Senator Portman started his week in honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King at a breakfast at the Freedom Center in Cincinnati and later at a dinner with community leaders in Dayton. Also on Monday, Portman visited Bruns General Contracting, another Ohio business benefitting from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. On Tuesday, Portman returned to Washington to continue his push to get his Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) signed into law. Also this week, Portman was vocal in his push for a long-term funding solution for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and in his opposition to a government shutdown. For a more detailed look at Senator Portman’s week, please see the following:

Monday, January 15

Portman Visits Tipp City Business Announcing New Investments in Equipment & Stronger Retirement Benefits As a Result of Tax Reform

On Monday, U.S. Senator Rob Portman(R-OH) visited Bruns General Contracting in Tipp City as part of his Results for the Middle-Class Tax Reform Tour. Bruns General Contracting is an employee-owned business that includes nine diverse, interlocking companies offering a wide range of design and build services headquartered in Tipp City, Ohio. Portman toured the facility and took part in the announcement of the business’ plan to invest more in equipment and vehicles and strengthen retirement benefits as a result of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act.

“Tax reform was an investment in American workers, American families, and American businesses. The results are what’s happening at places like Bruns General Contracting, another Ohio small business that is taking advantage of this new tax reform bill. The historic tax reform legislation is going to allow Bruns to hire more people, take on more jobs, purchase more equipment, strengthen retirement benefits, and more. The workers I spoke with know this tax bill is helping to make their business more competitive and is going to help give them a healthier family budget. I’m pleased that we continue to see these kinds of positive responses from Ohio businesses as a direct result of this tax reform law, and I believe this is only the beginning.”

NOTE: Thus far on his tour, Portman has also visited Sheffer Corporation in Cincinnati, Wolf Metals in Columbus, and Tremco in Cleveland, all of which have announced more investment in plants and equipment, wage increases, bonuses, and/or higher 401(k) matches because of the savings they expect from tax reform. For a look at other Ohio businesses who are increasing investments and giving more benefits to workers due to tax reform, please go here. Portman recently delivered a floor speech discussing the IRS’ announcement of updated tax withholding tables to reflect the tax cuts as a result of this tax reform law and a floor speech detailing how tax reform will help the middle class, boost jobs, and increase wages. A brief summary of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act can be found here.

Portman recorded this video at the event. Photos of the event can be found here.

Portman Honors the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King

Monday morning, Portman was in Cincinnati at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, where he joined others to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. Pictures can be found here. Later he attend a celebration of Dr. King in Dayton, where he delivered remarks and discussed Dr. King’s message of hope. Photos can be found here.

Wednesday, January 17

NEW VIDEO: Portman, Trafficking Survivors & Advocates Call on Senate to Pass the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act

On Wednesday, Portman unveiled a new video highlighting last week’s rally in support of his bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), legislation that will help ensure justice for victims of sex trafficking and hold accountable websites such as Backpage.com that knowingly facilitate online sex trafficking. At the rally, Portman joined trafficking survivors and advocates to call on the Senate to pass SESTA, and he thanked them for their courage and support in the effort to help end online sex exploitation and pass SESTA.  Portman issued the following statement:

“It is thanks to the trafficking survivors and anti-trafficking advocates that Congress is getting closer to passing this bill that will help bring online sex traffickers to justice and get victims the justice they deserve. Every single Senator needs to be engaged and involved in this issue; this body can no longer sit idly by while a federal law provides immunity to evil websites that sell women and children online without any accountability. It is time for Congress to act, and thanks to the courage of women like Yvonne Ambrose, I am confident it will.”

Portman, Stabenow Lead Bipartisan Great Lakes Task Force Letter Requesting Funding for Coastal Resiliency Study in President’s FY 2019 Budget

Portman and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), co-Chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, sent a letter to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget as well as the Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Civil Works) requesting funding for a Great Lakes coastal resiliency study in the President’s FY 2019 budget request.  Great Lakes Task Force Vice Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and members Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Gary Peters (D-MI) also signed the letter.

