Rob’s Rundown: Week of September 5 – September 9, 2022

September 9, 2022 | Rob's Rundown

Today, Senator Portman attended and spoke at Intel’s historic ground breaking ceremony for its $20 billion semiconductor factory complex in New Albany, Ohio. The project is expected to employ 3,000 people as well as create an additional 7,000 construction jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs. Senator Portman was a key negotiator in the Senate passed CHIPS Act and is a staunch advocate for reshoring our nation’s semiconductor industry and its potential to bring significant economic development to Ohio.

Portman was back in Washington earlier this week where he spoke on the Senate floor for the 21st consecutive session week regarding the situation in Ukraine. Portman talked about his recent bipartisan trip to Ukraine with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) where he met with President Zelenskyy, Defense Minister Reznikov, and Head of the Presidential Administration Andriy Yermak. Senator Portman also met with senior leadership of the 101st Airborne Division in Poland, as well as members of that elite unit from the Buckeye State, and saw firsthand their bravery and perseverance. Throughout the trip, Portman learned from both American and Ukrainian officials the positive impact that U.S.-provided HIMARS rocket systems have had on Ukraine’s progress on the battlefield and how they have made Ukraine’s current counteroffensive possible. 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.

On Monday, Portman released a statement congratulating Liz Truss on being elected Conservative Party leader and thus the next Prime Minister of the U.K.

Also on Monday, Portman applauded the decision by Kenya’s Supreme Court to confirm the result of last month’s presidential election and congratulated President-elect Ruto.

On Wednesday, Portman, as Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a statement expressing alarm in light of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) report detailing the lack of vetting procedures for Afghan evacuee arrivals into the United States. This report follows a report by the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General that found that Afghan evacuees were not vetted using all available DoD data, resulting in significant security concerns. Portman highlighted that as we approach the 21st anniversary of 9/11, the United States faces an increased threat due to this administration’s catastrophic evacuation of Afghans without rigorous vetting or an in-person interview.

On Thursday, Portman joined Senator Klobuchar on Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier to discuss their recent trip to Ukraine. The visit is Senator Portman’s eighth visit to Ukraine since the Euromaidan and the third one the two senators have taken to the region this year. The senators also discussed the Respect for Marriage Act and the need for more bipartisanship in the Senate.

Finally, Senator Portman released a statement on the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Portman Congratulates Liz Truss on Election as Conservative Party Leader and Next Prime Minister

U.S. Senator Rob Portman, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and co-founder and co-chair of the Senate U.K. Trade Caucus, issued the following statement today congratulating Liz Truss on being elected Conservative Party leader and thus next Prime Minister of the U.K. Portman recently traveled to the U.K. to discuss implementing a free trade agreement.

“I congratulate Liz Truss on being elected Conservative Party Leader and thus the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. I have enjoyed working with her in her previous roles as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Secretary of State for International Trade. She has been an advocate for deepening our trade relationship and completing the U.S.-U.K. trade negotiations that began several years ago. Such an agreement would strengthen our relationship and economic competitiveness, and I look forward to working with her on that important initiative.

“Both of our countries face economic and foreign policy challenges but I am confident that if we leverage the effectiveness of the longstanding special relationship we have always enjoyed that we can help each other meet those challenges. To that end, the threat to democratic governance around the world has perhaps never been greater than it is today. Our allies Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel continue to find themselves under severe threat from malign regimes. I look forward to working together to strengthen our working relationship to support these and other allies throughout the world. The world needs to know that free countries stand up for their own in order to deter threats.”

NOTE: Senator Portman is co-founder and co-chair of the Senate U.K. Trade Caucus, aimed at promoting close and long-lasting economic ties between the U.S. and the U.K. by building congressional support for a bilateral trade agreement between the two countries.

Portman Applauds Kenyan Supreme Court’s Decision on Presidential Election

U.S. Senator Rob Portman, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement today regarding the decision by Kenya’s Supreme Court to confirm the result of last month’s presidential election. Portman traveled to Kenya last month on a bipartisan congressional delegation just a few days after the presidential election, where he met with President-elect Ruto, his opponent former Prime Minister Odinga, and President Kenyatta. 

“I applaud the Kenyan Supreme Court’s decision today confirming the results of last month’s presidential election. This is an important step forward for democracy and the rule of law in Kenya,” said Portman. “After traveling to Kenya last month and visiting with President-elect Ruto, I believe he is a strong leader who will work to bring all parties together in order to bring greater prosperity to his country.”

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

On Senate Floor, Portman Discusses Bipartisan Trip to Ukraine, Meeting with President Zelenskyy,

Urges Further Aid to Defeat Russian Aggression

U.S. Senator Rob Portman delivered remarks on the Senate floor in support of Ukraine for the 21th consecutive week while the Senate has been in session. Portman talked about his recent bipartisan trip to Ukraine with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) where he met with President Zelenskyy, Defense Minister Reznikov, and Head of the Presidential Administration Andriy Yermak. Senator Portman also met with senior leadership of the 101st Airborne Division in Poland, as well as members of that elite unit from the Buckeye State, and saw firsthand their bravery and perseverance. Throughout the trip, Portman learned from both American and Ukrainian officials the positive impact that U.S.-provided HIMARS rocket systems have had on Ukraine’s progress on the battlefield and how they have made Ukraine’s current counteroffensive possible.

