisan support to pass the bill.”

On Bloomberg TV, Portman Discusses Ukraine, Inflation, China’s Access to U.S. Data, Lack of Vetting for Afghan Evacuees

Senator Portman joined Bloomberg TV’s Balance of Power today to discuss a range of topics, including his bipartisan congressional delegation to Ukraine and Ukraine’s recent successes in fighting back against Russia’s aggression, Tik Tok’s refusal to commit to cutting off China’s ability to access American user data through their app at yesterday’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, raging inflation and its effects on the U.S. economy, and the lack of vetting of Afghan evacuees from last year’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal.

You can watch the interview here.