Rob’s Rundown: Week of November 15 - November 19, 2021

November 19, 2021 | Rob's Rundown

This was a historic week in Washington as President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. As the central architect and lead GOP negotiator, Portman delivered remarks touting the landmark bill at the White House signing ceremony Monday afternoon. Later that afternoon, Portman delivered remarks on the Senate floor celebrating the enactment of the bipartisan infrastructure bill and touting the positive impact it will have on folks in every corner of the country.          

In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box Tuesday morning, Portman outlined the major differences between the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – landmark legislation he helped negotiate to repair our nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, and other key infrastructure assets – and Democrats’ reckless tax and spending spree. And in an interview with Bloomberg’s Balance of Power on Thursday, Portman detailed his concerns with the Democrats’ reckless tax and spending bill, arguing that trillions in new spending and taxes will stifle economic growth, kill jobs, balloon the national debt, and increase inflation. 

During a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management hearing on Wednesday, Portman pressed federal witnesses on the increase in deadly narcotics, like fentanyl, coming into the United States over the southern border. Earlier this week, Portman released a statement on the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operational statistics, which show a 42 percent increase in fentanyl seizures at the southern border from September to October.  

Finally, on Wednesday, Portman released a statement after the CDC released new preliminary data showing that drug overdose deaths rose by 28.5% over a 12-month period ending in April 2021, to an estimated 100,306. Portman said that these heartbreaking figures must serve as a call to action for Congress, as well as officials across all levels of government, to redouble efforts to combat the national drug and addiction crisis.  

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

Monday, November 15, 2021

Portman, Sinema, King, Hassan, Romney Bipartisan Priority of More Than $20 Million for the Office of National Cyber Director Signed into Law as Part of Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Co-Chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Mitt Romney (R-UT) announced that President Biden signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act into law which includes their bipartisan priority to provide $21 million in funding for the Office of the National Cyber Director (NCD). The NCD is a brand new position tasked with coordinating the implementation of national cybersecurity policy and strategy. Because the position was created in the middle of a fiscal year, Congress has not yet directly appropriated funding for the Office. With cyberattacks increasing in both scope and consequence, it is crucial to provide the National Cyber Director the funding and resources necessary to accomplish this important mission. The inclusion of this bipartisan priority in the broader, bipartisan infrastructure package will provide a one-time funding allocation of $21 million through Fiscal Year 2022.

“Now that President Biden has signed the bipartisan infrastructure package into law, the new Office of the National Cyber Director will finally have $21 million in important funding to effectively and efficiently develop national cyber policies and ensure that federal networks, data, and critical infrastructure are protected,” said Portman. “This funding is critical because the position was created in the middle of a fiscal year and thus Congress had not yet directly appropriated funding for the Office of the National Cyber Director which is tasked with coordinating the implementation of national cyber policy and strategy.”

Portman, Murphy, Graham, Brown, Stabenow’s “Buy American” Bill to Improve Transparency & Support U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Signed into Law as Part of Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Chris Murphy (D-CT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced that their bipartisan BuyAmerican.gov Act was signed into law as a part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act. This legislation will establish a centralized online hub to increase transparency and ensure federal agencies prioritize the purchase of American-made goods in compliance with existing law. Under current law, federal agencies may use domestic content waivers to Buy American laws to purchase goods or services from foreign companies only in certain circumstances: for example, when an American-made good is unavailable or will significantly increase the cost of a product. However, there is currently no easily accessible government-wide system tracking the use and abuse of these waivers by federal agencies.  

The bipartisan legislation will direct the General Services Administration to establish a central, publicly available website, at the link currently known as BuyAmerican.gov, to collect and display information about each requested waiver to Buy American laws. This website will allow manufacturers and other interested parties to identify contract opportunities and hold federal agencies accountable for abusing Buy American waivers. The measure also will give manufacturers the chance to challenge pending waivers sought by federal agencies. President Biden’s recent Buy American executive order proposes a website for the same purpose.  

We must do everything we can to protect and maximize American jobs created by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, and that starts by ensuring that our tax dollars aren’t used to create jobs overseas,” said Portman. “By improving transparency, the BuyAmerican.gov Act will encourage federal agencies to support American workers and American jobs by faithfully complying with Buy American laws. This is bipartisan legislation is needed now to help support American jobs and I’m glad that it will now be law of the land as a part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act.” 

Portman Hails Signing of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) issued the following statement today as the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act was signed into law. The bill, which Portman played a lead role in crafting, invests in core infrastructure that will improve people’s quality of life, create jobs and make our economy more productive without raising taxes or adding to inflation.

“Today is an historic day for America and my constituents in Ohio. Presidents and members of Congress of both parties have talked for decades about the need for significant investments to improve our nation’s dated infrastructure. Finally, Congress put partisanship aside and came together in a truly bipartisan effort to write legislation that will have a positive impact on the lives of all Americans. 

“I am proud that the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act will provide a $9.2 billion investment in Ohio’s roads and highways along with special funds to assist with our bridge repairs, including the desperately needed repair and expansion of the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati. Nationwide, the new law represents an historic $542 billion new investment in roads, bridges, ports, waterways, rail lines, electrical grids, water infrastructure, broadband networks, and more. 

“It represents a long-term investment in our nation’s hard infrastructure assets that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and make us more efficient, more productive and more competitive against other countries like China. Importantly, economists agree that by investing over time in hard assets, it adds to the supply side of the economy, and will be counter-inflationary at a time of rising inflation. And it does all of this without raising taxes on the American economy as we are coming out of the pandemic. In contrast, the partisan tax and spend Build Back Better plan will increase inflation through massive stimulus spending and hurt the economy through massive tax increases. 

