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Rob Portman



A collection of the latest records posted to Rob Portman.



 



In Mentor, Portman Hosts an Employee Town Hall As Part of His Results for the Middle Class Tax Reform Tour

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

Discussion Focused on the Benefits of the Recently-Signed Tax Reform Law, How to Further Improve the Economy MENTOR, OH – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) today visited Steris Corporation in Mentor as part of his Results for the Middle Class Tax Reform Tour. The Steris Corporation is a leading provider of infection prevention and other procedural products and services, focusing primarily on health care, pharmaceutical, and medical device customers. Portman hosted an employee town hall discussing the economic benefits from the recently-signed Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. As a result of the savings from tax reform, Steris Corporation plans to give a bonus of $1,000 to all U.S. employees other than senior executives. In addition the company plans to expand, renovate, and reorganize its administration building to accommodate additional employee offices, more meeting rooms, and other work and break areas.  “I appreciated the opportunity to visit Steris today and receive input from employees about the economy, their needs, and the benefits of tax reform,” said Portman.  “I’ve visited 15 businesses around Ohio — including small businesses in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo and Zanesville — that have announced increased investments in plants and equipment, pay increases, bonuses, additional retirement help or new benefits specifically because of this new tax law.  I’m excited about the opportunities we have to continue to work together and improve our economy for Ohio businesses and workers.”   NOTE: So far on his tax reform tour, Portman has visited Kroger, Worldpay Inc. and the Sheffer Corporation in Cincinnati, the UH Rainbow Center for Women and Children and Tremco in Cleveland, the Fredon Corporation in Mentor, GKM Auto Parts in Zanesville, Wolf Metals in Columbus, Bruns General Contracting in Tipp City, Lima Pallet Company in Lima, Velvet Ice Cream in Utica, ProMedica in Toledo, and hosted a roundtable with members of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association in Columbus, all of which have announced new investments in their businesses and their employees because of the savings from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act.  This includes investing in new plants and equipment, increasing wages, paying bonuses, increasing charitable giving, reinstating health care, expanding 401(k) benefits and making additional contributions to employee pension plans. Photos from the event are below: ### [...]



Rob’s Rundown: Week of April 16-20, 2018

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

This week, Senator Portman continued his Results for the Middle-Class Tax Reform Tour in Cincinnati, Mentor, Rocky River, and Akron. In Cincinnati, Portman joined Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen and Kroger employees as the company announced how it would use a portion of its annual tax reform savings to benefit its workers. Next, Portman stopped at the Steris Corporation in Mentor, where he held a town hall meeting. As a result of the savings from tax reform, Steris Corporation plans to give a bonus of $1,000 to all U.S. employees other than senior executives. In Rocky River, Portman held another town hall meeting to discuss the benefits of tax reform alongside Ivanka Trump and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH). In Akron, Portman visited the newly expanded Ronald McDonald House of Akron, which was partially funded through New Markets Tax Credits, a tax incentive he fought to preserve in the Senate version of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and the final bill which ultimately became law. Finally, Portman announced that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $485 million in grants to help states fight the heroin and prescription drug epidemic, including $26 million for the state of Ohio.  For a more detailed look at Senator Portman’s week, please see the following: Monday, April 16  CNBC Highlights Portman Opioid Report, How Bitcoin is Fueling America’s Fentanyl Epidemic A new report from CNBC’s Ylan Mui on how cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, are fueling America’s opioid crisis highlighted Senator Portman and his bipartisan investigation detailing how drug traffickers exploit vulnerabilities in our international mail system to easily ship synthetic drugs like fentanyl from China into the United States. Portman’s report showed that drug traffickers who sold fentanyl online from labs in China, preferred Bitcoin as their form of payment, which help these criminals maintain anonymity and make law enforcement’s job investigating much more challenging. A video of the piece can be found here. In Cincinnati, Portman Joins Kroger in Announcing New Employee Benefits Because of Tax Reform  As part of his Results for the Middle-Class Tax Reform Tour, Portman joined Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen and Kroger employees as the company announced how it would use a portion of its $400 million in annual tax reform savings to benefit its workers. At the event, the company announced $3,500 per year and up to $21,000 total in tuition assistance for each Kroger employee as part of its “Feed Your Future” program to encourage lifelong learning and help them build a better future. The company also announced an increased match to its 401(k) savings program, ensuring Kroger employees help save for their retirement, and additional investments in its “Helping Hands” program that provides financial support to workers in need.  The company previously announced its plans to accelerate the hiring of 11,000 new workers as a result of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act as well.  “So far this year, I’ve visited 14 different Ohio businesses to discuss the positive impact tax reform is already having, and today I was pleased to join Kroger—the largest supermarket chain in the world, headquartered here in Cincinnati—as it announced its plans to make new investments in its employees,” said Senator Portman.  “I was especially pleased to see how Kroger employees will benefit from additional education opportunities to help them build a better future and a higher 401(k)match to strengthen their retirement.  This business is paying forward the benefits of tax reform to its employees, and that’s exactly what Congress intended when we crafted the tax reform law.  In addition to the pro-growth business tax reforms, workers are keeping more of their hard-earned money because of individual tax cuts in the new law.  With Tax Day tomorrow, families across the state and country are already realiz[...]



