Congressional Report: March 25-March 31, 2018
The House and Senate were not in session this week. The Senate returns April 9 and the House, April 10.
Special Note: Since both Rep. Turner and Sen. Portman have been very quiet in responding to the March for Our Lives event of March 24, we called their offices on March 29. A live person in each office responded that no statement on this issue has been released by their Congressman at this time. Rep. Turner’s assistant said that Rep. Turner might want to issue a statement and asked for my opinion on the issue. Senator Portman’s aide said that the Senator supports the bipartisan work on beefing up background checks and school safety (in the omnibus spending bill). He also asked for my opinion. Neither had any other comments to share.
Major Votes: None.
March 26: Rep. Turner expressed support for the proposed FCC rule prohibiting certain telecom carriers from buying products from Huawei Technologies, a company with close ties to the Chinese government. Any carrier that accesses the Universal Service Fund (subsidizes small and rural carriers) will be prohibited from purchasing products from companies that pose a national security threat.
Major Votes: None
Week of March 26: Mr. Portman kicked off an Ohio “Results for the Middle-Class Tax Reform Tour” in Lima. He is spending time on his break visiting many small businesses to tout the benefits of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. We have not found any reference to deficit concern.
March 27: In a letter, Senator Portman and Rep. Langevin (D-RI) asked Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to discharge Parent PLUS Loans taken out by parents on behalf of students who then became totally and permanently disabled (average loan in 2016-17 data is $15,880 and this money is desperately needed for the care of their children). Federal law already recognizes the need for students to be forgiven these loans but parents also deserve the same access to debt relief. Portman sponsored Domenics Law (S. 2258) in December and Langevin introduced a similar bill in the House (May 2017).
March 30: Senator Portman posted a video with remarks he made after the Senate passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) on March 21. (Vote: 97-2)
Major Votes: None
March 23: Senator Brown issued a statement that the omnibus spending package recently passed includes commonsense measures to keep Ohioans safe and support research on gun violence.
His bipartisan bill Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act is cosponsored by Senator Rob Portman and others. The spending bill includes funds for school security improvements and early intervention and prevention programs to curtail the violence before it happens. There is language in the bill clarifying that the Dickey Amendment does not prevent the CDC “from conducting or supporting research into firearm safety and gun violence protection.” However, Senator Brown still wants a repeal of this amendment.
March 24: On Facebook, the Senator supported and praised students from Stoneman Douglas who met with his team in his office in the past week. He believes their activism is making an “incredible difference” in the fight to enact common sense gun control laws.
March 28: Senator Brown stated that he supports the administration’s work to renegotiate the Korea-US Trade Agreement to block Korean steel dumping.
March 29: The Senator hosted a news conference call with college newspapers and radio stations to discuss his fight to restore net neutrality (the FCC gutted the rules in December). “Internet providers should not be able to slow down your internet access or charge you more based on the shows you watch, the teams you cheer for, or the politicians you support. The Internet doesn’t belong to a wealthy few—it belongs to you, to Ohio students and ordinary people across this country.”