“This bipartisan infrastructure law was the product of months of difficult negotiations and lots of give and take. I commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol, as well as the Biden White House negotiating team, for their perseverance in seeing this through. 

“As the lead Republican negotiator, I am especially grateful to the lead Democratic negotiator, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, and our determined group of 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans, including Senators Collins, Manchin, Cassidy, Warner, Murkowski, Shaheen, Romney and Tester - who never gave up. This bipartisan process should be a model for addressing other challenges we face as a nation.

Senators’ Statement on Historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Being Signed into Law 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Mark Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement after the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law. The law represents the largest investment in infrastructure in our nation’s history.  

“Today’s signing of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a victory for all Americans. When Congress puts America’s needs over politics, we make genuine progress. We were proud to work together on this historic investment in our nation’s core infrastructure to modernize roads and bridges, strengthen rail and transit systems, upgrade ports, expand broadband access, improve water systems, and increase the resiliency of the nation’s energy grid. It strengthens our economy without raising taxes or increasing inflation. This legislation will positively impact every American.” 

Portman, Sinema, Manchin Bipartisan Bill to Improve Federal Permitting Process Now Law of the Land 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced President Biden has signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act into law which includes their bipartisan Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act, a bill to improve the federal permitting process for some of the largest infrastructure projects and build on efforts to update this process created in 2015. The inclusion of this bipartisan, common-sense bill in the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act will give project sponsors more certainty, which will allow them to create more jobs and develop our nation’s infrastructure more efficiently.

In 2015, Senator Portman and then-Senator Claire McCaskill co-authored the Federal Permitting Improvement Act, which Congress ultimately enacted into law as Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. That law, now known as FAST-41, significantly reformed the federal infrastructure permitting process while leaving environmental protections in place. Most significantly, it created the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council), which brings together agencies at the start of the permitting process for some of the largest, most complicated infrastructure projects (covered projects) to write out a comprehensive plan for the permitting process across agencies. The public can track the permitting progress for each of those projects at www.permits.performance.gov

“I’m proud our bipartisan bill to help update our aging infrastructure and create good jobs while expanding transparency in the permitting process and promoting better coordination between federal agencies is now law of the land as a part of the bipartisan infrastructure package,” said Portman. “FAST-41 improved the federal permitting process to promote expansion, economic growth, and the hiring of American workers right here at home. The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act will now make this program permanent, apply it to more projects to ensure they get done on time and under budget, and expand the authority of the Permitting Council to see to it that those things happen.”

Portman, Stabenow: $1 Billion in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Funding as Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation is Signed into Law 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is set to receive $1 billion in new funding as a result of the President signing the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act into law. The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) includes $5.5 billion in funding to support ecosystems across the country. 

“For our communities along Lake Erie, healthy water and ecosystems are the bedrock of a more resilient economy and more durable infrastructure. Now that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has been signed into law, Congress has taken another historic step in supporting Lake Erie and our Great Lakes by providing an additional $1 billion for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.” said Senator Portman. “Lake Erie is an Ohio treasure that provides drinking water for millions of Ohioans, supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, and draws millions of visitors each year. As co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I will continue to fight to preserve this treasure for our future generations.”

Portman, Peters Announce Bipartisan Make PPE in America Act Now Law 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced that their bipartisan legislation, the Make PPE in America Act, was signed into law by President Biden as a part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act. This legislation will strengthen efforts to onshore production of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the United States by requiring federal agencies to issue long-term contracts for American-made PPE. Reshoring production will ensure American workers, health care professionals, and more have the PPE they need as the economy continues to reopen. Domestic production of PPE supplies also will create American manufacturing jobs and ensure that America is better prepared for the next pandemic. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic made it evident that the American people should not have to rely so heavily on foreign countries for personal protective equipment, and that’s why I’m pleased that our bipartisan Make PPE In America Act was signed into law as a part of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act to bring PPE production back to our shores,” said Senator Portman, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “When I talk to PPE manufacturers about re-shoring this production to America, the number one thing I hear about is the need for long-term contracts. Multi-year contracts as required in this legislation will give producers the certainty to know that their investment in the United States will be worth it because the government will be there to buy the PPE they produce.”

Portman, Manchin’s Finish the ADHS Act Signed into Law as Part of Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that their bipartisan Finish the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) Act has been signed into law as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The IIJA recently passed the House in a vote of 228-206, having previously passed the Senate in August in a vote of 69-30. Finish the ADHS Act is set to provide $1.25 billion in dedicated funding over five years for the network of transportation corridors across Appalachia for the first time since 2012. The Federal Highway Administration has confirmed that Ohio stands to receive $95.2 million in funding through this legislation.

“The Appalachian Development Highway System has created thousands of miles of highway, creating jobs and bringing important economic development to rural parts of Ohio and the rest of Appalachia. A portion of the system remains incomplete because it is difficult to build and expensive,” said Senator Portman. “I am pleased that we are one step closer to finishing the system now that the President has signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill into law.”

Portman, Stabenow RECYCLE Act Signed into Law as Part of Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced that their bipartisan RECYCLE Act was signed into law as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The IIJA recently passed the House in a vote of 228-206, having previously passed the Senate in August in a vote of 69-30. The RECYCLE Act authorizes a new federal grant program through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help educate households and consumers about their residential and community recycling programs. The bipartisan infrastructure package also fully funds the RECYCLE Act at $15 million per year for five years. 

