Political briefs – Aug. 12


Staff report



Ohio politics


PORTMAN CONTINUES PUSH FOR OVERHAUL OF U.S. TRADE CODE TO SUPPORT OHIO JOBS – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) continued his push for an overhaul of the U.S. tax code to support Ohio jobs. Portman, a member of the Senate Finance Committee and chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), held a business roundtable at Axium Plastics in Johnstown, Ohio to discuss the need for reform with area job creators and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. Gary James, President of Dynalab in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, underscored the urgent need to reform our tax code in order to keep good-paying jobs in Ohio.

Last month, Portman held a PSI hearing to examine the impact of the U.S. tax code on foreign acquisitions of U.S. businesses and the ability of U.S. businesses to expand by acquisition. During his opening remarks, Portman raised concerns over how the tax code negatively impacts American jobs and called for tax reform to keep good-paying jobs in the United States.

“It should be very clear that foreign investment in the United States is essential to economic growth—we want more of it,” said Portman. “But we want a tax code that doesn’t distort ownership decisions by handicapping U.S. businesses—that’s not good for our U.S. economy and that’s what we have today. What’s happening is that the current tax system increasingly drives U.S. businesses into the hands of those best able to reduce their tax liabilities, not necessarily those best equipped to create jobs and increase wages here at home. That is, of course, bad for American workers and bad for our long-term competitiveness as a country.”

WITH NEARLY ONE IN SEVEN OHIO FAMILIES LACKING RELIABLE ACCESS TO FOOD, BROWN CALLS ON USDA TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE TO FOOD BANKS – With nearly one in seven Ohio families lacking reliable access to food, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure that The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) can continue to provide local food banks with commodity foods. In a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Brown and 22 of his Senate colleagues urged him to distribute existing funding through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to purchase additional foods for distribution to food banks in Ohio and across America. TEFAP helps supply low-income senior citizens and families with nutritious commodity foods, including canned fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, beans, pasta, peanut butter, rice, and soups.

“With paychecks failing to keep pace with the rising cost of food, many Ohio families are turning to local food pantries and banks to ensure they don’t go hungry,” said Brown. “But unless USDA provides additional support through The Emergency Food Assistance Program, Ohio food banks could face bare shelves in the face of rising demand. By using existing funding, USDA can purchase additional food for the TEFAP program and help ensure that more Ohio families and children have access to nutritious foods.”

Without any additional purchases of TEFAP commodities by USDA, the funding levels for the program will drop by $78 million in FY2015 from FY2014. Many food banks in Ohio and across the country could face the prospect of seriously depleted food stocks in the coming months if the USDA does not purchase additional commodity foods.

BROWN STATEMENT ON CHINA’S DEVALUATION OF ITS CURRENCY — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement following China’s devaluation of its currency:

“China will stop at nothing to give its exports an unfair advantage in the global marketplace and this devaluation by the Chinese government is concerning. China has committed to allowing its currency to appreciate, and the true test of this commitment is whether the yuan will be allowed to appreciate in the long term. Today’s action comes after a period of appreciation, and it remains to be seen if today’s move is a one-time action or the beginning of prolonged intervention. Given China’s history of currency manipulation, this depreciation must be monitored closely. In addition, the U.S. needs to ensure American businesses and workers have a backstop to fight back against currency manipulation. That means passing our bipartisan bill to punish currency manipulation and demanding rigorous currency disciplines in TPP, which China may seek to join at a later date.”

Brown is one of the lead sponsors of the bipartisan Currency Undervaluation Investigation Act, It would use U.S. trade law to counter the economic harm to U.S. manufacturers caused by currency manipulation, and provide consequences for countries that fail to adopt appropriate policies to eliminate currency misalignment. The bill would require the Commerce Department to treat currency manipulation as an illegal subsidy and impose applicable duties.

Ohio politics
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Staff report

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