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Sen. Portman Talks Anti-Eviction Efforts, Impeachment

Sen. Portman (R-OH) in Columbus.
Nick Evans
Sen. Portman (R-OH) in Columbus.

Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman met with local housing officials in Columbus Friday to discuss his efforts to reduce evictions.

Portman is co-sponsoring the Eviction Crisis Act with fellow Senator and presidential candidate Michael Bennett (D-CO).

Portman’s measure would provide support for state and local efforts like community courts and emergency assistance programs.

“Emergency assistance funding I think is absolutely critical and again a relatively small amount earlier on makes a huge difference rather than going through the lengthy and costly process of eviction then potentially homelessness then after the fact trying to get someone back into stable housing,” Portman said.

The measure would also standardize and track eviction data around the country. Ohio has six cities that rank in the top 100 eviction rates in the country, including Columbus, according to the Princeton Eviction Lab. 

City and county officials recently announced they are limiting online eviction history to the past three years among other efforts to address evictions locally.


In the wake of his acquittal by the Senate, President Trump is claiming vindication. Pressed on whether he agreed, Portman was noncommittal.

“Well he was acquitted. I don’t know, I don’t know what the difference is. He was acquitted,” Portman said.

The Senator sidestepped the question of whether the Senate should have censured Trump, reiterating his stance that the President's conduct was improper but didn't rise to the level of impeachment

"I've made my statement and I think it's pretty clear and I've been consistent for four months on this too and more specific more recently because more specific information came out and all the information is out there. So I think he's listening, I really do, and I think it will have an impact," Portman said.

Portman laughed off the idea of kicking Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), the sole Republican vote against the president, out of the party. He said he and Romney disagreed, but the Utah Republican would be an important part of their caucus going forward.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.