Reports indicate consumer confusion on how to properly recycle is one of the top recycling challenges. According to the EPA, the recycling rate in the U.S. is 32.1 percent, which presents a significant opportunity to improve our nation’s recycling systems. Through education and outreach, the RECYCLE Act will help increase recycling rates and reduce contamination in the recycling stream.  

“I’m pleased that my RECYCLE Act, included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, was signed into law by the President. A key component of improving our domestic recycling systems is increasing consumer awareness about good recycling practices,” said Senator Portman. “Far too often, consumer confusion leads to poor recycling habits, which can damage recycling equipment and cause contamination in the recycling stream. This is a bipartisan, common-sense bill that’s good for the economy and the environment, and helps make our recycling infrastructure more durable.”

Portman, Brown Provisions to Ensure Buy America Rules Apply to All Taxpayer-Funded Infrastructure Projects Signed into Law 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that President Biden signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act into law which includes their bipartisan legislation – the Build America, Buy America Act to apply Buy America rules to all taxpayer-funded infrastructure and public works projects. Currently, Buy America rules have not been fully implemented with respect to all federal programs that provide grants for the construction of infrastructure. When Chinese- or Russian- made steel and other products are used instead of American products, it steals jobs from U.S. workers. Portman and Brown’s legislation would implement Buy America rules across the board – ensuring that American taxpayer dollars are used to buy American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products for any federally funded infrastructure projects. 

“I’m pleased that our bipartisan Build America, Buy America legislation has been signed into law as a part of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act because we must ensure that the coming infrastructure projects across America use American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products. When the government spends American taxpayer money on an infrastructure project, it’s common sense that the materials used in that project should be made in America. We have the world’s best workers making the best materials we need right here at home,” said Senator Portman, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Portman, Manchin Announce Value for Money Analysis Bill Signed into Law as Part of Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that their bipartisan legislation requiring value for money analyses on federally supported transportation loans was signed into law as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The IIJA recently passed the House in a vote of 228-206, having previously passed the Senate in August in a vote of 69-30. 

Public-private partnerships, or P3s, are contractual relationships between a state or local government and a private entity. The relationship allows for more efficient and effective project delivery at a lower cost. According to the Federal Highway Administration, 36 states have passed P3-enabling legislation, yet the use of this financing tool is still quite small. The Congressional Budget Office states that P3s have accounted for only one to three percent of spending for highway, transit, and water infrastructure since 1990. 

Portman and Manchin’s legislation requires Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) applicants with project costs over $750 million to conduct a Value-for-Money analysis as part of their application process. In addition, the bill requires the Build America Bureau (the Department of Transportation’s hub for funding and financing resources) to report to Congress on the utilization of P3s and best practices for project financing. 

“Oftentimes public-private partnerships (P3) produce high-quality projects at a lower cost. With the vast amount of infrastructure improvements needed around this country, P3s are a helpful way in keeping taxpayer costs down,” said Senator Portman. “This legislation will direct DOT to require certain federally supported projects to do a Value-for-Money analysis, an essential step for states and localities in determining whether or not a P3 would in fact be a less expensive, more efficient path forward for project delivery. I am pleased this legislation was signed into law as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

Portman, Bennet Carbon Capture Improvement Act Signed into Law as Part of Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) announced that their bipartisan Carbon Capture Improvement Act has been signed into law as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The IIJA recently passed the House in a vote of 228-206, having previously passed the Senate in August in a vote of 69-30. The Carbon Capture Improvement Act makes it easier for power plants and industrial facilities to finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture, utilization, and storage equipment, as well as direct air capture (DAC) projects, through the use of private activity bonds (PABs). 

“Carbon capture and direct air capture are two common-sense technologies that will allow states like Ohio to continue to utilize our natural resources while protecting our environment at the same time,” said Portman. “This bipartisan legislation takes significant steps to help industry adopt these key technologies, which will make our infrastructure more resilient and environmentally friendly. I am pleased that it has been signed into law as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

Portman, Stabenow’s REPLANT Act Signed into Law as Part of Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced their bipartisan Repairing Existing Public Land by Adding Necessary Trees (REPLANT) Act has been signed into law as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The IIJA recently passed the House in a vote of 228-206, having previously passed the Senate in August in a vote of 69-30. 

The REPLANT Act quadruples investments to support reforestation projects on national forests by removing the current funding cap of $30 million per year on the Reforestation Trust Fund. This will help the U.S. Forest Service plant 1.2 billion trees on national forests and create nearly 49,000 jobs over the next 10 years. The bill only uses funds that are already being collected through tariffs on foreign wood products – it does not change the list of products, increase the tariffs, or use taxpayer funds. 

“More and more we’re seeing catastrophic wildfires, flooding and other events that require greater investment in addressing our reforestation needs. The REPLANT Act provides a wide range of benefits, including improving our environment by sequestering carbon dioxide, reinvigorating ecosystems, and supporting wildlife that depend on healthy forests, while also creating nearly 49,000 jobs and expanding recreation opportunities on national forestland,” said Portman. “I’m pleased this legislation has finally been signed into law as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

Portman, Colleagues Announce Bipartisan Bridge Investment Act to Provide Significant Federal Investment in Bridge Repair is Signed Into Law   

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Bob Casey (D-PA) today announced that their bipartisan bill, the Bridge Investment Act, has been signed into law by President Biden. 

The Senators have been pushing for this legislation since 2018. They fought and successfully included this legislation in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate in August and in the version that passed the House of Representatives earlier this month. The final bill includes provisions that will:

“I’m pleased that the Bridge Investment Act, included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, has been signed into law by the President. After years of desperately needing repairs, the federal funding in this bill means we are one step closer to a long-term solution for the Brent Spence Bridge,” said Senator Portman.

