Political briefs – Oct. 26


Staff report



PORTMAN BLASTS EPA – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) Monday released the following statement in a monthly series highlighting Washington’s wasteful spending during a time of record debt and deficits:

With the current national debt at $18 trillion, it is difficult to believe the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the audacity to spend tens of millions of dollars on furniture. According to the Washington Times, the EPA spent a total of $92.4 million of taxpayer money over the past decade on high-end luxury office furniture. This amounts to roughly $6,000 on furniture for each of the agency’s 15,492 employees.

Despite our federal fiscal catastrophe, the EPA chose to decorate its office space by contracting not just with any office supplier, but high end retailers—one of which even has a display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City featuring more than 40 pieces of furniture.

Some of the luxury furniture the EPA purchased includes: a Galerie lounge chair with Galerie settee ($2,641 per set), an executive desk ($3,959), a Wood Racetrack Conference Table ($25,751), four “Park Ave Arm Lounge Chairs” ($4,083), a Herman Miller chair with “adjustable arms, swivel, lumbar, caster and tilt” ($4,047), a hexagonal table ($5,539), hickory chairs ($6,391), and perhaps most astonishing, a pencil drawer for $813.57.

“Merely strolling federal buildings is sometimes all it takes to discover government waste. Such is the case here. It does not take much to walk down EPA’s hallways and see the outrageous spending on lavish furniture,” said Portman. “Government agencies must be held accountable and there is no excuse for failing to ensure the government is operating as efficiently and spending taxpayer money wisely.”

PORTMAN SPEAKS OUT ON UKRAINE – Monday, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, released the following statement regarding the announcement from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker that the U.S. will provide a third loan guarantee for $1 billion to Ukraine:

“I’m pleased that the Administration is taking steps to strengthen ties between Ukraine and the United States. Ukraine continues to make impressive economic and political reforms that will help spur greater political stability and economic growth, and it’s important that the U.S. sustains this support moving forward. This loan guarantee will provide further momentum for the ambitious political, economic, and anti-corruption reform efforts crucial to Ukraine’s long-term success.”

Portman visited Ukraine in April and led a Congressional delegation to monitor last year’s presidential elections. He has met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko as well as top U.S. and Ukrainian military officials to discuss the best way to deal with continued Russian aggression.

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Staff report

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