On Fox News, Portman Highlights Bipartisan Legislation to Protect US Research Enterprise, the Need for a Return to Work Bonus & Securing a Phase Two Trade Deal with China

June 23, 2020 | Portman Difference

This afternoon on Fox News’ Your World, Cavuto, Senator Portman, as chair of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), highlighted the bipartisan Safeguarding American Innovation Act, legislation he introduced last week to help stop foreign governments, particularly China, from stealing American taxpayer-funded research and intellectual property developed at U.S. colleges and universities.  Portman, led a year-long investigation into this issue culminating in a bipartisan report and hearing that detailed how American taxpayers have been unwittingly funding the rise of China’s military and economy over the last two decades while federal agencies have done little to stop it.  

In addition, Portman discussed his proposal to incentivize individuals to return to the workplace, which will be critical to a robust economic recovery as the country continues to reopen. He highlighted his proposal of providing $450 a week for individuals returning to work, meaning they’d receive their wages plus this $450 bonus. Portman believes this proposal would ensure that there are as few situations as possible where staying on unemployment is more lucrative than returning to work. According to recent research from the American Action Forum and from the University of Chicago, between 60-70 percent of individuals currently on unemployment are making more than they did in their prior job thanks to this federal supplement. Furthermore, the bottom 20 percent of wage earners are making, on average, double what they made in the workforce through this UI program. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow praised Senator Portman’s work on this issue and said the White House is considering the proposal as discussions commence about the next COVID-19 legislative package. 

Finally, Portman also emphasized the importance of continuing to work on a Phase Two trade deal with China. Earlier this year, Portman applauded the Trump administration for their efforts in securing a Phase One trade deal with China and attended the signing ceremony of the agreement at the White House.  

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


“Look, I think that we need to be sure that we have going forward the kind of relationship with China where we can deal with some of these big problems that we have. As you know, I’ve spent a lot of time working on this IP theft issue and it’s real. They come over here, they target promising researchers and research. They do it in a systematic way, and then they take that back to China. Much of this research is paid for by us as taxpayers, so we do have some big problems with China we need to resolve, but we have to have a relationship with them in order to do that.” 


“The $600 a week additional federal benefit makes it so that 60-70 percent of the people on unemployment insurance now are making more on UI than they made in their job. In fact, for the lower 20 percent of income earners it’s double on average what they could make at their job. That’s a disincentive to go back to work. I know a lot of people on UI, I’ve talked to them, they want to work eventually and they’re going to go back to work, but boy, this is a pretty good deal not to pass up so what we ought to do is provide a bonus to say, if you go back to work you can take some of that with you and a lot of people will go back to work. It’ll be great for small businesses, it'll be great for taxpayers both at the state and federal level because remember they’re getting state UI also. Our goal ought to be as Republicans and Democrats alike to get people back to work. And do so in a safe manner.” 


“Well on Phase One I do and by the way, you can see the numbers. We’ve actually increased commodity sales to China, they’re actually on track to do a little better than they were a few years ago, which is part of what we were looking for from ag country Ohio because soy bean market number one for Ohio is China. But also they’re beginning to implement some of the other provisions there that relate to some of the structural changes that Kudlow talked about. Phase Two is going to be the tough one because that’s where you get into subsidies and you get into the state-owned enterprises and other issues that have to be resolved for there to be a true level playing field and that will be harder for China to do. But look, this Phase One deal is in our interest, the president negotiated a good agreement, it’s also in China’s interest, in my view, to implement this, because they like our market and they don’t want to see the tariffs go up again. So, I think Phase One is on track, but Neil, boy, we’ve got a lot of other problems with China.”