Key Portman, Shaheen Energy Efficiency Provisions Signed into Law in Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation  

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statements after key provisions from their bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness (ESIC) Act were signed into law as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Portman and Shaheen were lead negotiators of the bipartisan infrastructure package that was signed into law earlier today.  

“Now that the President has signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, I am pleased that my common-sense measures with Senator Shaheen, to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions across the economy, can finally go into effect,” said Senator Portman. “We need a balanced approach to protecting our environment and reducing emissions, while also safeguarding our economy and jobs – these measures accomplish just that.” 

Portman Touts Landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill at White House Signing Ceremony 

Senator Rob Portman delivered remarks this afternoon at the White House signing ceremony for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act. Portman served as the chief Republican negotiator for this landmark piece of legislation - which invests hundreds of billions of dollars in repairing, upgrading, and modernizing our nation’s roads, bridges, ports, and other key infrastructure assets.  

This legislation, which passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, will improve our nation’s productivity, grow the economy, and create more than a million new, good-paying jobs. 

Portman’s remarks can be found here and a video can be accessed here.

Portman, Bennet Legislation to Extend Tax Filing Deadlines During Natural Disasters, National Emergencies Signed into Law as Part of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) announced that the Automatic Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Major Disasters and Critical Events Act has been signed into law, as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This legislation will amend the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) provision which permits the Secretary of the Treasury to extend the tax filing deadline for all taxpayers affected by federally declared disasters, national emergencies, and terrorist or military action. It separately tolls the deadline for filing a petition in Tax Court if that court is inaccessible or closed, such as during a government shutdown or pandemic.  

“The last thing victims of natural disasters and emergencies need is to worry about the IRS,” said Portman. “I am pleased that this legislation has been signed into law as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as it will give folks peace of mind and bring fairness to the tax code by providing certainty that tax deadlines will be extended in the case of natural disasters and other hardships. This is the least we can do for people who fall victim to tragic circumstances through no fault of their own.”

On Senate Floor, Portman Applauds Enactment of Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill 

This evening on the Senate floor, Senator Portman celebrated the enactment into law of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, landmark legislation he helped to craft that will provide hundreds of billions of dollars to repair, upgrade, and modernize our nation’s roads, bridges, ports, and other key infrastructure assets. 

Portman, who served as the lead Republican negotiator of this legislation, highlighted how it will benefit both Ohio and the nation by building out hard assets that will improve our productivity and competitiveness, create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, and serve as a counter-inflationary force on the economy at a time of surging inflation. He thanked the bipartisan senators with whom he worked to develop the legislation, and called today’s signing a victory for the American people. 

A transcript of his remarks can be found here and a video can be found here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Portman: October CBP Operational Stats Show Record Number of Border Arrests

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, issued the following statement after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released operational statistics showing a record number of border arrests in October as the United States continues to face a crisis at our southern border: 

“I am alarmed that the October CBP operational statistics show that our nation saw the worst October on record as the unlawful migration crisis of the Biden administration’s own doing continues. CBP reported more than 164,000 total encounters at the border in October. This includes more than 42,000 migrant family members; more than 108,000 single adult migrants, which comprised two-thirds of all encounters; and more than 12,000 unaccompanied children.  

The surge in illicit narcotics coming over our border also continue to rise, with seizures of fentanyl increasing 42 percent over the last month. As recent CDC data has shown, these illicit narcotics, including deadly fentanyl, are taking a record number of lives in communities in Ohio and across our country. The failure of this administration to control our southern border has resulted in record levels of deadly fentanyl coming into our country, leading to more American lives being lost, families devastated, and which has contributed to the growing strength of Mexican transnational criminal organizations.” 

How the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act Will Benefit Southwest Ohio 

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) makes an historic investment in America’s core infrastructure needs – roads, bridges, ports, broadband, water infrastructure, and other important assets. The bill, which has been endorsed by more than 100 industry associations, trade groups, and unions, will create jobs, increase productivity, and pave the way for decades of economic growth and prosperity – all without raising taxes or increasing inflation. 

Senator Portman played a key role in crafting the legislation, which President Biden signed into law on Monday, that will address specific infrastructure needs across Ohio. 

Here is how the bill will benefit Southwest Ohio.

How the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act Will Benefit Northeast Ohio 

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) makes an historic investment in America’s core infrastructure needs – roads, bridges, ports, broadband, water infrastructure, and other important assets. The law, which is endorsed by more than 100 industry associations, trade groups, and unions, will create jobs, increase productivity, and pave the way for decades of economic growth and prosperity – all without raising taxes or increasing inflation. 

Senator Portman played a key role in crafting the legislation, which President Biden signed into law on Monday, that will address specific infrastructure needs across Ohio. 

Here is how the bill will benefit Northeast Ohio.

How the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act Will Benefit Southeast Ohio 

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) makes an historic investment in America’s core infrastructure needs – roads, bridges, ports, broadband, water infrastructure, and other important assets. The law, which has been endorsed by more than 100 industry associations, trade groups, and unions, will create jobs, increase productivity, and pave the way for decades of economic growth and prosperity – all without raising taxes or increasing inflation. 

Senator Portman played a key role in crafting the legislation, which President Biden signed into law on Monday, that will address specific infrastructure needs across Ohio. 

Here is how the bill could benefit Southeast Ohio.

