- Congressional Report: September 23-September 29, 2018 October 3, 2018 @ 5:46 pm
Senators Brown and Portman:
September 25: BRIGID’S PATH. Senator Brown’s Caring Recovery for Infants & Babies (CRIB) Act was included in a final opioid addiction package agreed to by the House. This part of the package includes support for organizations such as Dayton’s Brigid’s Path (treats babies born with addictions). The Senator worked with Senators Portman and Capito (R-WV) on this legislation.
September 26: OPIOID CRISIS HELP. In a bipartisan effort, Senators Brown and Portman were successful in getting a provision in the House-Senate opioid package which will lift the Institutions for Mental Disease’s exclusions that were preventing some Americans from being treated for opioid addiction. The law now states that treatment facilities are prohibited from using federal Medicaid money to pay for treatment in residential mental health or substance abuse centers with more than 16 beds. The new bill lifts this cap for 5 years.
Senator Sherrod Brown:
September 23: NONPROFITS AND THEIR DONORS. In the DAYTON DAILY NEWS, Senator Brown praised last week’s Supreme Court’s decision to reject a request from the nonprofit Crossroads GPS to delay a federal judge’s ruling that may lead to nonprofits revealing the names of their donors in future elections. Last month, a federal judge in Washington gave the Federal Election Commission 45 days to come up with new regulations which would require nonprofits to name donors who gave more than $200 each to their organizations. Senator Brown has been the target of attacks by nonprofits with anonymous donors but he was not part of this lawsuit nor does the ruling cover the 2012 election when the attacks against him occurred. Crossroad was formed by Karl Rove.
September 23-24: FIREFIGHTER SUPPORT. Senator Brown announced his securing almost $3.8 million of federal help for fire departments in several counties, cities, towns, and townships in Ohio. This includes funds of $216,000 for the department in Huber Heights.
September 24: SENATOR BROWN—A PROFILE. The DAYTON DAILY NEWS published a profile on the candidate, Senator Brown. It gives a bit of his history and evolution as a representative of the common people of the state of Ohio.
September 25: FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR VETERANS. The Senate passed Brown’s bipartisan bill, Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2018, to increase disability benefits.
September 25: RAIL TRANSPORT SAFETY. The Senator joined a bipartisan group in the passage of the Transit Rail Inspection Practices Act (TRIP ACT) which will ensure State safety programs are providing sufficient oversight of the rail transit systems through inspections in Ohio and throughout the nation.
September 26: GAG CLAUSES. The Senator’s bipartisan bills to help people save money on medication at the pharmacy counter have passed the House and Senate and are on the way to the
executive’s desk. The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act cracks down on gag clauses that prohibit pharmacists from telling customers how to save money by paying out-of-pocket for medicine rather than going through insurance.
September 27: AGENT ORANGE VICTIMS. Senator Brown met with VA Secretary Wilkie last week to discuss ways to ensure all Agent Orange-exposed veterans get the treatment and benefits to which they are entitled. Now, only Vietnam veterans who served on land or inland waters automatically qualify for healthcare coverage and certain disability benefits. Blue Water Navy veterans DO NOT automatically qualify even if diagnosed with the same illnesses as fellow veterans who served on land. They have to meet a higher burden of proof to receive benefits.
September 28: TARIFFS. According to the DDN, during a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, many auto executives vehemently attacked the tariffs affecting their industry. Senator Brown took advantage of the hearing to push a bill that he has introduced. This bill gives customers a $3500 discount if they buy cars made in the U.S. and revokes tax cuts on overseas profits of auto makers that send jobs eas.
September 28: DR. C. BLASEY FORD. Senator Brown reiterated his intention to not vote for Justice Kavanaugh and voiced admiration for Dr. Blasey Ford: “Dr. Ford’s courage is inspiring and I am very grateful to her for coming forward to tell her story, even in the face of deep personal cost. She was moving, heartfelt and honest,” said Brown.
September 28: FIREFIGHTERS AND CANCER. A spending package including Brown’s Firefighter’s Cancer Registry Act was signed. The act requires the CDC to create and keep a voluntary registry collecting data on incidents of firefighters’ cancers in hopes of better prevention.
September 24: HIDTA. Senator Rob Portman praised the designation of Butler County as a “High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area,” allowing the the county to receive federal resources to be used in drug control.
September 26: OPIOID LEGISLATION PACKAGE. Senator Portman released an announcement showing his strong approval of the bipartisan opioid legislation package that includes his STOP Act and Improving CARE Act, the CRIB Act, and many improvements to the CARA 2.0 Act (Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act that was first passed in 2016).
September 26: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI). The Senator introduced the Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Government Act for Senate deliberation. The act provides resources and directs federal agencies to include AI in data-related planning.
September 27: STOP ACT REACTION. The Editorial Board of USA TODAY praised the Senator’s Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention Act (STOP Act). It passed the House 353-52 and the Senate 99-1 and goes on for final passage by both Houses before moving up for signature.
September 27: DR. C. BLASEY FORD. According to Jackie Borchardt’s CINCINNATI ENQUIRER article and a press release, Senator Portman said Ford deserved the chance to tell her side but
Kavanaugh denied the charge and it does not have corroboration. “I have known Judge Kavanaugh for more than 15 years, I know his wife Ashley, and I know his family. The Brett Kavanaugh I know is a man of integrity and humility. He also has the right qualifications and experience to serve on the Supreme Court. In fact the American Bar Association has given him their highest rating, unanimously.” That position has been altered since the testimony.
