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Picnic Food and Better News

Washington, August 29, 2018 Contact:
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This piece originally appeared in the Highland County Press.

In late June, President Trump canceled a picnic and reporters in Washington were captivated by the fate of the picnic foods. Who would eat the already-cooked steaks? Had the potato salad gone missing? What was the status of the coleslaw?

The good news is that all the food went to a well-deserved lunch for our veterans at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The bad news is that the national media sometimes reports interesting events from the capital rather than important events. A major missed story from that same day: The House of Representatives finished a vote marathon on over 70 bills aimed at fighting the opioid crisis.

I came to Congress to deliver results exactly like that opioid legislation. Ohioans deserve to know what their representatives have accomplished for them, even when clickbait issues like missing foodstuffs dominate the headlines. To that end, here is the good news – and the facts – from Washington.

Last winter, we passed the biggest economic news for our nation in a generation: Tax reform. It’s clear that our economy is strong and getting stronger. Unfortunately, media coverage of tax reform focuses on the reactions of pundits and politicians rather than the actual effects on the American people. 

Unlike pundits’ claims that tax reform is only for the wealthy, it’s important to note that Congress took specific steps to ensure that nobody gets left behind. The IRS reported that about 90 percent of workers saw an increase in take-home pay since the new law went into effect. 

Thanks to tax reform, 45 recently designated “Opportunity Zones” stretching from Cincinnati to Portsmouth are spurring investment in economically distressed communities. Over 1.3 million jobs have been created since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law and, amazingly, there are more jobs in America than there are job seekers. That’s not just talk, that’s food on the table and money in your pocket.

We’ve also taken significant steps to make our communities safer and stronger. Ohio has been disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis. In June alone, the House passed over 70 bills geared toward combating fentanyl, addressing prescription practices, and getting drugs off our streets. 

Over $32 million is coming directly to Ohio for prevention, treatment, and recovery services, and we have invested $2.3 billion in mental health services, training, and school safety programs. Several years ago, I wrote that human trafficking in Ohio was as easy as ordering a pizza. Thanks to recent legislation championed by Sen. Rob Portman, online advertising for sex trafficking has decreased more than 60 percent.

As an active Army Reserve member and veteran of the Iraq War, a major reason I ran for Congress was because people who had never served in our armed forces were making decisions about our military and veterans. Fortunately, now things are moving in the right direction. Just this year, we gave our troops the biggest raise in nearly a decade. 

For the over 45,000 veterans in our district, we’re making major structural changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs, putting our veterans first, and we just permanently removed time restrictions on GI Bill benefits for recent veterans.

There’s still so much more to accomplish this fall, from protecting middle-class and small business tax cuts, to reducing drug costs, and closing the skills gap to get even more workers where they want to be – producing. While the list of “more to do” may seem endless, and headlines from Washington don’t reflect all that we have done, know that this is a Congress that is working for you.

Have a question about upcoming legislation? Give my office a call at (513) 474-7777. We’re happy to help.