How the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act Will Benefit Northwest Ohio

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) makes an historic investment in America’s core infrastructure needs – roads, bridges, ports, broadband, water infrastructure, and other important assets. The bill, which has been endorsed by more than 100 industry associations, trade groups, and unions, will create jobs, increase productivity, and pave the way for decades of economic growth and prosperity – all without raising taxes or increasing inflation. 

Senator Portman played a key role in crafting the legislation, which President Biden signed into law on Monday, that will address specific infrastructure needs across Ohio. 

Here is how the bill could benefit Northwest Ohio.

Portman Cincinnati Enquirer Op-Ed: Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill can help Greater Cincinnati

In a new op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Senator Portman discusses how his bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act makes common-sense investments to fix and upgrade our nation’s, specifically Cincinnati’s, infrastructure, without raising taxes or adding to inflation.

As Portman details, the bipartisan infrastructure bill will provide significant help in the Greater Cincinnati area – it finally provides the tools to fix the Brent Spence Bridge, contains funding for nationwide broadband expansion that could be used for several ongoing public-private broadband expansion projects in Southwest Ohio, and provides funding to upgrade airports that can be used for needed improvements to the runways, terminals, and air control towers at the CVG and Dayton airports. The full op-ed can be found here.

On CNBC’s Squawk Box, Portman Highlights Benefits of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Says Democrats’ Tax & Spending Spree is Bad for the Economy 

In an interview this morning with CNBC’s Squawk Box, Senator Portman outlined the major differences between the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – landmark legislation he helped negotiate to repair our nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, and other key infrastructure assets – and Democrats’ reckless tax and spending plan that will cost nearly $4.5 trillion.  

Portman detailed his concerns with the Democrats’ reckless tax and spending bill, arguing that trillions in new spending and taxes will stifle economic growth, kill jobs, balloon the national debt, and increase inflation. 

A transcript of the interview can be found here and you can also watch the interview here. 

Portman Statement on U.S. Overdose Deaths Surpassing 100,000 In Past Year

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) released the following statement after the CDC released preliminary data today showing that drug overdose deaths rose by 28.5% over a 12-month period ending in April 2021, to an estimated 100,306.

“Today’s news underscores the devastating effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our efforts to fight addiction. To lose more than 100,000 Americans to drug overdoses in a single year is stunning and heartbreaking. 

“In 2020, we saw a record high of overdose deaths. According to the CDC, the numbers released today indicate that 2021 will look even worse, reaffirming what I’ve said many times before – the drug and addiction epidemic in this country is not only resurgent, but far worse than ever before. 

“This tragic death toll must serve as a resounding wake-up call and a catalyst for immediate action. Congress should start by passing my CARA 3.0 – sweeping, bipartisan legislation that will bolster evidence-based programs, expand treatment options, and provide communities with the resources they need to save lives. 

“The Biden administration must also take immediate action to secure our southern border. According to the October Customs and Border Protection operational statistics, fentanyl seizures have increased by 42 percent between September and October of this year and we do not know how much more is slipping through our out of control border. The failure of this administration to control our southern border has led to record levels of fentanyl and other deadly narcotics coming into our country and devastating families in Ohio and across the country. 

“We must take decisive and immediate action to address this raging drug and addiction crisis. American lives are on the line.”

Portman Presses Federal Witnesses on Increase in Fentanyl Coming Over Southern Border 

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, pressed federal witnesses on the increase in deadly narcotics, like fentanyl, coming into the United States over the southern border at a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management hearing. Earlier this week, Portman released a statement on the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operational statistics which show a 42 percent increase in fentanyl seizures at the southern border from September to October. Today, the CDC released preliminary data showing that from April 2020 to April 2021, drug overdose deaths in the United States rose to a record more than 100,000.

Portman has made it clear that the failure of this administration to control our southern border has resulted in record levels of deadly fentanyl coming into our country, leading to more American lives being lost, families devastated, and which has contributed to the growing strength of Mexican transnational criminal organizations. Portman has repeatedly urged the administration to change course and put in place smart policies that secure our borders and protect the American people from the influx of deadly narcotics like fentanyl.

A transcript of the questioning can be found here and a video can be found here.

On Senate Floor, Portman Honors Dr. Kristina Johnson, 16th President of The Ohio State University

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) delivered remarks on the Senate floor honoring Dr. Kristina Johnson, the 16th president of The Ohio State University. 

Dr. Johnson assumed the presidency of the University in August of 2020. Her formal investiture - which will occur this Friday, November 19 - was originally postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

A transcript of his remarks can be found here and a video can be found here.

Portman Announces Federal Grant for Cleveland, Ohio Trail Planning Project 

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) praised the announcement that the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a grant to Cleveland Metroparks through the FY21 Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program.

The $950,000 grant will go towards the completion of construction planning for the Slavic Village Downtown Connector Phase 2 North, the Morgana Run/Booth Avenue Extension, feasibility and preliminary engineering on the Iron Court/Opportunity Corridor Connector, and the Euclid Creek Greenway Phase 2 North as part of the countywide active transportation plan in Cuyahoga County.

“This is great news for Northeast Ohio. I applaud the Department of Transportation for providing Ohio with the resources needed to advance bicycle & pedestrian trail planning,” said Portman. “This project will increase community access, while also creating needed jobs.”

Portman Announces Federal Grant for Findlay, Ohio Rail Project 

Portman praised the announcement that the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a grant to the Maumee Watershed Conservancy District, through the FY21 Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program. 

Maumee has been awarded over $7 million to replace the railroad bridge that stretches over the Blanchard River, with a three-span, through plate girder, ballast deck bridge. 

“This is great news for Northwest Ohio. I applaud the Department of Transportation for providing Ohio with the resources needed to repair and replace our rail infrastructure,” said Portman. “This project will improve efficiency and safety while also creating needed jobs.”

