At a time when there’s not nearly enough bipartisan cooperation in Washington, I was able to work with Republicans and Democrats to secure Ohio priorities in the spending bill Congress passed last month. This bipartisan compromise will finally give our businesses, our communities, and our military certainty so they can plan for the future.
For too long, Ohio communities have been desperate for the federal government to step up and provide the necessary resources to effectively combat the opioid epidemic. The bipartisan agreement includes $6 billion to fight addiction, and the spending bill last month outlines how the first $3 billion will be spent. Ohio and other states that have been hit hardest by this epidemic will be first in line to receive that funding through State Targeted Response Grants.
The agreement also fully funds our bipartisan INTERDICT Act, which is supported by Senator Portman and was signed into law by President Trump in January. This investment will allow Customs and Border Protection Agents to support new screening devices, lab equipment, facilities, and personnel to stop deadly drugs like fentanyl at the border and keep them off Ohio streets.
Senator Portman and I worked together with our colleagues in the House to continue protecting our Great Lake, by ensuring $300 million in funding for the Great Lakes Restorative Initiative (GLRI). We didn’t stand for a budget that eliminated the GLRI last year, and nothing changed this year. Efforts to slash funding for GLRI were met again with fierce opposition from all the Ohioans who rely on Lake Erie for a job, a source of water, or a place to be outside with their families.
Republicans and Democrats also came together to support Ohio’s military installations, including Wright-Patt, Toledo’s 180th Fighter Wing, and the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima. The work done at Ohio Defense installations help keep Americans safe and ensure higher skilled workers are able to continue doing their work.
The short-term extensions we had been living under for months were no way to run a government – Ohio businesses and communities and our military all need certainty to be able to plan for the future.
This bipartisan package will allow them to do that, and ends the irresponsible short-term deals that have become far too common in Washington.
Sen. Sherrod Brown represents Ohio in the Senate and is a guest columnist.