Source: United States Senator for Ohio Rob Portman
June 24, 2022 | Portman Difference
Senator Portman joined Bloomberg TV to discuss the need to pass bipartisan legislation to make the United States’ economy more competitive with China as well as his retirement security legislation that he authored with Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD). The bipartisan Retirement Security and Savings Act, the fourth retirement security bill the Senators have authored together passed unanimously through the Senate Finance Committee this week. The legislation would allow people to save more for retirement, help small businesses offer retirement plans, expand access for low-income Americans, and provide more certainty and flexibility during Americans’ retirement years, ensuring the opportunity for all to have dignity in their retirement years. This legislation is the senators’ fourth and final retirement savings legislation introduced together.
Excerpts of the interview can be found below and you can also watch the interview here.
PORTMAN ON NEED TO PASS LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS SEMICONDUCTOR SHORTAGE
“…it’s about the future because semiconductor production is about the future economy and it’s critical to our national security to have the ability to reassure some of that infrastructure for making chips back to America. We designed these semi-conductors originally, we used to have, you know 40 years ago 37 percent of the production here in America and now we are down to 12 percent, and if this legislation does not pass I believe we will be down to single digits before long.
“No, I think from what I have heard that they plan to move forward that the question is timing. They have other countries around the world that are offering them huge incentives to build fabs in their countries. And that’s because other countries, in Europe and in Asia in particular, understand that this is part of the future. It’s sort of like the countries that had the oil in the ground benefitted a lot over the last serval decades. Countries that have semi-conductor production will benefit a lot going forward. You see in places like Ohio, trucks or cars parked at large parking lots at a raceway in northern Kentucky, as an example as I saw recently as I flew into our airport in Cincinnati and they are just waiting for semiconductors. So, this is an example, if you’ve got a car on order probably you’re waiting, and probably because the supply chain is being constrained. It’s an enormous problem for us right now.
“I think so, I’ve had lots of conversations even today about it. My hope is that we will make all of the big decisions even before we go out on break here either today or tomorrow and then over the next two weeks finalize some of those decisions so we can put the bill to vote when we get back. It’s certainly is important to move forward because of the competitive issue with our Asian competitors and our European competitors. It’s also very important to my home state of Ohio. It’s not just going to create thousands of great paying jobs eventually, but immediately, thousands of construction jobs. Other companies will come in as suppliers which will create more opportunity. These are good, high paying jobs so it’s important we get this done.”
SENATOR PORTMAN ON THE NEED TO PASS BIPARTISAN RETIREMENT SECURITY REFORM
“I certainly am. I am concerned about what is happening to people’s retirement savings with the market, both the bond market and the equity market, but I am also concerned about people not setting as much aside for retirement because they need that funding just to be able to survive. With gas prices at $5 a gallon, with food and clothing prices skyrocketing, so, I am concerned and I think that is one reason this legislation is so important. It’s quite timely for us to provide additional incentives for people to save for retirement.
“One example that is in the bill, as you may know, is that currently, you may have to take your retirement out and pay taxes on it at a certain age, 72, and we raised that age to 75. Now, that is very significant to a lot of your viewers who are thinking ‘I’m working into my 70s, why should I be taking my money out and having to pay taxes on it?’ But, there is also a lot for small businesses, which is where the biggest problem is right now for not having a plan. Part–time workers will get coverage under this plan, which is very important. We also are helping with regard to low income workers to get them banked, get them into plans. So, there is a lot of good stuff in this legislations. It was passed out of the committee yesterday, it is something we worked on for five years. Senator Cardin is my partner in this, has been on three previous bills and the committee vote yesterday was unanimous, that rarely happens around here. So, my hope is that we can get this significant retirement package to the Senate floor soon. You mentioned the House has comparable legislation, actually, over 30 of our provisions are in the House bill so we worked together with the House over time to make those two bills as overlaps as possible. And the president has indicated that he supports it as well.”