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Both Ohio senators named to Finance Committee

Ohio will be well-represented on the Senate Finance Committee this year.

Sen. Rob Portman was tapped yesterday for a slot on the prestigious committee, just weeks after Sen. Sherrod Brown was named to it.

That fact could present some interesting intrastate debates, setting up the potential for disagreements between the Republican Portman and the Democrat Brown on issues relating to trade, tax policy, and entitlements.

The Finance Committee has jurisdiction over tax and revenue measures as well as Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Portman served on an equivalent committee — Ways and Means — when he served in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Portman, in a statement, said the committee has oversight of issues “that must be addressed to avoid a fiscal crisis” and said he looks forward to using his spot on the committee to grow the economy and cut federal spending.

“This means we must reform and preserve our vital yet unsustainable entitlement programs, modernize and simplify an out of date tax code, and substantially increase our exports by opening new markets for American workers, farmers, and service providers,” he said.

Portman offers a unique perspective to the committee: He served as both U.S. Trade Representative and Director of the federal Office of Management and Budget, cabinet-level positions that also touch on issues the committee has oversight on.

Portman will leave the Senate Armed Services committee to take his place on the committee. He will continue to serve on the Senate Budget Committee, the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and the Energy and Natural Resources Committees.

Portman’s office said since 1981, no Republican senator has joined the Senate Finance Committee so early in their term in the Senate.

Portman’s office also announced yesterday that he will continue serving as a Deputy Whip for Senate Republicans.

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