September 28: TARIFFS . In the DDN, Senator Portman responded to a Finance Committee hearing with automobile executive saying that he was very concerned that tariffs may make a car harder to make in America and he cautioned the administration to be “very careful”.
September 28: OPIOID LEGISLATION ANNOUNCEMENTS. Senator Portman announced new opioid funding will include $232 million for several programs authorized by his CARA Act of 2016. He also praised the House for passing the Final Opioid Package which includes his STOP Act and Improving CARE Act and the bipartisan CRIB Act, CARA 2.0, etc. The Senate must now vote on the final measure.
Representative Mike Turner
September 26: Voted Aye on the Conference Report for the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019. Passed (361-61).
September 28: Voted Aye on H.R. 6, SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. Passed.
September 25: OUTBURST AGAINST OPPONENT. The DDN reported that Turner “blasts” Theresa Gasper for saying that Wright Patterson would survive future base closings because it is “an enduring base; it’s never going to close unless someone blows it up.” He says this statement proves she is not qualified for the job. Ms. Gasper has responded that this was an “unfortunate choice of words in my response to a question.” She was attending a forum for which neither Turner nor his staffer bothered to show up.
September 27: VANDALIA GE. The Representative announced that he has secured $52 million for GE Aviation to fund work involving the electrical systems for F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.
September 28: DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS. Rep. Turner announced that for the first time in years, the House passed the Department of Defense Appropriations on time. He says he secured $49.5 million for Air Force and local university projects; $5 million for hypoxia research (the physiological problem experienced by our pilots); $10 million for Metals Affordability Initiative; and $35 million for the military Sexual Assault Victims Councils work. Check press release for additional information.
September 28: OPIOID CRISIS. Rep. Turner co-sponsored two bills included in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act which passed the House today. This legislation encompasses multiple acts including the CRIB Act which was sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown and Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV-3) and the Medicaid Reentry Act sponsored by Rep. Tonko (D-NY-20). Turner was one of several co-sponsors.
September 28: MORE TAX CUTS; MORE DEBT. The House passed a new round of cuts that removes a provision which would schedule many individuals’ tax cuts to expire in 10 years. Good news? Well, it adds $600 billion to the debt and is for the wealthiest of Americans, too. Too early to get a list of the “aye” voters. There is said to be little support in the Senate due to the debt problem.
- Congressional Report: Sept. 17-21, 2018 September 25, 2018 @ 9:59 pm
Senate – Sept. 17
Roll call vote on the Opioid Crisis Response Act which will implement more than 70 bipartisan proposals to “provide for opioid use disorder prevention, recovery, and treatment, and for other purposes.” The bill was originally passed by the House as H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. Both Sen. Brown and Sen. Portman voted in favor as this legislation passed 99-1.
Roll call vote on Senate bill 2554 which will “ensure that health insurance issuers and group health plans do not prohibit pharmacy providers from providing certain information to enrollees.” If this bill becomes law, pharmacists cannot be prohibited from informing consumers if they could save money by paying out-of-pocket rather than using their insurance. Both Sen. Brown and Sen. Portman voted in favor as this legislation passed 98-2.
Senate – Sept. 18
Approved by voice vote with an amendment: H.R. 46 – To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of Fort Ontario in the State of New York. Approved by voice vote: H.R. 698 – To require a land conveyance involving the Elkhorn Ranch and the White River National Forest in the State of Colorado, and for other purposes.
Approved by voice vote with an amendment: H.R. 1551 – To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the credit for production from advanced nuclear power facilities.
By a vote of 93-7, the Senate agreed to the conference report to accompany H.R. 6157 – Making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2019, and for other purposes. Both Sen. Brown and Sen. Portman voted in favor.
Approved by voice vote: S. 3479 – To amend title 38, United States Code, to extend certain expiring provisions of law administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
Sen. Brown has announced he will oppose this nomination.
Sen. Portman expressed his disappointment on Monday with the decision by the Senate Democrats “to [withhold] this information until the 11th hour, after all the scheduled hearings and within days of the final Judicial Committee vote.” On Wednesday, he said, ”I think we need to have a committee hearing that reviews these allegations, allowing [Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser] to be heard in a fair and respectful manner.”
