Rob’s Rundown: Week of July 15 – July 19, 2019

July 19, 2019 | Rob's Rundown

Today, Senator Portman announced that he plans to introduce legislation to rename NASA’s Plum Brook Station, the agency’s test facility in Sandusky, Ohio, after Neil Armstrong.  Plum Brook is part of the NASA Glenn Research Center. It houses unique world-class facilities that conduct critical and innovative ground tests for the international aerospace community. Portman also released a video commemorating his friend & Ohio-native ahead of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. 

In Medina earlier today, Senator Portman participated in The Children’s Center of Medina County Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for their new facility. The newly-expanded property will help meet the growing needs of the community and serve children and their families more safely and effectively while providing child advocacy services, anti-human trafficking services, and family visitation services. As a leader in the Senate for fighting human trafficking, Rob is the co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking. He is the author of six federal anti-trafficking laws, including the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which was signed into law by President Trump in 2018. 

Finally, this week Senators Portman and Shaheen introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESIC), which will improve energy efficiency in three key sectors – buildings, industrial, and the federal government. By improving energy efficiency in these three key sectors, this legislation will help reduce emissions, protect the environment, and create jobs. The legislation also includes important provisions to reduce water usage and promote water conservation. It has already received widespread support from business and efficiency leaders.

For a more detailed look at Senator Portman’s week, please see the following: 

Tuesday July 16, 2019

On CNN, Portman Discusses His Recent Visit to the Southern Border

In an interview with CNN’s New Day, Portman discussed his recent trip to the southern border where he saw the humanitarian crisis firsthand and discussed solutions on how best to handle the unprecedented influx of individuals attempting to come into the United States. He is committed to working on a bipartisan basis on solutions to address this issue. 

Video of the interview can be found here

On Senate Floor, Portman Highlights the Economic Benefits of the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement

On the Senate floor, Portman participated in a colloquy led by Senator Hoeven to highlight the economic benefits of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Trade Agreement, which will help American workers, farmers and manufacturers. Portman supports the more modern USMCA to the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in part because it includes new and enforceable environmental and labor standards, a new section on digital trade, expanded opportunities for agricultural trade, and new opportunities for auto jobs in America.

Video can be found here.

Wednesday July 17, 2019

Portman & Durbin Praise Senate Passage of Resolution Commemorating Fifth Anniversary of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity

Senators Portman and Durbin, co-chairs and co-founders of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, praised Senate passage of a bipartisan resolution (S. Res. 74) commemorating the fifth anniversary of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity. The resolution recognizes the bravery of the people of Ukraine who participated in the Maidan protests and honors the memory of the more than 100 protestors who were killed. In addition, it encourages Ukraine to continue its progress over the past five years in implementing crucial reforms to strengthen the rule of law and align the country with Euro-Atlantic norms and standards. Finally, the resolution condemns continuing efforts by Russia to destabilize Ukraine and hamstring its efforts at Euro-Atlantic integration. 

“I am proud to see the Senate pass this resolution in a strong, bipartisan manner,” said Senator Portman. “This resolution honors the courage of the thousands of Ukrainians who, five years ago, braved a fierce winter and even fiercer government repression to fight for a brighter future for their country. Despite Russia’s attempts to destabilize Ukraine, since 2014 Ukraine has made great strides in tackling corruption and strengthening the rule of law, and I urge the country to continue along this path to fulfill the promises of the Revolution of Dignity.  The United States stands firmly with Ukraine, and I was pleased to reinforce this pledge on my recent visit to the country.”

Portman, Shaheen Introduce Energy Efficiency Legislation

Senators Portman and Shaheen introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESIC), which will improve energy efficiency in three key sectors – buildings, industrial, and the federal government. Senators Collins, Coons, Wicker, Hassan, Manchin and Bennet are cosponsors of the legislation. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential and commercial buildings accounted for about 40 percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2018. In addition, reports from the U.S. Department of Energy have found that the federal government is the largest single energy consumer in the country. By improving energy efficiency in these three key sectors, this legislation will help reduce emissions, protect the environment, and create jobs. The legislation also includes important provisions to reduce water usage and promote water conservation. A summary of the bill is here

“This bill is a win-win, creating new jobs and protecting our environment—all without a single new tax or mandate,” said Senator Portman. “It would reduce our carbon emissions and give our workers in Ohio and around the country a competitive advantage by making our plants and buildings more energy efficient. It’s good news for the taxpayer, too, because it would make the federal government practice what it preaches and use energy more efficiently. And by saving consumers billions in reduced energy costs, it will help reduce the cost of living, ensuring hard-working Americans have a few dollars extra at the end of each month that they can use to pay for needed expenses, invest in their child’s college education, or save for retirement. There is a reason this bill has garnered such widespread support. The Senate should take it up as soon as possible.”

