Sen. Sherrod Brown News Briefs


Staff Report



Brown meets with Delaware County native, Ohio State University student interning in Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) met with Drew Cooper, a Powell native and senior at The Ohio State University (OSU), where he is studying Public Affairs. Cooper is interning in the Office of Congressman Pat Tiberi (OH-12) in Washington, D.C. this semester as a John Glenn Fellow through OSU’s Washington Academic Internship Program.

“It was an honor meeting Drew,” Brown said. “Exceptional students like Drew exemplify the intelligence and drive fostered at Ohio colleges and universities.”

John Glenn Fellows spend a semester in Washington, D.C. exploring public policy in their individual academic interest areas. Participants receive academic credit for completion of an internship, a policymaking and public service course, and a policy paper developed through a research seminar. The Washington Academic Internship Program is run by OSU’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs and is open to all majors.

Office of Senator Brown Added to Farm Bill Listening Session

Farmers at Wilmington Meeting Will Speak Out and Hear from Ag Experts

COLUMBUS – The office of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown will be sending staff to the Ohio Farmers Union Farm Bill Listening Session in Wilmington. Brown is the first Ohio member of the Senate Agriculture Committee in decades. Attendees will hear his office’s perspective on the upcoming Farm Bill.

BROWN STATEMENT ON THE RESIGNATION OF SEBASTIAN GORKA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement following reports that Sebastian Gorka has resigned from the White House:

“White House staffers like Sebastian Gorka and Steve Bannon have emboldened hate groups like the white nationalists and neo-Nazis that descended on Charlottesville. These are not Ohio values. Sebastian Gorka – and all who share his extremist views – have no place in the White House.”

ICYMI: OHIO STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT MANUFACTURING THROUGH CAMPS ORGANIZED BY BROWN’S OFFICE

Brown Has Teamed Up with Local Manufacturers, Schools for Past Five Summers to Help Students Learn about Manufacturing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the fifth year in a row, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) teamed up with local manufacturers, plants, community partners and schools to host 18 Summer Manufacturing Camps where young Ohioans learned about Ohio’s manufacturing sector. Campers visited local manufacturers, toured plants, and worked with their peers on hands-on projects specific to their communities. Brown’s office started organizing summer manufacturing camps in 2013, and since then, the number of camps throughout the state has grown every year. This year, Brown’s office helped organize 18 camps in 16 counties.

“Manufacturing is one of our state’s most important industries, but too often, our companies can’t find workers with the right skills, while our students don’t realize all the opportunities available to them,” said Brown. “We need today’s Ohio students to realize all the potential careers they could have in Ohio manufacturing, and that’s why, for five years now, my office has put on summer manufacturing camps for 4th through 8th graders across Ohio. I’m proud we were able to do the same this year. ”

Brown’s office organized Summer Manufacturing Camps in Athens, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Fulton, Guernsey, Jackson, Jefferson, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Muskingum, Ross, Tuscarawas, Stark, Washington and Wood Counties.

Here’s what they are saying about this year’s camps:

Cuyahoga County

Crain’s Cleveland: Summer camps could be start for future in manufacturing

“‘The Mahoning Valley is really strong in manufacturing,’ said Lisa Long, associate director of OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology in Youngstown.

“But manufacturers can’t find enough skilled people. To that end, OH WOW! has been holding manufacturing camps in the region for the past five years, with the support of Brown’s office.

“The camps help students learn what they’re interested in, Long said. That may lead to jobs down the line, which could help them and the community.”

Fulton County

Napoleon Northwest Signal: Maker-Facturing Camp at NSCC

“Sessions included 3-D printing, where students made fidget spinners; safety basics; coding; welding, where students made office caddies; making slime; learning about snap circuits and small robotics; leaning about entrepreneurship; using hand tools to disassemble a variety of items such as vacuums, washers and microwaves; going on a tour of the Sauder Woodworking Wood Funeral Procuts Division and working on LEGO robots.

“Students also received a certificate from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, at the completion of the camp.”

Geauga County

WVIZ: Camps Tout Careers in Manufacturing (Video)

“Ohio has a long history as a manufacturing state.

“But to continue the tradition, the next generation needs to be ready and equipped to perform in the fast-changing manufacturing sector where today’s factories are cleaner and more dependent on technology than most of us yet imagine.

“U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown has been working with educators, industry groups and economic development agencies throughout the state to help youngsters in grades four through eight learn about manufacturing careers in the 21st century.”

Jackson County

Jackson County Times-Journal: Jackson County students to begin three-day summer manufacturing camp

“This learning opportunity gives local students in grades four through six the opportunity to learn about careers in their community, tour local manufacturing facilities, and learn from experts. Students learn how products are made, participate in team-building exercises, and work on a project specific to their community.

“Brown’s office started organizing summer manufacturing camps in 2013, and since then, the number of camps throughout the state has grown every year. This year, Brown’s office will help organize 18 camps in 16 counties.”

Jefferson County

Steubenville Herald-Star: Wanted: Campers to learn modern manufacturing

“‘This is a great opportunity for young people to see manufacturing jobs up close and personal and give them another option when they are considering a future career. The summer manufacturing camp is an ideal investment in our youth and I urge parents and grandparents to consider the camp for their young ones,’ said Steubenville Mayor Domenick Mucci.”

