Political briefs – Sept. 15


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BROWN, PORTMAN, AND STABENOW: TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP MUST SUPPORT, BOOST U.S. AUTO MANUFACTURING – As negotiators work to finalize text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), urged U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to ensure that the TPP provides a level playing field for U.S. automobile manufacturers and workers.

The TPP is being negotiated between the U.S. and 11 other countries, including major auto producers like Canada, Japan, and Mexico. In the letter to Ambassador Froman, the Senators urge him to negotiate an agreement that holds Japan to its commitment to phase out its tariffs in accordance with the longest staging period, use NAFTA-based rules of origin as a basis for TPP, and include provisions to remove non-tariff barriers, including currency manipulation.

“The auto industry was critical to the nation’s recovery after the Great Recession and is a linchpin in our national economy, with 1.7 million workers and more than $70 billion in annual tax revenues,” wrote the Senators in their letter. “We urge you to negotiate the TPP to support and grow domestic auto manufacturing by including the longest, backloaded tariff phaseouts on cars and trucks, NAFTA-based rules of origin, and provisions to remove non-tariff barriers, including currency manipulation. An agreement that does not include these provisions will give our foreign competitors an even greater unfair advantage and will undermine the future of the U.S. auto industry.”

BROWN ANNOUNCES BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO INCREASE JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE WITH RECORDS AND REDUCE RECIDIVISM – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced the Fair Chance Act – bipartisan legislation to expand job opportunities and reduce recidivism by requiring federal contractors and federal agencies to “ban the box” on job applications. Reforming hiring practices has widespread support from both public and private institutions. Eighteen states, including Ohio, and more than 100 cities and counties have already begun to implement fair chance hiring practices that prevent job applicants from being asked about prior convictions until later in the hiring process.

“Fair hiring practices help ensure that people who have served their time can reenter the workforce without continuing to be punished for their past mistakes,” Brown said. “All Americans deserve the chance to earn a living and make a positive contribution to their communities. These reforms would ensure that they have that chance and help to restore hope and opportunity to those who have served their time and paid their dues to society.”

The Fair Chance Act was introduced by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-NJ-7). Cosponsors of the bill include Brown, U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Joni Ernst (R-IA); along with U.S. Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA-49), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), Cedric Richmond (D-LA-2), John Conyers (D-MI-13), and Bobby Scott (D-VA-3).

PORT COLUMBUS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO RECEIVE MORE THAN $2.6 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDING FOR CLEAN AIR INFRASTRUCTURE – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announced $2,696,206 in federal funding for Port Columbus International Airport. The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded the funding through the Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) Program, which encourages commercial airports and their sponsors to implement clean air technologies.

“This significant award will give Port Columbus International Airport the opportunity to be a partner in FAA efforts to improve air quality,” said Brown. “Through this program, airports across the country can implement small changes to reduce emissions on the ground and keep our air clean for future generations.”

The VALE program aims to reduce sources of airport ground emissions. Funding from the program helps airport sponsors meet state-related air quality responsibilities under the Clean Air Act. It gives airports the opportunity to finance low emission vehicles, refueling and recharging stations, gate electrification, and other air quality improvements.

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