MIAMISBURG, Ohio (WDTN) – Senator Rob Portman was in Miamisburg Tuesday to tour a manufacturing plant and host a roundtable discussion on jobs and workforce training in Ohio.
Portman toured Brainerd Industries before leading a discussion with business owners, as well as education leaders and local elected officials. He also took questions from reporters on the impeachment inquiry and the withdrawal of troops from northern Syria.
“The workforce, to me, is our #1 priority right now,” Portman said during his remarks at the facility.
Portman talked about legislation he is working on, including the JOBS Act, which would provide grants to help people access short-term training for skills in high demand.
“This is about our global competitiveness as a country, too,” Portman said. “It’s a win-win. Great for those people, young people, incumbent workers who are shifting careers, and great for our economy and our futures.”
Portman’s visit comes as House leaders begin an impeachment inquiry against President Trump.
Earlier this week, Portman said it was “not appropriate” for the president to discuss an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden with Ukraine’s president, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
But he said again Tuesday he does not believe it is serious enough to rise to the level of an impeachable offense, especially compared to other impeachment inquiries in the nation’s history.
“In the past, it has been violations of law,” Portman said. “There’s no one, at least to my knowledge, talking about this being [one]. But more importantly, to me, it’s just the fact that it’s going to be terribly distracting to our country. It’s going to further divide an already polarized country and keep us from getting stuff done,” he said.
Portman also said he believes the inquiry comes with bad timing.
“To do it during a presidential election year is particularly tough because we’re all going to have a chance to vote on the presidential election,” Portman said. “In Ohio, early voting starts in less than a year.”
Sen. Portman also confirmed he urged the president to release military aid to Ukraine, something the president referenced last week.
Portman said Trump mentioned concerns about a lack of financial support for Ukraine from European countries. But Portman said he encouraged Trump to help the country’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky.
“I have consistently said to the Ukrainians, ‘You want to stand with us, we’ll stand with you,’ and that includes providing them the ability to defend themselves against the Russian aggression,” Portman said.
2 NEWS also asked Sen. Portman whether he supports the president’s recent withdrawal of troops from northern Syria. He said he does not know enough details to make a decision either way, but he believes the American troops there “play an important role” in helping other groups maintain peace in the area.
“We want to tell the Kurds we appreciate their loyalty, we appreciate their help against ISIS and the other Islamic terrorist groups that would otherwise attack the United States,” Portman said.
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