Since before the Russian invasion began Senator Portman has stood in staunch support of Ukraine and served as Grand Marshal in a parade to mark Ukraine’s Independence in Parma, Ohio, just prior to departing for Ukraine.  As co-chair and co-founder of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Portman urges his Republican colleagues to continue to support Ukraine in their efforts to defend their homeland.  

A video can be found here.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

On Fox News’ Special Report, Portman Discusses Bipartisan Trip to Ukraine, DHS OIG Report on Lack of Vetting of Afghan Refugees, Respect for Marriage Act, and the Need for Bipartisanship

Last night, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), co-chair and co-founder of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier to discuss their recent trip to Ukraine. While there, they met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to receive a firsthand account of Russia’s illegal, unprovoked and brutal war on Ukraine and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Ukraine. Portman highlighted the positive impact that U.S.-provided HIMARS, or High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, are having on Ukraine’s war effort, including its ongoing counteroffensive in the south and counterattacks near Kharkiv.

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. This visit is Senator Portman’s eighth visit to Ukraine and the third one the two senators have taken to the region this year.

The senators also discussed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) report that details the lack of vetting procedures for Afghan evacuee arrivals into the United States. This report follows a report by the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General that found that Afghan evacuees were not vetted using all available DoD data, resulting in significant security concerns. In a statement released earlier today, Portman, as Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, highlighted that as we approach the 21st anniversary of 9/11, the United States faces an increased threat due to this administration’s catastrophic evacuation of Afghans without rigorous vetting or an in-person interview

In addition, the senators discussed the Respect for Marriage Act and the need for more bipartisanship in the Senate.

A video can be found here.

Portman Expresses Condolences to the People of the United Kingdom on the Death of Queen Elizabeth II

Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman released the following statement on the death of Queen Elizabeth II:

“Jane and I send our thoughts and prayers to the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth conducted herself with dignity and grace while providing wise counsel to 15 prime ministers during her tenure,” said Portman. “She represented the best of the UK to the world and was always a trusted ally of the United States. She will be missed but her legacy will live on.”

Portman, Grassley Op-Ed in Washington Examiner: “Biden’s Student Loan Debt Transfer is an Abuse of Executive Power”

In a new Washington Examiner opinion piece, Senator Portman (R-OH), and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), members of the Senate Finance Committee, detail concerns after President Biden announced that he would unilaterally cancel up to $20,000 for certain borrowers who hold federal student loan debt.

The senators discuss the far-reaching consequences of the one-time debt forgiveness, which saddles future generations with even more debt to pay off in the form of higher taxes at a time when wages are already struggling to keep up with inflation.

Read the full op-ed here.

Friday, September 9, 2022

 In Columbus, Portman Delivers Remarks at Intel’s Groundbreaking of New Semiconductor Facility 

Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman delivered remarks at the historic groundbreaking ceremony for Intel’s semiconductor plant in New Albany, Ohio – which will be the largest economic development investment in state history. Portman has advocated for Ohio as a prime location for semiconductor manufacturing, given Ohio’s well-trained workforce, energy infrastructure, and available land.

Portman also helped spearhead Senate enactment of the CHIPS Act, which invests $52 billion in semiconductor technology and provides thousands of good-paying jobs to communities across the country. In Ohio, this legislation will increase Intel’s $20 billion investment in New Albany to build two semiconductor foundries to potentially $100 billion and eight total foundries.

Portman Announces $127 Million Grant for the City of Cincinnati to Help Replace Western Hills Viaduct

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding the City of Cincinnati a $127 million federal grant through the Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight & Highway Projects (INFRA) competitive grant program. This project will replace the structurally deficient Western Hills Viaduct over the Mill Creek Valley with a new structure immediately south of the existing viaduct, which will connect to a redesigned interchange with I-75. The grant was made possible by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that Senator Portman served as lead Republican negotiator for last year.

“This is great news for Cincinnati, and one more example of how the bipartisan infrastructure law is paying dividends for Cincinnati. I was proud to spearhead passage of this new infrastructure investment and I applaud the Department of Transportation for supporting Cincinnati and other towns around Ohio with the resources needed to advance infrastructure throughout the state,” said Portman. “This project will increase community safety and access, while also creating good-paying jobs here in Cincinnati.”

NOTE: In June, Portman sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg in support of the City of Cincinnati’s Western Hills Viaduct Replacement Project’s federal funding application. Thanks to Portman’s bipartisan infrastructure law, the INFRA program received a 60 percent increase in annual funding over the next five years.