A now-stalled vote on Syria, a new energy bill and a move to defund Obamacare – those were topics of conversation in a conference call Sen. Rob Portman held with reporters on Thursday. ideastream’s Nick Castele reports.
The House of Representatives has voted dozens of times to defund or otherwise take the wind out of the sails of the Affordable Care Act. Now, there’s talk in the Senate of doing the same.
Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Republican Sen. Rob Portman said he’d support that move.
“I think the Senate ought to debate it and decide whether we would like to repeal Obamacare or not," Portman said. "The House has voted on that. And also decide whether it’s appropriate to defund it or not. And I would support, as you know, repealing and replacing Obamacare, and defunding Obamacare.”
Portman is cosponsoring a bill with fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz to defund the healthcare law, but with Democrats controlling the Senate it likely has little hope of passing.
Portman is also co-sponsoring an energy bill that offers incentives for making supply chains more efficient and training workers in efficient building design. It also requires the federal government to conserve energy used by government computers.
Portman also said president Obama's speech on Syria hasn't shaken his opposition to the administration's call for a military strike there.
Last week, Portman said a targeted strike shouldn't go ahead without international backing. Then this week he announced his opposition to the administration's plan on the Senate floor. And during a conference call with reporters today, Portman said after attending classified briefings, he believed the administration's strategy was confused, and that the president's speech Tuesday did not change his mind.
"As always, the president delivered a good speech," he said, "but I did not think there was a clear, comprehensive strategy as to how a strike, a military strike, would lead to an administration, longer term, regional strategy."
The administration is now pursuing a deal with Russia and Syria that would have the regime give up its chemical weapons. Portman says he's hopeful the deal succeeds.