Sen. Brown on Twitter:
This week Sen. Brown expressed his concern for those affected by Hurricane Florence and his thanks to those who are providing relief. He celebrated the passage of the CRIB Act which he and Sen. Portman co-sponsored. If this bill becomes law, Brigid’s Path here in Dayton will benefit. He also applauded the passage of the STOP Act, co-sponsored by Brown and Portman, which is intended to keep dangerous drugs out of the US. He expressed his concern about changes that remove lending protections for military personnel, about Navy veterans who are not yet receiving benefits related to exposure to Agent Orange, and about Wells Fargo’s plan to cut more that 26,000 jobs after the bank received significant tax cuts. And finally he celebrated the passage of the bill that will potentially cut drug costs by ending the “gag order” that prevented pharmacists from sharing information about costs and also the signing into law of the bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Portman that will protect Lake Erie. (@SenSherrodBrown)
Sen. Portman on Twitter
Sen. Portman also celebrated the passage of the STOP Act (about 25 times!) and the signing into law of provisions that will fund the cleanup of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, expedite facilities upgrades at Wright-Part, fund new facilities for the Ohio National Guard, and upgrade the Abrams tank and Stryker Vehicle manufacturing plant in Lima. Like Sen. Brown he applauded the protections for Lake Erie. He also mentioned “more good economic news” from Bloomberg News, his “very productive” tele-town hall” on Sept. 19, his support for the Pell Dual Enrollment programs that will benefit low-income students, his support for the Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Act, his support for the Responsibility for Unaccompanied Minors Act, and finally his support for the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act that was signed into law earlier this year. (@senrobportman)
Rep. Turner on Twitter
Rep. Turner wished the U S Air Force a happy 71st birthday this week. He was interviewed on Fox News and Fox Business, and Bloomberg Radio and made comments on the International Day of Peace. You can watch those comments: youtu.be/CthUWTo_8ol.
On Friday he presented a $5,725,000 check to the Dayton RTA to replace its old electric buses with new electric ones. (@RepMikeTurner)
The House was not in session this week.
Legislation to watch:
Violence against Women Act, HR 6545, is up for reauthorization.
Section 9101of the House Farm Bill cuts SNAP benefits and also restricts local communities from banning local use of dangerous pesticides.
- Congressional Report: August 26-September 1, 2018 September 6, 2018 @ 8:40 pm
Major Votes: None
August 27: ECOT SWINDLE LEGISLATION. Senator Brown introduced the Putting Students First Act which calls for federal funds recovered from ECOT (and any other sham online educational company) be returned to the school districts that lost that money instead of putting the recovered funds into the U.S. Treasury’s general fund. ECOT closed in January and had received more than $130 million in federal funds.
August 27: NAFTA RENEGOTIATIONS. In a statement, the Senator said the the agreement with Mexico is an “important step forward” but it still needs to be reviewed and work remains to be done in bringing Canada into it. He said this work is continuing and he is consulting closely with USTR Bob Lighthizer, the top trade negotiator. This statement was made before Trump blew up the talks with the Canadians.
August 27: CFPB RESIGNATION. Seth Frotman resigned his position as head of the office in charge of protecting student borrowers from predatory lenders and financial schemes in the $1.5 trillion student loan market. Frotman’s title was Student Loan Ombudsman and Assistant Director for the Office for Student and Young Consumers. “Shady lenders and predatory for-profit schools gained an ally at the CFPB while students lost their chief watchdog.”
August 28: HOT SCHOOLS. Senator Brown asked the Senate to turn attention to the School Building Improvement Act in response to several schools across Ohio and the nation having to close due to no air conditioning and excessive heat. The act would provide $100 billion in grants and construction bonds over 10 years and require American-made products be used. The grants may possibly create 1.9 million jobs nationally.
August 29: MONTGOMERY COUNTY WINS. As part of Senator Brown’s work on opioid addiction, he announced a $125,000 grant for the Montgomery County Prevention Coalition to implement community strategies to fight the drug crisis and prevent use by our youth.
August 27-30: IN-STATE MEETINGS. Ones of note included an August 27 Roundtable with Vets in Athens, a August 28 Roundtable with Vets in Columbus, and an August 30 Farm Bill Roundtable with farmers and stakeholders in Brown County. He also met with Ohio miners and teamsters to continue the push to protect Ohio pensions. This pension fight has gone on for years and affects 60,000 Ohioans and 1.3 million people nationally.
August 31: NAFTA, AGAIN. The Senator announced that he is still pushing for the best deal he can get for Ohio workers. “My number one priority is to stop Ohio jobs from moving overseas, and that’s what I continue fighting for as negotiations with Canada continue.”
August 31: LABOR DAY ADDRESS. Senator Brown gave the Weekly Democratic Address which seems appropriate considering the work he does in his fight for Ohio working people. See his website for links to the entire address.
Major Votes: None
August 27: TRADE SECURITY ACT. The WALL STREET JOURNAL Editorial Board endorsed Portman’s bipartisan act which will reform tariff processes under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and increase congressional oversight. It would require the Department of Defense NOT the Department of Commerce to justify a national security basis for any new Section 232 tariff and would address concerns that misuse of the law will harm jobs and the economy.
August 27: IRS REFORM. CNBC wrote the Portman-Kerrey Op-Ed, “The Time is Now for IRS Reform.” This is in support of the bipartisan Protecting Taxpayers Act that Portman, Cardin (D-MD), and Kerrey (D-NE) have proposed. The op-ed states that this act would help restore taxpayers’ faith in our system.
August 28: KAVANAUGH. Senator Portman will introduce Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday, September 4. Portman supports him 166.7%.
August 28: SENATOR MCCAIN. Senator Portman delivered remarks honoring the late Senator on the Senate floor. A video and transcript is available on his website. Also see his Facebook page, if interested.
August 28: RURAL LIFE. Senators Portman and Masto (D-NV) introduced a bill to support rural communities by promoting economic prosperity and quality of life and encouraging use of technological innovations to help these areas overcome many challenges. Expanding availability of the Internet is one example of help to be offered. The bill creates a Council on Rural Community Innovation and Economic Development.
