The Morning Journal: Senator Sherrod Brown backs bill for dredging in Lorain

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A new law would ensure money to pay for dredging of Ohio’s ports, including Lorain.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown on Tuesday reintroduced the Harbor Maintenance Ace, which would ensure money deposited in the federal Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund would pay for maintenance, operations and construction at federal ports.

“The Lorain harbor is critical to the commercial and recreational life in northeastern Ohio. With the port and river supporting thousands of jobs, we cannot afford further delays to harbor maintenance which could slow commerce, stifle economic growth, and cost jobs,” Brown said. “The Harbor Maintenance Act would ensure that funds are spent to maintain and dredge Ohio’s 15 harbors each year, so that shipping and other port-related activities can continue without interruption.”

Back in 2010, Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, and Mr. Kaufman were co-sponsors of the Safe Banking Act, which proposed placing tough limits on banks’ size. If it had passed, it would have imposed a strict 10 percent cap on any bank holding company’s share of United States deposits and set a 6 percent limit on leverage.

“We were disappointed,” Mr. Brown said in an interview on Thursday. “Not only did Treasury oppose it, but they proudly opposed it. If the Treasury had spoken out for it we could have gotten very close to winning.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown wants to know: Does “too big to fail” mean “too big to jail?”

Brown, D-Ohio, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder questioning the federal government can effectively prosecute banks that have been deemed “too big to fail.”

Specifically, they want to know if the federal government can prosecute those banks and impose penalties on them. They also want Justice Department to disclose the identities of parties that prosecutors consult with about the appropriate level of penalties for financial institutions.

As the Boy Scouts of America consider ending the organizational ban on gay scouts and leaders, two senators — both Eagle Scouts — sent a letter to the group’s head asking the organization “to adopt inclusive membership and leadership policies that will allow for all Americans to participate in the Boy Scouts.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon noted the experience and skills they gained through Boy Scouts in the letter, provided to BuzzFeed on Monday evening. The pair told Wayne Brock, the chief scout executive, “We urge you to pursue a path which recognizes that all Americans should be welcomed into the Scouting family, regardless of sexual orientation.”

Talk about burying the lede. In the final two paragraphs of his New Republic review of Greg Smith’s “Why I Left Goldman Sachs,” Lewis, the most celebrated financial reporter in the country, calls for breaking up the big banks.

Lewis isn’t alone. Sanford Weill, the former head of Citigroup, wants to break up big banks. So does former Morgan Stanley CEO Phil Purcell. And Richard Fisher, the head of the Dallas Federal Reserve. And Simon Johnson, the former top economist at the IMF. And Sheila Bair, former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. And Thomas Hoenig, vice-chairman of the FDIC. And Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England. And Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel prize winning economist. And Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve. The list goes on.

The importance of companies offering sick leave to their employees and its effect on morale and productivity were the focuses of a joint conference call held by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Ohio business owner Heather Rocco-Geissler, CEO of Challenger Aviation Products Inc.

The call between Brown and Ohio media was Wednesday.

“(Offering sick leave) is not a public cost. This is individual businesses,” Brown said. “When more workers show up to work without sick leave, they’re not as productive. They are more likely to cause others to be sick, who will be less productive.”

Brown was targeted with a multi-million-dollar onslaught of ads sponsored by outside groups, many linked to Republicans and business interests such as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. They said Brown’s positions were too liberal and hurt Ohio, while Brown countered that he stood up for the middle class and against oil companies and Wall Street.

“I think without a doubt we were” the biggest in terms of money spent against a Senate candidate, said Barasky, who now works for the national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. If it could all be tracked and its value assessed, Barasky said late last week, the money spent by outside groups against Brown would add up to around $40 million, not $24 million.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is urging General Electric officials to make new investments at its lamp plants in Warren and Ravenna rather than close the two facilities, which the bulb maker announced last week it planned to do in early 2014.

In a letter Brown released Thursday, he tells GE Lighting CEO Maryrose Sylvester that the company can build on the success of its decision to bring jobs back to the U.S. by bringing new lighting production to the two facilities.

GE could enhance its Ohio lighting portfolio while also capitalizing on the great assets that Ohio workers have to offer, Brown said.

Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said he plans to introduce a bipartisan bill, the Healthy Families Act, requiring all employers with 15 employees or more to provide sick leave to workers. This would allow them to stay home when they’re ill, instead of coming to work and infecting other people.

Brown, who has pushed for similar bills in the past, told Ohio reporters the current flu epidemic is helping to get his point across — everyone is better off if sick people stay home until they’re well again.