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Hearing of USTR Senate Finance Committee- Remarks (as prepared): Rob Portman Confirmation

Location: Washington, DC

Hearing of USTR Senate Finance Committee- Remarks (as prepared): Rob Portman Confirmation

Mr. Chairman, thank you for allowing me a few minutes today to speak on behalf of my good friend and fellow Ohioan, Congressman Rob Portman.

First, I would like to congratulate Rob on his nomination. No one is more qualified or more prepared or more ready to be our next United States Trade Representative. Rob Portman brings intelligence, experience, expertise, dedication, and skill to this position. As a former international trade lawyer and as a member of the House Trade Subcommittee on Ways and Means, he knows that trade is a key component of our U.S. foreign policy and that our Nation's own prosperity depends, in large part, on free and fair trade. He knows that open trade is a tool of democracy-building and can bring stability to some of the world's most unstable regions. And, he knows that trade abroad creates jobs here at home.

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I have known Rob for a very long time. What I can tell you is that he is the real deal. He is thorough and thoughtful on all the issues he undertakes. He is as honest and genuine and sincere as they come. He is a devoted, serious, hard working, and caring man, who always puts family first. I am pleased to see Rob's wife, Jane, here today and welcome her to the Committee. They have three wonderful children -- Jed, Will, and Sally -- who I know must be very proud of their dad.

It has been a real pleasure for me to work with Rob over the last several years. He is a gifted and loyal public servant and an effective and skilled negotiator. He is smart. He is personable. He is diplomatic. And, he knows that bipartisanship is the key to getting things done in Washington. For that, he has earned the respect of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

Rob's legislative accomplishments speak for themselves. He has helped make government more accountable through his efforts to overhaul the IRS and his efforts to reform pension law. I am very proud to have worked on several legislative issues with Rob over the years. He has been a true champion in the fight to get illegal drugs out of our communities. And, he has been instrumental in turning the vision of an Underground Railroad Freedom Center into a reality. Because of his commitment and his hard work, Cincinnati now is home to our nation's premier history center dedicated to telling the story of freedom and perseverance through the legacy of the Underground Railroad network.

We will indeed miss Rob Portman here in the halls of Congress, but I know he will continue to be working as hard as ever on behalf of Ohioans and all Americans. As a Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper editorial recently wrote about Rob's nomination: "[He] understands the scale of global competition, the challenges it presents, and the necessity that the United States be a successful competitor. . . . President Bush has chosen one of Ohio's most competent and promising political figures to carry the nation's trade message abroad."

I couldn't agree more.

Again, congratulations Rob, and I look forward to continuing to work with you for many years to come.

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