At Committee Roundtable, Portman Highlights the Importance of Reducing Incentives for Migrants to Make the Dangerous Journey to the Southern Border

At a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee roundtable, Senator Portman discussed the ongoing humanitarian crisis at our southern border and stressed the importance of finding solutions that reduce incentives for migrants to make the dangerous journey to the southern border, often with traffickers and human smugglers. Portman recently visited the southern border where he saw the humanitarian crisis firsthand.

Video can be found here.

New CDC Data Shows Progress on Reducing Overdose Deaths, Need to Combat Synthetic Drugs & Address Resurgence of Meth

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report highlighting progress in reducing drug overdose deaths in 2018. The report found that there were 67,744 opioid overdose deaths across the United States last year, a four percent reduction from the previous year’s total of 70,699.  Ohio experienced a 22 percent reduction from the last year.  Overdose deaths attributable to opioids have fallen by two percent over the last year, but deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl increased by nearly 10 percent.  In addition, overdose deaths from psychostimulants like methamphetamine increased nearly 25 percent.

This is consistent with what Portman has seen and heard as he’s met with those on the frontlines combatting the drug abuse epidemic in Ohio. That’s why it is important that Congress pass the Combating Meth & Cocaine Act to give states more flexibility to use federal funding to address the resurgence of psychostimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine.

Portman’s statement on the report and the need to combat the rise of methamphetamine can be found here.

 

Thursday, July 18

On Fox Business, Portman Discusses Trip to the Southern Border & Highlights His Support to 9/11 First Responders Bill

In an interview with Fox Business’s Varney & Company, Senator Portman highlighted his recent visit to the southern border where he saw the humanitarian crisis firsthand and was able to talk with families and children about their experiences there.

Portman also expressed his belief that September 11, 2001 first responders should be provided with the medical assistance they need, and discussed his support for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund legislation.

Video of the interview can be found here.

Portman Highlights Choice for Congress: A Vote Against USMCA is a Vote For NAFTA

In a new interview with AEI’s Danielle Pletka and Marc Thiessen on their “What the Hell is Going On” podcast, Senator Portman discussed U.S. trade relations with China, the ongoing negotiations between the two countries, and the prospects of Congress passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement this year. Portman, who delivered remarks on the Senate floor highlighting the economic benefits of USMCA earlier this week, said on the podcast that Democrats face a stark choice because a vote against USMCA is a vote for the status quo NAFTA agreement.

The full podcast is available here.

Portman, Brown Praise FEMA Approval of Public Assistance for Four Ohio Counties

Senators Portman and Brown praised the decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to approve Governor DeWine’s request for an addendum to the Presidential Disaster Declaration granted on June 18, 2019. This addendum would include the Public Assistance Grant program for Columbiana, Greene, Mercer, and Montgomery counties impacted by tornadoes, severe storms, straight-line winds, and flooding. Portman and Brown wrote to President Trump last week urging him to approve Governor DeWine’s request. Both Senators are committed to continue working with FEMA and the state of Ohio to make sure the resources get to Ohio communities quickly and effectively.  

This announcement will help ensure that state, local, and tribal governments in these counties have the resources to recover and fund projects for debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures, and restoration of public infrastructure, among other things.  

“I want to thank FEMA and the Trump administration for swiftly approving this much-needed assistance to these Ohio counties,” said Portman. “Since the tornadoes touched down, I’ve been to the area three times to see the tornado damage firsthand and visit with local law enforcement and community leaders. The damage is unbelievable, but I’m proud of the progress the Dayton community is making with the relief efforts. I will continue to work with Governor DeWine, Senator Brown, and the administration to ensure our communities get the assistance they need.” 

