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Congressional Report: September 23-September 29, 2018

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.

Senator Portman
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

Major Votes:
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.