Durbin Commemorates Rob Portman's Senate Tenure With Speech On Senate Floor

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today took to the Senate floor to pay tribute to U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) ahead of his retirement at the end of the 117th Congress. Durbin began his remarks by thanking Portman for being his Republican counterpart in establishing the bipartisan Senate Ukraine Caucus and standing against the outrageous acts of violence perpetrated by Vladimir Putin against Ukraine. 

“We’ve worked on many things together over the years, but I really think the highlight of it has been the work that we’ve done together in the past year as co-chairs of the Ukrainian Caucus…I know that your commitment to this issue goes way beyond anything political. It’s personal. It’s real. It’s human. You can feel it,” said Durbin.

“Of all the causes that I’ve worked on over the course of my senatorial career, this is one that means a lot to me. My mother was born in Lithuania…My feelings about freedom and my feelings about the oppression by the Russians and Soviets over the years are very strong. That is being played out today in the course of the war in Ukraine. I thank President Biden for his leadership, but I thank you, Rob, for making this bipartisan,” Durbin continued.  

Durbin also praised Portman for standing up for legislation he believes is just, even when it is not popular within the Republican caucus. Portman has long been a supporter of marriage equality, and most recently, he was one of the 12 Republicans to support the Respect for Marriage Act.

“Back in 2013…you made an announcement that sent shockwaves throughout Washington. You became the only sitting Republican Senator to endorse marriage equality. At the time, you attributed your change to your family and a member of your family who is part of the LGBTQ community,”Durbin said.  “That evolution came full circle when you joined 11 of your Republican colleagues in supporting the Respect for Marriage Act…It was one of your final votes in the chamber and a fitting coda to your proud legislative career.”

Durbin concluded his remarks by wishing his colleague a fulfilling retirement.

“Loretta and I wish you, your wife Jane, and your three children all the best as you say farewell to Washington,” said Durbin.

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.