Portman Visits Ronald McDonald House of Akron, Sees Benefits of New Markets Tax Credit

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

Portman Fought to Preserve New Markets Tax Credit in Tax Reform Law; Key Tax Incentive Helped Fund Expansion   WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), as part of his Results for the Middle-Class Tax Reform Tour, visited the newly expanded Ronald McDonald House of Akron, a facility that serves the Akron’s Children’s Hospital, and hosted a tax reform roundtable with local business leaders. The $12 million project, which doubled the Ronald McDonald House’s capacity, was partially funded through New Markets Tax Credits, a tax incentive Senator Portman fought to preserve in the Senate version of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and the final bill which ultimately became law. “The Ronald McDonald House provides an incredible service to families who face very trying circumstances, and it’s great to see that the facility has been expanded.  This important expansion project was made possible in part by the New Markets Tax Credit, a tax incentive to spur economic growth and redevelopment projects,” said Portman. “The NMTC was removed in the House-passed version of tax reform, but I fought to preserve it in the Senate version and the final agreement that became law. We’re already seeing significant benefits of this new law.  I’ve visited 16 businesses around Ohio that have announced new investments in their businesses and their workers, including higher wages, bonuses, new plants and equipment, and more retirement benefits.  I’m excited about the opportunities ahead, and I will continue to work with communities throughout Ohio on project to utilize the NMTC to spur new economic growth and development.”  NOTE: So far on his tax reform tour, Portman has visited Kroger, Worldpay Inc. and the Sheffer Corporation in Cincinnati, the UH Rainbow Center for Women and Children and Tremco in Cleveland, the Fredon Corporation and Steris Corporation in Mentor, GKM Auto Parts in Zanesville, Wolf Metals in Columbus, Bruns General Contracting in Tipp City, Lima Pallet Company in Lima, Velvet Ice Cream in Utica, ProMedica in Toledo, and hosted a roundtable with members of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association in Columbus, all of which have announced new investments in their businesses and their employees because of the savings from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act.  This includes investing in new plants and equipment, increasing wages, paying bonuses, increasing charitable giving, reinstating health care, expanding 401(k) benefits and making additional contributions to employee pension plans.  Photos from the event are below: ###[...]



Portman, Brown, Turner Lead Ohio Lawmakers Urging Air Force to Select Wright-Patterson for Critical New Mission That Could Bring 400 Jobs to the Base

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

Ohio Senators & Congressmembers Urge Top Air Force Officials to Locate the F-35 Hybrid Product Support Integrator (HPSI) Organization at Wright-Patterson WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH) today to lead the entire Ohio Congressional delegation in urging the Pentagon to locate the F-35 Hybrid Product Support Integrator (HPSI) Organization at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  In a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson, the lawmakers said Wright-Patt is uniquely qualified to handle the new mission, and it could mean an additional 400 plus jobs in Ohio.  Wright-Patt’s highly qualified workforce support the Air Force’s critical national security mission and the base is further supported by the broader Dayton defense community, which is full of engineering and contracting specialists. Lawmakers made the case that Dayton’s research industry and universities have long been the center for developing, acquiring, and sustaining the next level of air superiority to counter US adversaries and, therefore, locating HPSI at Wright-Patt would be the best choice for the Air Force.  “Based on the criteria used during the strategic basing process, we believe WPAFB’s workforce makes the base the logical location for HPSI. The basing process specifically requires acquisition professionals who are Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act certified with tactical fighter support experience, and WPAFB’s workforce of engineers, programs managers, logistics managers, and contracting personnel would provide HPSI with an exceptional staff,” the lawmakers wrote. The lawmakers who signed the letter to the Air Force include: U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rob Portman (R-OH), Rep. Mike Turner, Rep. Steve Stivers, Rep. Dave Joyce, Rep. Bob Gibbs, Rep. Bob Latta, Rep. Steve Chabot, Rep. Warren Davidson, Rep. Bill Johnson, Rep. Jim Renacci, Rep. Joyce Beatty, Rep. Marcia Fudge, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Brad Wenstrup, Rep. Jim Jordan, and Rep. Tim Ryan. A copy of their letter to the Air Force appears below:  Dear Secretary Wilson, We write to express our support to locate the F-35 Hybrid Product Support Integrator (HPSI) Organization at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB).  Based on the criteria used during the strategic basing process, we believe WPAFB’s workforce makes the base the logical location for HPSI. The basing process specifically requires acquisition professionals who are Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act certified with tactical fighter support experience, and WPAFB’s workforce of engineers, programs managers, logistics managers, and contracting personnel would provide HPSI with an exceptional staff. WPAFB is a unique base with the Air Force Material Command and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) headquarters. The men and women who work there have mastered specific skills related to the acquisition of all major airframes and the research and development of engines, and munitions. This highly technical workforce is distinctively qualified to oversee the integrated acquisition process for the F-35 program. The men and women at WPAFB support the Air Force’s national security mission and are supported by the broader Dayton defense community’s exceptional engineering and contracting specialists. Just south of WPAFB is the Midwestern campus for the Defense Acquisition University, that and Dayton’s research industry and universities have long been the center for developing, acquiring, and sustaining the next level of air superiority to counter our adversaries and locating HPSI at WPAFB makes sense. One of the other criteria listed in the basing process is foreign partner presence and foreign military sales expertise. The Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate (AFSAC), housed within AFLCMC, carries out the crit[...]



At Senate Hearing on Opioid Crisis, Portman Calls on Senate to Pass STOP Act, Highlights Need for Three-Day Prescribing Limit