Lake County

WKYC: Possible U | Summer camp introduces local students to manufacturing careers (Video)

“The words ‘summer camp’ probably conjures imagines of hiking, fishing, tents and s’mores, but a new camp for kids is focused more on hardwiring electronics and designing products on a 3D printer.

“The Summer Manufacturing Institute kicked off on Monday, and the five-day camp gives students a taste of what a career in manufacturing might be like.

“‘It’s just so cool,” said sixth-grader Evan Lindic. ‘I’ve already built a speaker and had tons of fun with it, seen a laser cutter cut plastic into little name tags, and a UV printer write my name on those little plastic tags!’

“Auburn Career Center has partnered with Senator Sherrod Brown’s office, Ohio Means Jobs Geauga, and the Alliance for Toward Working Together Foundation to create this summer camp that allows kids to design, wire and build their own portable boombox speakers, electro-magnets, and simple motors.”

Lorain County

Lorain Morning Journal: LCCC hosts manufacturing, Firefish STEAM camps

“‘Ohioans are proud of our state’s long manufacturing history,’ Brown said. ‘To keep up that tradition, we must get a new generation interested in our changing manufacturing sector.’

“‘That’s what these camps are all about. These camps are helping students around Ohio learn about manufacturing jobs right here in Ohio and the opportunities our manufacturing sector has created for their parents and grandparents.’

“Perch added Brown’s support has been instrumental as a strong advocate of programs supporting the inclusion of women and girls in the trades and manufacturing technology where they have been traditionally underrepresented.”

Muskingum County

WHIZ: Manufacturing Camp

“Zane State College held their annual Guernsey and Muskingum County Summer Manufacturing Camps these last two weeks to teach and show students what manufacturing plants have to offer. Senator Sherrod Brown’s office started these camps in 2013 and Guernsey started participating four years ago, while Muskingum County started participating three years ago.

“‘Senator [Sherrod Brown] said manufacturing is very important to the state of Ohio, it’s important to the world, but of course very important to our state,’ Tech Prep Coordinator Katie Good said. ‘It’s one of those things we really need to create more awareness around the manufacturing that’s available in our local area and to show these students that there are good careers that are available at these facilities.’”

Ross

Chillicothe Gazette: Manufacturing camp bolsters career interests

“Fun and the chance to spend some time over the summer learning about manufacturing careers were the centerpieces of Ross County’s version of the three-day summer manufacturing camps being sponsored across the state by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.

“The camps, which locally brought the involvement of the United Way’s Map Your Future program, Pickaway-Ross and several area businesses, targeted kids in grades 5 through 8 and are part of the growing movement to expose students to a variety of career paths at younger ages.

“‘A lot of the stuff today will be about thinking like an engineer,’ Kiger said on Wednesday’s final day of camp. ‘The process of manufacturing always starts with an engineer and they’ve learned how the different processes go, how many people are involved in the manufacturing process from the engineer to the final product.’

“‘The best thing from this is getting kids at a younger age thinking about the variety of jobs that exist in manufacturing in this area,’ Kiger said. ‘The partnerships with our business and industry, such as Kenworth, really brings that home that to have a good-paying job, you don’t have to have a bachelor’s degree, there’s a lot of opportunity for those who have a certain set of skills.’”

Tuscarawas County

New Philadelphia Times-Reporter: Manufacturing Camp draws junior-high students for hands-on learning

“The campers were taken on a tour of some of the labs at the company as part of the four-day Tuscarawas County Dale Lauren Foland Manufacturing Camp, which ended Friday. The camp included hands-on projects simulating real-world manufacturing challenges, as well as visits to eight companies and Kent State University at Tuscarawas.

“The camp, first held in 2016, was sparked by a suggestion from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, according to Michael B. Hovan, chief operating officer of Lauren International.

“‘Part of the reason to target kids in the middle school is so they can get a chance to hear a little bit more about what manufacturing is like in Tuscarawas County,’ he said. ‘The county has businesses and jobs associated with manufacturing in some form or fashion as the basis of the entire economy here. And, unfortunately, kids I think have an impression, usually from movies and elsewhere, of what manufacturing is, which usually portrays manufacturing as a dirty, grimy, hot, unpleasant environment that kids immediately assume is not for them, and they go into other things.’”

Wood County

Bowling Green Independent: ‘Making It’ camp builds kids’ interest in manufacturing

“Their assignment was serious: Design a glider that can carry a spectrometer over Lake Erie to identify algal blooms before they reach dangerous levels.

“Their supplies were not so serious: A shoe box, cardboard, duct tape, popsicle sticks, yarn, aluminum foil, Saran wrap and pennies.

“The young engineers were middle school students, mostly from Bowling Green, who signed up last month for a five-day manufacturing camp, called ‘Making It.’ The camp was designed to help Wood County students learn about manufacturing, teamwork and local production facilities.”

BROWN REINFORCES SUPPORT FOR RURAL OHIO, HOSPITALS FOLLOWING RELEASE OF STUDY ON HEALTH DISPARITIES IN APPALACHIA

Appalachian Regional Commission Study Finds Ohio’s Appalachian Region Suffers from Lack of Access to Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) reinforced his support for rural Ohio and hospitals in the region following a new report that found the Appalachian region faces unique health challenges and lack of access to care and doctors.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and the Foundation for Health Kentucky authored the report, Health Disparities in Appalachia. The report compares health indicators of the Appalachian Region to those of the nation as a whole, and found substantial disparities in health outcomes and other health-related factors in Ohio’s Appalachian Region.

