In an interview on Fox News today, Portman discussed the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, legislation approved by the Senate Finance Committee that would 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 Fox News, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, and NBC’s Meet The Press, as well as recently in an op-ed in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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


I think it's getting under the skin of some Democrats because they know that that's not what this bill does [cut taxes on the wealthy]. In fact, the wealthiest in this country are going to pay a bigger burden of the taxation. That's what the Joint Tax Committee—which is a nonpartisan group—has shown. They've also shown that every single income group, every different bracket, is going to get tax relief focused primarily on middle-class taxpayers. So in Ohio, for instance, about $2,400 per year for a medium family income in Ohio. That's a big deal. A lot of people are living paycheck-to-paycheck. That's substantial, and in addition to that, of course, it's going to be a tax bill that will encourage more investment in jobs and wages. It will not just be the tax relief, but actually it will help create not just more jobs but better jobs and higher wages. So it's a good bill, and I think that may be chafing some people on the other side of the aisle where they have been talking about middle class tax relief but now we're delivering it.”


I think this is a tax issue because, as you recall, the Supreme Court determined it was a tax not a penalty. That's how it was upheld constitutionally. It also was in the international revenue code, so it's a tax issue. About 80 percent of the people who pay the penalty, or the tax, in Ohio are living in families with a median income of less than $50,000. So it's not only a tax and a penalty, it tends to hit people at the lower end of the economic scale harder, and therefore it's not very popular because you're told you've got to buy not just a plan, but this plan, the government approved plan, and some people don't want to do that because they can't afford it. They might not be able to afford the co-pay or the deductible or other things. People are making a choice. They will still be able to access the Affordable Care Act if they choose too, it's just that they won't have the penalty if they don't. It's something in combination with the legislation that is out there to provide more flexibility to the states and to provide these so-called CSR—cost saving reductions. I think in combination with those two things it should get insurance rates down, not up, and that's something Senator Alexander has been talking about. This could be helpful for people I represent to get their rates down.”


The Democrats were happy to call it a tax back then in order to have it be constitutional, and now that it's in law, some of them think it shouldn't be part of a tax bill. But it is a tax, it is a penalty, and my hope is that, at the end of the day, we can combine this with legislation that actually helps provide lower premiums in the marketplace through more flexibility and providing some certainty on these cost saving reductions. If we do that, we will do two good things. One, we’ll provide middle-class tax relief so people have a little more money in their pocket to be able to pay for health care, or retirement, or that car payment. Second, we’ll be able to get insurance rates down a little bit.”


First of all, I think you're absolutely right. I think this tax reform bill is more popular [than the health care bill], partly because on substance I think it's a very good bill. It’s going to do those two things we talked about: provide middle-class tax relief and help to be able to provide better jobs. Who could be against that? So I think it's more popular. Second, I think the process has been something that people have been more supportive of because it did go through the committee. We had a long debate in committee as you saw last night—you saw some of the more spirited parts of that. But we also had a lot of back and forth about the substance of the bill and on the floor of the Senate and the House there’s going to be a big debate—there already was in the House and there will be in the Senate. So for those reasons, I think it's likely those people you mentioned, my colleagues, are likely to support it in the end. You have to talk to them about it, but I've talked to each one of those members that you mentioned and they all want tax reform; they all believe in middle class tax cuts; they all believe in strengthening the economy. I hope in the end we can all come together and get this done with some Democrat votes. There are a number of my colleagues on the other side of aisle who do believe that tax relief is needed right now for middle-class families and who do want to see us be more competitive globally and stop this crazy situation where American workers are having to compete with one hand tied behind their back because of our tax code. They want to bring back the $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion dollars that’s locked out overseas back to this country. That's all part of this bill. So I’m hopeful we’ll get some Democrats as well.”