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the opioid epidemic today, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) highlighted the need for the Senate to act on his Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, which will help keep deadly synthetic drugs shipped from drug traffickers in China out of the U.S.  In addition, he questioned how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services established its seven-day prescribing limit when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a three-day limit.  Portman’s Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery (CARA 2.0) Act would limit opioid prescriptions to three days, consistent with the CDC’s guidelines.  Transcript of his remarks can be found below and a video can be found here. Portman: “Thank you for being here, Admiral Giroir. We’re fortunate to have your expertise. We’ve enjoyed working with you all on a number of issues. I want to start, if I could, on talking about an issue that comes before this committee, which is the STOP Act. Some of you know this is legislation that deals directly with the huge challenge we face with synthetic opioids coming into our country. We know it’s coming mostly from China, we know it’s coming mostly through the U.S. mail system. Our Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations did a yearlong study on this. In fact, earlier Senator McCaskill was here who was very involved in that.  Senator Carper is the co-chair in that effort and was very involved with it. We reported back in January something shocking, alarming, which is if you go online and ask about opioids people say, ‘Fine, we’re happy to sell you synthetic opioids but send it through the U.S. mail system’ because it’s going to get there without any concern because the U.S. mail system, unlike the private carriers, doesn’t require the advance electronic data that helps law enforcement identify these packages. 60 percent of people who have died in Ohio from overdoses, in the most recent data we have, died of fentanyl overdoses.  Carfentanil, fentanyl, and other synthetic opioids.  “The county that comprises Columbus, Ohio, just came out with a report last year, they had a 47 percent increase in overdose deaths, two-thirds of those were related to fentanyl. This is a huge crisis, and it is amazing to me that we are allowing our United States Post Office to be able to continue not to provide law enforcement the data they need to be able to find that needle in a haystack. We introduced this legislation back in February of 2017, it has 32 cosponsors including a number of members on this committee on both sides of the aisle. I just am frustrated, as the chairman knows and as the staff knows, we can’t get it out of this committee, we can’t report it out and get it to the floor for a vote. There’s a companion bill in the House, it’s common sense legislation.  Is it the ultimate answer?  No. The CARA legislation, which Senator Whitehouse and I coauthored, Senator Whitehouse is here, is working on treatment, recovery, and certainly prevention and helping on narcan. But this is a clear and present danger, and we’re not addressing it.  We’re allowing people to have access to this fentanyl in our communities, and the poison is coming in.  At a minimum it would increase the cost if we could do more in terms of stopping it from coming in from China through our U.S. mail system.  So I would ask you about that.  Admiral, first, are you aware of this issue, and are you supportive of the STOP Act? I will tell you that Customs and Border Protection people are.  The DEA is.  Law enforcement is. Would you be willing to help us get this done?” Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health at Health and Human Services: “Thank you for that question. I want to reinforce how critical the[...]



Portman Announces $26 Million in New Funding for Ohio to Help Combat Heroin & Prescription Drug Epidemic

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $485 million in grants to help states fight the heroin and prescription drug epidemic, including $26 million for the state of Ohio.  This is the second year in a row that Ohio has received funding through the CURES legislation that Portman helped to enact in 2016:

“This is good news for Ohio, and these new funds will help our efforts to combat the heroin and prescription drug epidemic gripping our state.  My visits to treatment and recovery facilities in Mt. Gilead and Columbus recently once again highlighted the glaring need for additional resources to combat this epidemic.  I was proud to work on the CURES legislation and help secure opioid funding in the bill, and this legislation is now benefiting our state.  This is another positive step forward, but we must do more, and that’s why I continue to push for common-sense solutions like the STOP Act and CARA 2.0 that will help us turn the tide of addiction in Ohio and around the country.” 

NOTE: The funding originates from the 21st Century CURES” initiative, legislation enacted in December 2016 that provided $1 billion over two years nationally to fight the heroin and prescription drug epidemic.  Portman had urged that opioid funding be included in the CURES package, and the funding awarded to states can be used for improving prescription drug monitoring programs, prevention, training for health care workers, and improving access to treatment for individuals struggling with a substance use disorder. This funding complements the additional resources Portman has secured through his Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) legislation and the additional $3 billion in opioid funding in the recently-enacted bipartisan budget agreement.  Increasing funding is just one aspect of Portman’s efforts to combat this epidemic.  This year he is also pushing legislation called the STOP Act, which would help stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl from being shipped into the U.S. and the bipartisan CARA 2.0 Act, which is designed to build on the success of CARA and provide additional resources and strengthen the federal government’s response to this crisis.

 

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Portman, Hassan Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Train More New Doctors to Prescribe Medication-Assisted Treatment

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) today introduced the bipartisan Enhancing Access to Addiction Treatment Act of 2018 to help train more new doctors to prescribe medication-assisted treatment to help combat the fentanyl, heroin, and opioid epidemic and saves lives. The bipartisan bill would support medical schools and residency programs in training students and residents in addiction medicine in order to allow more new doctors to prescribe medication-assisted treatment. The legislation would also streamline the process for getting a waiver to prescribe medication-assisted treatment to ensure that students or residents who receive training can apply to prescribe medication-assisted treatment as soon as they graduate medical school, get licensed to practice medicine, and get a DEA number – the same time they are allowed to start prescribing opioids. “Combatting the opioid crisis requires expanding access to all forms of medication-assisted treatment (MAT),” Senator Portman said. “This important legislation will remove some of the barriers that prevent physicians from prescribing MAT and will also greatly expand training for physicians in medical schools and residency programs.”  “Expanding access to medication-assisted treatment is critical to helping save lives and turning the tide of the devastating opioid crisis,” Senator Hassan said. “By helping to get more new doctors trained to prescribe medication-assisted treatment, this bipartisan bill will help strengthen our treatment infrastructure and give those struggling with substance use disorder the support they need to get on the road to recovery.” “This country’s addiction treatment gap will never be closed with the current addiction treatment workforce. There are simply too few physicians with the requisite knowledge to meet the needs of the millions of Americans suffering from untreated substance use disorders,” said Kelly J. Clark, MD, MBA, DFAPA, DFASAM, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). “To make a meaningful and sustainable impact on the current opioid overdose epidemic, and to stave off future epidemics related to other addictive substances, it is imperative that our nation make strategic investments in the education of our medical students and residents.  By also establishing an additional pathway to obtain a DATA waiver, the Enhancing Access to Addiction Treatment Act will increase the number of physicians who will enter the practice of medicine better equipped to help patients suffering with addiction.  To this end, ASAM is proud to support this important piece of legislation.” “Enhancing Access to Addiction Treatment will help meet the critical gaps in physician education and increase the number of physicians who treat patients with MAT,” said Shawn A. Ryan, MD, MBA, president of the Ohio Society of Addiction Medicine. “Improving access to treatment must continue to be a priority in responding to the opioid epidemic.  At BrightView, where I am the Chief Medical Officer, we have a robust residency rotation with two hospitals in Cincinnati.  This program has been very well received by the physicians in training who have rotated with us and many of them have gone on to prescribe MAT for patients in need.  Ohio is definitely on the frontlines of this crisis and we appreciate Senator Portman’s leadership on this legislation.” In order to get more new doctors trained to prescribe medication-assisted treatment, this bipartisan bill would: •         Provide voluntary grants to support the development of comprehensive training for medical students and residents on addiction and treating and managing opiate-dependent patients, and •  &n[...]