“This study reveals what we know is true about the unique health challenges Appalachian Ohioans are facing,” said Brown. “From finding doctors in the area to increasing wages and household income, there is more work to be done to get Ohioans access to the health care they need. We must continue to invest in this region through sources like the Appalachian Regional Commission and Rural Development program, so that we can improve the livelihoods of Ohioans in the Appalachian Region.”

Key report findings for Appalachian Ohio include:

· Higher Rate of Cancer Deaths: Appalachian Ohio’s cancer mortality rate is 15 percent higher than the national rate and five percent higher than that of non-Appalachian Ohio.

· Lack of Primary and Specialty Physicians: The supply of primary care physicians in Appalachian Ohio is 25 percent lower than the national average, and 30 percent lower than the average in non-Appalachian Ohio. Supply of specialty physicians in Appalachian Ohio is 60 percent lower than the national average, and 65 percent lower than the average in non-Appalachian Ohio.

· Lower Median Household Income: The median household income in Appalachian Ohio is 22 percent lower than the national median, and 15 percent less than the median income in non-Appalachian Ohio.

In July, Brown released a report outlining devastating impacts repealing the Affordable Care Act would have had on rural communities in the Appalachian Region, including health care coverage loss, hospital closures, job loss and cuts to opioid and substance abuse treatment services.

Brown has pushed to expand resources to Ohio’s Appalachian Region, and helped secure federal funds for research, infrastructure and economic development projects across the Appalachian Region. In March, Brown blasted President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) entirely, citing the need to stimulate local economies, provide job training, expand broadband access in rural areas, and support for local infrastructure projects.

In the 2014 Farm Bill, Brown supported a strong Rural Development title. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development grants fund everything from building hospitals, to combatting opioids, to wastewater treatment infrastructure.

BROWN STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF OHIO NATIVE PETTY OFFICER JACOB DRAKE

CLEVELAND, OH – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement following reports that the U.S. Navy has recovered the body of Petty Officer Jacob Drake, a native of Champaign County.

“Petty Officer Drake’s passing is heartbreaking news for Ohio and for our nation. Connie and I join the Champaign County community in prayers of peace and comfort for Jacob’s friends and family, as we commit to honor his memory and the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country.”

BROWN BLASTS RULING TO DENY OVERTIME PAY FOR 130,000 OHIO WORKERS

Senator: Acosta Must Appeal Today’s Ruling, Make Good on Promise to Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) blasted a Texas court ruling that will deny 130,000 Ohioans a raise they were promised and called on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to appeal the ruling.

Brown worked with the Obama Administration to raise the overtime threshold, but today’s ruling eliminates the new threshold, which would have given 130,000 Ohioans and 4.2 million Americans a raise.

“These workers aren’t asking for a handout – they are working 50 to 60 hours a week and aren’t getting paid for it. That’s wrong,” said Brown. “Overtime pay has been out of date for years, and it’s past time workers’ paychecks reflect the hours they work. This decision is a huge disappointment to millions of workers who were promised a raise and their families. I call on President Trump and Secretary Acosta to make good on the President’s campaign promise to fight for workers and appeal the ruling.”

The original rule, announced in May 2016 by Brown and Vice President Biden in Columbus, would ensure overtime for all workers earning less than $47,476 a year. The $47,476 threshold was set after months of public comment and compromise with employers to address their concerns. Some employers, including Kroger and PNC Financial in Ohio, have moved forward with implementing the rule for their employees even though it was tied up in courts. Prior to the rule’s announcement in May 2016, the threshold applied only to people earning less than $23,660 annually and had not been updated to account for inflation. Today’s ruling means the $23,660 threshold remains in effect.

Brown’s work to update federal overtime policies is part of his broader efforts to restore the value of work so Ohioans’ work will pay off once again. His plan would restore the value of work by:

1. Raising workers’ wages and benefits

2. Giving workers more power in the workplace

3. Making it possible for more workers to save for retirement

4. Encouraging more companies to invest in their workforces

BROWN DELIVERS WEEKLY DEMOCRATIC ADDRESS AHEAD OF LABOR DAY

“Hard work isn’t paying off the way it used to… . People earn less, people can’t save for retirement, and people feel less stable – all while working harder and producing more than ever before… . Democrats are fighting to make your hard work pay off once again. We have proposals to raise wages and benefits, to make it easier for workers to save for retirement, to give workers more power in the workplace, and to encourage companies to invest in their greatest asset – you, the American worker.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of Labor Day, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown delivered the weekly Democratic Address from Cleveland. Brown calls for policies to raise wages and benefits for American workers, make it easier for workers to save for retirement, give workers more power in their workplaces and encourage companies to invest in workers. Brown points out that while GDP, corporate profits and executive salaries have gone up over the last 40 years, workers’ wages have stagnated or declined and hard work isn’t paying off the way it should. In March, Brown released a detailed plan for restoring the value of hard work in America.

The Weekly Democratic Address is available in both AUDIO AND VIDEO format. You may download the audio of the address HERE and the video of the address HERE.

