On PBS’ NewsHour, Portman Discusses Senate Support for Respect for Marriage Act, Border Security, Ukraine

September 15, 2022 | Portman Difference

Senator Portman joined PBS’ NewsHour today to discuss his support for the Respect for Marriage Act, the president’s failed border policies, and Ukraine’s recent successes in fighting back against Russia’s aggression.

Excerpts of the interview can be found below and you can also watch the interview here.

SENATOR PORTMAN ON THE RESPECT FOR MARRIAGE ACT 

“There was a concern from a number of people about its impact on religious liberty. That if we were to try to codify the Supreme Court case that it would have consequences that were unintended perhaps, but that would affect people’s religious liberty. So we spent the last few weeks, as you know, working with language, we were trading language as recently as late this morning. I think we will get there, but we needed a little more time to be able to let people properly vet that language and determine how we could codify the Supreme Court which is the law of the land. But in doing so, not affect the religious liberties of say religious groups that are engaged in things like adoption or health care or education. I think we are on the way to getting to a solution.”

“Well, I think some Republicans saw this as a political ploy on behalf of the Democrats, in particular Senator Schumer, because it was being pushed on us, in terms of the voting, just before we went away for the elections. The notion there was whether it won or lost, some Democrats might see an advantage to that. I have to give credit to Tammy Baldwin, who is a Democratic Senator from Wisconsin, and Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat from Arizona, who worked with us and ensured that this would not be a political decision. That’s why I think in the end, we were able to postpone it until we have time to vet this language and for people to feel comfortable. At that point, I think people won’t see it as a political thing. I think right now, a lot of Republicans do consider it to be more political if you are sort of forcing a vote just before we go home for the elections, which would have been the case if we had not had the language prepared by today and signed off on by everyone needed, we would not have had time to do it before the end of the month. Because it takes that long to process legislation, as you know Lisa, through the world's most deliberative body. So, I think we made the right decision and I think when we come back the election will be behind us, the politics will be taken out of it, and I think we will get the votes Its the right thing to do.”

SENATOR PORTMAN ON FEDERAL ABORTION LEGISLATION AND ITS POSSIBLE EFFECT AT THE POLLS

“I think it will cut both ways, honestly. It depends on the state or the congressional district, but I think that most Americans when you look at the polling data, in fact the the research arm of Planned Parenthood says that 72 percent of Americans would support a 15 week bill, which had exceptions. Which apparently this legislation does, I haven’t looked at it closely. It is a 15 week bill, it has the exceptions and that’s where most people are. I think it just depends on the state and the congressional district and how individual candidates deal with it.”

SENATOR PORTMAN ON BORDER SECURITY AND IMMIGRATION

“I do think it's good to raise awareness about it. I don't know that this is the most effective way, but it’s one. My understanding is no migrant gets on a bus without being asked if they would like to come. It is voluntary so it’s not like people are required to do it. People come to the border, again they are seeking asylum, they are told this bus is going to Boston or New York or Chicago, as I understand it. They get on the bus and they get a free ride to that location. Apparently that is something that a lot of migrants are interested in doing. So, I think it is something that will probably raise some awareness and but it also does provide the transportation for these individuals. They want to go to places where they might have family members and or think they can get a job. It is a reflection of the broken border system that there are so many thousands of people every day crossing the border. Again, we are looking at huge numbers that we haven’t ever seen before in terms of the ultimate number over one million people just during this administration that have come in this way through the asylum process. Almost none of whom have had a hearing or are subject to any court proceedings yet because that will be several years down the pike because there are so many people in the backlog right now. The system is just not working.”

SENATOR PORTMAN ON UKRAINE’S RECENT SUCCESSFUL COUNTEROFFENSE

“I feel really strongly about this, as you know. I am the co-chair and co-founder of the Ukraine Caucus because I have a lot of Ukrainian Americans in Ohio and I’ve been to Ukraine a number of times, probably seven or eight times just since 2014. I was just there a couple weeks ago. This is our fight in addition to their fight. They are not asking for troops on the ground and we are not providing them. But we are providing them is the ability to defend themselves against this Russian invasion, which is brutal, illegal, and unprovoked. The results of which are terribly tragic. I’m really encouraged by what I have seen over the last few weeks, Lisa, which is the weapon systems and the ammunition that we have provided for Ukraine is now working to turn the tables and they are actually making progress, over 3,000 square miles were liberated just in the last few weeks by the Ukrainians. This is not the time for us to pull back. It’s a time for us to continue providing support, along with many other countries. You know there are 49 other countries that are providing military support to Ukraine, it’s not just us. But we are the leaders and we need to continue to lead the free world in this fight because it is a shield for freedom. Not just for Ukraine, but certainly for Eastern Europe, Europe as whole and really for the entire world. Because otherwise, our adversaries and our allies are going to look at this and say, ‘Well an authoritarian regime can simply waltz in and take over another country.’ In this case, a democracy and an ally and that will establish a precedent that will make the world much more dangerous and volatile and cost us a lot more over time.”

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