Tags: SOTU 2018 | rob portman | opioid epidemic | state of the union | economy

Sen. Rob Portman: Economy, Opioid Epidemic Important SOTU Topics

Sen. Rob Portman: Economy, Opioid Epidemic Important SOTU Topics
Sen. Rob Portman (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 30 January 2018 01:46 PM

It will be important for President Donald Trump to focus on the economy as part of his first State of the Union speech, Sen. Rob Portman said Tuesday, and he hopes he focuses on improving the nation's workforce.

"The next step in the economy in my view, which I hope he will talk about, I know he cares about and his team cares about, is workforce," the Ohio Republican told Fox News' "Happening Now." "Right now we're seeing across the country many employers ready to add more people, encouraging more investment through tax cut is one thing, but you have to have the workforce to be able to have the expansion we all want."

"I hope he will talk about some that, making sure workers have the skills needed for 21st century jobs, whether it's in healthcare, whether it's in IT, whether it's in manufacturing," Portman added.

The current news about the economy is "exciting," Portman said, not just because of the increased stock market numbers and the projections for economic growth.

"The most exciting news is we see wages beginning to go up," he said. "This is something we haven't seen in a couple of decades. If you look at it from an inflation-adjusted basis, wages have been flat whereas expenses have gone up dramatically. It is what we were hoping for."

Portman said he also hopes Trump will address the opioid crisis.

"He has a passion for this," the senator said. "We need to figure out ways to deal with this issue. In my own state of Ohio, we had overdoses and deaths increase again last year from the previous year. Unfortunately, we're not seeing this getting better around the country, but rather getting worse. This has an impact on everything."

That includes families being broken apart, devastation in communities, and an increase in crime, Portman said, and the addiction epidemic is harming businesses.

He also commented on a new Senate report, out last week, that shows an increased number of opioids being smuggled through the mail system "right into our communities."

"We've got to stop this poison," Portman said. "We know what the post office could do better in order to provide law enforcement information they need to be able to identify and stop these packages. Our legislation called the Stop Act is something the president's commission supported. We got to get that done. It's one of the things that can be done and should be done right away to begin to keep some of this deadly drug out of our communities."

He said he met with the postmaster general on the topic, and they're concerned about the government putting such guidelines into effect at this time.

"They're concerned about us putting this in place," he said. "They say they don't have the resources, they need more time, and so on. This is an urgent matter. Back in 2002, Congress directed the post office to study this issue, gave them the authorization to do it. We required the private carriers to do it. So the Fed-Exs and DHLs have to do it. All we're saying is give law enforcement the information they need about the packages."

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It will be important for President Donald Trump to focus on the economy as part of his first State of the Union speech, Sen. Rob Portman said Tuesday, and he hopes he focuses on improving the nation's workforce.
rob portman, opioid epidemic, state of the union, economy
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2018-46-30
Tuesday, 30 January 2018 01:46 PM
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