August 29: OPIOID FIGHT. Senator Portman announced that 25 Drug Free Communities grant recipients were awarded to communities in Ohio. The program, which is over 20 years-old, is meant to reduce substance abuse among the country’s youth.
August 30-31: ROUNDTABLES. The Senator held an opioid crisis roundtable in Rootstown (Portage County) on Thursday and one in Massillon on Friday.
Major Votes: None
House is still in recess. They will be back in session September 4
August 31: CANCELLED PAY RAISES. To pay for the tax cuts that overwhelmingly favored the rich and ultra-rich, the chief executive is cancelling federal worker pay raises. They are “inappropriate.” According to the DAYTON DAILY NEWS, Rep. Turner said such actions are “shortsighted.” He wrote a letter to McConnell and Ryan stating that balancing the budget cannot be “on the backs of federal civilian employees” and that the country cannot afford to make the federal government a work place that is less attractive and less competitive when compared to the private sector (which very often offers higher pay).
August 31: WRIGHT MUSEUM. Rep. Turner attended a special event at Carillon Park in which a drape was pulled back to reveal the new official sign designating the John W. Berry Sr. Wright Brothers Aviation Center as the WRIGHT BROTHERS NATIONAL MUSEUM. No press releases were found since August 3. Last video posted on website was 4 weeks ago. Facebook photos date from August 15. He has had appearances and photo ops around the area for TV and the DDN.
- Congressional Report: August 20 – August 24, 2018 August 30, 2018 @ 11:45 am
On Aug. 23 the Senate passed S. 2896, the JACK Act, by unanimous voice vote. If passed by the House, lobbyists would be required to reveal any prior convictions in order to advocate (lobby) on behalf of clients who have an interest in business before our government. That’s good news! The bad news is that, according to govtrack.us, there is a 19% chance of this bill becoming law.
On Aug. 23, the Senate passed S. 2511, the CENOTE Act, which will require the Commerce Department to coordinate and make available NOAA’s assessment of unmanned maritime systems. The bill was passed by a unanimous voice vote and will go to the House. Based on the estimate of govtrack.us, this bill has a 22% chance of becoming law. “By enabling NOAA to further advance its use of unmanned maritime systems, we will be able to tap into a wealth of resources between public-private partnerships,” Congressman Palazzo (D-Calif.) said.
On Aug. 23, Senate passed its version of H.R. 6157, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2019 by a vote of 85-7. Both Sen. Brown and Sen. Portman voted in favor of the bill. Since the Senate version includes changes from the House bill, the House must approve those changes. This “minibus” (as opposed to “omnibus”) spending bill also includes funding for education, labor, and health and human service issues. While the support for National Institutes of Health, Head Start, and the Veterans Employment Training Program are welcome, the provisions related to the Affordable Care Act are of concern.
Legislation to watch: On Aug. 22 with support from the White House, key Republican senators moved to block the progress of the bipartisan Secure Elections Act. One key disagreement was whether the Congress should require states to use voting systems that included a verifiable paper trail in order to receive federal funds for elections. Paper backups are considered essential to audit election results in case of an attack on a state’s election system. Co-sponsor Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) issued a statement that read, in part, “When our nation is under attack from foreign governments there is a federal obligation to act.” Co-sponsor James Lankford (R-Okla) said, “Congressional action is unacceptable.” The future of the legislation is uncertain.
- Congressional Report: August 14 – August 18, 2018 August 30, 2018 @ 11:41 amNote: According to The Hill, the Senate is working through the August recess. Senators did not arrive arrive in Washington for this week’s work, however, until late in the day Wednesday and held their last votes of the week at 1:45 p.m. Thursday, adjourning a few hours later. The noteworthy accomplishments: the confirmation of Marvin Quattlebaum, Jr., and Julius Ness Richardson to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and an agreement to begin debate on a bill funding the departments of Defense, Labor and Health and Human Services.Representative Turner
Major Votes: NoneOther Activity: None
Major Votes: None
Other Activity8/15: In advance of a Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) hearing 8/16 to examine efforts by the federal government to protect unaccompanied alien children (UACs) from human trafficking and other forms of abuse, Senators Portman and Tom Carper (D-DE), PSI’s Chairman and Ranking Member, today unveiled a bipartisan report detailing the lack of progress from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in improving programs designed to care for these children, ensure their safety, and ensure they appear at their immigration court proceedings.8/16: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report highlighting drug overdose death tolls for 2017. The report found that there were 69,703 overdose deaths last year, a nearly nine percent increase from 2016. Ohio experienced 4,928 overdose deaths in 2017, a 9.5 percent increase from last year. Ohio ranked third nationally for total drug overdose deaths and fourth nationally for the number of overdose deaths per every 100,000 residents. Of the 47,232 U.S. overdose deaths involving opioids, 28,526 of them—more than 60 percent—involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Portman said it is important that Congress pass the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, or STOP Act, Portman’s bipartisan legislation that will help stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl from being shipped into the U.S. The House passed the STOP Act in June, and Portman is urging the Senate to pass it as quickly as possible, as he did during a speech on the Senate floor again 8/15.
