Rob's Rundown: Week of January 1 - 5, 2018
Senator Portman is hitting the ground running to start the New Year, continuing his work to deliver results for Ohio workers and families. After playing a key role in getting the historic Tax Cuts & Jobs Act signed into law last month, Portman visited Sheffer Corporation in Cincinnati on Tuesday, where it was announced that all 126 Sheffer employees would receive a raise with the money the company expects to save due to tax reform, and Wolf Metals in Columbus on Friday, where new investments in equipment were announced. Also this week, Portman visited Healing Hearts in Mansfield and the Alvis House in Columbus to hear from addicts and those on the frontlines working to turn the tide of addiction. Also this week, Portman introduced the Fallen Warrior Battlefield Cross Memorial Act to help ensure that veterans buried in Ohio and around the country can be properly honored with the Battlefield Cross. For a more detailed look at Senator Portman’s week, please see the following, and, in case you missed it, here is a rundown of Senator Portman’s record of delivering results for Ohioans in 2017.
Tuesday, January 2
Portman Tours Sheffer Corporation as Employees Receive Bonuses After Tax Reform Bill Signed Into Law
On Tuesday, Portman visited Sheffer Corporation, a premier cylinder manufacturing business based in Cincinnati, to tour the facility, meet with employees, and take part in the announcement of the business’s reinvestment into its workers. Sheffer Corporation announced that all 126 employees will be given $1,000 bonuses with the money the business expects to save as a result of the recently-signed tax reform law.
“The historic tax cuts that recently became law are already helping make a difference for middle-class families, creating more jobs, and increasing wages for Ohio workers,” said Portman. “Providing tax relief for middle-class families and reforming our business tax code to create more jobs and higher wages is long overdue, and I was proud to play a significant role in helping craft this law. I’m pleased that we’re already seeing a positive response as employers like Sheffer Corporation reward their workers with higher pay and bonuses—and increase their investments in their businesses and their communities. With the kinds of pro-growth reforms in this tax reform law, I expect this trend to continue in Ohio and across the country.”
“It was truly an honor to host a visit today from Senator Rob Portman,” said Sheffer Corporation President & CEO Jeff Norris. “Senator Portman along with his colleagues and President Donald Trump have been instrumental in bringing forward historic and new tax relief for American companies and for the American people. For many years, business owners have voiced concerns about the burdens associated with high taxes and over-regulation. It is my hope that others will follow and show support for Senator Portman and President Trump as they fight to lower our tax burdens and reduce regulations.”
Portman Visits Healing Hearts in Mansfield
Also on Tuesday, Portman visited Healing Hearts in Mansfield where he heard stories of recovery and met with those on the frontlines combating addiction. Said Portman, we “must continue to support prevention, education and treatment in our communities, and we must continue our efforts to help organizations that provide treatment and assistance to those in need. I’m proud of the work that they are doing to help their community.”
Photos of the visit can be found here.
Portman Statement on the Retirement Announcement of Senator Orrin Hatch
Portman released the following statement on the retirement announcement of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT):
“I have had the pleasure of working with Orrin Hatch over the years on many issues, including anti-drug, pension, and health care legislation, both in the Senate and during my tenure in the House of Representatives. In addition, I was honored to work closely with him in my role as U.S. Trade Representative to open up markets for U.S. products and services. Most recently, I was privileged to work closely with him on passing historic tax reform legislation to boost our economy, create jobs and raise wages, and provide a more level playing field for American workers and businesses.
“Senator Hatch epitomizes what it means to be a public servant, a true servant leader in every respect. Over the years, he has been a model for me of a serious legislator who reaches across the aisle and focuses on delivering results that will help the people we represent. Perhaps most importantly, he is a gentleman who treats everyone with respect, regardless of party. I look forward to working with him for the next year, and Jane and I wish him, Elaine, and his family the best in the future.”
