TV ads pressure Sen. Portman to support President Biden's American Rescue Plan

Rob Portman
Posted at 4:24 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 19:27:28-05

CLEVELAND — With his decision to retire at the end of his term next year, Senator Rob Portman might have thought his days of appearing in political ads were behind him, but that isn’t the case. In a new 30-second ad by Tax March, a group calling for taxes on the rich in a fight for a fairer economy, Portman is criticized for his support of the Trump tax plan but not the new American Rescue Plan.

"For Ohioans who have lost a job, Portman gets stingy,” the announcer reads in the spot. “He thinks it’s too generous to help everyone who is struggling. With Portman, those with billions hit the jackpot, but those who need relief get jack squat.”

Portman has said he's in favor of relief, but he said they've learned from past go-arounds it needs to be relief for those who need it.

"Of that $1,400 if someone makes $78,000 a year, likely they will only spend about $105 of that money the rest they will save, put in the stock market do something else with it, not spend, so let's target it,” Portman said last week on the Senate floor.

Portman said the plan he supports has 100% of the funding that the American Rescue Plan has as it relates to healthcare — $160 billion to get the pandemic under control and vaccines distributed.

Portman knows every spending plan includes add-ons — in this case, raising the minimum wage and changes in tax laws, clean energy proposals and $10 billion for cybersecurity — something Portman says he'd support.

"But that's not appropriate for the COVID-19 bill," he said. "As much as I'd like to have that debate, let's do it separately."

Sen. Sherrod Brown points to numbers like those in a CBS/YouGov poll that showed 83% support for going big with the full $1.9 trillion.

"Everything in this bill is what the American public wants,” Brown said. “They want the checks. They want an extension of unemployment. People want the assistance, they want rental assistance so people aren't evicted in the middle of the winter, in the middle of a pandemic. People want help for small business. People especially want help for schools and local government, so I'm optimistic some Republicans will vote for this."

Portman has called on the Biden administration to put their inaugural call for unity into action by opening up a dialogue on some compromises in the plan, but so far, he says, he's seen no signs of a willingness to budge from the full $1.9 trillion.