Portman Honors Memory of Barbara Bush on Senate Floor

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) delivered remarks on the Senate floor in memory of former First Lady Barbara Bush who passed away yesterday at her home in Houston, Texas at the age of 92.  “As we mourn the loss of this authentic and admired American, we should all find comfort in remembering the way she lived—and the incredible legacy that she leaves. She never ran for public office herself, but in a way she represented all of us. And I think she represented the best in all of us.” Transcript of his remarks can be found below and a video can be found here. “Today I want to talk about the passing of an extraordinary woman. A woman who captured the hearts of Americans across every spectrum. “Barbara Bush was one of the most popular people in America—and for good reason. One of only two women in the history of our country to be both First Lady of the United States and also the mother of a president, she consistently used those platforms that, as she would say, ‘God graced her with’ for good causes. Now there are many stories, but one I would like to recount is from shortly after President Bush’s election. She went to an AIDS hospice here in Washington, D.C. and this was a time that the AIDS epidemic was a huge crisis, but frankly there was a stigma attached to it and a lot of nervousness about the disease. Barbara Bush picked up a baby with AIDS and cradled that baby. She hugged and kissed kids with AIDS, and the message was very clear: there should be no stigma, we have nothing to fear, it’s time for us to embrace these people. Her quote that day was everlasting, her quote was very simple, she said, ‘There is a need for compassion.’ She spoke to the heart.  "She also used that platform she had to empower people through literacy. This was one of her great causes, she believed the world would be a much better place if everyone could read, and write, and comprehend, and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Literacy continues to do amazing work. She touched the lives of so many—so many young people, so many adults, and brought them into a new world through literacy. She accomplished a lot more in her distinguished life.   “She was dignified, straightforward, witty, and well intentioned. She had a habit of speaking her mind freely, and sometimes that got her in a little bit of trouble, but frankly when she did that almost all of us nodded our heads in agreement.  “Interestingly, her Secret Service codename was “Tranquility.” For anyone who knew her personally that might have seemed to be an odd codename. Probably she chose that codename herself, by the way. She wasn’t always tranquil, in fact she was sometimes feisty, famously so. One story that, I think, shows some of her feistiness was when she was having dinner one night with the president of the United States, 43, happened to be her son, and in front of many others, including staff, she commented critically on his table manners—which of course she loved, and so did he. The night before she left us, that feistiness was on display when Barbara Bush, instead of asking for pain medication, asked for a glass of bourbon, and with a smile, took a sip. But I think that name ‘Tranquility’ was fitting for her, it was fitting for her because she was a calming influence, she made things more tranquil. I saw that first hand at the White House, where she made life easier for everybody.  “I had the pleasure of first getting to know her when I was doing volunteer advanced work for her husband, then Vice President Bush. I traveled overseas with them, traveled around the country some with them, and got to see the calming influence she had on everyone around her. Later when I was in the counselors office in the White[...]



On Fox News, Portman Highlights New SESTA Law & the Need to Confirm Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

During an interview today with Fox News’ Dana Perino, Senator Portman discussed how his bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which was signed into law last week by President Trump, is already making a difference. The legislation is a monumental first step in helping to ensure victims of sex trafficking will get the justice they deserve and also hold accountable websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking. Portman also discussed the need to confirm Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. 

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

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PORTMAN ON THE SIGNING OF SESTA LAST WEEK

“We spent three years studying this. The president is right. Unfortunately, here in this country in this century, we’ve seen an increase in trafficking. The trafficking is primarily attributable, the increase, to the online presence of websites like Backpage.com that are selling women and children online. Our legislation, I think has already, in just a weeks’ time that it has been in effect, resulted in the shutdown of a lot of these websites, maybe over half of them, because for the first time ever, people are going to be able to sue, prosecutors will be able to prosecute these cases. So the legislation is absolutely necessary. It simply changed the federal law to enable people to go after these websites that are engaging in illegal activity online.”

 

PORTMAN ON CONFIRMING MIKE POMPEO FOR SECRETARY OF STATE

“Traditionally, Secretaries of State are confirmed by huge numbers. Colin Powell was confirmed by an unanimous consent vote, John Kerry by over 90 votes, Hillary Clinton, I think it was 85 votes for her. The point was that people believed that the president had the right to have his people in place and particularly with regard to the Secretary of State the question is whether you’re qualified or not. Mike Pompeo is eminently qualified. This is a guy who graduated top of his class at West Point, Army Officer, Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, goes on to become an active member of the House Intelligence Committee, and the CIA where he’s done a fine job. He’s qualified to do the job. The president needs somebody in that position, if you care about the country and the direction that we’re headed, you should welcome somebody like that.”

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Portman at Today’s Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pensions Plans Hearing: “The Status Quo is Unacceptable”