Business & Efficiency Leaders Praise Portman, Shaheen Legislation to Reduce Emissions & Spur Economic Growth

Senators Portman and Shaheen, along with Senators Collins, Coons, Wicker, Hassan, Manchin, Bennet, and Warner, introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESIC), which will improve energy efficiency in three key sectors – buildings, industrial, and the federal government. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential and commercial buildings accounted for about 40 percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2018.  In addition, reports from the U.S. Department of Energy have found that the federal government is the largest single energy consumer in the country. By improving energy efficiency in these three key sectors, this legislation will help reduce emissions, protect the environment, and create jobs. The legislation also includes important initiatives to reduce water usage and promote water conservation.

Friday July 19, 2019

Portman, Brown Announce Plans to Rename NASA’s Plum Brook Station Test Facility After Neil Armstrong

In advance of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Senators Portman and Brown announced today that they plan to introduce legislation to rename NASA’s Plum Brook Station, the agency’s test facility in Sandusky, Ohio, after Neil Armstrong.  Plum Brook is part of the NASA Glenn Research Center. It houses unique world-class facilities that conduct critical and innovative ground tests for the international aerospace community. 

“From his service as a Navy fighter pilot, to his courageous experiments as a test pilot, to his space exploration and first step on the surface of the Moon, Neil Armstrong left an indelible mark in mankind’s history of flight.  In all his accomplishments, he considered himself first and foremost a test pilot who pushed the boundaries of what was possible in the air and in space,” Senator Portman said. “Neil was first a humble and patriotic Ohioan who believed the honor of serving his country was a reward in and of itself. That’s why when I asked him the year before he passed away whether he wanted me to pursue naming Plum Brook after him, he demurred.  But he was a strong supporter of Plum Brook Station and the important simulations and testing being done there and I believe it is precisely because of his humility coupled with his unparalleled accomplishments that the renaming is appropriate. In consultation with his family, NASA, and Senator Brown, we all believe renaming Plum Brook in his honor – as one of Ohio’s greatest sons – is a fitting tribute on this 50th anniversary, and a way to help ensure that future generations will be inspired by Neil Armstrong‘s amazing accomplishments in air and in space.”

VIDEO: Portman Commemorates His Friend & Ohio-Native, Neil Armstrong

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong took one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind, and inspired a nation.  One of those inspired Americans was Senator Portman who counted Ohio-native Neil Armstrong as a friend, and in the following video, reflects on their friendship in advance of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Watch the video of the tribute here.

Portman Participates in The Children’s Center of Medina County’s Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Center is Expanding Facility to Meet the Growing Needs of the Community

Portman along with other local elected officials, participated in The Children’s Center of Medina County Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for their new facility. The newly-expanded property will help meet the growing needs of the community and serve children and their families more safely and effectively while providing child advocacy services, anti-human trafficking services, and family visitation services.

Today I had the chance to visit the Children’s Center of Media County and participate in a ribbon cutting today. It’s an amazing organization that is providing advocacy services for children and their families. One of their focuses is on sex trafficking and human trafficking,” said Portman. “I want to thank organizations like this one, and countless others who are working tirelessly across the state, that are helping victims of this horrendous crime. Last year, my bipartisan legislation called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act was signed into law by the President. This law is already making a difference for trafficking victims and survivors who for too long have been denied the opportunity to get the justice they deserve. I will continue to advocate and fight for these survivors.

Photos from the event are here: 

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Rob Portman: 50 years later, Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon still inspires

Fifty years ago this week, one of Ohio’s greatest sons, Neil Armstrong, became the first man to walk on the moon. On July 20, 1969, the world watched in awe as grainy footage beamed in from the lunar surface 289,000 miles away to millions of TV screens around the globe.

As a 13-year-old, I will never forget watching on a small black-and-white TV as Armstrong made his famous first small step then walked on the stark landscape of the moon. It was an extraordinary technological accomplishment made possible by American ingenuity and teamwork. During a time of division in our country, with an unpopular war in Vietnam and social upheaval at home, the success of the bold mission helped inspire and unify our country.

Armstrong was also continuing our state’s legacy of pioneering in flight. In 2003, Congress officially designated Ohio ‘Birthplace of Flight’ due to the Wright brothers being born and raised in Dayton. It was in their bicycle shop there that they dreamed up and researched the first airplanes more than a century ago. 

Ohio has never stopped leading the way, though. In fact, one of my Ohio predecessors here in the U.S. Senate, John Glenn, became the first American to orbit the Earth back in 1962. In all, Ohio has produced two dozen astronauts, more than any other state, and many more now call Ohio home. 

