Rob’s Rundown: Week of May 16 – May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022 | Rob's Rundown

Senator Portman was back in Washington this week where he spoke on the Senate floor for the 12th consecutive session week to discuss Ukraine, its military efforts, and what the U.S. and our allies can do to counter Russian war crimes. Senator Portman noted that the invasion has only further united the NATO alliance and encouraged Finland and Sweden to join forces against Russian aggression.

Portman commended today’s decision by a federal judge to block the administration’s attempt to end Title 42. Portman stated he is ready to work on a bipartisan basis to find long-term solutions.

On Tuesday, Portman applauded his bipartisan legislation, the Safe Cribs Act, being signed into law. This bill will protect infant lives by banning the sale of padded crib bumpers — which have been proven to pose an unnecessary, deadly risk to sleeping infants.

On Wednesday, Senator Portman joined FOX Business to discuss record high gas prices, inflation, and the importance of supporting and expanding energy production in North America, as opposed to turning to countries like Venezuela to help address high energy costs.

Thursday, Portman took to Twitter to express his support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). Portman also sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security expressing opposition to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Disinformation Governance Board and urging that any funding for such board be prohibited in the FY 2023 appropriations bill. Senator Portman also testified before the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) in support of a review of antidumping countervailing duty (AD/CVD) petitions from American steel producers, particularly those facing challenges from unfairly traded corrosion-resistant (CORE) steel products from China, India, Italy, Korea, and Taiwan.

Finally, Portman applauded passage of the bipartisan emergency Ukraine funding bill providing $40 billion in military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Bipartisan Bill Championed By Portman & Duckworth to Protect Infants from Deadly “Crib Bumpers” Signed Into Law

 Since 1985, Dozens of Deaths and More Than 100 Serious Injuries Have Been Directly Attributed to These Dangerous Products

Bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Rob Portman and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to protect infant lives by banning the sale of padded crib bumpers — which have been proven to pose an unnecessary, deadly risk to sleeping infant – has been signed into law by President Biden. The Safe Cribs Act, which was included in the legislation also banning dangerous inclined sleeper products, would make it unlawful nationwide to manufacture and import crib bumpers, which remain widely sold by retailers despite current recommendations advising parents to keep cribs bare to prevent sudden infant death syndrome. The senators’ legislation would direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to enforce a ban on padded crib bumpers nationwide.

“The use of padded crib bumpers poses an unnecessary threat to the health and safety of infants everywhere, there is no reason the sale of these items should continue,” said Portman. “I am pleased that this legislation has finally been signed into law as we can immediately begin protecting infants from the unnecessary and unacceptable risk of these products.”

Portman and Duckworth introduced this legislation in April of 2021 and it passed the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation (CST) Committee by voice vote later that same month. In March, the Senate passed the bill. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Safe Sleep for Babies Act, which contained identical language to the Safe Cribs Act banning crib bumpers, in May 2022.

Senator Portman has long been a pro-life advocate and staunch supporter of efforts to reduce infant mortality. This legislation goes hand and hand with those efforts, ensuring that babies are protected from the risk of suffocation and death posed by padded crib bumpers. 

Ohio banned the sale of these products in 2017, with minor exceptions – as did Maryland in 2013. In 2011, the City of Chicago became the first city to ban the sale of crib bumpers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

On Senate Floor, Portman Urges Swift Action on Ukraine Emergency Supplemental Package, Highlights Ukrainian Battlefield Successes, Commends Finland, Sweden on NATO Application

 Last night, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) delivered remarks on the Senate floor regarding the United States’ continued support to Ukraine. With a strong bipartisan vote from the House, Portman noted his hope that the emergency supplemental bill will be quickly passed by the Senate and then signed into law. This is the 12th consecutive week Senator Portman has spoken when the Senate has been in session about Ukraine, their defensive military efforts, and what the U.S. and our allies can do to counter Russian war crimes. Portman highlighted recent Ukrainian battlefield successes against Russian forces, underscoring that the Ukrainians can win this war if they are provided the necessary weapons and equipment. While Vladimir Putin thought that his illegal invasion of Ukraine would tear NATO apart, Senator Portman noted that the invasion only further united the alliance and encouraged Finland and Sweden to join forces against Russian aggression.