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. — At the second meeting of the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pensions Plans today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) made the case that the panel must work together on solutions that address the multiemployer pension crisis and deliver results, saying that, “the status quo is not acceptable.” Portman is hopeful that his colleagues on both sides of the aisle can come together to achieve a comprehensive and permanent solution that protects earned pensions, protects taxpayer dollars, prevents the insolvency of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and alleviates pressure on employers. The focus of the hearing was on the legal structure and history of the multiemployer pension system, and Portman focused his questions on funding rules for plan sponsors and employer withdrawal liability, which are important issues in ensuring that plans can improve their solvency without placing an undue burden on contributing employers.   The Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans consists of 16 members of Congress: four Republicans and four Democrats in the both the House and Senate. The deadline for the Committee to vote on a statement of findings and recommendations, and propose legislation to carry out these recommendations, is November 30th. In order to successfully report out legislation, a minimum of five out of the eight members of both parties must support it. Transcript of the questioning can be found below and a video can be found here. Portman: “The information that you are able to provide us is critical to helping us figure this out, and it is complicated, and there are different rules from multiemployers as we’ve talked about today. I think there’s a consensus around the table, I hope, that the status quo is not acceptable and that was your first summary comment, Mr. Goldman. I think, also, there is a deep interest in figuring out what we could do going forward to not just provide some solvency for Central States plan and PBGC that could otherwise go insolvent as soon as 2025, but also to put rules in place going forward that could solve some of the problems that have occurred, and one is withdrawal liability. You talked about that a little bit, Mr. Goldman, it was your third point, you said, ‘The status quo is not acceptable, many plans remain healthy’ and you talked about withdraw liability. Your point was that it keeps employers from being able to effectively help solve the problem, right?” Mr. Ted Goldman, Senior Pensions Fellow at the American Academy of Actuaries: “Yes.” Portman: “The key question I think we need to spend a lot of time on figuring out is the extent to which this insolvency is going to drive more employers into bankruptcy and create more issues, and one of the issues that concerns me is for the roughly 200 employers on Ohio and Central States, they would be reducing contributions for other multiemployer plans too, right? Creating a contagion effect, as you all call it. That threatens to compound the entire multiemployer system. There are many ways this could happen under current laws as evident from reading your report. The withdrawal liability issue and the possibility of a mass withdrawal, once Central States becomes insolvent. On page 46 of the Joint Committee report that we got, you noted, Mr. Barthold that the amount of an employer’s withdrawal liability is in theory determined by the plan’s sponsor and generally based on the employer’s portion of the plans unfunded, vested benefits. However, it is my understanding that the amount of withdrawal liability that employers actually pay is calculated based on their previous contributions to the plan and is payable with interest in annual installmen[...]



Bipartisan Portman-Hassan Hack DHS Act Unanimously Passes Senate

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the Senate unanimously passed by voice vote the bipartisan Hack Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Act introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to strengthen cyber defenses at DHS. The Hack DHS Act would establish a bug bounty pilot program – modeled off of similar programs at the Department of Defense and major tech companies – that uses vetted “white-hat” or ethical hackers to help identify unique and undiscovered vulnerabilities in the DHS networks and information technology. The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Kamala Harris (D-CA).

“The networks and systems at DHS are vital to the security of Ohioans and all Americans,” said Senator Portman.  “Bug bounty programs are important cybersecurity tools in the private sector and have shown promising results when used by the government.  This legislation ensures DHS will execute such a program and reap the cost-effective benefits to the security of their networks and systems. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Hassan to get this bill to the President’s desk and get DHS moving forward on this important effort.” 

“Protecting the Department of Homeland Security from the cyber threats that it faces every day is critical to maintaining the safety, security, and privacy of millions of Americans,” Senator Hassan said. “The bipartisan Hack DHS Act is vital to those efforts, harnessing the talent and skills of patriotic and ethical hackers across the country to help identify weaknesses in the Department of Homeland Security’s systems and protect their fellow citizens. I am pleased that this commonsense measure passed the Senate, and I thank Senator Portman for being a strong partner as we work to strengthen the safety and security of all Granite Staters and Americans.”

NOTE: As the Department in charge of helping to secure all “.gov” domains, as well as critical infrastructure throughout the country, DHS must ensure that its own networks and information technology are free from unintended or unidentified vulnerabilities. The Hack DHS Act will establish a bug bounty program based on the Department of Defense’s pilot program. Under the bill, payments would be provided to white-hat hackers that identify unique and undiscovered vulnerabilities in DHS’s networks and data systems. These white-hat hackers must submit to a background check to help ensure that these individuals do not pose a threat. Additionally, the DHS Secretary must work with the Attorney General to ensure that participants in the bug bounty program do not face prosecutions for their specific work in the program.

For more information on the bill, click here.

Bipartisan companion legislation has also been introduced in the U.S. House by Congressmen Ted Lieu (D - Los Angeles County) and Scott Taylor (R - Virginia).

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On the Senate Floor, Portman Celebrates America’s Move to the New Tax Code, Highlights Benefits of Tax Reform

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) delivered remarks on the Senate floor last evening on Tax Day, the last time American’s will file under our old, broken, burdensome tax code. While American’s won’t file their taxes under the new code until this time next year, workers, families, and businesses are already benefiting from tax reform. Portman highlighted the successes he’s seen across the state since the first of the year, including his visit to Cincinnati-headquartered Kroger on Monday. Said Portman in the speech, “I’m excited to be here today to say this is the last day we’ll have to file under the old tax code—but also to say the new tax code is helping to give families I represent the opportunity to do a little better, to give businesses I represent the opportunity to be more competitive and reinvest in their employees and business and productivity. That will make the biggest difference in the tax reform effort.” Transcript of his remarks can be found below and a video can be found here. “I just got the chance to hear my colleague from Nevada talk about the importance of the tax cuts and tax reform that this chamber passed at the end of the year and is now in effect. All I can say to my constituents is this is the last year you’re going to have to file under the old code. Now you have the new code next year.  “Why is that important? Because it’s simpler—it doubles the standard deduction as an example, which is a great simplification for a lot of taxpayers. It also takes about three million people off the tax rolls altogether. Think about that: according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, over three million Americans who currently have income tax liability will no longer have it under this new tax reform bill.  “Why? Because it focuses on lowering the rates, doubling the standard deduction, doubling the child tax credit. That helps people who are lower-income Americans who right now have tax liability who won’t in the future. So it will be easier for a lot of people a year from now because they will have no tax filing to make because they won’t have any tax liability, and for others it’s just a simpler form.  “Although what’s happening already this year is that the paychecks are changing. Why? Because the IRS is saying that employees are going to get more money in their paycheck because the employers are going to withhold less as we go into the year 2018 because the tax proposals are in effect at the beginning of this year.  “So even though this is the last time that we are going to have to file under the old code, already people are seeing some of the benefits of tax reform. When I go around Ohio, I talk to people. They say, ‘Rob, my paycheck has already changed.’ That’s because 90 percent of Americans are now being told they will have less withholding taken out of their paychecks, again because of the lower tax rate, doubling the child tax credit, doubling the standard deduction. This is really helping.  “The average in Ohio is probably $30, $40, maybe $50 every two weeks. The average savings for a median income family is about $2,000 a year in tax relief. That’s the average. That’s a big deal. That’s not just crumbs.  “Most people I represent live paycheck to paycheck. Most people I represent think $2,000 is really helpful. By the way, they told me they are using it—it might be for a long-planned vacation they couldn’t afford. It might be, as a couple of people have told me, to help with regard to health care because they couldn’t afford to buy health care until they had that e[...]