Our legacy of flight here in Ohio continues today. In Dayton, we have the National Air Force Museum that houses more than 300 historic aircraft and the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, one of the largest bases in the country, trains not only pilots in our Air Force but also those of our allies all around the world. Last month, I had the honor of announcing with Neil’s widow, Carol Armstrong, that the Smithsonian will be bringing a special exhibit on the Apollo 11 mission called ‘Destination Moon’ to Cincinnati’s Museum Center. 

On that day in 1969, Armstrong became all of our heroes, and over the years, back home in Cincinnati, my family and I came to know him, his wife, Carol, and the rest of his family. What I admired most about Neil wasn’t what he accomplished but how he carried himself. How he handled the spotlight that came with his achievements said as much about Armstrong as the time he spent on the moon half a century ago or his many other accomplishments. 

Even before he blazed trails through space, Neil was already contributing to Ohio’s rich legacy of pushing the boundaries of flight. He had already served his nation with bravery and skill on Gemini 8 — as a test pilot, he risked his life flying dangerous and experimental new airplanes. Before he was a test pilot, he distinguished himself by serving his country as a naval aviator — among other things, flying 78 combat missions over the Korean peninsula. In one such mission, he had to eject from his plane into enemy territory, holding out long enough for Marines to locate and escort him to safety. 

For all of these achievements, Neil received the highest honors our grateful nation could bestow: the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. Despite all the awards, he would always be a humble Midwesterner and a proud Ohioan, who believed that the honor of serving his country was all the reward he deserved. He was a refreshing counterweight to the celebrity culture we too often embrace today. 

Fifty years after Apollo 11, let’s always remember the bravery and patriotism of Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, but also the thousands of men and women who supported them here on Earth, and the many courageous astronauts who came before and after them. 

As Armstrong once said, “The important achievement of Apollo was demonstrating that humanity is not forever chained to this planet, and our visions go rather further than that and our opportunities are unlimited.”

Let’s be inspired by the memory of Apollo 11 to continue to dream big and expand our opportunities.

(Rob Portman: 50 years later, Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon still inspires. LimaOhio.com, July 16, 2019)

 

 

Sen. Rob Portman hopes fourth time is the charm for energy efficiency bill

For the fourth time since he was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, Ohio Republican Rob Portman teamed up with New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on Wednesday to introduce a bill that would promote use of energy efficiency technologies in buildings, industry and by the federal government.

“When we first introduced this legislation, Rob had black hair,” joked Shaheen, who believes the measure - which overwhelmingly passed the U.S. Senate in past Congresses - will finally pass in the House of Representatives with Democrats in control of that legislative body.

The bill would give new resources to states to update building codes to promote energy efficiency, provide grants to help homebuilders and contractors cost-effectively implement updated building energy codes, help manufacturers become more competitive by incentivizing use of more energy efficient equipment, and would require the federal government - which is the nation’s single largest energy user - to adopt energy and water efficiency goals.

Portman said the building code measures alone would save consumers $13 billion a year, and would be the equivalent in emissions savings of taking 11 million cars off the road within 15 years.

“We’re excited about this legislation being reintroduced and the opportunity we have here to come together as Republicans and Democrats to get something done that’s really important for our environment and our economy,” Portman said at a Capitol Hill press conference.

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Congress is eager to pass a bipartisan energy bill, and Portman and Shaheen have laid the groundwork for success by reaching out “to every stakeholder possible, vetting their bill, incorporating ideas, and incorporating bills that other members have introduced .”

“What we’re dealing with is low hanging fruit," added West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who also backs the bill. "If we can’t do this, god help climate change.” 

Backers of the bill include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Alliance to Save Energy, the Real Estate Roundtable, the American Chemistry Council, and the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute. 

Portman said he believes the bill will get White House support because Energy Secretary Rick Perry has made energy efficiency a priority and the bill would “give him additional tools and authorities.”

“We’ve kept it nonpartisan from the start,” said Portman. “It’s the sweet spot. It’s where Republicans and Democrats can come together and say, okay, we may disagree on some other approaches, but in this case, we have legislation that’s actually going to make our economy stronger, improve our environment and has some other benefits.... We think we have a chance of not just succeeding in the Senate, but succeeding in the House.”

(Sen. Rob Portman hopes fourth time is the charm for energy efficiency bill, Cleveland.com, July 18, 2019)

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