Portman is a consistent voice in support of Ukraine. As Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Portman has traveled to Ukraine numerous times and seen firsthand the struggle of Ukrainian refugees as they have fled from their homeland. 

A video can be found here.

On FOX Business, Portman Discusses Administration’s Energy Policy, Inflation, and Possibility of Recession

Senator Portman joined FOX Business this afternoon to discuss record high gas prices, inflation, and the importance of supporting and expanding energy production in North America, as opposed to turning to countries like Venezuela to help address high energy costs. Portman also noted the possibility of a recession as we may have another quarter of economic growth that is negative.

You can watch the interview here.

Portman, Colleagues Send Letter to President Biden Urging Taiwan’s Inclusion in Proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)

“Including Taiwan in the IPEF Would be an Invaluable Signal of Our Rock-Solid Commitment to Taiwan and Its Prosperity and Freedom.”

Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman joined 51 of his Senate colleagues in penning a letter to President Joe Biden to urge the administration’s inclusion of Taiwan as a partner in the proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). In addition to recognizing Taiwan’s importance to the United States as an important trading partner, the senators underscored that failing to include Taiwan in IPEF runs counter to U.S. economic interests in the region. Portman visited Taiwan in April as part of a bipartisan congressional delegation where he discussed the need for Taiwan to be part of the IPEF.

“IPEF can be a meaningful first step for the United States to assure its allies and partners that we are economically engaged in the region, which accounts for sixty percent of the world economy and two-thirds of all economic growth over the last five years. For IPEF to be a useful vehicle to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific, however, we must make sure that all of America’s regional allies and partners are included,” the senators wrote. “This is just one necessary aspect to ensuring the framework is competitive in a region already saturated with economic treaties and agendas.”

In addition to requesting that the Biden administration engage with the Committee on the issue and provide a briefing on economic security policy toward Taiwan, the senators also underscored that excluding Taiwan would significantly distort both regional and global economic architecture.

“The more economic engagement U.S. and allies and partners have with Taiwan, the stronger our collective resilience against coercion,” the senators added. “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows the value of tangible economic support by the United States and like-minded allies and partners, and the same is true for Taiwan. Including Taiwan in the IPEF would be an invaluable signal of our rock-solid commitment to Taiwan and its prosperity and freedom.”

Portman Co-Chairs Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing, Questions Four Nominees for Diplomatic Positions in Latin America

Senator Rob Portman questioned nominees to diplomatic positions including the Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, Ambassador to Brazil, Ambassador to Panama, and Ambassador to Belize at a Foreign Relations Committee hearing. Portman highlighted strengthening democracy abroad and asked the nominees about their priorities should they be confirmed. Senator Portman noted his END Wildlife Trafficking Reauthorization and Improvements Act and his Tropical Forest Conservation Act, two programs that Senator Portman has championed, which have helped Brazil address some of its most serious natural resource challenges: deforestation and wildlife trafficking. He also discussed support for Ukraine, increased Chinese economic influence, and the need for countries to move toward democracy and away from authoritarian pasts.

Portman Defends U.S. Steel Industry in Testimony Before U.S. International Trade Commission

Senator Rob Portman testified before the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) in support of a review of antidumping countervailing duty (AD/CVD) petitions from American steel producers, particularly those facing challenges from unfairly traded corrosion-resistant (CORE) steel products from China, India, Italy, Korea, and Taiwan.

By law, the ITC has to review its AD/CVD orders every five years and the CORE case is now up for review. The domestic industry still faces serious unfair trade pressures on CORE products and is arguing to continue the orders. CORE steel is vital to a healthy U.S. manufacturing base and supports good-paying jobs across the United States and so it is critical that these orders remain in place.

