WASHINGTON (WCMH) — Outgoing two-term U.S. Sen. Rob Portman delivered farewell remarks on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon as he gets ready to leave office and close to two years after he announced he would retire.
Portman, a Republican from Cincinnati, touched on bipartisanship during his time in public office in those remarks. When Portman said he would not seek reelection to a third term in January 2021, he cited rising partisan gridlock and polarization as an influence.
“While I no longer will be a member of this body, I urge all of my colleagues and constituents to remember that there is more that unites us than divides us,” Portman said on Thursday.
The 66-year-old has previously highlighted legislation addressing drug addiction, human trafficking, and the economy as policy accomplishments over the past 12 years. He is currently the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, and also steered GOP negotiations on the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
After the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol and shortly after he said he would not seek reelection, Portman sided with most of his party in February 2021 and voted to acquit former U.S. President Donald Trump on impeachment charges. He publicly condemned Trump’s actions on the day as “inexcusable” — but said he would not vote to convict a former president.
Portman was first elected to the Senate in 2010. Before that, he was the director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush from 2006 through 2007, and he also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 through 2005.
Portman’s in-advance retirement announcement gave way to a crowded Senate primary and costly general election that Senator-elect J.D. Vance won. Vance — the author of the memoir Hillbilly Elegy — will assume Portman’s former seat in January as Ohio’s next junior senator. He defeated Rep. Tim Ryan for the seat in November.
Portman is scheduled to speak around 2:30 p.m., according to a spokesperson from his office.