A full transcript of Brown’s address follows:

Hello, I’m Sherrod Brown.

First, I want to thank all the first responders, national guardsmen and woman and volunteers working tirelessly to protect and comfort those in the path of Hurricane Harvey.

Our hearts break for the families of all those who lost loved ones, including Lt. Nicholas Warren Michael Taylor of Ohio, who was on an Air Force training mission in Texas. According to news reports, Nicholas gave his life trying to bring others to safety.

To all those suffering devastating losses, please know that your fellow Americans stand behind you and we will be here for you as you recover and rebuild.

This Labor Day we honor the men and women who built this country, and who continue to power our economy today – including all those who are critical to hurricane rescue and recovery efforts.

American workers laid down the railroad tracks that move people and products across the country. They toiled in mines, digging the coal that would power our industrial revolution. They forged the steel that built our bridges and skyscrapers. They worked on shop floors, building the cars and trucks and planes that would take our country to new heights. And they built the strongest middle class – and with it, the strongest nation – the world has ever known.

This pin is a canary in a birdcage – a steelworker gave it to me, to remind me of the progress we’ve made for working people.

At the turn of the last century, workers took canaries down into the mines – if the canary stopped singing, it meant there was poisonous gas, and the workers had mere minutes to get out.

Those workers didn’t have a union strong enough or a government that cared enough to protect them.

In the 20th century, we changed that. We passed strong labor laws to protect the rights of workers, unions grew, and millions of Americans worked hard to earn their way to a better life. Our economy grew, and the wages of ordinary Americans grew along with it.

Today, it’s still American workers who power this country. But their hard work isn’t paying off the way it used to.

For far too long, our trade and tax policy has encouraged a corporate business model that shuts down factories in Toledo or Dayton, cashes in on a tax credit at the expense of working Americans, and ships production to Reynosa, Mexico or Wuhan, China, only to sell products back to the United States.

And far too many of the jobs that remain don’t pay enough in wages and benefits to compensate workers for the hours they put in.

Over the last 40 years GDP has gone up, corporate profits have gone up, executive salaries have gone up. But workers haven’t shared in the economic growth they created.

Wall Street has made billions, but the average bank teller only earns about $26,000 a year. And middle managers have seen their benefits cut.

People earn less, people can’t save for retirement, and people feel less stable – all while working harder and producing more than ever before.

This is a universal problem in this country — whether you punch a time sheet or make a salary or earn tips. Whether you’re on payroll, a contract worker or a temp – you’re getting squeezed.

It affects workers behind desks and on factory floors and behind restaurant counters. It’s a problem in the industrial heartland and it’s a problem on the coasts.

Every last one of you is the backbone of the greatest economy in the world, yet you have less and less to show for it.

Democrats are fighting to make your hard work pay off once again.

We have proposals to raise wages and benefits, to make it easier for workers to save for retirement, to give workers more power in the workplace, and to encourage companies to invest in their greatest asset – you, the American worker.

When I was first elected to serve in the Ohio statehouse, I used to spend hours at United Steelworkers Local 169 up in Mansfield.

I talked with workers who stopped in at the hall before or after their shifts. I learned how they made steel and how they built cars. They worked hard. Most of them gladly worked six days for the overtime pay.

They owned – yes, owned – modest homes. They could move up the income ladder and build a better life for their kids at Johnny Appleseed Junior High.

Three decades later, the hopes and desires I hear from Ohioans haven’t really changed. They want the same things as those steelworkers: to be valued for the work they do, to be able to save for the future, to own a home, to take the family on a vacation once in a while, and to build better lives for their children.

What has changed is that people no longer see a path to get there through hard work – and they’re right.

We need to change the way we think about the American economy.

It’s not multinational corporations who drive our economy – it’s American workers and small businesses. We grow the economy from the middle class out. And that’s what Democrats are fighting for.

This Labor Day, let’s celebrate by recommitting ourselves to respecting and valuing hard work.

BROWN, CASSIDY TO PRICE: WORK WITH US TO KEEP AMERICANS HEALTHY

Senators Make Bipartisan Push to Fix Healthcare System

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) are asking Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price to work with them to fix the healthcare system so it keeps people healthy, rather than just treating them when they are sick.

The letter notes that the U.S. lags behind on effectiveness of healthcare – spending more money treating disease than preventing it. The Senators asked Price to form a commission of experts to look at how people get their care and how we can improve the system to keep all Americans healthy, no matter where they live, their race, or their socioeconomic status. The Senators’ bipartisan letter comes as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee holds hearings on stabilizing the healthcare system.

“We spend a lot of money treating people once they are sick, but let’s talk about how we can prevent them from getting sick in the first place,” said Brown. “We should be focusing on breaking down the barriers Ohioans face when it comes to staying healthy, otherwise we will never overcome our fights against addiction or infant mortality.”

“Our goal is to improve health outcomes for all Americans,” said Dr. Cassidy. “It is always better to prevent disease than to treat it on the back end. I say that as a doctor and as a senator.”

Full text of the letter is below.

September 6, 2017

The Honorable Thomas Price

Secretary

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Ave, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Secretary Price:

We write to express our interest in working with you to convene a diverse commission of national health care experts to develop a strategy for improving and advancing our nation’s health care delivery system so that it can effectively meet the needs of all Americans.