“CORE products are a high-end and integral part of our domestic steel manufacturing ecosystem. As the Republican co-chair of both the Senate Steel Caucus and the Senate Auto Caucus, CORE products sit at the intersection of much of my work in support of Ohio manufacturing.

“In 2016, I stood before the Commission and argued in support of the domestic steel industry in the four cases they brought against unfairly traded imports of CORE steel, cold-rolled steel, hot-rolled steel, and cut-to-length plate. This was because of a dramatic increase in unfairly traded imports. Ohio has been ground zero for steel imports coming in because of government-directed overcapacity in China. Our steel mills have been hit hard because, to put it bluntly, China has not been playing by the rules. In 2000, China produced about 15 percent of the world’s steel. Today, thanks to massive subsidies and other forms of state intervention, they now produce about 50 percent.

“Five years later, the domestic industry is still not out of the woods. I would ask that the Commission continues to faithfully apply the tools that Congress has provided them when applying our country’s trade remedy laws.”

NOTE: Last April, Portman and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Leveling the Playing Field 2.0 Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen U.S. trade remedy laws and ensure they remain effective tools to fight back against unfair trade practices and protect American workers. The Senators’ legislation would establish the new concept of “successive investigations” to improve the effectiveness of the U.S. trade remedy system in responding to repeat offenders and serial cheaters, helping to level the playing field for American workers. Reps. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Bill Johnson (R-OH) introduced companion legislation in the House.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Portman Defends U.S. Steel Industry in Testimony Before U.S. International Trade Commission

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) testified before the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) in support of a review of antidumping countervailing duty (AD/CVD) petitions from American steel producers, particularly those facing challenges from unfairly traded corrosion-resistant (CORE) steel products from China, India, Italy, Korea, and Taiwan.

By law, the ITC has to review its AD/CVD orders every five years and the CORE case is now up for review. The domestic industry still faces serious unfair trade pressures on CORE products and is arguing to continue the orders. CORE steel is vital to a healthy U.S. manufacturing base and supports good-paying jobs across the United States and so it is critical that these orders remain in place.

“CORE products are a high-end and integral part of our domestic steel manufacturing ecosystem. As the Republican co-chair of both the Senate Steel Caucus and the Senate Auto Caucus, CORE products sit at the intersection of much of my work in support of Ohio manufacturing.

“In 2016, I stood before the Commission and argued in support of the domestic steel industry in the four cases they brought against unfairly traded imports of CORE steel, cold-rolled steel, hot-rolled steel, and cut-to-length plate. This was because of a dramatic increase in unfairly traded imports. Ohio has been ground zero for steel imports coming in because of government-directed overcapacity in China. Our steel mills have been hit hard because, to put it bluntly, China has not been playing by the rules. In 2000, China produced about 15 percent of world’s steel. Today, thanks to massive subsidies and other forms of state intervention, they now produce about 50 percent.

“Five years later, the domestic industry is still not out of the woods. I would ask that the Commission continues to faithfully apply the tools that Congress has provided them when applying our country’s trade remedy laws.”

NOTE: Last April, Portman and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Leveling the Playing Field 2.0 Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen U.S. trade remedy laws and ensure they remain effective tools to fight back against unfair trade practices and protect American workers. The Senators’ legislation would establish the new concept of “successive investigations” to improve the effectiveness of the U.S. trade remedy system in responding to repeat offenders and serial cheaters, helping to level the playing field for American workers. Reps. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Bill Johnson (R-OH) introduced companion legislation in the House.

Portman Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Ukraine Funding Bill
Package Will Provide Critical Military and Humanitarian Assistance

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) applauded passage of the bipartisan emergency Ukraine funding bill providing $40 billion in military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine. This includes $11 billion in additional Presidential Drawdown Authority for critical weapons transfers, and $6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, a program which Senator Portman wrote into law in 2015 to enhance the Ukrainian military’s ability to fight off Russian aggression. The bill also includes more than $8.5 billion to respond to emerging needs in the country and ensure the continuing operation of the Ukrainian government, as well as humanitarian resources for temporary housing, medical care, food, and other humanitarian services.

