Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on Sunday said he was pleased that President Joe Biden walked back remarks that linked his support for a bipartisan infrastructure bill to a second, contentious social infrastructure package.
In an interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” Portman called the bipartisan package “a popular bill for all the right reasons.”
“I was very glad to see the president clarify his remarks because it was inconsistent with everything that we had been told all along the way. We were all blindsided by the comments the previous day,” Portman said.
According to Portman, the $1 trillion infrastructure bill “has no taxes, focuses on core infrastructure, and has been bipartisan from the start.”
“So it was a surprise, to say the least, that those two get linked,” he said of the social infrastructure package. “And I'm glad they've now been de-linked and it's very clear that we can move forward with a bipartisan bill that's broadly popular, not just among members of Congress, but the American people. Over 87% of people who we're told by one poll believe we ought to do a bipartisan infrastructure bill because it's needed.”
Portman said “the bottom line is, it’s a popular bill for all the right reasons. It’s the right thing for the country.”
“It’s something that we need to do to be able to compete with China and our other global competitors and to, frankly, do something that presidents through the ages have talked about,” he added.
Portman also said he hopes former President Donald Trump, who held a large rally in Ohio on Saturday, will focus on getting Republicans elected in the midterm elections next year, and avoid “other things” — including his persistent assertion the 2020 election was stolen from him.
He’s definitely the leader of the party in the sense that he has high popularity among the Republican base and that’s what you saw last night, I think,” he said of Trump’s Ohio rally.
“You saw a big turnout. But my view is pretty simple, is that the Republican Party and President Trump ought to focus on two things. One is policies…. and second, let’s focus on 2022 and getting the House majority back and the Senate majority.”
“That’s what I would focus on and not the other stuff,” Portman said.
Fran Beyer ✉
Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.
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