Major Votes: None
8/14: Sen Brown joined northeast Ohio steelworkers and autoworkers at USW Local 979 as he leads legislation to support Ohio’s auto industry and keep auto jobs in the U.S. Brown introduced legislation after General Motors recently announced plans to build the new Chevy Blazer in Mexico on the same day the company ended the second shift at a plant in Lordstown, Ohio. Brown’s bill, the American Cars, American Jobs Act, would:
- Give customers a $3,500 discount when they buy cars made in America. This would cover all passenger vehicles made in Ohio and nearly 100 cars and trucks nationwide.
- Revoke a GOP tax cut on overseas profits from auto manufacturers that ship jobs overseas.
“There are two simple parts: customers who buy cars made in America get a discount and corporations that send jobs overseas lose a special tax break,” Brown said. “We shouldn’t be handing out 50 percent off coupons to companies that send jobs overseas.”
8/15: Sen Brown hosted a news conference call as he leads legislation with U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to crack down on exploitative overdraft fees that banks charge consumers when they make a purchase or pay a bill but don’t have sufficient funds in their account.
Banks offer overdraft services to allow account holders to make purchases or pay a bill even if they don’t have sufficient funds in their account, while charging a fee for the service – on average $35. Many banks even process transactions not in the order they occur, but in the order that generates the highest fees. These fees disproportionately fall on customers who are least able to afford them, especially workers living paycheck to paycheck.
“These fees are a tax on paychecks that are already stretched thin,” said Brown.“Banks should be set up to serve customers – not scam them to pad their CEOs’ bottom lines.”
- Congressional Report: July 29 – August 4, 2018 August 5, 2018 @ 7:45 pm
Major Votes: NoneOther Activity
July 29: On Facebook, Rep. Turner talked about his op-ed which called for the White House and Congress to work together with the international community for a permanent denuclearization plan for North Korea and verification mechanisms for such an agreement.
August 1: LOCAL TV INTERVIEWS. Twitter has an upload of his interview on WRGT FOX 45 and so does Youtube. He talked about the $182 million coming to WPAFB for a new building and to retain and expand the NASIC (National Air and Space Intelligence Center) program here. This is included in the NDAA passed by the Senate this week. Turner worked on the successful Conference Committee to resolve the differences between the House and Senate bills. Also in the interview, he commented on the new stories about North Korea’s continued development of nuclear missiles and investment in weapons with which to threaten the United States. He supports use of sanctions and military capability in dealing with the problem. Lastly, he stated that he wanted information about the PFAS (per—and poly—fluoroalkyl sulfonate) made public so that an action plan can be developed. These are the chemicals of concern in a possible threat to the area’s drinking water.
Rep. Turner also appeared on Channel 2 WDTN in a similar interview with Mark Allan. He did add a discussion on foster care and the need for support for these children after they age out at 18. A huge number end up being homeless.
August 2-3: WPAFB SCARE. Rep. Turner praised the responders to the recent false alarm at WPAFB and is questioning the circumstances in which a gun was discharged during the perceived threat.
Senator Portman voted yea for the NDAA and the Transportation Bill.
July 29: MEET THE PRESS. During an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Senator Rob Portman voiced strong support for Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. He called him, “Incredible guy, humble, a good listener, compassionate.” He also said that he supported the current state of U.S. policy regarding Russia. On the Helsinki Summit, he voiced some concerns about “inconsistent public postures” toward Russia but thinks the administration is doing things policy-wise that are “appropriate and very tough.” He has questions about the sanctions and thinks they could be made more effective and targeted.
July 31: CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION. It was announced that Senator Portman and Kaine’s (D-VA) Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act to help insure students have access to quality CTE programs has been signed into law.
August 1: CYBER SECURITY. Senators Portman and Hassan (D-NH) introduced a bill, DHS Cyber Incident Response Teams Act, to bolster cybersecurity by requiring the Department of Homeland Security to make permanent the “cyber hunt” and “cyber incidence response” teams which help stop attacks on federal agencies and private sectors.
August 1: NDAA AND GLRI SUPPORT. In statements, the Senator praised the Senate passage of the NDAA Conference Report which includes funding for WPAFB’s NASIC and for the Abrams Tanks and Stryker Vehicles. In another matter, he also was very pleased to see that the Great Lakes Restorative Initiative will be fully funded. Portman and Brown work together closely on the GLRI.
August 1: TRADE AND TARIFFS. Along with (D-AL) Senator Doug Jones (yes, THAT Doug Jones), Senator Portman and Senator Ernst (R-IA) introduced the Trade Security Act to reform national security tariff processes and increase oversight by Congress. The bill is meant to address misuse of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and will require the Department of Defense to justify the national security basis for new tariffs and make sure American jobs and the U.S. economy are not needlessly harmed.
August 1: BLOOMBERG’S MARKETS: AMERICA. In an interview, the Senator discussed the newly introduced Trade Security Act and defended/lauded the Kavanaugh nomination. He also discussed improving Russian sanctions to increase pressure on that country for its actions, including the annexation of Crimea, the threat to eastern Ukraine, and the threat to our election security.
August 2: CNN INTERVIEW. Senator Portman appeared on AT THIS HOUR to discuss his Trade Security Act, the awesomeness of Kavanaugh, etc. He did say that the Mueller investigation was of importance in order to get to the bottom of Russian interference in the 2016 elections and to prevent such actions in future elections. He thinks the investigation should wrap up, however.