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Portman Delivers Opening Remarks at Hearing to Consider FEMA, Postal Regulatory Commission, Judicial, and Federal Financial Management Nominations

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, delivered opening remarks at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on the nominations of Erik Hooks to be Deputy Administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Honorable Michael Kubayanda to be a Commissioner at the Postal Regulatory Commission, Laurel Blatchford to be Controller for the Office of Federal Financial Management in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Ebony Scott and Donald Tunnage to be Associate Judges on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. 

A transcript of his opening remarks can be found here and a video can be found here.

Portman, Coons Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Reauthorize Wildlife Trafficking Law

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Coons (D-DE), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to combat international wildlife trafficking and strengthen interagency efforts to tackle the issue. Wildlife trafficking remains a serious transnational crime and threatens the conservation of vulnerable wildlife, regional security, and economic opportunity. It has also been linked to other organized criminal activities, including trafficking in narcotics, weapons, and people. The Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Reauthorization and Improvements Act of 2021 would reauthorize legislation that was signed into law in 2016, expand the responsibilities of the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking, and enhance law enforcement authorities for the Fish and Wildlife Service to better combat wildlife trafficking. Companion legislation was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Grace Meng (D-NY) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE).  

“As a co-chair of the International Conservation Caucus, I am pleased to join Senator Coons in introducing the END Wildlife Trafficking Reauthorization and Improvements Act to help prevent the trafficking and poaching of the world’s most threatened species. Wildlife trafficking is not only a matter of conservation but also national security and international stability, as billions in profits from the illegal wildlife trade are used to finance other illicit and terrorist activity,” said Senator Portman. “By reauthorizing and expanding the responsibilities of the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking and enhancing existing law enforcement authorities, this bill strengthens the tools the U.S. government has to help combat trafficking around the globe. I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this important bipartisan legislation.”

Senate Passes Portman-Supported Bill to Award Congressional Gold Medal to Ohio-Native Max Soviak and 12 Other Fallen Service Members 

Portman released the following statement after joining his Senate colleagues in unanimously voting to approve a measure awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 service members who were killed in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 26. One of the fallen service members was Navy Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman Max Soviak, a native of Berlin Heights, Ohio. 

“I was honored to join my Senate colleagues in unanimously voting to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Max Soviak and the 12 other service members who lost their lives in Afghanistan this past August. Max’s sacrifice, along with that of the other Marines and soldier who were killed that day, reminds us of how blessed we are to have such courageous and selfless fellow citizens willing to stand guard for us and the freedoms we enjoy every day. These 13 young men and women were heroes in the truest sense of the word - they answered the call and did their duty with valor and distinction. We will never forget their service and sacrifice.”

Nominee to be Deputy Administrator of FEMA Commits to Support Portman’s Work in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to Enhance Preparedness and Save Lives

Portman Erik Hooks, the nominee to be Deputy Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, if confirmed, committed to working with U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to improve the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Program or the BRIC Program. The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, which was signed into law on Monday, included Portman’s proposal of an $1 billion investment for the BRIC program that will increase preparedness and help save lives. Portman led efforts to craft and pass the bipartisan infrastructure package in the Senate.

Mr. Hooks also discussed Portman’s bipartisan work in Congress to ensure access to federal security resources for faith-based and nonprofit institutions as they face continual threats and attacks. Last year, Senator Portman and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced that President Trump signed their bipartisan Protecting Faith-Based and Nonprofit Organizations From Terrorism Act into law. This legislation authorizes $75 million annually for five years, from FYs 2020-2024, for the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). The NSGP provides grants to faith-based and other nonprofit organizations to help secure their facilities against potential attacks. Senator Portman helped double the amount of funding available for the NSGP in the FY 2021 bipartisan funding agreement that was signed into law late last year. 

Excerpts from the questioning can found here and a video can be found here.

On Bloomberg, Senator Portman Discusses Democrats’ Tax & Spending Spree, Surging Inflation

In an interview this morning with Bloomberg’s Balance of Power, Senator Portman outlined his concerns with the Democrats’ reckless tax and spending bill, arguing that trillions in new spending and taxes will stifle economic growth, kill jobs, balloon the national debt, and increase inflation. He also highlighted the negative impact surging inflation is having on workers and middle-class families.  

A transcript of the interview can be found here and you can also watch the interview here. 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Widespread Praise in Ohio for Enactment of Portman’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act 

Public and private-sector leaders across Ohio are praising Monday’s enactment of Senator Portman’s bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, landmark legislation to invest in repairing, upgrading, and expanding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. This legislation, which passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, will improve our nation’s productivity, grow the economy, and create good-paying jobs. Ohio will benefit from this long-overdue investment in our roads, bridges, and other core infrastructure assets in a number of ways. 

Here’s what they are saying about Portman’s historic infrastructure legislation.

Senate Committee Passes Portman, Brown Legislation to Reauthorize Ohio’s National Aviation Heritage Area 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that their legislation to extend the authorization for Ohio’s National Aviation Heritage Area (NAHA) was reported favorably out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as part of the National Heritage Area Authority Extension Act of 2021. Their legislation, introduced in April, will allow the heritage area to continue receiving federal funding through September 30, 2036. The NAHA is slated to expire on September 30, 2022, after Senators Portman and Brown secured a two-year reauthorization for the heritage area in the FY 2020 government funding bill. 

