[Congressional Record Volume 168, Number 191 (Thursday, December 8, 2022)]
[Senate]
[Pages S7055-S7060]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                         Tribute to Rob Portman

  Mr. THUNE. Madam President, we all just had the opportunity to hear 
from our colleague--somebody who I am really going to miss--with his 
final remarks here on the Senate--well, I don't think his final remarks 
but certainly his, I guess you call it, going-away speech.
  But I just appreciate so much having had the opportunity to work with 
Senator Portman.
  I know that, as he pointed out, staff not only here in the Chamber, 
around the Capitol, his personal staff--all people who have made 
profound contributions to that incredible record of accomplishments 
that he just talked about. That doesn't happen. Anybody who works here 
for very long realizes the incredible contributions that staff make to 
getting things done around here. And so I express my appreciation, as 
he did, to all of them for all you did to make Senator Portman's time 
here so productive.
  And it is great to see his wife Jane, daughter Sally here as well, 
who are all part of this partnership and this team that all of us know 
are so critical to being able to make a difference here in the Senate 
and the many sometimes sacrifices, contributions that they make on a 
day-in and day-out basis.
  But Rob is someone I have gotten to break bread with a lot of times 
during our years together here in the Senate, and we have become really 
good friends, and I am going to miss having him here, as I said.
  Rob has spent a lot of years in public service serving this country--
12 years in the House of Representatives, where I first got acquainted 
with him; U.S.

[[Page S7056]]

Trade Representative; Director of Office of Management and Budget; and, 
finally, 12 years here in the U.S. Senate.
  I have served with him on the Senate Finance Committee for nearly 10 
years, and his going, I will tell you, is a huge loss. He played an 
indispensable role in the historic tax reform legislation we passed in 
2017, particularly with the transition to a modernized international 
tax system. Our outdated international tax rules had left America's 
global businesses at a competitive disadvantage in the global economy. 
And one of our priorities, when it came time to pass tax reform, was 
ensuring that American businesses could compete on a level playing 
field with their foreign counterparts.
  Between his time in Congress and as Director of OMB and the U.S. 
Trade Representative's Office, Rob has a wealth of knowledge when it 
comes to American economic competitiveness and in the international tax 
system, and he quickly became the lead on that aspect of tax reform--
and not just on that, but on so many aspects on that very complicated 
piece of legislation.
  Our final legislation brought the United States international tax 
system into the 21st century by replacing our outdated worldwide system 
with a modernized territorial tax system so that American businesses 
are not operating at a disadvantage next to their foreign competitors, 
and we saw an almost immediate positive effect for American businesses, 
which, of course, means that we saw positive results for American 
workers. And that is really, in large part, thanks to Rob.
  It is an important legacy, and it joins Rob's long list of 
achievements in public service, some of which, he mentioned, from 
restraining unfunded mandates on States and securing resources for 
addiction prevention and treatment, to advancing a pro-world trade 
agenda good for American workers and businesses alike.
  He has also been a strong voice for American leadership and values on 
the global stage, especially, as he mentioned, as a cofounder of the 
Senate Ukraine Caucus.
  It is sad to see Rob leaving the Senate, but he spent a lifetime 
helping to build up our country, and I know his contributions won't end 
here.
  I am also happy that he will have more time to spend with his family 
and with his wife Jane. Jane is terrific. Like me, Rob married up, and 
I know Rob is looking forward to having more time to spend together.

  I also know Rob is planning to get more involved in the family 
business, the Golden Lamb Inn and Restaurant in Lebanon, OH, which has 
played host to at least a dozen U.S. Presidents over the years.
  And, as I said, while Rob's time in the Senate may be coming to a 
close, I know that he fully intends to continue doing what he has been 
doing throughout his career, and that is working to make our country a 
better and more prosperous place.
  Rob, congratulations on your years here in the Senate. I hope you get 
some very well-deserved rest in the coming months, and I, like everyone 
else here, look forward to seeing your next chapter.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Madam President, I also rise today to pay tribute to 
someone who is literally a friend across the aisle and across State 
lines.
