Column: Give Ohio’s two senators credit for jobs well done


Despite being political opposites, Brown, Portman able to find common ground

Among all the bitterness and name-calling and lying and opinion-shaping comments coming out of Washington the past 30 years or so, it’s nice to see two Ohio senators — who philosophically could not be more different — joining forces for the good of all Ohio residents.

This was a good week for Ohio, thanks in part to Sen. Rob Portman and Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Brown, a democrat from Mansfield and the Cleveland area, along with Portman, a republican from the Cincinnati, have had their hands in another of important developments that benefit Ohio residents.

Protecting Lake Erie and the Great Lakes

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that the spending bill released (Thursday) night includes language to prohibit the Army Corps of Engineers from dumping toxic material dredged from the Cuyahoga River shipping channel into Lake Erie without the approval from the State of Ohio. The bill also includes language requiring the Corps to make every effort to release its Chief’s Report for Brandon Road Study by February 2019, which Senators Brown and Portman have repeatedly asked of the Corps. This report is crucial to ensuring that Asian Carp do not enter the Great Lakes and threaten the Great Lakes’ $7 billion fishing industry. The measure is expected to pass this week. Together, Brown and Portman have fought to hold the Corps to its obligation to dredge the channel, which is critical to local jobs and businesses along Lake Erie.

“Efforts to slash funding for GLRI were met again with fierce opposition from all the Ohioans who rely on Lake Erie for a job, a source of water or a place to be outside with their families,” said Brown. “I’m glad to continue working with Senator Portman to ensure GLRI has its full strength as communities continue their important work to keep Lake Erie clean.”

“The Great Lakes are an invaluable resource to Ohio, and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been a successful public-private partnership that helps protect both our environment and our economy,” said Portman. “I am pleased that the final bipartisan funding agreement fully funds this critical program, and I will continue to work Senator Brown to protect and preserve Lake Erie and all the Great Lakes.”

Funding to fight Ohio’s opioid crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announced Ohio will be among the first in line to receive opioid funding secured in the omnibus spending package released today. The package also includes $65 million to fund opioid detection devices and equipment called for in Brown’s INTERDICT Act, which President Trump signed into law earlier this year. The devices will help Customs and Border Agents detect and stop dangerous drugs like fentanyl before they enter the U.S.

Congress is expected to pass the spending bill by the end of this week.

“For too long, Ohio communities have been desperate for the federal government to step up and provide the necessary resources to effectively combat the opioid epidemic,” said Brown. “While we know there is more work to be done, this funding is a meaningful step forward for Ohio. By investing in local communities and supporting law enforcement through the INTERDICT Act, we can better address the opioid crisis in our state.”

Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) announced today that the final FY 2018 appropriations bill includes approximately $3 billion in new funding to help combat the opioid epidemic, including more funding for evidence-based programs authorized by Portman’s Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) in 2016. He issued the following statement:

“This is good news for Ohio and good news for the millions of Americans who continue to struggle with addiction. One of our goals in introducing CARA 2.0 was to provide appropriators with a road map for how best to increase funding for evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery programs that work. I’m particularly pleased that the bill includes $60 million for states to develop an infant plan of safe care to help newborns exposed to opioids and their families. I’m also pleased that there is $500 million for the National Institutes of Health to further research opioid addiction and new non-addictive pain therapies. ”

Keeping up the fight against human trafficking

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (This week) the Senate passed the bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Brown joined U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) bill to ensure justice for victims of sex trafficking and ensure that websites like Backpage.com, which knowingly facilitate sex trafficking, can be held liable and brought to justice.

“We need to remain vigilant in rooting out human trafficking wherever it occurs,” said Brown. “I’m glad to join Sen. Portman as we pass legislation to bring traffickers to justice — no matter how they commit this heinous crime.”

The bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act would clarify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to ensure that websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking can be held liable so that victims can get justice. This narrowly-crafted legislation offers three reforms to help sex trafficking victims. The bipartisan bill would:

  • Allow victims of sex trafficking to seek justice against websites that knowingly facilitated the crimes against them;
  • Eliminate federal liability protections for websites that knowingly assist, support, or facilitate a violation of federal sex trafficking laws; and
  • Enable state law enforcement officials, not just the federal Department of Justice, to take action against individuals or businesses that violate federal sex trafficking laws.

Brown also introduced the PROTECT Act, which would amend existing human trafficking law to specify that the use of drugs or illegal substances to cause a person to engage in a commercial sex act or forced labor constitutes a form of coercion. The PROTECT Act also contains a provision to protect trafficking victims from prosecution, recognizing that victims are often forced to commit crimes.

Kudos the Brown and Portman. Ohioans are better off thanks to their efforts.

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Despite being political opposites, Brown, Portman able to find common ground

 

Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer

 

 

Email Russ Kent at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com

 

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