In many ways, the United States is the envy of the world when it comes to health care. We are home to the world’s best hospitals, clinicians, and innovators. We lead the world in prioritizing medical research, and we are pioneers in the development of therapies and technologies – the result is that we have both a system of health care education that is among the best in the world and the globe’s preeminent public health watchdog – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, in other ways, our country continues to lag behind others when it comes to health care efficiency and effectiveness. In 2016, we spent more than 18 percent of our national gross domestic product (GDP) on health care, yet we spent more to treat disease than prevent it in the first place. Our system of care delivery is complicated and remains siloed. We struggle to address health disparities that divide us by race, socioeconomic status, and geography, and our public health outcomes are stagnant.

Despite efforts from policy makers, clinicians, and communities to improve the nation’s health and wellbeing within the constraints of our current system, it is time to recognize the need for a new approach to health care delivery in the United States. To that end, we urge you to work with us to convene a diverse group of health care experts, including community health partners, providers, patients, payers, and clinicians that will:

· evaluate our current health care delivery system;

· assess the improvements our nation must make to reduce disparities and deliver the highest quality, most affordable care to all Americans;

· encourage innovation in clinical and community approaches;

· improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities; and

· build a thoughtful framework for future health care reforms.

We look forward to working with you to identify innovative thought leaders from around the country to join these discussions and would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss this initiative further.

Sincerely,

United States Senator Sherrod Brown

United States Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D.

HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSES BROWN’S BIPARTISAN BILL TO HELP KEEP FENTANYL OUT OF OHIO, KEEP LAW ENFORCEMENT SAFE

Legislation Would Provide Border Agents with Additional Screening Equipment, Lab Resources to Detect Dangerous Opioid

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The House Homeland Security Committee passed U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) bipartisan legislation to help keep the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl out of Ohio communities and provide border agents and other law enforcement with better equipment to protect themselves from deadly opioids in the field. According to news reports, overdose deaths in Ohio last year rose to 4,050 from 3,050 due in large part to fentanyl overdoses. Brown’s bill now goes to the House floor for passage by the full House.

Several state and national law enforcement organizations, including the Ohio FOP and the Buckeye Sheriff’s Association, have endorsed Brown’s bill. Brown’s bill is also supported by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Brown is supporting Portman’s STOP Act, which is also endorsed by law enforcement. The two bills work together to help block the deadly synthetic opioid from reaching Ohio communities.

“As I meet with law enforcement throughout the state, I see how hard they’re working to keep fentanyl out of Ohio communities,” said Brown. “I urge the House to pass this bill as we continue working to make sure border agents have the resources they need to stop this deadly drug from entering the U.S. in the first place.”

The INTERDICT Act would provide Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with additional hi-tech screening equipment and lab resources to detect fentanyl before it enters the U.S.

Brown’s bill would authorize $15 million for hundreds of new screening devices, laboratory equipment, facilities, and personnel for 24×7 lab support. The money will be used to:

Provide more portable chemical screening devices at ports of entry and mail and express consignment facilities and additional fixed chemical screening devices available in CBP laboratories.

Provide CBP with sufficient resources, personnel, and facilities — including scientists available during all operational hours — to interpret screening test results from the field.

Providing CBP with more screening devices and lab support will not only stop more Fentanyl from coming into the U.S., it will also protect more agents in the field from exposure to dangerous substances.

In May, Brown also wrote to the Department of Justice (DOJ) urging the agency to speed up the distribution of federal funding for the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Grant Program, which provides funding to police departments to train first-responders as they deal with opioid related incidents. The program was created as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which Brown supported. Brown’s letter follows an Ohio police officer’s accidental overdose after coming into contact with the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl in the field.

According to a report from the Ohio Department of Health, fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Ohio more than doubled from 503 in 2014 to 1,155 in 2015.

The following organizations have endorsed Brown’s bill:

Ohio Fraternal Order of Police

National Fraternal Order of Police

Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association

National Sheriff’s Association

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association

National Border Control Council

Former CBP Director (and former head of Office of National Drug Control Policy and Seattle Chief of Police) – Gil Kerlikowske

Police Addiction And Recovery Initiative (PAARI)

National Tactical Officers Association

Major County Sheriffs of America

National Association of Police Organizations, Inc.

National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition

Sergeant’s Benevolent Association

Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative

Major Cities Chiefs Association

International Union of Police Associations

BROWN, DURBIN LAY DOWN MARKER ON TAX REFORM WITH PAIR OF BILLS TO ENCOURAGE COMPANIES TO INVEST IN AMERICAN WORKERS

Senators’ Bills Would Reward Companies that Keep Jobs in U.S., Pay Workers Well, Create Corporate Freeloader Fee to Reimburse Taxpayers when Mega-Corporations Force Taxpayers to Subsidize Wages

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced a pair of bills to encourage corporations to invest in their workers and lay down a marker that American workers must be a priority in upcoming negotiations over reforming the tax code.

1. The Patriot Employers Tax Credit would reward employers who keep jobs in the United States and pay workers well – encouraging them to create even more good-paying jobs in the U.S.

2. The Corporate Freeloader Fee would require corporations that pay workers so little that their workers are forced onto government assistance programs to reimburse taxpayers for the cost.