The NAHA spans eight counties throughout western Ohio, with a large presence in Dayton, the home of the Wright Brothers. There are a variety of cultural sites within the NAHA, including the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park, Armstrong Air and Space Museum, Huffman Prairie Flying Field, the Paul Laurence Dunbar House, and Grimes Flying Field, as well as resources related to the Wright Brothers. The annual economic impact of the National Aviation Heritage Area is valued at $226 million. On an average year, NAHA welcomes 1.4 million visitors, supports 265 full-time jobs, and 261 part-time jobs. 

“The National Aviation Heritage Area is home to our nation’s aviation history, telling the story of the Wright Brothers’ development of the first airplane. It has proven to be a successful public-private partnership, generating more than $200 million in economic impact from the millions of visitors it receives each year, said Portman. “This heritage area supports local communities through economic development and education about the region’s aviation legacy. I am pleased that we are one step close to ensuring that the NAHA is preserved and enjoyed by future generations.”

Senate Committee Passes Legislation to Extend Funding for Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area 

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that their legislation to reauthorize the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area for an additional 15 years, through 2036, and with an increase in the funding cap, was reported favorably out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee as part of the National Heritage Area Authority Extension Act of 2021. Their legislation will provide greater funding certainty to the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area to help ensure it can continue to draw investment and support local jobs, tourism, and economic development in northeast Ohio. The Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area spans more than 110 miles between New Philadelphia and Cleveland. 

“This legislation will provide greater funding certainty to continue the public-private partnerships that have protected and improved the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area, which continues to attract jobs and investment,” said Portman. “The canal holds great significance to the state of Ohio, from helping our early towns and communities prosper to linking our state to the rest of the nation. I am proud to be one of the 2.5 million visitors who enjoy the canal’s towpath trail each year and, therefore, pleased we are on step closer to signing this legislation into law.” 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

 

Portman: Bipartisan infrastructure bill can help Greater Cincinnati

Ohioans rely on our nation’s infrastructure every day. Whether it’s commuting to work, connecting to the internet, buying something online that depends on our ports, our freight rail, our airports, or our highways, or simply flipping a light switch and depending on the lights coming on, the hard assets that link our state and country together are essential for our businesses, farmers, workers, families, and communities.

Unfortunately, many of these roads, bridges, ports, freight rail systems, waterways, electrical grids and broadband networks are not up to the task. In February, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our nation a "C-" for our infrastructure. Other countries are surpassing us in every category of infrastructure. This is why presidents of both parties have advocated for major infrastructure investments over the past few decades, trying to win the global competition for jobs and investment.

Based on my conversations with Ohioans about the need to fix crumbling infrastructure, it was no surprise to me that recent polls from CNBC and CBS News both found that 87% of the public backs bipartisan efforts to invest in our infrastructure. People get it.

The good news is that after decades of talking about it, Congress recently passed and President Biden signed into law landmark bipartisan legislation to improve the lives of Ohioans and all Americans by investing in these critical infrastructure assets we rely on every day. I took a lead role in crafting and passing the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, which provides unprecedented investment of $542 billion in our core infrastructure needs to help our economy continue to grow. Importantly, our bill makes this historic investment in infrastructure without raising taxes on hardworking American families or the businesses that drive our economy. And because it is long-term investments in hard assets and will make our economy more efficient and productive, it is counter-inflationary at a time when devastating inflation is on the rise. 

The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act will provide significant help in the Greater Cincinnati area. Ohio will receive $9.2 billion to help with roads and highways and $483 million to help with our bridges, helping finish key projects like the I-275 Smart Lane in Clermont County. Importantly, it finally gives us the tools to fix the Brent Spence Bridge.

As we all know, Brent Spence is a critical connector for our region and the national economy, but it doesn’t come close to meeting our traffic demands. The new infrastructure bill contains $33.5 billion in available grant funding that could be directed toward regionally significant infrastructure projects like Brent Spence.

Elsewhere, some of the $65 billion included in the bill for nationwide broadband expansion could be used for several ongoing public-private broadband expansion projects in Southwest Ohio, including in the Miami Valley in cities like Dayton and Trotwood, which will help connect underserved communities and residents working from home, completing online schooling, and even tele-health appointments. And some of the $25 billion in grant funding for upgrading airports can be used for needed improvements to the runways and terminals and air control towers at the CVG and Dayton airports.

These are just a few of the initiatives in the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act. The combined result is good for the Greater Cincinnati area, our state and our country. Studies show that this bipartisan effort is a smart investment in our long-term economic health because it creates hundreds of thousands of jobs in a variety of industries, grows our economy, and raises wages for workers over the next 10 years and beyond. This is a significant investment in the American economy not just for 2021, but 2031, 2041, and well into the future.

Importantly, economists agree this type of long-term investment in infrastructure won’t add to the surging inflation that is causing the prices of everyday goods like gas and groceries to rise. It’s no surprise that more than 100 stakeholders from all levels of government and in countless industries back our bill, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO Building Trades Council, the American Farm Bureau, and the National League of Cities, as well as local groups like the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments.

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act is good for the Greater Cincinnati area, good for our entire state and good for our nation. 

 

How infrastructure bill will fight inflation, according to booster Sen. Rob Portman

As Republicans cite recent inflation as a sign that the nation is going in the wrong direction under President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman argues that the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Biden signed at the White House on Monday will help curb that trend as it funnels billions of dollars to states like Ohio.

The newly minted law will channel $9.2 billion to Ohio highways, $1.4 billion to the state’s water infrastructure, $1.2 billion for Ohio public transportation, $1 billion for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, $483 billion to fix Ohio bridges, $140 million for Ohio’s electric vehicle chargers, $100 million to bolster Ohio broadband and $253 million for Ohio airports.