  Now, you might not think that the senior Senator from Michigan, a 
Democrat, and the junior Senator from Ohio, a Republican, would be 
friends. After all, our States share a long and passionate rivalry, 
particularly on the football field.
  This rivalry is especially intense on game day, like recently, when 
the Michigan Wolverines defeated Ohio State Buckeyes 45 to 23. I am 
just saying.
  I particularly, Senator Portman, wanted to say this out loud to make 
sure Senator Brown heard it also.
  Of course, my friend Rob Portman may have been cheering. And he may 
never really say this, but, you know, I am often wondering if, behind 
the scenes, he is sort of cheering both sides on that because he has 
never advertised it and he has never said it up to this point, but let 
me say today that he is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law 
School. Now that he is retiring, maybe he can say it out loud. So we 
are glad to have him there.
  Senator Portman has been a wonderful partner on issues important to 
both of our States, both Great Lakes and trade.
  We have served as cochairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force since 
2017, and we have gone to bat together on behalf of our beloved lakes 
time and time again.
  We have introduced and passed legislation to stop invasive species 
from reaching and destroying our Great Lakes. When the Trump 
administration tried to slash nearly all the funding for the Great 
Lakes Restoration Initiative, we fought back together and we won. And 
since then, we have passed legislation to reauthorize the program and 
celebrated when we secured $1 billion through the bipartisan 
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the single largest investment 
ever for the Great Lakes. And it would not have happened without 
Senator Portman.
  I have always said that the Great Lakes shouldn't be a partisan 
issue, and thanks to Rob, they have not been.
  We found ways to work together on the issue of trade as well. We 
fought for American workers when we served together in the House and 
then continued a strong working relationship when Senator Portman left 
to become the U.S. Trade Representative under President Bush.
  In the Senate, we have partnered to ensure that American workers have 
a level playing field. That included a great congressional delegation 
trip to Vietnam and South Korea, where we met with trade officials, 
Senator Portman and I, and I got to see how much he is respected by 
these world leaders.
  From strengthening our supply chains to securing funding to 
revitalized communities to promoting recycling to planting trees to 
funding our community health centers to keeping plastic pollution out 
of the Great Lakes--there is no end to the number of issues we have 
worked on together.
  Rob, I am going to miss you. I have so valued your friendship and 
working relationship here. You have made a real difference, but I know 
you are going to enjoy spending more time with Jane and Jed and Will 
and Sally and watching more Michigan games that you can finally admit 
you enjoy.
  I wish you the best of everything and hope we are going to continue 
to see you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. ROMNEY. Madam President, I have had both the good fortune and the 
misfortune of working closely with Senator Rob Portman.
  I had the misfortune of debating him in 2012. He was kind enough to 
play the part of President Obama in my debate practice sessions. He was 
relentless, determined, unforgiving, and anxious to delve into the most 
minute facts and figures in order to defeat me and to knock any 
complacency I might have had out of my heart.
  He more than made up for my debate whooping by tirelessly and 
repeatedly accompanying me across Ohio and other States, drumming up 
support for my campaign, raising money, and jousting with the wing nuts 
that tried to derail my campaign.
  When I came to the Senate, I found that many of those same 
qualities--his relentlessness, determination, tirelessness, and ability 
to dig into the details--have made him a singularly successful United 
States Senator.
  I worked alongside him on several bills. On each occasion, they 
became law because he dug into them, negotiated the most thorny of 
issues, drove the process to a result, and never, ever gave up.
  We formed eight working groups on the bipartisan infrastructure bill 
because there were too many conflicts, too many subjects, too many 
obstacles for our entire group of 10 to resolve without dividing it 
into parts we could deal with one by one.
  He then decided that he would be a member of every single one of 
those subgroups, knowing that he would be needed to actually drive each 
of us to a conclusion and a result.
  You see, there are some people in politics who believe that a fiery 
speech or a bold appearance on a cable show and a reputation for 
fighting the opposition, that that is the measure of success. Not so 
Rob Portman.