At Energy Committee Hearing, Experts Agree With Portman About Need for Stable Funding to Address National Parks Maintenance Backlog

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

Portman’s Bipartisan National Park Service Legacy Act Would Provide Funding Certainty to Support Our National Parks  WASHINGTON, D.C. – At an Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing on Tuesday, experts agreed with Senator Portman (R-OH) that stable funding was critically important in the effort to truly address the $12 billion maintenance backlog at the National Park Service (NPS).  In 2017, Senators Portman and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the National Park Service Legacy Act, which would establish the “National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund” to reduce the maintenance backlog by allocating existing revenues the government receives for oil and natural gas royalties.  Some 2.6 million people visit Ohio’s national park service sites every year. The $12 billion maintenance backlog includes $73 million for eight sites in Ohio. A full transcript of his remarks and the video can be found below: Portman: “Thanks for being here, and I was here earlier, as you know, a couple times I just had to run in and out but I’ve really enjoyed the testimony. The deferred maintenance backlog is something we all care deeply about and I appreciate the chair and ranking member focusing on this during its second hundred years.  This is our biggest challenge as I see it, and it’s huge. We have a number of park units in Ohio as my colleague from North Dakota has indicated.  One is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, number 11th most visited park in the nation. We’re very proud of that. We don’t have as many parks as South Dakota but even with us that $12 billion maintenance nationally means in Ohio that’s about a 75 million dollar backlog. So, it’s a big deal, which is one reason we did pass, as you indicated Ms. McDowell, this notion that we should be able to get more money through a centennial challenge and also to give the foundation the ability to have an endowment and Senators Murkowski and Cantwell were very involved in this. We passed our National Parks Centennial Act in December 2016 and then we also provided the Parks Foundation with an endowment to start reducing the backlog and this helped. We’ve been getting consistently about $20 million in appropriations every year. This last year in the 2018 omnibus bill just a few weeks ago we had $23 million. We have leveraged a total of about $107 million in federal dollars into an additional $125 million in non-federal funds. In other words, better than one to one. So we’ve done better than the one to one match we set out to do and that’s important. Just briefly, Will, why don’t you talk about what the endowment has meant for you all and how you’ve used the endowment to reduce the backlog.” Will Shafroth, President and CEO of National Parks Foundation: “Thank you Senator Portman, and to be clear that Senator Portman was the last man standing at 6:38 in the morning when the bill passed.  We thank him especially for staying up all night on our behalf. So the endowment we’ve actually received $12.5 million to date, Senator, from the endowment and we are working hard to match that. The whole point is that this is a piece of what we want to have in the endowment and we’re trying to raise private money around that, and we’ve begun to do that. Actually our planned gifts have increased dramatically during this centennial campaign. More baby boomers are looking for ways in which they can give their money away upon their death or even before then to invest in our national parks so we see it as a catalyst for the kind of work that we want to do.” Portman: “That’s great, we love the private[...]



On Tax Day, Portman Highlights Benefits of New Tax Code for Families & Small Businesses

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This morning – on Tax Day, the day the United States moves from a broken, outdated tax code to a new one for 2018 – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) joined Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) at a press conference to highlight the benefits of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act for Ohio families and small businesses.   Excerpts and the video of Portman’s remarks are found below: “I think one of the more exciting things about tax reform is that it is also changing our economy in a more positive way. So not only next year will people be able to file their taxes more simply, be able to have a little more tax relief, but it's helping economic growth. By the way, it is particularly helping, in terms of tax relief, people who are at the lower end of the economic scale. Over three million Americans who had tax liability under the old tax code will have no tax liability under the new tax code. Think about that, three million people are out from underneath the IRS altogether.” NOTE: Over the past few months, Senator Portman has crisscrossed Ohio discussing the positive results he’s witnessing as a result of tax reform.    So far on his tax reform tour, Portman has visited Kroger, Worldpay Inc. and the Sheffer Corporation in Cincinnati, the UH Rainbow Center for Women and Children and Tremco in Cleveland, the Fredon Corporation in Mentor, GKM Auto Parts in Zanesville, Wolf Metals in Columbus, Bruns General Contracting in Tipp City, Lima Pallet Company in Lima, Velvet Ice Cream in Utica, ProMedica in Toledo, and hosted a roundtable with members of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association in Columbus, all of which have announced new investments in their businesses and their employees because of the savings from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act.  This includes investing in new plants and equipment, increasing wages, paying bonuses, increasing charitable giving, reinstating health care, expanding 401(k) benefits and making additional contributions to employee pension plans. ###[...]



Trump Admin Responds to Sens. Portman, Coons & King, Agrees to Discharge Outstanding Federal Student Loans for Permanently Disabled Veterans

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to efforts by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Angus King (I-ME), the Trump administration announced that it will streamline student debt forgiveness for permanently disabled military veterans.  In February, the senators sent a letter to urge the U.S. Secretary of Education, the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Acting Commissioner of Social Security to immediately discharge outstanding federal student loans for totally and permanently disabled Americans, including veterans.

Under the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, federal student loans that are discharged by the Department of Education due to the death or total and permanent disability of a borrower or the death of a borrower’s child are no longer required to be included in the gross income of the borrower.  Therefore, loan forgiveness in these cases is tax exempt.  Now that Congress has removed the potential tax consequence associated with this type of loan forgiveness, the senators are urging the Education Department to immediately begin discharging student loans for eligible individuals.  