“I applaud Senate passage of this emergency funding request for Ukraine and am grateful it passed both chambers of Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support. This package provides critical assistance for weapons and munitions to bolster the Ukrainian military’s efforts to stop and roll back Russia’s invasion. It also includes vital humanitarian aid that will help Ukraine, as well as our allies, address the unprecedented refugee crisis in Europe and stave off a global food crisis caused by Russia’s blockade of Ukraine.

“Support for our ally Ukraine is critical to the national security of the United States and our allies around the globe. It sends a message to the world’s rogue dictators that America stands for freedom and with our allies in response to malign threats.”

Portman, Daines, Colleagues: Defund Biden’s Disinformation Board

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Steve Daines (R-UT), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jim Risch (R-ID), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Todd Young (R-IN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Lee (R-UT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), John Barrasso (R-WY), Rick Scott (R-FL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), James Lankford (R-OK), John Kennedy (R-LA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Mitt Romney (R-UT) sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security expressing opposition to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Disinformation Governance Board and urging that any funding for such board be prohibited in the FY 2023 appropriations bill.

“[…] little remains known as to what the board will actually do, how it will determine what is disinformation, and the scope in which it will take to monitor disinformation from American citizens…Absent of these necessary guardrails to prevent mission creep, there is substantial risk of government overreach and First Amendment infringements,” the senators wrote. “While DHS has promised the board will ‘protect privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties,’ we do not take solace in words alone. A fine line exists between tackling disinformation and government censorship. Exactly where the Disinformation Governance Board falls on this line remains unclear and the potential for abuse is so egregious that we urge any and all funding for the board be prohibited during the Homeland Security appropriations process.”

Portman has consistently expressed his deep concerns with the administration’s decision to create a Disinformation Governance Board at DHS. He has been a leader in countering foreign propaganda and disinformation. In 2016, Portman and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) wrote and successfully passed bipartisan legislation tasking the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) with leading U.S. government efforts to counter propaganda and disinformation from countries like Russia and China. The mission of the GEC is to “lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the federal government in countering foreign state and foreign non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts.” Since then, Senator Portman has advocated for sufficient funding for the GEC to carry out their important mission. At the same time, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) also performs work to build national resilience against foreign propaganda and disinformation.  

The full letter can be found here.  

Portman Joins Senate in Commemorating National Police Week
Bipartisan Resolution Honors 576 Officers Lost in the Line of Duty in 2021

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) joined his colleagues in supporting a resolution marking National Police Week and reiterating support for the men and women in law enforcement. The bipartisan resolution was adopted unanimously by the Senate.

“During this National Police Week, I’d like to recognize the brave men and women in law enforcement who are protecting their fellow citizens every single day and thank them for their service,” said Portman. “We also must remember the brave law enforcement officers who have tragically died in the line of duty, making the ultimate sacrifice in the name of protecting others.”

The resolution honors the 576 law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty in 2021, including nearly 400 who died from COVID-19, as well as the 92 lost to date in 2022. Two officers from the state of Ohio were killed in the line of duty. Last year marked the most intentional killings of police since the September 11, 2001, attacks. In the face of an ongoing pandemic and rise in violent crime, law enforcement personnel continue to answer the call, serving their communities, often at great risk to themselves.

The resolution designates the week of May 15 through May 21, 2022, as “National Police Week,” and expresses unwavering support for law enforcement officers across the United States in the pursuit of preserving safe and secure communities.

