Political briefs – July 27


Staff report



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BROWN BEATS BACK ATTEMPT TO ROB SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND TO PAY FOR HIGHWAY BILL – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded news that the Social Security Trust fund will no longer be used to pay for an extension of the highway trust fund:

“Social Security should be sacrosanct – it shouldn’t be a slush fund for politicians to raid to pay for other priorities,” Brown said. “It’s critical that we pass a long-term transportation bill, but we shouldn’t do it at the expense of Americans who depend on Social Security. I’m glad we beat back this attempt to raid the Social Security Trust Fund, but we have more work ahead of us to expand Social Security and prevent attacks to undermine it.”

The initial highway bill extension included a Social Security offset to pay for an extension of the highway trust fund, restricting Old Age and Survivors Insurance, Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI) and SSDI in certain cases.

Brown is still concerned with many of the offsets in the highway bill, including a pay-for that would rescind millions in funds for communities hard hit by the housing crisis.

PORTMAN FIGHTS TO PROTECT FUNDING FOR OHIO LAND BANKS – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) spoke on the Senate floor urging his colleagues to protect funding for county land banks, which has been put at risk by the Senate’s highway bill, the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act. The DRIVE Act is partially paid for by eliminating this important funding for land banks.

Portman has long fought for the ability for Ohio communities to tap into additional funds to demolish vacant, blighted structures, which pose a growing threat to the public safety and economic well-being of our communities. In 2013, Portman introduced the Neighborhood Safety Act to allow states to use resources from the Hardest Hit Fund to tackle this problem. Ohio has over 80,000 vacant properties awaiting demolition, posing a significant risk to public safety and drastically decreasing the value of surrounding properties. Municipalities and local land banks have worked collaboratively to demolish vacant properties, but with municipal budgets already stretched, there is little money available.

PORTMAN APPLAUDS LEGISLATIVE FIX TO PROTECT FUNDING FOR OHIO LAND BANKS – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) applauded the announcement from Senate leadership that important funding for county land banks will no longer be used to help pay for the Senate’s highway bill, the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act. As originally drafted, the DRIVE Act was partially paid for by eliminating this important funding for land banks, but Portman – along with Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) – fought to have this fixed.

“Dealing with abandoned, blighted homes in our communities is a major public safety issue in Ohio and across our country. I have walked the streets of these communities and seen first-hand the good work that Ohio land banks are doing to turn around struggling neighborhoods. I am proud to stand with local officials, land banks and first responders to protect these funds for communities that desperately need them,” said Portman.

Portman has long fought for the ability for Ohio communities to tap into additional funds to demolish vacant, blighted structures, which pose a growing threat to the public safety and economic well-being of our communities. In 2013, Portman introduced the Neighborhood Safety Act to allow states to use resources from the Hardest Hit Fund to tackle this problem. Ohio has over 80,000 vacant properties awaiting demolition, posing a significant risk to public safety and drastically decreasing the value of surrounding properties. Municipalities and local land banks have worked collaboratively to demolish vacant properties, but with municipal budgets already stretched, there is little money available.

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Staff report