Both the NDAA and the Transportation Bill were passed by the Senate. Brown supported both.
JULY 31: PAYDAY LENDING. Senator Sherrod Brown posted a strong, negative reaction to the Office of the Controller of the Currency’s (OCC) announcement that it will grant national charters to online money lenders. Their report recommends repealing the CFPB’s federal payday lending protections so that shady lenders will again have free rein. The charters will effectively repeal state efforts to regulate or supervise predatory lending.
AUGUST 1: CENTRAL STATE. Brown successfully inserted an amendment in the Senate Appropriations bill dealing with the U.S. Department of Agriculture funds in order to increase funding for the agricultural research at Central State and other historically black Land Grant colleges established in 1890.
AUGUST 1: AUTO INDUSTRY. Senator Brown announced that he has introduced legislation to support Ohio’s auto industry and keep auto jobs in the U.S. American Cars, American Jobs Act will give customers a $3500 discount when they buy cars made in the U.S. (that covers Ohio plants) and will revoke a special GOP tax cut on overseas profits for auto manufacturers that ship jobs overseas.
AUGUST 1: CFPB DIRECTOR NOMINEE. Watch the “Audio Video” recording on Brown’s website (under NEWS in the menu) to see Kathleen Kraninger’s evasive responses during questioning at her Senate Banking Committee hearing. She has no background in consumer protection or financial issues, according to Brown, and has not responded to several document requests.
AUGUST 1: GREAT LAKES RESTORATIVE INITIATIVE. Senator Brown has worked with Senator Portman on many aspects of this initiative. He was successful in securing $300 million for the GLRI, including $1.394 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $864 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. These monies will be in the final Senate bill for the appropriation of funds for the Department of Interior and the EPA.
AUGUST 1: TRANSPORTATION BILL. The Senate passed the Transportation Bill with provisions for investing in OSU bus testing, expanding autonomous vehicle testing sites, and promoting OSU’s Transportation Research Center (TRC) in West Liberty by adding it as a proving ground pilot site. Senator Brown was a leader in the fight for these funds.
AUGUST 1: TRANSPORTATION BILL, PART DEUX. The Senator was instrumental in securing $103 million in federal transportation funds for Ohio. The Transportation, Housing, & Urban Development appropriations bill passed the Senate and will provide significant federal investment in Ohio’s infrastructure: $94 million for roads and bridges; $9.3 for Ohio public transportation agencies; $1 billion for TIGER (will supply some funds for innovative transportation projects in communities in Ohio).
August 1: OHIO AND THE NDAA. Senator Brown secured the inclusion of $2.8 billion in the National Defense Authorization Act for Lima’s Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC) programs. The bill passed this date and includes $363.4 million for Stryker Vehicle upgrades and modifications and $2.4+ billion for upgrades and modifications in Abrams Tanks. Also, due to his position on the NDAA Conference Committee, he helped write $13 million into the bill for use by Mansfield’s Air National Guard Base. Finally, he joined a bipartisan effort to include provisions to block national security threats posed through investments by China and other countries.
August 2: NDAA AND SERVICE MEMBERS. It was announced today that Senators Brown and Rounds (R-SD) succeeded in including language in the NDAA to help better connect service members with resources in order to secure a quality education and find good paying jobs as they transition to civilian life.
August 2: SNAP AND HEALTHY FOOD. Senator Brown secured $2.3 million in funds from the USDA for Produce Perks Midwest of Ohio. This will provide low income citizens on SNAP with funds to buy healthy local fruits and vegetables from almost 100 participating farmers’ markets in Ohio.
August 2: UNFAIR BANK OVERDRAFT FEES. Senators Brown and Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Stop Overdraft Profiteering Act of 2018 which will crack down on these exploitive fees.
August 3: LEAD POISONING. Senators Brown and Duckworth (D-IL) wrote to many administration officials asking for an update by August 8, on a promised new federal strategy to reduce childhood lead exposure. The update had been promised by June 2018.
- Congressional Report: July 23 – July 27, 2018 August 5, 2018 @ 7:34 pm
On July 25, Rep. Turner voted to pass the Restoring Access to Medication Act which repeals provisions of the IRS code that limit payments for medications from health savings accounts and other types of accounts.
Rep.Turner also voted to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Turner voted to pass the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2018, which permanently repeals the excise tax on the sale of medical devices. This tax was part of the funding mechanism for the ACA.
Rep. Turner joined a unanimous House vote to pass the VA Hospitals Establishing Leadership Performance Act, which will require more rigorous standards for hiring certain VA personnel.
Turner also voted to pass the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.Other Activity
On Twitter, Rep. Turner tweeted about his successful effort to secure funding for a new building for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patt and retweeted his statement on Fox News: “[Pres. Trump is] having a very positive impact on the capability and the funding for NATO.”
Sen. Portman voted to confirm Robert Wilkie as secretary of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and announced that funding for Wright-Patterson’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center and other military sites in Ohio has been included in the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.
