WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the State of the Union tonight, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is calling on President Donald Trump to take action, and offering to work with the President to address critical issues for Ohio, from protecting the pensions of more than a million American workers, to addressing Chinese steel overcapacity, to rebuilding crumbling infrastructure, to tackling the addiction epidemic.
Brown brought Ohioan Rita Lewis, the widow of the late Butch Lewis, to the State of the Union address tonight to draw attention to the hundreds of thousands of workers and retirees whose pensions are at risk. Brown’s bill to restore these pensions is named after Butch Lewis. Brown said one way the President could make good on his promises to support American workers would be to help pass a solution to the pension crisis.
Brown applauded the President’s commitment to enforcing international trade laws and repeated his call on the President to take immediate action in the pending 232 trade case on steel imports. Just last week, Brown applauded news that the Administration answered Brown’s call to take action against unfairly priced washing machines being imported by foreign competitors.
“While there are many areas where I disagree with President Trump, I am always willing to work for him when it’s right for Ohio. I hope Republicans and Democrats will follow tonight’s speech with action and come together to rebuild our infrastructure, tackle the opioid epidemic, crack down on trade cheats, and keep the President’s promises to American workers,” Brown said.
“The President can make good on his promise to honor the dignity of work right now by supporting retirees like Rita Lewis who are fighting for the pensions they earned.
“I’ve been working with the White House on trade since day one, and we’ve made important progress over the past year. But there is more work to do, and the best way to crack down on trade cheats is to take tough action on Chinese steel overcapacity that is costing American jobs. The President must move forward on the steel 232 case right away.
“We’ve been waiting for more than a year for the President to make good on his promise to rebuild American infrastructure, and I’m ready to get to work with meaningful investments, not tolls and gimmicks.
“Finally, Ohioans have heard far too much talk about the addiction epidemic that is ripping apart families and devastating our communities. Ohio law enforcement officers have told me we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. Local communities don’t need empty declarations, they need real dollars to support their work battling opioids, and that starts by fully funding the INTERDICT Act to keep deadly drugs like fentanyl out of Ohio.”
- Immediately after President Trump’s election, Brown reached out to his transition team to offer his help in retooling U.S. trade policy. Brown wrote to Trump in November 2016 offering specific steps to work together on trade and Trump responded with a handwritten note.
- Brown has also offered specific proposals to work with President Trump on infrastructure, including the nation’s bridges. Just this week, a new analysis revealed Ohio has 12th highest number of structurally deficient bridges.
- Last week, the Administration heeded Brown’s call to extend its opioid public health emergency. Earlier this month, President Trump signed into law Brown’s bipartisan INTERDICT Act, to keep deadly fentanyl out of Ohio.
- Brown applauded Trump’s call tonight to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. In December 2016, Brown sent Trump a letter outlining specific steps his Administration should take to help Congress bring down the cost of prescription drugs.
- Brown was also pleased the President called for paid family leave in tonight’s speech. Brown has introduced legislation to provide paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave.
Brown welcomed all Ohioans in attendance, including: Corey Adams, Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger from Dayton’s Staub Manufacturing; and Fred and Cindy Warmbier, the parents of the late Otto Warmbier, who lost his life after being held prisoner by the North Korean regime. Brown, ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, has been leading bipartisan efforts to crack down on North Korea. Brown helped negotiate tough, new sanctions on North Korea, which Trump signed into law in August 2017, and is working to advance a new package of bipartisan sanctions on North Korea.