Recap of last week’s Washington news

The ad, called “Mine Workers,” reminds voters that Portman received the endorsement from the United Mine Workers of America, which traditionally backs Democrat. “Portman is standing strong for Ohio coal families and Ohio coal country,” the ad intones, before accusing Democrat Ted Strickland of turning his back on coal country.

Southeast Ohio has become a key battleground in the 2016 fight between Portman, a Republican, and Strickland, a former Ohio governor. Strickland represented the region for years as a congressman, and Portman is hoping to weaken what has traditionally been a key stronghold for Strickland.

The ad is one of a series of regionally-targeted ads that the Portman campaign plans to put out through October.

AFL-CIO targets Portman

The AFL-CIO is unveiling a series of Facebook ads aimed at critiquing Sen. Rob Portman’s record in the Senate.

The ads bash Portman for voting to give President Barack Obama the authority to negotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, voting against infrastructure investments and other votes that the union says have been “against the interest of working families.”

“Senator Portman has betrayed working people on a whole host of issues that the public overwhelmingly supports,” said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga.

The six-figure ad buy will initially be seen on Facebook, and the ads will link to petitions asking for Portman and other targeted Republicans to support the AFL-CIO’s stance on these issues. In all, senators in five states are being targeted.

Brown attacks trade pact

Appearing before a gathering last week of the AFL-CIO in Washington, Sen. Sherrod Brown attacked a major Pacific free trade pact, saying “most Americans are fed up with this country’s trade policy.”

Brown, D-Ohio, a staunch opponent of the Trans Pacific Partnership involving the United States and 11 Pacific-rim nations, said the agreement “gives too much power and money to multinational corporations and to the one percent. It doesn’t grow the middle class.”

The agreement – which includes Canada, Mexico, Japan and Australia — was negotiated by the Obama administration but requires congressional approval. Although China is not part of the agreement, Brown said the Chinese auto industry will benefit from the deal nevertheless, saying “ more than half of a car can come from China and still qualify. That’s a loophole you could drive a Jeep Cherokee through.”

The deal is unpopular in this election year with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton opposed to it, even though as secretary of state under President Barack Obama she called it the “gold standard” of trade agreements.

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