This week, Senator Portman announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation will award the city of Akron more than $8 million in funding as part of the Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program. Earlier this week, Portman took to the Senate floor to tout the positive results of tax reform that we are already seeing in Ohio. He also spoke about his bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and urged the Senate to vote on the bill and send it to the president’s desk. SESTA passed the House overwhelmingly early last week and was endorsed by the White House last week as well.

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

Tuesday, March 6

Portman, Brown, Ohio Congressional Delegation to Secretary Mattis: Camp Ravenna Ideal Location for Missile Defense Site 

Portman and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) released the following statement regarding a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis in support of Camp Ravenna being selected as the East Coast Missile Defense site. The letter was signed by Ohio’s two senators and 14 of Ohio's Members of Congress:

The threat to our homeland from ballistic missiles is constantly growing,” said Portman. “We must continue to bolster our defenses and adding a third ground-based interceptor site is an important part of that strategy.  Camp Ravenna is uniquely suited to house that site – providing a cost-efficient and effective location to help defend us. I’ve continued to make that case to the Defense Department and I look forward to hearing their assessment soon.”

Portman Statement on New CDC Opioid Report

Portman issued the following statement on a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report showing that there was a 54 percent increase in overdoses from July 2016 to September 2017 in the major metro areas of 16 states, including Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio:

“I meet with those on the frontlines of this opioid crisis in Ohio regularly. This report confirms what health care providers, treatment specialists, and law enforcement have been telling me — this crisis is getting worse not better.  While the federal government cannot solve this problem alone it can be a better partner with states and local communities.  We have made some progress at the federal level in the last two years by enacting the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and CURES legislation, but we can and should do much more. I am pushing the Senate to act on the STOP Act and CARA 2.0., both of which will help make a difference combating this crisis.  I will continue to help lead the effort in the Senate to stop this scourge that is devastating our communities in Ohio and across this country.”

On Senate Floor, Portman Outlines Support for Bipartisan Bill to Provide Regulatory Relief to Ohio’s Community Banks & Credit Unions

Portman delivered remarks on the Senate floor discussing Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, a bipartisan bill to update Dodd-Frank regulations and provide relief to smaller community banks and credit unions that have been caught up in the effort to rein in a select-few large financial institutions.

The bill also includes Senator Portman’s Housing Opportunities Made Easier (HOME) Act, legislation that would ensure that Habitat for Humanity affiliates and other organizations can receive donated appraisals on the homes they build.

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

Wednesday, March 7

On Senate Floor, Portman Discusses How Tax Reform is Continuing to Help Ohio Workers, Businesses, and Communities

Portman delivered remarks on the Senate floor discussing how tax reform continues to help Ohio workers, businesses, and communities. Portman detailed how the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act is already delivering on the two main goals Portman and others had when crafting the legislation: to encourage economic growth and investment, and to put more money in the pockets of American families. Portman discussed his recent visits to GKM Auto Parts in Zanesville, Ohio, which reinstated health care benefits as a result of tax reform, Worldpay Inc. headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, which announced bonuses, higher wages, increased 401(k) match contributions, greater investment in employee wellness and recognition programs, and more charitable giving as a result of tax reform, and UH Rainbow Center for Women & Children in Cleveland, Ohio, which has a $26 million expansion project made possible by tax incentives preserved in the tax reform law.

Said Portman in his speech: “These benefits from tax reform are not abstract. They are very real. They are extra money in your paycheck. They are more affordable health care coverage. They are increased investments in emerging communities and much, much more.”

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

Homeland Security Committee Passes Two Portman Amendments to Help Protect Jewish Community Centers

The Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee approved two amendments offered by U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Authorization Act to help protect Jewish Community Centers and other nonprofit institutions around the country.  Portman authored the amendments with Senator Gary Peters (D-MI).

“I want to thank my colleagues for supporting these common-sense proposals designed to help protect Jewish Community Centers and other nonprofit institutions,” said Senator Portman.  “Currently, FEMA will only provide security grants to nonprofit institutions that fall within Urban Area Security Initiative metropolitan areas, but as we’ve seen in recent years, the threats to many houses of worship and other religious community sites are much more geographically dispersed than just those particular cities.  In Ohio, only nonprofits in the Cleveland area are able to receive this funding currently, and my amendment would allow nonprofits outside of Cleveland to access this funding and strengthen their security.  It also ensures that nonprofit institutions have a seat at the table at Joint Counterterrorism Awareness Workshops.  These are important forums for all regional stakeholders, and I know nonprofit organizations in Ohio have benefitted greatly from similar experiences in the past. I look forward to the Senate taking swift action to pass the DHS Authorization Act with these bipartisan proposals.”

On Senate Floor, Portman Discusses the Growing Momentum in Congress for Enacting SESTA

Portman delivered remarks on the Senate floor discussing the growing support for the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and urged the Senate to vote on the bill and send it to the president’s desk. SESTA passed the House overwhelmingly early last week and was endorsed by the White House later in the week.

Said Portman in his speech: “We’ve got an opportunity to do something important here, to create a better, safer, and more just society. I’m hopeful next week we’ll have that legislation before this body, we’ll have the debate, we’ll pass the legislation and begin to provide these victims of trafficking for the justice they deserve—and most importantly, to stop women and children from being exploited online.”

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

Homeland Security Committee Passes Two Portman Amendments Targeting Synthetic Opioids
Amendments Build on Groundbreaking PSI Report Detailing How Drug Traffickers in China Ship Fentanyl Into the U.S. Through the Postal Service 

The Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee approved two amendments offered by Portman to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Authorization Act to combat the influx of synthetic opioids in our country.  Portman authored the amendments with Senator Tom Carper (D-DE).  The amendments build on the shocking report from the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) detailing how drug traffickers exploit vulnerabilities in our international mail system to easily ship synthetic drugs like fentanyl from China into the United States. 