“I want to cut taxes for working families and for businesses that support good-paying American jobs – not multinational corporations that ship our jobs overseas or squeeze American workers. Tax reform must put American workers first,” said Brown, who is introducing the bills as part of his plan to make hard work pay off.

“I’m proud to join Senator Brown on these bills, which will reward and encourage businesses to exemplify American values and treat workers fairly. America should support companies that invest in their workers by providing fair wages, health insurance, and retirement benefits, and we need to make sure that the companies who don’t provide a living wage to their employees don’t stick taxpayers with the bill,” Durbin said. “In a time of tight budgets, we should reserve tax credits for the companies that do the most to help workers and our economy here at home.”

The Patriot Employers Tax Credit would create a tax credit for companies that maintain U.S. headquarters, pay workers an hourly wage of $15 per hour, and provide workers with adequate healthcare and retirement options. The bill also requires employers to make up the difference in regular and military compensation for National Guard and Reserve employees who are called for active duty. The tax credit equals 10 percent of the first $15,000 of wages earned by each employee.

The Corporate Freeloader Fee applies only to mega-corporations who file at least $100,000 in payroll taxes with the IRS daily for at least 180 days straight. It would not apply to Ohio small businesses. The Corporate Freeloader Fee levies a fee based on the number of employees at a company who earn less than 218 percent of the federal poverty rate for an individual, or $26,250 in 2017. The fee increases as the percentages of a company’s workforce who earn less than a living goes up. Companies can reduce fees by providing healthcare benefits and making contributions to employee retirement plans.

Brown and Durbin have also introduced legislation to crack down on corporations who ship jobs overseas. The Pay What You Owe Before You Go Act would require corporations who want to shift their headquarters overseas for tax purposes to pay their full U.S. tax bill on all deferred overseas profits before reincorporating in a new country. The Stop Corporate Inversions Act would close a tax loophole that allows U.S. companies to acquire smaller foreign companies and move their tax home to a foreign jurisdiction as part of the overall transaction to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

O-H UPDATE: CENTRAL OHIO

This spring, I hosted a series of roundtable conversations around the state on topics ranging from healthcare to job creation. While these roundtables produced lots of good discussions, two topics stood out: combating the opioid epidemic and growing local jobs.

First, we know that the opioid addiction epidemic takes far too many lives and destroys too many families across Ohio.

One of the biggest culprits of the deadly overdoses on the rise in our state is the drug fentanyl. To prevent the flow of this deadly illegal drug into the country and into our Ohio communities, I have joined senators from both parties to introduce the bipartisan INTERDICT Act.

The INTERDICT Act will provide more resources directly to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), so that agents can scan shipments for fentanyl and other dangerous synthetic substances at the border, and stop these drugs from making it into our neighborhoods. Senator Portman is supporting this legislation, and I’m supporting Senator Portman’s STOP Act, which would work with my bill to keep fentanyl out of Ohio. Both bills have been endorsed by law enforcement.

In every community I visit, when the opioid crisis comes up, heads start to nod and eyes start to well up. I don’t think there is a community in Ohio that hasn’t been affected by opioid addiction.

While we work to provide the necessary resources for Ohio communities to combat the opioid epidemic, at the same time we must also work to strengthen local economies.

I’ve held roundtables with workers across Ohio to get their input and hear what future trade policy should look like. Using input from these roundtables, I sent a letter to President Trump outlining a strategy for renegotiating NAFTA to secure the best deal for Ohio workers. The plan has four key parts, including new strategies that the U.S. hasn’t used in past trade deal negotiations.

American jobs shouldn’t be up for negotiation, and American workers can’t be traded away as bargaining chips. By setting high standards, putting workers ahead of corporations, and refusing to compromise on outsourcing, we can create the best possible deal for all American workers.

One of my most important jobs as your senator is listening. The best ideas don’t come out of Washington – they come out of conversations and roundtables across Ohio. Hearing what you are seeing in your communities – what’s working, what’s not, what new issues come up – will be critical to how Congress moves forward from here.

Sincerely,

Signature

Sherrod Brown

United States Senator

Sen. Brown speaks to the audience of a small business workshop co-hosted by Facebook and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

With so much commerce taking place online these days, it’s critical we give Ohio small businesses the tools they need to compete. In June, Sen. Brown kicked off a small business workshop in Columbus, co-hosted by Facebook and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. The workshop connected small businesses in central Ohio with important tools to build their online presence in order to grow their business and create jobs. Sen. Brown talked with Columbus Chamber President Don DePerro about the importance of small businesses in a Facebook Live discussion and provided opening remarks at the event. A Facebook small business expert discussed resources available to small businesses to boost business by using technology to connect to customers. Workshop participants also heard from a panel of local small businesses and had the opportunity to meet with other central Ohio small businesses. By connecting Ohio entrepreneurs with Facebook experts, we can help Ohio businesses grow and continue to create jobs.

Championing Marion’s Nucor Plant Expansion

“I have no doubt the steelworkers at Nucor Marion are the reason Nucor Corporation made this significant investment,” said Sen. Brown.

