On Bloomberg TV, Portman discusses the need to pass bipartisan Retirement and China Competitiveness Bills

June 24, 2022

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Portman difference

Senator Portman came to Bloomberg TV to discuss the need to pass bipartisan legislation to make the United States economy more competitive with China and his pension legislation, which he is co-authoring with Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) wrote. The bipartisan Retirement Security and Savings Act, the fourth retirement security bill co-authored by senators, was passed unanimously by 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 security and flexibility during Americans’ retirement years to provide opportunities for all give to live with dignity in their retirement years. This legislation is the fourth and final jointly introduced pension legislation by the senators.

Excerpts from the interview are below and you can also watch the interview here.

PORTMAN ON THE NEED FOR PASSING LEGISLATION TO FIX THE SEMICONDUCTOR SHORTAGE

“…it’s about the future, because semiconductor manufacturing is about the economy of the future, and it’s critical to our national security to be able to insure some of that chip-making infrastructure back to America.” We originally designed these semiconductors, we had 37 percent of the production here in America 40 years ago, and now we’re down to 12 percent, and if that legislation doesn’t pass, I think we’ll just be single digits before long.

No, I think from what I’ve heard they plan to move forward the issue is timing. They have other countries around the world that give them tremendous incentives to build fabs in their countries. And that’s because other countries, particularly in Europe and Asia, understand that this is part of the future. It’s as if the countries that had the oil in the ground have benefited greatly over the last few decades. Countries with semiconductor production will benefit greatly in the future. You see in places like Ohio, trucks or cars parked in large lots at a racetrack in northern Kentucky as an example, like I saw recently when I flew into our Cincinnati airport and they’re just waiting for semiconductors . Here’s an example: If you’ve ordered a car, you’re probably waiting, and probably because the supply chain is constrained. This is a huge problem for us right now.

“I think so, I still had a lot of conversations about it today. My hope is that we make all the important decisions before we go on break here today or tomorrow, and then finalize some of those decisions over the next two weeks so that we can vote on the bill when we get back. It is certainly important to move forward due to the competition issue with our Asian competitors and our European competitors. It’s also very important to my home state of Ohio. Not only will it create thousands of high-paying jobs, but thousands of construction jobs immediately. Other companies will join as suppliers, which will create more opportunities. These are good, high-paying jobs, so it’s important that we get this done.”

SENATOR PORTMAN ON THE NEED TO PASS BULL-PARTY PENSION SECURITY REFORM

“I definitely am. I’m concerned about what’s happening to people’s retirement savings in the market, both the bond market and the stock market, but I’m also concerned that people aren’t saving as much for retirement because they have that funding need in order to survive. With gasoline prices at $5 a gallon and food and clothing prices skyrocketing, I’m concerned and I think that’s one of the reasons this legislation is so important. It’s time we gave people extra incentives to save for retirement.

An example included in the bill is, as you may know, currently you may have to complete your pension and pay tax on it at a certain age of 72, and we have raised that age to 75. Well, that’s very important to a lot of your viewers who are thinking, “I’m working into my 70’s, why should I withdraw my money and have to pay taxes on it?” But there’s also plenty for small businesses, where the biggest problem right now is not having a plan. PartTemporary workers are insured under this plan, which is very important. We also help with low-income workers to get them banked and included in plans. So there is a lot of good stuff in this legislation. It was approved by the committee yesterday, it’s something we’ve been working on for five years. Senator Cardin is my partner on this, has been on three previous bills, and yesterday’s vote in committee was unanimous, which is rare here. So my hope is that we can get this significant retirement package into the Senate soon. You mentioned that the House of Representatives has comparable legislation, in fact over 30 of our provisions are in the House Act, so over time we have worked with the House to try to overlap these two bills as much as possible. And the President has indicated that he supports it as well.”

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