Wednesday, January 3
Portman, Brown Urge Trade Relief for Ohio Whirlpool Workers
Senators Portman and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) successfully urged the International Trade Commission (ITC) to rule that workers at Whirlpool’s Clyde, OH plant had been hurt by unfair washing machine imports by Samsung and LG. In October, the ITC made a determination of injury, and then presented a list of recommended remedies to Ambassador Lighthizer. As Ambassador Lighthizer considers those recommendations, the Senators are asking he make a strong recommendation to President Trump that will provide broad relief for the U.S. washing machine industry in response serial trade violations by companies like LG and Samsung.
“We are pleased to see the ITC find that there has been injury in this case, and that the ITC agreed that there should be no product exclusion as part of the remedy,” said the Senators in a letter sent this week ahead of today’s USTR hearing. “These findings form the basis of a strong remedy that helps American workers and communities, like Clyde, continue to grow, and we believe that with the inclusion of the above recommendations, this global safeguard action will be a success. Ultimately, a strong remedy in this case – one that embraces the aforementioned recommendations – will provide the level playing field that lets American companies, and workers, compete, and win.”
The case sought broad relief for the U.S. washing machine industry in response to the pattern of violations by companies like LG and Samsung who’ve repeatedly exported their washers to the U.S. at unfair prices. Today, Ambassador Lighthizer is holding a hearing to determine what remedies should be put in place to give the domestic industry the relief they need from unfair washer imports. He will then make a recommendation on those remedies to the President.
Since 2012, Ohio’s Senators have fought against these unfair trade practices that have harmed Whirlpool, and most recently helped secure relief in a case against washing machine imports from China.
Portman and Brown worked to get the Leveling the Playing Field Act signed into law in June 2015, restoring strength to antidumping and countervailing duty statutes that allow businesses and workers in the United States to petition the Commerce Department and the ITC when foreign producers sell goods in the U.S. below market price or receive illegal subsidies. The law led to key wins for Ohio steel companies in major trade cases last year on cold-rolled, hot-rolled, and corrosion-resistant steel, including U.S. Steel, Nucor, ArcelorMittal, and AK Steel, which together employ more than 8,200 Ohio workers.
Read the full letter here.
Portman & Blumenthal Announce 60 Bipartisan Supporters of Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act
On Wednesday, Senators Portman and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) announced that 60 bipartisan senators now support the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA; S. 1693). Three more cosponsors, including Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Pat Roberts (R-KS), were added today. Portman and Blumenthal issued the following statement:
“Today is another important milestone in our fight to hold online sex traffickers accountable and help give trafficking survivors the justice they deserve. There continues to be strong bipartisan support and momentum for this bill, and behind our efforts to help ensure that sex traffickers are brought to justice. In recognition of the president’s declaration of January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we would urge the full Senate to take up and pass SESTA as quickly as possible.”
NOTE: The bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act would clarify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to ensure that websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking can be held liable so that victims can get justice. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved the bill unanimously on November 8. Since its introduction, SESTA has earned widespread support from victims and advocates, law enforcement, the civil rights community, faith-based groups, and the tech community. Portman and Blumenthal have echoed the concerns of victims advocacy groups who have said that the House Judiciary bill on this topic is harmful to efforts to protect trafficking survivors.
Thursday, January 4
Portman Introduces Fallen Warrior Battlefield Cross Memorial Act
On Thursday, Portman introduced the Fallen Warrior Battlefield Cross Memorial Act, legislation that would prevent the Department of Veterans Affairs from denying veterans the honor they have earned by allowing fallen heroes to be honored at their gravesite with a replica of the Battlefield Cross. The Battlefield Cross is a memorial marker typically consisting of a soldier’s helmet, rifle, identification tag, and pair of boots that serves to honor and respect servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Ohio Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“We owe our freedom and liberty to the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, and nothing should get in the way of honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” said Portman. “For over a century, the Battlefield Cross has memorialized thousands of fallen American heroes both in combat zones and here at home, and this honorable tradition must be allowed to continue. I am pleased that the Ohio delegation has come together on a bipartisan basis to help ensure that veterans buried in Ohio and around the country can be properly honored with the Battlefield Cross. I urge the Senate to pass the Fallen Warrior Battlefield Cross Memorial Act.”
