WYSO

Rob Portman Welcomes A New White House

Nov 17, 2016

Ohio's Republican senator, Rob Portman, tepidly endorsed and then withdrew his support from now President-elect Donald Trump. But Portman says he’s optimistic that he can work with the incoming administration.

Credit Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Rob Portman says conversations he’s having with Vice President-elect Mike Pence and comments by Donald Trump in post-election interviews have convinced him that getting major things done in Washington is going to be possible.

Portman, who has long wanted to repeal Obamacare, cited healthcare reform as one place to start.

“We need to replace Obama-care so that we can lower those healthcare costs for working families and reduce the negative impact on the economy of the Obama-care mandates and taxes. So these are all opportunities, as I see it, over the next year or so to make big, big changes.”

Portman did caution that any changes in Obamacare will have to be phased, so people and companies involved now with coverage and mandates or signing up for 2017 won’t be left in the lurch. 

President-elect Trump’s choice of Steven Bannon to be his counselor has been drawing criticism. Many of the concerns have to do with Bannon’s association with figures and organizations on the extreme right.

Portman says he's "seen some back and forth" on Bannon. "He’s (Trump) going to, you know, fill a number of these keys staff roles, and there’s no confirmation process in that, so we don’t have a role in it.  They’re advisors and ultimately the president is going to make the big decisions. So I don’t have any particular comment on it. All I can tell you is I really want to work with this new administration and get some things done.”