“Synthetic opioids like fentanyl are killing Ohioans and people across America, and they’re coming into the country through our own postal service,” said Senator Portman.  “These two amendments build on recommendations we made in our groundbreaking PSI report and require DHS to follow through and ensure we make progress in our efforts to stop drug traffickers in China from shipping these poisons into our communities.  This epidemic is devastating our communities, and I’m pleased the committee is taking an active role in ensuring we have effective oversight of DHS.  I’d like to thank Senator Carper for his leadership on this issue and will continue to work with him and the rest of my colleagues to address this important issue.”

Thursday, March 8

Portman Announces Transportation Department Grant of $8 Million to City of Akron
TIGER Grant Funding Will Help City Complete Downtown Akron Promenade Project

Portman announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation will award the city of Akron more than $8 million in funding as part of the Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program. This funding will help the city complete the second phase of the Downtown Akron promenade project, which will focus on renovations to Akron’s Main Street corridor that promote pedestrian and bicycle traffic, improvements to roadway conditions and fostering a livable community in the heart of Akron’s Downtown district. Portman released the following statement applauding the decision:

“This is great news for the city of Akron and I want to thank Secretary Chao for her support of these improvements to the city’s Main Street corridor. This grant will help complete the important work that the city and its partners are undertaking to ensure that this historic Ohio city can grow and thrive in the 21st century economy.  The completed Downtown Akron Promenade will serve a vital role in promoting the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that the city has to offer and will help pave the way for future innovators to make Akron the site of their next business or home. I’m proud that I was able to work with community leaders and private sector stakeholders to help secure this funding.”

Friday, March 9

Portman Applauds Strong Jobs Report, Largest Workforce Growth Since 1983 

Portman issued the following statement on the Labor Department’s February 2018 jobs report showing strong job gains and labor participation growth:

“Today’s report is great news for our workers and our economy, and a sign that tax reform is helping provide the boost to job creation and wage growth that we believed would happen.  I’m particularly pleased that the labor participation rate grew significantly, as 806,000 Americans entered the workforce looking to find jobs and take advantage of the growing economy, the largest increase since 1983.  A growing workforce is critically important to our efforts to help Americans who’ve been on the sidelines get back to work and achieve their God-given potential.  I will continue working with my colleagues to put in place the right tax and regulatory policies to continue to strengthen our labor market and to help more Americans get the skills and training they need to find meaningful employment.”

Portman, McCaskill Release Discussion Draft to Update & Improve Permitting Reform Law
Improving Permitting Reforms Will Lead to More Economic Growth and Job Creation

Portman and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) released a discussion draft of legislation to improve coordination of the infrastructure permitting process.  This measure would build on the successes of their efforts in 2015 to enact the Federal Permitting Improvement Act as Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (“FAST-41”).  It would make FAST-41 permanent; apply FAST-41 to more projects; set a two-year goal for permitting large infrastructure projects; and expand the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council’s consulting authority.  On the release of the discussion draft, Senators Portman and McCaskill issued the following statement:

“We are pleased to offer these ideas to improve federal infrastructure permitting through the FAST-41 process we set up in 2015.  FAST-41 already has helped a number of large projects save money and time while maintaining environmental standards.  We look forward to receiving input and ideas on these bipartisan proposals.”

On Social Media:

Senators looking at expanding CARA law

As the opioid epidemic continues to have deadly effect in Ohio and around the United States, members of the United States Senate are looking at building on laws on the book to combat this problem.

Recently, Rob Portman and other Republican and Democratic senators introduced CARA 2.0 to increase funding for programs outlined in Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act passed in 2016. The original bill funded proven education, treatment and recovery programs, and with version 2.0, more funding will be added to areas that have shown results.

“If you look at the success rate getting someone from addiction to being clean, to going back to work, getting back with their families, becoming a productive citizen again. One of the things that is really important is to have some of that longer term recovery out there. Whether it’s Silver Housing or group therapy, that sort of thing. We do provide funding for that, and we know that statistics show that works better,” said Senator Rob Portman.

“If there is demand the supply is going to come, so it’s important that we step up prevention efforts and education efforts. It’s important we scale up treatment programs, whether it’s in Wapak or Minster, Lima or Bath Township, or Ottawa, we need to scale up treatment programs, so people who want to cure their addiction have a chance to,” said Senator Rob Portman.

CARA 2.0 will roughly add one billion dollars to education, training, and recovery programs if it is passed.

(“Senators looking at expanding CARA law,” Joseph Sharpe. Lima Hometown Stations. March 6, 2018)

Ohio Company Says Bonuses, Higher Pay Because of Tax Cuts  

An Ohio-based payments-processing giant said Friday it's giving bonuses, upping pay and improving benefits while crediting the GOP tax cuts.

Worldpay Inc. detailed its plans as Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman toured the company, formed recently from Cincinnati-based Vantiv's acquisition of British rival Worldpay. Portman has been visiting different kinds of companies around the state to hear what they're doing with reduced taxes. President Donald Trump came last month to a suburban Cincinnati cylinder manufacturer that said employees were getting $1,000 bonuses.

Worldpay said U.S. hourly workers are getting bonuses of $1,000 to $2,000 each, and some hourly wages are being hiked. The company is increasing its 401(k) match and investments in wellness and recognition programs. Charles Drucker, the company's executive chairman and co-CEO, said the company also will increase charitable giving.

Worldpay has more than 1,500 employees in Cincinnati, and some 8,000 globally…

(“Ohio Company Says Bonuses, Higher Pay Because of Tax Cuts,” Dan Sewell. AP. March 2, 2018)

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