[[Page S7057]]

  He came here to pass bills and actually shape policy that would help 
the American people and strengthen our country. He came to fight and 
win, not just to fight. And he has won for America time and time again.
  More important to me personally than all his winning is his 
friendship, his honor, and his character. He is a genuinely good man, 
and he is blessed to have married an even better woman. I will miss Rob 
Portman in the Senate. As I think many of my colleagues know, he has 
been a bit of a stabilizer for me here. I will miss him and Jane in the 
neighborhood of our lives.
  God bless you, Rob Portman.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. COONS. Madam President, I rise to also offer to my thoughts on 
the career and service, the personality and the values of Senator Rob 
Portman, one of a number of retiring colleagues whom I will dearly 
miss.
  I was somewhat surprised by the timing of Senator Blunt's farewell 
address and missed the opportunity to also speak to his departure. They 
have in common an important shared characteristic: a passion for 
getting things done, for being a Senator who serves their State and 
Nation, who works across the aisle and delivers real solutions.
  Stop taxing death and disability--that is the first bill that Rob and 
I got to the President's desk and signed into law. Under the previous 
administration, it had a very catchy name, and it was a simple solution 
to a pRoblem most of us had never heard of, which was that if someone 
who had taken out student loans died and thus was unlikely to repay 
them and those student loans were discharged as a result of their 
permanent disability or death, that benefit was taxed, and the tax 
attached, in the case of one of my constituents, to their parents, to 
the estate of the deceased child.
  When I first talked to Rob about this on the floor, he said: That is 
a terrible thing; we should stop it. From that simple germ grew a dozen 
different legislative initiatives.
  Before this Congress ends, we will get the reauthorization of the End 
Wildlife Trafficking Act and the reauthorization of Rob's landmark work 
in tropical rainforest and coral reef preservation to the President's 
desk.
  We had the chance to travel the world together. We had a remarkable 
trip, as did Senator Klobuchar, to Ukraine--although I think our trip 
was just a little bit more comfortable on the train than yours. But it 
was a memorable opportunity to visit the Ukrainian refugees with their 
own incredible Embassy staff and to present the Liberty Medal from the 
National Constitution Center to President Zelenskyy.
  I am also, I must say, grateful for your leadership on the Respect 
for Marriage Act, which is today going to the President's desk.
  It was in August, as we traveled to five countries in Africa, 
together with our spouses and a great bipartisan group you helped pull 
together, to look at how human development can be the key to wildlife 
conservation in countries across the continent where too often there is 
instability that leads to the loss of biodiversity and to an increase 
in lawlessness and terrorism, and we found a way to craft together a 
potential legislative solution that I look forward to carrying in the 
years ahead.
  To Jed, to Will, and to Sally, you have a remarkable dad. To Jane, 
thank you for being such a delightful, engaging, and supportive 
partner. My wife Annie and I will deeply miss you and Rob as colleagues 
here in the Senate, as a legislative partner, and as a personal friend.
  God bless you on the next chapter of your life, and we look forward 
to staying in touch.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Dakota.
  Mr. HOEVEN. Madam President, you know, listening to Senator Portman's 
speech, I don't know how you cannot be impressed with his incredible 
record of accomplishment, and it is a record of accomplishment that 
will stand the test of time. It is not surprising because all you have 
to do is look at all the things he accomplished before coming to the 
United States Senate. So it certainly is no surprise that he has done 
incredible work over the last 12 years.
  He was 14 years, I think, in the House and had a tremendous record of 
success there. He was U.S. Trade Ambassador for President Bush, and 
that has the same status as full Ambassador. So for all of his time 
here in the Senate, he didn't want me to call him Senator Portman; he 
always wanted me to call him Ambassador Portman. Instead, I call him 
``El Gran Toro,'' but that is another story which I will get to. And he 
was OMB Director for President Bush. So when you look at the incredible 
experience and track record of accomplishment that he brought here, it 
is no surprise that--in his speech, he talked about a lot of incredible 
accomplishments, but there is a lot more that you didn't talk about. 
You could have talked for a long, long time because you truly did 
accomplish so many things that are important not just for the Buckeye 
State but for our country. I am just pleased to have had the 
opportunity to work with you.