NOTE: The legislation responds to a 2016 incident at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery (OWRNC) in Rittman, Ohio, where OWRNC administrators infuriated veterans by removing a battlefield cross replica from the cemetery. The replica was replaced soon after Portman and Congressman Renacci’s (R-OH) office got involved. The measure is supported by the entire Ohio congressional delegation.
On CNBC, Portman Discusses the Positive Impact of Tax Reform on Ohio
During an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Senator Portman discussed how the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act is already paying dividends for Ohio’s workers. Portman, who played a key role in passing the historic tax cuts that will help the middle class, create jobs, and boost wages for American workers, highlighted how numerous Ohio businesses, such as Sheffer Corporation in Cincinnati where he visited earlier this week, have already announced bonuses for their workforce and new investments in their plants and equipment.
Friday, January 5
Portman Tours Columbus Business Announcing New Investments in Equipment After Tax Reform Bill Signed Into Law
On Friday, Portman visited Wolf Metals in Columbus as part of his Results for the Middle Class Tax Reform Tour. Wolf Metals is a small, family-run metal manufacturing company that has been operated by the Wolf family for more than four decades. Portman toured the facility, met with employees, and took part in the announcement of the business’ plan to purchase new equipment as a result of the recently signed into law Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. Plant ownership expects employees to get bonuses based on the use of the new and more efficient machines.
“The results of the historic tax cuts have already begun to be reflected in the decisions of Ohio small businesses like Wolf Metals. This will help make a real difference for middle-class families,” said Portman. “Providing tax relief for middle-class families and reforming our business tax code to create more jobs and higher wages is long overdue, and I was proud to play a significant role in helping craft this law. I’m pleased that we’re already seeing a positive response as employers like Wolf Metals invest more in their businesses and their communities. With the kinds of pro-growth reforms in this tax reform law, I expect more and more companies to respond by announcing wage increases, bonuses, higher 401(k) matches, and more investment in plants and equipment. This investment isn’t just important for the company and the workers it employs, but also for their surrounding communities and the economy as a whole.”
“Today, as a result of the new tax reform law, Wolf Metals was proud to announce its plan to purchase new equipment, including a water jet cutter first and then a press brake,” said Jim Wolf, Co-Founder and Owner. “This investment will help our company, help our workers, and help those who rely on us to deliver top-of-the-line product. I want to thank Senator Portman for coming to visit today and for his role in delivering historic tax relief for small businesses like ours who for too long have been saddled with burdensome taxes and over-regulation.”
Photos of the event can be found here.
Portman Tours Alvis Pages Treatment Center in Columbus
Friday afternoon, Portman visited Alvis Pages Treatment Center in Columbus to tour the facility and meet with staff and patients. Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with 50 years of experience providing highly effective re-entry treatment programs for individuals who have spent time in the criminal justice system. Alvis has grown from a single 15-bed home helping 60 men a year to an organization with 13 locations throughout Columbus, Chillicothe, Dayton, Lima and Toledo that now serves more than 8,000 people annually.
“I had a great visit at Alvis Pages Treatment Center in Columbus. I’ve had the privilege of working closely with Alvis as they have become a model for re-entry and treatment service programs. When I talk to the people who work at Alvis, or those they are helping, it is clear that their method to turn lives around 180 degrees is working. I’m pleased that they have benefited from the Second Chance Act, which I authored, and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which I fought to preserve in the recent tax reform law. I was proud to once again see the great work this organization is doing and to honor them on the Senate floor last month, recognizing their 50-year anniversary—and many more successful years to come.”
NOTE: Portman recognized Alvis’ 50-year anniversary in a speech on the Senate floor last month. Last year, Alvis was awarded a $1.5 million grant from Portman’s Second Chance Act. Alvis also benefits from provisions Portman fought to keep in the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and plans on applying for grant funding next year through Portman’s Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act.
Photos of the event can be found here.