Bring it on Renacci: Sherrod Brown announces a $9.8M bankroll

By Jessica Wehrman
Dispatch Washington Bureau
Posted Jan 10, 2018 at 5:59 PM Updated Jan 11, 2018 at 6:00 AM

Sen. Sherrod Brown raised more than $2.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 and entered this year with $9.8 million in the bank, his campaign announced Wednesday.

Brown, an Ohio Democrat seeking his third term in the U.S. Senate, currently faces Republican Mike Gibbons. Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, once considered the front-runner among Republicans, dropped out of the race last week, citing his wife’s health problems. U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, is expected to announce his bid for the seat Thursday, while “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance also is considering a run.

Brown’s campaign said Brown had his best off-year of fundraising ever and said 113,806 individual donors gave an average contribution of $44 to his campaign.

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Beacon Journal/ editorial board: Congress and its duty to secure these pension benefits

Published: December 10, 2017 – 8:18 PM

Congress extended federal spending for two weeks. Now it faces a deadline next week for enacting a major spending bill for the fiscal year, the complexity deepened by differences over key policies involving immigration and health care. One item that belongs in the legislation would protect, and secure, the pension plans of Teamsters, miners, ironworkers and many others.
Congressional action is imperative. Ohio is the home of nearly 50,000 retired Teamsters. They are part of the ailing Central States pension plan. They face the prospect of deep reductions in their monthly pension benefits — by as much as two-thirds. That would be ruinous for households, not to mention a blow to local economies.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, has stepped up with a practical proposal to save the pensions. The Butch Lewis Act would create a new federal office, the Pension Rehabilitation Administration in the U.S. Treasury. It would oversee a mechanism allowing the troubled pension funds to borrow money at low interest rates, thus preserving the monthly payments in whole and permitting time for the funds to get on a firm financial track.
Money for the loans would be generated through the sale of Treasury bonds to financial institutions. The loans would be long term, and the pension funds would be required to repay in full.
One worry is that the weakened state of the pension funds means the legislation just postpones an inevitable collapse. Brown stresses that the proposal has received a scrubbing from analysts, who advise that it would work. As it is, the proposal includes guardrails to prevent risky investments. The pensions must submit reports every three years to show compliance.
The proposal makes sense for taxpayers. If the pension funds fail, the federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation would pick up responsibility. That means taxpayers would cover the expense. The Brown legislation avoids that path for the most part, gaining room for the pension plans with a minimum of public money.
The role for the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation would involve filling any gaps that may surface between the money borrowed and fulfilling the payment obligation to retirees. More, the bill includes a way to supply those funds to the PBGC, which faces its own financial challenges.
Butch Lewis, a Vietnam War veteran, worked for four decades as a trucker. He also was a devoted advocate of protecting the Teamster pensions. He died two years ago after a stroke. Sherrod Brown recalls Lewis making the point: We didn’t work for 40 years to get 40 percent of our retirement.
That is the simple element of fairness at stake. These retires deserve their full monthly benefit payments. The senator has put forward a smart, more cost-effective way to accomplish the task. The proposal belongs in the comprehensive spending bill, Congress delivering financial security.

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Senator Sherrod Brown On The Truth About The GOP Tax Plan

Senator Sherrod Brown On The Truth About Trump's Tax Plan

This senator says Trump's tax plan would 'drive a hole in the budget deficit,' and working families will get stuck having to fill it (via NowThis Politics)

Posted by NowThis on Thursday, November 30, 2017

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Brown urges FBI to disclose hate groups operating in Ohio

By Jack Torry
Dispatch Washington Bureau
Posted Aug 22, 2017 at 4:05 PM Updated Aug 22, 2017 at 4:05 PM

In the aftermath of an Ohio man being charged with killing a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia, this month, Sen. Sherrod Brown asked the FBI on Tuesday to provide information the bureau has on “domestic terrorist organizations or hate groups” operating in Ohio.

In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Brown, D-Ohio, wrote that “the presence of domestic terror organizations and hate groups in Ohio” poses a “threat to both public safety and national security. And I firmly believe that every Ohioan, and every American, has a right to know whether domestic terror organizations or hate groups are known or suspected by law enforcement to have a presence in their community.”

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Referring to James Alex Fields of Toledo, who has been charged with the murder of a 32-year-old woman after he ran his car into a crowd of people in Charlottesville, Brown wrote “The fact that an individual from Ohio is alleged to have traveled to Virginia and committed such an act while attending a white supremacist rally has caused many in my home state, including myself, to question the degree to which domestic terror organizations and hate groups are present and operate in the state of Ohio.”

Fields has been charged with second-degree murder, five counts of malicious wounding and three counts of aggravated malicious wounding. In addition to the death of the young woman, 19 other people were injured during the incident.

Last week, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper warned that “Ohio is unfortunately right in the middle of this problem. I don’t think you can sugarcoat this.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists 35 hate groups operating in Ohio.

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