“I was pleased to learn that these loan discharges for veterans will be streamlined,” said Senator Portman. “We have worked on solving the problems facing permanently disabled student borrowers for quite some time, and while there remains work to be done, this announcement is a positive step forward.”

“I am extremely pleased that the Trump Administration is taking action to discharge outstanding federal student loans for permanently disabled veterans,” said Senator Coons. “Nevertheless, we still urge the Administration to take action to ensure that all Americans who are totally or permanently disabled have their outstanding federal student loans immediately discharged.”

“No one in America who has become permanently disabled should have to endure the pain and financial hardship of a surprise tax bill on a forgiven loan – least of all our veterans,” said Senator King. “This is, simply, the right thing to do, and I hope that the Administration will extend the same compassion to others affected by this misguided policy.”

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On CNN & Fox Business, Portman Highlights Benefits of Tax Reform, Discusses Russia & Syria

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

On CNN’s At This Hour with Kate Bolduan, and Fox Business’ Coast-to-Coast with Neil Cavuto, Senator Portman discussed the tangible benefits of tax reform he is seeing all across Ohio as families receive higher take-home pay and businesses announce higher wages, bonuses, benefits, and investments in equipment. Portman also discussed the need to hold Russia accountable for its actions in Syria, his support for Director Pompeo as Secretary of State, and his belief that special counsel Robert Mueller should complete his investigation. Excerpts of the interviews can be found below, a video of the CNN interview can be found here and the Fox Business interview can be found here. PORTMAN ON FOX BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS THE BENEFITS OF TAX REFORM “The tax cuts, which you know I strongly support and worked pretty hard on, will result in more economic growth and based on projections, more revenue coming in. That is what the projections are. I wouldn’t think it is a good idea if watching the mainstream media. It has been misrepresenting the truth, which is 90 percent of Americans, when they’re looking at their paychecks are seeing their withholding changing in a positive way. It is 90 percent, that’s what the Treasury Department has told us, that is accurate. It may be 40 bucks every two week pay period. For some people it might not seem like a lot of money but that adds up. In Ohio, the median family of $70,000 and two kids will receive $2,000 bucks a year. “I was at the Kroger Company yesterday, they are headquartered in my hometown of Cincinnati.  I went to an announcement that they asked me to attend where they announced that they’re doing all kinds of things to help employees – more 401(k) matches, a new continuing education program that’s really exciting, $3500 bucks in tuition for anybody to get a GED or MBA. They are also helping in terms of giving discounts to their employees. Others are delivering bonuses, pay increases, and health care improvements, so this is happening out there, and I think people ought to focus on what is actually happening in their lives and bigger paychecks.” PORTMAN ON CNN HIGHLIGHTS HIGHER PAYCHECKS BECAUSE OF TAX REFORM “The people I represent, 90 percent have been told by the IRS, ‘we’re going to withhold less of your paycheck because of this tax cut and tax reform bill,’ and they love that. And they acknowledge it, and the proof is in the paycheck. Businesses are telling us, ‘this helps us to build our employees and make them more productive by expanding more equipment, more technology.’” PORTMAN ON FOX BUSINESS DISCUSSES RUSSIA AND SYRIA “This President has been tougher on Russia, let’s face it in terms of looking at this objectively, than the previous administration. He has put sanctions in place, he has tightened those sanctions. He allowed Ukrainians to have lethal weapons to defend themselves, which the Obama administration never did. In Syria, he not just drew the red line, he responded, which made Russians very upset. He responded to what the UK asked us to do… I was glad that the UK and the French jets were a part of it as well as ships. I think it is important to make this international. I would really hope that he would bring in the United Arab Emirates, the Saudis, the Jordanians, the Egyptians, and others to join in the coalition. It shouldn’t just be about us and our European partners..” PORTMAN ON CNN DISCUSSES THE MUELLER INVESTIGATION “[I] believe that it would be a big mistake for the president to fire Mueller. Well, first of all, [...]



Portman Statement on the Passing of Former First Lady Barbara Bush

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) issued the following statement in response to the news that former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away today at her home in Houston, Texas at the age of 92: 

“There is a reason Barbara Bush was one of the most popular people in America.  She was dignified, straightforward, and funny, and always well intentioned. She spoke her mind freely, and when she did most of us nodded our heads in agreement.  One of only two women in history who was both First Lady and the mother of a president, she has consistently used her role and influence in positive ways. She was a champion of empowering people through literacy and an eloquent voice for bipartisanship and national unity. She was devoted to her family, and her unconditional love for her children and her true partnership with George H.W. Bush in service to the country was an inspiration.

“Jane and I were blessed to get to know Barbara Bush when I worked for President George H.W. Bush in the White House and she has been a friend ever since. In my first congressional campaign in 1993, she came to Cincinnati and cut a radio ad about me and Jane that was key to my winning that first election. She was never hesitant to offer encouragement and candid advice.  Jane and I, along with the rest of the country, will miss her, and we send our condolences to the entire Bush family.”

 

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Senate Passes Portman's Bipartisan “Kids to Parks Day” Resolution

