Rob's Rundown: Week of December 17 - 22, 2017
This week, President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, historic tax reform legislation that will help middle-class families, create more jobs, and increase wages for American workers. Portman, who served as a conferee on the House-Senate conference committee, worked tirelessly to get this bill over the finish line on behalf of Ohio workers and families. The House and Senate passed the bill earlier this week. Also this week, Portman delivered the commencement address at Ohio State University, continued his birthday tradition of participating in a Habitat for Humanity build continued to highlight the scourge of opioid abuse in Ohio and push for solutions like the STOP Act, and more. For a more detailed look at Senator Portman’s week, please see the following:
Sunday, December 17
Portman Delivers Commencement Address at Ohio State University
On Sunday, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) delivered the commencement address at Ohio State University’s graduation ceremony. Portman has been working to help expand access to college, make it more affordable for students, parents and families, and help new graduates get good jobs so that they can achieve financial independence and become debt-free. Portman also fought to preserve key tax incentives for undergraduate and graduate students in the final tax reform legislation.
Tuesday, December 19
Before Historic Senate Vote, Portman Details How Tax Reform Will Help Middle Class, Boost Jobs, Increase Wages
In a speech on the Senate floor, Portman discussed the finalized House-Senate agreement on tax reform that was voted on in the Senate later in the evening. Portman, who served as a conferee on the House-Senate conference committee, discussed how the bill will help the middle class, create jobs, and boost wages for American workers.
Portman Praises Senate Passage of Historic Tax Cuts
Portman issued the following statement after the Senate passed historic tax cuts, which will help middle-class families, create more jobs, and increase wages for American workers:
“For years, Republicans and Democrats alike have called for middle-class tax cuts and a more competitive tax code for American workers and businesses, and today Republicans are delivering on that promise. This bill will cut taxes for middle-class families, reform our business tax code to create more jobs and higher wages for Ohio workers, and update our international tax code to encourage jobs and investments in America. This is the first time Congress has passed comprehensive tax reform legislation in 31 years. I’d like to thank Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Paul Ryan, Chairman Orrin Hatch, Chairman Kevin Brady, and all of my colleagues who were united by the desire to help the middle class and re-open the American economy as the best place in the world to do business. This plan is made in America, for America. By passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congress is making good on its promise to help create a better economy and a brighter future.”
Wednesday, December 20
Portman Praises Authorization of Sale of Defensive Lethal Military Assistance for Ukraine
Portman, co-founder and chairman of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding media reports that the president has decided to approve lethal military equipment for Ukraine for the first time.
“Providing lethal weapons to Ukraine will send a clear message that America stands with the Ukrainian people in their nearly four year struggle to secure a democratic, prosperous, and independent future for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. This decision--while long overdue--will reverse the Obama administration's de facto arms embargo against Ukraine and will finally allow Ukraine to access the tools it needs to defend itself. As co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and author of several provisions authorizing expanded U.S. military assistance--including lethal aid--and establishing the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, I hope that this decision opens the door to the full implementation of the bipartisan legislation Congress has already passed to help the Ukrainians defend themselves against Russian aggression."
NOTE: Portman, who received the Ukrainian-American community’s highest honor, the Shevchenko Freedom Award, has long led the effort to provide Ukraine the kind of assistance necessary to ward off Russian aggression and maintain its territorial integrity. The co-founder and co-chairman of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Portman has visited Ukraine several times, including leading a Congressional election observation mission with Senator Ben Cardin during Ukraine's Presidential election in 2014. For the past three years, Portman has successfully introduced amendments to the annual National Defense Authorization Act that expanded U.S. military aid to Ukraine. These provisions helped build the primary statutory framework for U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. In addition, he has repeatedly written letters, delivered multiple floor speeches, and pressed? senior Administration officials on the importance of providing meaningful assistance to help Ukraine stand up to Russia's military aggression.
Thursday, December 21
In a New Video, Portman Highlights Historic Tax Reform Legislation Congress Recently Passed
On Thursday, Portman unveiled a new video highlighting the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, historic tax reform legislation that is on its way to the president’s desk. The once-in-a-generation legislation will help middle-class families, create more jobs, and increase wages for American workers. Portman released the following statement on the tax reform bill:
“Our plan gives middle-class families a tax cut so they can keep more of their hard-earned money; it’s going to reform the business tax code to create more jobs and create higher wages while making American workers more competitive in the global marketplace; and it will level the playing field internationally, creating a fairer tax system that encourages jobs and investments to occur right here in this country rather than sending them overseas. This bill is made in America, for America, and I look forward to the president signing it into law soon.”
Portman Urges IRS to Move Quickly to Change Withholding Tables, Deliver Historic Tax Cuts
Following passage of historic tax cuts, Portman urged the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to move quickly to change its withholding tables and deliver these tax cuts as quickly as possible.
