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Congressional Report: August 14 – August 18, 2018

Note: 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: None

Other Activity: None

Senator Portman

Major Votes: None

Other Activity

8/15: 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.

Senator Brown

Major Votes: None

Other Activity

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.”