Political briefs – July 29

Staff report


BROWN HELPS END PARTISAN FILIBUSTER OF EXPORT-IMPORT BANK RENEWAL – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – helped advance an amendment that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank through September 2019, overcoming a partisan filibuster. The Senate will vote later this week on passage of the amendment, which was offered to an underlying transportation bill.

“The Export-Import Bank is one of the best tools we have to help Ohio businesses grow, create jobs, and compete abroad. It makes money for the U.S. government at no cost to taxpayers,” Brown said. “Ex-Im has a tradition of bipartisan support, but it’s become a litmus test for politicians and special interests that care more about ideology than looking out for America’s workers, exporters, and manufacturers. Congress needs to renew the Ex-Im Bank to ensure that American businesses and workers can compete with our foreign competitors on a level playing field.”

Congress had extended the Ex-Im Bank’s charter 16 times with bipartisan support, but this year it allowed the charter to expire on June 30, ending the bank’s authority to issue new loans, insurance, and credit guarantees. Unless Congress renews the bank’s charter, export-related American jobs will be put at risk, and businesses in Ohio and nationwide will lose a critical tool for selling their products in the global marketplace.

PORTMAN INTRODUCES AMENDMENT GIVING STATES CONTROL OF THEIR OWN FEDERAL HIGHWAY FUNDS — U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced that he has offered his State Transportation Flexibility Act as an amendment to the highway legislation currently before the Senate. Portman’s amendment will allow state transportation departments to opt out of the Federal-Aid Highway and Mass Transit programs and direct more gas tax revenues into priority road and bridge projects. This will give these states the freedom to manage and spend the gas tax revenue collected within their states on transportation projects without federal mandates, while ensuring that the current Interstate System is maintained by the states.

““The one-size-fits-all approach to highway funding isn’t working, and by returning power to the states, we can put transportation funding on a sustainable path,” Portman stated. “I’m pleased to offer this amendment which will help to ensure high priority road and bridge projects, such as the Brent Spence Bridge in my hometown of Cincinnati, are completed by giving states the freedom to use highway revenue how they see fit and reducing federal regulations that slow down progress.”

The State Transportation Flexibility Act will put transportation on a path toward fiscal stability and give states the flexibility they need to innovate and better align transportation projects with their state and local needs.

BROWN CALLS ON DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO PROTECT STUDENTS ATTENDING FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES – As student advocates protest outside ITT Technical Institute’s annual shareholder meeting today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is calling on the Department of Education (ED) to take a proactive role in protecting students attending for-profit colleges. In a letter to ED Secretary Arne Duncan, Brown urged the Department to develop a more effective strategy for dealing with the bad actors in the for-profit education industry and minimizing the potential harm to taxpayers.

“When certain for-profit education companies are forced to shut down, it unfairly leaves students and taxpayers paying for their mistakes,” Brown said. “Several for-profit education companies, including ITT Technical Institute, have engaged in deceptive practices and are in a financially precarious position. The Department of Education must take steps to limit student and taxpayer exposure to predatory and unstable for-profit colleges.”

In May, Corinthian Colleges, Inc., a for-profit education company subject to multiple state and federal investigations regarding fraud and misconduct shuttered after declaring bankruptcy. This left Corinthian Colleges, Inc. students with billions of dollars in loans from an institution that granted degrees of questionable value. In his letter, Brown noted that ITT, along with several other for-profit education companies, is also experiencing financial struggles and is subject to state and federal investigations.


Staff report