The Great Lakes coastline faces numerous threats, such as lake level fluctuations, erosion, flooding, nutrient runoff, and aging infrastructure. It is important to ensure that the Great Lakes’ 5,200-mile coastline is protected, as 4.2 million people live within two miles of a Great Lakes coastline. The coastline is also imperative to a robust economy and tourism industry in the Great Lakes, as it includes 60 commercial harbors moving over 123 million tons of cargo annually, a maritime economy valued at $17.3 billion and generating 293,000 jobs, a $14 billion Great Lakes recreation and tourism economy, and a diverse ecosystem of features such as wetlands, bluffs, dunes and beaches and species that are either threatened or endangered,wrote the Senators.We appreciate the Corps’ consultation with the Great Lakes states in proposing this study, as we fully intend for this study to be used to implement projects that will result in a more resilient coastline throughout the Great Lakes and a more strategic expenditure of state and federal funds.”

For more information, go here.

Portman Questions Deputy United States Trade Representative Nominees on Jobs, Trade Policy

Also on Wednesday, Portman discussed United States trade policy with Dennis Shea and C.J. Mahoney, nominees to be Deputy United States Trade Representatives. Portman, a former United States Trade Representative, discussed NAFTA, combating currency manipulation, helping protect Ohio workers and their jobs by ensuring they are operating on a level playing field and more. Portman similarly questioned now United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in June of last year.

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

Portman Discusses Tax Reform & Jobs, Opioid Crisis, and Human Trafficking on Hugh Hewitt Radio Show

During an interview on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Senator Portman discussed how Ohioans are benefitting from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, the importance of keeping fentanyl out of our communities to combat the opioid crisis, and the need for Congress to take action to help end online sex trafficking. Excerpts of the interview can be found below. The full interview can be found here.

Thursday, January 18

Portman Praises Selection of Columbus as Finalist for New Amazon Headquarters

Portman praised the decision by Amazon to select the city of Columbus as one of 20 finalist locations for its second headquarters:

“I am pleased to see that Amazon has selected Columbus as a finalist for its second headquarters. Columbus is a growing, thriving city and there is no doubt in my mind that it is the best choice among the announced finalists. I was proud to lead the entire Ohio delegation in support of this project, and I will continue to work with JobsOhio, Columbus2020 and Columbus leaders moving forward to help the city in its efforts to win this important investment.”

NOTE: In October, Portman led the Ohio delegation’s letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos urging the company to consider Ohio as the location for Amazon’s HQ2, specifically noting Ohio’s advantageous location, high-quality higher education network, large and talented workforce, robust transportation infrastructure, and business-friendly environment.

Portman Urges Colleagues to Support Long-Term Funding Solution for CHIP, Avoid Government Shutdown

Thursday afternoon, Portman delivered remarks on the Senate floor in support of passing legislation to put in place a long-term funding solution for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and avoid a government shutdown. Ohio has the 10th largest CHIP program, and 219,000 Ohio children—and nine million children nationwide—get health coverage through CHIP. Portman addressed the need for bipartisan cooperation to enact a long-term funding solution to help some the most vulnerable members of society, children in need. Said Portman in his speech, CHIP “should not be a bargaining chip for other political purposes.”

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

Portman on SESTA: “Every Day We Don’t Act, There Are More Women and More Children Who Are Being Trafficked”

Portman, during Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month, said that now is the time for the Senate to vote on his bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), legislation that will help ensure justice for victims of sex trafficking and hold accountable websites such as Backpage.com that knowingly facilitate online sex trafficking. “Every day we don’t act, there are more women and more children who are being trafficked,” said Portman, who last week joined trafficking survivors and advocates to call on the Senate to pass SESTA.

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

Friday, January 19

On CNBC, Portman Urges Colleagues to Avoid Government Shutdown, Support Long-Term Funding Solution for CHIP

During an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Senator Portman urged his Senate colleagues to support common-sense legislation that would both fund the government and put in place a long-term funding solution for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Portman similarly discussed CHIP and the need to avoid a government shutdown last night on the Senate floor.

Excerpts of the interview can be found here and a video can be found here.

Portman Votes to Keep Government Open and Provide Long-Term Funding for Children’s Health Insurance Program

On Friday, Portman voted to keep the government open and provide six years of certainty and stability to the 8.9 American children enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Portman issued the following statement after the vote:

“Tonight I voted to keep the government open and provide long-term funding for the CHIP program. There’s nothing in this short-term funding bill that either party opposes, and no one benefits from a shutdown. We should end government shutdowns for good, and that’s why I have introduced legislation called the End Government Shutdowns Act to avoid these types of unnecessary disruptions that ultimately hurt our economy, hurt families, and hurt our troops. Shutdowns are unnecessary and counter-productive, and I would hope Democrats reconsider their opposition to this non-controversial, short-term funding bill and work with us to keep the government running.”