  You mentioned some of the things we worked on, and it is interesting 
because as you were talking about the things you worked on and the 
Members you worked with, I just took a quick count. There were more 
than 20 Senators sitting here, and you mentioned every single one of 
them and many, many more. I kind of got the feeling that if all 100 
Senators were here, you probably could have mentioned every single one 
of them and something that you accomplished with them. Think about what 
that says--Republicans and Democrats.
  I think he could have had every single Senator on the floor, and he 
could have gone around and talked about, hey, you remember we worked on 
this and we worked on that, and not just worked on it but passed it 
into legislation, and in every case, it was something that had a 
meaningful impact for our country and for our respective States.
  Senator Portman and I came here together, and we have been close 
right from the start, probably a little bit of our shared heritage from 
college. We worked together. We traveled together, you know, around the 
world--India, South Korea, obviously Mexico, Central America--and 
invariably learned an incredible amount on those trips. But whether it 
was on those trips or almost any other time, I always learned from Rob. 
I mean, the guy has incredible experience and a lifetime of learning 
but also such a keen intellect--such a keen intellect. He is somebody 
who imparts that knowledge to you in the best way possible, never 
coming across with any kind of ego or ``I know something that maybe you 
don't'' or anything like that but just in a friendly, helpful, great 
way.
  The other thing is his ability to work with people. I have observed 
and tried to learn from it as well. I mean, it doesn't matter where you 
are going or what you are doing, he takes the time to talk to people 
and really talk to them--not just talk at them but actually connect 
with them and get a smile on their face.
  That is one of the reasons why I asked: Hey, Rob, why don't you teach 
me some Spanish? We would go to a restaurant, and he would just start 
speaking Spanish with somebody, and you could just see them--their face 
would light up, and they would smile. He would make them happy and make 
them feel welcome and warm. And he was always genuine--always genuine--
not doing it like a politician would do it but the way a person would 
do it for another person, somebody who actually cares about people.
  That is maybe where I kind of want to go as I wrap up here, is that, 
you know, all the work he talked about, all of these accomplishments, 
these things are important. They are important for Ohio. They are 
important for our country and beyond. But his motivation in doing it 
was always because he does care about people.
  He recognized the things he is doing--you know, you have to 
compromise here. You don't get things all your own way or the way you 
think would be absolutely the best outcome. You have to work with 
people. You have to compromise to get a result. But he always was 
guided by the fact that he knew what he was doing. He did make things a 
little bit better for other people. That is the right motivation. That 
is the right reason to be here and do this work.

[[Page S7058]]

  So we will truly, truly miss Rob and Jane and their wonderful family, 
and I have gotten to know them all.
  We are going to miss you a lot, but I do know this: We are going to 
continue to see you. We are going to continue to work on things with 
you.
  I am not sure what he is going to do next, but it is just like I 
started out talking about. His incredible record of accomplishment 
before he got here and his incredible record of accomplishment here, 
both in what he has done and the relationships and friendships he has 
built, leaves no doubt--no doubt whatsoever--that he is going to 
continue to do some wonderful and amazing things, and I look forward to 
seeing what those things are.
  Rob, we are going to miss you. Thanks for all you have done. Thanks 
for being such a good friend.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. I will take off where Senator Hoeven left off.
  Listening to Senator Hoeven talk, I was thinking, what are we going 
to do--John and me--without Rob here to give us grief about our joint 
events that we do between Fargo, ND, and Moorhead? Several times, we 
have told Rob that we were heading out to do some esoteric event 
together, and he would give us a lot of grief. But then we would always 
send him pictures of the event to verify that this actually happened, 
and we had a lot of fun doing that.
  I was actually thinking as I heard our colleagues talk about how Rob 
always teaches. This is something John mentioned. He always passes on 
the torch. My favorite example of that--and you are going to remember 
this story, Rob--was when my daughter started college, and Senator 
Portman was going to speak at the college because his son was there, 
and he figured out that she was there, and he personally invited her to 
his talk at a residential college. She was a brandnew freshman. She 
went in there and sat down. She told me how nervous she was.