Along with Portman, cosponsoring the resolution were Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Angus King (I-ME), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), James Risch (R-ID), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Gary Peters (R-MI), John Hoeven (R-ND), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Rand Paul (R-KY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-CT), John Thune (R-SD), Jack Reed (D-RI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Edward Markey (D-MA), John Barrasso (R-WY), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Rick Scott (R-FL), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Todd Young (R-IN), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Tom Carper (D-DE), Steve Daines (R-MT), Michael Bennett (D-CO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Kennedy (R-LA), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Braun (R-IN), Richard Shelby (R-AL), John Boozman (R-AR), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), James Lankford (R-OK), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mike Lee (R-UT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO).

Text the resolution is available here.

Friday, May 20, 2022

 Portman, Bipartisan Group of Senators Announce Senate Passes “Kids to Parks Day” Resolution

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Susan Collins (R-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Richard Burr (R-NC), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) announced that the Senate passed their bipartisan resolution that encourages children to get outdoors and promote healthy outdoor recreation by designating May 21, 2022 National Kids to Parks Day.

First celebrated by the National Park Trust, the 12th annual Kids to Parks Day marks the beginning of a summer-long series of events at local, state, and national parks around the country that promote outdoor recreation and active, healthy living. 

“It is important for our younger generations to get out and experience the great outdoors, and as a frequent visitor to our national parks myself, I encourage kids from all across in Ohio to visit and learn about these national treasures on Kids to Parks Day,” said Senator Portman. “I am proud to support the Kids to Parks Day Resolution so that more young people and their families may visit our national parks.”

“Enjoying the outdoors and exploring our natural treasures is hardwired into the DNA of Oregon families,” said Senator Wyden. “National Kids to Parks Day honors the benefits to our love of the outdoors, while also teaching future generations the value of preserving our open spaces and natural resources. I’m proud to continue this tradition and connect kids to the richness of the great outdoors.” 

“As we celebrate the twelfth annual Kids to Parks Day, I am proud to support this bipartisan resolution that encourages our country’s youth and families to explore the outdoors,” said Senator Booker. “Our nation’s federal, state, and neighborhood parks give children the opportunity to practice healthy living habits, gain an appreciation for nature, and make meaningful connections with their peers. We must continue to protect and expand our children’s access to public open spaces.”

“National Parks offer countless opportunities for children to engage in recreational and educational activities and cultivate a lifelong love of the outdoors,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan resolution would recognize the important role parks like Acadia have in encouraging children to play outside and stay healthy. I encourage every family to take the time to visit and experience all that our National Parks have to offer.”

"As New Mexico confronts a historic wildfire season and our lands and waters across the country face new climate threats, we will need this next generation to step up as stewards of our outdoor places. As a dad and a former outdoor educator, I know that connecting kids to the outdoors can inspire a lifelong connection to conservation, while reaping all of the health benefits that go along with an active lifestyle. A few years back, I was proud to lead the successful effort that provided all American fourth graders and their families with free access to explore the rich natural and cultural history on display in our national parks, forests, and monuments. I hope that this year's Kids to Parks Day offers children and their families across our nation the opportunity to make memories and a chance to see what our public lands offer,” said Senator Heinrich.

“From the Appalachian Trail to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolinians are blessed with unbeatable natural treasures,” said Senator Burr. “Kids to Parks Day encourages children and their families to spend time exploring our beautiful outdoor spaces, instilling a lifelong appreciation for these spectacular landscapes. I am pleased to join my Senate colleagues in this bipartisan initiative to connect kids with the Great Outdoors we all cherish.”

“Parks give kids a place to play and provide important green spaces in our neighborhoods for everyone to use and enjoy,” said Senator Murray. “Kids everywhere should have the opportunity to enjoy these spaces near where they live, so it’s really important to me that we do our part to support their access to outdoor recreation.”

“With summer vacation coming up, it’s the perfect time for keiki in Hawaii and across the country to explore state and national parks, as well as the local parks in their communities,” said Senator Hirono. “Hawaii has over 50 state and national parks to choose from, so there are many opportunities to get outside and be active. I’m pleased to support this bipartisan resolution again that encourages a healthy lifestyle and an appreciation for nature and our environment.”

Kids to Parks Day will be celebrated Saturday, May 21, 2022.

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