Ohio steelworkers are the best at what they do, turning out tons of steel each year to support a number of industries and Ohio’s economy. In March, Sen. Brown applauded news that Nucor Corporation will invest $85 million in Nucor Steel Marion’s steel bar mill. The mill recently celebrated its 100th year of making steel and is the largest producer of rebar and signpost in Ohio. Sen. Brown has long championed stronger trade enforcement and met with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to discuss how Sen. Brown can work with the Commerce Department and President Trump to aggressively enforce trade law and boost Ohio’s steel industry. Sen. Brown secured a commitment from Secretary Ross to visit Ohio and see the impact of failed trade policy on Ohio workers firsthand. Sen. Brown’s legislation, the Leveling the Playing Field Act, cosponsored by Sen. Portman, led to key wins for Ohio steel companies, including Nucor, in major trade cases last year on cold-rolled, hot-rolled, and corrosion-resistant steel.

Hearing from Central Ohio Workers on Fixing Unfair Trade Practices

Sen. Brown talks with central Ohio workers about how to fix broken trade policies.

In May, Sen. Brown convened a roundtable with central Ohio workers at the Carpenters and Joiners Local 200 Union Hall in Columbus to hear from Ohio workers about trade practices that have harmed workers. Sen. Brown sought feedback as he looks to work with President Trump to rewrite U.S. trade policy. Immediately after President Trump’s election, Sen. Brown reached out to President Trump’s transition team to offer his help on retooling U.S. trade policy. Sen. Brown held a series of roundtables with Ohio workers this spring to get their input on what the priorities should be for renegotiated trade deals. Sen. Brown is ready to work with President Trump to deliver on his promises, or to hold him accountable if he doesn’t.

Honoring the Legacy of Rabbi Abraham Heschel at Columbus Interfaith Event

Sen. Brown speaks at an interfaith event honoring Rabbi Abraham Heschel, a civil rights activist who worked closely with Dr. King.

After fleeing persecution, Rabbi Abraham Heschel took it upon himself to courageously speak out for social justice, civil rights, and tolerance for people of all races and religions. In May, Sen. Brown spoke at an interfaith event honoring the legacy of Rabbi Heschel, a social activist who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other prominent civil rights activists. During his speech, Sen. Brown announced his intention to work with colleagues in Congress to introduce legislation to award Rabbi Heschel the Congressional Gold Medal. Last year, Sen. Brown led a group of bipartisan senators in urging President Obama to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rabbi Heschel for his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement, his leadership on interfaith dialogue, his theological scholarship, and his role as a public intellectual. Rabbi Heschel’s uncompromising social activism continues to serve as a model for us today, and awarding Rabbi Heschel the Congressional Gold Medal is a fitting honor for his important legacy.

Sponsoring Franklin County Student to Serve as Senate Page

In May, Sen. Brown announced that Sydney Ward, a Canal Winchester resident and a junior at Eastmoor Academy High School, was selected to be a Capitol Hill page. Pages have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and see their government in action with responsibilities ranging from delivering correspondence to senators to helping prepare the floor for the legislative workday. Dating back to the 19th Century, the Senate Page Program has developed into one of the nation’s most rewarding public service programs for students. Interested students can find more information on the page program by contacting Sen. Brown’s office.

Sen. Brown is committed to helping Ohio constituents

Sen. Brown is committed to assisting Ohioans who have encountered difficulties with federal matters. Ohioans can call Sen. Brown’s state offices and work directly with a constituent services representative to obtain information or resolve an issue they are having with a federal agency. Common areas of inquiry include: Social Security and Medicare benefits, veterans’ benefits, military service issues, passport or visa problems, housing matters, IRS issues, and more.

For example, a central Ohio constituent contacted Sen. Brown’s office seeking her father’s military records and medals. Sen. Brown’s office contacted the National Personnel Records Center on her father’s behalf. While the original records were destroyed in a fire, the agency reconstructed the father’s information and was able to secure six medals and awards for the constituent.

Central Ohioans can contact Sen. Brown’s office by calling (614) 469-2083.

Senator Tells Senate Panel: Tax Reform Must Cut Taxes for Middle-Class Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) spoke out against efforts to the tax retirement savings of middle-class families today, promising “one hell of a fight” during a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee.

Brown is responding to reports that Washington Republicans are looking at cuts to Social Security and Medicare as well as new taxes on retirement savings accounts that would reduce workers’ take home pay in order to pay for massive tax cuts for Wall Street.

“You’ve got to be kidding me: their two best ideas to pay for massive tax cuts for Wall Street are to cut Medicare and raise the retirement age for Social Security to 70 and then steal from the retirement accounts of working, middle class Americans?” Brown told the panel. “If the President and Congressional Republicans want to work together with us to build a tax code that puts more money in the pockets of working Americans and reward employers that keep jobs in the U.S. we are there. Democrats want to work together. But if Senator McConnell decides to follow the same template of healthcare – where a handful of white men met behind closed doors to write a bill designed by special interests lobbyists – he’s going to have one hell of a fight on his hands.”

The latest proposal, known as ‘rothification,’ would take away the freedom Americans currently have to choose the retirement savings plan that works best for them. Instead, it would force everyone into a Roth account. Unlike 401ks or IRA retirement savings plans many Ohioans currently use, savings in Roth accounts are taxed up front – reducing workers’ take home pay and making it more expensive for Ohioans to save for retirement.

Roth plans are also more expensive for employers to offer and would make it harder for Ohio small businesses to provide retirement plans for their employees.

