After passing the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act in the Senate last week, Senator Portman turned his focus towards helping negotiate the final product between the House and the Senate so it can be sent to the president’s desk for his signature. Portman is working to fix our broken tax code and provide tax relief to help boost the middle class and save the typical Ohio family $2,375 annually on their tax bill. Portman was named a conferee on the House-Senate tax reform conference committee this week and will continue to be a key player as Congress works to create more jobs and boost wages for American workers. Also this week, Portman announced that, through his bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, legislation signed into law last year, more funding is now available to Ohioans on the front lines of the opioid epidemic to help turn the tide of addiction. Portman also supported the nomination of Kirstjen Nielsen for Secretary of Homeland Security, highlighted a Columbus organization doing its part to combat addiction in Ohio, and more. For a detailed look at his week, please see the following:

Monday, December 4

On Senate Floor: Portman Supports DHS Secretary Nominee Kirstjen Nielsen

In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, outlined his support for Kirstjen Nielsen for the position of Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Specifically, Portman discussed his belief that Nielsen, who confirmed her support of the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act in November, will work to prevent the flow of drugs into our country in order to combat drug addiction. The STOP Act is designed to help stop dangerous drugs such as heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers here in the United States. Portman introduced Nielsen at her HSGAC nomination hearing earlier this year.

Transcript of his remarks can be found here and a video can be found here

On Senate Floor, Portman Recognizes 50th Anniversary of Alvis in Columbus

Portman also spoke on the Senate floor to recognize the 50th anniversary of Alvis in Columbus, a nonprofit human services agency that provides highly effective reentry treatment programs for individuals who have spent time in the criminal justice system. Since its opening in 1967, Alvis has grown from a single 15-bed home helping 60 men a year to an organization with 13 locations throughout Columbus, Chillicothe, Dayton, Lima, and Toledo that serves more than 8,000 people annually. Said Portman in his speech, Alvis has “helped provide support and hope to thousands of individuals who are returning to their communities after having spent time in the criminal justice system, as well as offering recovery and developmental disability services that encourage health, growth, and independent citizenship.”

Transcript of his remarks can be found here and a video can be found here.

Portman Announces Support for Legislation to Protect Children In Public Housing From Lead Exposure

On Monday, Portman announced his support for the Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act – legislation to protect children in affordable housing from lead poisoning. Lead poisoning disproportionally impacts minority children that live in federally subsidized housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) outdated lead standards and regulations place countless families with children at risk of lead poisoning. The Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act would require HUD to adopt prevention measures and update its lead regulations to protect children from the risk of lead exposure. Senator Durbin (D-IL) introduced this legislation earlier this year with the support of Senators Donnelly (D-IN), Duckworth (D-IL), Menendez (D-NJ), Scott (R-SC), and Young (R-IN).

“There is no safe level of lead for children, and more than 2,600 children in Ohio have elevated levels of lead in their blood. That is unacceptable,” said Portman.  “Every child should have the opportunity to reach their God-given potential and that’s why we must bring these outdated HUD lead standards up to date. More than that, we must invest in prevention to ensure every Ohio family is safe. This is a simple, common sense, bipartisan solution to address a key challenge facing low-income communities in Ohio and across the country and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation.”

For more information about the bill, go here.

Wednesday, December 6

Portman Named Conferee on House-Senate Tax Reform Conference Committee

Portman issued the following statement after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appointed him to serve on a House-Senate conference committee to finalize the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, legislation which will help middle-class families, create more jobs, and increase wages for American workers:

“We’ve made important strides toward providing middle-class tax relief and reforming our tax code, and I will continue to work to improve this bill as the House and Senate complete our work. In 2010, I made a commitment to the people of Ohio that I would help lead an effort to reform our broken tax code and provide relief to families and small businesses, and I intend to keep that commitment. This effort is about giving Ohio families a better future with more jobs and higher wages, and I’m optimistic that the House and Senate will send a final bill to the president’s desk before Christmas.”

Portman Announces New Funding Opportunity for Community-Based Coalition Enhancement Grants to Prevent Opioid Abuse Amongst Youth

On Wednesday, Portman announced the establishment of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) Community-based Coalition Enhancement Grants to Address Local Drug Crises Grants (CARA Local Drug Crises Grants) as an enhancement to current- or formerly-funded Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program recipients. The purpose of this program is to prevent and reduce the abuse of opioids or methamphetamines and the abuse of prescription medications among youth ages 12-18 in communities throughout Ohio and the United States. This new funding opportunity builds on September’s announcement of 27 Drug Free Communities grant recipients in the state of Ohio, as well as other grants made available by CARA to help prevent and treat opioid addiction gripping communities in Ohio.

“The Drug-Free Communities program is a proven, evidence-based, community-oriented and accountable program that reduces substance abuse among our nation’s youth and, sadly, it is needed now more than ever. It is especially important that we work to prevent addictions before they begin, so I am pleased that these grants will help educate our young people before they get addicted, as well as help those already struggling with addiction. I will continue to work to get those on the frontlines the resources they need to turn the tide and address the comprehensive challenge of combating addiction.”