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) applauded the passage of their bipartisan resolution, which encourages children to get outdoors by designating May 19 National Kids to Parks Day. First celebrated by the National Park Trust in 2011, the eighth annual Kids to Parks Day marks the beginning of a summer-long series of events at state parks countrywide that promote outdoor recreation and active, healthy living. The Senate passed the resolution by unanimous consent on Monday evening. “It is important that we encourage younger generations to enjoy and experience the outdoors, and as a frequent visitor to our national parks I’m pleased that thousands of kids in Ohio will be visiting and learning about these national treasures on Kids to Parks Day,” Portman said. “I am proud to support the Kids to Parks Day Resolution to encourage more young people and their families to visit our treasured national parks.” “Oregon is home to a wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities for people of all ages to enjoy,” Wyden said. “Kids to Parks Day serves as an important way for young Oregonians to connect with healthy outdoor recreation and take advantage of everything our local, state, and national parks have to offer.” “In this age of smartphones and tablets, our national parks are even more, not less, important. Children are able to escape their digital diet to feast on a world of natural splendor and learn history in a place where history comes alive,” Alexander said. “I know a little bit about this – I grew up in Maryville, Tenn., which is next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the park looms large in many of my childhood memories. It is my hope that children across the country will take some time to celebrate Kids to Parks Day on May 19 and create their own memories.” “Our national parks and public lands are outdoor classrooms with endless opportunities to learn and make memories,” Heinrich said. "Connecting kids to the outdoors can inspire a lifelong connection to conservation, while reaping all of the health benefits that go along with an active lifestyle. I encourage families to celebrate and explore the outdoors at Kids to Parks Day events taking place in New Mexico and across the country.” “Kids to Parks Day encourages a lifelong love for the outdoors and our public lands,” Hirono said. “I encourage Hawaii families to take advantage of Kids to Parks Day activities by visiting the more than 50 state and national parks across Hawaii.” “In New Jersey, and all across the country, our parks are a national treasure that allow Americans to immerse themselves in our natural environment and the great outdoors,” Booker said. “Kids to Parks Day encourages kids and families to enjoy our state and national parks, while helping instill a love and appreciation for the great outdoors among the next generation.” More than 1 million people participated in last year’s Kids to Parks Day, according to the National Park Trust. This year’s Kids to Parks Day will be celebrated Saturday, May 19, 2018. To find a list of events near you, click here. ### [...]



Portman, Brown Announce President Trump Has Signed Disaster Declaration That Will Bring Relief to Ohio Communities After Devastating Floods

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

Senators Sent Letter to President Trump Following Governor Kasich’s Request for Disaster Declaration for 18 Ohio Counties 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that the Trump administration has signed a disaster declaration that will bring significant relief to Ohio communities affected by devastating floods last month.

“I am glad the president made this much needed declaration,” said Portman. “It will allow our affected communities to get much-needed federal assistance following this winter’s terrible storms.”

“This disaster declaration will go a long way in helping reassure Ohio communities impacted by last month’s devastating floods that they are not alone. This designation will get desperately needed resources to these 18 counties so that they can recover and get back on their feet. Now the Administration must move quickly to get these resources to counties in need,” Brown said.

In late March, Portman and Brown wrote a letter to the President urging him to act swiftly to approve Governor John Kasich’s request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Ohio counties impacted by the severe flooding.

  • The counties that will receive funding include Adams, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Columbiana, Gallia, Hamilton, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington Counties.
  • This declaration will allow the impacted counties to access important federal assistance and resources to recover, including, debris removal and repairs to damaged roads, bridges and other county infrastructure.

Full text of their March 28, 2018 letter appears below and is available HERE.

Dear Mr. President:

We write to urge you to act swiftly on the request by Ohio Governor John Kasich for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for 19 counties in Ohio.

Severe storms and extreme rainfall last month in southern Ohio led to significant flooding, causing substantial damage to critical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and buildings.  The State and local governments in the affected areas do not have the capability to sufficiently respond to this major disaster, and therefore, federal assistance is necessary to supplement the State’s recovery efforts.

We fully support Governor Kasich’s request and urge your prompt consideration. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

Thank you,

Senator Sherrod Brown

Senator Rob Portman

 

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In Cincinnati, Portman Joins Kroger in Announcing New Employee Benefits Because of Tax Reform

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 12:00:00 EST

Announcement Another Part of Portman’s Results for the Middle-Class Tax Reform Tour CINCINNATI, OH –  As part of his Results for the Middle-Class Tax Reform Tour, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) this morning joined Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen and Kroger employees as the company announced how it would use a portion of its $400 million in annual tax reform savings to benefit its workers. At the event, the company announced $3,500 per year and up to $21,000 total in tuition assistance for each Kroger employee as part of its “Feed Your Future” program to encourage lifelong learning and help them build a better future. The company also announced an increased match to its 401(k) savings program, ensuring Kroger employees help save for their retirement, and additional investments in its “Helping Hands” program that provides financial support to workers in need.  The company previously announced its plans to accelerate the hiring of 11,000 new workers as a result of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act as well.   “So far this year, I’ve visited 14 different Ohio businesses to discuss the positive impact tax reform is already having, and today I was pleased to join Kroger—the largest supermarket chain in the world, headquartered here in Cincinnati—as it announced its plans to make new investments in its employees,” said Senator Portman.  “I was especially pleased to see how Kroger employees will benefit from additional education opportunities to help them build a better future and a higher 401(k)match to strengthen their retirement.  This business is paying forward the benefits of tax reform to its employees, and that’s exactly what Congress intended when we crafted the tax reform law.  In addition to the pro-growth business tax reforms, workers are keeping more of their hard-earned money because of individual tax cuts in the new law.  With Tax Day tomorrow, families across the state and country are already realizing many of the benefits of this new law and will continue to benefit from the new tax code in the future.  With the help of tax reform, we are once again making our country the beacon of inspiration that shines on the rest of the world.” “I want to thank Senator Portman for his leadership and support in helping to shape and pass the tax reform bill. Kroger will use a portion of our savings from the Tax Cuts and Job Act to uplift our half a million associates,” said Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen. “As the third-largest employer in the nation, we’re so enthusiastic about the real-life impact of these policy changes that will contribute to a better future for our associates and our customers.” NOTE: So far on his tax reform tour, Portman has visited Worldpay Inc. and the Sheffer Corporation in Cincinnati, the UH Rainbow Center for Women and Children and Tremco in Cleveland, the Fredon Corporation in Mentor, GKM Auto Parts in Zanesville, Wolf Metals in Columbus, Bruns General Contracting in Tipp City, Lima Pallet Company in Lima, Velvet Ice Cream in Utica, ProMedica in Toledo, and hosted a roundtable with members of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association in Columbus, all of which have announced new investments in their businesses and their employees because&nbs[...]