Later today, Brown will lead a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, White House Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn and House and Senate leaders demanding tax reform not include new taxes on retirement savings of middle-class families.

BROWN APPLAUDS BIPARTISAN PROPOSAL TO SECURE FIVE-YEAR EXTENSION FOR CHILDREN’S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM

CHIP Covers More Than 209,000 Ohio Children

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded a bipartisan deal to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known as Healthy Start in Ohio, for five years. The deal was struck by bipartisan leaders of the Senate Finance Committee on which Brown sits. It will still have to be taken up and passed by the full Senate.

“The families I met this month shared their stories about why CHIP matters so much to families like theirs,” said Brown. “I’m proud of the committee’s bipartisan effort to extend funding for five more years, give these families peace of mind, and to protect healthcare for Ohio children across the state. This bipartisan cooperation is how Congress is supposed to work, and I’m hopeful the full Senate will move quickly to get the job done for Ohio families.”

Earlier this month, Brown met with families in Cincinnati and Cleveland to call on Congress to pass a five-year extension of CHIP. Both the Ohio Department of Medicaid and the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association have written in support of a five-year extension.

CHIP, which was created in 1997, is a joint state-federal health insurance program for low to moderate income children and pregnant women who are not Medicaid eligible. Within three years of its initial passage, all 50 states opted into the program, providing millions with access to health insurance. Nationwide, CHIP provides access to comprehensive, affordable coverage to more than eight million children and Healthy Start helps cover more than 209,000 Ohioans.

Brown led efforts in the Senate to protect CHIP and Healthy Ohio and the vital coverage they provide children and pregnant women nationwide. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 extended funding for CHIP for two years, through September of 2017.

Earlier this year, Brown secured a commitment from Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to work with Brown on extending CHIP.

Brown was the lead sponsor of the Protecting and Retaining Our Children’s Health Insurance Program (PRO-CHIP) Act of 2015 in the Senate, which would have extended the program through 2019.

BROWN, KHANNA AIM TO PUT MONEY BACK IN POCKETS OF WORKERS

Bill Would Expand Earned Income Tax Credit, Take Aim at Predatory Payday Loans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced joint legislation in the Senate and House that would give working families a much-deserved wage boost to compensate for 40 years of wage stagnation.

The Grow American Incomes Now (GAIN) Act would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) so that more working families and childless workers are eligible to receive it. It would also let workers claim a one-time advance EITC payment so workers don’t have to turn to predatory, expensive payday loans.

“Americans are working longer hours, but too many aren’t seeing that hard work reflected in their pay. And worse – our tax system can actually tax workers into poverty. That’s not how we grow our middle class or our economy,” said Brown, who is introducing the bills as part of his plan to make hard work pay off again. “Updating the EITC will make sure all workers can keep more of the money they earned for their work.”

“The EITC is already proven at lifting people out of poverty. By strengthening it to reach more families and individuals, it can have a lasting impact on our economy,” said Khanna. “In today’s age of automation and globalization, where work is sometimes seasonal and hours are often curtailed, this bill provides every hard-working American with a fair income for their labor.”

The GAIN Act roughly doubles the EITC for working families and increases the credit for childless workers almost sixfold. Under the proposal, the maximum tax credit available increases to $12,131 for families with three or more qualifying children; $10,783 with two qualifying children; $6,528 with one qualifying child; and $3,000 with no qualifying children. Currently, a family of three can receive a maximum credit of $6,318 and someone with no children can receive at most a $510 tax credit.

The proposed EITC expansion would also be phased out at higher income levels and remain fully refundable. It would allow for a worker with no children who makes up to $37,113 annually to still be eligible to receive the tax credit and covers a family with three or more children making up to $75,940 a year to receive the EITC. The current maximum qualifying income to receive the EITC is $15,010 for childless workers and $48,340 for families with three or more children.

The bill also recognizes many Americans live paycheck to paycheck and includes a provision that would provide an Early Refund EITC as an alternative to payday loans and other predatory lending products, which typically carry exorbitant fees and charges. Payday loans are generally made to individuals who are working and often eligible for the EITC. The average payday loan is about $375. This provision of the bill aims to breaks the cycle of debt by offering workers to annually claim a one-time, $500 advance on the EITC for the following taxable year. The bill also lowers the qualifying age for the EITC from 25 years old to 21 years old.

The value of hard work has declined in the United States, with wages and benefits declining or stagnating. This spring, Brown unveiled a proposal aimed at increasing the value of work so all workers can share in the wealth they create. Brown wants to increase access to and the value of the EITC and CTC so all eligible workers can keep more of the money they’ve earned.

Brown has also introduced the Working Families Tax Relief Act to expand access to and the value of the EITC and Child Tax Credit (CTC), and to ensure that no worker can be taxed into poverty by the federal tax system. In the year-end tax package in 2015, Brown helped secure a permanent expansion of the EITC and CTC.

Brown has been a leader in the Senate on expanding the EITC program, and worked to make the program permanent through the tax extenders package in 2015. Over several years leading up to 2015, Brown successfully worked with Republicans to ensure that the 2015 tax extenders package would not include business tax cuts without making EITC permanent. For just as long, Senator Brown has been working on efforts to provide working families with access to small-dollar advance EITC payments.

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Staff Report