  Two hours later, she comes back and calls me. Rob had spoken in his 
typical way, in a very, very authoritative manner but in a very nice 
way--maybe a little critical of the then-President, President Obama, 
where he didn't agree with him. My daughter, a freshman in college, 
calls me and says: Mom, you know, Senator Portman said this. Why didn't 
President Obama do this? Why did this happen that way?
  I said: Honey--I explained everything, and I said: Abigail, you have 
lived with me for 18 years, and I would hope that you would give some 
credence to what I said. You have been with Rob Portman for an hour and 
a half.
  She said: But Mom--I will never forget this--Senator Portman is 
really distinguished, Mom. Senator Portman has a lot of dignity, Mom.
  Anyway, this was a family story for a long period of time, and I 
think part of that was he was able to reach out to students at a 
school, able to make his case, make the world bigger for my daughter in 
that way, just as he has made the world bigger for all of us.
  For me, it started with our work on human trafficking under both 
Democratic and Republican Presidents. It extended into, I remember, the 
work on the USMCA. There was a moment where we feared Canada was not 
going to be with us and it was just going to be USMA, and the head of 
the Canadian Inter-Parliamentary Group reached out to Rob and many 
other Senators. But Rob was incredibly helpful in working with the 
previous administration to work out some details and get that done.
  You mentioned in your speech, Rob, fentanyl and our work together on 
that. You have just been tremendous in understanding that there are two 
sides of this: prosecution, going after the bad guys and doing 
everything we can to keep drugs out of the hands of people who don't 
deserve to get addicted to them, but also the treatment and the--what 
we did, along with Sheldon Whitehouse and, way back then, Kelly Ayotte 
and many others, with the First Step Act and your understanding of the 
need to work on addiction.
  For me, lastly, I will just say there is no better sign that you were 
someone, as Senator Blunt was saying, who wasn't just kind of ending 
your time with doing nothing--far from it. There is everything from the 
infrastructure bill--I see Senator Sinema here--to the work you have 
done with so many.
  For me, it was your devotion to Ukraine. People who will never know 
your name, who will never know how many times you went there to stand 
up for the people of their country against the inhuman barbarism of 
Vladimir Putin--I remember standing with you at that mass grave, at 
those burned-out apartment buildings, and the way you were able to make 
the case, working with the State Department, for what the people of 
Ukraine needed and what would work and the thoughtful and considerate 
way that people at our Embassy--all the work that they did. I remember 
the joy we took in finding out that one of the top names that week for 
new babies in Ukraine was HIMARS and the smile on your face.
  Rob, we are going to miss you so much, but just as John said, I have 
a feeling that this is not your last act and that, along with Jane and 
your wonderful family, there will be much more to come.
  Thank you, Senator Portman.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.
  Mr. BLUNT. Madam President, you know, it is often said here that 
everything has been said, but not everybody has said it yet.
  (Laughter.)
  This is actually a case where everything won't be said today and 
can't be said. The remarkable legislative accomplishments that Rob has 
made are truly that--they are just remarkable.
  When we were serving early in the House together, there was this big 
retirement bill. I thought, for a while, of Senator Portman that then-
Congressman Cardin's first name was ``Portman'' because it was all 
about the Portman-Cardin Act, the Portman-Cardin ``this and that.''
  (Laughter.)
  I had a little piece we were able to put in that was called the 
SIMPLE Plan. Maybe that is because the only thing I understood was the 
SIMPLE Plan. It was a helpful plan, but we probably wouldn't have 
gotten it done if Rob hadn't been constantly making the legislative 
things happen that he makes happen.
  As I have said in my remarks, I have never served on a committee with 
Rob Portman, in the House or in the Senate, in our more than 20 years 
of working together, but I have probably spent more time with him in 
meetings, as we have tried to figure out how to move forward, than I 
have with almost anybody else, whether they had been the House 
leadership meetings or have been the Senate leadership meetings. I knew 
so much about Rob that not only did Abby I and really know and 
appreciate the friendship with him and Jane--and I knew their kids--but 
there was a while when I knew the names of both of their dogs. That 
shows that you spend a lot of time with somebody if you know the names 
of both of their dogs. I did that with Rob.