“On behalf of the hard-working Americans across the nation who are eager to see their paychecks reflect the benefits of this historic legislation,” Portman said in a letter to the IRS, “I request that you expedite any requisite updates to the relevant guidance on withholding.”
The full letter can be found here.
Portman Statement on CDC Report Confirming Significant Increase in Drug-Related Deaths
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control released its 2016 mortality data report which found that there were 63,632 drug-related deaths last year, an increase of 21 percent from 2015. The report shows that nationally, overdose rates are 19.8 per 100,000. In Ohio, the rate is double that at 39.1 per 100,000. In fact, Ohio ranked second among all states for drug-related deaths with fatalities taking 4,539 lives. Deaths specifically associated with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids doubled. U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) issued the following statement on the report and impact of the heroin and prescription drug epidemic:
“I’m saddened by new statistics from the CDC, which confirm that drug-related deaths continue to rise across the country and that fentanyl continues to be a primary driver in these deaths. With the rate of overdose deaths in Ohio double the national rate, this fight is personal for me and my fellow Ohioans. I will continue to fight in the new year for common-sense legislation like the STOP Act to help stop the flow of fentanyl and other dangerous synthetic drugs into the country and our local communities so that every American can reach their God-given potential. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill as quickly as possible.”
NOTE: Portman’s bipartisan Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act will help stop dangerous drugs such as heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers here in the United States. President Trump’s opioid commission endorsed the STOP Act in November. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has also endorsed the bill as well.
On Senate Floor, Portman Discusses Historic Tax Reform That Will Help Middle Class, Boost Jobs, Increase Wages
In a speech on the Senate floor, Portman discussed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, historic tax reform legislation that was signed into law by President Trump on Friday. Portman, who served as a conferee on the House-Senate conference committee, discussed how the bill will help the middle class, create jobs, and boost wages for American workers.
Portman Discusses Children’s Health Insurance Program, Need for Long-Term Funding Solution
In a speech on the Senate floor, Portman discussed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the need for a long-term funding solution. CHIP has enjoyed wide bipartisan support in the past. The Senate Finance Committee, which Portman serves on, recently passed legislation that would fund CHIP for five years by a unanimous vote. Ohio has the 10th largest CHIP program, and 219,000 Ohio children—and nine million children nationwide—get health coverage through CHIP. Portman addressed the need for bipartisan cooperation to enact a long-term funding solution to help some the most vulnerable members of society, children in need.
Friday, December 22
Portman: Historic Tax Cuts Signed Into Law
Portman issued the following statement after President Trump signed into law historic tax cuts that were approved by the House and Senate this week:
“These historic tax cuts will make a real difference for middle-class families, create more jobs, and increase wages for Ohio workers. While our economy is improving, too many families today are still dealing with the middle-class squeeze of stagnant wages and higher expenses. Providing tax relief for middle-class families and reforming our business tax code to create more jobs and boost wages is the right thing to do, and I was proud to play a significant role in helping craft this measure. I’m pleased that we’re already seeing a positive response from employers rewarding their workers with better pay and bonuses while increasing their investments in their businesses and their communities. These historic tax cuts will help create a better economy and a better future for all Americans, and I’m pleased that they are now the law of the land.”
Senate Passes Portman Bill to Stop Unnecessary Printing of the Federal Register, Save Taxpayer Dollars
Portman announced that the Senate approved his Federal Register Printing Savings Act, legislation that would save taxpayer dollars by eliminating the mandatory daily printing and delivery of the Federal Register to congressional offices. He issued the following statement:
“This common-sense bill will save taxpayer dollars and make the federal government more efficient and effective. I am pleased that the Senate passed the measure unanimously and I will continue to work to get it signed into law.”
NOTE: The Federal Register Printing Savings Act is estimated to save $1 million annually by eliminating the daily printing and delivery of the Federal Register to congressional offices. A congressional office could still receive the federal register if they ask for it, but the Government Publishing Office would no longer proactively deliver it to offices. Portman’s measure (S. 1195) was approved by the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee in July. The Senate passed the House-passed version of Portman’s bill (H.R. 195) yesterday, with an additional measure attached, so it will go back to the House for passage once again before heading to the president’s desk.
Senate Passes Portman Legislation Giving Certainty to LED Manufacturers
Portman announced on Friday that the Senate has passed his External Power Supply (EPS) Improvement Act, bipartisan legislation that will give needed certainty to Ohio LED manufacturers. Portman’s legislation will exempt the manufacturers of energy saving LEDs from an onerous Department of Energy regulation that could have curtailed or stopped production of LEDs. He issued the following statement:
“This bill will give needed certainty to Ohio’s LED manufactures from a regulation that was never intended to affect them. Now these Ohio made products will not have to fear future federal action that could have stopped production of these goods and threatened manufacturing jobs. I am pleased the bill is now on its way to the president’s desk and I look forward to it being signed into law.”