Portman, who spent months negotiating the deal with his Democratic counterparts, was the only Republican member of Congress to speak at the bill signing ceremony. All Ohio’s Democratic Congress members backed the bill and attended the ceremony. Rocky River’s Anthony Gonzalez was the only Ohio Republican in the House of Representatives who supported it, but he skipped the ceremony.

In a Senate floor speech on Monday, Portman argued the legislation will counter inflation over time. He said inflation happens when prices rise because there’s too much demand for goods and not enough supply. It occurred after the pandemic because more people were trying to buy things before the supply of goods returned. Portman argues that the $1.9 trillion spending bill that Congress approved in March worsened the problem because it went “right into people’s pockets,” increasing demand for goods when “the supply wasn’t there, which raises inflation.”

He said current inflation rates are “devastating” for lower and middle-income families in Ohio.

“Right now, our country is facing historically high levels of inflation, highest inflation we’ve had in more than 30 years, and it’s a big problem,” said Portman. “Everything’s gone up. Gas, I heard yesterday that now gas has gone up 50 percent this year. Two weeks ago, it was 42 percent. But all I know is that it’s gone up about a buck a gallon. And when I fill up my pickup truck, I’m spending $100 now. And that’s tough for people, particularly people who have to commute for their work.”

He said the infrastructure bill he supported will provide “long-term spending for capital assets,” which will reduce inflation “because you’re adding to the supply side.”

“By building that bridge, that’s part of the supply side of the economy rather than the demand side of the economy,” said Portman. “This is long–term spending for capital assets.... The infrastructure bill should over time actually have a counter inflationary effect. Most of the money, again, is not going to be spent in the near term. Most will be spent over time, but when it is spent, it’s spent more on the supply side of the economy rather than the demand side of the economy.”

He contends the upcoming “Build Back Better” social spending bill that Democrats hope to pass without GOP support in upcoming days will add to inflationary pressures by overheating the economy, much as the earlier bill did.

Portman says the October inflation rate, if it continues over the next year, would amount to an 11.4 percent yearly inflation rate. He said the nation hasn’t experienced that sort of double digit inflation since 1981.

Conservative economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum agrees with Portman that the infrastructure bill won’t “generate any significant near-term stimulus or inflationary pressure,” arguing that the $5.6 billion in spending it will generate each year “simply is not going to move the macroeconomic needle” in a roughly $21 trillion economy.

“While the BIF will not create additional inflation pressure, it will also not solve the administration’s current inflation-related political problems,” Holtz-Eakin wrote last week. “There just is not enough impact in the near term to accomplish this task. Even at the peak, this would require a more significant impact on productivity and aggregate supply, and these dollars are not large enough to accomplish this kind of supply expansion.”

A piece that Holtz-Eakin wrote with economist Michael Strain of the right-leaning think tank the American Enterprise Institute, said “a well-structured infrastructure bill would boost the supply side of the economy, reducing inflationary pressures. Improving roads, bridges, and ports would make it less costly for businesses to operate, allowing them to increase their output per hour, and putting downward pressure on consumer prices.”

“The goal of the proposed infrastructure plan is not to boost the demand side of the economy, giving it a quick, Keynesian jolt through ‘shovel-ready’ projects,” they wrote. “This type of infrastructure spending could be inflationary. Instead, the goal is to increase the productive capacity of the economy over the course of nearly one decade. Under the plan, (roughly) no money would be spent in 2021. The vast majority of the money would be spent after 2022. We expect inflationary pressures from President Biden’s February stimulus, reopening, and pandemic-related supply constraints to have abated by 2023. So spending under the infrastructure plan would overwhelmingly occur after current concerns about inflation have subsided.”

U.S. Sen Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, attributes much of inflation to supply chain disruptions. He argues that squeezing the supply chain “so these costs don’t spike like that,” and passing Biden’s “Build Back Better” legislation will help. He said he’d also like to see production that shifted to other countries return to the United States so the nation won’t have to rely on foreign countries for key goods.

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese on Sunday told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he believes the current round of inflation is temporary, because the pandemic and economy are interlinked. The coronavirus pandemic forced people to consume more goods at home, rather than going out and spending on services. He said global supply chain challenges associated with COVID also added to price increases.

“In the very immediate term, we’re working with ports around the country to get goods moving more quickly through the economy,” said Deese, calling that the infrastructure bill “the most significant step that we will have taken in decades to actually invest in the arteries that help move goods more quickly through our economy, more cheaply through our economy.”

He disputed the contention that the American Rescue Plan contributed to inflation, arguing that it saved the nation from “an acute economic emergency,” and said he that he does not believe the upcoming “Build Back Better” legislation that Democrats in Congress are considering will increase inflation, as Portman predicts.

“It’s not going to add to inflationary pressures, quite the opposite, because we’re going to pay for everything in this bill by raising taxes on big companies, large corporations and the highest-income Americans,” Deese told Jake Tapper. “So there’s an urgency to act. The House is going to consider this bill this week. And we’re looking forward to making progress and getting this done.”

Seventeen recipients of the Nobel prize in economics released an open letter this month that said the U.S. economy “appears set for a robust recovery” due to government interventions, and predicted Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda will reduce long-term inflation

“While we all have different views on the particulars of various economic policies, we believe that key components of this broader agenda are critical—including tax reforms that make our tax system more equitable and that enable our system to raise the additional funds required to facilitate necessary public investments and achieve our collective goals,” their statement said. “Because this agenda invests in long-term economic capacity and will enhance the ability of more Americans to participate productively in the economy, it will ease longer-term inflationary pressures.”

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