During an interview today on Fox News, Senator Portman discussed his hopes for a speedy recovery for his colleague Senator McCain, the importance of civility in our political discourse, the need to enact comprehensive tax reform to help boost wages and bring back jobs and investments lost to overseas competitors, and his support for repealing and replacing Obamacare with a solution that lowers costs for Ohio families and gives states more flexibility.

Excerpts from the interview can be found below and you can watch the video here.

ON SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN

It’s a tough fight. Our hearts go out to him and Cindy. But there is nobody tougher, Neil, as you know. You’ve known him a long time. He’s been on your program a lot. I love the fact that he said my sparring partners are unfortunately going to have me back. He’s a fighter, man, he’s a fighter. I did a little message to him today. I said: ‘Captain McCain, we need you back in the fight.’ He’s tough. I believe he is coming back. And I believe that he’s going to surprise a lot of people who are saying it’s going to take a while. He may be back pretty soon.”

PORTMAN ON CIVILITY

The reason I like going on your program, Neil, is that you and I can disagree, you can disagree with other guests, you do it in a respectful way. You mentioned our ‘better nature.’ Certainly Abraham Lincoln had a lot of enemies politically and had some tough times, but he always talked about the better angels of our nature. The better part of us talks about somebody with respect, even if we disagree with them. That’s what is missing sometimes in politics. It’s very personal. It’s, sometimes, not about listening, it’s about talking. So hopefully, whether it’s the shooting that occurred a few weeks ago where everybody came together and sort of held up the institution of Congress and public service and said ‘this shall not happen again and must not happen again, we need to work together.’ Hopefully we’ll get back to some of that. We have some big problems. Among them are tax reform.”

PORTMAN ON TAX REFORM

I met with Paul [Ryan] yesterday. And Speaker Ryan was Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, he has a real passion for tax reform. He wants to get it done. He’s had lots of meetings. We have had meetings on our side, really, for the past several years when you get right down to it. I think we are a lot closer on this than healthcare, as an example, because Republicans pretty much agree we ought to have lower tax rates, have some tax relief, tax cuts, particularly for middle class families, and that we have to do something that is so sensible on the international side where it’s crazy. We’re losing jobs and investment overseas.”

PORTMAN ON HEALTH CARE

Let’s not throw in the towel. Let’s actually get the reforms that we Republicans have been talking about for years, giving the states more flexibility, giving the insurance companies the ability to sell plans people want to have. None of that happens with repeal. All it does is it kicks the can down the road

Get rid of the mandates. Get rid of all the taxes. Get rid of the stuff that’s actually causing these rates to go up so dramatically. In my own state we now have 19 counties with zero insurance companies in the individual market—another 27 with only one insurer. That’s not competition. If you just do a repeal, all of the experts tell me a lot more uncertainty and a lot more plans are going to leave and costs are going to go up even more. So let’s sort of bite the bullet and do this. And I think we’re pretty darn close, I really do. I spoke to Vice President Mike Pence on the phone recently about this today. We had a good meeting and lunch today. We had a meeting late last night. I know it’s going to be tough to get there because we come from different states and different perspectives, but I think we have a responsibility to really try to get to a conclusion on this and to come up with a solution not just kick the can down the road. That’s my preference, it’s what the president says he wants, he said it three times in our meeting yesterday. As you said, he’s said different things, but right now I think he is really focused on how do you actually get a replacement that makes sense.”

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