Portman Also Supports New Committee to Help Solve Multiemployer Pension Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) today announced his support for the bipartisan budget agreement reached today between Senate Republican and Democratic leaders.  The agreement includes significant funding increases to key Portman priorities such as addressing the opioid crisis, providing new resources for our military and veterans, reauthorizing Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and community health center funding, establishing a new committee to help solve the multiemployer pension crisis, and other key Portman health care priorities.  He released the following statement:

“I’m pleased to see both parties come together and reach an agreement to increase funding for our military and our veterans and make key investments to address this opioid crisis while keeping our government running. For years, due to budget restraints, our men and women in uniform have been asked to do more with less. This agreement changes that, giving our military the funding it needs to improve our readiness and support our heroes returning home.

Every day approximately 11 Ohioans die from unintentional drug overdoses, so I am pleased this proposal provides an additional $6 billion over two years to help combat this opioid crisis. We’ve made real progress in increasing opioid funding through the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) and CURES over the past two years, but this crisis is overwhelming Ohio and our country. The funding in this proposal would be another important step in the fight against this epidemic, and CARA’s evidenced-based programs provide a good framework for how this new funding can be spent effectively.

“I’m pleased that this bill extends Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding for an additional four years beyond the six-year reauthorization Congress just enacted.  That means we’ve put this program on a stable course for the next 10 years, giving long-term assurances to the families of 219,000 children in Ohio and nine million children nationwide who receive health care through this program.  This agreement also reauthorizes funding for community health centers, which provide affordable health care to our nation’s must vulnerable citizens, and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, which helps families with newborns through evidenced-based home visitation programs – particularly new families coping with the opioid epidemic.  I’ve consistently fought to renew these vital programs and I’m pleased we have accomplished this goal.

This agreement also includes several of my health care priorities that will improve health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries living with chronic conditions.  These priorities, which originally passed the Senate as part of the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act, include ensuring that Medicare beneficiaries can receive high-quality, personalized care at home, incentivizing beneficiaries to receive preventive services and better manage their health care, and ensuring the Medicare Advantage program includes accurate quality measures to incentivize plans to continue to care for low-income seniors.”

“Finally, the formation of this bipartisan committee on pensions is encouraging news.  Over the past several years, I’ve consistently made clear to my colleagues that there is a looming multiemployer pension crisis in America, and responsible reforms are needed to protect retiree benefits, ensure the solvency of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and allow participating employers to remain competitive. I’ve continued to engage in discussions with Senator Brown and all stakeholders on solutions.  We must put politics aside and find a workable solution.”

 

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