Rob Portman has represented the state of Ohio in the United States Senate since 2010. Rob currently serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and is a member of the Finance Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Joint Economic Committee.
In 1993, Rob was elected to the House of Representatives, where he represented the diverse seven county Second District. During his time representing the Second District, Rob earned a reputation as a serious leader who focused on results. In September 1996, Rob founded the Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati, now known as PreventionFIRST!, to help keep young people from substance abuse. He authored the Drug Free Communities Act, which has provided more than $1 billion to community coalitions around the country over the last 20 years.
Rob was actively involved in crafting and promoting the historic welfare reform efforts as a member of the committee that wrote the legislation, and he was a forceful advocate of the balanced budget that passed in 1997. Rob authored several federal laws to increase retirement savings, reform the IRS and add more than 50 new taxpayer rights, curb unfunded mandates, reduce taxes, and expand land conservation efforts.
In 2005, Rob left Congress when he was asked to serve as the United States Trade Representative, the Cabinet-level official responsible for implementing and enforcing U.S. trade policy. Rob was successful in reducing barriers to U.S. exports and increasing enforcement of trade laws to help level the playing field for American farmers, workers, and service providers. Under his leadership, American exports increased and the U.S. brought successful legal challenges against international trade law violations—including against China.
Following his accomplishments as Trade Representative, Rob was asked to serve in another Cabinet post, this time as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Rob made his mark by proposing a balanced budget, fighting irresponsible earmarks, and putting in place new transparency measures for all federal spending.
Since joining the Senate in 2010, Rob has cut through the partisan gridlock in Washington and had more than 170 of his bills signed into law, including legislation to fight the opioid epidemic, grow the economy, stand up to unfair trade practices, and help end the modern-day slavery that is human trafficking.
As a senator, Rob has also continued to fight for to expand exports and crack down on unfair and illegal imports. He co-authored the bipartisan Leveling the Playing Field Act, which was signed into law by President Obama and gives the federal government better tools to fight unfair imports. He also authored the ENFORCE Act, which President Obama signed into law and helps the federal government crack down on countries like China that try to evade our trade laws. Rob also been a staunch advocate for Ohio jobs in dozens of cases at the International Trade Commission.
Rob has continued the work he began in the House of Representatives on drug abuse prevention and treatment, authoring the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which was signed into law in July 2016 and authorizes $181 million annually to increase prevention and education, expand drug treatment, and promote community support services for those in recovery. He co-sponsored legislation called the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act which is designed to help stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers here in the United States.
Rob co-founded and co-chairs the bipartisan Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking. He is the author of five federal anti-trafficking laws signed by President Obama and has long championed efforts to stop sex trafficking. He also authored the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act that was signed into law by President Trump in 2018. SESTA was the result of a bipartisan investigation into Backpage.com, which culminated in a bipartisan report which exposed that the company knowingly facilitates criminal sex trafficking of vulnerable women and young girls and has covered up evidence of these crimes in order to increase its own profits.
Rob played a leading role in helping craft the landmark tax reform that was signed into law on December 22, 2017. Rob successfully ensured that the middle class would get a significant tax cut while also expanding the child tax credit. He also pushed for tax relief for small businesses that has helped grow economy, create more jobs, and make America more competitive with our foreign counterparts by leveling the playing field for American companies and workers. As a former U.S. Trade Representative, Rob also continues to be a leader on trade policy, working to ensure a level playing field for American workers and create more jobs for Ohio farmers and small businesses. He was instrumental in rallying Congress to approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which was signed into law in January 2020.
Rob is also a leader in the U.S. Senate in the effort to preserve our environment. He authored several federal laws to protect Lake Erie from harmful algal blooms through scientific research prioritizing bodies of fresh water, and to stop the use of microbeads, which pollute Lake Erie and harm fish and other wildlife. He is also the author of the National Park Service Centennial Act, which President Obama signed into law in December of 2016. This law ensures that the National Park Service has the resources necessary to reduce its maintenance backlog and continue keeping America beautiful. In 2020, his Restore Our Parks Act was signed into law by President Trump to further address the maintenance backlog at our parks.
Rob was born and raised in Cincinnati, where he still lives today with his wife Jane. Together they have three children: Jed, Will, and Sally. Rob grew up in a small business family, where he learned early on the value of hard work, leadership, and fiscal responsibility. When Rob was young, his dad, Bill Portman, borrowed money to start Portman Equipment Company, where Rob and his brother and sister all worked while growing up. His father, and then his brother, built the family business from a small forklift truck dealership with five employees, with Rob's mom as the bookkeeper, to one that employed more than 300 people. Rob became a lawyer and developed his own private practice, representing Portman Equipment Company and other small businesses.