Ohio’s Republican Senator Rob Portman says he’s not convinced an assault weapons ban is a useful tool in curbing gun violence. Portman commented on that and other issues on Congress’s front burner during a stop in Cleveland on Friday. ideastream's Nick Castele reports.
As a Congressman in 1994, Rob Portman voted against the assault weapons ban. Last month, shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting, he said he’d be open to considering a ban, but on Friday he indicated he’s a long way from supporting one.
PORTMAN: “What I’ve said is I’m willing to listen to anything that I think would help. But a ban of a particular kind of weapon I think has proven to be ineffective.”
But Portman says he does agree with a number of President Obama’s proposals to stop the misuse of firearms.
PORTMAN: “Everything from mental health and looking at school security, to some provisions on providing better data for background checks to tighten up existing laws, but also to make the background checks work better.”
Asked whether he would vote to confirm Todd Jones as the President’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Portman declined to say. But he said ATF should have a director -- it’s been without a permanent one since 2006.
On the fiscal side, Portman defended Republican attempts to push for spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit. He said that strategy has produced some results over the past few years.
PORTMAN: “Even two years ago, although it was not pretty to watch it -- and I was in the Senate at the time, I’d just been elected -- it did force Congress and the president to agree to some spending reforms. They're controversial, but frankly we’ve got to start making tough decisions.”
House Republicans plan to vote this week on a three-month extension of the debt limit, giving the Senate time to put together a budget agreement.