On 7/25 at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Sen. Portman
had words of praise for Sec. of State Pompeo related to his support for Ukraine, but encouraged him to use tools such as the Global Engagement Center to more forcefully push back against Russian interference in the elections of other nations and stated his desire that statements regarding Russia “both in public and private [be] clear and consistent”.
On 7/26, Sen. Portman and Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) released a joint statement condemning Russian illegal occupation of the Crimean peninsula.
On Twitter, Sen. Portman stated his support for the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. In addition, he is pushing the Protecting Taxpayers Act to “restructure and reform” the IRS to make it “more responsive and more accountable” and the DATA Act which is intended to make publicly available “timely and accurate data on how [federal agencies spend] taxpayer dollars”.
- Congressional Report: July 16 – July 20, 2018 July 24, 2018 @ 8:48 am
Voted Yea on H.Res. 1001: “Providing for consideration of the concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy.” Passed 229-183 along strict party line vote.
Voted no on H.Amdt. 892 to H.R. 6147: To increase the budget for the Department of the Interior Inspector General’s Office by $2.5 million. Failed 223-190.
Voted Aye on an amendment stating: None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to enforce the final rule entitled `Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources’ published by the Environmental Protection Agency to prohibit the use of funds for enforcing the Obama Administration’s EPA Methane Rule. Passed 215-194.
Voted Aye on On Agreeing to the Amendment: Amendment 40 to H R 6147, to prohibit funds from implementing the Social Cost of Carbon rule. Passed 215-199. H.R.6147 is for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018.
Voted Aye on Amendment 911 to H.R. 6147: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to implement, or to require the State Washington to implement, the final rule entitled “Revision of Certain Federal Water Quality Criteria Applicable to Washington.” Purpose: An amendment to limit funding for the implementation of Washington State’s revised water quality standard. Passed 227-185.Other Activity
July 20 – Turner’s statement on Helsinki: “I think what we expect as Americans … is that President Trump needed to stand strong, and in this, he did not, and of course that’s incredibly disappointing.”
Major Votes: None
On Trump’s “clarification” of Helsinki comments: “I’m glad he clarified his comments today. But I wish he had said it in front of President Putin and the world yesterday.”
7/18: Senators Portman, Sherrod Brown, and Lisa Murkowski announced that legislation based on their proposal to give states more flexibility and time to implement electronic verification systems to better serve patients was passed by the House. The EVV system requires healthcare providers to use an electronic system to confirm that personal care services are delivered and billed accurately.
7/19: Portman delivered remarks on the Senate floor highlighting the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) law, which is already making a significant different in combating online sex trafficking of women and children and has resulted in the shut down of several websites that knowingly facilitated sex trafficking.
7/20: Portman praised the Department of Defense’s release of $200 million in security assistance to fund additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts for Ukraine’s forces. He said, “This is good news, and it sends a clear message that America stands with the Ukrainian people in their struggle to secure a democratic, prosperous, and independent future in the face of Russian aggression.”
Major Votes: None
On Helsinki: “The intelligence experts we trust to keep America safe have said that Russia continues to threaten our democracy and our critical infrastructure, and the President missed an opportunity to do something about it.”
7/18: Last week, Brown was appointed to serve as a conferee on the committee that is working to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Brown said he is working to secure provisions in the defense bill that would strengthen the tools the U.S. uses to block national security threats posed by investments from China and other countries. Priorities for him regarding the NDAA include:
- Authorization to continue critical research and development missions at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
- Support for Air Force bases to continue efforts to keep Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances – toxic chemicals known as PFAS – from getting into the local water supply.
- Brown’s bipartisan legislation – the Better Access to Technical Training, Learning, and Entrepreneurship for Servicemembers Act (BATTLE for Servicemembers Act), would better connect servicemembers with resources to secure quality education and good-paying jobs as they transition from military service to civilian life.
- Brown sought to keep a House provision that called on the Pentagon to slash civilian defense jobs at facilities such as the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and the Defense Logistics Agency in Columbus and Cleveland out of the Senate version of the bill.
7/19: Brown joined a group of Senators in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure hungry Ohioans do not lose access to the healthy and local fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods they can purchase at farmers markets.
7/19: On Trump’s criticism of the Fed for raising interest rates: “Presidents should respect the independence of the Federal Reserve,” said Brown. “I asked Chair Powell under oath at his nomination hearing if he would maintain that independence and he assured the Senate that he would. I take him at his word.”
- Congressional Report: July 1 – July 7, 2018 July 12, 2018 @ 10:24 am
July 2: Rep. Turner is a House conferee for the National Defense Authorization Act. He will negotiate the differences in the version passed by the House and that passed by the Senate. According to his Facebook and Twitter postings, he will work to maintain the House’s $182 million for an expansion project at WPAFB. He also will fight to keep provisions that expedite hiring and help the Air Force Research Lab work with small businesses.
July 5, 6, 7: No comments on Pruitt resignation found.
Major Votes: None
July 2: In an op-ed for the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, “Congress Taking Action to Combat the Growing
Influx of Fentanyl,” Senator Portman promoted his Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention Act or
STOP Act. The bipartisan legislation passed the House in June and the full Senate will vote very soon. It
will help identify and stop synthetics from being shipped (mainly from China) through the US Post Office
to traffickers in the United States.
