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Ohio’s U.S. senators sharply divided on tax vote

Portman praises GOP efforts; Brown says Medicare, Social Security at risk

WASHINGTON — Ohio’s two U.S. senators voted in opposition Tuesday on the Republican tax legislation, which is now headed to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.

Republican Rob Portman praised the passage of the bill, which occurred on a party line vote, with all Democrats and independents opposing. Republican John McCain, recovering was at home from chemotherapy, was the sole senator not to vote on the bill.

Portman said the legislation would “help middle-class families, create more jobs, and increase wages for American workers.”

“For years, Republicans and Democrats alike have called for middle-class tax cuts and a more competitive tax code for American workers and businesses, and today Republicans are delivering on that promise,” Portman said in a statement following the vote. “This bill will cut taxes for middle-class families, reform our business tax code to create more jobs and higher wages for Ohio workers, and update our international tax code to encourage jobs and investments in America.”

Portman praised his party’s leaders for the passage.

“I’d like to thank Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Paul Ryan, Chairman Orrin Hatch, Chairman Kevin Brady, and all of my colleagues who were united by the desire to help the middle class and re-open the American economy as the best place in the world to do business,” he said.

Ohio’s senior senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, lamented the fact that Republicans had not taken a bipartisan approach to taxes.

Brown had earlier attended a summit at the White House, where he had asked Trump to consider Democratic proposals for the bill. Brown’s “Patriotic Corporation” amendment, which would have made tax breaks to companies based on whether they kept jobs in the United States, was voted down by Republicans.

“Tax reform should have been an opportunity to work together to cut taxes for working people,” Brown said in a statement. “I offered to work with the president and Republicans, and I introduced multiple amendments that could have put real money in the pockets of Ohioans.

Instead, Washington chose to cut taxes for millionaires and corporations and pay for it by cutting Medicare and kicking people off their health insurance.”

Brown warned of effects of the bill, in order to make up for lost revenue.

“And it won’t stop there – Congressional Republicans are already planning to steal the money Ohioans have paid into Medicare and Social Security to pay for the hole they are blowing in the deficit,” he said.