NOTE: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will be ONDCP’s partner in the day-to-day management of the CARA Local Drug Crises Grants Program. Coalitions interested in applying for this funding should click here for more information and click here to apply.

For a list of recent DFC grantees in Ohio, please go here.

These grants build upon authorizations in Senator Portman’s recently signed-into-law and bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA). CARA ensures that federal resources are focused on evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery programs that have proven effective in local communities so that it can make a difference in people’s lives. Portman is currently working to get his bipartisan Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, legislation as well as his Prescription Drug Monitoring Act, and Medicaid CARE Act signed into law.

On CNBC, Portman Discusses Tax Negotiations, How Tax Reform Will Boost Middle Class, Jobs & Wages

During an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Senator Portman discussed how the Senate-passed Tax Cuts & Jobs Act will help boost the middle class, create more and better jobs, and raise wages. Portman also discussed the path forward and his hopes that the Senate and House can come together quickly to send this bill to the president that will save the typical Ohio family $2,375 annually on their tax bill and help middle-class Ohioans keep more of their paycheck. Portman, who has held six tax reform roundtables in Ohio with local business leaders in recent months, has been vocal on the national stage calling for tax reform, including during recent interviews on CBS This Morning, Fox News, CNN, CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg TV, and NBC’s Meet The Press twice, as well as recently in op-eds in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cincinnati Enquirer.

Excerpts can be found here and a video can be found here.

Friday, December 8

What They’re Saying About Senator Portman’s Efforts to Pass the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act

Last week, with the help of Senator Portman, the Senate passed the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, which will help middle-class families and save the typical Ohio family $2,375 annually, create more jobs, and increase wages for American workers. Portman worked throughout the process to develop and help improve the bill, including adding several amendments during consideration by the Senate Finance Committee.  And now he’s been appointed to serve on a House-Senate conference committee that is negotiating the final bill.

Below are highlights of coverage on Senator Portman’s efforts to get the legislation passed in the Senate:

  • “With Senate approval of the most sweeping changes in the federal tax code since 1986, Sen. Rob Portman has moved one step closer to a goal he has talked about relentlessly since he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010. And if overhauling the tax code sparks an economic boom, Portman will emerge as one of the Republicans who will receive credit nationwide for making the tax bill a reality.” — Columbus Dispatch, December 4, 2017
  • “Now that the Senate and House have passed their separate tax-cut plans, a select group of lawmakers will meet behind closed doors to resolve the differences.  Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican and booster of the cuts, will be in that group. Republican Senate leaders Wednesday night appointed Portman and several colleagues to meet with House of Representatives counterparts, work through their bills' differences and present a final, combined bill for passage in both chambers ... Since last year, Portman has been among a few key senators behind the scenes shaping the tax package, which he says will help most Ohioans keep more of their pay and spur companies to expand and hire.” – Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 7, 2017
  • “Not long after the 2016 election, McConnell and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) quietly tapped four Senate Republicans — Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio, Tim Scott of South Carolina and John Thune of South Dakota — to be the GOP conference’s point people on the tax battle. The group immediately began meeting in December to lay the groundwork for the legislative push.  And after the failure of Obamacare repeal, Republicans were determined to do things differently.” – POLITICO, December 2, 2017
  • “The failure to repeal the health care law provided Senate Republicans a valuable road map of what not to do when pursuing their ambitious tax agenda — particularly cutting colleagues out of the process. Mr. McConnell and a circle of lieutenants who sit on the finance and budget committees — Rob Portman of Ohio, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, John Thune of South Dakota and Tim Scott of South Carolina — joined John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican, in relentlessly trying to educate senators.” – New York Times, December 3, 2017
  • “McConnell picked four members of the Finance Committee — Tim Scott of South Carolina, Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and John Thune of South Dakota — to take the lead on the bill, along with Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah and No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas. Those members were charged with determining the priorities of others and forging a consensus…. Trump, McConnell and Portman all worked with Maine Sen. Susan Collins, including key promises made by the president when he visited the Capitol on Tuesday for a lunch with GOP senators in which he displayed uncharacteristic familiarity with the measure’s details and had a better read of the room than in prior appearances.” — Associated Press, December 2, 2017
  • “Portman’s biggest contribution was to handle the technically difficult task of transforming the U.S. tax system for corporate profits earned overseas into a territorial one. The former U.S. trade representative’s expertise came in handy when GOP leaders were trying to find a way to pay for increasing the deduction for pass-through businesses. They ultimately decided to increase the tax rate on corporate profits held overseas. Portman explained to colleagues the concession would not dampen the economic punch of the bill.” — The Hill, December 2, 2017
  • “McConnell pointed to Republican senators meeting in small groups for months, and he praised the leadership of Finance Committee members Rob Portman of Ohio, Tim Scott of South Carolina, John Thune of South Dakota and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania for helping lead the efforts along with Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and Texas Republican John Cornyn, the majority whip.” – Roll Call, December 2, 2017
  • “There are a number of other members who have been critical to the process… Senators Thune, Portman, Toomey and Scott took on the yeoman’s work in the Finance Committee as we worked to unite our conference on a bill that everyone could support. I will never forget the time and energy they put into this effort and can’t thank them enough. My staff calls them the ‘core four’ of tax reform.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell