Rob’s Rundown: Week of May 9 – May 13, 2022

May 13, 2022 | Rob's Rundown

Senator Portman was back in Washington this week where he spoke on the Senate floor for the 11th consecutive session week to discuss Russia’s illegitimate and senseless war against Ukraine. In his speech, Rob spoke on the importance of passing additional emergency supplemental funding to support Ukraine as quickly as possible.  He also discussed his enthusiasm for European allies to pledge their ban on Russian oil.

Monday, Senator Portman expressed his support for law enforcement across the U.S. during National Police Week.

On Wednesday, Portman delivered remarks at the public meeting of the Conference Committee tasked with reconciling differences between the Senate’s United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and the House’s America COMPETES Act, which will culminate in a conference report. Portman discussed his bipartisan Safeguarding American Innovation Act, which passed the Senate last year on a bipartisan basis as a part of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. His legislation will ensure the federal government is taking decisive action to safeguard American innovation and Portman insisted that the legislation be included in the conference report.

On Thursday, Portman joined Fox News to discuss his questioning of the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last week on the lack of deportations of unlawful migrants during the Biden administration, which is 80 percent less than during the Obama administration.

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

Monday, May 9, 2022

On Senate Floor, Portman Commends Ukrainian Resilience in the Face of Russian Attacks,

Urges Continued Global and Domestic Support for Ukraine 

Senator Rob Portman delivered remarks on the Senate floor about Russia’s continued war on Ukraine. This is the 11th consecutive week Portman has spoken on the Senate floor to highlight the efforts of the brave Ukrainian people in the face of Russian attacks while the Senate is in session. Portman commended the Biden administration’s support for a stand-alone Ukraine supplemental package and noted the supportive actions of our NATO allies with defensive military support to aid Ukrainian armed forces. Portman has long supported Ukraine emergency supplemental legislation to aid Ukraine as the emergency funding, at this point in the war, is critical to Ukraine.

Portman also spoke about humanitarian efforts in Ohio through nonprofits, fundraisers, and community partnerships to send much-needed medical supplies to Ukraine, such as first aid kits.

Earlier this year, Portman visited the Polish-Ukrainian border and met firsthand with refugees where he served meals with Chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen and saw firsthand the good work being done by those supporting Ukraine.

A video can be found here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Portman, King, Daines Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Help Increase Private Donations in Support of Our National Parks

Senators Rob Portman accompanied by Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation, along with Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Bruce Westerman (R-AR), to help increase private donations to support our National Parks. The National Park Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2022 reauthorizes federal funding for the National Park Foundation through fiscal year (FY) 2030 and increases the authorization level from $5 million to $15 million. This funding is used by the National Park Foundation to match private donations that help finance crucial deferred maintenance, Service Corps, and historic preservation, and other signature projects and programs of the National Park Service at national parks in Ohio and around the country. 

The National Park Foundation was created in 1967 as the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service (NPS). Its mission is to generate private support and build strategic partnerships to protect and enhance America’s national parks for present and future generations. The National Park Foundation has, to date, received a total of $23 million in federal appropriations. Each year, the Foundation works, at a minimum, to double the impact of the federal dollars — meaning an annual appropriation of $5 million would have an impact of at least $10 million in national parks around the country.

Senator Portman led the 2016 National Park Service Centennial Act (P.L. 114-289), which authorized the National Park Foundation to receive up to $5 million in annual appropriations through FY 2023. The National Park Foundation matches these federal funds with a minimum of 1:1 in private philanthropic support for priority NPS projects and programs and works with local philanthropic partners to further leverage federal dollars. Most recently, Portman secured the full $5 million for the National Park Foundation in the FY 2022 government funding bill that was signed into law in March 2022.

“The National Park Foundation is an incredibly important partner to our national parks, bringing together federal and private funding to help preserve these natural and cultural treasures for our future generations to enjoy,” said Senator Portman. “Increasing funding for the National Park Foundation, as this legislation would do, will help us strengthen relationships with private partners and support efforts to restore our national parks.”

At Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing, Portman Discusses the Importance of Timely Aid, Global Engagement Center With U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Nominee

During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today, Senator Rob Portman spoke with Ambassador Bridget Brink, who has been nominated to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, on the importance of passing the funding request for Ukraine aid in Congress. Ambassador Brink agreed with Senator Portman that is it critical to move this supplemental as fast as possible as Ukraine is in need of the assistance. The two also discussed the importance of the Global Engagement Center (GEC) – which Ambassador Brink said plays a key role in fighting Russian disinformation in not just Ukraine, but also surrounding Eastern European countries. Senators Portman and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced an amendment, which was accepted into the United States Innovation and Competition Act, that authorized $150 million for the GEC to boost its capacity to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation overseas.

The video can be found here.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Portman, Cardin Seek Improved Protections for the Baltimore Oriole, Northern Cardinal and Other Migratory Birds

New Bipartisan Legislation Includes Important Improvements to Expand Funding and Increase Accessibility to Federal Conservation Resources

Senators Rob Portman and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, which promotes the long-term conservation, education, research, monitoring, and habitat protection for more than 380 species of migratory birds.

Key improvements included in the legislation would lower the required cost-sharing requirement for grant recipients from 3:1 to 2:1, which will make the program more accessible to smaller organizations. The new legislation also would increase the authorized appropriations level from $6.5 million to more than $20 million over the next five years. These and other programmatic changes will enable the successful Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA) Program through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to better meet demand for program funds and expand the number of local partners involved in the program. 

Hundreds of bird species migrate through Ohio each year, making Lake Erie one of the most popular destinations for birdwatching,” said Senator Portman. “Birding contributes more than $20 million to Ohio’s tourism industry and attracts visitors from across the world each year. Protecting and conserving these bird populations is critically important, and I am proud to work in partnership with Senator Cardin again to reauthorize the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Program.”

At Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing, Portman Presses Biden Administration Official on Defining What a Victory for Ukraine Looks Like, Continued Need to Reduce Europe’s Dependence on Russian Energy

During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today, Rob Portman pressed administration officials on how the Biden administration defines a victory in Ukraine. In particular, he questioned Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried on whether a victory for Ukraine should require the complete return of all of Ukraine’s sovereign territory, including the land that Russia illegally seized in 2014. Assistant Secretary Donfried also agreed with Senator Portman that European energy dependence on Russia is a key issue that must be addressed. Portman questioned the witnesses about the joint task force created by President Biden and President von der Leyen of the European Union and its efforts to reduce reliance on Russian energy. Senator Portman underscored the importance of the Biden administration supporting domestic production to support Europe’s transition away from Russian energy.

The video can be found here.

Portman, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Securely Share Research Data Between Government Agencies; Data Could Unlock New Insights to Improve Americans’ Lives  

The Secure Research Data Network Act Would Provide Approved Researchers with Secure Access to Government-Held Data Without Risking Americans’ Privacy and Security

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), John Boozman (R-AR), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced legislation to improve government services and unlock new research by securely sharing data between federal agencies — without sacrificing security or privacy. The Secure Research Data Network Act would create a free open-source software data platform to provide approved government researchers with secure access to without compromising Americans’ privacy. 

“Many federal agencies hold critical data that could improve government services for millions of Americans. However, researchers and agencies are blocked from sharing data due to privacy concerns,” Portman said. “The government can, and should, enable legitimate data use while ensuring safe encryption. The Secure Research Data Network Act would do just that — allowing agencies to communicate encrypted data with one another and with approved researchers, all the while protecting the raw data from theft or abuse. I look forward to working with my colleagues in getting this valuable legislation passed in Congress.”

A one-pager summary of the bill is here. A section-by-section summary is here. The full text is here.

Portman, Wyden Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Disallow Foreign Tax Credits and Other Tax Benefits for Companies Operating in Russia

Senators Rob Portman, Senate Finance Committee Member, and Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senate Finance Committee Chair, introduced legislation to disallow foreign tax credits for companies that pay taxes to the Russian government, and other tax benefits.

“American taxpayers should not subsidize the Russian war machine. Vladimir Putin continues to bomb civilians, and credible reports and strong evidence of war crimes, including execution of civilians and forced deportations, emerge daily,” Portman and Wyden said.   

The senators continued, “If companies choose to keep doing business in Russia and paying taxes to Putin’s government in the face of these atrocities, they should forfeit their foreign tax credits and deductions for taxes paid to Russia in the United States. Russian oligarchs and companies supporting Putin also shouldn’t be getting tax benefits in the United States. These are simple propositions.

“The tax code already disallows lower tax rates and foreign tax credits for companies paying taxes to countries with rogue regimes. Our commonsense proposal simply adds Russia and Belarus to that list. The discussion draft of our bill, released last month, was reviewed by stakeholders and outside experts. The bill was well-received and reflects changes from those discussions. We hope that our colleagues will join us in supporting this legislation and the urgent need to pass it.”

A summary of the legislation is here.

The legislative text is here.