July 3: In a press release, the Senator announced that on June 29, he introduced the bipartisan Restore Our Parks Act to deal with almost $12 billion of deferred maintenance backlog at the National Park Service. Ohio has $103 million in maintenance backlog for our 8 national parks. Locally, $1.8 million is needed by the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park; almost $2 million is required by Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce.
July 5, 6, 7: No comments on Pruitt resignation found.
July 6: During the holiday week, the Senator toured the new PreventionFirst facility in his home base of Cincinnati. He also held an Opioid Roundtable with local religious leaders, officials, and law enforcement.
July 6: Senator Portman reiterated his opposition to immigrant family separation on Twitter and voiced support for the Keep Families Together & Enforce the Law Act. Also on Twitter, he linked the 213,00 new jobs reported this week to the tax cut and said wages are rising as well. Other reports seem to be contradicting the idea of any meaningful wage increases for Ohioans.
July 6: Senator Portman attended the swearing in ceremony of 73 citizens at the Cincinnati naturalization ceremony and expressed his congratulations to these new Americans.
Major Votes: None
July 2: Senator Brown visited the Life Revitalization Center in Toledo to discuss the shortage of Ohio workers created by the addiction epidemic. He is leading bipartisan legislation to combine federal workforce and job training grants to deal with these shortages. Employers cannot fill jobs right now because workers cannot pass the drug tests. This combining of resources is a provision in the Senate’s Opioid Crises Response Act which is based on his CARE Act.
July 2: In a press release and on Twitter (July 4), the Senator praised the FBI for their arrest of the terror suspect in the Cleveland incident. He said Clevelanders should be grateful to the FBI and all law enforcement for their work on this case and stated that these members of law enforcement are certainly working hard to keep us safe and secure from homegrown terrorists, too.
July 3: As ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs, Senator Brown blasted the Federal Reserve for having private conversations with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and offering them a deal that allows them to maintain their capital payouts and receive “conditional non-objection” stress test grades instead of failing the tests. In a release, as well as on Twitter and Facebook, the Senator said, “In the past, bank stress tests were real stress tests. These days, it is more like a cozy conversation between friends.”
July 5: Senator Brown issued a statement on the Pruitt resignation. (In the past, Senator Brown called for this because of reliable reports of the misuse of taxpayer monies.) In the release, the Senator stated that Pruitt used our dollars to benefit himself while “working to gut Lake Erie cleanup & the Renewable Fuel Standard.” Many Ohio jobs depend on these programs. He emphasized that Pruitt should never have been confirmed in the first place.
July 6: The Senator led a bipartisan group in writing a letter to the CDC calling for the Center to furnish better resources and support for medical examiners, coroners, and toxicologists who are involved in and often overwhelmed by the addiction crisis. The letter points to the terrible strain, both physical and emotional, placed on these people. Read the full text of the letter on Senator Brown’s website under Press Releases.
July 6: Senator Brown, co-chair of the House & Senate Joint Select Committee on Pensions. announced that he and Committee Member Senator Portman will host a hearing at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus
on Friday, July 13, on “Understanding What’s at Stake for Current Workers and Retirees.” The meeting is in the Richard H. Finan Hearing Room 126 at 2:00 p.m. The members of Congress will hear from workers and retirees affected by a pension crisis that will involve 1.3 million Americans and thousands of small businesses. Ohio pensions nearing bankruptcy without Congressional action include Central States Teamsters Pension Plan, The United Mine Workers Pension Plan, Ironworkers Local 17 Pension Plan, the
Ohio Southwest Carpenters Pension Plan, and Bakers and Confectioners Pension Plan. Check out Brown’s website for further information. Any solution the Committee produces would be guaranteed an expedited Senate vote without amendments.
- Congressional Report: June 25 – June 29, 2018 July 12, 2018 @ 10:20 am
This week Rep. Turner voted “yea” on five bills that passed: HR 299 (Blue Navy Vietnam Veterans Act); HR 5783 (Cooperate with Law Enforcement Agencies and Watch Act); HR 4294 (Prevention of Private Information Dissemination Act of 2017); HR 2083 (Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Act); and HR 5841 (Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act).
Rep. Turner also voted “yea” on HR 6136 (Border Security and Immigration Reform Act). This “more moderate” bill would have provided money for the border wall and protection for DACA recipients; however, HR 6136 would have reduced both legal migration and family migration. The bill failed.
At the end of the week, Rep. Turner was appointed to the House delegation that will work with senators to reconcile two versions of the bill to fund defense, the National Defense Authorization Act.
Sen. Portman voted in favor of the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill which passed 86-11. The Senate Farm Bill is less objectionable than the House version but could still limit the number of Ohioans eligible for SNAP benefits.
This week Sen. Portman’s newsletter touts several bipartisan efforts. With Sen. Brown, he secured language in the Energy and Water Appropriations Act which will prohibit the dumping of toxic materials dredged from the Cuyahoga River into Lake Erie.
Ohio’s two senators along with Reps. Turner, Fudge, and Beatty secured land grant status for Central State in an amendment to the Farm Bill.
With senators of both parties, Sen. Portman introduced legislation to partially fund deferred maintenance in our national parks.
Sen. Portman continued to heap praise on the tax bill and spoke to that issue on the floor. He also expressed support for several bills that provide for more defense spending.