Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 8, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HOEVEN. Madam President, you know, listening to Senator Portman's speech, I don't know how you cannot be impressed with his incredible record of accomplishment, and it is a record of accomplishment that will stand the test of time. It is not surprising because all you have to do is look at all the things he accomplished before coming to the United States Senate. So it certainly is no surprise that he has done incredible work over the last 12 years.

He was 14 years, I think, in the House and had a tremendous record of success there. He was U.S. Trade Ambassador for President Bush, and that has the same status as full Ambassador. So for all of his time here in the Senate, he didn't want me to call him Senator Portman; he always wanted me to call him Ambassador Portman. Instead, I call him ``El Gran Toro,'' but that is another story which I will get to. And he was OMB Director for President Bush. So when you look at the incredible experience and track record of accomplishment that he brought here, it is no surprise that--in his speech, he talked about a lot of incredible accomplishments, but there is a lot more that you didn't talk about. You could have talked for a long, long time because you truly did accomplish so many things that are important not just for the Buckeye State but for our country. I am just pleased to have had the opportunity to work with you.

You mentioned some of the things we worked on, and it is interesting because as you were talking about the things you worked on and the Members you worked with, I just took a quick count. There were more than 20 Senators sitting here, and you mentioned every single one of them and many, many more. I kind of got the feeling that if all 100 Senators were here, you probably could have mentioned every single one of them and something that you accomplished with them. Think about what that says--Republicans and Democrats.

I think he could have had every single Senator on the floor, and he could have gone around and talked about, hey, you remember we worked on this and we worked on that, and not just worked on it but passed it into legislation, and in every case, it was something that had a meaningful impact for our country and for our respective States.

Senator Portman and I came here together, and we have been close right from the start, probably a little bit of our shared heritage from college. We worked together. We traveled together, you know, around the world--India, South Korea, obviously Mexico, Central America--and invariably learned an incredible amount on those trips. But whether it was on those trips or almost any other time, I always learned from Rob. I mean, the guy has incredible experience and a lifetime of learning but also such a keen intellect--such a keen intellect. He is somebody who imparts that knowledge to you in the best way possible, never coming across with any kind of ego or ``I know something that maybe you don't'' or anything like that but just in a friendly, helpful, great way.

The other thing is his ability to work with people. I have observed and tried to learn from it as well. I mean, it doesn't matter where you are going or what you are doing, he takes the time to talk to people and really talk to them--not just talk at them but actually connect with them and get a smile on their face.

That is one of the reasons why I asked: Hey, Rob, why don't you teach me some Spanish? We would go to a restaurant, and he would just start speaking Spanish with somebody, and you could just see them--their face would light up, and they would smile. He would make them happy and make them feel welcome and warm. And he was always genuine--always genuine-- not doing it like a politician would do it but the way a person would do it for another person, somebody who actually cares about people.

That is maybe where I kind of want to go as I wrap up here, is that, you know, all the work he talked about, all of these accomplishments, these things are important. They are important for Ohio. They are important for our country and beyond. But his motivation in doing it was always because he does care about people.

He recognized the things he is doing--you know, you have to compromise here. You don't get things all your own way or the way you think would be absolutely the best outcome. You have to work with people. You have to compromise to get a result. But he always was guided by the fact that he knew what he was doing. He did make things a little bit better for other people. That is the right motivation. That is the right reason to be here and do this work.

So we will truly, truly miss Rob and Jane and their wonderful family, and I have gotten to know them all.

We are going to miss you a lot, but I do know this: We are going to continue to see you. We are going to continue to work on things with you.

I am not sure what he is going to do next, but it is just like I started out talking about. His incredible record of accomplishment before he got here and his incredible record of accomplishment here, both in what he has done and the relationships and friendships he has built, leaves no doubt--no doubt whatsoever--that he is going to continue to do some wonderful and amazing things, and I look forward to seeing what those things are.

Rob, we are going to miss you. Thanks for all you have done. Thanks for being such a good friend.