  He has done so well here. I was the whip in the House when Rob was 
the U.S. Trade Ambassador, and those trade bills are always hard to get 
done no matter how easy it seems. There was the Central American trade 
deal that we took to the floor, and like with so many was the case, we 
just decided: OK. Now is the time to go. I think we are going to get 
this done today. The work is good. Now we have just got to get the 
Members willing to go home and admit that they did this.
  Trade agreements are good for the country, but often Members don't 
want to talk about them when they get home because you can always find, 
somewhere, somebody in your State who might think you could have done a 
better job in negotiating part of this.
  Then there is another thing, I think, that Rob and I had in common 
and understood. I just heard today, on NewsRadio, while I was driving 
in this morning, their talking about the new, highly competitive 
States. They mentioned, for decades, Missouri and Ohio were always 
considered to be the two bellwether States. Those were the two States. 
I think, in our State, for 100 years, we voted for the Presidential 
winner every time but one. Ohio had about that same record.
  We have also seen a political transition in our States--where they 
have gone from highly competitive, where you are really out there in so 
many

[[Page S7059]]

ways on your own when running for office, to where the parties have 
changed in ways that we may appreciate more than a lot of other people 
here would.
  I had not thought about the support group. I am not sure--I hope I 
don't need that--but I sure do need and hope to have the additional 
time to continue our great friendship and times to talk. As several 
people have said, you always listen when Rob talks because he knows 
what he is talking about. That is a relatively rare currency anywhere--
even in the U.S. Senate.
  I hope we are going to spend enough time together that we won't miss 
each other, but, certainly, I will miss the times we have had to work 
together on both sides of the building. It was sometimes when you were 
with the administration and I was here, but congratulations on what you 
have done for America and what you have done for your family and the 
future of the country.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Ms. SINEMA. Madam President, thanks for letting me speak here. I am 
not even on the list.
  I just wanted to say a few comments about my friend and colleague Rob 
Portman. I am not actually one to come and give a lot of speeches on 
the floor so this is a big deal. A lot of people stood up today to talk 
about Rob's accomplishments, of which they are numerous, but I want to 
talk about the Rob who is my friend.
  Rob and I worked together for 6 months straight on the infrastructure 
package last year, which, as Rob mentioned in his comments, we built 
from the center out, which I am inordinately proud of. It is the 
model for how the legislative process should work in this country. I 
couldn't be more proud of him. I think, over the course of those 6 
months, though, I shared more meals and more glasses of wine with Rob 
than with anyone in my personal life--ever. So, for that, I say to his 
wife and his children, I am sorry because Rob and I spent more time 
together, poring over spreadsheets in the basement of this U.S. 
Capitol, than I have ever spent with anyone, and I couldn't be more 
grateful for every one of those minutes.

  Rob, in addition to being incredibly smart, incredibly focused, and 
incredibly committed to outcomes is also a delightful human being, and 
I consider him one of my closest friends in the world.
  Rob, I am going to miss you so much, and I can't wait to go on ride 
bikes together. I don't want to go to the support group--I have no 
interest in that--but what I do have an interest in is spending time 
with you for many years to come. You are an incredible friend. You have 
got an incredible team that you have assembled, and I couldn't be more 
honored and privileged to consider you a lifelong friend. Thanks.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, I am sure some people who are tuned into 
C-SPAN think they are watching an alternative universe because all of 
these Democrats have come to the floor to say something nice about a 
Republican, but it is Rob Portman--a special Republican and a special 
friend.
  (Laughter.)
  We have worked on many things together over the years, but I really 
think the highlight of it has been the work that we have done together 
in the past year as cochairs of the Ukrainian Caucus.
  I know that you have been there more often than I have, but I also 
know that your commitment to this issue goes way beyond anything 
political. It is personal. It is real. It is human. You can feel it.
