News and Commentary

GOP Senator Donates Two-Months Salary To Coronavirus Relief
UNITED STATES - May 3: Sen. Rob Portman, D-Ohio, attends a media stakeout with Republican leaders after the senate policy luncheons in the Capitol.
Tom Williams/Roll Call

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced Monday that he will donate his salary for the next two months to five charities to help alleviate the array of negative effects stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a statement, the two-term senator revealed that each of the five charities serves the Ohio region, and would share in the senator’s approximately $29,000 commitment. 

“Many Ohioans are hurting right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, struggling to pay their bills and make ends meet. Many individuals are seeing their paychecks disappear and small business owners throughout the state are making sacrifices as they struggle to keep their doors open,” said Portman. 

The five charities service regions across the state and address different problems, such as financial instability, food insecurity and potential medical shortages, including personal protective equipment for medical workers and other in-demand resources. 

“These organizations are representative of so many great nonprofits and volunteers that are responding to the urgent needs of individuals, families, and small businesses across Ohio during this coronavirus crisis,” said the senator. 

The Washington Examiner notes that lawmakers are forbidden by the Twenty-Seventh Amendment from changing their own salary, including lowering or freezing it.

However, lawmakers are free to donate their salaries as they wish, and Portman is the first member of congress to do so during the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, President Trump donated his fourth-quarter 2019 salary to the Department of Health and Human Services, with the money going to help the organization combat the United States coronavirus pandemic.  

In addition to Portman’s monetary donation, the senator also donated blood over the weekend with the hopes of encouraging others to do the same, reports the Englewood Independent

“I’ve been hearing about the need for more donors because the mobile units that would normally go to a school, normally go to a church, high schools, college campuses, aren’t able to do that now,” Portman told the news agency while at the blood bank. “We need more blood in the blood supply. My hope is that by me coming down and giving blood others will see that and feel comfortable in doing it as well.”

KCTV reports that blood donations have been declining amidst the coronavirus pandemic, causing medical experts to assure people that blood donations, from people who are healthy and not exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, are still encouraged. 

“Absolutely it’s safe to donate,” Justin Kreuter, a pathologist at the Mayo Clinic, told the news agency in an interview. “Also for patients, they don’t have to be concerned, because coronavirus is not spread through blood transmission.”

In a tweet Monday evening, Portman once again publicly encouraged healthy persons to donate blood to local blood banks.