  Rob is the type of person, the type of Senator, who takes his job so 
very seriously. He put me to shame with the maps that he brought to the 
floor of the Senate on a regular basis to chart the course of the 
bravery and courage of the people of Ukraine as they fight for their 
freedom and their future and resist the invasion of Vladimir Putin and 
his thugs.
  I know that you have been there to meet with Mr. Zelenskyy, who heads 
up the Ukrainian effort. I know, as we met this week and many weeks 
before, that when the Ukrainian Parliamentarians come to town, they 
look forward to meeting our caucus and particularly meeting the Senator 
from Ohio because they know that he understands their plight and that 
he is a voice for them.
  It must be difficult to be a native of a small country--so distant 
from the United States--that is under constant attack, where people are 
leaving, their lives are being turned upside down, where innocent 
people are being killed every day, and you are counting on your friends 
in other parts of the world--the NATO alliance and particularly the 
United States of America. They find their way here to this Capitol 
Building with their Ambassador. We sit down, and we talk about the 
state of the war in Ukraine.
  So many times, they look to you, Rob, and they look to our caucus for 
the kind of message to take back home--a message of hope that they are 
not in this alone.
  Of all of the causes that I have worked on in the course of my 
senatorial career, this is one that means a lot to me. My mother was 
born in Lithuania, as I have probably mentioned to you. My feelings 
about freedom and my feelings about the oppression by the Russians and 
the Soviets over the years are very strong. That is being played out 
today in the course of the war in Ukraine.
  I thank President Biden for his leadership, but I thank you, Rob, for 
making this bipartisan. Honest to goodness, that is why it is strong; 
that is why it is credible; that is why it is a cause that many of us 
in the Senate take so very seriously. You have made that commitment.
  I would like to mention one other issue. I know that you take pride 
in your legislative legacy--and you should--but back in 2013, you made 
an announcement that sent shock waves throughout Washington. You became 
the only sitting Republican Senator to endorse marriage equality. At 
the time, you attributed your position to a member of your family who 
was part of the LGBTQ community. You said that your son's courage 
``allowed me to think about this issue from a new perspective, and 
that's as a dad who loves his son'' so very much.
  Well, that evolution came full circle when you joined 11 of your 
Republican colleagues in supporting the Respect for Marriage Act, which 
protects marriage equality under Federal law. It was one of your final 
votes in the Chamber and a fitting coating to your proud legislative 
career.
  Loretta and I wish you and your wife, Jane, and your three children 
all the best as you say farewell to Washington and welcome to 
Cincinnati or wherever your life may take you next. It has been an 
honor and a pleasure to serve with you.
  Thank you, Rob.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, I was on the floor earlier listening to 
Senator Portman's farewell address to his colleagues in the U.S. 
Senate, and I must tell you, it brought back some very fond memories--
over three decades of friendship between Rob Portman and myself as 
colleagues, as partners, and as friends.
  Earlier this week, we had a chance in the Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee to express our appreciation to Senator Portman for his 
service on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His wife Jane was 
there, and I made an observation that the sacrifice that Jane has made 
and that his three children--Jed, Will, and Sally--we thank them for 
sharing Senator Portman with us and with public service.
  I think back about three decades. I first got to know Congressman 
Portman in 1993, when he was elected to the U.S. House of 
Representatives. An introduction came from former Congressman Bill 
Gradison. Bill Gradison was a Congressman from Ohio that Rob Portman 
succeeded in the U.S. House of Representatives.

  I knew Bill Gradison from my days in the State legislature. We were 
friends. We had done some business--some bills--together in the House 
of Representatives, and he told me: You know, you are going to like 
this Rob Portman. He is the type of guy you are going to be able to 
work with. And, by the way, I have an issue I would like the two of you 
to take up.
  It was a legacy issue for Bill Gradison, and it dealt with hospice 
care. There wasn't a lot of interest in hospice care in the 1990s, but 
Congressman

[[Page S7060]]

Portman and I got together and we worked on a bill, and we followed in 
Bill Gradison's footsteps to get that legislation accomplished. That 
was the beginning of a three-decade relationship that the two of us 
have had in pursuing legislation.
  Perhaps our best known legislation is the Portman-Cardin pension 
reform legislation. For many years, people thought my first name was 
Portman because of the association with Congressman Portman at the 
time.
  And I must tell you, we got amazing things done to expand retirement 
savings opportunities.
  We are very proud that several bills were enacted and signed into 
law, but we are equally proud of the process that was used in order to 
put that legislation together.
  We invited all stakeholders to join us. It was truly bipartisan. We 
wanted to get the best policy, and it was that process that led to the 
successful passage of the first Portman-Cardin bill that dramatically 
expanded retirement savings opportunities. Even though it was not in 
either the Democrat or Republican leadership package, we were able to 
get it into the Balanced Budget Act.
  I mention the process because that is the process that Senator 
Portman--Congressman Portman--has always used. He has used the 
bipartisan process to try to bring us together to get the very best 
possible solutions to problems. It has been the bedrock of his career, 
and that is why he has been so successful here in the U.S. Senate, and 
so many of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle have expressed our 
gratitude for his public service.
  Now, I must tell you, he used that relationship sometimes to move 
issues that were not necessarily his partner's top priority. As he 
mentioned on the floor, he got me engaged in the IRS reform bill that 
dealt with the nuts and bolts of the IRS.
  Now, I ask you: How many people want to be known in their district 
for improving the IRS services for collecting their taxes?
  But Rob Portman was the leader on this, and he needed a Democrat in 
the House, and he was very persistent, and we were able to get 
significant reform done in the IRS when we were both Members of the 
House.
  Well, as you know, Rob Portman moved on to become the USTR, to become 
the budget director, and then returned to the U.S. Senate. And I was so 
pleased to be able to partner with him again when he returned to the 
U.S. Senate.
  On the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, we talked about some of 
his major accomplishments. The two of us have worked together to 
promote the U.S.-Israel special relationship, to fight against anti-
Semitism and the BDS movement, and there has been no stronger advocate 
in the U.S. Senate for the defense of Ukraine.
  His record has been an unbelievable amount of accomplishments of 
getting solid legislation accomplished because he has that ability to 
work across party line. He is very engaged on the issues. He knows the 
issues. He knows the substance. He knows your concerns. So we can work 
it out and reach a common level of agreement so we can get a bill to 
the finish line.
  So that is why he has such a remarkable record in getting retirement 
legislation enacted into law, getting trade legislation enacted into 
law, dealing with our National Park Service enacted into law, fighting 
drug addiction, which has been one of his major passions, making a huge 
difference on our war against drugs.
  And as was pointed out earlier, and I just really want to underscore 
that, his values of promoting human rights.
  In so many cases, he has been the key supporter, initiator, and had 
the ability to reach the finish line on bills that affect the basic 
rights of Americans going against such issues as human trafficking and 
so many other areas.
  So I just really wanted to take this time to say to my friend Rob 
Portman, through the Presiding Officer, thank you so much for your 
many, many years of public service.
  We wish Jane and you and your entire family only the best going 
forward. You have left the legislature once before and returned. Maybe, 
you will return again. We will see. But I wish you only happiness and 
success in what follows your Senate career. Thank you for sharing your 
talent with the American people.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Madam President, we have talked about more important 
legislative measures, and I just want to say thank you to all of my 
colleagues and to my colleague from Illinois who spoke and to the 
others who were overly generous in their comments. I appreciate it. I 
think my mom would have believed it, and my dad would have liked it.
  Seriously, you can see why I will miss this place and why I believe 
that these colleagues, who talked all about the need for us to find 
that common ground and make a difference for our constituents, are 
people I have enjoyed working with and look forward to staying in touch 
with.
  So this is a bittersweet moment. I am looking forward to getting back 
to Ohio full time with family and friends, as I have said, and the 
private sector. I have a deep respect for my colleagues, and I thank 
them for being on the floor today even though the jet fumes can already 
be smelled and people are already heading back for their weekends and 
important meetings back home.
  So thank you, Madam President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, let me add my thanks to Senator Portman 
for his tremendous work here. I wish him the very best in his future as 
well.